Tag Archives: #springintoactionmarch

Sometimes you just have to have a day off

18 Mar

Here is today’s IDEAfit photo a day image on the theme of ‘inspiration’ – it’s Chrissie Wellington’s autobiography.

Chrissie Wellington's autobiography

Chrissie Wellington’s autobiography

I should have gone to Run Camp this morning, but I made the decision not to go. I felt guilty about it, but I was also feeling exhausted and was aware of how much I had to get done. I spent a busy morning at work and then came home in the afternoon to finish packing before driving up to Dorking. Why are you going to Dorking, I hear you ask… well, I’m heading off to Paphos in Cyprus tomorrow, for work 🙂 I hope there’s a chance for me to have  bit of a break whilst I’m there, as well as getting to network with lots of interesting people.

I’ll also have some time on the plane to finish reading Chrissie’s autobiography – there are so many inspirational quotes in it, including:

“When things are tough, you get tougher.”
“Pick your battles, and accept yourself for who you are.”

“Just seize every opportunity you have, embrace every experience. Make a mark, for all the right reasons.”

“…some sessions are stars and some sessions are stones, but in the end they are all rocks and we build upon them.”

I also like Chrissie’s life goals:
“To be happy with myself and always make others happy. To be confident and give others confidence in themselves. To smile, to surf, to laugh and make others laugh. To read more widely. To try to be more tolerant of my weaknesses and of others, and not to be so hard on myself all the time.”


17 Mar

Happy St. Patrick’s day!

The IDEAfit photo a day image for March 17th is ‘Happy’. I’ve chosen a picture of my brother and his son having fun in their dinosaur onesies!

My brother and his son

My brother and his son


sarah soas

Motivational quote from Sarah

It was LRR training tonight, and I was all prepared to go to swimming afterwards, or so I thought… but I realised that I had forgotten to pick up my contact lens case, so I wasn’t able to swim. (In theory, I could wear my contact lenses under goggles, but that’s not recommended and I only own prescription goggles, so I wouldn’t be able to see). It was quite frustrating, but it meant that I got an early night.

Massive PB! Winchester Duathlon

16 Mar

Today’s IDEAfit photo a day image was meant to be ‘rest’, but I don’t know what that is. As an alternative, I’ve included this great motivational statement from Team SOS team-mate Linda:

linda soas

Here’s some motivation from fellow Brand Ambassador Linda

Winchester Duathlon was my first multisport event last year, so I was excited about returning to the event, and I was hopeful that I could get a PB, with a second goal of finishing in under 2 hours.

We got up early and had plenty of time to set up in transition, although some people had arrived far earlier than us. Fortunately, this gave me plenty of time to chat to people. It was also good tha I felt quite excited about the event, rather than nervous.

I have a track pump at home, but apart from that, I’ve always cycled with Stuart or other people in a group (and there’s a track pump available at work), so I don’t have my own bike pump. I phoned Katherine who agreed to bring a pump for me. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t fit into my tiny bike bag, so it helped to make my clothing choice: if I wore my new Castelli jersey then there would be a pocket to put it in!

Before Winchester Duathlon

Before Winchester Duathlon

After I’d racked up, Katherine and I sat down in the athletics building as there wasn’t a lot else to do (apart from take selfies!)

Tamsyn and Katherine before Winchester Duathlon

Katherine and I before Winchester Duathlon

Waiting before the start of Winchester Duathlon

Waiting before the start of Winchester Duathlon

Chris Rees, one of the directors from Try Tri came in and was chatting to us about how slow some people were last year – I had to remind him that I was one of those people and that it had taken even longer than he remembered (2:16:45).

Katheirne and Stuart before Winchester Duathlon

Katherine and Stuart before Winchester Duathlon

Stuart then came and joined us for a chat. He was completely relaxed, even though it was his first ever duathlon.

The weather was significantly better than last year (torrential rain and hail), but it was still quite cold, so I wasn’t sure about what to wear. In the end, I thought that just a trisuit would be fine as I get so hot when I’m running.

We went outside where Chris gave a short race briefing and then we lined up for the start. There were two events taking place: the sprint distance and a novice race.The novice race was starting 15 minutes after our event, so I knew that I would need to keep  steady pace if I wanted to avoid being passed by lots of people and not arrive in transition when it was really busy.

Race briefing Winchester Duathlon 2 Race briefing Winchester Duathlon 1

We lined up, and then we were off! I decided to put my headband around my neck to save time in transition, as I didn’t want to cycle without it.

Start of the run

Start of the run

I managed to keep pace with Katherine for the first lap, but then she realised that she was slacking off, so she sped up. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to catch up with her, but I kept pushing and my run time wasn’t too bad.

Winchester run 1 Winchester run 2

As I got towards transition, I put my headband on and twisted my race number around. I wasn’t brave enough to try mounting my bike with the shoes already clipped on, so I had to put on my helmet, gloves and shoes, as well as my jacket. I than ran towards the dismount line (holding onto my bike’s saddle in the hope that it would make it easier for me to run!) The photos of me running are pretty unflattering, but there weren’t any of me on my bike 😦

Leaving transition 1Leaving transition 1 (2)

I set off fairly quickly on my bike and was pleased to start passing people. The main hill on the route is near the start and this year I was determined to cycle all of the way up it. It was longer than I remembered, but I managed to remain seated for the entire hill and also passed a few people on the way up… I suspect they were novices, but it still felt pretty good.

I had hoped to use my Garmin to keep an eye on my speed, but I realised that I must have stopped it when I put on my jacket and wasn’t sure what to do, so I just ignored it and decided to push as hard as I could. I kept trading places with a couple of men, overtaking them on the way up hills, only for them to pass me on the way down. Eventually, we got to a longer and steeper hill. They were clearly tiring as both of them were out of their saddles almost immediately, so I felt very smug passing them whilst seated… I even took a tip from Chrissie Wellington and made my breathing as effortless as possible, in the hope of psyching out my opponents. I’m not sure whether it had an effect, but I kept on pedalling and didn’t dare to look back for quite a while. It was quite a relief to realise that I had left my opponents behind.

As I neared the athletics stadium, I decided that I should try a flying dismount, so I undid the velcro straps on my shoes and rested my feet on top, so that I was still able to pedal. I was a little nervous that I would mess up, but it went surprisingly well and I felt really pleased with myself. I changed my shoes, removed by jacket, helmet and glasses and headed back out for my second run. In hindsight, I should have had a drink, but that’s a lesson I’ve learnt.

The second run was much harder than the first as I was feeling fatigued and it had started to get quite hot. There were also fewer people for me to chase, which is something that I find motivational. I saw Stuart the first time around, but was disappointed that I didn’t see him on my second lap – I didn’t realise that he was on a massage table and could still see me.

Stuart finishing Winchester Duathlon

Stuart finishing Winchester Duathlon

I was grateful that there were some shady areas, and I made the most of them wherever possible.

End of the run

End of the run

I was also grateful that I had worn a matching crop top under my trisuit as I needed to unzip it a little – it felt unbearably warm. I was running very slowly and by the time I was heading for the finish, many of the other triathletes had collected their bikes from transition and were leaving.

Finishing the run

Finishing the run

I was so glad when I finished the run…

Finishing Winchester Duathlon 1Finishing Winchester Duathlon

…and even more delighted when I found out that not only had I smashed last year’s time, but that I had also finished comfortably under 2 hours 🙂

Thank you sign


I looked up my results from last year and can see where I’ve improved and what I need to work on.

Winchester duathlon results

Winchester duathlon results

I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on my results and although I think my first run was quite good this year, I am amazed at how well I ran last year. My first transition was also slower than last year, but this can be attributed to the fact that I had to change my shoes and put on cycling glasses this year. My bike was the discipline where I have made the most improvement, and I’m a little disappointed that there is no photographic evidence of how much effort I was putting in. I knocked over 21 minutes off last year’s time – part of this can be attributed to riding a more appropriate bike, but I am also a more confident cyclist now. My second transition was better than last year – possibly because of my dismount and the fact that I didn’t have problems removing my bike helmet this year! My second run was slower than last year. I really wanted to pick up the pace, but was feeling absolutely shattered by this time.

After the race, I had a chance to explore the goody bag, which includes a free open water swimming pass that is good for a month. I prefer swimming outside to being in a pool, although I don’t love the cold.

Winchester Duathlon goodies

Winchester Duathlon goodies

The medal is quite attractive.

Winchester Duathlon medal

Winchester Duathlon medal

So, my final result was a massive PB of over 20 minutes. Although I’m struggling with running right now, this makes me feel really happy.

Woohoo – I’m now a Breeze Champion!

15 Mar

Today was all about the cycling…

A little while ago, I found out that I didn’t get a place in Ride London, which was a little disappointing, but I think I’ve already overcommitted myself this year, so I’m not too upset!

Rejection from Ride London

Rejection from Ride London

Anyway, I’ve been trying to cut back on my commitments, but I love to make the most of the opportunities that I am presented with in life, so when I received an email from Southampton City Council advertising free places on a Breeze Ride Leader course, I jumped at the chance. After filling in some application forms, I was accepted, so today I went on the course.

I had to choose which of my two bikes to use – my road bike or my hybrid. My hybrid seemed like the most appropriate choice, but it won’t go on the roof rack of the car, so I would have to cycle to the venue, ride around all day and then cycle home, whereas my road bike could go on the roof of the car, so I would only need to do the day’s cycling. In the end, I chose the latter option as I’m still feeling tired and don’t want to wear myself out ahead of tomorrow’s duathlon.

My choice of bike meant that I also needed to decide which clothes to wear. I opted for my Wiggle Honda kit combined with my Pearl Izumi jacket, but realised that I had made a bit of a mistake when I arrived and each of the women I spoke to made a comment about me looking professional – oops.

There was a wide range of women on the course from some serious cyclists to some ladies who haven’t been cycling very long themselves. his meant that there were also a range of bikes to look at. The one that caught my attention most was a three-wheeler Nihola from Denmark.

The course was a mix of theory in the classroom and practical sessions outside. I’ve never ridden two-abreast in a tight group before, so that was an interesting new experience, but I can see how it is safer for all of the cyclists in the group. unfortunately, many car drivers don’t realise that it’s legal. I was relieved to learn that as a Ride Leader, I’m not expected to be able to deal with everyone else’s technical malfunctions. In the afternoon, we split into two groups and took it in turns to lead. The main leader is at the back, which can be quite challenging, especially when the group is quite large.

Overall, I learned some useful skills on the course and will now try to get myself onto a first aid course so that I can lead rides on my own if I want to. I would also like to meet up with some other Breeze champions, so that I can pair up with someone else to lead rides.

Ride Leadership certificate

Ride Leadership certificate

If you’re a keen cyclist, you have probably heard of ‘The Rules’ by the Velominati: http://www.velominati.com/the-rules Rule #5 is perhaps the best known (‘Harden the f**k up’!) I quite like this rebuttal: http://kolotc.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/the-rules/

I also love this old Pathe video about safety when cycling:

Here is today’s IDEAfit photo a day image is on the theme of ‘Nourish’ – I think my healthy lunch goes with that topic:

Finally, here’s some motivation from Erin:

Erin soas

Wise words from Erin.



14 Mar

It’s a short post for today. My IDEAfit photo a day image has the tag ‘beautiful’:

Bryony and Jonno

Bryony and Jonno

It’s a picture of my sister, Bryony, and her partner, Jonno. I don’t see her very often as she lives in Australia. I don’t think we look similar, but some people say we do – what do you think?

Felicia soas

This quote is something that Embrace Sports coach Eric used to say regularly – thanks for the reminder Felicia!

Turn your can’ts into cans and your dreams into plans.

13 Mar

**March 13th 2014**

Here is today’s IDEAfit photo a day image:

Success! PB at Paris Marathon in April 2013

Success! PB at Paris Marathon in April 2013

The theme was success, so I’ve chosen a photo from a year ago – it was taken after Kirsty and I had completed Paris Marathon.

How do you define success?

I’m currently going for tiny goals as they are so much more attainable than aiming too high and then failing.

Kirsten soas

She turned her ‘can’ts’ into ‘cans’ and her dreams into plans



Be yourself – everyone else is taken!

10 Mar

Here is today’s IDEAfit photo a day image – yet again, it’s a recycled one as it’s meant to be a workout selfie and I don’t take many of those!

I LOVE today’s motivational quote:

Ann soas

Ann – one of my SOAS teamies

It was a usual Monday with LRR training and swimming with the Tri Club, however, there were a few problems with cycling to work. After my shenanigans with the fallen trees this week, Stu helped me to fix my flat tyre, or so I thought… unfortunately, it wasn’t quite fixed, so I had to do some further repairs 😦

Continuing bike problems

Continuing bike problems

No water on the hottest run of the year :-(

9 Mar
kelly soas

The importance of self-image according to SOAS Ambassador Kelly.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about doing Salisbury 10 mile. Two years ago, it was held on an incredibly hot day. I got a 5k PB, but then had to ask Irene to leave me as I was overheating. At the five-mile drinks station, I stopped and had three cups of water, which meant that the marshals told me off, stating that “it’s against the rules”. I’ve still never heard of the rules that they’re referring to. Surely, the health and safety of the runners is of paramount importance? Last year, the day of the race was much colder (and wet), so although I wasn’t feeling on form, I managed to get a 10 mile PB.

This year I had realistic expectations of the race. I wanted it to form part of an 18 mile run. I wasn’t worried about my time, I just wanted to work on my nutrition strategies, or more specifically my hydration strategies, so that I finished the race feeling strong and not overheating. I spoke to Laura who is also training for Brighton Marathon, and we decided that we would do four miles before the race and then four miles afterwards. Before going to the race, I drank two pints of water, as I thought that might help with dehydration issues (especially as I drink at least a pint of water before going to work every day).

I collected Laura and we drove to Salisbury, arriving early enough for me to register (I’d forgotten to do it before online entries closed) and collect our numbers.

Salisbury race number

Salisbury race number

Laura and I the set out to do a gentle run before the race. We had been warned that it would be a hot day and I was grateful that I had just a t-shirt and shorts for the race. Even at 9am, the sun was up. Laura and I ended up doing just over 5km before the race started.

I started off near a group of other Lordshill Runners, but I had decided that I just wanted to run my own race, so I ignored the others and did not try to keep up, even though it was the club championship race. My focus was just on sticking to my strategy of drinking lots of water and eating gel sweets when necessary. We had been told that there would be drinks stations at 2, 4, 6 & 8 miles. As soon as I saw the 2 mile drinks station, I picked up a cup and drank all of it.

There weren’t many spectators out on the course, but there was a nice group of runners and it felt like I was running consistently, so I was happy. I managed to pass a few runners on the downhill, which made me feel good.

I reached 4 miles and was surprised that there wasn’t a drinks station there, but I remembered there being a drinks station at 5 miles in previous years, so I wasn’t too bothered. I decided that it would be good to drink some of the water that I was carrying, so I knocked back about half a bottle. Not far before the drinks station, I saw Inez’s partner Peter, so I gave him a wave.

I was starting to feel very hot, so I was really grateful that a drinks station was coming up. I put out two hands for water, but was told that they were running out and that I could only have one cup. It had less than 2cm of water in it, which was very disappointing. I kept moving and decided to drink the last bit of water that I had, reasoning that I could stock up at the next water station.

I tackled the largest hill on the course and was pleased to note that despite feeling very hot, I didn’t find it as difficult as I thought I might. I managed to chat a bit with some of the other runners, which helped to keep me feeling motivated.

Eventually, I got to the part of the course that I had seen on my pre-race run, so I knew that I was close to the water station. Imagine my feelings of despair when I found that the table had been taken down as they had run out of water. I was feeling so hot and it was already 1:24 into the race – I’ve run 10 miles in that time as part of a longer race before, but I still had two miles to go and was unbearably hot. I pressed on and saw some LRR supporters about a mile from the finish. Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling very happy, so I shared my feelings about the race organisation with them.

Sals 2Sals 1

I knew that it wasn’t too far to get to the finish, but first I had to run past the track to get onto it and then run almost a full lap. I wanted to sprint, but was feeling really ill, so just kept staggering towards the finish line.

I crossed the line in 1:40:42, which is one of my slowest race times ever. I immediately drank a couple of glasses of water, which helped to make me feel a bit better.

Once I had revived a bit, I collected my race t-shirt and then asked whether the Race Director was around. Too many times before, I’ve not said what I’ve thought, so I decide that I should let him know about the problems with the race. Unfortunately, he seemed surprised that there wasn’t enough water on the course and responded with, “Well, at least you got a nice t-shirt”, which wasn’t really the response I was looking for.

I went back to the sports hall with Laura and Sarah to collect our bags, before heading off for the rest of our run. It was nice to have a fresh t-shirt to put on, and no pressure to move quickly. We headed along the river as we thought it would be cool, but the path was closed as it had been flooded, so we went across some fields instead. In the end, we managed to do another 7km.

Overall, I finished the race 630/694, which is very disappointing – I must start working on my speed as soon as I’ve completed my marathon.

I failed to find/take an IDEAfit photo a day image to go with the theme of music – sorry 😦

Ideafit Photo A Day Challenge

8 Mar

***Apologies – I’ve been so busy with work this month that I’ve got lots of part-written blog posts and very few completed posts… you might find things are appearing out of order. I originally started writing this post on 8th March!!!***

Ok, so as we all know, I’ve been really slack about blogging recently, so I’ve been looking for ways to motivate myself. I’m hoping that eventually I’ll be able to post something every day (preferably something that isn’t just ne waffling, but that might never happen!) Anyway, to help with inspiring me, I decided to take part in the IDEAfit photo a day challenge on instagram:

IDEAfit photo a day challenge

If you want to find out more or take part in this Challenge, please visit: http://www.challengeloop.com/challenge/march#activities

As you can see the category for March 8th was ‘Plank’, so here’s my image:

My feeble plank

My feeble plank

I’ve not practised ‘planking’ for ages, so I only held it for 1:30, but intend to make time and get better! As fellow SOAS Brand Ambassador, Jessica says: “If it’s important you will find a way; if it’s not you’ll find an excuse”.

jessica soas

An important sentiment expressed by Jessica

In the last couple of weeks, there have been some exciting updates about the latest SOAS kit, with some sneak previews being posted on social media:

Preview of the new SOAS range

I really like the look of this red and black kit. If you want to view more, I’d recommend that you visit soas_racing on Instagram.

I’m so excited that my delivery will be here soon. I’ve already seen images of the armwarmers…

SOAS arm warmers

SOAS arm warmers

…and the tri top and shorts…

Racing SOAS tri top and shorts

Racing SOAS tri top and shorts

I am so nervous that I might have ordered the wrong size, so that’s another good reason for me to try to eat healthily. (I’m not religious, but I’ve decided to observe Lent by giving up cakes, sweets, biscuits and chocolate!)

Anyway, I’ve had a bit of time to sort out my emails and have started receiving messages from RunKeeper. I recently signed up to Tapiriik, which synchs all of my data, so that I don’t have to. As a consequence, I’m getting lots of new records on RunKeeper, including this one for February 🙂

According to Run Keeper February was good!

According to Run Keeper February was good!

So, what did I do on 8th February? parkrun was the first item on my agenda. Stuart and I arrived at The Common just in time to see Teri heading off up the hill on the first part of her long run.


The weather was quite cold and a little misty, so there were ducks on the grass.


I also spotted my favourite photographer, Paul Hammond, who had come to take photos of the runners. I managed to snap a couple of shots of him, before he started to retaliate!

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The volunteers have to arrive early to help with parkrun

The volunteers have to arrive early to help with parkrun

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There was quite a large turnout, which is now becoming the norm for Southampton parkrun. You can just about see me in the image below, tucked in at the bottom left!


Paul had positioned himself at a turn in the course, so that he could get some good photos. He was also hoping that he could get some people to do a bit of ‘showboating’, but most of the Southampton parkrunners take the event quite seriously.

I like the photo that Paul took of my husband running with his friends – they’ve managed to coordinate their outfits quite well!

John, Stu and Rob

John, Stu and Rob

Not all of the runners take the event seriously! On my first lap, I spotted Paul and gave him a little wave…

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…and on the second lap, I decided to skip past!

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I think the runners around me may have been a bit bemused, but I wasn’t racing, so I thought I may as well have a bit of fun!

In the afternoon, we went around to Katherine’s house as she had some new rollers and Stu wanted to try them out. As you can see, he initially needed a bit of help from Katherine and the wall.

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Katherine had already practised a bit, so she was more confident!

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I didn’t have a go as I’m not very confident on my road bike and I didn’t want to risk an injury ahead of various races and my marathon!