Tag Archives: yoga

Sinking not swimming…

7 Feb

This year I need to focus on my swimming. A month of 2015 has gone by and I’ve really not achieved very much yet. If I’m going to complete the Scilly Swim Challenge, I’m going to need to start pushing myself soon.

I have to be able to swim a mile in 40 mins (consistently), which is just under 25 mins per km. My average for January was 26:32/km which isn’t good enough. I also only swam 2.8km in the whole month*. That’s the least I’ve swum in a month since I got my Garmin 910XT at Christmas in 2013. I’ve already swum 2km so far this month, so I should be able to surpass my January achievements.

*Maybe I should cut myself a little slack as I wasn’t allowed to swim for most of January as a consequence of having laser eye surgery in December.

cyanide and happiness laser eye surgery

I’m trying to work out what I should do as training for the Scilly Swim Challenge – I’ve got 30 weeks (7 months), but in that time, I need to train for: my cycling trip to Japan, Southampton Half Marathon and Ironman Dublin 70.3.

I’ve had a look at various training plans online:

The recommendation seems to be that I need to swim at least 15-20km a week. As a minimum, I want to be able to swim 6km in one go, so I’m going to need to get myself to the lake for a lot of open water swimming. However, the lake doesn’t open until April and I know that my lungs really dislike me being in cold water.

If anyone can recommend a training schedule (either online or a book), I’d love to hear from you. I’ve read plenty of training plans for iron distance swimming (3.8km) and for 5km swims, but there’s not a lot out there for the distance I want to do.

Several of the sites that I’ve read whilst looking for information have said that cycling and running won’t really help with swimming, but that Pilates or yoga will. I’ve not been able to go to yoga for a year now, but I’d love to go back. One of my yoga teachers has shared some short practices online. This one, yoga for neck and shoulder tension, is a nice five-minute practice:

If you enjoyed that, Laura has a YouTube channel, so you might want to subscribe.

I’m also on the look out for a new wetsuit. My 2XU wetsuit has done me well for the last couple of years, but it’s now too big for me, so I’m searching for something that fits me better, to get me through the 2015 season (and hopefully beyond!) I know that it will come down to what is available in my size, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on different brands and models.

If nothing else works, I’m hoping that this TED Talk by the completely awesome long distance swimmer Diana Nyad will inspire me to get back in teh water more frequently. It’s called ‘Never, ever give up’:


Stuart is doing the Scilly Swim Challenge with me. This event will take both of us out of our comfort zone, so we’re hoping to raise some money for an important charity (Chestnut Appeal for Prostate Cancer) along the way. If you’d like to sponsor us, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/TamsynandStuswim/

Running on Clean

13 May

Woohoo! Nicola at Running on Clean has nominated me for the Liebster Award. Thank you, Nicola! Please check out her blog where she posts about health and fitness. Nicola is a fellow Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador and member of #TeamStellar!

Liebster Award

So, what is a Liebster Award? It is basically a form of recognition from fellow bloggers. Once you have been nominated you have to answer 10 questions from your original nominator and go on to nominate another 10 bloggers yourself.

Here are the rules:

1.) You must link back to the person who nominated you
2.) You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you
3.) You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award (with a small following)
4.) You must create 10 questions for your nominees
5.) You must go to their blogs and notify the nominees

So, here are my answers to Nicola’s questions:

  1. How did you start your fitness journey?
    That’s a tough question to answer… I had dance lessons from when I was 5 until I was 21, but I was never especially fit and healthy. I was ‘up a year’ at school, so I was a year younger (and hence smaller) than all of my classmates, so I struggled to keep up with them when it came to sports, which made me feel disheartened. When I was 20, I took up gymnastics and absolutely loved it. I used to train several times a week, including for six hours on Sundays. When I was nearly 30, I took up karate, so that I could do a sport with my husband. I also took up running to increase my fitness levels and it’s gone from there.
  2. Why did you start your blog?
    I wanted to document my five-year challenge – I intend to complete an iron-distance triathlon before I’m 40. I thought that writing down my goals in a public way may make me feel more accountable.
  3. What activities/sports are you most passionate about and what do you gain from doing them?
    I love doing yoga as it’s very calming and gives me an opportunity to relax and de-stress. I also love running, although I’m finding the pressure of competition a bit much at the moment as I’m failing to reach my own targets.
  4. Who is your fitness inspiration?
    I’m a great admirer of Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah. I also think Chrissie Wellington is an inspirational woman.
  5. Do you meal prep? If so, when and do you have any tips?
    I tend to do all of my meal prepping in the evening. I tend to cook in bulk (curries/chillies/pasta meals that serve six), so that I don’t have to cook every evening. I know that I each much more healthily when I plan ahead. When my evening meal is cooking, I make my lunch for the next day, which is always a salad (usually with 40g smoked cheese, but sometimes with humus or chickpeas). I also try to weigh out my porridge for the following day’s breakfast.
  6. What is your go-to breakfast recipe?
    It’s always 30g oats, but with various extras. One of my current favourites is ground almonds, dried apricots and some vanilla extract. I don’t drink milk, so I always make it with water. 2 minutes in the microwave and it’s done 🙂
  7. Finish the sentence. When I’m not running I’m…
    Swimming/cycling/working/sleeping/eating/blogging!
  8. Imagine this, you are on a self-directed race and get lost. You find yourself beside a lake with no one else around. What do you do?
    I rarely run with a phone, so I wouldn’t be able to call for help, so I guess it depends on how remote the location is. If I haven’t run far, I might retrace my footsteps to a place that I recognise, or if I’m feeling confident, I might run around the lake looking for signs of where I should go.
  9. List your top 2 short and long-term goals
    My top 2 short-term goals are to rest and heal my sprained wrist and shoulder and to follow the plan my coach has designed, so that I start regaining my fitness.
    My top 2 long-term goals are to complete Challenge Weymouth 70.3 and to finish an iron-distance triathlon.
  10. What do you enjoy most about blogging?
    I enjoy connecting with other people and also receiving feedback from others. I really appreciate that people are willing to spend their time reading what I’ve written. On a personal level, my blog reminds me that however slow it may seem, I am making progress towards my goal.

Here are my 10 questions:

  1. How would you summarise what your blog is about?
  2. Which of your blog posts has generated the most discussion and why?
  3. What tips would you give to anyone thinking about starting to blog?
  4. What challenges/races/events have you got lined up for 2014?
  5. What has been your greatest achievement in life?
  6. What skill do you hope to master over the next year?
  7. What is your favourite gadget and why?
  8. What’s the furthest from home you’ve travelled for a sporting event?
  9. Describe your philosophy for life in a six word sentence…
  10. What is the most important advice that you can give to readers?

…and even more importantly, here are my 10 nominated blogs:

  1.  Heather at The Tri Road
  2. Marc at Run, Hemingway, Run
  3. Danielle at Damn, Girl, That’s a lot of Fattitude!
  4. Leanne at Leanne Nalani
  5. Fat Guy 2 Tri Guy
  6. Erica at Chronicles of a SAHM
  7. Mike at Fat, Beared & Tattooed Cyclist
  8. Stephanie at My life sucks, I think I’ll become a triathlete
  9. 2 Cups ‘N Run
  10. Chris at Or Die Trying

I previously received the Liebster Award back in March – here are my answers from then: http://fatgirltoironman.co.uk/2014/03/01/liebster-award/

What have I been doing since my holiday?

22 Nov Gosport Half Marathon

I’ve been so busy in the fortnight since we’ve been back from Portugal that I’ve not been able to update my blog as much as I’d hoped to, so here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve been up to.

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The Sunday morning after we got back was a cross country race out in the New Forest. It was hard getting up in time for it as I was feeling shattered from the previous day’s travelling, but I knew I had to if I still wanted to be in with a chance at winning the club’s participation award.

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Near the start of the CC6

Near the start of the CC6 (all CC6 photos © Paul A. Hammond)

It was not an easy race, with quite a lot of it being muddy and hilly and the last section was a hard uphill slog.

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CC6 © Paul A. Hammond

CC6 © Paul A. Hammond

I played cat and mouse with Kathy for a while, but towards the end her superior speed won out and she was able to finish ahead of me. I felt quite pleased with my performance as I didn’t give up and I knew that I was running on tired legs.

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CC6 © Paul A. Hammond

CC6 © Paul A. Hammond

Swimming lessons

It was good to be back at my swimming lessons – I hoped that I would be stronger and would not have picked up any bad habits whilst I was away, although I know that swimming with a wetsuit on makes me lazy! I don’t think I’ve mentioned it in any of my blog posts, but in the last session before my holiday, I dived into a pool for the first time in my life. This probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for me it was massive. I’ve spent so long standing on the edge of a pool, but was terrified that I would get too deep and be unable to breathe, or would hit my head on the bottom, so I just couldn’t bring myself to try it. I’m now desperate to go swimming with Stu as I really want to show him how well I can dive.

Chris got us to practise quite a lot of butterfly, which is not (and never will be) one of my favourite strokes. I’ve now had two lessons since I’ve been back and I know that I really need to work on keeping my head more streamlined during front crawl as I lift it up and don’t even realise that I’m doing it. I was also given a few pointers when doing breaststroke to try to keep my hips lower so that my feet don’t come out of the water. I’ll report back on my progress soon!

I received the video of me swimming in Lagos, which has really shown me where my swimming is going wrong, so I’m keen to get in the pool and practise:

Lordshill training

On my first Monday back, I coached a session on hills, so we went to Holly Hill and I got my group to practice various aspects of downhill running which I think went quite well, but it involved more running (to and from the venue) than I had anticipated and my legs were a little bit grumbly!

This Monday, I had planned to do a core session. I had a long list of exercises, but unfortunately, it rained and I didn’t think it would be a good idea to make my athletes lie on wet ground 😦

Southampton Tri Club

Straight after my LRR session on Monday, Stuart and I rushed down to The Quays to have a go at our first session with Southampton Tri Club. Katherine had originally tried to persuade me to wait until she was back, but I wanted to join asap and Huw at work persuaded me to go. I was in a lane with three others: Liz, James and Jo – all of whom are bloggers and LRR members! We did a 200m warm up, which felt like hard work, before being asked to do ‘200 off 4:40’. I didn’t know what that meant, so the coach explained that we had to swim 8 lengths of front crawl and have a break within 4 minutes and 40 seconds. unfortunately, I’m quite slow, so it took me over 4:30 to swim 200m. This would have left me with no break, so I waited for the others to do 2 lengths before joining in again. We had to repeat it 5 times, which felt really hard – I don’t often swim that far in a session. (Later when I asked Stu what he had done, his main set was exactly the same!!! How is that fair?!) We also had to do a variety of sculling drills, but I had to work extra hard as I didn’t have a pair of fins.

Overall, I really enjoyed the session and know that I need to work on my technique if I’m going to do OK at Challenge Weymouth, so I signed up to Southampton Tri Club yesterday evening and am now an official member 🙂

I’ve now done a second swimming session and know that it takes me 4:44 to swim 200m. I’m definitely towards the bottom end of the group, but I am not the slowest and I hope that I’ll start to make good progress.

Yoga

On Tuesday evening, I went back to yoga with Stu. Our usual instructor, Wai, is away, so we have a different instructor. It’s nice to mix up the sessions a little. We did a few shoulder stands and plough pose, which is one of my favourites… although I can’t seem to stop my feet from going right over and touching the ground, whether or not my legs are straight!

Weight Watchers

At my first WW session after our holiday, I found that I had lost 4lbs. I went again today and had lost another pound. I had thought that I might have lost more as several people commented on how good I looked today and I felt that I was looking more trim. My WW leader said that she didn’t think I needed to lose more weight and as I my BMI is now 24.47, which is within the healthy range. I am happy to be classed as a gold member again as the money that I save can be used for my tri club membership, but I would still like to lose at least another stone – I’m sure that it will help me to run faster! Every time I so much as glance at something ‘bad’ I ask myself whether Kat would eat it and the answer is usually ‘no’!

Interval training and social run

On Thursday morning last week, Stu, Liz, Katherine and I met for an interval session. This is when I usually have a Run Camp session, but as there are no more until after Christmas, we decided to have ‘Run Gang’ instead (it’s like ‘Bike Gang’, but with running!) Stu had devised times for us to do 400m intervals, but my Garmin decided to amend my pace and breaks, so I wasn’t getting any rest. In the end, I reset my Garmin and just did the best that I could. My last interval felt really good – for 200m I felt like my technique was as good as Mo Farah’s or Usain Bolt’s – but I was unable to sustain the pace.

On Thursday evening, I went for a lovely 11km run with Teri. It’s nice just to be able to run and chat. We had intended to run around Portswood, but we ended up going through Bevois Valley and then back towards the Common.

This week on Thursday morning, Stu and I met Liz and Katherine for a gentle run around the new parkrun route (Route C). I didn’t want to get out of bed, but was glad that I did the run when I had finished.

Sports massage

On Friday I had a sports massage at You Massage Therapy. The masseur, Pete, is a really nice guy who is interested in sports. I’ve had sports massages from other people, but Pete seems to get the pressure just right. I thought that a massage would be a good way of preparing myself for my forthcoming race.

parkrun

On Saturday morning, I was Run Director at Southampton parkrun. It was meant to be Stu’s turn, but I wanted to save my legs for Gosport Half Marathon. It was the first time that Route C had been used and quite a few people got PBs, so I’m looking forward to trying it.

Tri Expo

After parkrun, we drove down to Bournemouth for the Primera Triathlon Expo. I ended up buying various goodies for myself:

– Endura overshoes

Endura overshoes

Endura overshoes

– Endura toe covers

Endura toe covers

Endura toe covers

– Bike bag

Topeak top tube tri-bag

Topeak top tube tri-bag

I also bought three bags of blueberry protein powder.

Superlife blueberry super protein powder

Superlife blueberry super protein powder

We were both given Bustinskin swimming hats and USN bottles and vooma gels.

USN vooma gel and bottle

USN vooma gel and bottle

Stu decided to check out the bike porn and decided that he liked a Storck bike, but at over £9.5k, it’s a bit out of his price range!!!

Stu admiring a Storck bike

Stu admiring a Storck bikeIMG_1597

To console him, I let him buy a couple of sachets of recovery hot chocolate.

Apres recovery hot chocolate

Apres recovery hot chocolate

Christmas presents

After we left the tri expo, we went to visit Stu’s parents with an ulterior motive in mind… members of Southampton Tri Club are expected to bring a pull buoy, fins and hand paddles to every swimming session. Stu and I had added these to our amazon wish lists, but realised that we need them now. Unfortunately, Stu’s mum had already done her Christmas shopping, so we collected our presents early – thank you, Brian and Sally!

My Christmas presents from Brian and Sally

My Christmas presents from Brian and Sallyspeedo-8-027610006-zoomspeedo-8-017910004-zoom

Gosport Half Marathon

I have kept Graeme’s words in my mind about self-limiting beliefs, so I decided to aim high despite not being on form since April 2012. I decided not to look at my watch for the first two miles of Gosport HM as it takes me nearly that long to warm up, so I was delighted to find that I was running at a reasonable pace when I finally glanced at my watch. I chose to continue running according to how I felt and was delighted to achieve a 5 mile PB (42:10), which meant that I was on track to get somewhere near my HM PB of 1:52:19.
It was an overcast day that was about 6° C with no breeze, so it would seem that those conditions would be ideal for running. Unfortunately, although my breathing was comfortable and my legs felt good, between 8 and 9 miles, I started to overheat and got tunnel vision, so I had to slow down. I took on plenty of water and was fully hydrated before the race, but I could not cool down. At 10 miles, Stu was by the side of the course (he had cycled to the event) and he could see that I looked ill, so he kept popping up for the next three miles as he was worried about me. I was determined to finish and hoped that even if I wasn’t near to my PB, I would still get a sub 2 hour time. I was also aware that I was my club’s leading FV35, so I hoped that I would be able to retain my position.
Alas, it wasn’t to be. In the final mile, I was passed by many of my clubmates. Full On Sport’s chip timing system failed, but according to my Garmin, I finished in 2:00:13. I was incredibly disappointed, but Stu has pointed out to me that not only did I get a 5 mile PB, it was also my second fastest ever HM and it was over 30 seconds faster than I did the race last year. I also managed to completed it (and a cross country race on the day after I got back from Portugal), so as long as I complete a cross country race on 1st December, I will win the Lordshill Road Runners Championship participation award alongside Di Mattingly.
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dsc_4789(1) dsc_4790(2)dsc_4791(1)dsc_4792(1)dsc_4793(1)dsc_4794(1)Gosport Half Marathon Running and smiling at Gosport Half Marathon © Paul A. Hammond

Shopping

As I know that I need to work hard on my cycling, I realised that I had better buy myself some winter cycling clothing, so I went online to Wiggle and ordered myself some bib tights and a long-sleeved jersey. There wasn’t a lot of choice, so I chose DHB Team Wiggle Honda kit as it had great reviews. Orange isn’t my favourite colour, but it all arrived today and I think it looks quite nice.

My new Wiggle Honda kit

My new Wiggle Honda kitIMG_0032

I was also lured in by SportPursuit… it’s such an evil website, as it knows just how to suck me in. I wanted to get a pair of plain black shorts and ended up ordering a pair of black shorts, a Pearl Izumi jersey and a pearl Izumi winter jacket for cycling.

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I think these goodies should arrive just before Christmas 😀

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Preparation for Bramley 20

16 Feb

Well, it feels like it’s been a bit of a lazy week. Usually, I go for LRR’s social run on a Thursday evening (often topped and tailed with a return run to Oasis Academy), but I thought I should taper before Bramley 20, so I didn’t run this week. Yesterday, I worked from home, which meant that I didn’t go swimming, but I did manage to fit in my Friday evening yoga class. It feels like my flexibility is rapidly disappearing, so maybe I should start doing yoga on Tuesdays AND Wednesdays at work, instead of just on Tuesday lunchtimes. I love the relaxation benefits of yoga, but am wondering whether some of my swimming problems are a consequence of the fact that I breathe very slowly.

Today I did Southampton parkrun. The intention was to run with Lou, who was aiming for 32 minutes, but I started chatting to Neil and ended up speeding up a bit. Then I started chatting to Alice and Maz, before dropping back to chat to Tim and Caro. I finished in 30:48, but I’m not too bothered as I didn’t want to push too hard. It was run 94, so I think I’ll finally get to 100 on 30/04/13. It seems like it’s so far away at the moment! On the positive side, today marks my 50th volunteering effort – go me! Next weekend, Tony is pacing Kirsty and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to hang on and get my first sub 26 at Southampton.

Tamsyn running at parkrun

Enjoying running with Maz at parkrun

parkrun stats

parkrun stats

At the moment, my diet is perhaps my biggest challenge. I keep intending to be good, but fail every time. I drank a hot chocolate after parkrun, had brie and cranberry sandwiches with Ellie and then ate some chocolate in town. Tomorrow, I must sort out a nutrition plan for the week… and I must resolve to stick to it.

Tomorrow’s challenge is Bramley 20, which is one of the Hampshire Road Race League races. Six Ladyhillers have entered the 20 mile race, so I’ve a strong chance of finishing in the B team! Last year I completed the race in 3:02:44 (9:08 min/mile or 5:41 min/km). As I rarely do parkrun in 28:25 these days, that now seems unattainable. The good news is that I managed to complete an 18.6 mile run on my own in Portugal, so I’m confident that I can do the distance, even if the speed is poor tomorrow.

Bramley 20 race number

Bramley 20 race number

I haven’t spent time preparing my favourite long run breakfast (carrot cake porridge), so I’ll probably have date and walnut porridge which is my current favourite. I’m undecided about how much to eat… for years, I’ve been eating 30g porridge a day, but am wondering whether eating 50g would stop me from snacking later in the day. It may not be wise debating this before a long race as I don’t want to end up with runners’ cramps tomorrow. I’m also debating the merits of agave nectar… I had thought it would be better than sugar/sugar substitute, but according to some accounts I may as well eat corn syrup. Maybe I should use honey. Any thoughts?