Tag Archives: Team SOAS

Back on the team…

19 Dec

Training with a baby isn’t easy. I haven’t swum since I gave birth as I’m no longer a member of my University gym and I’m not currently a swimming member of Southampton Tri Club. I also haven’t been able to cycle as my turbo trainer isn’t set up (there’s currently no room for it). However, I have been running. Despite this, I’ve decided not to renew my membership with Lordshill Road Runners. I’ve run with the club for 5 years or so, but this year I’ve only trained with them twice and led coaching sessions for them, so I don’t think my membership fee is worth it. I may change my mind in 2017 and rejoin, but I’m more likely to track run with the tri club and do parkrun.

I am fortunate enough to have been selected as a member of Team SOAS again and will be rejoining some fantastic ladies. My friend, Abi, has also been selected this year, which is great.

Team SOAS 2017

We’ve already had some glimpses of the kit and there’s also a one-piece this year that Caroline Coble has been wearing:

Caroline Coble wearing SOAS one piece

I can’t wait for my 2017 kit to arrive and for me to wear it in a race 🙂


2014 vs. 2015 vs. 2016

7 Jul

It was so exciting to receive my 2016 SOAS Ambassador kit. I’ve shared some pictures on social media, but haven’t had a chance to blog about it until now.

Here’s the full kit:

Full 2016 team kit

Last year, one of the ambassadors made a fantastic video to showcase the new kit:

My Facebook/Instagram/Twitter feeds have been full of the other ambassadors using their kit, but I thought I’d do something a bit different and review the kit in comparison with last two ambassador kits…

The box

Each year the box that the kit arrives in is pretty cool with cute slogans on it – I just wish I’d taken photos of all of them! It’s so exciting when that parcel arrives on my doorstep!

The beanie

The 2014 beanie was plain black with a SOAS patch on the front. It was subtle and I wore it a lot. The 2015 year beanie was LOUD! It was also totally on trend, with a really cute over-sized bobble. It is an absolutely gorgeous shade of teal, which is the only negative thing I can think to say about it – it’s not quite the same colour palette as the rest of the kit. This year’s beanie is really cool with stripes that exactly match the team kit. Fortunately, the weather hasn’t been too bad here since it arrived, so I haven’t worn it, but I’m sure it’ll come in handy later in the year.

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Trucker hats

Each year we have received a trucker hat as part of our team kit. I know the trucker cap was really popular with lots of the other ambassadors, but I have a teeny tiny head, so I haven’t really worn mine. Anyway, they’re all pretty cool if you can wear them with the most recent two being the most attractive.

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Partway through 2014, we were able to order visors and last year and this year they were included in our ambassador pack. For the first couple of years, I had to get my mum to adjust them as I have a tiny head, but this year’s visor seems to fit me better, which is great. Don’t see this as a criticism of SOAS – I am a hat lover (I have an entire Facebook album of me with things on my head), but almost all of them have to be altered to fit me.

SOAS hats

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The running vest/casual vest/crop top

In 2014, our team kit included a running vest and a casual vest. The casual vest was an unusual swing-fit cut. I didn’t wear the running vest very often first of all as I’m quite self-conscious and my only experience of running vests was wearing my running club vest which chafed me badly. However, as I became less self-conscious, I wore it more and more and it became my ‘go to’ item of clothing for parkrun. The 2015 vest was an amalgamation of 2014’s two vests. It is a more casual cut than the running vest, but is made of a technical fabric.  I like the subtle design of the 2016 vest, and although I thought it felt a bit loose first of all, now that I’m a bit bigger I’m grateful that it’s a generous size!

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Crop tops

As an alternative to the casual vest, in 2015 we received a crop top. In 2012, I bought a turquoise crop top as I had to wear a turquoise vest (cut for a man) for a team event and I was worried that my sports bra would show. I realised that wearing the crop top was more comfortable than wearing a sports bra – especially for longer events, so I was delighted when SOAS added them to the range. I’ve since ordered several more from SOAS and like the design of this year’s top.

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The shorts

This is where being self-conscious influenced my thoughts in 2014. I have extremely large thighs. If I don’t exercise and eat sensibly then this is the first place where I gain weight; it is also the last place where I lose weight. About 8 years ago, I lost enough weight to feel that I had slim legs, but I’m not at that stage now. Anyway, as a consequence of being fat my thighs can rub together and chafe when I run, so I usually wear two-layer shorts – the ones with a pair of lycra shorts underneath them. I also found that my Team SOAS shorts were a little small in 2014. The cut changed last year and I now think they’re perfect – I just need the sun to shine a bit more, so that my legs are more tanned!

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The bike jersey

I wore my 2014 jersey a lot. I probably wore it more than any other bike jersey that I own. However, I am not the typical ‘carrot-shape’ of most triathletes – my shoulders and chest are definitely not broader than my waist and my hips – so my jersey did not fit me as well as it could have done, although the style was very flattering. The 2015 jersey was made of a beautifully soft fabric and I ordered a smaller size, so it fitted me so much better. I wore it for almost every bike ride and it was one of the first items I packed for my cycling trip across Japan. This year’s jersey is made of a slightly different fabric again, but I love the silky feel and the cut.

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The tri tank

This is a toughie. I’ve loved all of the SOAS tri tops so far. However, the lake where I have to do most of my training and aquathlons is VERY murky, so the 2014 top just edges ahead as black is easier to clean than white!

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The tri shorts

The jury’s still out on this one. I love all of the SOAS shorts that I have and only wear another brand when it is incredibly cold (then I choose full length thermal bib tights)… or when I’ve had a laundry fail!

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The arm warmers

In terms of fit and comfort, I can’t choose between the arm warmers, but I did love the SOAS wings design on the ones from 2014 and 2015.

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The socks

The 2014 socks were black and blue, in a shade that wasn’t identical to the rest of the kit. My cycling shoes are white, so I was torn about them, however, the socks were very comfy.  In 2015 we had odd socks (one white and one black), which definitely made them quirky. I was torn as although they’re cute, my OCD likes everything to match! This year I have a pair of white socks that I love.


The bottles

In 2014, I was completely gutted when I lost a bottle in the Pyrenees (it rolled away when I crashed and I was too dazed to pick it up), so I ordered another pair. There wasn’t much change in the design for 2015, but they’ve been completely reworked for 2016, so that they match our kit perfectly. They are also easier to drink out of , which makes them a huge win 🙂


The hoodie

I wore the 2014 hoodie a lot as it was comfy and cosy, however, it was also very subtle as it was black with just a SOAS patch on it. The 2015 hoodie was a shorter cut with a fantastic logo on the back. The length made it easier to wear with skirts and dresses, and it was a nice shade of grey. I loved it so much that I took it to Japan last year. The 2016 hoodie is made of a lighter material, which doesn’t work for as many British seasons. It has a striped design which goes well with the rest of the kit.


The trousers

As in previous years, the bottoms are sadly a bit lightweight for the UK most of the year around – I need something cosy to put on after training and races! However, I absolutely love the new running leggings. They are incredibly comfortable and look good on.


Flip flops

The 2014 flip-flops were printed with the SOAS wings that were cool and the 2015 ones were turquoise and felt much sturdier. I’ve already worn the 2016 ones quite a lot – mainly for open water swimming.

2016 ambassador flip flops

Other innovations that I love are the team knee warmers and the bib shorts. I would wear SOAS shorts all year around if I could, so having knee warmers means that I can wear the shorts almost all year round! The bib shorts are also very comfortable. They are slightly longer than the tri shorts, so my tan lines might not be as sharp as in previous years. The shorts are cut beautifully, but I’ve found that I prefer the tri shorts to the bib shorts.


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Evidence of my growing SOAS addiction.

Evidence of my growing SOAS addiction.

My first run in my 2016 kit

My first run in my 2016 kit

Which kit do you think looks best and why?

Which kit do you think looks best?Save





More exciting kit glimpses from SOAS

6 Feb

The SOAS Racing sewing machines seem to have been working 24/7 to create our 2016 Ambassador kit. I’ve seen so many glimpses of it on Instagram in the last couple of weeks and can’t wait for it to arrive in March.

SOAS beanie 2016

I love this hat. I wore my 2015 hat as often as I could get away with, but this one is gorgeous.

We’ve also been given glimpses of two other pieces of headwear:

SOAS trucker 2016

SOAS visor 2016

My pea-head isn’t made for trucker caps :’-( but I do love visors [and my mum has been able to adjust the previous ones to fit me!] so I’m very excited about this one.

SOAS sports bras 2016

SOAS 2016 sports bras

Woo hoo! Finished crop tops!

SOAS shorts 2016

I rarely wore my 2014 shorts as I felt too self-conscious, but I wore my 2015 shorts a lot and I think these ones will be getting a lot of wear too!

New kit coming soon :-D

25 Jan

It’s so exciting that my Team SOAS Ambassador kit is currently being made. This week we got a sneak peek at the sports bras:

SOAS 2016 sports bras.jpg

I also saw a cool video of the shorts being made. The material is sublimated, so that there isn’t excessive stitching. I can’t wait to wear these:

Team SOAS 2016 shorts.jpg

If you want to watch some short videos of the kits being made, pop over to the SOAS racing Facebook page.

There are also regular updates on Instagram:SOAS shorts 2016 Instagram.jpg

Are you planning to get any new kit this year? What do you want to buy?

Back to work and back to training

4 Jan

So who was keen to go back to work today?

My lounge feels so big now that the Christmas decorations have gone, but the horrendous weather here means that I wasn’t looking forward to getting on my bike this morning.

I spent yesterday afternoon out on my slippery flat roof with a broom and a trowel. I had to brush a huge amount of water off the roof so that I was able to unblock the drain. I then had the fun task of removing a lot of dead leaves from the gutter. Luckily, it all seems to be draining now as I’m scared of heights and didn’t really enjoy the experience.

I prepared for today LIKE A BOSS. Like all good health and fitness bloggers, I did a lot food prep and planning at the weekend, so I think I’ve got that aspect of life under control. I also sorted out my laundry and put everything ready in my work bag… but 6:30am rolled around far too quickly 😦


Chilli tofu, rice and beans with avocado – Sunday evening’s meal

I had considered getting up at 6am, but then figured that I ought to be able to shower, dress, eat breakfast and cycle to work in 90 minutes… as long as I wasn’t side-tracked by social media.


Today’s breakfast: Almond purition with almond milk

The plan started off well. I enjoyed a delicious purition shake (that I’ll be blogging about in more detail later this week) and I managed not to spend any time more than five minutes reading Facebook whilst blow drying my hair.

The fly in the ointment was that the chain came off my bike on the very first hill on my way to work. I’ve never dropped the chain on this bike before and really don’t know what happened. It didn’t take long to resolve, but no-one wants to start the day with oil on their gloves!

I want to get back to eating healthily, but I don’t intend to be obsessive about it, so although I enjoyed my protein shake, apple and PB, cheese salad and tofu chilli with rice and avocado, I also had a couple of Lindor and a slice of Christmas cake today.

Before heading out for my swimming session, I spent a few minutes on Instagram. How did I miss this?

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Sneak preview of a new SOAS 2016 kit

I’m so excited to see the new designs… although I probably don’t need any more tri kit.

That reminds me of a great overheard conversation between my brother and his 7 year old:

Bro: The trouble with you is that you don’t know the difference between want and need!

Son: Yes, I do! Need is fruit and want is pancakes!!!

I laughed so much when I heard that.

Another thing I’ve just heard is that there may be another ‘Tour de Y‘ (YMCA fundraising cycle) in spring, which is very exciting. I really loved being part of the team for the last one, so I hope the dates work out.

Tonight, I had my first STC swim session of 2016. I went feeling lacklustre, but came back feeling totally motivated. I think it was my best swim for a long time and I’m sure I’m getting faster. I am so determined to move up into lane 2 by the end of the year!

How’s your training going? Are you ready to smash it in 2016?


Finally, it’s another plea for you to vote for me. I seem to have been very fortunate in the last few months and have been in the running for a number of awards. I don’t want you to get voting fatigue, but it would be lovely if you could vote for me in the UK Blog Awards (my blog has been shortlisted and put to the public vote in two categories: ‘Health and Social Care’ and ‘Lifestyle’)

Vote for me now in the UK Blog Awards #UKBA16

Thank you x

So much SOAS kit!

22 Dec

I’m so excited that Christmas is almost here – I’ve only got one day left at work before my holiday begins 😀

It’s going to be an unusual Christmas for me this year. It’s my first one in my new home and my mum is on the other side of the world holidaying with my brother and sister and their partners. Usually I go home to Cornwall for Christmas or my mum comes to stay with me. Luckily, I saw my mum before she went to Australia… and she left me with an amazing looking Christmas cake. Like many people, I usually put on a couple of pounds over the festive season, but as we don’t have anyone staying with us, we haven’t bought any treats, so that should help to keep me on track.

The last week has been so busy that I’ve not managed to find any time to post. I went to parkrun on Saturday morning and initially harboured some intentions of going for a PB (as I managed to get a PB at this time last year). However, when I got there I saw my friend Teri and her children, so I joined them for a social run. Both of Teri’s children managed to get PBs, which was fantastic.

Soton parkrun 19 Dec 2015

On Sunday, I met up with my friend Abi for some novice triathlon training. We went over to Itchen Bridge and along the waterfront. Abi is still getting used to her new bike, but she managed to get her water bottle out and back into the holder and started to have a go at flying mounts. We then went to The Quays where I tried to help Abi with her swimming. I’m still not very good myself, but I hope that I shared some useful pointers.

Last week I spied the new SOAS Ambassadors kit being created:

SOAS Racing 2016 kit

It looks so cool. I want it now!

To make up for having to wait until 2016 for that kit, I’m consoling myself with my awesome SOAS Christmas jersey:

SOAS Christmas jersey

It arrived today along with two pairs of rights and a t-shirt 🙂

Sunset cliff tights run tights Barcelona

SOAS t-shirt

I also received a parcel from these people:


and am really excited to try it out.

I’ve also had someone come around and measure up my kitchen. It’s not been renovated since the 1970s, so it has avocado units and orange/brown tiles. I don’t currently have a cooker, so am surviving on food that can be cooked on two hob rings and a microwave. If anyone has any great one-pot vegetarian recipes, I’d love to hear from you!

These articles caught my eye this week:

Finally, it’s yet another reminder that I’d love your vote in the Bloggers Lounge Awards – voting closes at midday on December 24th (that’s between 4am and 7am if you’re in USA, so please don’t leave it to the last minute to vote!) Thank you x

Swim, run, bike – my weekend in that order

6 Dec

The weekend didn’t get off to a great start. I felt exhausted by Friday evening, but Stuart had booked for us to go for a swimming assessment, so I had to find some motivation. We arrived at the pool early and I got organised before heading poolside. Rachel was being filmed first, so I had time to do a warm up in one of the other lanes, then it was my turn.

I helped to set the camera in position and then was asked to do 200m at a steady pace. I had been told to swim normally, but of course I was trying to do my best. unfortunately, this meant that I think I may have kept my arms fairly straight throughout the stroke – oops!

The camera was then moved to the end of the pool, and I did another 50m. That was all I had to do. Darryl gave me some instant feedback, but I’ll get the video footage on Monday evening, so I’ll be able to see everything that I’ve been doing wrong then.

At that point, Stu went for his swimming assessment and I was able to join in with the main set. unfortunately, I didn’t really understand what was going on and when I did understand I realised that it would be a very tough session for me. We were expected to do a combination of press ups, underwater swimming, dolphin kicks on our backs and diving in. I can do press ups, but I absolutely hate being underwater, so I was terrified of doing the other parts of the set. I had a go at swimming underwater, but was clearly hopeless at it, as the coach asked whether I was going to make any effort at joining in with the set. I found that disheartening and would have preferred to give up at that point, but Stu was still doing his assessment. I completed the class, but don’t think I’ll go back to another Friday night training session :’-(

on Saturday morning, the alarm went off at 7am and I really didn’t want to get out of bed. I had a splitting headache and did not feel at all well. I turned over for another 30 minutes, but then thought I’d better get myself moving if I wanted to make it to Southampton parkrun.

The weather is particularly mild at the moment. There are roses blooming in our garden, camellias in our neighbour’s garden and cherry blossom in some of the parks! However, it was really blustery. I chose to wear some shorts and my parkrun 100 t-shirt, but I knew I would feel cold at the start.


It was great to catch up with some parkrun regulars, but I didn’t arrange to run with any friends as I wasn’t sure how well I would do – my assumption was that I would probably be able to do about 29 minutes.

I also had enough time to watch the local uni quidditch team training session. It seems so strange to see young adults running around with sticks between their legs. I bet this is one side effect of Harry Potter that J.. Rowling could never have predicted!


I started out with Rachel from STC and near the top of the first hill, Stu ran past with John and Rob. I then caught up with Alison, who was happy enough to run at my pace and have a chat. I was enjoying the run, but realised that I hadn’t used my preventer inhaler this morning and had left my reliever inhaler in my bag, so I thought I had better be careful and not push myself too much.

Alison and I had a great chat… and for once I didn’t try to have a sprint finish, although I think we both picked up the pace slightly when we got to the final 500m.

In the finish queue, someone asked me what time I had and I glanced at my watch: 26:33. I was really surprised. I had been so busy chatting that I hadn’t looked at my watch at all when I was running and had assumed that our pace was much slower.

Later on, I received the official results email:

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A second faster than I expected (I don’t think I paused my Garmin very promptly!) There are 4 parkruns left this year. I think a PB might be too much to ask for, but I think with some sensible eating and regular training then a season’s best (SB) might be a possibility.

Yesterday evening, I saw something very exciting on Facebook:

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Oh my! I am so excited to see the 2016 SOAS Ambassador kit! I can’t wait until this stuff arrives. Fingers crossed that it’s here in time for my first tri of the season 🙂

Today, Stu and I went out for a bike ride with Abi. We met Abi on our last Embrace Sports holiday – she was doing the running camp whilst we were there for triathlon. Anyway, Abi has come over to the dark side and has bought a bike so that she can get ready for her first triathlon in 2016.

We had a lovely 35 mile ride out into the New Forest and back, with the obligatory stop at The Olde Bakehouse tearoom. I hadn’t really worked hard enough to deserve a slice of cake, but it was delicious!



Next weekend, I have my final race of the year: Heartbreaker Tailwind 10mile trail run. It’s a new race, but the course is mostly the same as the Heartbreak Half, so I know what I’m letting myself in for!

What have you been doing this weekend?

If you haven’t already voted for me in the Bloggers’ Lounge Health and Fitness blogger of the year awards, I’d be really grateful if you could go to: http://bloggers-lounge.co.uk/bloggers-of-the-year/blogger-of-the-year-2015-voting/ You don’t need to sign up to anything, it’s just a single clock on that page. Thank you 😀

Planning for 2016 and some new kit

23 Oct

There are so many exciting things happening in the next two weeks that I’m going to have to work hard to find enough time for blogging.

Exciting thing number one is a new training location taking shape – there will be a sneaky glimpse next week, but you’ll have to keep following if you want more than a peek! The other excitement is a week dedicated to warm weather training 😀 There are also just eight days left until the end of the Tri Club Merit table – I’ve given it my best shot, but I think it’s too late for me to do much more – fingers crossed that I manage to cling on in the top three as Ian’s not going down without a fight and probably has a few things up his sleeve! Also there are only six days left until voting closes in the Blogging Edge 2015 Awards… and they’ve given me a lovely icon to display on my blog.

2015 UK Blog Awards finalist

My training has been a bit mixed up this week, but I’ve been busy planning, so it should all fall into place soon.

On Monday evening, I went to STC’s swimming session. We did a lot of technique work with fins and then we had to work on our swolf scores (stroke count and time for 50m). I’ve been working really hard on my stroke count and was pleased to be able to consistently swim under 20 strokes per length, with many lengths at 16 strokes! We had to count our swolf three times – I managed 85, 87 and 86. We were told that we should improve each time, but I think I was reasonably consistent 🙂

On Tuesday morning I went to the SUTRI strength and conditioning session with Coach Olly from Solent Athlete.  We did loads of lunges.

20 Oct Crossfit

That’s me on the right with the green shoes carefully studying Olly’s technique ©Olly Drew

22 Oct crossfit

We also worked on what I would call ‘dishes’, but Olly calls ‘hollow holds’ – fortunately, we’re not made to do dish/arch rolls, which I used to find tough at gymnastics. The last part of the session was 6x 2 lengths of walking lunges. It sounds easy, but by Wednesday afternoon my legs were in agony!

Thursday morning’s session was based around deadlifts, which gave my achy legs a rest. I really wanted to do well, but (like on Tuesday) I felt really light-headed and faint, which isn’t great when you’re trying to pick up heavy things. I didn’t feel too bad after the session, but my arms and shoulders have been a bit tired today.

I really love doing the SUTRI training sessions, even though all of the others are so much younger and slimmer than me – it’s definitely a motivation for me to train harder. I’ve put in an order for some kit, so that I can represent the team at parkrun and other events. I wish that I’d had more opportunities to join sports clubs at uni as I might be so much healthier now if I’d been sportier 15 years ago.

On Thursday evening, Liz ‘parcels from America’ Carter came around with my new SOAS kit. It felt like Christmas. I ripped open the parcels and admired my goodies.

Barcelona Nights crop top Barcelona Nights shorts Sunset cliffs sports bra Sunset Cliffs shorts Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 22.42.02

I still want to get the run tights in Sunset Cliffs and Barcelona Nights and would love to have the Sunset Cliffs cycling jersey. I’m wondering whether more items will be released in the Aquarius collection soon – I’m sure I saw some tights on instagram… and a crop top… and a totally awesome bikini. That’s all the incentive I need to get my nutrition plans back on track.

This evening, Olly and Sam came around to help me plan my races for next year and also do some general training planning. I’m still waiting to find out whether I have got a place in some popular races, but I know what my main events are. Probably the most important weekend for me will be when I tackle the Long Course Weekend in Wales.

I agreed with Olly and Sam that I’d post my general weekly schedule as it helps to keep me accountable:

Autumn 2015 training plan

I’ve also been talking to LRR about a possible return to coaching, but it’s all going to depend on whether I can complete an assessment day… unfortunately, there aren’t many and most of them are a long way from Southampton 😦

I’m also excited that I’m going to be trying out some indoor cycling with Brightside next week. I don’t really know what to expect, so watch this space!

Finally, I’ve managed to find a few minutes to watch things online:


Another hectic week

18 Oct

It feels like all of my posts start with an excuse about how busy my week has been, and this week is no exception. Hopefully, I will have more time for blogging in a month’s time when the season winds down. Although if Ironman were to have their way, I’d be entering another couple of events this year!

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Tuesday started with a great SUTRI strength and conditioning session with Olly from SolentAthlete. We did some technique work and deadlifts. I really appreciated the mobility drills as I feel like my joints are seizing up :-S

© SolentAthlete

© SolentAthlete

This was followed by another session on Thursday morning where we did plenty of box squats. Olly described the final section of the session as “a tasty posterior chain workout”, which was rounded off with foam rollers and stretching, which felt like torture, even though I know it’s good for me!

© SolentAthlete

© SolentAthlete

On Saturday, I took part in ‘Tim Wilks Day’ with Southampton Tri Club. It is a fantastic event that is held in memory of a triclub member who sadly passed away shortly after finishing a local triathlon. The committee did a brilliant job organising it and I was grateful to the volunteers for supporting us. The event consists of a 400m timed pool swim; a 10 mile time trial and a 4km run in the New Forest… however, transitions are not timed as the events take place in different locations.

I had a bit of a panic when I realised that I would be sharing a swim lane with my other half as I was expecting him to finish about 2:30 ahead of me and I hate the pressure when someone starts tapping your feet. We had a chat with Donna, the timer for our lane, and agreed to have half a lane each so that I wouldn’t get in Stu’s way. I predicted a 9:30 swim time, so was pleasantly surprised to finish in 8:42. I tried to swim at a steady pace, and I wasn’t too exhausted when I finished, so I think I could go faster.

I was really nervous about the bike section. I’ve done time trials with the Embrace Sports crew in Portugal, but I’ve always known exactly where we were going and it has definitely been for fun, rather than a timed event. However, I’ve done a reasonable amount of cycling recently, so I thought I’d be reasonably fit. I said to Stu that I reckoned 35 minutes would be about right for me – I finished in 35:05, so that’s pretty close… but I didn’t realise that in order to get that I’d have to wheeze for the entire ride. It was so uncomfortable. I probably should have stopped and used my inhaler, but I didn’t want to waste time. It also inhibited my cycling – spinning made me wheeze more, so I had to keep grinding away in the big ring.

The 4km run course was on an attractive forest trail. It was well-marked and as someone at the back, I had plenty of people to follow.I started out feeling quite comfortable and with a good cadence, but when my watched beeped at me at 1km and I saw I was running at 4:44/km, I knew it wouldn’t end well. I kept doing the best I could, but was gradually slowing down and others passed me. I was so relieved when I saw Sonia and Claire along with a group of others. I put on a terrific sprint finish… only to find that the group were some random ramblers and that there was still some way to the finish – doh! The ladies were simply there to direct me. A few minutes later, I finally saw the finish, but I had nothing left. It took me 21:27, which was very slow, but at least there’s plenty of room for improvement next time!

Today, I took part in a new sportive organised by Red Skye Cycle Tours. Stu and I chose to enter the Great Oak 70 mile event, which started just after 8am. I was really surprised that only about 10 people had entered the long distance, and only 7 of us were there at the start. We headed out as a group, but after a few miles, one of the women headed off on her own as we were cycling at a social pace.

It was quite chilly, but I’ve learnt from my last two bike rides, so I started out with a SOAS jersey and shorts teamed with arm warmers and knee warmers. I think it would have been good to have worn a buff, but I soon warmed up, so I know I made the right choice.

Although I was unfamiliar with the start location for the ride (Holmsley), there were sections of the ride that I was really familiar with. It was also clearly marked, so I didn’t have to worry too much about following the route on my Garmin. Sadly, someone had removed one of the signs, which had confused some other riders. It’s such a shame that there are so many cycle saboteurs in the New Forest area – they are clearly unaware of how much income this popular pastime brings to the local area.

I had thought that we would get to the rest stop after 35 miles, but when we had gone that far, I was warned that it would be another 6 or 7 miles before we got to the rest stop. Fortunately, we were doing well with spotting Hampshire’s ‘big game’ – we saw wild cows, horses, donkeys, pheasants and even a herd of pigs. I’ve only seen one wild boar whilst out cycling previously, so to see a herd of pigs running alongside the road was great.

By the time we got to the rest stop, I was flagging. Fortunately, the rest stop was really well stocked. I had a banana followed by a granola bar and plenty of jelly beans. I knew that at some stage, the sugar rush would wear off, but hoped that it would be enough to get me through at least 20 miles. I also picked up a pineapple flavoured energy gel to pick me up later and get me to the finish. Unfortunately, we found out that the female cyclist had not made it to the rest stop ahead of us, so we hoped that she hadn’t got too lost.

There were some tough headwinds during the ride that really sapped my energy, but I was determined to finish. I was also struggling as my chest was really aching after yesterday’s time trial.

The final section of the ride included some busy roads. The major road towards Bournemouth currently has some road works, so lots of cars are taking an alternative route near to Matchams. Some fo them were driving at crazy speeds, which was a bit nerve-racking. We also got stuck in a traffic jam.

Most of the ride had been overcast, but in the last hour or so, the sun came out which was lovely – there’s nothing better than cycling in sunshine!

Finally, the campsite came into view. The six of us cycled under the finish archway together. Woohoo! My first podium finish in a cycling event and top 10 overall 😉 (Sometimes it’s important to be selective about the stats you use!)

End of Red Skye Sportive

End of Red Skye Sportive

We were offered a variety of hot meals, which is always a great way to finish an event. Several of us sat down and ate together, before heading home. I felt exhausted, but pleased I took part! My friend, Jules has also blogged about this event – please do read his post.

Several of my friends have been taking part in running races today – mainly 10 miles, half marathons and marathons. It looks like they all did really well… but I don’t think any of them set any world records, unlike Jessica Bruce. This amazing lady has set a new record for running a marathon with a buggy, completing Abingdon Marathon in 3:17:52. I’d be happy with a time an hour slower than that! More about this story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-34551782

Finally, I saw this video earlier this week. The stereotypes in it made me laugh so much


What’s your favourite piece of kit and why?

16 Aug

What’s the one piece of kit you couldn’t live without?

OK, so there are a few things that I really need as a triathlete, such as my bike (Kuota Kharma Evo), my trainers (Brooks Vapors and Pure Cadence/Flow) and my Garmin, but when it comes to clothing, I can’t tri without my SOAS tri shorts.

Those of you who follow @soasracing on Instagram may have seen the sneak preview of Sunset Cliffs bib shorts recently:

Sunset Cliffs bib shorts

However, I love my SOAS trishorts so much that I don’t need bib shorts. It doesn’t matter how many hours I’ve spent in the saddle, I’ve never had a problem with my SOAS kit. The small fleece chamois is much more comfortable than the huge nappies that some brands feel the need to put in cycling shorts (here’s looking at you, Decathlon!!!)

The wicking fabric means that the shorts dry easily, which is great when wearing them for a triathlon or duathlon, but they’re also good to use as ordinary cycling kit. For me the challenge is which pair of shorts to choose:

Arms aloft

Wearing my SOAS Ambassador 2015 shorts at Winchester triathlon


Wearing my SOAS Racing Black Team Shorts for a visit to the bike fitter


Wearing my SOAS Brand Ambassador 2014 shorts at Weymouth Half


Wearing my SOAS pink peacock shorts as I sprint to the finish at Eastleigh aquathlon


Sunset Cliffs at Eastleigh aquathlon

© Barcelona Nights tri kit… I think I’ve only got selfies wearing this it, which is bizarre as I wear it a lot!

If I could have the whole range, I would, but as I can only choose one pair, it would have to be my 2015 ambassador shorts. They are a size (or two) than the shorts I bought in 2014 , which helps me to feel better about my body, they are super comfy (like all of the others) and they remind me about the awesome community of female triathletes that I belong to!