Race Report – Thames Turbo Sprint Triathlon

My answer now to the question ‘have you done a triathlon?’ can now officially change from ‘no because I hate swimming’ to ‘yes, I still hate swimming but the fun of the rest of it made it alright really’ . And by alright I mean quite fun. And by quite fun I mean I will probably do another one…

I picked Thames Turbo on the sole reason that my club was running a novice programme where this was the end goal.I also had several glasses of wine when I agreed to it. If I am honest, I basically ignored most of the training sessions and made up my own thing because a) marathon training took up a vast proportion of my time and b) I moved back home at the start of April and away from club sessions. Oh and c) I really don’t enjoy swimming in case you didn’t know that already.

Basically, there was a bit of googling and some laid back assumptions that I would get by. Actually, my training was pretty much useless if you want to think about dedicated triathlon training. I think I swam about once a fortnight on average and I just relied on my base running and cycling to get me by. I went to about one spin class and heavily relied on the fact that my commuting and every-other-weekend (ish) cycle legs would get me through (except for the fact that I stopped cycle commuting about 6 weeks ago). Oh and my first ‘proper’ brick in this block was two days before the race where I did a hilly parkrun and bashed around some Chiltern Hills for fun. I did no transition practice (but having done duathlons, not completely blind to it) and tested out my tri top on race day.

So, a potential disaster I hear you say?

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The real reason I don’t like swimming…

After much pondering, moaning, vowing to get better and broken promises, I’ve figured out the real reason I don’t like swimming.

I am not very good at it. Well, probably average. (Also it is boring)

I ADMITTED IT. I, Katie Ferguson, person who wants to be good at everything, quite frankly, think I suck at it. I mean actually, I don’t know if I really suck 100% because I actually haven’t timed myself. So I might not actually suck as much as I think but it sure feels pretty sucky. I hate feeling like I can’t breathe, I hate accidentally swallowing water, I hate that feeling when your goggles aren’t on properly and you get them gradually filling up, I HATE having to be in the slow lane.

PS I just told my sister I was writing this as a topic and her response was ‘you are such a knob’. So soz up front for that. But this is talking about me and how I deal with my own performance. People have different attitudes, different drivers and different barriers, just like they have different skills, talents and ambitions. And we work to our own standards. These are mine.

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Review: Run or Dye – The World’s Most Colourful 5k!

We’re on a bit of a review rampage this week, here’s another one for you folks! This time it’s all to do with fun, fitness and flinging paint…

When we were emailed by the lovely people at Run or Dye to ask if we would like to run their crazy, paint-filled 5k in North London last week, we jumped at the chance! Given I’m not much of a runner at all, I was surprised that that was my reaction, but the thought of prancing around a 5k course to some bangin’ tunes whilst hurling powdered paint at K-Ferg just sounded like good, clean (or not so clean) fun, and a great way to kick-start my half-marathon training. So off we trotted to Cockfosters on a breezy but dry Saturday morning to join the throngs of other runners for some fun!

We were treated on arrival to some face-painting to get us in the party mood – courtesy of the ladies at Artyful, who had come to support the event – it certainly worked! Then we changed into our very own Run or Dye T-shirts; just by entering the race, every runner is given a free t-shirt, a wristband, some snazzy transfer tattoos and some powdered paint to get messy!Pre-Race painted faces

Soon enough it was time to get going. As we took our place at the starting hold, we were struck by the variety of people who were in attendance – from those who were there to try and knock a few seconds off their PB, to whole families including small children in buggies or being carried on shoulders – Run or Dye really is for everyone! We loved the fact that the staggered start was not done by predicted finish times. There is no elitism here, it’s truly inclusive and has a great family, party atmosphere as a result. The tunes were blaring (Katie did a lot of singing to Taylor Swift… gutted I didn’t manage to catch it on video), and as we waited to reach the start line the DJ almost caused a riot (I’m obviously massively exaggerating, but people did get very excited…) as he threw free gifts of sunglasses, tutus and packets of paint into the crowd, and then we were off!

The course was set out around some parkland, taking us over fields, pavements, mud tracks, through woodland and most importantly through the ‘Colour Zones’ where paint is hurled at you by some very enthusiastic volunteers! It was pretty windy on the day, so the paint had a tendency to just float away rather than stick to the t-shirts, but just running through a big blue cloud full of squealing people was good fun in and of itself.

Katie paint selfie

We made it to the end with big old grins on our faces, and a fair bit of paint in our mouths (it’s not the best tasting, but it’s totally harmless, and frankly you’re having so much fun you barely care!). I was so pleased to have actually run it without dying, but I was so distracted by the music, cheering and paint, I barely had time to think about the actual running. Runners, joggers and walkers alike, cheered each other on as we went, and there was plenty of support from the side-lines too.

Post-run paint

To top it off, you finish with a party – hooray! The DJ gets spinning and everyone bops away in a final flourish of a paint-throwing bonanza!

paint party time

For anyone who wants to run their first 5k in a fun and friendly way, this really is the race for you – and for all you seasoned runners, RoD is a fun morning out, and something a bit different to do with your Saturday, for £25 we think it’s a bit of a bargain!

More upcoming events from Run or Dye:

30 May – Exeter, Great Fulford
6 June – Liverpool, Aintree Racecourse
27 June – Cheshire, Cholmondeley Castle
5 July – Kent, Penshurst Place
11 July – Bournemouth, Kings Park
18 July – Perth, Scone Palace
25 July – Ipswich, Chantry Park
1 August – North Yorkshire, Castle Howard
5 September – Paris, l’Hippodrome de Chantilly
12 September – Galway, Ireland, Lough Cutra Castle
26 September – Oxford, Cornbury Park
3 October – South London, Hever Castle
10 October – Derbyshire, Chatsworth House
18 October – Edinburgh, Hopetoun House

Review – City Strongman #betterthanthetreadmill

I love tyre flipping. I also love how ‘flipping tyres’ can be used in exasperation if you are easily amused by rubbish puns (it’s the same as ‘rucking shields’ which is a long-running joke in my family…..) I also love sledge dragging, lifting heavy stuff and chucking battle ropes around. Oh and obviously being told I’m alright at it. Which means that, after coming across City Strongman on Twitter and remembering how much I used to love ‘Torture Club’ (aka circuits at the rugby club) I was clamouring to give it a go.

City Strongman was set up by PTs Dave Thomas and Ben Gotting and started out at Rosslyn Park on Saturday mornings. They’ve just started expanding due to a being a MASSIVE success and now hold a mid-week session at the Iron Club, tucked away under the arches by Vauxhall station. Continue reading

These Girls Still Do – Yoga and physical activity in older women

As I mentioned previously in our Mothers’ Day special, my mum is a yoga instructor. She took up Hatha Yoga about 15 years ago when she became concerned about her joints and has been head over heels in love with it ever since. After my younger brother was born, she trained as a Yoga teacher as it was something she loved to do and was a flexible (no pun intended…) job that she could work around Dad’s working hours and the hectic timetable of having three, and subsequently four, young children to look after.

I’m incredibly proud of my mum, her business has gone from strength to strength and she offers a valuable service of easily accessible yoga classes to women and men of all ages and abilities throughout the local, rural community. But what impresses me most of all is her clients. The majority of the people who attend her yoga classes, though by no means all, are women of retirement age. I go to class whenever I have an opportunity and let me tell you I am a fit person but these ladies truly put me to shame in the flexibility and strength stakes.

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10 questions I have for people who actually know things about triathlon

As I am sure I have mentioned before, I will be participating in my first triathlon on the 25th May (if any of you are at Thames Turbo, come say hi, I’ll be the one floundering around in the swimming pool and forgetting where they put their bike)

I’m no stranger to duathlons now and have learnt a lot along the way but the swimming part does add an extra element of complication to the matter. Which is why about 9 of the questions are related to swimming. Note here that I am also doing a pool swim, so I have avoided the other 1000 questions I have regarding open water, people kicking you in the face and how to actually put a wetsuit on. I could (and will) google these questions and ask people in my club, but it actually has helped me to write them down… Continue reading

My London Marathon write-up – 3.33.24 PB

I’m still on a high from this. It was the start of what has been a brilliant week, and I am totally buzzing from a PB where I really was not expecting it. Caveat – 3 and a half hours seems to have blurred into about 10 minutes in my mind and therefore I keep forgetting who I saw where and what bits happened when so this write-up might not even be that good! I’ve also interspersed a few elite/celeb photos courtesy of my family (mainly because my mother wants me to marry Jenson Button which I feel might prove slightly difficult….)

After my last minute marathon prep, I woke up at 6, and managed to cross paths on the way to the bathroom with my sister, who was just coming home….and my parents were up shortly after to wish me good luck! Drove down to the station, parking super easy but the train was late AS USUAL THANKS LONDON MIDLAND.

Into Euston and then a quick hop down the Northern line to London Bridge and out to Maze Hill. I ate my bagel with peanut butter & banana at some point on this journey! It’s about a 10 minute walk UP A HILL to the green start, and obviously straight to the toilets. Had the usual chats with random people in the lines, with me explaining why I was still wearing my uni tracksuit bottoms despite having graduated 4 years ago…(they are super comfy and have really long zips up the sides so you don’t have to take your shoes off!) Bag drops well organised as per usual, but the second time toilet queue was just TOO long, so we all went and weed next to a tent. Super classy. Listened to the Paula announcements. Thought about how amazing she is. Hopped into my pen. Had a gel. I am one of these clever people who doesn’t own any form of race belt and I like to carry all my gels in my hand.

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