Gateway to Amy

Triathlon the 4th discipline March 29, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — amyrunner @ 9:47 pm

Having decided to give triathlon a go two years ago, it has been a steep learning curve to get to grips with the training, lingo and not least equipment required to be part of this sport. Unlike running, where all you need are some trainers and basic sports kit, triathlon seems to have an endless list of items you ‘need’ to participate. However, the line between ‘need’ and ‘want’ slowly become more blurred in the mind of a triathlete and therein emerges the fourth discipline in triathlon…online shopping!

You may be a good runner, smash the field on the bike or swim like a fish, but move aside athletes because my strength lies in finding bargains, scrutinising reviews and eating little packets of Haribo to fuel the weekly catwalk show modeling the latest purchase of bibshorts/ goggles/jersey/trainers/shoeslaces*

*differs on a weekly basis.

Shopping has changed. Almost gone are the days where you actually ventured to the local sport shop and browse for a new item of sportswear, now the world of reviews, discounts and even being able to purchase items whilst undertaking one of the other triathlon disciplines (turbo shopping) are readily available. If there was an award for spotting bargains I would be up there with the best and will spend hours ensuring I get the best item for my hard earned cash. If there is no review, youTube video or rave report on a triathlon website it won’t be found in my shopping cart, no stone is left unturned to ensure I get an item for the lowest price…and when you do doesn’t it feels great? YES! I’ve beaten the system by saving £5 on a pair of shorts or another essential item, hi five to me! Then follows the eager anticipation as you wait for Christmas day #10 to arrive and you can rip open the box and try out your latest purchase.

That Christmas day feeling!

That Christmas day feeling!

However, I have to admit this may have got a little out of hand, if you have more than one of the following symptoms, like me you may have let this retail therapy go a bit crazy:

1) you spend more time in a day shopping online than training for disciplines 1-3

2) you read every review about an item on website of reputable online retailer then get annoyed when they turn to another language and can’t read the rest

3) despite 200 4/5 star reviews for an item, you read a couple of negative ones and then get flustered and can’t decide if the item is good enough, you then proceed by spending another hour looking for better items before finally going back and getting the original one

3) your partner asks you what said parcel that has arrived in the post contains and you sheepishly say ‘oh just another thing I need for triathlon’ and then bundle it in a drawer

4) you cannot say no to a cycling jersey/t-shirt from an event you haven’t even done being sold for £2.50…it’s such a good deal.

5) you must buy the helmet/bottle/tyres/wheel set/bottle cage that is going to shave about 30 seconds off your bike time

6) You visit Google shopping on a daily basis

If many of these ring a bell, you are probably, like me, more likely to win an award for most time spent reading online reviews than any triathlon event. The other day I spent about two hours looking at transition bags and still didn’t buy one because they were either too expensive or because one rogue reviewer said they were too small!

Like any addiction, the first stage is admitting you have a problem, so repeat after me… ‘I have a problem. I am a trishopaholic’. Now move slowly away from the computer and get your numb shopaholic bum out for a run in your shiny new trainers!


Cross country…not for the faint hearted! February 25, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — amyrunner @ 9:35 pm

So I promised updates and thought this would be a good place to start. The National Cross Country at Parliament Hill, hailed in the media as the greatest race on the UK running calendar.  This year I got out my brand spanking new cross country spikes (possible error number one) to join in the mudbath fun.


Just a little bit muddy

There is no other event like the National Cross Country at Parliament Hill, 800 odd women decide to spend their Saturday afternoon running 8km through horrific mud and up and down the hills of Hampstead Heath…for fun and with plenty of competitive spirit thrown in, the feeling when waiting on the start line is a bit like readying yourself for a battle with yourself and the course ahead, looking forward to the feeling of crossing the line having ‘survived’!

Nervous chatter on the start line stopped as we were called to the line, then the gun and we are off, hundreds of women stampeding up the hill from the lido.  For those watching this is a bit of an epic sight, I listened out and heard a few cheers for myself and Striders which got me to the top towards the front half of the field, I felt strong and tried to keep with the people around me.  Lap one was fairly uneventful, apart from the feeling that my ankles were pretty weak and that I appeared to be stumbling a bit more frequently than others around me, must be the gangly legs, so I thought.

After 3km of running I felt tired but ok, although my seemingly weak ankles started annoying me and the mud was by far the worst I have experienced on that course, makes it more hardcore through right? I’m not a quitter, so I proceeded to stumble my way round the next 5km, unfortunately my ankles were not playing ball and on the worst mud each step became a painful reminder that I had not done any cross country during the season (another smaller oversight in my decision to tackle arguably the toughest XC course in the country).  Quite a few muttered curses later, fast forward to 600m to go, down the last hill to the finish, I could see the line… but here is where the ankles got the last laugh (and anyone watching me probably), picture someone with no ankle strength left, shuffling along, leaned over hobbit like, using every ounce of energy to will my muscles to move and keep me going forward and over the thick mud, it was not fun, tens of women streamed past and I could do nothing, but eventually I made it!

After scooping off the mud to remove my chip, I hobbled off to find my boyfriend Tony and see how the other Striders got on, feeling like I had the ankles of an 80 year old and actually contemplating asking for some crutches!

However, despite the pain, Parliament Hill remains epic and barring injury I will be back on the heath next year for the festival of mud. In the end I was 305th, not my best performance, it was still worth the war wounds afterwards though and I certainly earned my celebratory cider(s).  I would like to thank the many people who cheered me on round the course, those cheers kept me going and although I’m sorry had no energy to even look at you or acknowledge you in any way, you got me to the end.

Four days of DOMS, an ankle support and some ibruprofen later, I am fixed and it’s back to project Ironman…

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Updates coming soon February 16, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — amyrunner @ 1:53 pm

So, I survived the Outlaw half and managed a time of 5hrs 53 mins which I was pretty happy about. Since then I have done a couple of other triathlons, but this year I move up to the big IM….Ironman UK to be exact.  I will be blogging about the trials and tribulations of my training in the coming months…


Why your first triathlon shouldn’t be a 70.3…bring on the Outlaw half! May 31, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — amyrunner @ 10:36 pm


It is now two days until the Outlaw half ironman triathlon, and I feel decidedly underprepared.  When I have told people this is my first triathlon, despite the ‘are you crazy/you are brave noises’, it is actually not entirely true, as back in 1997 aged 12 I actually undertook my first one.  The following account will give you some indication why that was my first and until now last attempt at swim/bike/run and perhaps an insight into what lies ahead in Nottingham.

So, for this story I have to cast my mind back to 1997, when I was the tender age of 12 and willing to give anything a go once.  Somehow I ended up entered into the Milk Triathlon held at a local school, which like many races, lure in unsuspecting newbies with the promise of a beginners event with other people who want to ‘give it a go’.  Give it a go?  For me, that means overweight but wannabe runner Jane in the office who rounds up a group of colleagues to walk round the local parkrun in 35 minutes, or in this case, children in the school football team or having weekly swimming lessons who want to try something different.  How wrong could I be? 

Now don’t get me wrong, I had prepared for this event, the intense preparation involved cycling a few laps round the council estate where I lived on my cool pink mountain bike, before tossing it outside my house and running one lap, protected from ridicule from the local youths by my lightning speed!  Alongside this, I was of course having my weekly swimming lessons and doing athletics training twice a week.  How hard could it be anyway, a 400m metre swim was a mere dip in the pool, I had my 1500m badge proudly sewn on my swimming towel.  Then the bike, I can’t remember the distance, but it amounted to three laps round the local playing field, and the run, a further 2km round the fields… easy!  For a future Southampton schools cross country champion, and obviously gifted swimmer (given all the badges on my towel stating I could swim like an orca), it seemed like I could be onto a winner with this triathlon malarkey.

So, the beginner’s triathlon…  I turned up on the day, at Redbridge School full of excitement and enthusiasm, mum, dad and sister in tow for what was going to be my epic triathlon debut.  Epic it certainly was.  As luck would have it a friend of mine had also entered the race and was setting out their ‘transition’ area as I arrived.  I set down my bog standard running trainers, vest and socks in the appropriate place and glanced across to see everyone else with those clever elastic laces in their trainers, this was not a good omen.  Hmm, I thought this was supposed to be a beginner’s triathlon?  Turns out this race was only part of an elite children’s series, and some of my fellow competitors were the best in the country. Great! The last thing I did was put my beloved Adidas glasses on the transition pile and wander off blindly in the direction of the pool.

After a short warm up to conserve energy we were off, 400m won’t take long I thought. I sprinted off the side like a fish and proceeded to swim about eight lengths at a reasonable speed, but then things didn’t seem right, I was tiring and slowing, I couldn’t keep this pace up.  So, in a lactic acid crisis what do you do…start doing backstroke of course!  OMG, looking back it was horrific, eight slow and laborious lengths and a couple of bumps on the head later, I emerged from the now empty pool into the daylight!  Transition was clear so there was no time to stall, I grabbed my glasses and started tying my laces and putting my running vest on whilst jogging to my bike.  The vest appeared twisted, but panic set in and I gave up with that.  Then, disaster struck, suddenly my eyesight was blurred and I looked down to see one of the lenses from my Adidas glasses rolling away in front of me! I stopped to collect it and managed to pass the glasses to my mum to fix, there was no time to wait for them.  I got to my trusty pink mountain bike, still dead last, and set off on the loops round the field.  I hadn’t failed to notice everyone else seemed to have racing bikes and bike shoes, never mind! Ever determined, I picked up my glasses from my mum halfway round and finished the bike leg with no-one in sight, just the run to go then.  The training paid off here as I recorded the 5th fastest run of the day, and miraculously ended up second to last! Unfortunately, this was because some poor soul failed to do enough laps on the run section and had to go back and do another one; still, beating someone with the counting skills of an infant is better than coming last!

I finished bedraggled,  wearing a running vest toga and most of all relieved the ordeal was over.  The best bit was the milk goody bag you got at the end, complete with food and a t-shirt five sizes too big…no change there then!

Unfortunately the pictures depicting this event have been temporarily misplaced, however if found they will be uploaded… watch this space!



15 days and I will be a half ironman (hopefully!) May 18, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — amyrunner @ 9:04 am

Hi everyone, I have decided to start posting over the next two weeks as I take on my biggest challenge yet…a half ironman!  I should post my intro blog later today so stay tuned, hopefully my novice antics will amuse a few people #stressismyfriend!


London Twestival February 20, 2009

Filed under: Geeky technology,Other — amyrunner @ 10:25 pm

Over a week later and I have finally got my act together to write about my take on my Twestival experience.

I started off feeling pretty nervous about going as my impression was that it would be full of geeky people stood around staring at their mobiles tweeting all night! How wrong was it!  I got there about 9pm as was running late, after a tour of the Shoreditch area and wandering around in the sleet lost for a few minutes the entrance was located! I was glad to find out that by getting there late I had inadvertently avoided a long queue freezing outside, I knew going to dinner late was a good move 🙂

Anyway, going in I was greeted with people taking my ticket (thanks @luke) and stamping my hand then handing me tickets for free drinks and good, awesome! First stop was the cloakroom where there seemed to be a bit of mayhem with not enough space for all the coats.  I assured the attendants I didn’t mind mine being slung at the back and it was in!  Made a couple of friends in the cloakroom including @PBizzle who I randomly bumped into getting my coat later (which was a bit chaotic to say the least!)

To the bar was my next though and with glass of wine in hand I headed to make myself a twitter bird (see pic).  She needs a name so any ideas are appreciated! Anyway, enjoyed making my bird a lot, got chatting to @MattBrawn whose bird was much hotter than mine and I am informed he is now called Bert and is living in Kew Gardens.  I appreciated Matt’s help with making mine and I escaped with only minor glue gun burns, ok for what can be described as a drunk textiles class!

Having trouble threading that needle?

Having trouble threading that needle? Courtesy of @ParkyLondon

My twitter bird

My twitter bird

Now I was thinking to myself that it didn’t seem that busy and it didn’t look like there were 600 people there, only to discover that there was in fact another room called the main room, doh! Here there was music and beer and lots more drunk people! This is where I started eyeing some twitter celebs.  First spot was @mashable who I sadly became a bit star struck over seeing and was too scared to talk to him :S I am not proud of this! Anyway, got chatting to a few other random people in here and was entertained when someone asked me if I was a film runner! This gives a good insight into the people at Twitter, met lots of techy people which I found quite cool asit  was good to mix in different circles to normal.

After locating @amanda who was busy selling raffle tickets I got mine then went off for more drinks which I was impressed to find were only £2.50, bargain! Anyway, after that some raffle prizes were anounced (no win for me, boo hoo) then the night seemed end quite abruptly with a crowed heading towards the cloakroom.  This was quite chaotic as there were so many coats that locating them with the tickets wasn’t going too well and people started wading in to look for their coats! Quite funny, after a few minutes describing mine I saw it slung at the back and after much waving and pointing I was reunited! After loitering for a bit and asking about an after party to which I clearly was not going to be invited I disappeared off into the night with my bird…

Overall I thought Twestival was great and a real success, can’t wait for the next one 🙂

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Geeky computer stuff February 3, 2009

Filed under: Geeky technology,Rants — amyrunner @ 12:12 am

Hello! Thought it was about time for another blog.  This time I thought I’d write a bit about the new and older programmes I have been using lately.  These include Facebook, Twitter, Dopplr, and to name a few.  All these seem to have pro’s and cons and I would like to share my opinions from the perspective of someone who is fairly new to all this geeky business and a bit skeptical of it’s value!

Anyway, let start with good old Facebook.  I along with many people am a member of this ‘social’ network. However I have come to question its true value as a social tool.  Weirdly had it not been for Facebook I probably wouldn’t have ended up going out with my most recent ex boyfriend, however I’m sure it also contributed in some part to our parting.  Trust issues were not helped by the ‘big brother’ nature of this networking tool.  Also having lots of interlinked friends at university meant that sometimes it was easier to have a look at a wall to wall conversation rather than ask a person how they are having already gathered the answer…thus reducing social interaction.  I have toyed with the idea of deleting it altogether but there is something that keeps me hanging on.  I think it is the voyeur in me that likes looking at drunken pictures and seeing what is going on in other people’s lives and the nagging feeling that if I didn’t have Facebook  I would become a social outcast. This lent I will probably give it up like last year and maybe after 40 days and 40 nights I might go all the way.

Next up… Twitter! It took me a while to get into it but now I am quite enjoying it and have even met up with a couple of people from it! It’s been great for finding fellow runners and has really helped with the motivation.  Also following people like Lance Armstrong and other top cyclists is quite cool and it’s interesting to hear about their racing and Tour preparation.  The downside is it can be quite addictive and time consuming! Since becoming single the tweeting has drastically increased, more than doubling, which is somewhat sad but oh well, I have encountered loads of interesting people so got to be a good thing! I also now have Tweetdeck so I can keep track of all the interesting people I follow. Argh, I must stop transforming into a geek!

Now to Dopplr. It’s great being able to track all my trips as can look back on it in future.  I love the little features on your profile which tracks your speed and map your trips too.  I am currently the speed of a giant tortoise, slow and steady wins the race and all that! Planning some BIG trips in the future though, might even be as quick as a duck soon 😀 You can add friends on there and share trips and tips about places you have visited, making it social and informative.

Finally this is something I have signed up to recently and it’s a great way of listening to music as you can put in a bands name and it brings up lots of their songs. Also there is an option to listen to a bands ‘radio’ which is music by that band and of other bands which are of the same genre.  It’s a great way of exploring music and discovering bands you may not have listened to before. It is social as you can add friends on their and view their favourite and recently listened to music.  However I will soon be giving Spotify a go to see what all the hype is about and whether it can compete with!

Anyway, many of you probably know this information but thought I’d give my take on the basics! Will be exploring the depths of what the internet has to offer in due course! Overall I think technology is a good thing but it has a tendency to take over if left unchecked. I’m happy with what I’m using at the moment, think much more and there definitely wouldn’t be enough hours in the day! Still unsure about FB but have just created a running society group on there so it does have it’s uses for marketing groups and events, which I like and hence I stick with it! Right, thats enough rambling for one post! Next one will definitely be about running…

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