I AM COMPETING IN AN ACTUAL TRIATHLON IN JUST ONE WEEKS TIME! ONE WEEK!
This is very frightening. It’s all come about very quickly and to say I am feeling underprepared is a bit of an understatement! I’ve missed a bit of training recently – I spent five days in Ireland where I could only run and have had a bad cough and poorly chest which has proved seriously detrimental to all aerobic activities. I upped my game towards the end of this week and even passed up an offer of a free bar and bbq on a party boat so that I could go and ride my bike around Victoria Park. Who am I?
I’ve had a seriously generous kit drop from Chobani which consisted of an Orca full wetsuit, an Orca race tri suit, a pair of fancy Zoggs goggles, a Chobani swim hat and a Chobani swim towel, not to mention the most amount of yoghurt I’ve ever seen! The yoghurt was truly excellent because I absolutely love greek yoghurt and Chobani is yummy. The kit initially freaked me out – everything was very real all of a sudden and it was quite daunting to think that I needed to get my booty in a wetsuit and go and swim in a lake.
This is my tri suit. I won’t post a picture of my wetsuit. It makes me look like Mr Blobby. Mr Blobby coming last in a triathlon.
So how’s the training going? I definitely feel like I’ve made a lot of progress over the past six weeks or so and am absolutely loving picking up so many new skills.
I’m really pleased with my new found love for swimming. I am more than happy to get straight in the pool and under the water and let myself fall under the water with every stroke, rising out to take a breath before plunging back under. Seven weeks ago I couldn’t bring myself to put my face in the water and now I am swimming through it like nobody’s business! Today I am off to try out my wetsuit in the open water – fingers crossed I make it.
I’ve also seen pretty huge progression in my cycling, although this is still absolutely petrifying. I’ve managed to build up my speed on the bike and now can cycle at a rate that makes me sweaty and out of breath. On my super bike that is actually pretty fast! I’ve been walking it up to Victoria Park to cycle – I’m not confident enough or good enough to go out on the road. Nothing makes me feel more “all the gear, no idea” than wheeling my super race bike along the road in cycling shorts and a fancy pants helmet.
Pointy upwards saddle of doom
I’ve had a bit of trouble with the saddle – when the hire company dropped it off they left it with Dayve and they didn’t fix the saddle. This meant that it automatically went back to it’s position furthest away. I knew I needed to fix it but it didn’t seem too big a deal. Anyway, a fair few seriously painful cycles later I posted the above photo on twitter only for some (far less clueless) people to kindly let me know that my saddle was bonkers and if I fixed it parallel with the ground it would be far less painful on my delicates. I got the allen keys out and promptly fixed it and since then it’s been an absolute dream. Again, all the gear, no idea. Thanks twitter pals. Yesterday I cycled 15 relatively pain free kms and I even clipped my feet in for the first time! I can even get off without falling over now.
So, lots of progress! That said, I came from pretty much zero, so even a lot of progress doesn’t quite make me up to triathlon standard! I also feel as if my running has regressed. In the mission to learn to swim and ride a bike, running has taken a back seat because, well, I know how to do it. My run yesterday gave me a kick up the butt and so I’ll be getting some more runs in this week to remind my body how running works.
I’ve also been doing some mental prep and have been reading Chrissie Wellington’s book, very kindly lent to me by Gemma. It’s truly inspirational and I identify with her on so many levels – always striving for perfection, needing reassurance, being incapable of resting then how these all fed in to her eating disorder and how sport saved her. Incredible book by an incredible woman. Maybe with all out similarities I’ll end up being a surprise world champion triathlete too?
Blood orange is the best flavour.
Other cool stuff:
I sent my best friend and fitness partner in crime to try out a new Volleyball based class Volleybody with the lovely ladies at Sweaty Betty. Here’s her (very honest!) verdict on this new class…
What’s volleybody all about?
Taking the physical movements of Volleyball and making them into a fitness regime that combines strength training with bursts of cardio. Katie Taylor (the founder) wanted to take the Olympic athletes training regime and make it both accessible and achievable for the average woman.
What does the class consist of?
The class consisted of a gentle warm up followed by exercises that took inspiration from the Volleyball teams three core movements- defending, hitting and blocking. Lots of medicine ball throwing, resistance band stretches and squats.
What did you like about the class?
I think any type of class that introduces new ways of exercising is good, however I think it is essential to understand and target the right market.
What didn’t you like about the class?
I think the class would have benefitted a lot more from being a lot more structured. It seemed the class had no real ‘flow’ and seemed too slow to feel any real benefit, it wasn’t clear that the exercises were based around defending, hitting and blocking a ball. I also didn’t like being constantly told that if you do the Volleybody class you WILL have a Zara Dampney-esque body. It completely underestimates the training schedule professional athletes have and is totally misleading, especially to beginners.
Would you go to the class again?
No, I think the class is much more suited to beginners to exercise even though it is advertised as ‘designed for those who already exercise but are looking for a new fitness challenge’. There was no particular challenge and the movements and exercises were all regular exercises, just given new names with a volleyball theme, e.g. a regular squat holding a medicine ball as if you are about to pass.
Who did you think would be best suited to volley body?
Beginners to exercise as I can imagine it is a little less daunting than hitting the gym and boshing out some squats and press ups.
Was Zara Dampney a real life mega babe?
TOTALLY. I think that was BY FAR the best thing about the class. I just stared at her all the time, there is not one part of her body that isn’t perfectly sculpted.
Volleybody is available online as well as in live class format at selected locations. Has anyone else tried Volleybody? What did you think – good for beginners or a challenging class? Thanks to Sweaty Betty for hosting the class and having us along!
Other cool stuff:
I am a big fan of Yurbuds and I’m really excited that they’ve launched a new range of headphones especially for women. The new Inspire for Women range have been designed especially for female athletes. As well as retaining the features of the original Yurbuds (staying put in your ears, allowing ambient sound, super comfortable FlexSoft silicone covers and sweat and water resistant) the new Inspire for Women range has been designed with smaller headphones sized and shaped to fit little lady ears and they also have some sexy new colours like aqua, green and yellow.
The new Inspire for Women range is available exclusively from Wiggle, priced at £35, but I have a beautiful pair to give away along with a matching Yurbuds sweat towel and water bottle!
To enter, simply leave a comment on this post telling me:
(1) Your favourite workout song and (2) Your twitter handle!
If you don’t use twitter, comment with your favourite workout song and then send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can get in touch with you if you win!
The competition will be open for one week, from today until midnight Tuesday June 25. The winner will be chosen at random from the entries received before the closing deadline.
You can also read my original review of Yurbuds Ironman headphones! Good luck! x
Other cool stuff:
Oakley are a global power brand known for their amazing sunglasses and extreme sports gear, particularly for snow and surf. A more recent foray for them has been in to women’s training gear and I have had the absolute pleasure of testing out some of their training gear over the past few months. If you follow my or my twitter you’ll know how much I love my sportswear and it’s safe to say I love Oakley training gear! It’s a winning combination of functional fabrics, cool patterns and overarching femininity that means it hits all the sweet spots.
I am a huge fan of this sports bra – I love the colours and fit and think that the turquoise almost ribbon like straps are such a gorgeous detail. It’s more of a training bra (gym, cycling, pilates, yoga etc) rather than for running but it’s super comfortable and really unusual. I always get compliments on it when I wear it and I think it looks awesome. This marl hoodie is also super soft and comfortable and perfect to wear on the way back from the gym or just generally running around day to day. It’s ties are also ribbons which I think is a rad touch.
Oakley Women also have some cool casual gear. This burnout tee has a gorgeous low back that makes it a bit ‘different’ and it nails sporty but feminine. It also matches the super sexy Warm Up shades in the same pretty purple. The material of this tee is soft and the fit is really flattering, which is important – I hate feeling uncomfortable in clothes that don’t fit properly and I always feel so comfortable in Oakley gear.
I also love this cute trapeze Choka tank with a pocket on the front. I am a total sucker for anything with pockets and this top is not exception. Gorgeous day to day with jeans or shorts and also good for yoga and pilates – loose and comfortable. I love the thin straps and subtle Oakley branding – simple done right.
I have also been running in the Power tights, which are completely different to all other running tights I have. They’re quite thick and tight but very stretchy, holding you in in all the right places but still allowing for a complete free range of movement. They also have a big pocket with a fat zip which is awesome – you just don’t get pockets this good in other tights! If you’re a runner, you’ll know. If not, you probably think I am a right saddo with pocket fever, which is fair enough. I wish they had a slightly deeper waistband (I like my tights mid-rise to high waist, they just feel more secure!) and a shorter leg, but I wish everything had a shorter leg. The running world does not cater for a 27″ inseam.
Little details make a big difference in my book
I’ve had a sneak peak at the next season swimwear too and it’s rad. Think bright patterns and cool cutouts, with practical details like rubber seams on the inside to protect your dignity in the surf. It’s really exciting to see a global brand like Oakley start catering for active women like you and me and I’d really recommend their training gear. My current favourites are the Nadi printed shorts, the ocean-inspired Covert hoodie, the colourful strappy Extrovert tank, this pretty cross back Breathe In sports bra and, of course, the Frogskins.
What do you think fellow sports babes? I will definitely be saving my pennies for some new summer kit!