Posted by: fitartist | May 23, 2015

Run It!

I became aware of the Join In campaign last summer when we looked for a parkrun local to our holiday in Devon and ended up meeting the lovely Chrissie Wellington in Barnstaple. Join In is all about encouraging people to volunteer at sports activities taking place in their local community and recognising the benefits for everyone, not just the people being supported by this generosity, but the boost to the general well-being of those who share their time to help others.

RunIt

RunIt

This is definitely something I can relate to, with my own experience through being Run Director at Hilly Fields parkrun (and now junior parkrun) and also coaching the girls’ group at my local running club. I will go as far as to say that volunteering in this way has changed my life – I can’t go far from my home now without stopping to talk to or being waved at by someone I have met through my involvement in local sport. On the few occasions where I have had to miss a session/event, I have realised how important it is for me to maintain this contact because it goes way beyond a functional organisational role and helps me to feel less isolated and to be a part of my community…we even have a book club as a result of getting together through running ;)

I was delighted, then, to attend an event in Hyde Park on Tuesday to launch Run It, a campaign to help existing clubs to get in touch with volunteers and to build on their success and to also encourage people to start running groups in their community, either through an event such as parkrun or even on a much smaller scale, like helping a friend go from couch to 5k over the summer months and sharing with them your own enthusiasm for being active and involved.

Grow your club

Grow your club

I arrived at the event with fellow runners Helen and Geraldine and we headed over to the Serpentine Lido to be greeted very casually by none other than former 5,000m world record holder David Moorcroft, I know! Looking around the room, I thought ‘I know that face too…’ when I spotted Mara Yamauchi chatting in the corner, what great company I keep!

Mara and Dave

Mara and Dave

Once Jo Pavey (yup!) had joined us around the table, Dave went on to outline what Join In and Run It are all about. We heard how running has grown and grown in the past few years and how research shows that joining in really does make us feel happier and boosts self-esteem. Sitting around talking about running is all very well, but it wouldn’t be a successful event without some *actual* running, so out we went into Hyde Park to warm up with a gentle jog, do some drills and attempt to keep up with Jo Pavey as she gave us a taste of her 5k and 10k race pace (my sprint)…

Speedy drills

Speedy drills

We then had a bit of fun with a 5k. Being committed run-geeks, we all had GPS bling on our wrists but, for once, we had to part with our digital crutches and go ‘on feel’, which is far harder than you might imagine. To add a bit of competitive spirit, we each had to give a predicted finish time, so the winner would not be the first to cross the line necessarily, but the runner who ran closest to their predicted time (this turned out to be Geraldine :) ). And off we went. I felt good running through Hyde Park, keeping pace with another runner, trying to catch the runners ahead and enjoying a flat 5k for once. Around the course were marshals (of course!) who encouraged and directed but this wasn’t enough for me and a few others, who went off course and sprinted in ahead of Jo (!) in around 18 minutes. Well, that’s the only time I’ll clock a time like that! We mapped the route and worked out we’d covered 4 instead of 5k but, based on the pace we were running at, I was heading straight towards a PB. Oh well, it was fun, gave me a little boost and made me think I need to take the opportunity to run in different places more often. Once we had had a drink and got our breath back, we had a chance to chat with the athletes and take some star-struck photos (which I shared with the girls’ group later that day at the track). Join In and Run It are great initiatives that can help existing clubs and run groups, but also hopefully inspire people to share something they love.

Jo and me

Jo and me

Posted by: fitartist | May 20, 2015

Jumping Straight In

In my last post I talked about my experience at the Crystal Palace Triathlon, where I was once again overcome with panic in the swim…even after my epic 5k Swimathon and the many miles of training that got me there. Not one to be put off by a bit of fluster and wheeze, I’m diving straight in and have another triathlon in my diary in July, one with the colder, more exposed kind of swim, one with a swim that doesn’t have clear water and a blue line along the bottom to keep you heading in the right direction. Gulp.

Smiley Swimmers

Smiley Swimmers

The lovely people at Human Race have given me a place in the Lidl Bananaman Triathlon and I’m opting to tackle the shorter, more newbie-friendly ‘Banana Fritter’, which will see me glide (!) through a 400m swim, spin out a 21.2k bike ride and leap, gazelle-like over a 5k run. Yes really, that’s exactly what it’s going to look like on the day, I promise you ;) I see this as the perfect way to tackle working towards an Olympic distance triathlon in September: this one will be fun, I won’t put any pressure on myself to achieve certain times and I will tuck in hungrily to the barbecue afterwards!

The Human Race triathlon series has just been released for 2015 and there are 15 different events to choose from, ranging from shorter events for first timers and those looking to smash a PB over a sprint or super sprint distance, to longer events for triathletes who want to step up and test out their endurance skills. There is even an event aimed at women who might be new to triathlon or simply prefer to participate with other women and take the chance to encourage their friends to come along and join in too. The Shock Absorber WomenOnly Triathlon is on 12th July and offers a supportive and encouraging environment which is perfect if you’re a slightly nervous first-timer.

Discount!

Discount!

To give you that little nudge towards taking the plunge, Human Race are offering £5 off your entry to any of the triathlon events left for 2015! Just take your pick from the events on offer and type in the discount code KISDISCOUNT and, if you happen to be there on July 11th, leave some barbecue goodies for me!

Posted by: fitartist | May 13, 2015

Crystal Palace Triathlon 2015

Oops, I did it again, or something like that. Yup, this time last year I did my first ever triathlon and on Sunday I had another go at it. This time I had Edward’s company (and the little fella, who cheered us on alongside our friend Sally). Having a fellow triathlete in the house meant dealing with someone else’s stresses and niggles in the run up and only added to my own stresses and anxiety levels (I do sometimes wonder why I do these things). So off we went, with Hector saying: “It feels like we’re going on holiday” and met up with our friends down the road at Crystal Palace.

On our way

On our way

We all had different start times (you give an estimated swim time) and, at one point, it looked like Edward would be hotter on my heels than we had anticipated, but (thankfully) there was a delay and chips (timing chips, calm down) were being handed out then we were called in number order. This delay meant we got to sit in the viewing gallery with our ‘fans’ for a bit…and I got to build up my adrenaline a little bit further. You may remember that last year I didn’t particularly enjoy the swim and experienced panic as I took to the water. This year was going to be different. In training for my recent Swimathon, I have covered many kilometers, reaching my goal of 5k in one go, so this would be a doddle. But it wasn’t to be. I climbed down and straight away felt a sense of deja vu, my breath shortened, my chest tightened and my limbs felt weak, I was panicking again :( A length of heads-out breast-stroke, a tentative face-in-the-water, some more breast-stroke and a few stronger lengths of front crawl. By now the faster swimmers (Edward included) were coming up behind me, wanting to overtake. I felt a tap on my foot so moved aside at the wall to let someone through (an excuse for me to take some deep breaths). What was happening?! I felt so upset, after all my hard work. About half-way through the 750m swim, I stopped at one end and lifted my goggles off, I was going to get out. Looking around I saw Sally and Hector jump up, waving the Hilly Fields parkrun banner, I felt such a surge of support from them, I couldn’t let them down. On I went, slow and steady, I wouldn’t get anywhere near the time I know I can do, but I would make it and get on my bike for the next leg.

Where's my bike?!

Where’s my bike?!

Of course, the bike was excellent fun, though I did notice that things feel a little different when you start a bit later…there seemed more evidence of bike knobs and some really aggressive and thoughtless riding (yes you, silly arse who undertook me on the chicane and had the nerve to have a go at me, you inconsiderate tw*t), it also felt more crowded than last year which meant you really needed your wits about you. This is a nine lap, 20km course with a sharp hill that slows everyone right down, a steady climb then some super speedy descents (with a tight bend at the bottom, cue me holding tightly to my brakes, wuss). During this leg I was overtaken by Edward and also Stephen, this messed with my head slightly – because everyone starts at different times, you lose a sense of where people are and how far they have left to go…these two were fast and were basically leaving me behind :( I didn’t see any of our other friends en route, but I smiled each lap as Sally and Hector leapt up and cheered for me, banner in the air. Somehow I managed to keep track of the nine laps (this is so hard! Many people employ various tricks such as tape on handle bars. I feel for those – some of our friends included – who mistakenly added a lap). Into transition and the wobbly legged run. Both transitions I ran in to the wrong section, I really wasn’t focussed, so had to duck under with my bike until I located my stuff! Quick faff and a fumble and off I went.

Caution!

Caution!

Numb toes. This is what I remember most about the run, my toes had gone numb during the ride. It sort of helped in that it distracted me from the challenge of running 5k after the other two exertions. Up the little hill I plodded, onto the humid grass section, around the tedious car-park bit and – weeeeeeee – down the hill…twice. It’s a relief to head left into the stadium on lap two, a brisk trot around the track, a cheer from Siggy: “You look strong!” (‘I don’t feel strong’) and a last little push to the finish line. Once I had composed myself I gave Hector an extra big hug and congratulated my friends, who had all done brilliantly – Edward smashed his first ever tri, with a time of 1:23 (on no training, jammy bugger), he does now appreciate just how hard it is, telling me that he thought he might vomit during the bike leg (no thought of slowing down though)! One of our parkrun friends, David, who is a regular triathlete even took to the podium as the winner in his category. Wow!

Comparing my times with last year, I can see that even with a disastrous swim, I improved on that section, took a whole minute longer on the bike and a similar time in the run. Transition has improved (though I really faffed about) and I achieved an overall PB. I can’t say I’m over the moon, the horrible swim experience spoilt it for me, and I really, really want to sort this out ahead of my open-water tri in September…any tips welcome! But Hector said to me afterwards: “You should just be proud that you did it Mum”. Wise words.

One year on

One year on

Posted by: fitartist | May 3, 2015

Aldi Specialbuys Cycle and Triathlon Gear

…is in store now!

I’ve been having some fun trying a few things out this week :) Once again, Aldi comes up with a selection of super-bargain-priced gear to stock your sporty wardrobe, this time with a range of cycling and triathlon gear. On Friday I headed over to the Olympic Park to get my bike spinning around the road track that weaves around the outside of the Velodrome. Before I mounted my trusty steed, I slipped into a base-layer vest and some rather fetching bib-shorts. This was the first time I ventured into the world of the bib-short, so was pleased that they were way more comfortable – and possibly even flattering – than I had imagined. If you’ve never seen bib-shorts before they’re hidden away under a jersey, think Big Daddy and you’ve got the right idea.

70s Stylee

70s Stylee

These are particularly good because they have a little clasp that brings the ‘braces’ together in the mid-chest area, to keep them firmly in place (this a female-specific feature). Well, I’m definitely a convert now! The good thing is, they keep your midriff and lower back warm and there’s no chance of anything riding up and revealing more than you would like. The base-layer, whilst seeming a bit stiff and rustly at first, turned out to be nice and long and also kept me warm and cosy on what turned out to be a windy ride. I also rode in some nice little black gloves which, for me and my *tiny* hands, were perfect in an extra-small.

Next up on my race agenda is the Crystal Palace Triathlon, where I will be showing off my new triathlon suit. At £14.99, this is an incredible bargain, when you consider that you can often end up spending up to and over £100 for other brands – great if you’re embarking on lots of triathlons…and have the cash to throw around, which I don’t so this is a welcome option. There are some nice details such as an internal mesh bra in the women’s model and also leg grips to keep the shorts in place and some handy pockets for gels. I’m always surprised at the detail in the Aldi gear, when you consider what a bargain they are. This current range has items ranging from gloves at £3.49, base layers at £9.99, bib-shorts at £11.99 and even cycle shoes at £24.99. If you like the running gear, then you’ll find the cycling range a useful addition to your kit mountain drawer.

Posted by: fitartist | April 30, 2015

London Duathlon, why not join me?

Do you remember last September, when I made my duathlon debut at the London Duathlon? If you read back over my experience, you might be surprised to hear that I’m going back for more! Aside from feeling decidedly dodgy at the end, I had an amazing time and my time of 3 hour 4 minutes and 44 seconds definitely needs to be smashed – anyone for sub-3? I certainly learnt my lesson that day, and now know that you can’t compete for three+ hours without drinking and fuelling…oh dear! With a few more events under my belt, I feel confident that, this time, I will feel fresh-legged and raring to go as I exit transition for the final 5k leg (no repeat of the jelly-legs, please!). I will be taking on the Duathlon distance again, so a 10k run, 44k bike and 5k run, there are other distances to choose from, so you don’t have to dive straight in: take your pick from the Duathlon, Half-Duathlon, Duathlon Relay or, if you’re super tough, the Ultra Duathlon. Places are selling fast, so you’ll need to be quick – to make your decision a bit easier, you can use my discount code to get £15 off the entry fee, just type AdelePB in the correct box when filling in the entry form.

Good luck and keep an eye on here to find out how my training is going :)

Posted by: fitartist | April 23, 2015

Aldi Running Specialbuys

It’s that time again, when things get a little ‘milder’ and you have to make the transition from long to short sleeves and legs (or not, if you’ve toughed it out all winter or like to stay wrapped up all year round!). After numerous sweaty runs and the subsequent washes, you might want to refresh your running wardrobe, so get down to your nearest Aldi and snaffle yourself some Specialbuys gear.

Bright!

Bright!

I’ve been trying out a few items from the range (and I’m still happily wearing the gear I tried out last year – it really does wash well). A favourite – again – is the ‘Ultra Bright Running T-Shirt’, it really is super-glowy and you will easily be spotted on those warmer evening runs, the fit is good and I would say is quite generous, so maybe try things on if you can. I also had a look at the ‘Short Sleeved Compression T-shirt), which comes in grey, so far less obvious, and quite flattering with its subtle pattern. I’m not entirely sure how much compressing it did because it isn’t especially tight, but the ‘Mid-Compression Running Socks’ seemed really effective for keeping post-run legs in check. The range covers everything you need, starting with insoles at £1.99, T-shirts from £5.99-£11.99, this light-weight jacket at £15.99:

Pink!

Pink!

and I also had a look at the ‘Wireless Activity Tracker’ which is £39.99 and monitors activity, sleep, distance, calories and allows you to set daily goals. It’s worth keeping an eye on the Aldi website because they bring out sports Specialbuys every few months, often alternating running with cycling.

Posted by: fitartist | April 20, 2015

Swimathon 2015

Back in February I signed up to the Swimathon, initially wondering if I had it in me to swim 5k…well, yesterday I did it! My training had gone well, following the schedules on the Swimathon website, with just a little gap during the Easter holidays, where I simply couldn’t make it to the pool more than a couple of times. This didn’t harm my progress at all and I felt strong as I gathered together my kit yesterday and cycled over to my local pool.

I had been in a few times last week and had asked about the event whilst passing through reception, only to be met with blank faces. I wasn’t entirely surprised yesterday then, when a group of slightly nervous-looking swimmers gathered in the foyer whilst the staff tried to work out what we were going on about :( Eventually, the Swimathon kit was located and we were handed swimming caps and ‘a sheet to keep track of your laps’, gulp. I was one of the lucky few who had enlisted the help of some friends to count my laps, but some people had to hope that the pool-side staff would do this for them. I had also devised a counting system so I had a sense of how long I had left to swim:

low-tech

low-tech

I would only ever be counting to twenty, removing a piece of tape every twenty lengths and taking a sip of drink – this worked really, really well and it felt like a ‘refresh’ each time I started back at one.

With a lot of faffing and polite eviction of swimmers from the pool(!!), we were granted lanes to swim in and I managed to snaffle my ‘favourite lane’ along with another 5k swimmer called Liz. There was a sad lack of ceremony as people started unannounced, so Liz and I gave a little cheer as we both set off from the side. For a few lengths we swam alongside each other, then a young boy joined our lane and we took to swimming in an anti-clockwise loop. I felt strong, but daunted by the distance I was undertaking and had a few moments in the first couple of lengths where I felt my breath shorten and nervousness creeping in. Some big deep out breaths and the thought of lengthening through the water sorted this out and I kept it steady all the way.

It was amazing how quickly time passed, with thoughts of how immense this task was being dashed by the simple act of counting to twenty. I would bob up each twenty lengths, get some encouragement from my friends, take a drink and set off again. Before I knew it, I had passed half way, was approaching 3k, then 4k and now I was into unknown territory, having floated past my longest distance yet. I had to double take when I took off the 4k sticker on my bottle – did I really only have forty lengths to go?! Now two more friends appeared and Edward and Hector strolled in wearing their swimming kit. I felt a surge of energy from this support, seeing their smiling faces as I turned to swim towards them. With the end in sight and an audience willing me on, I was able to pick up the pace and felt as strong in those last few lengths as I had at the beginning. Two more lengths and I would be finishing my 5k swim! Pushing hard through the water I reached for the wall, surfaced and heard my friends cheering and clapping :) Hector jumped in to give me a hug and I enjoyed the moment while I got my breath back.

Finished!

Finished!

Climbing out, I thanked my friends and told Hector that no, I wouldn’t be joining him in the children’s pool(!) and received my medal (for swimming?!!) from my lovely friend Emma.

Top crew

Top crew

I totally overlooked stretching and gave Liz a little wave of encouragement as I hobbled off to get dressed. I may have forgotten to undertake part of my post-exercise routine, but I was catered for fully in the refuel department with this amazing cake that Susan had made:

Perfect refuel

Perfect refuel

Thank you to Susan, Emma, Laura and Hugh for counting, cheering and baking and, of course, thank you to Edward and Hector for letting me disappear to the pool all the time over the past few months :) Oh, and I did it in 1 hour 55 minutes, faster than I had imagined…

Posted by: fitartist | April 16, 2015

Fitbug for Fitartist

I remember years ago, when I was starting to get into stats around my activity, I had a pedometer which I clipped to my trousers and counted the steps I was taking each day. I was quite chuffed with my daily totals until I looked at it a bit more closely and realised that it registered about six steps when I went to the loo, so the up and down trouser action was being counted as progress. Things have moved on a bit since then.

Recently I have been trying out an fitbug Orb, which tracks movement and sleep, using bluetooth technology to feedback to your iPhone 6. I excitedly ripped off the packaging then realised I really should start doing those ‘unboxing’ images ;) Set-up was quick and easy (I think I even did it alongside making dinner, so pretty straightforward!). The instructions on the website are concise and clear, with app download being swift enough to get going soon after you ‘unbox’. You can choose to wear your fitbug on your wrist like a watch:

Set-up

Set-up

Or, like me, on your belt hook using a little clip – I found I kept looking at it when I wore it on my wrist, wondering what the time was!

Belt hook

Belt hook

I have tracked my running/riding/swim stats for years and have quite a high level of addiction already, so was slightly surprised at how obsessed I became with how many steps I was taking each day! I would check the phone and do a little high five in the air, declaring: ‘I’m awesome at stepping!’ I am. Other things I found interesting were the different area of the website, where you can keep track of what you’re eating, set yourself goals and challenges and manually add any activities that are not picked up by the device – this was useful for me as I do a lot of swimming (and some cycling)…I’m not quite sure how, but this is converted into steps and you can see how many calories you have burned. For the first week or so, I was being very good about inputting my food intake, but that lapsed after a while – I did find it was useful while it lasted though, making me think a bit more about what I was eating in relation to how much exercise I was doing (looking up the calorie content of a chocolate cornflake nest is tedious enough to make you think twice about having one).

Looking at my stats over a month, I can see that an average day usually comes in at around 22,000 steps but, when I look at a day where I ran a half-marathon, I managed 29,509 steps! I found it a bit hard to get my head around the fact that it wasn’t even more, but soon registered that I take shorter strides when I’m running. I have enjoyed using the fitbug and can see how it would really help you commit to a fitness programme and track your progress over a period of time, especially if you are starting out and want something simple to help you get into the habit. You can choose a black strap or funky pink if you’re feeling a bit more bold than I am. Happy stepping!

Posted by: fitartist | April 13, 2015

Dr Zak’s High Protein Bagels

My post-run/swim/bike routine goes something like this:

get in, put kettle on, fill drinks bottle with High5 Zero, do a bit of core work, stretch a bit whilst rehydrating, shower, dress, check emails/get distracted by Twitter/sort out the washing, realise I’m really hungry, stand in kitchen eating cereal from the box. I’m pretty sure I’ve never read that in Runner’s World. I know I should ideally eat *something* within half an hour of finishing a workout, and I know that I should consume a combination of protein and carbs, but I kind of forget and I’m usually not terribly inspired by what’s on offer. Recently I was sent some Dr Zak’s High Protein Bagels to try, so was determined to be a bit more ‘athlete’ about my post-workout refuel routine.

Dr Zak's Pak

Dr Zak’s Pak

It was good knowing I had something planned after my long swim (I do fantasise about what I will eat later whilst swimming, it makes me sooooo hungry!) and I decided to increase the protein levels even more by filling the bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese – that’s what you have on a bagel, right?

Grainy

Grainy

I must say, it was delicious and I felt full for ages afterwards, which is unusual for me following a swim. Each of these bagels has twice the amount of protein as a regular bagel (about the same as a piece of chicken breast), thus allowing you to up your levels of muscle repairing protein without resorting to powdered shakes and supplements. It’s the high levels of fibre that keep the hunger at bay, and I liked the nuttiness of the seeded topping, which gives the bagels a nice texture (and extra nutrients). The next day I toasted my bagel (I prefer them toasted) and added crunchy peanut butter (more protein!).

Yum

Yum

If you like to refuel and create a balance in your diet through ‘real’ food rather than supplements, then this is a great idea. Dr Zak’s bagels are available from health food shops, with a pack of four costing £3.50 – which might seem pricey, but they are big and really do fill you up (it works out at less than 90p for 24g of protein). It beats a handful of cereal anyway ;)

Posted by: fitartist | April 3, 2015

Magnificent March, A Round-Up

At the beginning of the month I decided to re-brand March as ‘Magnificent March’. I didn’t share this with anyone, it was just in my head. It wasn’t one of the ‘-Athons’ or ‘-Tastics’, just me and my challenges to overcome. When I was struggling with a run or tiring mid-swim, I would shout ‘Magnificent March!’ to myself and the pace would lighten and a little surge would happen.

It was a busy month, with two half-marathons and some of the longest swims I’ve ever done. After a PB at the Brighton Half, I went on to run a *tiny* bit faster at the Richmond Half, securing another PB. On a roll, I decided (prompted by Edward) to undertake another half-marathon to see if I could go that little bit faster and hit 1.50 mark. The next ‘local’ race was the Paddock Wood Half, but it was sold out. Luckily I was able to transfer a place from a friend of a friend who couldn’t run (why don’t more races do this?). Unfortunately the PB streak wasn’t going to continue, with the conditions (wind and rain and general grimness) not being in my favour and a hideous state of GI discomfort from the half-way point rendering me pretty useless (yes, I did have to duck behind a much-welcome wall at around the nine mile mark). Eek!

This was my first race wearing my Kent AC club vest (I’ve had the vest for about a year, but have never really thought about wearing it!). Sorry I didn’t do it justice, fellow club runners!

Clubbing

Clubbing

As I turned a corner into some serious head-wind at around mile eleven, I slowed to an uncomfortable walk, only to be picked up by a friendly ‘Come on Adele!’, a fellow parkrunner, who accompanied me to the finish line, thank you Ian! It was a great race and certainly does have PB potential, being flat (ish) and scenic. It’s very well organised, with efficient baggage storage, well marshalled and friendly support and even a marshal telling you which portaloo to go to. I’ll give it another go next year, maybe that’ll be the day for a super-PB.

Lovely Medal

Lovely Medal

In my post-race state of illness, I didn’t register how lovely the medal was, just felt happy to get home, into the bath and then to bed (very weird for me). You do see this scene all around the course, so it’s worth entering just to see a bit of Kentish countryside.

Alongside all this running, my swimming has been going from strength to strength, with the Swimathon just around the corner. I have been following the schedule closely, so closely in fact, that I noticed a discrepancy in a couple of the weeks’ distances. I like to scribble the lengths down on a piece of paper and seal them in a little waterproof bag to peruse poolside, but found the lengths didn’t add up, meaning a shorter distance. I got in touch with the Swimathon team and they sent me an amended schedule promptly :) This week I have completed two swims of 2k and today I swam 3k. The furthest so far has been 4k – 4k!! I know! Only another 1k to go and that’s the full distance. I really didn’t think it was within my reach when I signed up, but I’m proving myself wrong <<<this is good.

“But what about the cycling?” you may ask. I did dust off my road bike and give the tyres a little pump a few weeks ago, when I was invited to meet the people of ashmei at their headquarters in the Hertfordshire countryside. I had been shortlisted, along with a fair few others, to possibly become an ambassador for the brand. The plan was to either join the others on a run or a ride and I decided it was the perfect chance to get out on my bike, and made my way up, all lycra-clad and eager. Getting off the train in Tring, I met a few other would-be-ambassadors and headed over on my bike, to be greeted by a gate that opened as I approached. Small pleasures. We were quickly mingling and exchanging Twitter names (I found I already ‘knew’ quite a lot of people already) and then listened intently as Stuart, ashmei’s founder, told us all about where they were coming from and where they were going. You might already know about ashmei’s (rather lovely) products, which are made from merino – super wicking, non-stinky, soft as – and have a distinctive colour-way and cut. We were all treated to a pair of socks to put on straight away and test on our ride or run.

Soft socks

Soft socks

People quickly gathered outside, next to the lovely AirshopPhoenix and off we went.

Runners

Runners

Having a look around at the other cyclists (and triathletes, I discovered) and their super-bikes and top-notch gear, I felt a little out of my league, but I’m not one to be put off by such things, so got chatting to a couple of people and set out to enjoy the ride. It was so good to be out pedalling again, but I soon found myself away from the pack with another cyclist, Cav (thankfully!), and well, lost! The group had pulled away and left us behind, turning a corner and going out of sight. Oh dear. We looked at a fork in the road and went on instinct. We may have lost the group, but we would enjoy our outing. After a few ‘this way, or that way?’s, we made it back to HQ just as the runners were tucking in to the post-exertion snacks (and a little ahead of the other riders ;) ). The volume levels increased as people chatted, all glowing from a good, sociable run/ride. Photos were taken and off we headed.

Photo-taking

Photo-taking

I spent the return journey in the company of new friends, talking endlessly about running/riding/adventure (oh yes). Goodbyes were said and Twitter buzzed with the excitement of the day and a slight curiosity about what ashmei were looking for in an ambassador. I didn’t get selected, but you can read about the three people who did here, here and here. Maybe Google them too, they have done some interesting things!

And so into April I go. Awesome April maybe? My Swimathon is two weeks away and then I will be focussing on the Crystal Palace Triathlon. I can’t wait :)

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