Swim Tour 2014

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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?

sian

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.

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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?’.

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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.

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

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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.

sian

 

 

 

 

London Marathon 2014: What an amazing/awful day

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Highs

– 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!

Lows

– 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! 🙂

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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

sian

Why I’m hanging up my marathon shoes (for a while)

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As I sit here with my leg feeling as though it could drop off at any moment (OK slight exaggeration – I have ITBS and a tight quad and extremely tight glutes), I’m asking myself why am I doing the marathon? I’ve spent the last few weeks in a combined state of elation after a good run and misery after a bad run, my house has been a shit tip, organising meals around work has been a  nightmare, at one stage I had 3 jobs (company director, part time job and full time job), I’ve got lot of other stuff going on and I wonder what the hell possessed me to sign up?

As a newbie runner who hasn’t even mastered the 5k to the best of my ability, should I be taking on the glory of the marathon (let’s face it peeps it’s all about saying you’ve done a 26.2!)? Probably not!

I am now 5 days away from London Marathon and I’m having to foam roller, stretch, ice, heat, bathe in epsom salts and be strapped up like a mummy in the hope that I can shuffle around in a half way decent time. Is this pain worth it? Probably not in the long term.

I guess what I’m saying is BE PATIENT. If you are a new runner, get the basics done and then when you feel like you can really run a marathon in a good time for you without injury – knock yourself out.

I’m hanging up my marathon shoes until I can be a better runner, get stronger on hills and nail the speed.

If I change my mind after I crawl through London marathon on Sunday, watch me eat my words…

sian