Tag Archives: Run Camp

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?

My longest ever swim: 2km!

5 Jun

Today’s training consisted of a Run Camp session and a swim, with a bit of cycling thrown in to make it a full triathlon day.

I woke early at 5:30am, but that seemed like an indecent time to start the day, so I closed my eyes again until the alarm went off at 6am. After a bit of faffing around, I managed to leave the house at 6:17… which wasn’t early enough for me to arrive on time, so my warm up consisted of my run from my car to the track. I won’t go into the session in detail, but it involved a good mix of running and exercises. unfortunately, I had to bow out of some of the mountain climbers that we were set as I was feeling very light-headed. However, I didn’t get extra rest time, I had to do planks instead. I’ve missed Run Camp and was really pleased that I got to go along this morning as it’s such a sociable group.

At lunchtime, I headed over to the University pool for another workout set by Coach Ant:

  • 4-6 x 50m getting faster on each 50m
  • 12x25m as 25m Drill, 25m swim, 25m drill, 25m pull. Repeat three times.
  • 2x400m
  • 12×25 fast
  • 200m cool down


My swim workout

My swim workout

Technically, that’s 1900m, but I couldn’t resist doing another 100m to reach 2k as I’ve never swum that far before. I think I swam 2050m, but my Garmin didn’t record the two lengths that I did as kicking drills. It felt quite tough, but my shoulder is feeling a lot better now and my stroke count was close to what I would expect it to be.

My time for 2000m

My time for 2000m – it didn’t clock 25m!

I had been worried about the swim part of Challenge Weymouth, but I’ve got over 3 months of training left to do, so maybe it’ll be OK!

PB for swimming

It’s great to receive a notification like this one from RunKeeper

I also tracked all of my food intake today using MyFitnessPal 🙂 I’m getting used to how the app works and am hoping that it will help me to achieve my diet goals. I’m now adding in my own calorie data from my Garmin for exercise as I figure that it’s more accurate than what is in MFP, but it’s still not entirely accurate.

If you use MyFitnessPal, do you add in your exercise?

Oooh – pretty pictures

12 May

As I mentioned at the weekend, I’ve decided not to rely on my own slightly crazy planning to get me through Challenge Weymouth, so I’ve engaged Ant Gritton as my coach. One of the first tasks that he set for me was to import my data from Garmin Connect to Training Peaks. I’m usually pretty good with computers, but this was a bit of a battle, which resulted in me reverting to Garmin Training Center to be able to export my data before importing it via Training Peaks Device Agent. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t import my swim data, so I had to add that manually. This was the result:

My training peaks data

My training peaks data

I think the data is likely to be flawed as it doesn’t include everything that I’ve done since January, and it also includes some gentle jogs that I’ve done with friends. However, beautiful as the image may be, I needed some info from Coach Ant to be able to interpret it:

Basically the pink line shows the results of any short-term effects your training has had, basically how much fatigue you are likely to be experiencing. The blue is an estimate of your current level of fitness, the result of long-term training and more importantly consistent training. The yellow is a balance of the two – your form.

It’s a pretty complicated thing, but shows the power of training consistently and being able to monitor and adapt as we need to.
The graph shows that training for you has been a bit inconsistent (possibly as some of the data from your swim isn’t included).
The pink shows fatigue increasing from the start of March and consistently rising without too much recovery time, which is why the yellow line is a bit all over the place.
So, based on this and my current injuries, I am resting until Thursday. Today, I am going to see a doctor about my arm injury, as it is still incredibly painful, and I will also ask her about my asthma as I am using my inhaler quite frequently. Thursday’s work out is going to be an hour on the turbo trainer. I’ve only done 40 minutes on the turbo trainer before, so I’m going to have to dig out some music to listen to whilst I’m there. Apparently ‘Appetite for Reduction’ is a good album for spinning – I love it, but think I’m more likely to be successful with Avicii.
Are there any albums that you like for spinning/turbo training?

Finally back to blogging

18 Feb

Apologies for my long absence from blogging – I’ve had a huge amount going on and I’ve also been unwell. This post is likely to be a little disjointed as there’s so much that I’ve not blogged about recently. I did consider trying to post several catch up posts, but figured I may as well get the whole thing done now!


My running coach, Ant from Run Camp set his runners a challenge called #Habitruary about developing healthy habits through February. I spent a lot of time thinking about what mine would be – I’m constantly battling my eating habits, so I should probably aim to eat healthy snacks, if I’m going to snack. It would also be good if I could sort myself out to go to bed earlier, so that I get more sleep. Both of those changes would help me to achieve the body that I want!

Great abs are made in the kitchen

Great abs are made in the kitchen

I’m also horrified that my weight has gone up to 11st 1lb (155lbs/70.3kg), which is almost as heavy as when I first joined Weight Watchers. I need to find a way to really motivate myself to eat well. I’m trying to make sure that I drink plenty of water at work and that I turn down hot chocolate when I am offered it, instead choosing green/jasmine/Earl Grey tea.


You may recall that back in the summer, I went home to Cornwall and swam in the beautiful local lido (as well as competing in an aquathlon there):

Jubilee Pool


It was great fun and the lido is in a stunning location. For a number of years, the lido has struggled with funding, but I thought things were starting to turn around as more people are becoming interested in outdoor swimming and I know the local tri club does some training here. Sadly, the recent storms have caused a significant amount of damage. The image below shows the start of the stormy weather.

Jubilee pool in storm

These are the latest pictures.

Jubilee Lido after the storms

Jubilee Lido after the storms


The amount of damage is absolutely devastating. I sincerely hope that they raise enough money to repair the lido for future generations to enjoy it.


I’ve done a couple of training sessions with Steve Cooke from Southampton Tri Club, which has been hugely helpful. I’m still very nervous about cycling downhill as I’m terrified that I’ll fall and be unable to unclip and will scrape my limbs. That might not sound bad to most people, but the sight of my own blood makes me freak out, (and possibly faint) so it would be terrible in a race. The good news is that as well as learning some basic cycle maintenance, I now fully understand how gears work, which is a big step forward. I also found that I’m not as bad as cycling up hills as I thought I was… although I’m still afraid of getting out of the saddle.

I had a bit of an adventure getting to work one day last week, which involved carrying my bike over two fallen trees and through mud. It wasn’t easy and then after I got back on my bike, I found that I had a flat tyre. I managed to take the back wheel off and I tried to find the puncture, but couldn’t (I still haven’t found it!) The issue was that I couldn’t get the tyre back on. I tried and tried, but in the end, I had to phone Stu for assistance, so that’s something that I need to learn to do.

Still under the cycling heading, I read this recently: Faster cyclists are more attractive: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26034659


My running has had some real ups and downs over the last month and my goal of getting a PB at Brighton Marathon seems to be slipping further and further from my grasp. I’m feeling really disappointed about this, but I have to be honest with myself about the struggles I’ve had in the past month with emotional family issues, working long hours and illness. Hopefully, the next two months will be better.

I have enjoyed a number of long runs recently with Teri (who is training for London Marathon).

parkrun at the end of a long run with Teri

parkrun at the end of a long run with Teri © Emily Smith

At the weekend, I completed Bramley 20 mile race. I struggled with overheating fairly early in the race (despite the temperature being quite cool), which meant that I finished in 3:30, which is nearly 30 minutes slower than I was hoping to take. Maybe I need to be more realistic, but I’m finding it tough accepting that I’m so far off form at the moment.

A month late, I’ve signed up to ‘Run This Year 2014’: http://runninghutch.com/runthisyear/


Finally, here’ s abit of motivation that perhaps I need to believe in!

Ten commandments for the runner

Ten commandments for the runner

I’m going to finish there for today, because if I don’t start posting regularly again soon then it won’t ever happen!

#TWIETing again

21 Jan

Yesterday, I took my lovely running group out for a hill training session. We’ve got a fantastic hill loop nearby – to the right is a short, sharp hill and then at the top it is possible to continue round and then down a long, slow incline until you return to the start point. I was focussing on the UKA’s coaching points for tackling hills:

Running downhill:
  • Controlled
  • Active foot adding force, where required
  • Arms active and used for balance
  • Upright or leaning slightly forward
  • High Hips
  • Active recovery of rear leg

Running uphill:

  • Positive backward drive of arms
  • High hips
  • Terrain guides optimum efficiency and pacing
  • Foot lands naturally on forefoot
  • Triple extension

The group ran up for 30 seconds and then back for 10 seconds. It was quite challenging, but I think the group enjoyed it. Afterwards, each of the ladies received a fab pair of pink shoelaces from Sweat Pink 🙂

LRR Monday night

Shoelaces for all!

Everyone has been so excited to receive their shoelaces and I’ve had lots of feedback on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ about them, including some photos:

Katherine laces

Tuesday morning means a 6:30am Run Camp track session. Unfortunately, it ended before it began. My knee was still hurting from the weekend, and as I was running from my car to the track, I slipped on some ice and went flying. I went backwards and hit the ground with my hip, really hard – OUCH! I made my way to the track fairly gingerly and did a warm up lap, but decided that it would be foolish to try to run through the pain 😦

It was cold, icy and very foggy. Coach Ant gave the instructions to the other three runners in my group (run hard for 5 minutes, then have a three-minute recovery period x3), whilst I waited with the other group.

Jenny, Liz and Max listening to Coach Ant

Jenny, Liz and Max listening to Coach Ant

After the ladies had set off into the gloom, Ant came over and gave us our instructions…


We had to do all of the exercises three times:

  • Heel raises (10 on each leg or 20 with both legs)
  • Kettle bell swings x12
  • Single leg squats (12 on each leg)
  • Clock lunges (Forwards, sideways and back on each leg x4, so 24 in total)

As I was unable to do the running, I did five sets of the exercises before heading home.

I was meant to be running 14 miles today, to make up for my failed run at the weekend, but the sensible option was to give myself more recovery time. I am worried that I have missed my long run two weeks in a row, but I’m hopeful I can get things back in time for Brighton Marathon.

Here’s my TWIET for today:

Apricot and almond porridge

30g porridge oats, 10g dried apricots, 10g ground almond, some vanilla extract and water – soaked overnight and then microwaved for 2 minutes. I adore porridge and decided to have a change from protein powder as I think eating the same thing every day can lead to boredom. If I’m feeling naughty, I add some agave nectar.


A visit to my old office for a meeting encouraged me to have my favourite treat – a Mars hot chocolate. I know this isn’t healthy, but I was feeling cold, sad and tired. I am an emotional eater, so this was a better option than many other possibilities!


My husband made me my usual lunch: 5 slices of cucumber, 5 cherry tomatoes, 4 radishes, 1 spring onion, 2 carrots, a couple of iceberg lettuce leaves and 40g Applewood smoked cheese. To be more nutritious, I should probably have darker salad leaves, but I didn’t make this lunch!


After my salad, I had a delicious Granny Smith apple – these are my favourites. I don’t like red apples. It’s not really possible to see the size of the apple in this photo, but it was quite large!


My tweet failed to send, but at about 5:15pm, I had a delicious juicy Sharon fruit (also known as a Persimmon). I don’t like them when they are very ripe. This one was quite firm, so it was perfect.


My evening meals was a stir fry of bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, cabbage, bean sprouts, peppers, carrots and onion. It was accompanied by 60g wholemeal noodles. Usually, I sprinkle ordinary sesame seeds on top, but we ate the last ones yesterday. This would have benefitted from the inclusion of some protein – maybe next time I’ll add some quorn or aduki/adzuki beans.


My treat was a Greek yoghurt with a huge amount of cinnamon and some vanilla extract. I also ate four almonds! I think it’s good for me to have some dairy produce, but I try not to have too much.

As the main focus of my blog post is on nutrition again today, I thought I’d share an interesting article from Ben Greenfield: http://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com/2014/01/how-to-figure-out-what-diet-is-right-for-you/ The essence of the article is that people in different locations have thrived on substantially different diets due to their genetic predispositions and that we’re being naïve to think that what is a good and healthy diet will necessarily be appropriate for us… which sounds reasonable, but the problem is I can’t see how we can find out what a healthy diet is for us (apart from by trial and error) without genetic testing, which isn’t readily available to most of us!

I also read a BT Sport survey that revealed that body insecurities are rife in women’ sport: http://sport.bt.com/womeninsport/bt-sport-survey-body-image-insecurities-rife-in-womens-sport-S11363867248465?s_cid=con_BTcomNews The survey struck a real chord with me as whilst most people agree that obesity isn’t healthy, the kind of ‘role models’ that the media often present us with are unhealthily thin. Judging people on their physical appearance is incredibly superficial – since when did someone need to be physically attractive/perfect to be a good sportsperson and healthy role model. I am probably fitter than most of my friends outside of my running club and I endeavour to eat healthily, but I am overweight and constantly compare myself to the unrealistic images that I see in the media. The following question and answers aligned with my views.

Do you think young women have a problem with body image, not just in sport but in wider society? If yes, what can we do about it?

Celebrate strength and fitness rather than image and clothing. Promote women from all sports, not just one or two attractive women from select sports which is what currently happens. Have a range of women broadcasting about sport, talking about fitness and health. Look at the way we educate our young women and the culture of PE in schools, which is not one of pushing young children to improve fitness. It is one of ticking a box of doing an hour of PE a week. We could teach girls to love the sport of fitness not just try and get them to do competitive sports.

Why don’t we herald Rebecca Adlington as a beauty? Joanna Rowsell? Why does Jess get the Marie Claire covers? It seems to be open season. If a man isn’t that attractive he just doesn’t get put on covers/photo shoots. If a women isn’t she is teased by comedians or made fun of via social media – as if it is part of the job description – how dare she not look gorgeous!!!

What is it going to take to force the media to change?

This evening, I’ve had another tantalising glimpse of my Team Soas Kit:

Team soas patch

Team Soas patch

I am so excited about it and just want it to arrive now! (I’m also hoping that when it does arrive, I’m not judged on how I look in it or my ability, but for my passion for sport and desire to support, encourage and inspire others!)

My GOTRIbal profile is live now: http://www.gotribalnow.com/content/gotribal-ambassadors How exciting!

Finally, I’ve got a great interview lined up for Friday this week, so check back then 🙂

What’s a #TWIET?

14 Jan

So, today marks the first day of #TWIET – Tweet What I Eat Tuesday. I’ll be sharing what I’m eating with you on Twitter (and here) in the hope that it shames me into making healthy choices. It will also be interesting to get some feedback from people on alternative (vegetarian) options that I could try. I also received (from my husband) a copy of ‘No Meat Athlete‘ just before Christmas, so I really should check out the advice and information in that when I’m planning my meals.

#TWIET isn’t an original idea of mine – I came across it on “Bitchcakes'” blog: http://www.sherylyvette.com/

I’ve created a storify about my day: https://storify.com/tamsynsmith/twiet but as it’s not possible to embed that here, I’ll also give you a brief pictorial run down of my day…

Blueberry protein porridge

Blueberry protein porridge

Lunch preparation

Lunch preparation

Kumquat salad

Kumquat salad

Tofu snack

Tofu snack

Sharon fruit (persimmon)

Sharon fruit (persimmon)

Caribbean rice

Caribbean rice

Hot chocolate

Hot chocolate

So, what do you think of my nutrition today?

Exercise-wise, I didn’t fulfil all of my goals. My first session of the day was an hour at the track with my Run Camp coach, Ant. It was tough getting there for 6:30am and the temperature was around freezing, so I had to scrape my car windscreen and there was ice on the track.

IMG_1762 IMG_1760  IMG_1758 IMG_1757

Like last week, we were divided into two groups. My group went first. We had to run for longer than last week – 4 minutes, with a 4 minute recovery after each one. Like last time, Jenny demonstrated her superior stamina, but I was not displeased with my performance. I managed to run just over 800m in the time, which also meant that I didn’t have to spend any of my recovery time walking back to the start.

After the running, we had to do some exercises – Romanian deadlifts, 20m jogging (to keep warm), hopping and walking lunges with a twist (and a kettlebell).

It all felt like hard work, so I hope that I start to see some good results this season!

I had hoped to go to my first turbo trainer session this evening, but I’ve had too much work to do to leave on time, so I’ve given myself a break tonight to allow me to blog and read a few other people’s blogs. The first blog post that caught my eye was from ‘Pipe Down Piper’ on motivational advice: http://pipedownpiper.com/2014/01/14/the-best-piece-of-motivational-advice-ive-ever-received-and-a-race-wrap-up/ I don’t want to reveal what the advice was, I just want to recommend that if you’re stressing out about an event, it’s worth bearing this particular guidance in mind!

The funniest advice that I’ve read on a blog this evening was about the importance of preparation, so that you have fewer excuses for not exercising. I know that today would have been less stressful if I’d organised myself yesterday evening by:

  • laying out my clothes for this morning’s exercise and today at work
  • fully preparing my breakfast (or packing something that I can eat at work – this used to be easier when there was a microwave available to me)
  • preparing my lunch
  • reattaching my panniers to my bike (I took them off to repair them)
  • packing my work bag

However, what made me laugh about the blog post that I read was that it appeared to have been written seriously and was recommending sleeping in your work out clothes if you are planning to do an early morning exercise session. I’ve tried sleeping in compression tights before (after my first marathon) and it wasn’t a great experience, so I will definitely not be sleeping in full sports kit. Have any of you ever tried that?

I also read an interesting blog post about ‘Creamy Mashed Cauliflower’ on The Iron You and it sounded so delicious that I’d like to try it: http://www.theironyou.com/2014/01/creamy-mashed-cauliflower.html I’m wondering whether I’ll be able to convince my cauliflower-hating husband to try it.

I’ve received entry confirmation for my first multisport event of 2014: Charlton Duathlon: http://trytri.co.uk/events/charlton-duathlon.aspx  I do hope that I have received my Team SOAS kit by then as there should be some pro photographers out on the course… although obviously, I need to factor in posing practice along with the other disciplines! 😉

A few people have asked me about GoTRIbal, so here’s one of their videos that explains a bit more:

Life is a rollercoaster

11 Jan Sweat Pink laces

Hello all! Apologies for my silence, the last week has been an emotional rollercoaster for me. After the high of finding out that I had been selected as a Team SOAS Ambassador, I plummeted to a low when I found out that my beloved grandmother was seriously ill. This has thrown my training, nutrition, blogging and work plans into disarray, but some things are just more important.

On Monday evening, I went to  Tri Club swimming session. It was a slightly strange session for several reasons. Firstly, the local council has introduced evening parking charges, but many people did not realise until they had parked their cars and gone into the swimming pool’s reception. They then had to scrabble around to find enough change to put in the meter. This meant that the swimming session started late. Secondly, I usually swim in the 8-9pm session, but I had to go to a running club meeting from 8pm, so we went to the 7pm swimming session, which meant that Stuart and I were with unfamiliar groups.

There were two ladies and two gents in the first lane. I’d never seen the chaps before, but know both of the women – Jenny I know through Run Camp and Sonia is one of the best female runners in another local running club (but also very down to earth and friendly – I would finish a long way behind her in any race, but that doesn’t stop her from speaking to me!)

We did a few lengths of front crawl as warm up, but I wasn’t fully focussed. I suddenly realised that I had been counting my strokes and had reached 13 but had not taken a breath. Whilst that was not what we were intending to do, it has made me wonder whether I could actually swim a whole length underwater with a bit of practice. (I know that it takes me 21 strokes to do a length). We did a warm up drill that involved backstroke and then moved onto various body position drills. As usual, my battle was to keep my head in line with my body. Coach Peter said it looked better, but it may just be that he is despairing about what to do with me!

The main set was 12x50m off 90 seconds. I knew that I would find that a huge struggle, so I did the first 5 and then had a break when the others were doing the sixth set, so that I was able to join in for the last half. The pace felt a lot faster than the usual group that I am in, and there  were fewer of us in the lane.

The warm down was 200m breaststroke, which was quite a pleasant change.

All of the data is here: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/425939642 …but as I haven’t quite figured out how to use my watch correctly, I’m not sure it’s very meaningful! At the end of each of my two lengths of crawl, I waited for about 20 seconds before doing my next set, but I wasn’t sure what to do with my watch, so I just left it running whilst I was waiting (that’s easier for me than watching the clock on the wall as my poor eyesight means that I can’t read it!!!)

Run Camp at the track
Run Camp at the track © Ant Gritton

On Tuesday morning, I went to my first Run Camp speed session of the year. I told Stuart that I needed to get up at 6am. I think he must have set the alarm for earlier than 6 as by the time I had dressed, I looked over and saw that the alarm clock said 6:01. I might have been quick, but I don’t think I can put on compression tights and full running clothing in a minute!!!

I drove up to Southampton Sports Centre and could see that Andy had already arrived. Jenny was parking at the same time, so I picked up my water bottle and jogged down to the track with her. Coach Ant was already at the track along with the rest of the runners. We had to do 2 x 400m as a warm up before we were divided into two groups:

Group A

  • Gareth
  • Andy
  • James
  • Katherine

Group B

  • Tamsyn
  • Jenny
  • Max
  • Liz

Group A started on the track, whilst my group were given exercises to do.

1. 12 x single leg deadlift (on left hand side) with a weight

Single leg Romanian deadlift

Single leg Romanian deadlift © Townsend Fitness Systems

Image from: http://www.townsendfitnesssystems.com/2013/03/03/5-exercises-for-show-stopping-legs/

2. 12 x lunge with medicine ball on alternating legs

Medicine ball lunge

Medicine ball lunge © Everyday Better

Image from: http://www.everydaybetter.com/category/exercise-videos-online/medicine-ball/

3. 12 x single leg deadlift (on right hand side) with a weight

4. 12 x squat with resistance band.

Squat with resistance band

Squat with resistance band © The Secret La Revista

Image from: http://www.thesecretlarevista.com/en/8/3744/Elastic_band_workouts_%282%29.html

5. 2 x 20m squats sideways

We did the entire set of exercises four times before we were told what we would be doing on the track. We knew that we would run for 3 minutes, before having a 3 minute break. In that break, we would need to return to the start, so we would have to spend some of it walking. I had to run 597m; Jenny had to do 590m and I think Max and Liz were given about 500m. Fortunately, I know where the 200m mark is on the track, so I knew where I had to go. My average page was between 4:38 and 4:52, so although I didn’t manage to beat Jenny on the last lap, I think it’s fair to say I nailed it 🙂 I got to my marker for each of the four laps and when I started to feel tired, I reminded myself of my ultimate goals.

After returning from Run Camp, my rollercoaster week continued with an email confirmation that I am now a Sweat Pink Ambassador:

Welcome to the Sweat Pink™ movement, where tough and girly come together at last. Sweat Pink™ is all about sharing the joy that comes from living a healthy lifestyle. It’s a celebration of hard work and well-earned rewards. Our pink shoelaces are a proud demonstration of all we’ve achieved, and all we plan to become.
I hope to continue inspiring women around me and have ordered my first batch of pink shoelaces 😀
Sweat Pink laces

On Tuesday afternoon, I drove the 220 miles (approx 350km) down to Cornwall to be able to visit my grandmother and, for the rest of the week, I have been getting up early and trying to fit my day job (which is mostly online) around visiting hours, which has meant that I’ve been online working from around 7am – 11pm every day this week. It has been exhausting and I feel sluggish from the lack of running, swimming and cycling. Sadly, at the age of 92, I know that my grandmother is not going to make a recovery, but it was lovely to see that she had managed to get out of bed yesterday. She was watching one of her favourite afternoon quiz shows and remained as alert as ever. I saw my grandma again today and will see her again tomorrow before I have to head home, but it’s heart-breaking to know that they are probably the last times that I will ever see her.

A final ‘up’ of the week was that I found out that I already know one of my fellow Team SOAS Brand Ambassadors – the amazing Kat Marshall from Embrace Sports. Kat is one of the kindest, most supportive and most energetic people who I know. She is a brilliant role model for any aspiring athletes and I can’t wait to catch up with her later on this year 🙂

Kat at the top of The Punisher

Kat at the top of The Punisher

Swimming, cycling and running in Cornwall

6 Sep

The view across St. Ives from my Grandma’s house – isn’t it beautiful?

Are you sitting comfortably? This could be a long post!

Well, I booked two weeks off work to go home to Cornwall and see my sister and her boyfriend who are over from Australia… and I managed to get some swim bike run love in as the weather was gorgeous, although I probably should have done some more running. I also caught up with some sleep, fitting in an amazing nine hours a night! (I think I’ve also probably put on weight as I indulged in some regional delicacies including clotted cream and, my favourite, pasties.)

The time off started with the third day of my coaching course in Watford. Stu and I were originally scheduled to do this in Winchester at the end of July, but the date clashed with Thunder Run, so we had to travel further afield. Fortunately, it was a more relaxed day than the first two. The weather was horrendous, with torrential rain, but we were able to do the practical part in a sports hall. Now, I just need to plan my next set of sessions.

When we were in Southampton, Stuart suggested that we should do the Jubilee Pool Aquathlon in Penzance. I looked up the distances: a 200m swim followed by a 2 mile run along the promenade. I knew I could swim that far, but had no idea how long it would take me, so I decided to time myself in the pool at work. My first attempt took 7:30, which seemed quite slow, even for me, so I timed myself again. I think I must have miscounted the first time, as my second effort was much better: 5:30. That sounded awesome to me, so I went home telling myself how amazing I was… only to be confronted by the reality. I looked up the results of the last aquathlon and saw that the slowest swimmer completed the distance in 4:40. Oh dear – almost a minute faster than me; the consolation was that I was confident that I could beat their two mile run time (even including the transition).

When we got to Cornwall, I was still feeling nervous about the aquathlon, so Stu and I decided to do a practice swim in the lido the day before the event. We went down to Penzance and parked up before walking to the lido. It looked beautiful in the sunshine and there was even a German camera crew filming it. We went to pay and the chap behind the counter asked if I was local. I thought he was making polite conversation, so I replied that I was from Hayle. I hadn’t realised that local people get discounted entry. He then asked for proof of my address, but I didn’t have any, so he just asked what my address was. I told him mum’s address and as I knew it instantly, including the postcode, he said that was fine. I felt a bit guilty, but I hadn’t intended to deceive and didn’t know how to backtrack!


Although the water was warm, the sun was so bright and there was so little breeze that it felt cold.


The pool was quite empty when we arrived, but was quickly filling up with keen swimmers

IMG_1124 IMG_1123

Once I got into the pool, I tried to take some photos and a video, but the lifeguard pointed out that filming was prohibited. It was a beautifully hot day, so the pool felt really cold when we got in, although actually it was about 20 degrees. It was also far saltier than I had expected it to be… We could almost sit up and read newspapers! It’s painted turquoise and the water is much clearer than the lake, which meant that it was quite a different experience, although there was the odd clump of seaweed to avoid. After a warm up lap, I thought I’d get Stu to time me, in the hope that I’d magically break the 4:40 barrier.

I did my lap, without having to avoid too many children and without going off course, even managing to put in a sprint finish, and then result was…. 5:45 😦 Even without having to turn at the end of the pool. I felt so disappointed, so after having a little break, I asked Stu to time me again. This time I had a strategy. I knew where the turns were, I had worked out where the troublesome bathers were and I knew how to pace it. I started out strong, but didn’t want to go too fast and tire myself out, I rounded the first end and sighted an elderly lady in a floral bathing hat doing backstroke, so I amended my course to avoid her. The next time I sighted her, she was still in my path, so changed tack again, but in the end, she seemed destined to collide with me. I hurried on determined to make up the wasted time, and after swimming along the end of the pool I decided to go for broke in a final sprint with lots of leg kicks. Exhausted, I asked Stu for my time… 5:45. Damn! I realised that I would have to accept that I would be last out of the pool, and that would need to play catch up on the run.


This was my bike’s first trip on the rack


I was able to see Stu’s bike in the wing mirror, but I couldn’t check that mine was still attached!!!

Having brought our bikes down to Cornwall on Stu’s new rack, we decided to make the most of the good weather with a little bike ride. We headed out from my mum’s house in the direction towards Camborne. I quickly realised that we would need to negotiate the big roundabout on the A30 at Loggans Moor, which was a touch nerve-wracking, but we made it. We kept cycling towards Camborne via Connor Downs and Roseworthy Dip, which is the Cornish equivalent of Alp D’Huez. On reaching Camborne we then went to Tuckingmill and Pool before cycling out towards Tehidy and then back via Trevaskis farm for some mint aero cheesecake. Yum! We then cycled to Hayle Cycles, where I bought two lovely shiny silver aluminium water bottles, which match my bike 🙂


A shared portion of the most delicious cheesecake imaginable!


Looking across Mounts Bay on the evening of the aquathlon

On the evening of the aquathlon, I thought that we had arrived quite early, but it was soon obvious that everyone else had got there far earlier. We paid our entry fees and had our numbers written on both hands – I was 71. We then spoke to one of the marshals who explained the route: a lap of the pool before running up the steps into the transition area then up another flight of steps before heading for a mile down the promenade. He was going to be at the turnaround point, and then it would be a one-mile run back to the lido.


Lining up before the start of the aquathlon

Stu and I headed down to the transition area, which was already quite full, so we found some space to lay out our towels etc. people had started to line up on one side of the pool, so I decided to join them. It was only after I had been waiting for a while that I realised that the format of the aquathlon was quite different from what I had been expecting. There would be no mass start; instead each swimmer would start at 30-second intervals. The size of the crowd meant that I would have to wait at least 15 minutes before starting. Some people were choosing to dive off the stone steps, whereas others were starting in the water. The most talented athletes knew the format of the event and had positioned themselves at the front of the queue, so the first people to swim past were all doing incredibly fast freestyle. Fortunately, there were also a few people who were doing breaststroke and even a couple of people without goggles who were swimming with their heads out of the water. This, coupled with the complete disinterest of most of the waiting athletes, went some way to reassuring me… I might be the slowest swimmer there and I might be passed by other swimmers, but it would not be apparent to others until the results were out!

Finally, it was time for me to go. I got in the water, so that I could get accustomed to it. After standing in the bright sunshine for so long, it felt very cold. To calm myself down, I floated on my front and blew some bubbles. Then it was time for me to go. The marshal counted down: 5… 4…. 3… And then I was off. (I think I may have left the step a little prematurely). I managed to negotiate the first turn before Stu passed me, and not long afterwards a super speedy teenage boy came past. I turned the next corner and another swimmer passed me. The exit steps were in sight, so I started kicking as hard as I could to try to get the blood back into my legs. I clambered up my steps to the transition area, which is where I think I lost most time.

I had to remove my goggles and swimming hat and replace them with a cap and a pair of glasses. I knew that we were running towards the west and that the sunk was bright, but as I rarely wear my glasses, I don’t own prescription sunglasses, so a cap seemed like the best option. I had carefully laced my Brooks cadence shoes with xtenex laces, so I knew I just had to pull them on. I wore the shoes for the Eastleigh aquathlon (2.5k run), so I knew that they were seam free and would not rub without socks for a short run. However, I had no idea that the chamois in my trisuit would absorb such a huge amount of water, which seemed to be streaming endlessly down my legs. I found it very distracting. After a bit more facing around (and being passed by a couple more competitors) I finally ran up the steps and out of the lido.


I’m not really sure that this photo demonstrates good running technique!!!

About 20m in, I saw my sister Bryony sitting on a low wall. I knew that my family had been to the local meadery, but I hadn’t expected them to have finished eating and come out to watch us. I continued on down the promenade, gradually catching my breath back from the swim. It was a very strange run for me as I didn’t have my Garmin on and I had no idea what pace I was moving at.

I was a little surprised to find that there was a flight of stone steps about 1200m into the run, following by a short run across some shingle, which all had to be repeated on the way back. I had hoped that my running might be strong enough for me to overtake some people, but the interval starts meant that there wasn’t anyone for me to pass (although I was passed by a couple of runners). I also got to cheer Stu on as he ran past.


Stu rocking his new castelli trisuit

It wasn’t long before I was back on the main promenade, where I could see Uncle Roger sitting on a low wall, which made me realise that it was time to sprint. I ran past the rest of my relatives and through the finish line, where I was presented with a glass of water and a neoprene goggle case.


My sprint finish

The next day the results were posted. I was 110/120, which wasn’t too bad for a novice! I also managed to complete the swim in under 4:40 (by 1 second), but am annoyed that I spent so long in transition.

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 23.02.58

As I knew that I would miss two Run Camp sessions whilst away, I asked Coach Ant to send me the details of the session, so that I could do it on my own at home. I roped Stu in to help me and headed out onto the towans to try to find an appropriate location.


Ant said the group had used a hill on the common with regularly spaced trees, so I knew I need to find a path on a hill. That may sound easy, but there are very few smooth paths on the towans. Finally I found a bowl without too many rabbit holes, which seemed ok. We did a warm up and then did the activity session that Ant had planned. Despite not chatting as much as usual, the entire session took an hour to complete!

We did a heels session this morning:

3x 50metre of heel lifts (uphill)
3x 50metre of bounding (heels up high and uphill)
3x 50metre of Scooter (heel lift and up hill)
all of them with a jog recovery
Strength set:
3×15 Reverse Lunge into calf raise (the calf raise is on the front leg as you step up)
3×15 Single leg deadlift with rotation (if you balance on your left leg, turn your head to the left as you lower your torso)
3×10 Single leg high hops!


Tree hopping to finish…
hop right leg to first tree and jog back
hop left leg to first tree, right leg to second tree and jog back
hop right leg to first tree, left to second, right to third and jog back
hop left leg to first tree, right to second, left to third, right to fourth and jog back… Repeat until you have got to 6.

you get the pattern, the trees we used were the ones north of the cross roads so I’ll leave it up to you where you want to do these!
Preferably find somewhere slightly uphill to take the impact out of the hop.


The next day we decided to go for a 35ish mile bike ride through St Ives on the coast path and out towards Zennor before heading back to Hayle. Stu had received a new Garmin for his bike, so I found an appropriate route on Garmin Connect and we set off.

Part way through Lelant, Stu said he thought we might have taken a wrong turn. We headed through Carbis Bay and the Garmin indicated we should turn off to the left. We then looped back and were directed across the main road, so tat we reached Lelant again on a figure of eight route. We the retraced our steps to where the Garmin said that we had gone wrong. Suddenly, we took a sharp left hand turn, which took us to the foot of a very steep hill. I did the best I could, but was so unprepared for it that I struggled to climb it and decided to dismount before falling off. Stuart got further than I did before the Garmin decided that it wasn’t the right direction anyway.


IMG_1171 Giew mine at Cripplesease

IMG_1175 IMG_1174

We then headed back into Lelant where I heard someone calling to us from a car window… It was Aunty Anthea and John. We had a quick chat with them before heading out towards Nancledra via Trink, then Cripplesease. When we got to Gulval we turned east and cycled towards Long Rock and Marazion, before heading back to Hayle via St Erth.


Stu at St. Michael’s Mount


Me at St. Michael’s Mount

Fowey Harbour Swim was perhaps the biggest challenge of the holiday. It’s a 1200m sea swim from Fowey to Polruan and back. It takes place at slack tide (when the sea is least choppy) but was still a daunting prospect. I’d been following the event on Facebook, but was filled with nerves before the event. We arrived in Fowey at about 1pm, but decided not to eat anything ahead of the swim. We walked around a bit and managed to establish that we were in the right place, so we bought some drinks and sat outside the pub, watching the gazebo being set up for the event.


The view across teh harbour towards Polruan. (We had to swim around the large ship in the distance).

At 2pm, Stuart went and registered us for the swim. I was number 53. We then had a while to wait, so we just watched for a while. At 3pm, we went into the legion to get changed into our wetsuits. It was very hot on the quay, so we didn’t zip our suits up immediately. At 3:15pm there was a briefing, where the route was explained. There were quite a few people who had done the swim before, and also people who had on triathlon swimming hats. There were also quite a few children, and a few brave/hardy/crazy souls who had bikinis! We were told to ignore any stories that the fishermen had been telling about shoals of jellyfish, as we were unlikely to see any, which helped to reassure me.

Whilst waiting, the lady next to me said that people were diving in, which made me panic. I’ve never dived in anywhere and didn’t think it was a good time to try! Fortunately, we found that not everyone was diving in.

The next challenge was to climb down the harbour wall on a narrow metal ladder. This posed two problems for me – firstly, I’m scared of heights and secondly, I’d had to take off my glasses. I put on my goggles and the. Gripped the ladder firmly as I inched down the wall. Once onto the platform, I chose not to dive or jump into the unknown water, choosing to opt for sliding in off the edge.

Instantly, the cold water made my hands and feet feel cold and there was an uncomfortable sensation down my spine as the water seeped in by the zip. Brrr – chilly! I started swimming and after a few minutes, Stu went past. I then managed to find my rhythm and was doing quite well. Although the water was salty, it was nowhere near as concentrated as the lido and the slow release of swimmers meant that I knew I wouldn’t be last… And I also managed to overtake a couple of people.

Then… I saw it… A brown jellyfish just up ahead of me. I had no idea what kind of sting it could deliver and didn’t want to find out, so I quickly changed from a smooth front crawl to a panicky sideways breaststroke… Straight into the path of two serious triathletes. Oops.


A compass jellyfish

I calmed myself down again and got back into front crawl. I could see the first marker buoy/oil drum that we had to pass. I swam close to it and was surprised how far down the chain I could see, as the water seemed so clean and clear in comparison with the lake at Eastleigh. I kept swimming and was soon turning around the ship that marked the halfway point. On the return swim, I saw a couple more jellyfish, but managed to stay calm. It wasn’t long before I reached the slipway and was presented with my first ever swimming medal. I have no idea of how long the swim took as I don’t know what the time was when I started or finished, but I still felt immensely proud of myself. Stu was waiting for me at the top of the slipway, having finished some time earlier. We quickly changed and were then able to enjoy some of the lovely refreshments that were provided.


Big smiles for my first ever swimming medal 😀


As the school term has now started, my cousin, Kirsty, who is a classroom assistant has got back into her usual fitness routine, which includes doing swimfit every Tuesday evening at Helston pool. Stuart has started doing swimfit in Southampton, so I thought it might be fun if we tagged along with Kirsty. There were six lanes, with lane 1 being the slowest swimmers and lane 6 being the fastest. Stu put himself in lane 3, but then he realised lane 4 was empty, so he moved up… However, he realised that he was actually swimming faster than the people in lane 5!

I spoke to the instructor and explained that I was a beginner, before I got into lane 1 with Kirsty and an old man with white trunks on. We did a warm up before starting with the lengths listed on the board. Usually, I find it difficult to keep count of my lengths in the pool and I find it a bit boring, so this really helped me to stay on track. I think it also appealed to my competitive instinct – I wasn’t trying to beat anyone else, but it gave me a goal to aim for that was ore interesting than just doing a certain number of lengths.

After doing a few lengths, it suddenly struck me that the instructor looked familiar. I asked Kirsty her name, but she wasn’t sure what it was. When I reached the end, I asked the instructor if she was called Ceri. It turned out that she was Ceri Drew who was in my class at Truro High School. She hasn’t changed much in 20 years… And was always an excellent swimmer.

I carried on swimming and was just about able to keep up with Kirsty (and stay ahead of the old man with the white trunks). By the end of the session, we had managed to do 1400m/ 54 lengths. I felt so pleased with myself and am now much more confident about signing up for swimfit when my current set of lessons finishes.


Keeping up my good habits

8 Aug

My third consecutive day of blogging – not quite as impressive as Ron Hill’s running streak, but it’s a start.

After finishing blogging late last night, I managed to pack my lunch, sort out my clothes etc etc in order to be able to cycle to Run Camp this morning. However, cycling to Run Camp meant that I needed to get up earlier. In my opinion, I should only see 5:45 once in a day!!!

Child running in the early morning

I arrived at The Common and was delighted to see a full complement of Run Campers – Jenny has returned from her holiday and I finally got to meet Max. This morning’s session started off with the usual warm up (accompanied by Dillon Small-Smith) before moving to the hill. We were looking at ‘ankling‘ which involved hopping with a straight leg and no heel strike. We did various sets of hops, before moving onto bounding. Then the hurdles came out…

First, we had to run though the hurdles, which is always more challenging than it sounds and often leads to Run Campers looking like Phoebe from Friends! Then we had to hop over the hurdles, changing leg for each one, which looks a lot like just stepping over them. Finally, we had to do squat jumps over the hurdles, without using our arms. I did better than I expected, but fatigue did start to set in.

After the jumpy-hoppy bit, we had to do a 1k run. I started out quite well, and although I know that I’ve no hope of keeping up with Emily, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was not languishing at the back for a change. We started from the middle of the hill, so the first 250m was uphill, followed by 500m downhill and finishing with 250m uphill. I was level with Jenny at the first turnaround point, which gave me confidence as I love running downhill. I reached the next turning point ahead of Jenny, so knew that I just had to keep pushing myself for the last 250m uphill section. I’ve realised that I am much better motivated if there is a genuine challenge in a run, so I managed to maintain my lead. Then I looked down at the pace on my watch – 4:52!!! After failing to hit that exact pace for any of my 800m reps on Tuesday, I was delighted that I had managed it for 1k (especially considering that I had run 600m at a much slower pace, which was included in that average).

After Run Camp, I cycled to work and managed to get myself to my desk for 8am, whereas if I head home, I quite often arrive just after 9am. If I leave at 4pm, then it’s probably easier for me to fit in tonight’s dreaded 15 miler. Actually, it’s not so dreaded… Has my running mojo finally returned?
OK, so I didn’t run 15 miles this evening. I had a bit of a break and just went for a comfortable 7 mile run with a couple of friends. I know I’ll have to do it on Sunday, but I’m OK with that!

I also had all of the information come through about the Garmin Sharp Ride out that Stu and I won places on. How exciting – more about that later!!!


19 Mar

I organised my possessions into my panniers as best I could before leaving work yesterday, so that there would be plenty of room for my new wetsuit in its box. I cycled across town to the Post Office, but when I got there the door was closed. It looked strangely abandoned, so I wondered whether it had been relocated to another building. I then carefully read the redelivery note and saw that it closed at 5pm on Mondays and Tuesdays 😦 I was so disappointed – receiving my wetsuit was going to be the highlight of my day, but I was denied that excitement.

I got myself ready for running as quickly as possible and grabbed my session plan (“One, Two, Tree” – sprints with Group B) before heading out to my training session with Lordshill Road Runners. I made it just in time to leave with the group. We did a few warm ups and drills before a sprint session. I then came home and sat down to analyse my stats from the last few runs I’ve done. I was delighted to note that my average cadence was 94 – this is the best average that I’ve managed since I started wearing a Garmin foot pod. I’d love to know what my cadence was when I did my PB. I’d also be interested in learning what my cadence was before my running holiday and starting RunCamp.

My interest in cadence is because this morning’s RunCamp session was all about cadence and running tempo: http://www.runcamp.co.uk/blog/2013/03/18/Tempo-Training.aspx. We started off having to run to a metronome at 160bpm, before moving on to 170, 180 and 190 bpm. It was so difficult running at 160bom – I never want to try that again. The higher bpms were much easier with 190 being my preference… although 180 felt like what I do with my group. We also did a lot of hopping, again. Despite ‘improving’, I still find that this gets my heart racing more than any other exercise!


The parcel!


Trying on my new wetsuit!

After RunCamp, Stu drove me to the Post Office to pick up my wetsuit. I was so excited. I didn’t allow myself to open the box until we got home… but then I had to try it on straight away. I managed to squeeze myself into it without any problems, but zipping it up was soooooo difficult. Fortunately, removing it was easier. If timing for initial dressing and preparation for a triathlon were included, then I would fail before even starting! I now have to seriously think about whether I can do an open water swim.