Tag Archives: Strava

Monday Morning Motivation – Strive

18 Jul

I love Strava’s latest campaign: Strive

Being an athlete is simple.
It doesn’t matter how fast you are, how many races you win, or if you even race at all.
All that really matters, all you have to do, is just be…
be on the road
be on the trail
be relentless
be daring
be a teammate
be happy
be proud
be yourself.
Strive to be an athlete… and you are one.

Be a team mate:

be tenacious:

Be persistent:

Be lighthearted:

Be a friend:

Be “that guy”:

Be committed:

Be a training partner:

Be relentless:

Be a fighter:

Monday Morning Motivation: Whatever your ritual, wherever you ride, #RidewithUs.

21 Sep

I really like this video by Strava – it makes me want to get on my bike and go for a ride.

Ride with Us from Strava on Vimeo.

There are quite a few other short videos showing various rituals that you might also want to check out: http://blog.strava.com/ride-with-us/

People for bikes

If you feel passionate about cycling, you might want to check out ‘people for bikes’:

“PeopleForBikes is the movement to make riding better for everyone. By collaborating with millions of individual riders, businesses, community leaders, and elected officials, we’re uniting people to create a powerful, united voice for bicycling and its benefits.”

They’ve featured me as one of their community stories: http://www.peopleforbikes.org/stories/entry/fat-girl-to-ironman

Social Media Party

7 Jul

I’ve been really bad at blogging recently (it’s the usual excuses – working hard, training hard, taking part in lots of events… and the little matter of trying to plan a house move), so I thought I’d take this opportunity to share my social media sites with you (so that you’ve not got any excuse for not following every detail of what I get up to!) If we’ve got stuff in common, then I’ll probably follow you back 🙂

1. Instagram

This includes random images from my life, many of which are food shots or fitness-related (selfie time!) I also love to share images of race day bling.

My instagram

My instagram

2. Facebook

I share training related updates here and also videos relating to running, cycling, swimming and nutrition. It’s gone a bit quiet recently. What would you like to see here?

Facebook screenshot

3. Pinterest

I’m getting better at using Pinterest 🙂

My Pinterest

4. Twitter

I LOVE Twitter and share regular updates here, but promise I won’t overwhelm you!

Twitter screenshot

5. Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/tamsynmsmith

This is an area of my social media that is perhaps a bit lacking. Does anyone want to watch videos of me? I’ve never tried vlogging, but if people are interested, then I’ll give it a go.


6. Garmin Connect: http://connect.garmin.com/profile/Tamsyn

I log all of my activities on Garmin Connect – come and join me!

Garmin Connect

7. About me: http://about.me/tamsynsmith

If you’d like to find out a bit more about what I do as a day job, you can find that info on About.Me.

About Me

8. Strava: http://www.strava.com/athletes/tamsyn

I love joining challenges on Strava and can also keep track of friends in various clubs here. I hate receiving ‘Uh oh! Someone stole your course record’ emails.

Strava screenshot

9. Bloglovin: http://www.bloglovin.com/tamsynsmith

When I have some downtime, I really enjoy reading other people’s blogs.

Bloglovin' screenshot

10. RunBritain: http://www.runbritainrankings.com/runners/profile.aspx?athleteid=246411

RunBritain Rankings is a fun way of comparing how well I’m running with others based on age, gender, location, distance etc If you’re in the UK, make sure you sign up.

RunBritain screenshot

11. RunKeeper: http://runkeeper.com/user/fatgirltoironman

This is yet another way that I track my fitness activities – if you’re on RunKeeper, connect with me.

Runkeeper screenshot

12. Endomondo: https://www.endomondo.com/profile/3332013

Endomondo fan? Connect with me here… you even get to see one of my vintage karate photos!

Endomondo screen shot

13. Dailymile: http://www.dailymile.com/people/tamsyn_smith

…another sports tracker and another profile picture!

Daily Mile

14. GirlsGoneSporty: http://www.girlsgonesporty.com/ambassador/tamsyn-fat-girl-to-ironman/

Girls Gone Sporty is a fantastic organisation. My profile there has links to my other profiles… but if you’re interested in promoting a sporty lifestyle, why not become an ambassador yourself.

Girls Gone Sporty screenshot

Let’s get social!


Evans Rideit! Sportive

12 Feb

My first big cycling event of the year was scheduled to be Evans RideIt! Sportive in Newbury. Three distances were offered:

  • Short: 30 miles/48km
  • Medium: 50 miles/80km
  • Long: 70 miles/112km

I’ve not been doing a lot of cycle training, but the plan was to do the long course with Stuart, Suzanne, Donna and Jules, whilst Liz was going to cycle part way with us before splitting off for a shorter distance… and then we were all going to go to the pub afterwards to celebrate our achievements and Liz’s birthday.

Unfortunately, the day didn’t start as planned – just five miles away from our house, Stuart’s new car flashed on a warning light to alert us to a flat tyre. We pulled off the motorway and stopped on a garage forecourt to call the AA.

We had to wait a while for a mechanic to come to our aid, and realised at that point that we would not arrive in time to start the long course, which had a final start time of 9:45am. This was a real disappointment as I had psyched myself up for that distance.

The mechanic was a jolly chap who clearly thought we were mad to go out cycling on such a cold day with just some lycra clothing on. He soon discovered the cause of our woes – a large nail embedded in the rear tyre – and was able to fix it, so that we could be on our way.

Finally, we arrived at the school where the event was due to start. There were still a few cyclists milling around, including a large contingent from Oxford University.

We found our way to registration, which is where the second problem occurred – I was not on the list of entrants. This meant that I had to fill in some additional paperwork and also further delayed our start.

We then made our way to the start arch where we were able to start immediately as there were no other cyclists around by that point. We passed an older chap and his grandson (who I’m guessing had received his road bike as a Christmas present). We then saw another cyclist returning to the school who waved at us and warned us that there was ice on the first turn.

We cautiously proceeded around the bend and realised that there was plenty of ice (and slush), as well as quite a broken road surface… and a reasonably steep descent. Aaarrgghh! All of the things that make me nervous at once. I was also in a grumpy mood, so this did not cheer me up.

After descending very slowly, there was an incline, where some more cyclists had stopped to repair a puncture.

It wasn’t long before we were on a more attractive country road… and we even managed to start [passing a few people. We then came to a pretty village, and our ride came very close to finishing there, thanks to a female driver who decide that she only needed to look left before pulling out for a side road. Stuart and I both braked sharply and managed to avoid going into the driver, who just gave us a smile and a wave. Why is it that drivers do this?!

I started to warm up and the road surfaces improved, so my mood started to lighten. It was a crisp day, but there wasn’t a lot of wind and there was no rain.

We went down a hill and towards the bottom, I saw a sign pointing off to our right. I called to Stuart, but we had both passed it and were nearly up the next hill. Stu was sure we were going the right way, so we kept cycling until we came to a main road. We were then convinced we had gone the wrong way, so we retraced our pedal-strokes and, sure enough, there was a sign just tucked down a side road. We followed it for a while and encountered a few other cyclists.

After a while, we came to a T-junction and noticed a sign off to our left pointing down a country lane. It was quite gravelly, but seemed quiet and wasn’t too much of a steep descent, so I thought it would be OK.

Part-way down, Stuart shouted to me that he had a puncture. We pulled over and whilst Stuart replaced his inner tube, I helpfully took a photo and had a snack break.


One of the reasons why I was looking forward to this event was that I had decided it would be when I would try out some new training fuel: honey stinger strawberry waffle.

Honey stinger strawberry waffle

The lovely people at ProBikeKit sent me some samples earlier this year and I’ve been eager to try them out. I’ve read a lot of positive reviews of honey stinger products, but they’ve mostly been on American blogs and I’ve not seen honey stinger products in any UK shops, so it’s great to find a supplier.

I have several simple criteria for training food:

  • It needs to be easy to carry and eat on the go
  • It needs to be a reasonable price
  • It needs to taste good

So, my first criteria. It’s a flat package that is about 8cmx10cm, so it will easily fit in a jersey pocket or a bento box. It is also easy to rip open. (This might seem like a strange criteria, but it’s based on my experience with a PowerBar product that tasted great, but was so sticky after an hour in a jersey pocket that I could barely peel the wrapping off it, which is not ideal when you’re trying to fuel on the go!)

Honey Stinger waffles come in a box of 16 from ProBikeKit and the cost per box is £18.99, so each waffle is just under £1.19 each. This seems to me to be a reasonable price when compared with similar nutrition products.

So, the product was winning on two counts, but the make or break criteria is tasting good. I will admit that I have a bit of a weakness for stroopwafels, you know those delicious Dutch waffles that are sandwiched together with caramel:



So, how did the honey stinger waffle measure up to a stroopwafel? It was surprisingly similar. It was a lovely, slightly crumbly waffle that was held together by a delicious strawberry honey centre. It smelled quite sweet, but was neither too sweet nor too chewy. I was also pleasantly surprised that the centre of the waffle was a natural colour – I had expected it to be pink like the wrapper! There is also clear nutritional information on the wrapper, which explained a key selling point of the product: most of the ingredients are organic.

So, my final verdict was that I LOVE THIS PRODUCT! If you’re out cycling, hiking or ultrarunning, I think it would be the ideal product to take with you.

So, back to the ride. Whilst I was munching, Stu was busy replacing his innertube. At one point, a group of cyclists came up the hill towards us. They explained that they had followed the signs, but at the bottom of the long hill, there were three possible routes and they couldn’t identify where they should be going. They realised that they had gone the wrong way and were turning back.

A cyclo cross guy then came down the hill, so we stopped him and explained the problem, so he turned back. Finally, the older chap and his grandson came down the hill. We said that we thought we had gone the wrong way. The older man said that they were just ahead of the tail cyclist who was removing signs. We cycled up the hill together and encountered the back marker who was removing signs. He acknowledge that the sign was pointing the wrong way… and seemed to believe that it had been set up wrongly that way, rather than being sabotaged by someone.

It wasn’t long before we were at the feed station. I ate a couple of pieces of flap jack and had a bit of my water and then we were ready to go again. Although we were on the short route by this time, we had the option of the short or the medium route back, with one being about 5 miles longer than the other. I figured that we might as well do the medium route, so that the event was slightly better value for money.

It didn’t take long before we were on a fast and flat open road. My mood had lightened and I started to pick the pace up a bit. I could see a group of three cyclists up ahead and felt a little frustrated as they were spread out across the road. Fortunately, they pulled in a bit, so that Stu and I were able to pass them.

It didn’t take long before we could see where the event had started, and there, waiting in the gateway, was Liz. I shouted and waved, but it took her a few seconds (minutes?) to recognise Stu and I. She explained that it wouldn’t be long before Suzanne, Donna and Jules arrived. Soon we spotted them – oops, they were the cyclists that I had struggled to pass on the open road.

Despite the rubbish start to the day, this is how I’m feeling about cycling right now:

hrm bike

I’m working hard on being more positive this year. I’m not doing brilliantly, but I’m trying to bear this in mind:

Cycling motivation

I’ve been reading some interesting things online this month, including:

I’ve also learned that I’ve been rejected (yet again) for the Prudential London Ride 100 :’-( (Actually, I’ve got so many challenges on this year, that it’s not a bad thing!)

A slow start to January

4 Jan

I went out for my first run since I had laser eye surgery yesterday. I’ve been desperate to go out for a run. I didn’t want to push too hard and was looking to have a social run, but I didn’t see anyone I knew who was going to be running at conversational pace – possibly because it was cold, wet and windy.

first Soton parkrun of 2015

Nearly finished!

I knew that the run was going to be tough as I’ve not eaten well for the last two weeks, which was made worse by the total lack of exercise. I also realised at the start of the run that I had forgotten to pick up an inhaler, so I had to be careful. Every time that I started to have breathing problems, I slowed down a bit. Fortunately,  this strategy seemed to work. It wasn’t a fast run, but I finished:

parkrun 3rd Jan 2015

Now, I just need to start eating healthily again and get back on the training wagon, to knock three+ minutes off that time!

Amusingly, in the evening, I received this email:

Fastest pace 2015

Clearly, if I want to receive a cheerful email, I need to go out at a fast pace on my first run of the month!

I read this post on RunKeeper this week: Brian: Losing 365 pounds and getting my life back. It’s really inspirational, so I urge you to read it.

If you use RunKeeper and want to connect with me, I’m here: http://runkeeper.com/user/fatgirltoironman

I tend to ‘use’ quite a few exercise trackers (mostly as I use tapiriik to sync my data to all of them)

GarminConnect is my main tracker, but I quite like what Strava does. I also like their new code of conduct: Stand with us.

Strava stand with us

If you want to find me anywhere else, you can also find me:

I’m also doing Jantastic again this year: https://www.jantastic.me/ It’s a challenge that runs through January, February and March, where you set your own goal sand then aim to meet them. I had to reset my goals as I had intended to swim at least twice a week throughout January. I’m not allowed to swim again for a few more weeks, so I had to change that goal.

This morning, Teri and I had agreed to run, but she also needed to go to junior parkrun with her children, so I agreed to go along and marshal as well before we went for our run.

Volunteer at junior parkrun

Initially, I didn’t think it was very cold out as there wasn’t any frost, but after standing around for just over half an hour, I was definitely feeling the cold. I took off my jogging trousers and put them in Teri’s car, but couldn’t bring myself to remove my running jacket as I just had a short-sleeved t-shirt on underneath.

We started off at a steady pace – mainly because I couldn’t go any faster. We ran around Riverside Park, which was a nice change from running on The Common. Then we headed along some of the route of Southampton Half Marathon. It’s quite hilly, so I know that I need to do lots of hill-training between now and April.

On the way to The Common, we saw Irene and Alice from Lordshill Road Runners, then on The Common we saw Rob and Nick out running. It’s lovely that whenever I go for a run I see people I know.

Teri and Tamsyn

Still wearing sunglasses to protect my eyes

This afternoon, I’ve been in the kitchen. I’m hoping to plan all of my meals for the week and also prepare my breakfast and lunch for tomorrow to try to get the week off to a good start. For tea tonight (and tomorrow and Wednesday), we’re going to have a home-made chilli – yummy! It’s quite a simple dish:

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • chilli powder
  • paprika
  • coriander
  • cinnamon
  • ginger
  • 2 tsp chipotle paste
  • 2 tsp molasses
  • miscellaneous dried herbs
  • 2 tins tomatoes
  • 1 small tin tomato puree
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 carrots
  • red pepper (capsicum)
  • green pepper
  • spinach
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 4 mushrooms
  • 1 large courgette
  • 1 can borlotti beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can pinto beans

It’s a smoky bbq type chilli as a consequence of the chipotle paste and the molasses. It’s also a dish that improves after a day or two. I quite often cook large one-pot meals like this, so that I don’t need to cook every day.

As I’ve not been able to go out and exercise, I’ve watched a few TV programmes online. I finally had a chance to watch ‘The Adventure Show’ on BBC iPlayer. The episode that I was interested in was episode 5, which is one that focused on a group of cyclists doing an Audax event in Scotland. This is something that I would like to do one day, but I need to build up my cycling quite a lot before it happens!

I also watched an excerpt from the Graham Norton show, featuring Bradley Wiggins:

What have you been up to?

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

30 Nov Celebrating with Liz

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

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

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

Best New Athlete trophy

Best New Athlete trophy

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

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

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

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

and last, but by no means least, Stuart.

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

Celebrating with Liz

Celebrating with Liz

What a fantastic evening 😀

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

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

Why does Strava tease me?

5 Nov

I’ve had quite a relaxed week so far in terms of training… but everything outside of training has been quite manic. On Monday, I was involved in an important conference at work that was accompanied by an evening lecture, so I didn’t get home until late. It was an interesting day, but its planning and organisation has taken up a lot of time at work, so everyone is now heaving a sigh of relief that it’s over!

I had originally booked to go to the SUTRI spin class yesterday, but then I remembered that Stu had booked us in for a photo shoot with Jules and Sue from http://www.julianporter.com/ Jules and Sue are both runners and Jules has recently been lured into cycling. They’re so fantastic that I’ve already had a sneak preview of what they shot:

Triptych of Tamsyn

Thank you, Team Porter! 😀

Today, I went along to Lordshill training to help Ben out. He didn’t have any specific tasks for me, so I quite happily ran 6km at a conversational pace with Lou. It’s ‘Bonfire Night’ here, so there were plenty of fireworks to light the way (and stop our conversation!) It’s getting a bit cooler, so I wore a long-sleeved top, but it was paired with shorts as I definitely can’t face tights yet!

This evening, I received an email from Strava

My 2014 according to Strava

My 2014 according to Strava

I would love for those figures to be true, but I’ve checked garmin and have only run 1068.36km so I have no idea where Strava got its data!!! I’ve cycled 2067.14 km this year (not including my daily commute, which is probably another 1800km).

There was an interesting article on the BBC news website today: ‘Would these five changes actually help cyclists?‘ The five changes that are discussed are:

  • use of helmets
  • wearing high-vis clothing
  • banning headphones
  • riding in the middle of the lane
  • using bike lights

The article includes a reminder of the Highway Code as it applies to cyclists – I wish cyclists would follow the Highway Code and not cycle on pavements!

I also read an interesting article on ‘Nine reasons why Wilson Kipsang won the NYC marathon and you didn’t‘. It’s worth a read although nothing in it is new or surprising. Of course, it also omits to mention that fact that I just wasn’t in New York as I didn’t want to embarrass Wilson by beating him – he needs $600 000 more than I do 😉