#InternationalWomensDay

International Womens Day

8th March marks International Women’s Day and rather than a long rambling post about equality amongst other things, I thought I would keep things positive by sharing a few women that inspire me to lead the life I do.

#1 Leena Gade

Since I ventured into the world of engineering, Leena’s achievements have definitely helped encourage me along the way. In the ‘man’s world’ of engineering, a career in the industry can sometimes be a little daunting.

#2 Lucy Charles

Whilst the thought of doing some of her training sessions makes me shudder, I love following Lucy’s training for Triathlon and Ironman competitions. If she’s not swimming she’s cycling, and if neither of those she’s probably running. Then there’s her gym work too. It makes me tired just typing it all!

#3 Jazz Carlin

I met the GB Swimmer when she came to my local gym for an event with Speedo and she is one of the most down to earth people I have met. Keen to help people with their swimming! I am always jealous however when she posts about training camps from somewhere much hotter than the UK.

#4 Joanna Rowsell Shand

I’ve been lucky enough to meet this incredible athlete at a Time Trial her and her husband organised in the West Pennines. I certainly didn’t expect to see her marshalling on the side of the road in the pouring rain warning us about a rather big pothole! With a big involvement in British Cycling’s Breeze programme, she’s doing more work than ever encouraging people to get active by riding bikes.

#5 Claire Rose

I met Claire at the Isle of Man in 2017 in the hours before she won her National TT Championship title. Her relaxed personality was a breath of fresh air from the ‘serious athlete’ personalities that were in abundance on the day of the big race. With a big team change this year, I’m looking forward to seeing how her season turns out!

Happy #InternationalWomensDay !

Who are your inspiring role models when it comes to being a #girlboss ? Leave them in the comments below!

Review: Speedo Tri-Suit

 

Speedo Tri-Suit Review, courtesy of Simply Swim

Going into my first Triathlon was a bit like going into the unknown. I had no clue how my body would react to it or if there was any special kit I needed. It was a sprint distance Tri in a swimming pool, so thankfully I didn’t need to splurge out on a wetsuit! However, I did need a Tri-Suit.

I was looking around on the Internet and trying to figure out what size and brand I should go for, then the opportunity arose to review one for swim shop, Simply Swim. Looking through their website it felt like I’d struck gold. A reasonably priced Tri-Suit by Speedo. It looked great online and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t drawn to the pink stripes on it! I knew I wanted a predominantly black suit, but I like to keep things a bit colourful too!


When it arrived I was surprised how well it fitted my athletic body shape. I’m forever struggling with sizing due to my broad shoulders and chunky cyclist quads. The only query I did have was how I would deal with the thin padding on the bike. The padding can’t obviously be as bulky as normal cycling shorts, or it would just fill with water!

On the morning of the Tri, I was eager to get into my Tri-Suit and race. Luckily I was one of the first off so I was soon in the pool. I’d only trained in the pool in a normal swimming costume, so I was surprised how comfy and non-restricting swimming in the Tri-Suit was. Due to the wide panel that goes between the shoulders, I thought this may restrict my shoulders. However, the more you look at it, the outer parts of that panel are mesh, meaning the main section sit right in between my shoulder. Hence, little restriction whilst swimming.


There is also another mesh section a bit further down the back and in the centre. I felt this also aided the swim, allowed me to get into my normal position on the bike, as well as accommodating the slight twisting of the upper body on the run.

Riding through the Glyn Ceiriog Valley and out on the run, I was expecting the legs of the Tri-Suit to rise a fair bit. I have this dilemma with my cycling shorts quite a bit! But I can genuinely say I had no issues with the Tri-Suit legs rising up, which is most likely thanks to the grips on the inside of the legs. With some women complaining about discomfort in their suits, I’d obviously chosen my Tri-Suit well!


All of the seaming is overlocked meant I had no issue with discomfort from the suit rubbing on my skin as I put all my effort into getting round. The thin padding I mentioned previously did its job particularly well too. Granted it was only around 14 miles on the bike, but the majority of that was sitting down.

For the £80 it was being sold for, you are definitely getting a lot for your money. It’s clearly designed around the task in hand as well as comfort for the athlete using it. I’m even considering getting a swim suit to train in, as I was much more comfortable swimming in my Tri-Suit than my normal swim suit.


For a newbie to Sprint Triathlon’s like me, this suit was perfect to get me round my first Triathlon, and most importantly make me want to do another one!

Find out how I got on during the Triathlon through the link below, as well as my first thoughts on the Tri-Suit when it arrived and its detailing…

Chirk Tri

First Thoughts on a Speedo Tri-Suit

Chirk Tri – Fuelled by Easter Eggs

It finally came around, the race that I’ve been gambling on about for months…

My first Triathlon.

And…drumroll… I completed it, which when I could barely swim 25m last October, was all I ever wanted to do.

Going into it I genuinely had no idea how it would turn out. I was doing a typical me and overthinking and over planning everything. In my head, I wanted to wear socks for the bike and run. I needed gloves and a jacket for the ride so I didn’t get cold. I was going to put a Buff on to stop my wet hair dripping down my back.

What happened in the transition from swim to bike?

I left transition with no socks, no jacket, no Buff and no gloves. I was venturing out into the valley to Glyn Ceiriog in a wet Tri-Suit. Nice one Lucy…nice one…ha!


Off out on the bike there was a long drag uphill to the half way point. A climb which looks less steep than it actually is, so it’s easy for it to play with your mind. You feel like you’re struggling a lot more than you should be. I felt a lot stronger than I thought I would be and on the descent I would only feel stronger as the climb was now a descent. It was such a great road to race on. There was a final kick up a hill heading back up to Chirk, where I was expecting my legs to hurt a fair bit, but I somehow just breezed up it. I think I was on such a high after the swim my legs just kept going!


The swim isn’t actually something I’ve spoken about first, despite it coming first in the Tri! So how did that go?

Interesting to say the least.


I may have misheard, but I’m sure someone said the pool was shallow at both ends, but it wasn’t. I push off for my first length and get to the other side of hot pool. It reach for a bar and go to put my feet on the bottom of the pool. The floor was nowhere to be seen along with the bar. Well done Lucy, you’ve nearly drowned and you’ve done one length. Ha! Thankfully I managed to grab onto the side and carry on!

But after a few lengths another swimmer past me and as I went to breath, rather a lot of water went into my mouth. Thankfully I was still in a shallow part of the pool when that happened, or god knows how that would have ended. After that point, all the swimming techniques went out the window and I just wanted to get out on my bike. Next minute, a sign with the lovely number 2 on meant I had two lengths left. I quickly sped up and was soon out of the pool!

The biggest hurdle of the Triathlon for me was done. After what was always going to be the strongest parts for me, the bike, it was back into transition for the run. It did involve me stopping dead at the dismount line though after forgetting about it!

Transition from bike to run was interesting. Despite me feeling strong on the bike, I was freezing cold! The downhills on the way back meant in transition I could barely feel my hands or feet. Have you ever tried to put running shoes onto your wet feet that you no longer have any feeling in? Don’t. It’s near damn impossible. I apologise to anyone who was around me at that point in transition…ha!

Being as cold as I was, I picked up my cycling jacket (to run…I know I’m mad), my gloves and a Buff. The first part of the run felt rather odd because it felt like all of the blood was rushing back to my legs. I still couldn’t warm myself up though.


At this point I put on my Buff as a headband. From my training runs I normally put a Buff on now to stop my hair going in my face, but I also found it raised my body temperature quite a bit  if I put it over my ears. So my Buff became invaluable during the run on my Tri. My body temperature quickly warmed up and I could get round the 2.6 mile run to the finish.

Running took a back seat in training vernthe past few weeks. My swimming was important and I’d spent a lot of time at Crit races and a TT. The time had past and it dawned on me how little I’d been out running. Yet, when my Garmin bleeped showing my first mile was a 8:22 my pace wasn’t as bad as I’d thought.

Similarly to a Duathlon I did last October, when I realised I could possibly get a sub hour and a half time, I made sure I picked up the back on the last downward stretch to the finish. I was in nowhere near of a state as I was for the Duathlon at the finish either. I was just on a massive high from the whole thing. Something that had been on my Bucket List for so long was now ticked off. And I think I may even do another one…

My family have been amazing since I booked onto the Tri. Thinking I’m mad when I’ve come back from a long run or a tough swim session. I’m just glad I managed to finish it to make all of the training worthwhile. I may have splashed and struggled at times, but I kept my race face mentality with the only thing on my mind being the finish. Ryan’s been the biggest support and I definitely couldn’t have done it without him. Not letting me have too many lazy days and taking me on long days out on the bike.

Everyone at Chirk Tri did amazingly today from the competitors to those involved in running the event. We can’t forget the Marshals either! Their smiling faces were a big encouragement on the way round.

I was so nervous at the start, but the women who were swimming at the same time as me were full of encouragement. It definitely helped when the whistle went to start swimming.

The way I’ve rambled on, anyone would think I’d done a marathon! To everyone doing the London Marathon or anything active, whatever your reason behind doing it, keep it up & well done!

Finishing in 1 hour 26 minutes? I’m happy with that.

I just need to find something else to train for now…but look out for future blog posts where I review the kit that got me through my first Triathlon:

#WorkoutWednesday: 5th April 2017


Swiping to the right on my phone to see the countdown to my first triathlon ticking away, it hit me. We’re now in the month of April and it’s less than 20 days until it all kicks off. 

Yikes!

I’ve had plenty of training to do and thankfully got the 400m mark in the pool, which is what I need to do come race day. It was an odd session really, definitely mind over matter. 

Getting into the pool I was tense and unsure of if I could hit the 400m mark. With obviously not long left to get there, I was naturally a bit worried! Worrying played havoc with my breathing, but all of a sudden I found my self just going back and to in the pool. Racking those all important lengths up. 

Granted, once those 400m were done I had to sit in the jacuzzi pool for a bit to get my breath back…but I still reached my 400m milestone!

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in getting a personal trainer or following a strict diet, but sometimes setting yourself some realistic goals each month can make a huge difference! I’ve built up my ability in the 100m at a time.

What do you find helps with training? Do you prefer to train alone, or get someone to sort all your sessions out for you? Leave it in the comments below, whether you’re a training champion or just do it to keep healthy/enjoy it. 

#WorkoutWednesday – 8th March 2017

I’ve not got round to posting about my statistics for February yet, so to kick this week’s Workout Wednesday I thought I’d go through a few stats I accumulated over the second month of 2017. 


Where cycling is concerned, I was shocked to realise how little I’d actually been out getting some miles in. With a trip to London taking up one weekend and Storm Doris taking over another, I suppose it can be expected…so a measly 25 miles was done on the bike.


For running, I managed to fit 19 miles, which wasn’t as much as the 33 miles ran in January. (Sticking to my training plan isn’t going great is it…!) But I did find a new route, which I’m eager to try again! It was a very hilly 6.5 miles. On my way round though I did find a few trails that looked intriguing, so if I get some good weather I’ll give hem a go and see where they take me.

When it comes to swimming, it is where I seem to have made a lot of progress. My February goal was to complete 200m of continuous swimming at some point during a swim session in February. March the goal was 300m. I say ‘was’ because I’ve actually already managed it tonight in the pool! The four more lengths to get me from 200m to didn’t seem as long as they use to be!

Something I wanted to highlight about my training this week was kickboxing. Me and my brother have been talking about going for so long and this week we finally got round to going. It definitely tested my flexibility and I needed to find my aggressive side to make the  most of the session, but honestly? It was one of the most empowering things I’ve done for a while. 

Growing up female you’re not expected to be aggressive. I’m not talking going round and hitting everything in sight. A girl doing something like kickboxing isn’t a common occurrence…I’ve not met many girls who do it anyway! 

It was a mixed class of men and women. Some obviously knew what they were doing, and then you had me and my brother…who didn’t have a clue! But there were no judgemental looks thrown my way because I was a competitive newbie. Everyone there was purely there for kickboxing. In the gym I always feel like people are constantly judging my every move, but with kickboxing I completely lost myself in it. When leaving, it felt like a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders!

If you take one thing from this post, I’d say give kickboxing a go. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post on International Women’s Day! I have been lucky enough to have some amazing women support me throughout my life. Whether it’s the morals I now follow because of them, or being there for me when I seemed to be a little bit lost on what career path to take. I wouldn’t be where I am without them.

Speedo Tri Suit : First Look

tri-suit-title-image

If you’re not familiar with my blog, it involves a lot of talking (well writing I guess!) about bikes and other things going on in my life…one of those things being training for my first Triathlon. And my hunt for a Tri Suit was made surprisingly easier thanks to Simply Swim!

I’ll be letting my lovely readers know how I get on with it after using it for my Tri in April, but I wanted to write a few first thoughts down first.

On the initial try on of the suit I’m not going to lie…I wasn’t sure where to start! The built in sports bra that zips up the front under the main body of the tri-suit meant there was an ‘order’ that made it much easier to get on than any other way! There was a lot of squeezing and twisting involved…but eventually I was in and it fits surprisingly well! I’m always a bit hesitant to get clothing/kit off the internet because I’m always worried it won’t fit. But the Speedo Tri Suit didn’t disappoint.

Despite it being mainly black I love the pink and high-vis detailing. There’s a bit of colour, but not over the top and maybe the high-vis detailing will make me more visible when out on the ride and run. It even has two handy pockets on the rear to hold gels!

When it comes to leg width of lycra shorts I often have issues, but I was happy to find out this Tri-Suit could accommodate my cyclist quads…despite being a Small! They even have a men’s equivalent with green detailing…have a look at it here.

For £80, to me it seems the perfect suit for someone wanting to have a go at a Triathlon. From experience, I know it’s easy to get carried away looking at all of the kit you think you need, but for your first Tri? Does it really need to be more complicated than it needs to be?

Looking through Simply Swim’s vibrant range of products for all ages, I might even pop an order in myself to get some brighter swim suits to use in the Summer!

 

#WorkoutWednesday 25th January

workout-2-peach

It’s time for another #WorkoutWednesday, which gives you an insight into what I get up to in training each week!

Although I’ve already shared some swimming sessions I’ve been trying this month, I just couldn’t not share this one with you! Found in an old 220 Triathlon magazine it helped me push that little bit further than I have been doing in other sessions this month.

Wind back to last October when I decided I wanted to work on my swimming (after a failed attempt at outdoor swimming!), I would find myself panicking a bit when I was swimming. Every time I pushed off the side of the pool it would be a miracle if I got to the other side.

Yet, following a Speedo Fit swimming session with double Olympic Silver Medalist, Jazz Carlin, it was perfectly timed to nip any of my bad habits in the bud before they became to set in my brain! I was basically swimming all different kinds of wrong when I started, but we’ve all got to start somewhere right?

So what training session did I get up to this week in the pool?

Warm Up

10 x 25m lengths (I stuck to front crawl but the 220 Triathlon session said any stroke would do the job!)

Main Set

5 x 100m freestyle, 20s rest per interval (I’m guessing freestyle is front crawl right? Well that’s what I did anyway!)

Cool Down

4 x 50m choice of stroke (I continued with front crawl)

So what’s making me so excited about this week’s #WorkoutWednesday ? The fact that I’ve achieved this months goal of being able to swim 100m! One quarter of the way to being able to swim the swim distance in my Triathlon of 100m!

I genuinely can’t believe the luck I had in noticing the Speedo Fit advert when it popped up in my newsfeed. Jazz Carlin and the Speedo Fit crew were so lovely and helpful. It’s starting to make my big ambition for 2017 of completing a Triathlon more realistic, as swimming was always going to be the biggest wall to climb.

I just hope there’s more Speedo Fit sessions in the future because if there is…sign me up!

Workout Wednesday 18th January 2017


I must admit it feels rather odd to have something to train for. I mean I trained for downhill and other mountain bike races, but it was always just what I felt like doing at the time. I was never pushing my limits or progressing. 

For my first Tri in April I have a main goal…to complete it! I could say I want a certain time but I’ve never done one, so why put extra pressure on myself?

With a workout session downloaded onto my Garmin, the workout I’m sharing with you tonight is my 6 x 400m sprints. 

10 minute warm-up

400m sprint

200m recovery 

Complete the sprint and recovery pair 6 times.

Cool-down/Stretches

I’m not going to lie…it was tough!

I got to that final sprint and my lungs were crying ‘what on earth are you doing to me?!?’

But I could completely switch off and just respond to the beeps of my Garmin informing me if I needed to sprint or recover. Although when it was beeping every 2 seconds to tell me my heart rate had risen or falling…that got a bit annoying.

I hope you’re all having a good week!