Tag Archives: iPAD Coffee Club

iPads, Coffee and Cake – presentation day in Paphos, Cyprus

20 Mar

***20th March***

Here is today’s IDEAfit photo a day image for the theme ‘Bold’ – it’s the brave female triathletes who I went on holiday with in November. Note that the lads weren’t brave enough to get into the pool!!!

An ice bath for the ladies

An ice bath for the ladies

I woke before my alarm went off at 6:30am, having had a disturbed night. I think I’m not used to the warmth of the room and lack of fresh air, but I thought it might be unsafe to sleep with the window open… if Stuart were here, I might have risked that!

After wasting a few minutes faffing around with gadgets, I got dressed and then answered a few emails before heading down to meet Fiona and Mary.

Morning sun

Morning sun

As the running had gone so well yesterday, we decided to up the effort level with 2 minutes of running followed by a minute of walking. This time Mary decided to come with us, so we headed out along the boardwalk to a point near the lighthouse, before heading back and passing the fort before going to the end of the pier. We then headed back having covered 4km. It might not sound like a lot for me, but it was a great effort by my colleagues. I’m hoping that once everything settles down at work, I’ll be able to go out with my group of beginners and get them all to feel comfortable and confident enough to do a 5k run.

Not sure it's meant to be at that angle!

Not sure it’s meant to be at that angle!

After running, we ate another luxurious breakfast before heading to the conference. I wasn’t nervous, but was acutely aware that we would have to give our presentation in the afternoon. The bar was raised by the Australian presenters who have some really amazing projects going on. Fortunately, there were some lovely treats to take our mind off things!

Cakes in Paphos

Cakes in Paphos

In the afternoon, Fiona and I gave our presentation. My presentation didn’t include as many academic references as some of the others, but I think it showed our enthusiasm for what we are doing and hopefully, people will read the accompanying paper to see the pedagogy behind it.

We were the final presentation of the day, so when we finished, it was time to go for a swim. There was quite a large group in the infinity pool when my colleagues arrived there and there also seemed to be a breeze, so we headed straight for the indoor pool by the spa. It may have been because I was not feeling invigorated by swimming outside, but it didn’t feel as warm as it had the previous day.

I alternated swimming a few lengths with chatting to my colleagues. We tried to estimate the length of the pool and think it was about 12m. It felt very strange to be able to swim the whole thing in 8-9 strokes… but it was probably good for me as I only needed to breathe at the end of each length.

As I didn’t feel that I’d really done enough hard training, I also made myself do a couple of tumble turns. I would have done more, but I forgot to bring my swimming cap and was afraid that I might force water into my ears, which would be very uncomfortable on the flight home!

After swimming, I headed up to my room for a shower (and a quick look at social media), before heading to the bar area to meet the other conference delegates. We were taken in a coach to a local tavern, which was a source of some anxiety for me. I am aware that there are some lovely Greek foods that are vegetarian (Greek salad with its feta and olives; hummus; pitta bread), but I wasn’t sure whether any of those would be available.

On arrival, my anxiety was heightened by seeing skewers of meat being cooked outside whilst the ‘chefs’ sat around smoking. We were also told about kleftiko lamb, and some of my colleagues chose to stay outside and watch the clay cooking pot being smashed open.

Fortunately, the tavern had been forewarned that there were a number of vegetarians in the party, so we were well catered for: Greek salad, olives, hummus, bread, vegetarian moussaka, carrots, kohl rabi, vegetable patties, cauliflower, mushrooms… the food just kept coming. Each time we thought we could eat no more, another platter arrived. There were also various dishes of lamb and chicken and some potatoes were also served.

When we had nearly finished eating, the entertainment started in the form of a group of four dancers (two male and two female) accompanied by a bouzouki player and a keyboardist. Sadly, our view was obscured by a large pillar, but we saw enough to appreciate what they were doing.

Bazouki player

Bouzouki player

Greek dancers

Greek dancers

Eventually, dessert was served – a platter of fresh fruit, followed by some pastries filled with sweet cheese and cinnamon… and a terrifying spirit called zivania.

By that stage, we were ready to go home, but we were told that the coach would not come until 11pm. It was such a relief when we got back to the hotel and I was able to get to bed!

Is it possible to add any more awesomeness into my weekend?

30 Jan
Linda soas

This motto, that was shared by a fellow Racing SOAS Ambassador, encapsulates my weekend!

Wow! What A busy weekend I had. It started with a 6am alarm call on Saturday morning, as I needed to do a long run as part of my marathon training. I had to leave the house at 7:10am to meet a friend, so I had just enough time to lace my shoes:

My new SweatPink shoelaces

The SweatPink shoelaces have come in really handy for me. I had two identical pairs of Brooks Vapors, so now I can differentiate between them, so that I’ll have a better idea of which pair I’ve been wearing and when I need to replace them.

It was dark when I left the house, but it was only a short run to where I was going to meet my friend, Teri. She’s training for London Marathon, which is a week after mine, so our schedules are not identical, but they’re close enough. After we’d been running for a while, we found ourselves on a motorway bridge, which gave us fantastic views of the morning sky and the sunrise. As usual, my photos don’t do it justice, so you’ll just have to believe me when I say it was beautiful!

Sunrise over motorway

Sometimes it’s worth getting up at 6am for a run!

The sunrise on our early run

The sunrise on our early run

Teri had planned a route which took us out the Chandler’s Ford via some back roads. She had programmed it all into her Garmin and apart from one tiny wobble, it worked really well. I don’t really know the area, but Teri has worked there for quite  long time and is familiar with it, so she was quite confident about where we were and where we needed to go. It also meant that we were able to meet up with Meryl, one of Teri’s friends who wanted to do a 10k run. Anyone who knows me knows that I talk a lot, but it’s always nice to add a fresh person to the conversation during a long run, as even I don’t always have enough to say for three hours!

Map reading

Teri and Meryl had a go at map reading

Although Teri had planned the route really well, we needed to ensure that we were going on a route that meant Meryl didn’t end up far from her starting point, which took a little bit of coordination… and gave me a couple of minutes to stretch and take some photos.

Trees in Chandlers Ford

It might look overcast, but the conditions were perfect for running

I hadn’t been sure about what to wear, but had settled on a lightweight long-sleeved Gore top with tights, gloves and a headband. It didn’t take long before I took off my gloves, but Chandler’s Ford has a microclimate of its own, so I put my headband back on when we got there and it stayed on for the rest of the run!

River in Chandlers Ford

We didn’t get wet, but there were streams everywhere

We were really lucky with the weather – it stayed dry and at times the sun came out, which made running quite difficult as the roads were so wet from overnight rain we were blinded! The temperature was ideal for running and I really enjoyed it.

When we got back to The Common, Teri and I posed for a quick photo before going our separate ways – she wanted to ensure that she had done 17 miles, whereas my house is further away, so I knew I’d make the distance. A quick check of my garmin when I gt home revealed that I’d run 17.5 miles… longer than I’d intended, but after missing my last two longs runs, it was a relief that I’d made it without curling up in pain. My knee and hip felt fine, so I was really happy!

17.5 miles done with Teri

17.5 miles done with Teri

While I was out running, Stu was on his way to Alton Sports, our local running shop, to pick up some new trainers. Usually, I would advise seeing an advisor in a specialist shop and trying on shoes before getting them, but this was different. Like last year, Brooks are running their ‘Try it on’ promotion, where it’s possible to borrow  brand new pair of shoes to try for a week before returning them. This entitles you to a £25 off voucher on any of their shoes – how brilliant is that?

Brooks try it on

Brooks try it on promotion

I knew I wanted another pair of Brooks Pure Cadence, but as I had the chance to try something different, I plumped for the Brooks Pure Flow, which are more minimal.

What shoes do you run in? Are you loyal to one brand? I love Brooks shoes as my main trainers, but swear by Salomon Speedcross for trail/cross-country. I’m also lucky that I can wear neutral shoes. Brooks Vapors are support shoes, but I’ve had them for a long time and they don’t cause any problems, so I’ve stuck with them.

Choosing The Right Type Of Running Shoes

I was hoping that when I opened the box, I would see this:

pure flow turquoise

I was hoping that I would get to try Brooks Pure Flow in turquoise to go with my Soas kit…

mainly because I liked the colours and as the Brooks UK website was showing 10x as many in that colour combination as the other choices, I thought it was a foregone conclusion that I would get turquoise shoes. Alas, it was not to be. When I opened the box, I realised I had the black and pink model:

Brooks Pureflow pink

Brooks Pure Flow pink

They’re attractive shoes and a brief test on one foot suggests that they will be comfy, but they won’t match my team SOAS kit! I’ll try them out at Monday night’s running club session to see what I think.

After I got back in from my run, I changed as quickly as I could, before going to collect Asa and heading to Steve’s house for a novice cyclist course. Although I ride to work every day, I’m still quite nervous on my road bike, so I thought it would be good to learn from an experienced cyclist. I really enjoy riding my bike and think it’s great that cycling is increasing in popularity.

The British Cycling Economy

In the first part of his session, Coach Steve went through how to do a basic bike set up and also how to do an M check. This is the kind of visual checklist that I find really helpful. Steve also gave us some reminders on what kit we should take with us on any cycling excursions.

The second part of the session was where we went outside on our bikes. We did a little warm up and Steve checked our balance by making everyone reach down to get their water bottle and then cycle along whilst holding it on their head. We then moved on to doing my favourite cycling drill – one-legged pedalling. We only had to do it for a very short distance, so I didn’t find it too hard! We then moved onto cornering. I didn’t crash, but I still find it hard not to brake after I’ve started turning, which is a bad habit that I need to get out of.

When we’d finished we went back into Steve’s to warm up with a cup of tea… and we also had some lovely cakes to celebrate Liz’s birthday. It was an opportunity for the group to chat, and Steve recommended Tiger Frog work outs: http://www.tigerfrog.co.uk/training.htm  for using on a turbo trainer.

When I got home, I had a shower and a short nap before getting ready for ‘The Billy Bash’, which is my running club’s annual award dinner.

Stu and I arrived shortly before everyone went into the dining room. We were pleased to find that we were on a table with some people that we get on well with.

There were some fantastic people on my table

There were some fantastic people on my table © Paul A. Hammond

As it wasn’t long after Christmas, there were crackers on the tables. The novelty items in the crackers seemed to be quite well received…

...including my Coach, Ant, (right) and work colleague, Rikki (left)

…including my Coach, Ant, (right) and work colleague, Rikki (left)

After dessert had been served, the awards ceremony began. I knew that I wouldn’t win anything for being fast (because I’m not), but I was pleased to be a joint winner of the club participation award with the latest women’s captain, Di. As I’ve decided to focus on triathlons this year, I know that I won’t win this prize again – I’m not entering all of the eligible races.

Club Participation Award winner for teh second year in a row!

Club Participation Award winner for the second year in a row! © Paul A. Hammond

2013 participation award

Here’s a close up of my trophy

After the trophies were handed out, the party began, with some people drinking quite a lot. I don’t drink alcohol, so I was happy to observe the proceedings, but I think the photo below shows that my husband had a few glasses of rum!

...and here's my greatest supporter (who had had a few rums by this stage!)

…and here’s my greatest supporter (who had had a few rums by this stage!) © Paul A. Hammond

I had hoped that I would lose weight before the event, as I had chosen quite a daring dress, but with all of the stress I’ve been under this month, that didn’t happen.

Back of Billy Bash dress

My dress was a little more daring than usual © Inez Walker

Overall, it was a good night out and I enjoyed having the opportunity to chat to a few people I don’t normally see.

The lovely Lordshill ladies at the 'Billy Bash'

The lovely Lordshill ladies at the ‘Billy Bash’ © Paul A. Hammond

On Sunday morning, Stuart and I got up fairly early to go for a long bike ride with Liz, Katherine and Suzanne. Several others had originally planned to join us, but the Billy Bash after party and the rain claimed a few victims.

It was raining hard when we left Southampton, but we hoped that the weather would improve. It didn’t feel too cold and I was enjoying chatting to Liz… but then an hour in, disaster struck – Suzanne got a puncture. Everyone was roped in to help… so I offered to hold bikes/equipment, as I know my limitations!

Repairing a puncture

Repairing a puncture © Liz Carter

Suzanne tyre decided to fight back, so it took quite a lot of persuasion with tyre levers to be able to get the inner tube out. After quite a while standing around in the pouring rain, we were glad when it was time to move on again.


Puncture © Liz Carter

Unfortunately, we had only been moving for a minute or so when Suzanne realised that her tyre had split and it wasn’t safe for her to continue riding. The only option was to slowly make our way to the local garden centre cafe and ask for Suzanne’s partner to come and collect her and her bike.

So glad to be in the warm

So glad to be in the warm © Liz Carter

As we knew that we would have to wait for a while, we thought we might as well take advantage of the facilities and order some snacks and drinks.

Liz at Hilliers

Liz loves a selfie! © Liz Carter

My medicinal hot chocolate

My medicinal hot chocolate

My hands were freezing, so I was very glad to have a large mug of hot chocolate to help warm them up.

Katherine was worried that there might not be any food!

Katherine was worried that there might not be any food!




After Piers collected Suzanne, we cycled back to Southampton before going out for a pub lunch – we definitely consume ore calories than we burnt off on Sunday – oops!

Everything has fallen apart a little this week as I’ve been working from 8am-10pm+ almost every day. I didn’t make it to running club on Monday, but I managed to get to Run Camp on Tuesday morning. We had to run for 3 minutes followed by a 3 minute break four times as well as doing some strength training. I found it tough this week.

Although I tweeted a few times on Tuesday, not everything appeared in my #TWIET (Tweet What I Eat Tuesday) , and what you did see wasn’t good:

IMG_1897 IMG_1898  IMG_1900 IMG_1901

I started out with chocolate brownie porridge, then had a muffin at iPAD Coffee Club, followed by an enormous burger at a work meal, although as the last image shoes, I didn’t manage to eat it all.

Yesterday, I got home from work too late to train and my visit to Weight Watchers wasn’t successful – not only had i put on weight, but I found that my group is being closed down, so I need to find an alternative. I didn’t go out running with my friends this morning as I needed to go to work. Fortunately, my big project is nearly ready to go live, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to get back to training soon. I’ve got a long run scheduled for Saturday, followed by a meal with a couple of female friends who I haven’t seen for ages and then the second part of my novice cycling course on Sunday.

I found a little bit of time to watch this video this week – it made me laugh out loud several times:

How’s your week been?