Tag Archives: long run

PBPB – getting back on form

28 Feb

Well, I’m fully into the swing of marathon training now. On 16th, my buddy Pete managed to get me around 17.5 miles, which is the longest run I’ve done for a very long time. I had been nervous about doing the run after doing Buggy Mums, but that class was cancelled, so I went for a long slow walk with some of the others instead and saved my legs for the run.

Pete is really good at planning routes – we go somewhere completely different every week and I’m seeing parts of the city that I’ve never seen before as well as visiting locations that I’ve not seen for a few years.

Our long run took us through Riverside Park in the dark, which would have been fine, but the river was so high that the path was flooded. Pete and I thought we had found a way around, but in the end we had to wade through freezing cold ankle-deep water. This part of the run was fairly near to home, but the last section of our run was all uphill. We were nearly there when I suggested a minor shortcut, which brought us out by my house. I was delighted, but Pete was less pleased as my house is at the bottom of a steep hill!

I was delighted that the baby slept really well that night… but I was so full of adrenaline that I just couldn’t get to sleep 😦

That weekend, I had my first jogging parkrun with baby M. We had to start at the back (like all buggy runners) and as Southampton is a very busy parkrun, that meant that the first km was tough going. I tried to go on the grass at one point, but that made it even harder, so I went back onto the path.

I was pleasantly surprised by how well the run went:

Southampton parkrun February 18th 2017

Southampton parkrun February 18th 2017

I’ve now got a bench mark for future buggy runs 🙂

Last Tuesday, I had another long run with Pete. We covered 14.5 miles, which was tough, but not as tough the previous week’s run. It was also a lot warmer, which was good. At one point, I thought we were heading towards home, when Pete turned towards town. I had a moment of panic, but Pete said to trust him. He then stopped at a friend’s restaurant, where he was able to refill our water bottles 🙂

I had been told that Buggy Mums was cancelled for half term, which was incorrect, but did give me a lazy week last week. Instead of doing Buggy Mums on Thursday, I went for a lovely long walk in the New Forest with my friend Ellie. It probably wasn’t our most cunning plan because of Storm Doris, but we got home safe and sound!

In the evening, Teri came around and we did a turbo session. I can’t say that either of us broke into a sweat, but it was good to be back on my bike… and also to have a catch up.

Turbo training with Teri

The next day, my legs were fine, but I was glad I didn’t have to sit on a saddle again!

On Saturday, I got in some more gossiping with Teri, as we ran parkrun together. Well, we chatted for the first km, but after that our competitive urges kicked in. I was delighted to get a PBPB – post baby personal best.

parkrun PBPB 25th February 2017

I was 344/829 runners, so in the top half. I was also 65/343 women, which is in the top 20%! I was 9/53 in my age category. I’m still 90 seconds away from my ‘real’ PB, but I’m finally making progress. It was also my 29th fastest parkrun (out of 208). I’ve only gone under 26 minutes 19 times, but I am absolutely determined to do it again this year (and to eventually beat my PB of 24:42). I’ve not run that quickly since January last year 🙂

I felt particularly pleased with my run as Teri and I were chatting at the start and the crowds meant that we had a slow start. Teri is still coming back from an injury, so it was also a comeback PB for her.

The following day was Sunday Runday. It was fairly tough as my legs were more tired than I expected after parkrun. However, the distance wasn’t a problem. Stu was pushing the baby, but he joined us in the 10 minute/mile group, which was nice.

Another exciting thing that has happened this week is that I finally ordered a replacement road bike. It’s currently being shipped and should be with me by the end of the week. I deliberated for a long time between a pretty bike and a better spec for the same price point… and eventually bought a pretty bike, with an even better spec at a higher price point – oops!

Today, I booked Stuart and I onto Decathlon 5k in Southampton. It clashes with a local 10k race, but I’ve prioritised this as we’ll be able to run with the baby.

Decathlon 5k 2017

My full tri club membership kicks in again tomorrow, so I’ll be able to get back in the pool. I’ve found another baby friendly exercise class (kettlercise), so there’s lots to look forward to.

How’s your training going?

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Pride comes before a fall

12 Feb

Last week didn’t start so well as I felt shattered on Monday and didn’t go to swimming. I know that I need to swim regularly in the hope that I can swim 5km by April.

On Tuesday, I went for a run with Pete. I took my head torch with me, but didn’t need it for the first part of our run as it was still daylight. As it has been so cold recently, I decided to wear my new adidas tights.

Pete and I ran down through Chilworth and North Baddesley and out towards Romsey. We ran on some country lanes with no pavement, but Pete had cleverly attached a red bike light to his belt, to make us more visible.

Once we got back to Southampton, we had to run up a very busy road. We had run 12 miles at a fair pace and I was feeling quite proud of how well we were doing. Well, the saying is ‘pride comes before a fall… It might usually refer to a metaphorical fall, but for me it referred to an unseen tree route on the pavement.

I hit the deck hard, with my full body weight being divided between my hands and my left knee, which was quite a shock.i sat on the pavement for a minute or two, before getting Pete to haul me to my feet. I had minor grazes on my hands and could feel that I had jarred my shoulders. I also felt a bit limpy, but was relieved to see that my tights were intact.

Pete and I jog-walked the remaining 2.5 miles back to my house, which was a disappointing way to end my longest run since 2015.

When I got in, I realised that my knee was bleeding quite badly, and a large bruise has developed over the past six days.

On Wednesday, I went to Buggy Mums. I arrived a little late, so the group had moved by the time I got to our usual meeting point. Laura was also late, so we jogged up The Common together. Fortunately, it didn’t take us long to find the group.

We did a variety of exercises on the grass, which was a little boggy. Then, we jogged down the hill towards the Bellemoor. Laura and I were so busy chatting to each other that we had to be told to slow down.

The session finished with some intervals on the grass, whilst a few people were interviewed by a member of the ParkLives team.

The following day, I was really stiffening up, but I went to Buggy Mums again. I was relieved that the class didn’t include any press ups or tricep dips as I don’t think I could have managed them. The second part of the session involved some shoulder work, but Christine gave me some alternatives. I’m really enjoying these classes and am amazed that they aren’t always oversubscribed… I’m guessing that people just don’t know about them.

I walked to Costa on Friday. Morgelyn fell asleep on the way there, so I was able to go online and answer emails for an hour. I’m tempted to make this a weekly habit, but it might not be good for my pocket or my waistline. As an alternative, I could go to a social area on the uni campus, which also has wifi.

When I got home, the post had arrived:

Ride London magazines

I had to defer my place in RideLondon last year, so it’s nice that Stu can do it with me… Assuming relatives can help with babysitting.

I met up with my friend Teri for Saturday’s parkrun. The flakes of snow (and my scabby knees) had put me off wearing shorts and I was glad I had tights on. My asthma has been playing up a bit recently and I was still achy from this week’s exploits, so Teri and I decided to have a social run. My time wasn’t awful ut I really want to get fit enough to knock a couple of minutes off it.

Southampton parkrun 11 February

When I got home, I was pleased to see that my personalised parkrun barcodes had arrived. I bought some a few years ago, but a couple of them have gone missing, so I now have to keep moving one between my trainers. This way, I can put one on each of my pairs of shoes. This isn’t just handy for parkrun as they each have an ICE (in case of emergency) number on them and my medical details, so if something happens to me when I’m out training, the necessary information is easy to locate. I also ordered some barcodes for Stuart and my mum.

parkrun barcodes

Yesterday was another Sunday Runday training run for Southampton Half Marathon. Baby M is now sitting quite confidently, so Stu and I have agreed that some light jogging on smooth Tarmac should be ok.

The route involved an initial loop around The Common before heading up the hill. I decided to start as soon as we got there and to miss the initial short loop, so that I would have a head start on the slowest group.

The fastest group passed me by the underpass and I was nearly on the University campus before the next group went past. I headed towards Portswood/Swaythling and was soon passed by the next group.

The next part of the route I was unfamiliar with, so I had to read the instructions carefully. I ended up running between some apartments and the river before finding myself at the bottom of a long flight of steps. I didn’t think the real route included steps, but as this was a shortened version for a training run, it didn’t surprise me. I was tempted to look for an alternative way, but didn’t want to kiss my group, so I ended up picking up the buggy with M I it and carrying it up the steps. As I got to the top, a man came to offer help… Isn’t that typical?

I continued on to Northam Bridge, expecting one of the two slower groups to catch up with me.At the far side of the bridge, I glanced back and saw a group of people running wearing turquoise t-shirts. I had to wait for a while at the level crossing, so I thought they would catch up with me there. It was only afterwards that I remembered that the 11 minute mile group had a different longer route.

I headed back through Bevois Valley to The Avenue, where I was passed by Jon’s group again. Soon I was back on The Common. I had kept a steady pace and walked the uneven parts (and some steep bits), so was pleased to have finished my first proper run with Baby M.

How was your week?

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What I’ve been doing

6 Feb

Busy, busy, busy! I’m still managing to exercise, but it’s so difficult for me to find time to blog, which is very frustrating. I thought I’d do a quick summary of what I’ve been up to recently…

Sunday 22nd January

No running for me today. Stuart, baby M and I headed out into the New Forest to marshal a race in the local cross-country league.

We had been positioned on one of the first marshal points, so we saw the start of the race and were then able to move to another point to watch runners heading towards the finish, before we walked back to the finish.

It was a crisp and cold day and as usual, there were lots of New Forest ponies around.

cc6-marshalling-1

You might not be able to tell from my photograph, but the water below was frozen solid and remained that way all morning.

cc6-marshalling-3cc6-marshalling-2

I feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful area and am looking forward to being able to get back on my bike and cycling in the forest.

Tuesday 24th January

I went for a long run with Pete around Chilworth. We left in daylight, but the sun started to go down as we headed down a very long hill. We paused to look at a beautiful sunset and to take some photos… but I hadn’t dressed adequately (just a t-shirt and shorts), so I quickly started to feel cold.

We ended up running around 10 miles, but it was hard going as my hands were so cold.

Wednesday 25th January

Baby M and I went to Buggy Mums on The Common again. We ran some laps around the model boating lake before heading up to the top ‘field’ part of The Common where we did some paired exercises. As usual, it was a lot of fun.

Thursday 26th January

The following day, I went to Buggy Mums at Weston Shore.

Last week the weather had been beautiful, with warm sunshine and no wind; it was the complete opposite today. Just before leaving the house, I decided to put on a base layer. I was so grateful that I had. I kept on my base layer, long-sleeved top, jacket, Buff and woolly hat for the entire session. Towards the end, I took my gloves off for a short period of time, but not for long!

buggy-mums-collage

I really like the Thursday sessions as they are less busy than the ones on The Common and there are more opportunities to chat to people.

buggy-mums-weston-shore

Saturday 28th January

It was my turn to run on Saturday. I met my friend Teri who is recovering from injury. She has to follow a walk/run strategy. I agreed to join her as I thought it would be nice to do a steadier-paced run… however, Teri is fitter than I am, so he run intervals were quicker than I usually go and the walk breaks were very short, so I barely had time to decelerate before we were off again.

In the end, my time for the run wasn’t much different from my usual result.

Southampton parkrun 28th January

Sunday 29th January

The following day was Sunday Runday – a training run for Southampton half marathon. It was my turn to run, so I was able to choose which group to help. Part of me was tempted to go with the 11 minute mile group, but I know that I need to push myself, so I joined my friends Pete, Kate and Malcolm in the 10 minute mile group.

It’s interesting to refamiliarise myself with the route for the half marathon (as well as learning the new parts). The race is being run in the opposite direction from last year.

Monday 30th January

The following day, I decided to return to Southampton Tri Club for my first swim since having my baby. It was a logistical challenge as Stu swam in the first session from 7-8pm and I swam in the second session from 8-9pm. Stu finished his swim a little early, and then met me outside the changing rooms at 7:55pm. I passed him Baby M in her car seat and my car keys; in return, Stu gave me his car keys.

There were lots of new faces in the swimming session, so Coach Steve had to rearrange the lanes a bit. I was asked to move into Lane 2, but I pointed out that I no longer have any stamina. I swam in Lane 2 just for a bit before Steve rearranged us again and I went back to Lane 1. There’s now quite a lot of disparity in the ability of the swimmers in Lane 1 as some people find it tough to do more than a length or two at a time.

Steve had planned an interesting session that included some core work on the pool side. This was quite challenging, but good fun.

In the end, I did the majority of the session, but I finished nearly 10 minutes early. This was because the pool was so busy that I didn’t want to have to queue for a shower as I needed to get home quickly. The changeover seemed to work well, so I now need to get myself back on track ready to take part in Swimathon. I think I swam around 1600m (1 mile), so I need a lot of training!

Tuesday 31st January

I had originally intended to go for a long run with Pete today, but I had completely forgotten that I had booked onto a cycle maintenance for women course at my local Giant Store, so we rescheduled for Thursday.

I know that some people will think that it’s not necessary to run separate maintenance workshops for men and women, but most of the women who attended seemed to be quite nervous and didn’t want to made to look stupid in front of men.

My friend, Lou, has recently bought a road bike, so she had also booked to come to the event with me. When we arrived, we were divided into three groups, as there were three members of staff, each of whom was running a separate 30 minute workshop.

giant-store

The first workshop was about bike cleaning. This was a simple topic to start with, and didn’t really warrant a 30 minute timeslot. One of the most interesting points was when we were shown the difference between Muc Off and a cheap alternative, which was quite eye-opening:

The second workshop was led by Nigel, the store owner. He was covering dealing with punctures. I’ve fixed punctures in the past and changed an innertube, but I think it’s always good to refresh this knowledge and there’s always something new to be learnt. Nigel showed me some tricks that make it easier to replace an innertube and tyre without using tyre levers. It was easier, but as I have delicate thumbs, I will probably continue to use levers!

Lou raised an interesting question about the need to pump up tyres after filling them with CO2. I hadn’t heard of this before and neither had the others. Later, Lou proved us wrong by sharing the scientific information that she found online!

The third and final workshop was the most technical one of the three as it was on brakes and gears. Whilst I understand the theory of all of this, I’m still nervous to adjust the gears on my own bike. We’ve had a few problems with the brake on M’s running buggy, so I asked a couple of questions and should now be able to fix the problem.

Overall, I think the evening was a great success. The staff were helpful and friendly and each participant was given a goodie bag, including a lanyard, button badges, a New Forest cycling map, some dry lube and a puncture repair kit. Apparently there are plans afoot to run more events in future, which would be really good.

Wednesday 1st February

On Wednesday, I went to Buggy Mums. My mum had come to visit, and I needed to drop her off before the session, so I ended up parking on the opposite side of The Common and had to dash to the start of the session.

We did a warm up on The Flats, so I ended up travelling back towards where I had parked. We then went back to the play area for the main part of the session, which included some pull up and chin up preparation as well as lots of tricep dips and press ups on the benches.

buggy-mums-on-the-common

Thursday 2nd February

I had so much to do and was feeling tired, so decided not to go to Buggy Mums and to save my energy for a long run with Pete.

I ran down to meet Pete on The Common. As I was cold last week, I decided to wear a long pair of tights that I had got out for Buggy Mums, as well as a t-shirt and jacket. I took off my jacket when I met Pete, so it immediately started raining. Fortunately, the shower was over quickly.

Yet again, Pete had planned a lovely route, which took us all around Ocean Village. I think it would be a lovely route to walk in summer, but it was quite windy and the water looked rough.

Part way around, we stopped for Pete to have a ‘comfort break’, which gave me a chance to put my head torch on. I was grateful that I had it on as we got to the east side of Riverside Park. The river was overflowing and all of the paths were covered. Pete and I took an alternative route for part of it, but in the end we just had to go through the water. It was ankle-deep and cold 😦 This meant that we had cold, wet feet for the final part of the run.

We headed up Bassett Green Road, which is a long hill. Pete had intended for us to go all of the way up to the top, but about 3/4 of the way up there is a short cut that leads towards my house. I was starting to get tired, so I suggested we took the short cut.

In the end, we covered about 13 miles. I’m finding the long runs tiring, but am not struggling with DOMS afterwards, which is a good sign.

Saturday 4th February

On Saturday, Stu, Baby and I headed to parkrun with my mum. My mum has never completed a parkrun before, so I agreed to walk it with her. I didn’t want to push her too hard, so we took it very steady:

Southampton parkrun 4th February

I’m now hoping my mum will take part in a parkrun near to her in future.

Well, that’s all of my recent training summarised. In the last few weeks, I’ve also been testing out a variety of products, so I’ll be posting about those this week.

What have you been up to? Are there any events that you’re training for?

Starting my half marathon training

9 Nov

Muddy cross-country run or a sociable long run? Decisions, decisions. This morning I had to choose between doing a cross-country race or a long run with other people who are training for Southampton Half Marathon. Although the weather forecast was good, I decided to avoid the cross-country race as my chest was still feeling the effects of yesterday’s run and also the heavy rain meant that it would be a very muddy course.

I was feeling quite tired, so I didn’t get up as early as I had planned, which meant that I didn’t have a lot of spare time before we were due to meet others. I ran up to The Common and met Teri on the way. Shortly afterwards, Stu caught up with us. It was quite a cold morning, but I had decided against wearing a headband and was just wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Teri was concerned that she wouldn’t warm up, but I knew that if I was moving at a reasonable pace there was more risk that I would overheat than be too cold.

We met other people outside The Hawthorns and were divided into ability groups. I considered joining the 8:30-9:00 min/mile group, as my half marathon PB was run at a pace of 8:34 min/mile (5:19/km), but I decided to be sensible and stay with the 9:00 min/mile group. This proved to be the right decision as I was quite tired by the end of the run.

After a quick warm up, the coaches and run leaders were allocated to various groups. I was in a group of about 10 with Nic leading and Stu back-marking. We went for a lovely run along some of the route of the half marathon, going through town and towards the Itchen Bridge before heading back to our starting point.

The run up to The Common had been quite slow with my first km (uphill with no warm up) taking me over 7 minutes, so I was quite pleased that until the final km of my 15km run, I managed to maintain a pace of under 6:00/km. My average pace for the run was 5:47/km. I’m hoping to maintain a pace of 5:40/km next weekend, so I think that may be possible, although it will depend on the wind.

I think that Marafun have hit on a great idea of organising regular long training runs in the build up to ABP Southampton Half Marathon and they’ve got some enthusiastic local runners to lead them. I’ll definitely be back for more!

Enjoying the sunshine with Stu at the end of our long run (15.08km)

Enjoying the sunshine with Stu at the end of our long run

As I had worked quite hard, I felt really hungry when I got in, so I treated myself to a cinnamon bagel and a glass of tropical nuun.

IMG_3610

The rest of today has been spent catching up with chores – there is never enough time during the week. I’ve just been watching Downton Abbey and although I don’t need a large retinue of servants (my house is tiny), it would be lovely to have a housekeeper!

I’m trying to get back to eating more healthily, so I made a frittata that I can eat for lunch this week at work. I also wanted to use up some kale that I had, so I adapted an Isa Chandra Moskowitz recipe to make a kale and sweet potato stew. I’ve made the ‘proper’ recipe several times before and really like it. It includes quinoa, but I didn’t have quite enough, so I supplemented it with some bulgar wheat. The parsnip and potatoes were subbed with sweet potato and the navy/white/haricot beans were replaced by pinto and kidney beans. Delicious and vegan!

Sweet potato, kale, quinoa and bean stew

Sweet potato, kale, quinoa and bean stew

If you’re interested in more photos of the food that I make, please follow me on instagram: http://instagram.com/tamsynmsmith

This week is going to be busy. I’ve got a new fitness class to try tomorrow as well as leading a running group and swimming. Then on Tuesday, I’ve got swimming. However, the workout that I’m looking forward to most is Thursday night’s track session. I feel that my speed work is starting to pay off and I’m desperate to do more.

What are you looking forward to this week?

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

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!

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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:

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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?