Tag Archives: parkrun

In other news…

27 May

I have been so busy recently with work and training that I’ve not had as much any time for blogging?

The new parkrun milestone t-shirts should be arriving soon. I’ve volunteered loads, so I’ll immediately be eligible for one of the purple ones:

parkrun milestone tshirts

parkrun volunteering

I’ve also managed to fit in a few parkruns recently, including my 150th:

Southampton parkrun #154

Southampton parkrun #154

I’ve also entered the ballot for London Marathon, but there is such a small chance of getting in that I’m not holding my breath! (Apparently 247,069 people entered the ballot and by the time places have been allocated to good for age, elites and charities there is only a 7% chance of getting a place).

My first DNF and I’m OK about it

2 May

Everything seems to have been going so well recently. My running has been going well, I achieved a new PB for distance swimming and I’m starting to work with a nutrition coach, so I’ve been feeling positive… however, my home is a bit chaotic as I’ve not kept on top of housework. I’m so grateful that this is a bank holiday weekend.

The weekend started with parkrun. I’d had the option to go for a run with Teri and James beforehand, but I decided that I needed a bit of a lie in, so I turned down that opportunity. After dithering about what to wear as I couldn’t be sure what the temperature was, I decided to wear my new Team SOAS shorts and vest. I’ve worn the vest before, but the first pair of shorts that I received were too big. The new pair fit well, but I generally prefer to keep my chunky legs hidden a bit more – hopefully, I’ll lose some weight from my thighs to make running in shorts more comfortable.

I’d forgotten that the Southampton parkrun route has changed at the moment, so I spent a while chatting to a former colleague at the finish funnel and then had to jog towards the start. At this point, I realised there was a problem.

On Wednesday evening, I helped Ben to lead a Lordshill Road Runners training session. One of the runners is having problems because she has very tight hips, so I explained some stretches that might benefit her. She wasn’t sure about all of them, so I demonstrated some. Unfortunately, I was quite cold as I had been coaching and not running, so I managed to pull my hamstring whilst demonstrating pigeon pose. It wasn’t too much and I didn’t think any more of it.

Yesterday morning, as I jogged across the grass, my right thigh started hurting where I had pulled it on Wednesday evening. I hoped it would ease off, so I met up with some friends and the run started.

I had been feeling quite confident that I could manage a 25 minute running, but I started feeling in pain on the way up the hill. I continued chatting to Tim, but the pain increased instead of easing off, so that about 1.5km, I decided that the sensible thing to do would be to quit.

I pride myself on not being a quitter. I’ve never DNS’d or DNF’d a race or event before, but I have such big plans for this year that I don’t want to struggle with injuries. I’ve pushed on in races where I’ve felt exhausted and have even collapsed at the end of races, but finishing a parkrun is not about proving something to someone. It would have been my 149th run, but I’m OK with that. I’m trying to discipline myself to train smarter and I think this is a step in the right direction. Likewise, there has been a lot of peer pressure this week to enter a marathon, but I’m not going to. I have other goals at the moment and I need to remain focused. I’d love to have a chance to do London Marathon, but if it doesn’t happen next year, that’s fine. This year will be my year of swimming and 2016 will be my year of cycling.

The walk back to the start/finish area at parkrun was tough because my leg hurt and I started feeling cold, but I was heartened by the huge number of runners who stopped their run to check that I was OK. This to me embodies the spirit of parkrun – it’s just a run and there’s always next week. Also, Southampton parkrun had over 760 finishers today, which is a new record (perhaps they were all inspired by Southampton Half Marathon last weekend), so maybe my presence next week will help to create another new record!

I spent most of yesterday desperately trying to get my house in order as housework has taken rather a backseat recently. However, under coach’s orders, I’ve been doing the tidying in compression tights and have been trying to rest my leg whenever possible. I took this as a reason to do a bit of DIY, instead of going up and down stairs with laundry.

I’ve never been particularly bothered by medals, but as I have them, I feel I should do something with them. A while ago, I bought some Bygel rails in Ikea, with the intention of using them as medal hangers (I can’t afford fancy medal holders), but I never got around to doing anything with them. Then I saw a photo of Julian ‘King of Bling’ Porter‘s medal display and it spurred me into action.

An impressive display of medals that is a couple of metres long

Jules’ medal display © Julian Porter Photography

I can’t claim that my medal display (or more correctly Team Smith’s medal display as the medals on the left were earned by Stu) rivals Julian’s, but it’s a start. Unfortunately, I’ve run out of screws and rawl plugs, so I can’t put up the 4th rail at the moment, but it will get sorted by the end of the weekend 🙂 [OK – all sorted now!]

Rows of medals

The medals on the right are mine for running, swimming and triathlons; the ones on the left are my husband’s

I’m hoping to spend a bit of time planning my meals for next week and making a shopping list. I’ll be meeting with my nutrition coach tomorrow and on Wednesday, Stuart and I will have a delivery from Gousto:

  • Lebanese Halloumi
  • Posh Burger ‘n’ Chips (not vegetarian, so Stuart will eat this!)
  • Asian Nutty Noodles

We were persuaded to sign up at London Marathon Expo and as my cooking repertoire is quite limited, we thought it would be fun to try it. If you’d like to try Gousto, visit http://www.gousto.co.uk and enter TAMSY54389 to get £20 off your first box (I’ll get £15 credit).


I read an interesting article today that explained ‘How to predict your Ironman time‘. The formula is:

186.3 + 1.595 × (PB for Olympic-distance triathlon) + 1.318 × (PB for marathon)

so for me that’s

186.3 + 1.595 × (220) + 1.318 × (270) = 893.06 = 14:53:06

Which isn’t far off my HIM PB x2 (7:24:54). I’d love to know how accurate people have found this calculation to be. I’d be delighted with that kind of time!

Penrose parkrun

18 Apr

Penrose parkrun #4 on 18th April was my first run since we got back from Japan and I was confident that I was feeling fit and healthy, even though I was fighting jet lag.

I had looked at previous results and thought that I could do well… however, I was entirely unaware of just how tough the course would be.

We arrived early at the car park, but had to jog 2.5km to the start. Fortunately, a chap who was in training for London marathon met us, so we started talking to him whilst running – well, I say ‘we’, but actually meant Stuart, the pace was a bit quick for me and I was doing my best just to keep up!

There were various people milling around near the start.

Penrose parkrun1

After a brief briefing, we headed to the start point. I was aware that the first part of the course had a bit of an uphill, but was pleased to find that there was also a downhill, where I managed to pass a couple of runners.

Then it was onto a long drag uphill. It was along the cliffs so there was a gale-force wind refreshing breeze. At the start, several runners wearing long-sleeved tops and tights had commented on my shorts and t-shirt, but I was glad that I wasn’t wearing more. I saw a chap start to remove an extra layer and called out to him about how warm it was. we then started chatting. Like me, he was a parkrun tourist. He commented that his wife hates it that he is able to run faster than him; I explained that with a husband as quick as mine, I also have the same problem.

We turned a corner and found ourselves on a steeper incline. At this point, we both agreed that some speed walking might be more successful than our slow jog. I can’t remember the last time I walked during a parkrun, but I was grateful of a rest at this point. Surely there must be a downhill soon?

We carried on uphill and finally saw a downhill and the finish.

Penrose parkrun 2

Having originally aimed for a sub 27 minute parkrun, I was relieved that I had finished in under 30 minutes!

Penrose parkrun

Penrose parkrun

This is a picturesque course that definitely suits people who like cross-country. Unfortunately, it doesn’t start and finish in the same place, so there isn’t the fantastic downhill finish that I had been hoping for, although it did mean that the walk back to the start wasn’t too bad.

My goals for 2015

30 Dec

I’ve spent the last couple of days discussing the races and events that I want to enter in 2015. Stuart is a firm believer of quality over quantity, whereas I want to enter everything! I quite enjoy doing cross-country running and usually do some of the local cross-country series (CC6) but Stu doesn’t want to risk injury; also he is leading Marafun training runs on Sunday mornings and these clash with the CC6s, so we have agreed to do these runs together.

I’ve also been considering my SMART goals for the year. These are goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

I have four goals:

GiveIt100

I am going to eat healthy food for 20/21 meals and assess my progress at the end of 100 days (14th April). I hope that I will lose 14lbs (6.5kg) in that time. I will record my progress on Give It 100.

ABPlogo

I am going to work hard on my speed between now and 26th April by attending Thursday night track sessions. I will also run on Monday evenings. My aim is to complete Southampton HM in under 1:55, with under 1:52:19 as my ultimate goal as that would be a PB/PR.

Ironman Dublin logo

I want to achieve a PB/PR at Ironman Dublin 70.3 on 9th August. I completed Weymouth Half in 7:24. I think that a time of under 7 hours is possible if I work hard on all three disciplines. I will train for 14 weeks from 3rd May.

ScillySwimChallenge

I want to complete the Scilly Swim Challenge on 5th September. To do this, I will need to go open water swimming at least once a week between June and September. I will speak to my coach about how to train for an endurance swimming event such as this.

I need to work on my training programme to support these goals. I’m not allowed to swim until the middle of January, but for the next few months, my training schedule is going to include the following:

  • Monday: Crossfit; running; swimming.
  • Tuesday: Spinning; swimming.
  • Wednesday: Rest day. (Maybe lunchtime yoga).
  • Thursday: Track running.
  • Friday: Swimming.
  • Saturday: parkrun or swimming.
  • Sunday: Long run. Bike ride.

I’ve now scheduled most of my races and events for 2015. There’s a whole range of different events that I’ve entered:

  • HRRL – this is a league of 12 races for local club runners. The events are open for any runner to enter, but only the results of local club runners are counted in the league.
  • RR10 – this is a spring/summer local off-road running league. These races are free for local club runners and are 4-5 miles long. Dates for 2015 have not yet been confirmed.
  • parkrun – this is a free, weekly, timed 5k event. I will be adding them in accoridng to my training schedule, but I suspect that I will need to prioritise swimming over running for much of 2015.
  • Eastleigh aquathlons – this is a series of races hosted by TryTri events on Thursday evenings. Entry to them is free for SUTRI members.

Stu and I are also going cycling in Japan with a friend in early April. We’re expecting to ride about 60-70 miles a day, which will be tiring, but good training.

January

February

  • 01/02/15 Marafun training run
  • 15/02/15 Marafun training run
  • 22/02/15 Heartbreak Half

March

  • 01/03/15 Marafun run
  • 08/03/15 Salisbury 10 mile (not yet entered)
  • 22/03/15 Winchester Duathlon (not yet entered)
  • 29/03/15 Marafun training run

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

Rest!

November

  • 15/11/15 Denbies Duathlon or Gosport Half Marathon (TBC)

December

Off-season rest!

2015 is going to be a busy year. What have you got planned?

New Year’s Resolutions – is it worth making any?

27 Dec

In 2015, I will be:

  • spending more time with my family (whilst also making new friends and expanding my social circle)
  • rekindling my passion for an old hobby (and trying my hand at something new)
  • shifting that extra stone/14lbs/6kg and not giving into any unhealthy temptations whatsoever.

Yeah, right.

With an estimated 14.5 million adults making New Year’s resolutions that focus on fitness and health, self-improvement (or, at least, the desire for self-improvement) is a national hobby here in the UK. Yet very few of us – some estimates say only around 8% – achieve their New Year’s resolutions. If this is the case, and if the true definition of madness is ‘repeating the same action, over and over, hoping for a different result’, then this year we have to mix it up a little if we’re going to achieve our goals.

I’ve got some huge goals and A races for 2015, but I’ve also planned some fun events and less important races to help keep me motivated (whilst never taking my eye off the ultimate goal of completing an Ironman!)

Get fit and have fun for a good cause

Sometime, it’s helpful to have a little extrinsic motivation to keep you going. It might be that you agree to do something with friends, or perhaps the thought of raising money for charity will spur you on. Several friends have told me how they managed to while away the time whilst running marathons by calculating how much each step/km/mile was worth to their chosen charity in terms of sponsorship.

If the thought of losing the pounds by spending endless hours on a dreadmill makes you worry about losing your mind, then how about the idea of getting your mates together to take part in a Human Race Macmillan Cycletta? These women-only bike rides are set in stunning, family friendly host venues. There is also a range of distance on offer from 50-150km. There are five events around the country featuring spectacular routes between 50km and 150km, taking place in Bedfordshire, Surrey, the New Forest, Cheshire and Scotland.

If you’re not female, or want to take part in a mixed-gender event, why not search for a local sportive? Alternatively, if you visit the website of a charity that you’d like to support, they may have places on events you’d like to enter or might host their own events. If you’re worried that you’re not fit enough to do an event yet, perhaps you could volunteer so that yu witness the wide range of ages, sizes and abilities who participate in most sporting events.

Pick up an old hobby, lose weight and make new friends

Rekindle your high school love of netball, volleyball and dodgeball, or try something completely new like boxfit or Insanity classes with social sports clubs such as GO Mammoth, the UK’s largest social sports and fitness club. These kind of clubs exist simply to make your life more fun and social, without the seriousness and commitment involved in joining a specialist sports club or gym.

If you’re in North American, you might be able to join November Project: http://november-project.com/ It’s a fantastic FREE fitness movement. If you’ve been to  session, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

If you’d like to take part in a free timed 5k run every Saturday morning, then have a look to see whether parkrun is in your country yet, and if so, where the nearest locations are: http://www.parkrun.com/countries/

Try something new with old friends

Why not kill two birds with one very muddy stone – have fun with your friends AND try something new by taking part in a muddy obstacle course run! Bonus if you raise money for charity whilst doing it. Such events have rocketed in popularity during 2014, and look to be even bigger and better in 2015.

I absolutely HATE mud (and will be looking after my ‘new’ eyes), so am unlikely to do an obstacle race in 2015, but I have set myself the challenge of continuing with something new: crossfit. I’m now going to sessions offered by my Uni tri club (SUTRI) every Monday and hope to continue doing so in 2015.

Eat healthy & stay motivated

healthy heart

The problem with deciding to completely overhaul a lifestyle is that it can often be a case of biting off more than you can chew. So, when making dietary changes, start small. Set a few realistic goals – in the long run, the boost of actually sticking to them will up your confidence and self-esteem, helping you to make even better changes.

Gradually switching to a healthy eating style (not dieting!) such as clean eating can make a massive difference to your wellbeing without being overwhelming.

My sister and her fiance bought Stuart and I a Nutribullet blender for Christmas, so we’re hoping to drink lots of heathy smoothies in 2015… and I am planning to lose at least 15lbs, but more on that in another post!

Cut down on alcohol & fizzy drinks. Stay hydrated!

Nuun

Nuun

This challenge isn’t so hard for me. I very rarely drink alcohol and try not to drink coke too often. I drink water almost all of the time. Did you know that a big bottle of a juice-based drink can contain 300 calories – and those calories add up. Instead, think about switching to something like nuun, light and refreshing sugar-free hydration tabs which you simply drop into a bottle of water to get a great taste AND stock up on the essential electrolytes you lose during everyday activity. One nuun tube has enough tabs to make twelve 16oz (500ml) hydration drinks. It’s sturdy, waterproof and easily fits into a gym bag, bike jersey, purse, or pocket! Sorted.

So – there are some of my basic thoughts about New Year’s Resolutions… but as I mentioned, I have some very clear goals that I will be sharing in the next couple of weeks.

What are your goals, plans and dreams for 2015?

It’s taken 32 months, but I finally did it.

13 Dec

In April 2012, I ran 5k in 25:08. It was 14th April – a week before my first marathon. Afterwards, I was so broken that I struggled to run well for months. Since then I’ve only run 5k in under 26 minutes 6 times, with only two of those being this year.

I’ve tried everything I could think of – speed work at the track, focusing on my diet, attempting to lose weight, every variation of breakfast (including none), pacers, all of my trainers, a running coach – but nothing seemed to help me get close to my goal, but suddenly everything has started to come together.

I’ve tried to identify the secret to success. This year, I’ve done a lot more cycling and swimming, so there has been less stress on my legs. I’ve also recently started going to strength and conditioning classes with SUTRI. I trained with RunCamp for most of the year, have been going to track sessions led by Huw from Southampton Tri Club and I’ve started going back to Lordshill Road Runners training on Monday nights. I also had a successful training camp with Embrace Sports in November. However, I think the big turning point for me has been getting my asthma under control, combined with the fact that I like running in cold weather.

Last week, I ran really well, so I decided that I would aim for a PB this week. I’ve tried hard to eat well all week and I chose not to swim last night as I was feeling tired and thought an early night would be better for more than more exercise. Also, I wanted to get a PB before the end of 2014 and there are not many chances left for me.

Fortunately, the weather was on my side. It was cold (just above freezing), but completely still and dry. This meant that I was able to wear shorts and my lucky Team SOAS vest… although I paired these with some compress sport calf guards and a Bondi band headband, to ensure that I didn’t get too cold before I started. There weren’t many other people with vests on… most of the women seemed to have tights, jackets and gloves on.

My first challenge was that when I tried to turn my Garmin on, it beeped, but the screen was blank. It hadn’t been charged. I panicked a little, but there was nothing to do, but run naked.

Teri convinced me to start a little closer to the front than I normally would, and I knew from recent runs that I needed to make sure that I didn’t set off too quickly. Teri’s original plan had been to aim for a PB, but after a night out, she just wanted to go for a steady run, which would be close to 25 minutes for her, so she suggested that I tried to keep her in sight, with the closing phrase, “What could go wrong?”

James from LRR and STC was running today, so he said that he’d be happy to pace me. Unfortunately, just a short way into the run, he had to answer a phone call, so I continued on my own. The route is a loop that has to be run twice, with a long hill. On the second hill, Stu and I drew level, so he started encouraging me, and a short while later James caught up with us. At 3k, James told me that I’d done it in 15:06. This made me panic as I worried that I was running too slowly, so I tried to run faster.

Eventually, I got to the top of the hill, but I knew that I couldn’t relax. I tried to pick up the pace going downhill. I didn’t want to feel frustrated that I narrowly missed out on a PB by not trying hard enough. I got down the hill and turned the corner, so that I could see the finish. Stu encouraged me to keep pushing, so I did what I could to run faster even though I was breathing really heavily. I was so pleased to cross the finish line.

Today I finally got a PB. I knocked 29 seconds off my fastest time at Southampton parkrun, and 23 seconds off my fastest ever 5k time as well as going under 25 minutes for the first time. I feel so happy 😀

parkrun PB 2014

My friend Teri was also aiming for a PB today. She first went under 25 minutes almost two years ago and has managed it 13 times since then, but sub 24 minutes has eluded her. In recent weeks she has been tantalisingly close with 24:11, 24:07 and 24:02, so I was delighted for her that she managed to finish in 23:50 today.

Teri and Tamsyn PB

Teri and I celebrating our PBs © Teri Pragnell

I’ve got one more 5k run this year, so I’m going to see how well I can do at that. I now have a new goal – can I run 5k in under 24 minutes in 2015?


 

Update: 13th December 2015
Well, I haven’t managed to run 5k in under 24 minutes in 2015. I did manage to get another PB in March 2014, but I only ran under 25 minutes twice this year. If you’re interested in how I’m doing, you can view my latest parkrun results.

Catching up, CrossFit, Ironman Dublin 70.3, Marafun, stir-fry and Santahampton.

7 Dec

I’ve been so busy recently that I’ve not had enough time to blog. I hope that I can find more time in 2015 – I think that perhaps I need to be more productive in my lunch breaks. As I’m struggling to find enough time, I’m trying to add more frequent social media updates:

One of my aims for 2015 is to focus a little more on my diet and nutrition. I’m good at sticking to a training plan, so I think I need to be as rigid about what I eat to try to stop me from making unhealthy choices. I’ve got a few ideas up my sleeve… more will be revealed later.

I’ve been busy for several reasons – one of which is work, but the main one is that I’m trying to get back into regular training, so that it’s not too difficult for me to pick up my half marathon training in January. I’m also desperate to get a 5km PB before the end of the year as I feel like I’m making some progress with my running. I’m also back to Run Leading/coaching with Lordshill Road Runners. I now regularly help Ben on a Wednesday, which is great. It means that I get a rest day in the middle of the week whilst helping other people to achieve their goals.

A month ago, I blogged that I had achieved my best ever race pace. Later I looked at my run on Strava and was surprised to see how well it ranked against my other runs:

Strava results

I know that I’ve run 1 mile faster than 7:32 (my PB is 7:27), but I’ve never run 5k in under 25 minutes! 🙂 This is great as it means that I’ve a little hope that I might get a 5k PB before the end of the year.

I’ve also been doing a lot more training with SUTRI. I’ve regularly been attending Tuesday night spinning classes. They’re quite different from what I was used to at Bournemouth University. I used to do 30 minute classes and these are an hour, but I don’t find them as challenging – I think this is because I’m fitter and now ride a bike every day. The music is also very different from what I’m used to.

I’ve also been going to SUTRI strength and conditioning classes which are led by Ollie at the local CrossFit box. CrossFit seems to be a Marmite activity, as it divides people into those who love it and those who hate it. The lovers enjoy the group mentality and camaraderie about working with others to push yourselves to the limit; the haters point out the extreme risks that are taken in some gyms where the instructors have received minimal training and rhabdo is common. What we’re doing is a modified version of CrossFit that is tailored to triathlon. Also, I’m confident that the coach knows what he’s doing and isn’t going to get anyone doing multiple reps of an exercise that they don’t understand with a weight that’s too heavy for them.

So far, I’ve been to three strength and conditioning classes. The first one was the day after Gosport Half Marathon, so my legs were a little bit tired. We did a whole range of things that I’ve not done for many years including some pull ups using rings and some squats… lots of squats. There were squats with a medicine ball, squats throwing a medicine ball and just plain squats. I’ve no idea how many squats I did, but the next day my legs hurt and by Wednesday I wondered whether I would ever be able to stand without groaning again!

In my second class, the focus was on inversions. This was much safer territory for me. I stopped doing gymnastics in 2008, but muscle memory means that I still know how to do a handstand. We did a variety of handstands in groups of three and also had to walk up the wall into a handstand position for me. It felt good as I knew that I could do it. We also had to balance in crow position (from yoga). I used to spend a lot of time doing various balance on the beam and have practised this position in yoga, so it was something that I knew I could do. I felt great when the class finished and was pleased that I did not ache afterwards.

Last week, my friend Roelie came along to the class with me. I’m significantly older than the other participants, so it was great to have a friend who’s not in her early twenties to train with. The focus of the session was using kettlebells. A few years back, I did a kettlebell workout with my karate instructor, Sean, but I’ve not used them since then. We spent quite a bit of time working on doing a Russian/Turkish get up (as demonstrated in this video). We also had to do knee-lifts, which involved working the lower abs by raising our knees to our chests whilst hanging from a bar. We had to do this in sets of 10. My biggest concern was whether I’d be able to reach the bar. Some of the taller blokes could reach up and touch it with their hands, whilst I was hoping that I would be able to jump high enough to reach it! Fortunately, I managed it, but it’s a long time since I’ve done anything like that, so my hands didn’t like it!

The only frustration that I’ve had so far is that each class seems to have some burpees in it. Unfortunately, my low blood pressure means that I’m not allowed to do burpees as I always end up fainting. I’ve been told to do the burpees slowly, but I’m not convinced that it has any benefit for me and just makes me look like I can’t do them 😦

Ironman Dublin logo

On 24th November, entry to Ironman Dublin 70.3 opened for people who had pre-registered. Stuart and I were fortunate enough to get places, along with three of our friends from Southampton Tri Club: Suzanne, Huw and Steve. Unlike Weymouth, I won’t be able to train on the course in advance, but I’m more confident now and I’m hoping that I’ll head into HIM training on the back of some successful half marathon training. My aim is to finish in under 7 hours, which will require me to improve on all disciplines. I think I wasted a lot of time in T1 at Weymouth and my run was poor, so they should be easy places to lose some time.

On 29th November, Rob and Stuart agreed to pace me at parkrun. I had several aims:

  • Beat my fastest time at parkrun this year (25:45)
  • Beat my Southampton parkrun PB (25:12)
  • Beat my 5k PB (25:08)
  • Finish in 24:59 or faster

I’ve blogged about how it went – I didn’t achieve all of my goals, but it was my 3rd fastest ever parkrun and I’m confident that with some consistent training and a healthy diet I’ll get there.

I’m now running again with Lordshill on a Monday evening. The pace of the groups is a little inconsistent at the moment, so it’s not always easy to work out which group to run with. I was dithering about joining Stu’s group (Group F) for some sprints when I was asked to help out with Group D on Monday. I agreed to tail run, which was probably a good decision. Before we started running, Teri got me to pose for a quick photo with James who won the Best New Male Athlete award by Southampton Tri Club. Teri humorously referred to us as the ‘king and queen of tri’ – I’m not sure I’m at that level yet, but I’m still proud enough to keep polishing my trophy!

Celebrating my tri club win with Jmes, who was awarded best new male

Celebrating my tri club win with James, who was awarded best new male

After running, I headed down to swimming. It had been cold outside, which meant that the pool felt warm for a change… the pool at The Quays is always really cold! It was a tiring session, but it’s always hard to swim for an hour when you’ve already done an hour of strength and conditioning, an hour of running and have spent nearly an hour commuting by bike!

On Thursday evenings, I’ve been running at the track with Huw from STC. He’s a great coach – I find him very supportive and motivational and I love running on the track as it has such a lovely bouncy surface. This week’s session was 600ms. We had to jog/walk/recover for 200m before running 400m at 5k pace followed by 200m at faster than 5k pace. I managed to do six reps before calling it a day. It was a tough session, but I know that it’s what will make the difference when it comes to getting a 5k PB.

On Friday evening, I did a 750m swimming time trial that I’ve blogged about. It was tough!

Yesterday, I didn’t go to parkrun. I’ve been considering having laser eye surgery for a while, so I booked a consultation for Saturday afternoon. I was not allowed to wear my contact lenses for 24 hour beforehand, which meant that I couldn’t do parkrun as I cannot run with my glasses on. As an alternative, I went swimming with STC. I knew it would be tough as it was only 12 hours after I finished swimming with SUTRI.

I hardly ever swim with STC on a Saturday morning, so I had no idea who would be in my lane or what I could expect. Fortunately, it wasn’t too busy and the other people in my lane were not significantly faster than me. I was quite proud of myself for managing 4 lengths of butterfly (my previous best was 1/4 length). It wasn’t great – I’m quite surprised none of the lifeguards tried to save me – but I didn’t drown. Sadly, Garmin thinks I was doing freestyle… but at least it recognised that it was a swimming stroke! I should probably admit that I had fins on… But I also had to do another 4 lengths single arm without fins, at which point I nearly died! Afterwards, we went for a hot drink with some of the others swimmers. It was so difficult to recognise people without their swimming hats and goggles on!

On Saturday evening, I made a lovely dinner: sesame, honey, ginger and tofu stir-fry.

Sesame, honey, ginger and tofu stir-fry

Sesame, honey, ginger and tofu stir-fry

It’s based on an old recipe that I had for cabbage stir-fry.  Ingredients:

  • 1 chopped clove of garlic
  • Small piece of chopped ginger
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • Some sesame seeds (I used a mixture of black and white seeds)
  • Any stir-fry veg (I used mangetout, red pepper [capsicum], baby corn, spring onions [scallions], broccoli spears and a red chilli
  • Tofu

It worked out really well 🙂

Today has been a busy day. This morning, Stuart and I ran up to The Common for another training run with the Marafun crew. I dithered a bit, but went into the 9 minute mile group again. If I’m going to get a PB then I’ll need to manage faster than that pace on race day!

After we finished the group run, Stuart and I ran home, where I made some spirulina smoothies.

This afternoon, we joined Coach Ant’s fun run: Santahampton.

We arrived a little late, but it was easy to see where we needed to go as there were plenty of people out with costumes on:

Arriving at Santahampton

Arriving at Santahampton

The local newspaper had sent a photographer and also a journalist (who turned out to be one of my former students. I love it when I hear about my people I’ve taught doing well).

Coach Ant briefed everyone about the route, and then we were off.

Ant starting the run

Ant starting the run

I jogged with some people that I know – we were at the back, but that was fine as it was a fun sociable event. I really enjoyed having a chance to say hello to people that I know.

Afterwards, we were all rewarded with a mince pie.

Any with Sandra and her huskies

Ant with Sandra and her huskies

My favourite Christmas elf

My favourite Christmas elf – Liz and her medal.

Secret Santa (aka Rikki)

Secret Santa (aka Rikki)

Papping the photographer - a quick snap of Jules

Papping the photographer – a quick snap of Jules

How’s your week been? Have you got any festive runs scheduled?

Southampton Tri Club’s best new female athlete :-D

30 Nov Celebrating with Liz

It has been such a busy couple of weeks that I’ve struggled to find time to blog – apologies. I’m hoping that I’ll get back up to date soon 🙂

I thought I would share a quick post as this weekend has been particularly exciting. On Saturday, Rob and Stu agreed to pace me at parkrun. They’re doing heart-rate training, so my flat-out race pace is their current training pace. Rob’s really good as a pacer – he guided me around the course advising me to ease back in places and to push harder in others. Unfortunately, I think my tiredness and poor diet this week got the better of me. I also started far too quickly (hello 3:20/km!!!), which probably had an impact on my final result. I was disappointed that I finished in 25:30, which is still 16 seconds slower than my Southampton parkrun PB and 22 seconds slower than my 5k PB… but it was the third fastest time I’ve ever run, so I think that deserves a bit of celebration 🙂

On Saturday evening, we went to Southampton Tri Club Christmas dinner. Suzanne kindly agreed to drive the party wagon, with Katherine, Liz, Stuart and I as her passengers. We managed to get a table together along with Neil and his wife and coach Huw. After we’d had dinner, Darryl stood up to present the awards. The first awards were for the best new athlete (male and female). My friend James won the male award, but he wasn’t able to be the event. I was completely blown away when Darryl awarded me the women’s trophy. It was such a massive surprise and a really lovely way for me to end my first full season.

Best New Athlete trophy

Best New Athlete trophy

I managed to get through my seconds in the limelight without going into a rambling Oscars acceptance speech style monologue… I saved that delight for you! Thank you to:

  • The coaches at Southampton Tri Club – particularly Huw (running and swimming), Peter (swimming) and Steve (cycling).

I also need to thank a few people from outside Southampton Tri Club who’ve helped to get me this far this year:

  • Coach Ant from Run Camp
  • Friends, fellow Run Leaders and Coaches at Lordshill Road Runners
  • Coaches from Embrace Sports
  • The inspirational women who make up Team SOAS
  • Coaches from SUTri

and last, but by no means least, Stuart.

The next award was Tim Wilks trophy for ‘the spirit of triathlon’. As soon as Steve started describing the winner as always having a smile on their face, we had an inkling of who it might be… this feeling intensified when he discussed the athlete’s highly unorthodox nutrition strategy. The award was presented to my lovely friend, Liz, who described the half marathon at Weymouth Half Ironman as ‘9 2.5k jogs to each buffet’ or ‘a walking picnic’.

Celebrating with Liz

Celebrating with Liz

What a fantastic evening 😀

In other news this week, I’ve become a Training Peaks Ambassador. If you’d like to become a Training Peaks Ambassador, you can sign up here: http://sot.ag/3rKyq

I’ve also been reading lots of interesting things online:

Preparation for Gosport Half Marathon

15 Nov

The weekend started with parkrun… but as I’ve got a slight niggle (hamstring/glute), I decided that it would be more sensible to just watch. It was good to meet up with Ros who hsa just got a lovely new bike – hopefully she’s planning lots of adventures.

parkrun November 2015

© Jez Hollinshead

Tomorrow is Gosport Half Marathon – I’m hoping that I can beat my time from last year (2:00:17), but it’s a different course, so it will depend on the weather conditions… it’s along the seafront, so if it’s windy, it will be tough.

Next weekend, I’m thinking about going along to the Running Show – you can get a free ticket here: http://runningshow.co.uk/

Why do I keep entering crazy events?

15 Jun

I’ve had such a busy weekend that I’ve not had enough time to even take photos!

I asked Coach Ant whether I could swap my planned sessions for this weekend, as I’ve not been able to catch up with many friends recently. He agreed, so I was able to do my ‘long’ run on Saturday morning. I call it ‘long’ as it’s significantly shorter than I’m used to. I was meant to do 60-70 minutes at 6:12-7:08/km, which feels incredibly slow, but I’m sure it must be doing me some good. I got up a bit late, so had to drive to parkrun, and didn’t really fit in as much running as I had planned to beforehand as I was so busy chatting to people who I hadn’t seen for a while. I was hoping to run with Kim, but she had volunteered to be a tail runner. I then saw Teri and Kate, so I had a bit of a catch up with them. I assumed that they would be whizzing off, but they agreed to run at my pace. We started out quite well, but I ended up averaging 6:06/km for parkrun, which was faster than I was meant to do, so I guess I’ll get a slapped wrist from Coach. I then went off for a lazy jog after the run, but I haven’t really got my pacing figured out and ended up going really slowly and having to keep reminding myself that I needed to move faster than elderly people walking!

Today’s training was a 3 hour bike ride ‘however feels comfortable’. I agreed to meet with Roelie at 5pm, and also received a message from Pete asking whether he could come along. He’s a lovely guy and I haven’t seen him much recently (he’s a butcher who had a horrible accident with a mincing machine, meaning that he’s not been allowed to train for a couple of months!), so it was nice to have him along. We managed to cycle just over 61km in 3:04, so the route that Roelie had planned was perfect. I’m also regaining some of my confidence when it comes to hills – my best pace today was 48.1km/h, which would have been unheard of a couple of weeks ago, although I think it will take me a long time to get back to my best ever pace of over 70km/h.

I’ve also started to think about what’s coming up next weekend. I’ve entered Big Cove Swim, which is on Sunday morning. It’s a 1.5 mile sea swim. I’m terrified. I have swum in the sea before, but I’m not very experienced. I swam in Portugal, in a very safe cove and did a harbour swim in Cornwall, but that’s my only experience of sea swimming. I’ve also realised that 2000m is the furthest I’ve swum (1.24 miles), so I’ve perhaps been a bit foolish in entering an event that is further than I’ve ever swum before in conditions that I’m not used to. Does anyone have any tips for me?!

What did you do this weekend? How flexible is your training schedule? Do you analyse your stats after training? Do you have any tips for sea swimming?