Posts Tagged ‘travel’

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…



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

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Summer Trail Running Series

June 19, 2016 at 8:30
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Running off road in the summer is one of the most amazing experiences you can enjoy as a runner. So, if you’re used to sticking to the roads, take a leap of faith and join us in exploring new routes and stunning vistas.

This course is open to anyone who can currently run 3-5 miles at any speed. The summer series is not about hitting it hard and aiming for PBs, but about enjoying the countryside in bloom and enjoying running for the sake of moving your body. We will also be adding the element of our ‘pop up fitness’ atmosphere with our runs exploring totally new areas and incorporating yoga for runners, sea swims and hidden garden cafes complete with strutting peacocks.

Each run will be between 5-8 miles so check the details below for each date. You can use these runs as a way of being guided on the Downs or as a way of starting to build endurance for an autumn half  marathon (Chose from the Denbies vineyard trail half marathon (there is even wine on offer at the refreshment tables!), the Barnes Green Half Marathon (although this is a road half) or the gorgeous option of the Sussex Trail Half Marathon) or even getting some strength in your legs to lay the foundations for a marathon attempt in 2017.


The runs will take places as a mixture of Saturday and Sunday runs from 8.30am – click the recurring event link for all dates. Locations will vary week by week and will require some driving to get to the start location. For lift shares, join our online Facebook running group.


Please click here for locations/distances of each run

Course price (5 runs) members: £40

Course price: Non Members: £50

Single Drop In: £12 including special July 16th with post run yoga session


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Girls Run the World Testimonials

August 10, 2015 at 2:58
Posted by Rachael Woolston

It was a race and a tour of Palma in one

Lyndsey Clay

I signed up for Palma during a bootcamp, feeling inspired by the fitness kick and the all female group of fun girls who were also signing up. Also thought it was a great challenge to do my first half marathon and make a weekend of it, and keep up the fitness I’d worked up at bootcamp (and lose a few pounds in the process!)

On the run sessions designed to train us for the half, we were all listing the same worries of coping in the heat, hoping we wouldn’t get an injury, what to eat before a race, what to wear and ensuring we were fit enough to get a good time! It was great to train with the girls and get to know them ahead of the trip. So it felt like going away with friends by the time the departure date came around.

The trip itself was amazing, we had a beautiful hotel, went to lovely restaurants as a group and had time and space to do our own thing. Smaller groups went out on different trips and at times we’d all bump into each other, or give each the run down of top tips we’d experienced in case anyone else fancied doing the same thing. Other times we all just sunbathed or drank cocktails. It was fab!

The race was so well organised, funny with 25 women at the start line as it just took one girl to say “ I need the loo” and 24 girls then thought “i need the loo”! So queues for porta loos followed! There was great camaraderie at the start line, and throughout the race we cheered each other on. It was a race and a tour of Palma all in one and i loved seeing parts of the city i would never have gotten to as a normal tourist. The live music on route helped keep up momentum, and the many water stations helped keep us cool as it was pretty warm. Passing the finish line was amazing, and i’ll never forget it. Or getting to put flip flops on afterwards – heaven! Standing in the sun with our medals, beers and bananas with all the girls and their smiley faces was one of the best moments for me. We were all battered but loved it. And we’d done it!

The evening celebratory meal just topped it off, we had an amazing room in a historic restaurant all to ourselves, drank too much wine and nattered all evening about our race experiences. Everyone was so supportive, and we were all super proud of each other. I absolutely loved it!

Lyndsey Clay, 36, Corporate Planning, Girls Run the World, Palma trip 2012



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We’re Recruiting…

February 12, 2015 at 10:34
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Are you a budding writer with your finger on the pulse of all things health, fitness & nutrition? Then we want YOU for our blogging and digital marketing team.

View from the office

Fitbitch is looking for two interns to come and work with us for one month with a view to this developing into a permanent role.

You must have a working knowledge of wordpress, and know all about Instagram, Hootsuite, Twitter, and Pinterest. A knowledge of MailChimp would be a bonus.

Most importantly, you should have interest in running, fitness, diet, nutrition and active outdoor adventures.

Your role will involve helping to plan blogging and marketing content for the year ahead and so an ability to think of fresh, unique ideas would be advantageous.

You should be confident about interviewing people over the phone for our regular blog pieces, and quick at turning around sparkling content with an understanding of what will help Fitbitch blog posts stand out from the huge amount of content that bombards people every day.

These are intern positions and will incorporate training in terms of interviewing skills, making contacts with relevant PRs,  writing and marketing.

You may come from an media, marketing or even health and fitness background. But you must love all things fitness.

Hours will be Monday to Friday, 10.30am-4pm based in Hove. Travel & food expenses will be covered.

The positions will be for a duration of one month with a view to becoming a permanent paid role for the right candidate. Email your CV with details of relevant experience and links to any social media or blogs that you have or have worked on to

Closing date: 2nd March 2015

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Biking in Bhutan

September 25, 2012 at 5:02
Posted by Rachael Woolston

What’s on your lust list?

Whether it is an amazing travel spread from Conde Nast Traveller, or a magazine tear of a cake recipe that has you drooling just looking at it, we all have those things that we tear out and keep, or file away in our memory or IPhone notes, hoping that one day, some day we will have the time or money to sate our lust.

And this is definitely on our Fitbitch Lust List,  The Tour of the Dragon Race.

A 268 kilometre mountain bike race across the Kingdom of Bhutan, it is considered one of the toughest, most gruellng mountain bike races in the world. Why? It starts at 2700metres and climbs over four mountain passes, the  highest of which involves a thigh-burning climb up to 3340 metres.

You may be wondering why THAT would be something we’d want to do. Well, Fitbitches are the adventurous kind.

Besides, with the pain comes gain, including the opportunity to ride through some of the last remaining pristine forests in the world, and visiting a country that scores high on the beauty stakes, from dramatic rhododendron forests, plunging gorges and ice capped mountains, to stunning fortresses.

Bhutan Mountain Biking

Of course, if you prefer a little more luxury, travel company Amankora website offer a nine day guided trip, staying in luxury lodges and culminating in entry to the big race.

Full screen previewFull screen previewFull screen preview

Trips cost from £8,215, including all meals and accommodation. (Er, and that is why it is on our lust list. Not our To do right now list).

We have missed this year’s race but sign up for next year’s on September 7, 2013 for $300 at Tour of the Dragon Race.

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