About siany1

Fitness blogger, travel addict, couch-potato-come-fitness-oficionado, lover of pie and cake (it's a weakness) and hater of bananas. www.dashing-divas.com

Elbrus 2014: Why I can call myself a mountaineer

When I look back on my recent trip to Elbrus – Europe’s highest peak at 5642m and one of the seven summits – it will not only be the mountain that I remember, but the people I met there.

Yes it would have been wonderful to have had a picture perfect summit day with panoramic views, blue skies and happy faces holding mascots, but it wasn’t to be. Does it make it all the more awesome that 10 out of 13 of us reached the summit? The short answer is yes and here’s why…

Rich and I always try and do some sort of adventure holiday each year and this year was all about mountaineering after having a break last year. Being an incredibly neurotic and anxious person, naturally mountaineering scares me, but then so does meeting people in crowded places and bananas. I simply refuse to be ruled by my many fears and wanted to have one last crack at a high mountain. Before Rich knew it, I had booked the holiday and paid the deposit and we were all set for our epic adventure.

Days 1 and 2

The trip started with a day in Moscow – the thought of flying in to Moscow and then not at the very least seeing Red Square seemed ridiculous so we tacked on a touristy day before heading to the mountains. It quickly became very clear to us that getting taxis around the city is just not feasible (the traffic was absolutely horrendous) so we bought ourselves a Metro ticket and headed towards the city centre. Once you get the hang of the metro, it’s very easy to use. The hardest part was understanding the name of the stops!


Moscow is extremely expensive so rather than wasting our money on an average lunch for more than London prices, we grabbed a McDonald’s and sat in the park doing some people watching . We spent the rest of the day aimlessly wandering around Red Square taking in the Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral.


Day 3

After a very early start (something of a theme for this trip!), we jumped on an internal flight to Milneralyne Vody (approx 2 hours’ from Moscow with Aeroflot), after which we were met by our guide for the week Vladimir – a very friendly and charming chap who largely spoke in broken English!

We spent a further 3 hours driving via mini bus to the small village of Terskol, our base for the next few days at the foot of the mountain. We met our first trip companions: 3 lovely Russian ladies named Maria, Daria and Natalia, and the time ticked away as we exchanged stories about our lives back in the real world. We finally arrived at our hotel (a modest, but comfortable place that would soon look like 5* luxury as the week went on) and met with the remainder of our group over dinner – a large group of German gentlemen made up of 6 friends and a father and son team.

After tasting some of the culinary ‘delights’ of Moscow (I would prefer not to discuss the disgusting cheese slice with raisins and broccoli I sampled over breakfast!), my expectations were at an all-time low, but I was pleasantly surprised by the food. Delicious homemade soup made up of vegetables and fresh herbs, followed by chicken and rice, as well as pasta courses were some of the many  dishes we had over the course of the week.

Day 4

After a delicious breakfast of fried eggs and porridge, we set off on our first acclimatisation hike, which saw us take an incredibly steep and exhausting path up towards the cable cars from the foot of the valley up to around 3000m.  I started chatting with Andreas, who is in fact a doctor and we shared our various healthcare/pharmaceutical experiences, and Alex who had come here with his father. I am so envious of people who do things like this with their parents and siblings. In fact, watch out Alex – I may adopt Heinz as my honorary dad! ;-)

I must confess it had been a long while since I’d hiked anywhere (does trail running count?) and I was feeling quite exhausted after the first hill, which was a little bit demoralising.

Day 5

Another early start as we set off on our second acclimatisation hike up from the valley this time to the observatory at 3100m. This hike wasn’t quite as steep as the previous day and I found it much easier going. In the evening, Vladimir did a quick kit check and told me that my beloved La Sportiva B3 boots would not be suitable and that I’d have to hire horrible plastic boots as well as a Michelin man-style down jacket and ice axe.


I felt quite annoyed because I was sure the all this talk of ‘extreme temperatures’ was complete overkill and that he just had a deal going with the hire company. Oh how wrong we were.


Day 6

After breakfast, we headed up on the cable car and the chair lift to the infamous barrels at the Bochki camp (accommodation made out of old oil drums) at 3800m (the start of our snow-based trekking) armed with all of our kit and supplies for the week. The weather was absolutely boiling (think sahara desert with snow) and I started to worry that it would be too hot and that plastic boots were a waste of time! We did a short acclimatisation hike to get used to the hideous plastic boots up to around 4100m and returned for lunch in the the battered old caravan.


Maria our cook (a lady with more gold than white teeth!) managed to cook up a delicious homemade soup in her make-shift kitchen. The lunch also included cheese and ham, bread and sweets to keep our energy levels up. We sat in the caravan drinking tea and listening to dreadful Russian Europop interspersed with the Cranberries until we were kicked out and the next group came along.

It is worth mentioning the toilets, or ‘the spa’ as it was later referred to, at this point. I have seen my fair share of disgusting toilets over the years (most of which have been in France), but these were probably among the worst I’ve had to endure – a smelly hole in the ground. Every time I visited the toilets I wanted to dowse my entire body in iodine.

Day 7

For the last of our acclimatisation hikes, we headed up from the barrels to just shy of the Pastuckhova rocks at around 4500m. It was a tiring day finishing at around 3pm, but the majority of the group were really keen to attempt the summit in the early hours of the following morning, which actually turned out to be perfect conditions (clear blue skies). Unfortunately, our guide suggested we instead take a rest day at the barrels.


Day 8

We had a later start as we were scheduled in to have a rest day and do some ice axe arrest and crampon training for an hour of so. Ordinarily, a rest day would be most welcome, but the lack of home comforts make the barrels an unwelcome place to spend any time. I decided to nap in the afternoon knowing full well that I was very unlikely to get any sleep that night ahead of our start in the early hours of the morning.

Day 9 – Summit day

elbrus-routeOur guide had told us that because of the predicted conditions, we would be getting the snowcat (an enormous snow plough type contraption with seats) up to 5100m (above Pashtukov rocks) and walking from there. This meant a 3am start. I was quite disappointed as I would rather have started where we left off.


The snowcat seemed like fun for the first 2 minutes, but the novelty quickly wore off when I realised I would have to hang on just to keep myself from sliding down for 10 minutes. Not the most ideal preparation for an exhausting day ahead.

As we emerged from the snowcat it quickly became apparent how cold it was, how high we were and just how steep the section of the mountain was! I was breathing quite heavily for the first 5 minutes and honestly thought I couldn’t go on. I kept plodding along though for what I can only imagine was another 45 minutes and looked behind me and saw that nobody was there. In fact, one of the chaps had gone back down.  As we came over the saddle between the Eastern and Western summit and headed left for the Western summit, the cold and the wind hit me like a thousand shards of glass into my face. My face hurt, my lips hurt, my fingers hurt. In fact, given that the boots were the most uncomfortable footwear known to man, they were pretty much the only thing that didn’t hurt from the cold.

There was absolutely no respite from the biting 50+ km/h winds and every time we stopped everyone chose to preserve their fingers rather than risk taking their mittens off to eat or drink. We pushed on towards what would normally be a narrow very exposed snow path, however, the recent snowfall meant that the path had all but disappeared and we were blindly relying on the grip from our crampons and ice axes. Walking through fresh snow is exhausting at the best of times, but even more so when you are terrified of falling.

A particularly steep section of the path had a fixed rope attached and we clipped ourselves in hoping that the rope would break our fall should the worst happen. I nervously and gingerly worked my way across – by this point there was nobody immediately in front or behind me. I was shaking and terrified – I looked back and I saw Heinz a few feet away and he nodded in approval. I was doing OK.



Another flat section – phew! I cried with joy, disappointment, elation and fear. ‘What the hell kind of stupid thing am I doing?!’ I asked myself. My fingers were in agony. I felt completely alone – I couldn’t see Rich and I couldn’t talk to anyone as the wind was too strong to have a conversation and I didn’t have the energy to shout. We rested for a while. I sat down and leaned forward and shut my eyes. I couldn’t get up – ‘Maybe I’m going to die here?’ I thought: ‘I’m too tired to get up’. ‘Get your shit together’ a voice in my head shouted and I collected myself. Vladimir came over to ask if I was ok and got my drink out of my bag for me. I took a few sips and it lifted my spirits a bit and I got up. ‘Just another 40 minutes until the summit’ he said. ‘Ok 40 minutes – I can do this’.


The path towards the summit was relatively flat, but completely exposed to the winds blowing grown men off their feet. At one stage I remember standing watching as Alex stood unable to move because of the strength of the wind. Slowly but surely though we reached edge of the summit. What I can only imagine in reasonably clear conditions would take 2 minutes to walk up, seemed to take a lifetime. I had to crawl up a 3 metre slope to the summit using my ice axe and crampons as the wind was too strong to stand. I was almost there when 2 hands reached out and pulled me up. It was Rich and someone else – I don’t remember who. I had made it. I lay there exhausted for a minute and then stood up. Rich took a picture. My mouth hurt too much to smile.


This didn’t feel like the summit at all – there was no view to speak of, only snow-filled air all around us. The summit was absolutely crowded with Chinese climbers too. I just wanted to get away. I bashed my hands together to try and get the circulation back into my thumbs. They didn’t feel right and I panicked: ‘I need my thumbs for typing’ I thought.

Given that the guide said it would probably take 6 hours to reach the summit in normal conditions, we had done so in an impressive 7 hours.

We headed back down and the wind was so strong it was blowing my hood off and exposing the side of my face to the biting wind. Back at the fixed ropes, the path looked even less defined than before. I cautiously placed every footstep in the snow and made sure that my ice axe was firmly placed, but the snow was so soft it was giving away and then I fell. Only about 6 feet, but it felt like 3 times that. I dug in my ice axe and crampons and lay there. I couldn’t see or hear anything and then I saw Vladimir come over. He told me to flip over and dig in my crampons. I felt ok on my front and moved across quickly to to next section of ropes. I saw the Russian girls in front of me and then I heard some shouting in Russian. I looked over and I saw that the group of Chinese climbers were practically walking on top of us on what was arguably the most dangerous section. I felt angry as all I wanted to do was get back onto the flatter section, but we kept having to stop to let them pass us. We unclipped ourselves from the fixed rope and the guide fashioned a rope tethering us all together. I didn’t enjoy this at all – I felt like I was being pulled backwards and forwards unable to find any kind of rhythm. I just wanted to walk at my own pace. I heard Dasha cry out in terror and I felt her pain. ‘Should we really be here?’ I thought. ‘If this was the Alps you wouldn’t be allowed up’. We carried on though and it suddenly hit me how utterly freezing I was. As we arrived back at the drop off point at 5100m, Vladimir asked if anyone wanted a lift down in the snowcat. I decided that I was just too cold to carry on and took him up on his offer. This time I sat outside at the front of the snowcat hanging on for dear life with virtually nothing between me and ground beneath me. I was shivering to the core and Vladimir gave me a hug and made sure I was ok. Back at the barrels, I removed the wet clothing, added several layers and lay there in my sleeping bag for 2 hours before the rest of the group arrived back – it took 4 hours before my core temperature returned to normal. I decided to forego lunch and get some rest. By dinner time (8pm) I was back to normal though and just glad the whole thing was over. All I could think about was having a nice shower, wearing clean clothes and proper toilets. We had to wait though until the next morning. For the first time in the whole trip though I slept solidly and soundly for 5 hours!

Day 10

We took the cable car back down to relative civilisation, showered and had some lunch where copious amount of beer and vodka were consumed. Rich and I headed to market to buy some souvenirs to mark our epic adventure. Rich chose a t-shirt and I decided I was more likely to actually use a baseball cap.


For the celebratory dinner, we headed to a local restaurant to try out the traditional shashlik – Russian shish kebab – and smoke a shisha (first time for me). We all had a very early start so after only a few beers we all decided to call it a night. The trip had come to an end and we were going home.


Day 11

As we took our flight home, I felt a sense of loss that I would never see these people, who had practically been my family for the last 10 days, again. If I did see them it just wouldn’t be the same. It’s the end of an era and we’re back to normality.



Looking back now, I realise just what Rich and I have achieved and how amazing each and every one of the group were. There was absolutely no shame in feeling exhausted or turning back – the conditions were like hell on earth. One thing is for sure – we can all call ourselves true mountaineers.

I said no more summit bagging after this, but right now I feel such an amazing sense of pride that I may well go back on my word…


Still time to enter to win a space on a triathlon

If you fancy a chance of winning a place on tri for life triathlon (any distance of your choice) on 7th September all you need to do is:

  • Blog about why you want to do your first triathlon or why you love triathlons (linking to dashing-divas.com and triforlife.co.uk in your post).
  • Or, tweet the following: ‘I want to win a place on @triforlifeuk triathlon with @dashing_divasuk http://tinyurl.com/ndxfqt8′

Check out the post here for more details.

Competition: Fancy a tri with tri for life?

After the marathon, I was so cheesed off with running, but it never occurred to me to consider a triathlon for 2 reasons: 1) I used to be a really good swimmer – that’s my thing, but over the years I’ve lost my technique and confidence and 2) I have the cycling skills of a 5-year-old.

adam whiehead

After a lesson with Olympic swimmer Adam Whitehead in April at the Swim Tour in Oxford (places are still available for Southampton, Stockport, Belfast and Surrey if you fancy being trained by Olympians), I realised that with a few very minor tweaks, some new kit (hand paddles and a snorkel, which allows you to focus on technique without worrying about breathing), and some new-found confidence, my swimming is actually pretty damn solid. This made me realise that if I could JUST get over my fears about cycling (falling off, hurting myself, looking like an idiot and getting run over, etc.) maybe, just maybe, I could have a go at a triathlon.

So, over the last few weeks, I’ve dragged by over-developed thigh muscles out on the bike and do you know what, I’ve become mildly obsessed with it. I’m now frantically checking the weather forecast and calculating the hours of daylight left to see if I can get a cheeky bike ride in of an evening. Years of chronic overstriking and huge quads have given me an innate ability to cycle. I knew my chunky thighs would come in useful for something! I’m still getting to grips with the gears, but I’m sure that will come in time. I’m not going for any world speed records after all.


You know what’s coming right? Yes that’s right folks – I have signed up for my first triathlon on 7th September. I chose the tri for life triathlon as it looks perfect for beginners, it takes place in the stunning grounds of Woburn Abbey, and, as it happens, it’s organised by a small friendly team of people. It’s also a charity triathlon. It’s been ages since I’ve done anything for charity because running is something I just do it seems rude to ask for sponsorship. This, however, is a major challenge for me. I’ll be raising money for charities such as Great Ormond Street Children’s Charity, Rays of Sunshine and the Teenage Cancer Trust.


I’m doing the short distance (which is long enough frankly) -

  • 400m swim
  • 20k cycle
  • 5k run

My goals are simple:

  1. Have fun
  2. Try not to look like too much of an idiot
  3. Not fall off the bike

You can follow my training over the next few weeks through my training updates, plans and Q&As.


Competition time!

Fancy having a go yourself at your first triathlon? The lovely people at tri for life have very kindly given me two free spots to give away to two very, very lucky people.

How to enter

  • To enter, all you need to do is blog about why you want to do your first triathlon or why you love triathlons (linking to dashing-divas.com and triforlife.co.uk in your post).
  • Or, tweet the following: ‘I want to win a place on @triforlifeuk triathlon with @dashing_divasuk http://tinyurl.com/ndxfqt8′


  • Qualifying posts must link back to dashing-divas.com and triforlife.co.uk.
  • Winners must agree to blog/tweet about their training (linking to dashing-divas.com and triforlife.com and @triforlifeuk and @dashing_divasuk, respectvely).
  • Winners must also pledge to raise a minimum of £200 for tri for life – it’s for charidee people!
  • Winners will be chosen at random on Friday 13th June at 8pm UK time.

Good luck everyone! x


Race report: Edinburgh Marathon Festival

Going up to Edinburgh to take part in the marathon festival has been on the top of my list for a long, long time now. It’s only been a matter of weeks since I ran in the London Marathon a haven’t done a great deal of training since then so this was only ever going to be an excuse to check out Edinburgh and have some fun. The Edinburgh Festival is a weekend of running, starting with the 5 and 10k on the Saturday and ending with the half and the full marathon on the Sunday.


Rich, Ewan and I headed up on the Friday night for our epic trip. The drive took us 6 hours and we didn’t get there until gone 11pm. Thank goodness for the lovely owner of the B&B, who kindly waited up for us. Rich was running in the 10k on the Saturday morning so we were up quite early to see him off. The 10k takes place around the beautiful Holyrood Park at the foot of Arthur’s seat. He said a lot of the course was flat apart from one section which was quite hilly. Anyway, he managed another fab PB (around 50 minutes). We spent the rest of the day mooching about in Edinburgh, watched the gun go off at 1pm outside of the castle.


On the Sunday it was Ewan and my turn to run in the marathon and half marathon, respectively. Ewan, who crazily runs lots of marathons (I think he’s as mad as a box of frogs), was aiming for a PB as close to 4 hours as possible. I realised pretty much an hour into our journey that I hadn’t bought my TomTom GPS watch, but it wasn’t the end of the world because I was just going to use the half marathon as a training run anyway. Besides, I had my Nike+ app (or so I thought).


In true Scottish style, the conditions on the morning were pretty horrible and I was drenched standing around waiting for the race to get off. Here’s how the race went:


Ewan achieved an official race PB of 4:13. I loved Edinburgh, but next year I think I’ll do the 10k on the Saturday so that I can spend some more time checking out the city!

The verdict: DIVA rating 4/5

rating 4 of 5
Good points:
– Nice coastal route
– Started in a central location (easy to find)
– Starting pens
– Nice medal and really good goody bag with a decent technical T-shirt
Bad points:
– The finish is nowhere near the start so you have to organise your own transport or book the buses, which is not ideal when you usually just want to get back and shower
– Really early start (8am on a Sunday)
– Not overly keen on loopback courses



A weekend of running: Nike we own the night and Oxford Town and Gown


A couple of weeks ago (my first proper run since the London marathon might I add) I took part in the Nike We Own the Night 10k and managed to rope in a friend of mine in on it too. I did the same race last year (you can read about it here), but there were a few organisational issues making it a pretty below par affair. I’m pleased to report that every single one of these issues had been resolved and this year’s event was pretty awesome (well done race organisers!).

- Race corrals – check!

- Race bling – check. After last years disappointing bracelet (which landed up in the bin), this year we got given an awesome necklace

- Bottle necks – nearly gone, apart from a section towards the finish.

- Warmup – check. Last year I was randomly jumping up and down not knowing that the hell was going on, but this year they had people demonstrating the moves on the podium.

- Pacers – check!

- Bar – check, which I was just too cold to go in! :-(

The only thing that let it down slightly, which is beyond anyone’s control, was the fact that it was unseasonably cold, wet and miserable so I was too cold to meet anybody and just wanted to get home straight afterwards!

I didn’t really own the night – the Night owned me! My legs felt heavy and I managed to run a personal worst 10k time (certainly in the last year), but it was fun! :-)


Race number 2 was the Oxford Town and Gown 10k, which takes place through the historic centre of Oxford. This time I was official photographer/bag holder for Rich who was running with his friend Matt – a total newbie to running.


I was originally supposed to be pacing Matt, but I decided that two back-to-back races would probably kill me. We also had no idea how fast Matt would be running as, in typical newbie runner style, he hadn’t really been taking much notice of time and was counting a ‘5k’ as anywhere between 5.5k and 6k (soon he’ll be like the rest of us though and stopping his Garmin dead on 5k and running up and down the road past his house to make his watch say ‘13.1 miles’).

We had absolutely no idea if he would smash it out in 30 minutes or 60 minutes. As it happens, I wouldn’t have been able to keep up with him for more than about 30 seconds because he was AWESOME! I’ve been running for ages now (about 3 years), training all the time, eating well, doing drills, threshold and Fartlek sessions, etc and I still look like Gollum when I run. Matt rocks up with a running style like Mo himself – high knee lift and a kick to die for – barely breaking a sweat and making running look completely effortless in an incredible time of 50:30. Poor Rich was shortly behind him after nearly dying trying to catch up with him with a massive PB of 51:06.


Matt is now running the Oxford half marathon, where we expect him to either win or maybe come second? ;-) You can check out his fundraising page here.

Running SMARTer



For me, the marathon was an unmitigated disaster. I’ve never been one for dwelling on shitstorms too long though – there are always lessons to be had!

The biggest lesson is that picking and choosing training plans based on hearsay, Runner’s World, twitter and the bloke down the pub is perhaps not the best strategy. I need a plan tailored to fit around my needs, what my body is capable of and the plan needs to adapt based on how busy and stressed I am at the time. I have also come to terms with the fact that I am busy and when you can’t run more it’s better to run SMARTer – with every run having a specific purpose. I shall no longer avoid intervals, threshold sessions and Farlek runs! I also need to stop thinking about what I think I should be doing and do what I want to do and what I enjoy – half marathons.

Who is better to help me with my own personal plan than a coach right? Cue my lovely new coach Ben from Full Potential who sends me weekly training plans, advice and support. Coaches aren’t just reserved for athletes – we average runners can also have a trainer. After all, running is all about self improvement and setting our own personal goals.


So my new goal is to run faster and for me that means a 23.30 minute 5k, a sub-50 minute 10k and a 1.50 half marathon.

How am I going to do this?

- Stick to the plan – there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a training plan on the wall and crossing it off as you complete each item (something I saw a friend of Facebook do)!

- Embrace interval training on my own. In the past I’ve always relied on others to pull me along at running club speed sessions, but again these are ‘one size fits all’. I’ve been making use of my marvelous TomTom multisport watch to set personalised interval sessions and it’s flippin brilliant!

- Keep my goals realistic and adaptable – sometimes my goals are completely ridiculous and I feel deflated when I then, unsurprisingly, don’t achieve them. If you keep them realistic, when you achieve them you just set new goals.

- Start focussing on running technique – it’s time to banish the niggles and run more efficiently. It’s amazing how making small changes to my running style can not only minimise injury risk but shave a few minutes off a half marathon. Over the coming weeks I have some drills to do to try and stop over striding and get my legs moving faster.

- Make stretching my friend – I’ve really missed doing yoga. I couldn’t fit it in much with marathon training and my favourite yoga teacher has moved away, but I’ve now found a yoga studio where I work and joined GloYoga so I’m planning on fitting it in at least twice a week, even if it’s only a 10-minute session.

- Make running fun again – instead of pounding the pavements around Bicester all the time, I plan on doing some more runcations, even if the race is just a training run.


- Sort out my nutrition – I need to eat more healthy snacks in the afternoon so that my evening runs are less laboured and I know I sweat a fair bit running so I’m drinking a SIS  electrolyte drink before every run.

- Cross train – I’m adding swimming, cycling and runner-specific strength training to the schedule thanks to my PT.


- Be cool – if a run doesn’t go well it’s not the end of the world – it’s only running.

Have you done a marathon recently? What are you plans post-marathon craziness?


Swim Tour 2014


Fancy learning to swim with Olympic athletes or perhaps, like me, you just need a bit of a refresher on your technique? Total Swimming, in collaboration with Decathlon and Speedo, are holding free swimming lessons in 6 locations across the UK (3 session per location). All you need to do is pop along to the website and sign up.

I’m going along to the one in Oxford on Sunday. So might see some of your there?


The one where I kicked Wakeboarding’s butt

At the start of the year Rich and I had two spreadsheets – 1 was a list of random sports and activities that we want to try out, including things like archery and getting my climbing qualification, and the other was a list of must-visit destinations. With Portugal, Russia and Edinburgh to be ticketed off the list, we were doing extremely well with the holiday list, but have both failed epically on the random sporting list.


When spogo asked me to come along and try out Wakeboarding at Hove Lagoon I jumped at the chance. Possibly not the best post-marathon recovery admittedly, but who can pass up the opportunity to try something new, especially when World Champion Iwan Thomas was going to be there?!

spogo was created as part of the digital legacy of the Olympic games, to inspire more people to get active more often. spogo enables users to find a range of sports and physical activities in their local area with data collected from 30,000 venues, 55,000 facilities and 25,000 clubs, plus other events and activities (such as the Cancer Research ‘Race for Life’ series). Their goal, which I whole-heartedly agree support, is to raise awareness of fun days out which involve physical activities and sports. Amen!

For those of you who don’t know what Wakeboarding is – it’s a bit like snowboarding only on water. The real beauty of Hove Lagoon is that you are towed along by a pulley system rather than behind a boat so you can go up and down as much as you like with minimal effort.

As we lined up to collect our wetsuits and get changed, everybody was handed their respective small, medium or large wetsuits. They took one look at me and said ‘have you got a large child’s suit?’.



Now I’m not going to lie – I was bricking it. I’m not one of those modest ‘ah shucks, I’m probably going to be rubbish at this’ people who then absolutely whoops it. I am genuinely quite pants at a lot of things. I honestly expected to be on my arse for the whole day. Much to my surprise, I totally nailed it! Yep you heard me – up on my feet first go. Can I get a whoop whoop?!

What I loved the most about Wakeboarding is how quick it is to see real improvements. Every run I was learning something new, whether it be turning, improving my posture on the board or, in the case of one of the more experienced people, learning a little jump. It was also laugh out loud fun and I pretty much had a smile on my face the whole day. I also met a blogging kindred spirit in Adam from Fitness Fan.


So, my message is – try something new and you might just find your hidden talent.


Big thanks to spogo for organising the event and inviting me, Nick Davies and the marvellous people at Hove Lagoon for having us and the delicious lunch.






London Marathon 2014: What an amazing/awful day


There are two things in this life that terrify me: bananas and feeling/being sick. One of those fears I overcame and the other I didn’t.


It’s no great secret that I have struggled with the training for this marathon. When you add in a new place you don’t know well, not knowing many people to run with, having two jobs (one of which is busy and new), being a company director, having a previous life to sort out – any kind of marathon training is virtually impossible.

I haven’t enjoyed the lead up to this marathon much either. The training for Brighton involved beautiful runs along the beach and runs out in the countryside, not a bypass!

BUT London is a once in a lifetime marathon and I was so fortunate to be given the opportunity to run I was going to give it everything I had, in spite of picking up ITB strain and glute pain 2 weeks before.


I stayed up in London the night before with a friend of mine who was also running where I was treated to fajitas, a comfy bed, copious amounts of delicious banana cake and a lift to the station.


I’d been feeling quite tired, my leg was stiff and I was a bit apprehensive beforehand, but having someone to chat with before the race was great, Zoe went off to her insanely quick pen (3:15-3:30) and I headed back to my pen (4:15-4:30). I knew a few people from my running club would be the same pen, but I didn’t spot anyone until just after we got started. So what a lovely surprise when I bumped into Tony!?! What a treat to have someone as positive as him to run with! My strategy was to start quite slowly and save any energy in the legs for later on when it gets tough. I started to feel twinges in my legs from about mile 8, which got me feeling quite worried to start with, but actually they started to go after about 10 miles and I was starting to feel quite comfortable, if a little hot. Tony and I chatted for the next 5 or 6 miles and I started to feel really jaded in myself and as if I was going to vomit. My heart was racing and I felt ‘wrong’. I had to stop for a little while and get some salts on board so I ate a few salted cashews and off I went again.

Between miles 19 and 21 I walk/jogged a bit as the running was making my feel really quite ill and I had a lump in my throat. I just wanted the whole ordeal to be over, but the crowd support was wonderful – ‘come on Sian – you can do it’ brought tears to my eyes and warmed my heart. I called and sent a text to Rich and told him how ill I was feeling and he said to just take it easy and not go for a time so that’s what I did. At mile 22 I decided to suck it up and push on. My legs were feeling good, my stomach wasn’t and it took every ounce of strength for me to keep going.

All that time I had worried about my legs and didn’t even think about how I would actually feel in myself.


- Hanging out with Zoe at the start.

- Crowd support was epic! I felt like everyone in the crowd was a friend looking out for me.

- Seeing the legend that is Sami at mile 8!!

- Running 17-odd miles with the lovely Tony.

- Superb organisation – like a well-oiled machine.

- The phenomenal support I had from Adidas UK and the lovely guys at Speed Communications. Thank you! x

- Showers along the route – awesome!

- No blisters and feet in one piece – loved my Adidas Boosts!


- Having to duck and dive, and lose my rhythm because of congestion.

- The heat and the lack of a breeze (I forget how stuffy cities can be).

- Feeling sick when my legs were feeling good.

- I hate sweets of any nature (well, at least for a month).

I finished in 5:08 – still a PB by 12 minutes. I am counting the days until my legs are able to get faster again and start working towards my goal of a 1:50 half marathon.

Will this be my last marathon? Probably – I went out on a high though! :-)


Thanks to Zoe for a place to stay, Sami for the hug at mile 8, Tony for running with me and taking the fab pictures, Adidas for providing my kit and my place, David and Harry at Speed Communications for being fab, and Ben from Full Potential for his support! And well done to everyone who took part and all the marvelous supporters – you rock! x