Posts Tagged ‘Fitbitch challenges’

Fitbitch Challenges, Brighton & Hove Triathlon

September 11, 2016 at 8:00
Posted by Rachael Woolston

As part of our year long list of community challenges, join us in training and entering the first triathlon in Brighton. You can do it solo or join one of our many relay teams. Yes, it’s a challenge if you have never done a triathlon but challenges are the things that help you grow! Read about the  Fitbitch Challenge community here 

 

We will also be holding cycle & run brick training and joining for open water swimming

Brighton and Hove Triathlon SuperSprint, Sprint, Relay or Olympic



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Fitbitch Challenge Phoenix 10km

July 13, 2016 at 7:30
Posted by Rachael Woolston

This 10km on Brighton seafront forms part of the Fitbitch Challenge list for 2016. Why not join us and enter?



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Race Review: Arundel Triathlon

June 26, 2016 at 12:04
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Taking on a fitness challenge, whatever this is for YOU personally is guaranteed to make you feel nervous, anxious and just a little bit sick. BUT it is the willingness to take on challenges, in all aspects of life, that helps change you. We’ve created an entire list of events that you can train with us and take part in this year at Fitbitch – find them HERE. But I don’t think it’s fair to challenge the Fitbitch community and not follow this maxim myself…

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If someone had told me, even two months ago, that I’d be swimming up a river at 5.30am in the morning, I would have said they were mad. I was useless at swimming as a kid, spending weeks trying to get that stupid Bronze swimming badge at school, unable to pick up the rubber brick off the swimming pool floor. Remember that? Maybe you don’t if you’re not a child of the 1970s but you get the picture.

But at the beginning of the year, I started taking a Pool to Pier swimming course in Brighton, first doing lessons once a week in the pool and then going into the sea. My very first session, I swam 1.8km. Before that, I’d only ever thought myself capable of swimming 400m in any one go. Amazing what you can do if someone just tells you to do it.

Then in June I took on my first open water sprint triathlon in a reservoir, which meant swimming 750m. It was a revelation. Up until that point I’d only done 3 triathlons before (one per year!) in a swimming pool. Having to wait for hours to get into the water, then worrying about getting in the way of people wanting to swim faster always made it an anxious experience. Swimming in a reservoir however on a gorgeous sunny morning in June? What a difference.

Which is how I found myself signing up to an Olympic distance triathlon (1500m swim, 40km bike ride, 10km run) just three weeks later, put on by Raw Energy Pursuits. Did I think I was capable of it? Frankly, no. I just signed up and figured that it would all work out. Worse comes to worse, I’d breast stroke my way to the finish of the swim. But then it’s quite easy to feel laid-back when pressing Pay on a computer screen. It was NOT how I felt as I stood on the riverbank at 5.15am in the morning, looking at a chocolate coloured river, strewn with seaweed and the bobbing yellow hats of the faster swimmers all ready for the off.

Far left of the picture, looking terrified with Fitbitch Cath front

Far left of the picture, looking terrified with Fitbitch Cath front

But then the beauty of a triathlon compared to a running race, is that it all starts very quickly so you don’t have time to get too terrified. In this situation it was faster than most race starts for the Arun river is fast flowing and we had to do an out and back, which meant doing it before the river picked up speed.  Into the water, which wasn’t too cold and then we were off, no big race guns or countdown. Big thumbs up for the race organisers who managed to pull this off seamlessly.

There was flailing arms, seaweed and a sky just tinged pink with the rising sun as I set off down the river. Growing up watching Jaws as a child, I’d always been terrified of things touching me in the water. I’m not sure what has changed but I felt really relaxed even as I swam through pockets of seaweed, had my feet touched by swimmers behind me and the bubbles of kicking feet in front of me. It was amazing. And I’m sure my relaxed state of mind was partly due to the number of kayakers who were on the river, looking out for all the swimmers.

Out of the water under 35 minutes, I was running to transition not quite able to believe I’d just swam in a river and more to the point, why had I not bloody done it before! The thing about challenges is sometimes, we can let them grow so big in our minds that we drop out and don’t step up to it. And yet nine times out of ten, it ends up being something that can be just that little bit life changing. That sounds like a big claim, I know, but achieve something that you think is totally beyond you and it leaves you thinking, ‘Well, what else can I achieve?’

As usual, I seemed to spend three times as long in transition as everyone else, trying to have a chat with the others shrugging off their wetsuits who were trying to be serious then it was off for a beautiful ride through lovely roads around West Sussex just outside of Arundel Castle. I’m pretty inept at taking on gels when I run, getting it all over my hands. It appears the same is true of doing it on a bike except that when you’re sitting down, it means you also get it all over your legs, and your hands. And of course, my handlebars.

 

Off the bike, I grabbed my running shoes and took off for a two lap, absolutely beautiful trail run through the countryside around Arundel Castle. My feet were frozen from being on the bike so it was a bit like running on wooden blocks. But by the second lap my feet started warming up and my right foot in particular felt strange. I pushed on, the sun shining as I ran up the trail and out onto the open green, running past a little chapel of the castle before running straight through town past the castle to the finish.

It was only on finishing the race that I was finally able to take my shoe off and discover that the carefully placed gel, put in my shoe so that I could grab it off the bike had actually slipped right into my shoe (I had wondered where it had gone!) and I’d run the entire 10km with a great big gel sachet by my big toe. Ouch!

ouch! Gel induced blood blister

ouch! Gel induced blood blister

The Arundel Triathlon is put on by Raw Energy Pursuits. Well organised, on time and a great race pack which included a t-shirt (a tech t-shirt may have been preferable but small gripe) and snack bar. No medal but they do organise a free breakfast bap from the riverside cafe. I’ve done events with this company before and they get the big thumbs up from me, particularly for the huge number of marshalls they have on the river, out on the bike course and on the run.

Fancy joining us for training for the Brighton & Hove triathlon in September? They offer distances as small as 25o metres as well as the opportunity to join a relay team if you only want to do one of the disciplines. We currently have around 20 women interested in taking part including lots looking for teams. If you’re interested, email rachael@fitbitchbootcamp.com



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The Diary of a Running Mum

June 9, 2016 at 12:11
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Juggling four kids and a workaholic husband, Tanya Taylor, 43, also decided to take on the challenge of running every day of 2016. Here’s the first of her despatches about life on the run…

 

Tanya at the London Marathon

Tanya at the London Marathon

I’ve just completed my 156th run in 156 days. Sometimes they are long and ploddingly slow and other times they are fast and challenging, leaving me bright red and dripping with sweat. I’ve run in the sun, rain, wind and even in snow when forecasters were warning people not to go outdoors. From New York to Paris, Berlin to London and all over East Sussex, my feet have taken me a long way this year. And I have got another 210 days to go in my bid to run every day of 2016.

Runnual, is part of the Fitbitch challenge community, a list of challenges throughout the year which anyone can follow to help you have goals and keep you motivated.  Some are easy, a park run, others are about adventure, such as a the 24 hour Endure Relay Race and then there are those about consistency, such as swimming every day in July. But other than the Fitbitch founder, Rachael, I am the only one who committed to  RUNNUAL, running every day throughout 2016.

So, why am I doing it, everyone asks? I liked the idea of having a focus and commitment to my training that was simple to follow. Not that I didn’t have my doubts about doing it; what if I got injured, could I fit it in every day? But most of all, I was worried about failing. What if I started and couldn’t actually do it?

I knew the only way I was going to be able to commit and make this work was to make some rules.

Tanya’s Five Run Commandments

  1. No matter what the weather, I have to run outside. I wanted to get the benefit of fresh air and observe the changing seasons not a gym changing room.
  2. I have to wear proper running kit and trainers. No dash to the car with my handbag allowed to be classed as a run.
  3. I have to be kind to myself. If I had a crappy run, I was determined not to beat myself up about it but to just let it go.
  4. I had to run at least one mile, no less, for it count.
  5. I had to record it on Strava. For me, this was a way to keep track of my runs like a virtual diary.

Run number 1 of 366 on New Year’s Day didn’t feel so unusual. For the last 4 years I have run on New Years with my friend E. We run along Brighton & Hove seafront, past the all-night revellers, and discuss our hopes for the forthcoming year. There is something cleansing and empowering about our ritual and it’s always one of my favourite runs of the year.

Fast forward to now and I’m almost six months through my runnual year. It has been both amazing and at times very hard. There have been runs where I’ve seen the sun rise above the sea or set over the Sussex hills. Some have been in pouring rain, into 70mph winds or under baking hot sun. I’ve enjoyed runs where I’ve laughed listening to stories from some of my fellow runners, and others where I have run alone, tears pouring down my face as I’ve worked things through in my head. Running is cathartic, eventually everything comes to the surface as surely as putting one foot in front of the other.

But have there been times when I’ve felt like giving up? Yes, on those runs were my legs felt like lead and my mind is telling me I’m useless. But just as frequently, I’ve been rewarded with runs where I have felt invincible.

Stand out runs have to be running at sunrise alone through Paris, or in Central Park, New York in a -22 degree windchill, clapping my hands above my head in an attempt to keep warm, then returning to the hotel with cheers (and relief that I survived, I suspect) from the hotel doormen. I have run on the track in Berlin’s Olympic stadium having a panic attack following a particularly gruelling 15 mile race, and had my lovely running buddy J grab my hand and tell me I was going to be okay.

Recent runs have included running at night in the woods with some of the Fitbitch running club, with just head torches and giggling for guidance through the dark while training for a 24 hour team endurance race. But the best run of the year (and maybe my life so far) was the London Marathon in April 2016.  It was my first marathon and I’d trained hard, but had spent months feeling anxious, self doubt gnawing away at me. But it was amazing, a total high from beginning to end; the crowds, the atmosphere, the views, it was brilliant. I made new friends en-route (shout out to N and L from Sheffield) who I chatted to for almost 20 miles. Both my mind and body felt strong that day, and I managed to keep a consistent pace throughout. At mile 21, there was a moment when a young woman locked eyes with me and shouted in a thick East End cockney accent; “Go on Tanya, you’ve got this, you’ve got this girl”, and that was when I knew, I had.

If you had told me eight months ago that I’d run every day, I would have said no way. I would have said, ‘I don’t have the time, I’m not fit or strong enough.’ It’s not like running comes naturally to me; my body is not a classic ‘runners body’…I’m more Fatima Whitbread than Paula Radcliffe. But if there is one thing this challenge has taught me, it is that you an achieve anything with the right focus.

Tanya’s top tips on how to incorporate regular running into you life

  • Use your run as part of your social life. It is more fun to run with company, and you can always have a cup of tea at the end.
  • Fit it into your daily tasks/routine: I run from the supermarket carpark after I’ve done my shopping or I leave half an hour earlier to pick the kids up from their friends house/clubs and do a quick run before they finish.
  • Utilise your local running group. At Fitbitch, we have a community run on Tuesday’s, a pace session on a weekday evening and usually a long run on a Sunday. That means I only have 4 runs left to plan myself.
  • Think outside of the box. I recently had a boxing lesson, then washed in the sea, applied my moisturiser and make-up on the beach and headed straight to Charleston literary festival (You can roll your eyes here…) When the talk had finished, I changed in the carpark (there was a boob flash, but hey!) and did a quick run through the countryside stumbling across an amazing teahouse in the middle of the country as I did.
  • Download the free App Strava onto your phone. It’s ridiculously addictive. Strava allows you to monitor your speed and distance, and keeps you posted on any improvements. You can also follow your friends’ training and allow them to follow yours. I recently got approached by a (friendly) guy in a carpark who follows me on Strava and congratulated me on my achievements to date. I’d never met him before.
  • S-T-R-E-T-C-H and have massages. It may seem indulgent, but it literally is the oil to your wheels.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. There is nothing worse than someone having a meltdown because they’ve missed getting a PB at a local Parkrun when there are people fighting much bigger personal battles.
  • If I’m having a bad run, I shift my focus. I think about my form, keeping my torso upright, my feet light, making sure my arms are not crossing in front of my body…and if things are really bad, I imagine I’m Rocky running through Philadelphia.

With any luck, I hope this post and my monthly updates will encourage a few of you to try running regularly. The beauty of running everyday is that it removes the pressure about running to mileage and shorter, consistent runs have been as equally beneficial to my fitness levels and endurance. But the main thing I’ve learnt is no matter how tired/ill/sad I feel, I always feel better after running. Always.

I look forward to keeping you posted over the year with my progress, and will also introduce music for your running playlist, let you know of any new kit I’ve sampled and new races I’ve loved. In the meantime, happy running!

Training for Endure 24 Relay

Training for Endure 24 Relay



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