Tag Archives: SOAS

Do you want to be a SOAS Ambassador?

27 Sep

I’ve been a SOAS Ambassador since 2014, and have loved being on the team. The brand is led by strong female triathletes, who really know what women want from their kit (comfort AND style), and the other ambassadors (who are spread around the world) have some great stories. If you’d like to join us for 2017, why not apply? You have until the end of October to get your application in.

soas-ambassador-2017

If you’re male and want some of the action, then you could apply to join the first ever Hansym Racing Ambassador team.

hansym-ambassador

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I wasn’t last, even though there was some swimming involved!

26 Jun

Although I’m still tired from last Sunday’s swim, I had already entered tonight’s aquathlon (hosted by the lovely TryTri chaps), so I figured that I’d better just get on with it. We left home a bit late, and I didn’t do a great job of getting myself organised. I thought that I had picked up everything necessary for transition, but realised that I had left my inhaler and contact lenses in my bag, so I missed the briefing (and hat distribution) to go and get them. Fortunately, Stu was there to get a hat for me. I didn’t really have enough time to worry and just went straight into the water, which actually felt like a pleasant temperature.

After a quick wave at the camera, we were off. I had carefully positioned myself near the back of the pack, so I wasn’t squished in the initial brawl. We soon spread out and I was pleased to realise that I was breathing quite well. Unfortunately, my goggles were not doing as well, as I had to stop and empty them three times, which broke my rhythm.

My terrible breathing! © Paul A. Hammond

My terrible breathing! © Paul A. Hammond

I'm still not sure why my head is in this position © Paul A. Hammond

I’m still not sure why my head is in this position © Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

The route was meant to be 750m, but my sighting wasn’t great, so I swam 980m… I really must work on that as I wasted quite a lot of time.

The course is 2.5 laps, so by the time I had swum 1.5 laps, it was starting to thin out a bit and I was pleased to realise that I wasn’t the very last person. Unfortunately, I was also aware that my arms were very tired from Sunday’s exertions, so I wasn’t able to pick the pace up. I pushed as hard as I could, but I know I was passed by at least 3 people in the final lap.

Eventually, I was at the end of the swim. Maybe I should have swum a little bit closer to the exit, but I was ready to stand up, and was relieved that I didn’t feel as dizzy as I normally do. Result! 🙂

Some people might blame the wetsuit for being unflattering; I blame my love of food! © Paul A. Hammond

Some people might blame the wetsuit for being unflattering; I blame my love of food! © Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

This shows just how close the next competitor was © Paul A. Hammond

This shows just how close the next competitor was © Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

I should pin this horrible photo of my double chins up in the kitchen! © Paul A. Hammond

I should pin this horrible photo of my double chins up in the kitchen! © Paul A. Hammond

I finished the swim in 20:01.8 (35/37)

It was then onto transition, which I know is a terrible discipline for me. If I could just strip off my wetsuit/hat/goggles, throw on some shoes and run, I’d be fine, but I’ve had blisters when I tried running without socks before, and so close to a triathlon, I didn’t want to risk it, so I put socks on. Then came the real time-wasting part: contact lenses. I hate running with my glasses on as they make me feel ill. This is partly because they’re not quite the right prescription, but at nearly £300 a pair, I can’t afford to waste money on something that I rarely wear. I put in my contact lenses as fast as possible and was off.

Heading into transition © Paul A. Hammond

Heading into transition © Paul A. Hammond

An entire sequence of me stripping! © Paul A. Hammond

An entire sequence of me stripping! © Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

I’m amused by this shot, which looks like I’m weeing myself – I’m not, honest! © Paul A. Hammond

I managed not to battle my watch this time – I took the face of it off, removed my wetsuit and then clipped it back on again 🙂

T1 2:00.20 (36/37)

At this point, I was unaware that I was not the last person. I thought someone had exited the lake just after me (which they did) and I assumed that he was the very last person in the event… and I knew he would have left transition before me.

I always find the breathing hard when I first start running after swimming, but I just told myself to relax and enjoy it, which seemed to work. I’ve mumbled recently about feeling like I’ve only got one speed – slow – as a consequence of doing some long, slow runs, but I surprised myself by being able to move at a reasonable pace. I think the intervals with Coach Ant (Run Camp) and Huw/Steve (Southampton Tri Club) are finally starting to pay off.

I could hear a speedy runner coming up behind me, but I thought that there was no point in looking around as they would pass me soon enough. I was quite surprised when they spoke to me, and then realised that it was Stuart, who was clearly running very well. I had decided to wear my SOAS pink peacock tri kit as I’ve got a busy couple of days ahead of me and I want to wear my team SOAS kit on Sunday. It’s really comfortable to wear and has the added advantage of standing out really well. Stuart said that he recognised me from quite a long way off as my kit is so distinctive!

I like the run route for Eastleigh aquathlon as it’s essentially the same as the first parkrun that I used to attend, which is where I found my love for running. It’s a two lap course that I know inside out. A third of the way around is a slight incline, before a shady tree-lined section, followed by a (miniature) railway crossing and then an open path. There’s then a grassy section around a ‘bowl’ followed by a sharp down and up, before a gentler slope leading back across the railway line. There’s then one more steep up and over the railway line, before heading to the second lap/finish.

By the time I got to the first incline, I could see a runner ahead of me in distinctive green calf guards. It looked like he was slowing down, so I thought there might be a chance that I could catch him. This, and the enthusiastic encouragement from Becky who was marshalling, encouraged me to push on. I took a while for me to catch up with the chap, but I finally managed it at the bowl. I then headed back towards the start/finish, where the lovely Paul was waiting

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

This shot shows just how great I was feeling! © Paul A. Hammond

This shot shows just how great I was feeling! © Paul A. Hammond

Still smiling and both feet off the ground! © Paul A. Hammond

Still smiling and both feet off the ground! © Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

Getting ready... © Paul A. Hammond

Getting ready… © Paul A. Hammond

...to blow a kiss at Paul! © Paul A. Hammond

…to blow a kiss at Paul! © Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

I kept pushing on the second lap as I didn’t want to be overtaken. As I crossed the railway line, I realised that there were some competitors ahead. I started to push on, but realised that I probably wasn’t going to catch up with them, which frustrated me, but I didn’t want to push too hard as I want to save some energy for Sunday’s triathlon.

Towards the end of the race, I heard someone running behind me. It was a man with a fluorescent yellow shirt on. I didn’t think he was part of the aquathlon, so I wondered whether he was just someone out enjoying a run… but just in case, I started to pick up the pace a little more. This was a lucky guess, as it turned out that he was in the event!

Feeling determined as I could see the finish line! © Paul A. Hammond

Feeling determined as I could see the finish line! © Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

Look at that heel lift! I hope Coach Ant feels proud! © Paul A. Hammond

Look at that heel lift! I hope Coach Ant feels proud! © Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

Action shot! © Paul A. Hammond

Action shot! © Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

Although I look tired in these photos, I was actually feeling really good and would have been happy to carry on and run another 5k. It turns out that my run was the best part of the event for me as I beat 4 people!

Run: 26:38.75 (33/37)

Total: 48:40.75 (34/37)

© Paul A. Hammond

© Paul A. Hammond

I really enjoyed tonight’s event. My super husband did brilliantly, finishing in 3rd place in a time of 31:11.10! Awesome result, Stu! The TryTri lads work well to make each event a success and they also put in a lot of effort to make ech competitor feel valued. The aquathlons are reasonably priced, with chip timing for each event meaning that the results were online by the time that I arrived home, and there was also a bottle of water for each entrant.

I now feel as well prepared as possible for Eastleigh Open Water Triathlon on Sunday. As usual, my aim is to finish, but I’m also hoping not to be last. My T2 is likely to be significantly faster than T1, and I’m hoping that my bike segment will compare favourably with others (probably more because of my fab Kuota Kharma than for my ability).

Have you got any races coming up? Which discipline do you think you need to practise the most?

#TWIETing again and a training ride

3 Jun

It’s been a while since I #TWIETed (Tweet What I Eat Tuesday), but I thought that returning to it might help to get my eating back on track. Quite a few people have recommended using MyFitnessPal to me, but it’s refusing to log me in on my phone at the moment, and I don’t have enough free time to sort it out… maybe this weekend!

Twitter posts TWIET

Overall, it doesn’t look like my food intake was too bad today. I guess that the ShotBloks might have been unnecessary, but I found them in my bike bag when I was starting to feel peckish!

Do you use any apps to help track your food intake?

I went to Weight Watchers this evening. I’m no longer paying for it, but my membership doesn’t expire until towards the end of the month, so I figured that I might as well go along. The good news was that I haven’t put on any weight since before I went on holiday – the bad news is that I’m still fat! In my dreams, I’d like to lose 2 stone (28lbs) before doing Challenge Weymouth – in reality, 24lbs is the most I could hope to lose and 16lbs is an even more realistic goal. I just hope that I can maintain my motivation as I know that it’s a lot easier to exercise when I weigh less.

This evening, I had to do a ‘hilly loop session’. I needed to find a hill that would take 2-3 minutes to complete, but I went to the wrong location, and the hill I found took me 6 minutes to complete. It wasn’t very steep, but as I’m still really nervous about cycling downhill, it was quite good for me.

The really exciting part about tonight was that I got to ride my new ‘pink peacock’ SOAS trikit. I had hoped that I would receive it as a Christmas present, so I’m really happy that I now own. I’m delighted to report that it’s just as comfortable as my team kit 😀

IMG_3067 IMG_3069

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