Tag Archives: Long Course Weekend

Planning for 2018

6 Feb Planner with the words 'Make it happen'

Planner with the words 'Make it happen'

I usually spend some time on New Year’s Eve planning my races for the following season, but of course I start thinking about what I want to achieve before then. This year was no different, but I’ve been so busy that it’s taken until now for me to write down my plans…


  • Swimathon – swim 2.5km in under an hour.
  • Get in the pool at least once a week for the whole year and to make it to some open water swimming sessions.
  • Take Baby M swimming once a week


  • I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll get a place in RideLondon again this year
  • Get involved in cyclocross this year


  • Reading Half
  • London Landmarks Half
  • Southampton Half
  • Do my 250th parkrun


  • Long Course Weekend – do the full event


  • Qualify as a Personal Trainer


I’m trying to be realistic about what I can achieve as I’m really busy at work and M is a high-maintenance tiny human. I’m sure there will be some other B & C goals that will come along throughout the season, so watch this space!


What now?

7 Aug

So, although I’m not feeling like things have been going well this year, I’ve now done my ‘A’ races. This year has not been the year for me to do an Ironman (not least for financial reasons), but I have managed to do a 5km (3.1 miles) swim, a 100 mile (160km) bike ride and a marathon (42.2km/26.2 miles).

Since RideLondon, I’ve been trying to get my life back in order. On Tuesday, I did a Tai Chi class; on Wednesday and Thursday, I did Buggy Mums and on Saturday, I did parkrun.

Southampton parkrun 5 Aug 17

On Sunday, I met up with my lovely friend, Inez. We went out for a really long walk around Testwood Lakes and then Inez picked me lots of fresh produce from her garden.

I’ve never tried callaloo (amaranth leaves) before, so I was interested to cook them at home. Inez showed me how to prepare them and then I cooked them with garlic, chillies, paprika and tomatoes and served them with rice and peas – delicious!

In the evening we had minted new potatoes and runner beans for dinner, followed by rhubarb crumble – all from Inez’s garden.

I don’t have much else planned for this year, so I’m planning my events for 2018. I’d like to do the Long Course Weekend and am still dreaming of doing an Ironman… but it will depend on whether M ever decides to sleep through the night. I’ll also be going back to college and will be sharing more info about that soon!

What’s your next big challenge?

Long Course Weekend: Run

13 Jul

Following the sportive, Stu, Roelie and I went out for something to eat. I didn’t really have the energy to eat anything, but managed to force down a falafel as I knew I’d need the energy. We then headed back to the hotel for an early night.

Our room was much less cluttered as our bikes had been locked away in the car, so it was easier to move around and get everything ready for Sunday morning. Also as Stu’s marathon didn’t start until 10am, we knew we could sleep slightly later, which was good.

After an excellent night’s sleep, we went down for breakfast. Corinne, who I had met before the sportive, was at the table next to us and as her husband wasn’t joining her, Roelie was able to  take his place. The couple at the table on our other side were also staying for the Long Course Weekend, so there was a lot of chat about what we had done so far and what the day might bring.

After breakfast, we went back to our room to get ready. The marathon started in town, whereas Roelie and I needed to get on a coach at 11am to go to Manorbier Castle, where our 10k would start. We decided to take our stuff with us and go to watch Stu and Sergio start the marathon.

Wales 10k race number

After the horrendous weather on Saturday, the fog had lifted and we could see right across the bay again.

View of Tenby

Before the marathon started, the 5k runners were set off, so we watched the start of that and then Roelie and I walked down to the start corral with Stu and Sergio. Stu has had quite a few calf niggles recently, so he had decided to start conservatively towards the back of the pack. I was a little worried about him as it’s not long until his Ironman and I really don’t want Stu to get injured. Last year, Stu went out for a training ride a week before Ironman Dublin 70.3. He swerved to avoid a pothole, hit gravel, went over his handlebars still attached to his bike and tore his calf muscle. The injury was so bad that he was unable to even swim, so I’m keeping everything crossed for Copenhagen.

Zoe was in the start corral just ahead of Stu and Sergio, so I managed to have a quick chat with her. She’s a fantastic ultra runner, so I imagine this was the part of the event that she was looking forward to most.

Stu, Zoe and Sergio starting the marathon

Stu, Zoe and Sergio starting the marathon

After the marathoners had gone, Roelie and I decided to watch the fastest 5k runners finish. The first finisher was a young lad who just squeaked under 18 minutes, but only the top 5 finished under 20 minutes. By 10:25, Roelie and I decided that we had better go and find out coach. We crossed over the road… and heard our names being announced as finishing the 5k. Oops!

We walked up to the registration hall in the hope of sorting out the problem as we were worried that our chips would no longer work for the 10k. We were then sent back to the finish of the 5k, where we spoke to a member of staff who said that it wasn’t a problem. The minor problem meant that we then had to hurry to get our coach.

We got onto the coach, which had all of the heating on. Roelie was able to open a vent in the roof, but it didn’t make much of a difference. People were stripping off as many layers as they could.

Finally we set off. The 6 mile coach trip seemed to take a long time and we were afraid that our coach was going to break down as there were some bad smells coming form the engine.

When we got off the coach, there was a short walk to the start. After getting hot on the coach, it felt quite cold outside and it started to rain again. I felt a little grumpy, but had to keep reminding myself that it would be cooler for everyone running the marathon.

There were lots of runners milling around at Manorbier Castle, but there was nowhere else for us to go. We had over 90 minutes before the start of our event. We sat down in a gatehouse archway for a while and decided to have a snack. I had a Powerbar and some water.

It was uncomfortable on the ground, so Roelie and I had a look at the event information and realised that we would be able to see the fastest marathoners and half marathoners go past, so we went out onto the road.

After a while, the first runner went past, but there was quite a wait before we saw anyone else and even then, there were coming through singly. Roelie and I chatted to one of the other spectators and then suddenly Stu arrived. I was so excited to see him. He had hit the 20 mile point in just under 2:45 and was looking comfortable. The sun had come out again and we were feeling hot spectating, so I was worried that it would be too warm for Stu, but he didn’t look red or sweaty, which made me feel better.

Roelie and I then took our bags to the bag drop van – we were just in time as there was a final call just as we were walking away.

We lined up in the grounds of the castle and were led to the start by a band. There was a brief countdown and then we were off.

My plan had been to stick with Roelie for as long as I could. She had started at her comfortable half marathon pace, but I’ve always been bad on hills and with no warm up, I really wasn’t doing well, so just a km in, we parted our ways.

One of my aims had been to try to run the whole 10k, but it was a lot hotter than I expected. All of the rain had cleared up and there were beautiful blue skies and bright sunshine. Much of the course did not have much shade. At the first big hill, many people ahead of me started walking, so I decided to conserve some energy and join them.

For the first 3.5k, i felt a pain in my side. It wasn’t quite like a stitch – I think it was the little one making her feelings known. She didn’t mind me running uphill, but did not want me to run downhill. I felt a little depressed as I wondered whether it signalled that my running days were over, but after 3.5k the pain eased and I was able to run as normal.

I managed to pick up my pace and found that I was catching up with people who had passed me earlier, which was a good feeling. As we got towards Tenby, there was a fantastic downhill section. I started out quite cautiously, but as I was feeling good, I let rip a little bit. It was so much fun and felt the best that running has for weeks.

There was another hill heading to the finish, but I knew it wasn’t long and could see that I was nearing the end.

I heard someone shouting my name and looked up to see Stu who shouted that he would meet me at the finish.

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 13.49.04 Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 13.49.13

I was so pleased to cross the finish line in 1:10:52. It’s the slowest 10k that I’ve ever done. I finished 212/325 overall, 113/195 female and 27/39 in my age category, so although it was slow, I definitely wasn’t last 🙂

I was presented with a 10k medal – it’s not quite as nice as the marathon medal, but it does stack with the other two medals:



I met up with Roelie on the way to find Stu. He had already got changed and was in a really good mood as he had paced his marathon really well (based on heart rate) and despite being cautious, his finish time was 3:25, which I think is amazing.

Roelie and I went to get our bags back, but the van had not made it to the collection point, so we had to wait for a short while before we could get changed. We cheered on some more runners until it arrived and then we got changed.

It was then time to head off for a panini and chocolate milkshake before Stu had to go for his 4th medal ceremony. he did really well, finishing 35th overall, 33rd male and 28th in his age category with a combined event time of 11:26:52. I’m so proud of him.

Stu receiving his 4th medal for LCW

Stu receiving his 4th medal for LCW

It was good to see that other friends did well this weekend. Gemma Marshall was 9th female and Sergio and Zoe also completed all three events.

Sergio and Stu

Sergio and Stu

After the awful day on Saturday, the weekend ended on a high. I have to admit that I felt a little bit jealous of everyone who managed to complete this gruelling event. The people of Tenby were so friendly and welcoming that although I still have no desire to take part in IM Wales, I definitely hope to return for the Long Course Weekend one day.







Long Course Weekend: Bike

13 Jul

I didn’t sleep well last night – possibly because of the adrenaline coursing around my body after the swim and also because I was really nervous about the bike ride. I can’t fault the hotel – for the first time ever, we managed to stay in a hotel that didn’t seem to have a big event on the night before a race and the room was also a pleasant temperature.

Stuart and Roelie’s 112 mile bike ride was scheduled to start at 7:30am, so they went to breakfast early. I discussed joining them for breakfast, but I realised that in order to watch their start, I would need to cycle down into town and then back again, and we agreed that it wasn’t worth it.

After Stu had left, I was unable to go back to sleep, so I had a quick look online. I went to the Long Course Weekend website and was surprised to see that Stu was listed in the top 10 swimmers:

Top 10 LCW swimmers

I never doubted Stu’s ability, but I knew that he was totally unaware of how well he placed. Being in the top 10 entitled Stu to a special TT start at 8am, so I immediately started trying to phone him. I called three times and left him a text message, before trying to phone Roelie, in the hope that she would see Stu. Sadly, I was unable to get hold of Stuart before 7:30am, so he set off unaware of his exalted position.

I wasn’t scheduled to start until 12:45, so I had a leisurely morning. I went for a delicious vegetarian English breakfast, but I didn’t manage to eat much of it – I’m not used to eating that kind of food first thing in the morning. On my way out, I met Corinne who was staying in the hotel and was also doing the short distance sportive. We agreed to meet in the lobby just before midday. This made me feel a bit less nervous that I would fail to find the race start!

The weather was looking bleak – at times the rain was torrential – so I needed to decide what to wear. I had originally hoped that I’d be fine in just my SOAS jersey and shorts, but I decided to go for the knee warmers and arm warmers, topped off with a waterproof jacket. It was quite warm, so I decided not to wear a buff or my base layer, even though I had packed them.

My charming sister (who lives on the other side of the world) keeps saying that she wants to see how ‘tubby’ I am, so I took a photo in my kit, just for her. I don’t know that everyone would recognise that I’m pregnant, but I certainly look and feel fat these days!

Cycling at 6.5 months pregnant

Cycling at 6.5 months pregnant

I met up with Corinne and we headed off towards the event start. Because of our hotel’s location, we had to cycle for a short distance on the event route. It was a little embarrassing to have people clapping when we weren’t racing. We met Corinne’s friend and then headed to the start on foot.

When we got to the start location, we were surprised to find that there were very few people around. The event instructions had been very strict about people’s start time, but we were allowed to go whenever we were ready.

The weather started out with what we’d call ‘mizzle’ in Cornwall, it quickly turned to rain and fog, which made me more nervous about cycling. I knew the course was ‘undulating’, but hadn’t realised there are virtually no flat bits. I decided to ride at a very steady pace so that I would not get out of breath or feel at risk of falling.

At about 10k in, I heard someone call out my name. I glanced over my shoulder and saw someone on a gorgeous pink bike – it was Zoe, who I know via Facebook as a 2015 SOAS brand ambassador. It was great to finally meet her. I’d strongly recommend that you watch her account of the weekend:

Because, I hadn’t manage to eat much for breakfast, I stopped at the first feed station just 12k in for a piece of banana and a piece of Mars bar. I also made sure that I drank more water. (Throughout the ride, I drank something every 20 minutes, so that I wouldn’t get dehydrated).

By 30k I was tired and by 39k, I had to stop to eat a Powerbar. I’ve never considered calling to be picked up before, but I just felt shattered and knew that the end was not in sight. I think part of the problem was the lack of sleep and the start time of the event. I should probably have tried to eat a light lunch before starting as I need to eat more regularly now.

I’m not good at descending in fair weather, but being unable to see more than 25m ahead, combined with slick roads meant that I was exceptionally cautious. I’ve also got an uncommon blood type, so I’ve been told that whilst pregnant if I have the slightest accident I must go straight to hospital, which has made me even more wary.

Just 1km after I ate my gingerbread Powerbar, I got to the second ‘feed’ station. I had hoped to have another piece of banana and mars bar, but the only food available was a bacon roll or beef burger from a van. As a veggie, I decided to keep pedalling.

At Narbeth, I was feeling exhausted, so when I saw someone else get off and do the ‘walk of shame’, I decided to join them. It was a wise move as it was a very long steep hill with a lot of traffic.

At 50k, it felt like I had got my ‘second wind’, but it turned out that I had found the only flat bit of the course! It was nice to feel better for a short period, but as soon as I hit the next incline, my fatigue came back. 5k from the end was a 16% hill climb section that had me beat, so yet again I got off for a walk.

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 13.50.21 Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 13.50.33 Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 13.50.42

I was so grateful to arrive back in Tenby. I had initially expected the ride to take just under 3 hours, but it took me almost 5. It was far harder than any of the century rides that I’ve done and I felt more exhausted than I did when I got to London after cycling from Lake Windermere! Whilst Tenby is a beautiful place (when not obscured by fog), it is not somewhere that I will ever choose to do an Ironman! I wasn’t the final finisher, but coming in at 4:52, I was only 50 minutes ahead of the person in last place. I have the utmost respect for anyone who managed to cycle 112 miles on those roads and in those conditions.

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 13.50.54 Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 13.51.03 Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 13.51.11 Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 13.51.19 Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 13.51.27 Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 13.51.35

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Long Course Weekend: Swim

9 Jul

This weekend, Stuart and I headed off to Tenby for the Long Course Weekend with a couple of friends, Roelie and Sergio.

Originally, I intended to train for the full weekend as a precursor to doing my first Ironman next year. I’ve swim the distance before and have completed 5 marathons, but I’ve only cycled 100 miles (rather than 112 miles)… And I’ve not done it all back-to-back!

Anyway, as I’m 6.5 months pregnant, I’ve dropped my distances down to 1.9k; 45 miles and 10k whereas Stu is doing the whole event.

We arrived just after 3pm, so headed for a car park in town to go straight to registration. As we were entering the car park, I spotted former LRR Kelly and her husband, Ed.

The registration hall was quite busy and very hot. As I was in the queue, I spotted Roelie, so we agreed to meet up after we had finished registering. Roelie has also decided to do the 10k run, so she went to buy a coach ticket. I didn’t realise that I needed to buy one, so it was fortunate that we bumped into her.

Stuart pointed out that we ought to eat before the swim, so we went to a nearby bar and ordered some pizzas. I can’t eat nearly as much as I used to, so after I’d had half of it, I felt completely full.

Just as we left the bar, we spotted Sergio running down the street. We called him over and the 4 of us agreed to meet outside our hotel at 5:30pm.

Roelie led the three of us down a shortcut to the beach. It was quite a precarious zig-zag trail, so I was glad I had proper shoes on!


(c) Roelie Hempel


(c) Roelie Hempel


(c) Roelie Hempel

On the beach, we saw our first jellyfish of the day – a large barrel jellyfish. There has been a lot of talk online about how many would be around, but they don’t bother me as much as they used to.

I was a little nervous about the swim as the water temperature was said to be 14.5C and I don’t cope well with cold water. Also, I’ve had a bad cold this week, so I was worried that the temperature would set off my asthma and I would have to withdraw.

After we handed out bags in, we went down to the beach. We had expected to have 15 minutes for acclimatisation, but they were already telling people to head towards the start pen. As I was getting my goggles on, Stu said hello to Gemma Marshall. Gemma used to train with LRR and STC and is a fantastic all-around athlete.

Fortunately the temperature of the water didn’t feel that bad in the acclimatisation swim, which gave me a bit of confidence. Also, the sea looked calm, which was good as I’ve only swim 1.2k in open water so far this year.

There were huge crowds on the cliffs and beach and a massive sound system, which created a party atmosphere. We had to wait in the start pen for over 20 minutes, which was a little nerve-wracking. I chatted to some other women at the back of the pen, although it’s hard to have a conversation when you have ear plugs in and it’s very noisy!

The gun sounded and fireworks went off. For safety reasons, I started at the very back. This was a wise decision as Roelie, who started mid pack, said it was one of the roughest swims she has done in terms of being swum over and hit by other competitors.

I think my sighting to the first buoy was good – I noticed that most swimmers at the back were hugging the shoreline, which must have added distance and was also choppier. A few people were a bit disoriented and we’re heading straight for me, so a kayaker had to redirect them!

Unfortunately, there were a lot of boats in the bay and so on my way to the second buoy, I had to ask a kayaker to point it out to me – I turned out to be hidden behind a lifeboat.

After rounding the second buoy, the sea got much choppier and it seemed to take an eternity to reach the third buoy. It was also a lot busier. By the time I entered the water, the fastest swimmers were half way to the second buoy, so they started passing me. Stu saw me on this section, but I was focusing on ‘Just keep swimming’ as there was a 1 hour cut off.
Despite the enormous barrel jellyfish we saw on the beach when we arrived, I only saw a couple and 2-3 smaller (moon?) jellyfish. Everyone had said there were lots of jellyfish around, but it was a little overcast, so perhaps that’s why I didn’t see more.

I hadn’t realised that the timing was gun to chip, so my official finish time was 1:10… Starting at the back of 2000+ swimmers means a long wait. My Garmin said 1:01. I was a little disappointed not to have finished in under an hour, but I need to be kinder to myself at the moment.

LCW swim 1 LCW swim 2 LCW swim 3

Stu was waiting for me at the finish. His official time was 1:03, so he was interviewed by the TV crew as he finished with the elites.

Sadly, I don’t think Stu has realised just how well he did. He was in the top 10 finishers doing the full long course weekend, so was meant to have a full time trial start from a ramp for the bike leg at 8am. He was totally unaware of this as he set off for his 7:30am mass start. I hope that somehow someone told him! As for me, I have until 12:45 to wait for my bike leg.

The medals that finishers get are quite impressive. Gemma Marshall shared a fantastic photo of her medal – I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing it here:


Swimming and running… and not a lot of cycling

4 Jul

The last couple of weeks have been tough. I’ve been busy at work and busy at home, which hasn’t given me a lot of downtime.

I’ve managed to make the last couple of Monday night swims with Southampton Tri Club and am quite pleased that I can still sprint 25m, but my speed over longer distances is definitely declining as I’m getting much more tired in sessions.

I also managed to swim at Lakeside on Thursday 30th. I had hoped to complete 6 laps (each one 300-350m) to give me more confidence ahead of the Long Course Weekend, but Stu is such a speedy swimmer that he was going at twice my pace and after he’d done 8 laps (somewhere between 2.4k and 2.8k), he’d had enough, so I stopped after 4 laps.

I had decided to try my old 2XU wetsuit (that has a little tear at the back). When I got my new Zone3 Aspire wetsuit, I wasn’t sure of the difference between the two suits, but putting on my 2XU suit helped to highlight the differences. The 2XU suit is thicker, so it is warmer, but it is definitely less flexible than my Zone3 suit. It also has a much higher neck, which is less comfortable. I’m going to take both suits to Tenby and hope that my Zone3 will zip up!

As my mum recently celebrated a milestone birthday (her 70th, but shhhhhh! don’t tell anyone I let that slip!), we spent a weekend together on the Isle of Wight. I’ve only been to the Isle of Wight a few times – once to visit a friend and then at other times to complete races – so I’ve not seen much of the island.

I was excited about doing Medina parkrun on Saturday morning, so I got up early and had breakfast. We then drove from Ryde to Newport. After I’d parked the car, I saw a few other runners, so I followed them. Someone started asking me whether I knew where the start was as she’d never been there before. I admitted that it was also my first time. There weren’t as many people around as I’d expected (about a dozen), but it was relatively early. Some people were putting cones out on a field and there were some young girls in club vests. I sprinted after one of them and asked her where the start was. She explained to me that the start was by Appleby beach… back in Ryde. I felt so frustrated. Apparently, the event moves there from May to September every year, but that information is not apparent on the website. We drove back to Ryde, but as I didn’t know exactly where the start was, I decided to give up on taking part.

Sandra playing crazy golf

The extent of my sporting activities on the Isle of Wight

Last weekend, Southampton parkrun was cancelled because Race for Life events were taking place on the Common on Saturday and Sunday. This was a chance to do some parkrun tourism, so Stu and I agreed to go to Fareham parkrun with our friends (and fellow Run Directors) Rob and Kim.

Cam's Hill - the start of Fareham parkrun

Cam’s Hill – the start of Fareham parkrun

It was a beautiful morning and the setting was lovely. The event is fairly small and is on an out and back course, so there’s no chance of getting lost. There are some undulations in the course, but nothing too difficult. I tried to keep a steady pace, but also spent the first few minutes saying hello to familiar faces from Southampton (Jill and Malcolm) and others from Netley Abbey (Kenny and Robert, who was doing his 300th run).

It was nice to see Rob, Rikki and Stu doing well towards the front of the pack, and Jill was 2nd lady as well as setting a new record for her age group.

I had three aims:

  1. Complete the run without walking
  2. Not be last
  3. Finish in under 30 minutes

I managed all of my goals, finishing in 29:50. It was a much hotter day than I had expected, so I was quite pleased with that.

Towards the end at Fareham parkrun

© Kim Kelly

Fareham parkrun 2nd July 2016

Cam's Hill

Lovely pub with honesty box for refreshments at the end of Fareham parkrun © Kim Kelly

Unfortunately, the parkrun was pretty much the end of my weekend. I’ve been struck down by another cold, which arrived with a terrible headache and has left me with a sore throat and breathing difficulties. I LOVE pugs, but do NOT want to sound like one! I really hope that I recover quickly as I’ve got the Long Course Weekend to look forward to.

The plan is to drive to Tenby on Friday. In the evening, the swim takes place. Stu, Roelie and Sergio will be doing 3.8k, whereas I’ve opted for the 1.9k swim.There a 15 minute acclimatisation swim before the briefing and then the swim starts at 7pm. I have one hour to do the swim. I ought to be able to do it in that time, but am a little nervous that I won’t make it. The cold, fear and jellyfish might make me swim faster!

On Sunday, there is the sportive – again the others have opted for the full distance (112 miles), so they’ll be starting between 8am and 10:45am, whereas I’m doing the shortest option – 42 miles.I’m number 3565 and am starting in the blue wave at 12:45. This is a little frustrating as I don’t really know what I’ll do in the time between getting up and starting. I would prefer to start earlier and then be able to get back, shower and change with enough time left to cheer the others in!

On Sunday, Sergio is definitely doing the marathon, whereas Roelie and Stuart are considering the shorter options. I had hoped that Stu would be able to do the full marathon, but he has been struggling with twinges in his calf and just ahead of his first full Ironman, I don’t want him to sustain an injury. I will be doing the 10k, which starts at 1:30pm and I’ll have to catch a bus to the start at 11am. It’s rare for me to run at that time of day, so I hope it’s not too hot. To add to the party atmosphere, there will be a samba band accompanying us to the start!

And finally… I went out to a colleague’s leaving do on Friday and liked a sign that I saw in the pub:

Dessert humour



Planning for 2016 and some new kit

23 Oct

There are so many exciting things happening in the next two weeks that I’m going to have to work hard to find enough time for blogging.

Exciting thing number one is a new training location taking shape – there will be a sneaky glimpse next week, but you’ll have to keep following if you want more than a peek! The other excitement is a week dedicated to warm weather training 😀 There are also just eight days left until the end of the Tri Club Merit table – I’ve given it my best shot, but I think it’s too late for me to do much more – fingers crossed that I manage to cling on in the top three as Ian’s not going down without a fight and probably has a few things up his sleeve! Also there are only six days left until voting closes in the Blogging Edge 2015 Awards… and they’ve given me a lovely icon to display on my blog.

2015 UK Blog Awards finalist

My training has been a bit mixed up this week, but I’ve been busy planning, so it should all fall into place soon.

On Monday evening, I went to STC’s swimming session. We did a lot of technique work with fins and then we had to work on our swolf scores (stroke count and time for 50m). I’ve been working really hard on my stroke count and was pleased to be able to consistently swim under 20 strokes per length, with many lengths at 16 strokes! We had to count our swolf three times – I managed 85, 87 and 86. We were told that we should improve each time, but I think I was reasonably consistent 🙂

On Tuesday morning I went to the SUTRI strength and conditioning session with Coach Olly from Solent Athlete.  We did loads of lunges.

20 Oct Crossfit

That’s me on the right with the green shoes carefully studying Olly’s technique ©Olly Drew

22 Oct crossfit

We also worked on what I would call ‘dishes’, but Olly calls ‘hollow holds’ – fortunately, we’re not made to do dish/arch rolls, which I used to find tough at gymnastics. The last part of the session was 6x 2 lengths of walking lunges. It sounds easy, but by Wednesday afternoon my legs were in agony!

Thursday morning’s session was based around deadlifts, which gave my achy legs a rest. I really wanted to do well, but (like on Tuesday) I felt really light-headed and faint, which isn’t great when you’re trying to pick up heavy things. I didn’t feel too bad after the session, but my arms and shoulders have been a bit tired today.

I really love doing the SUTRI training sessions, even though all of the others are so much younger and slimmer than me – it’s definitely a motivation for me to train harder. I’ve put in an order for some kit, so that I can represent the team at parkrun and other events. I wish that I’d had more opportunities to join sports clubs at uni as I might be so much healthier now if I’d been sportier 15 years ago.

On Thursday evening, Liz ‘parcels from America’ Carter came around with my new SOAS kit. It felt like Christmas. I ripped open the parcels and admired my goodies.

Barcelona Nights crop top Barcelona Nights shorts Sunset cliffs sports bra Sunset Cliffs shorts Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 22.42.02

I still want to get the run tights in Sunset Cliffs and Barcelona Nights and would love to have the Sunset Cliffs cycling jersey. I’m wondering whether more items will be released in the Aquarius collection soon – I’m sure I saw some tights on instagram… and a crop top… and a totally awesome bikini. That’s all the incentive I need to get my nutrition plans back on track.

This evening, Olly and Sam came around to help me plan my races for next year and also do some general training planning. I’m still waiting to find out whether I have got a place in some popular races, but I know what my main events are. Probably the most important weekend for me will be when I tackle the Long Course Weekend in Wales.

I agreed with Olly and Sam that I’d post my general weekly schedule as it helps to keep me accountable:

Autumn 2015 training plan

I’ve also been talking to LRR about a possible return to coaching, but it’s all going to depend on whether I can complete an assessment day… unfortunately, there aren’t many and most of them are a long way from Southampton 😦

I’m also excited that I’m going to be trying out some indoor cycling with Brightside next week. I don’t really know what to expect, so watch this space!

Finally, I’ve managed to find a few minutes to watch things online: