Navigation Menu+


0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 LinkedIn 0 Email -- 0 Flares ×

Fit for life? How to choose your exercise strategy wisely!

Fitness. We talk about it a lot and almost all of us want to be ‘fit’. But what does it really mean? Type ‘definition of fit’ into Google and it reads “in good health, especially because of regular physical exercise”. 

As dawn breaks on 1st January 2020 people across the globe will embark on new fitness regimes, swarm to gyms and begin diets, in pursuit of being ‘fit and healthy’. Many of us already spend hours a week exercising. But is your exercise ‘strategy’ as effective as it could be? And does it really give you what you want and what you need?

The funny thing about the word ‘exercise’ is that it’s a relatively modern concept. Of course, hundreds of years ago, when we walked everywhere, worked on the land, cleaned our own houses from top to bottom and so on – we didn’t need to ‘exercise’ as such. Naturally as offices have replaced factories, car journeys have replaced walking and labour saving devices have encouraged a more sedentary lifestyle, we’ve had to hit the gym in order to get ourselves moving and to burn excess calories. 

As an experienced Personal Trainer and athlete, having worked with hundreds of people over the past 7 years, I encourage prospective clients and people who ask me about fitness to ask themselves a few questions about their existing exercise regime:

1. Do you enjoy it? If it feels like a ‘chore’ then consider a change! Movement should be a positive experience and it’s a shame to settle for a workout regime which you find dull, boring or which doesn’t obviously benefit you spiritually or emotionally. The mind and body are intertwined – exercise and movement should be nourishing for both!

2. How relevant are your workouts to your goals? For example, if you want to be a better football or hockey player, does your workout get you moving sideways and rotationally and accelerating and decelerating, like you do on the hockey or football pitch? If it doesn’t, what’s the risk of you straining an adductor or spraining an ankle? If weight loss is a goal, are you doing enough weighted work to ensure your muscle mass increases? (Pound for pound, muscle burns significantly more calories than fat, so you need a decent muscle mass for your body to be burning sufficient calories the other 23 hours of the day when you’re not at the gym!). 

3. Do you move your spine and your neck in every direction, every day? Lots of us workout. Lots of us have sore backs. But how many of us actually move our spines and necks in every direction, every day? It’s part of our daily routine at The Right Fit!

4. Do you need to be more flexible in your day to day life and if so, do your workouts support this goal with dynamic movement? Getting stronger is great – but if we’re super strong and can’t put our socks on and are stiff in the lower back, then our strength/mobility balance needs addressing! Our ‘mobility’ sessions hugely popular and in my experience, this aspect of people’s fitness is often missing from DIY and Bootcamp style workouts.

5. Do you spend hours sitting at a desk or in a car? If so, do your workouts and sports take you out of your default posture (leaning forward in spinal flexion, closed hips, rounded shoulders, bent elbows)? Or do you find yourself spending half the weekend on a road bike, with the same forward flexed default posture? Variety is the spice of life! To be balanced and to truly thrive, bodies need to experience a variety of postures and movement patterns. Our modern workouts often favour repetition (e.g. running, cycling…) and whilst these activities can be fantastic for our cardiovascular fitness, we need to ensure we also move sideways, rotationally and backwards – and not just forward in straight lines. 

6. Do your workouts focus on quality of movement and posture? They absolutely should! Move well – not just often! It’s easy to just tick the workout box and ‘get the workout done’ without focussing on quality, but this only cements poor posture and poor movement patterns. A good Coach or Trainer is invaluable as they’ll get you moving as ‘your best you’.

If you’d like us to help you design a fun and effective exercise strategy which works for you, please get in touch! We’re just a mile away at Bradfield Southend Cricket Pavilion – and always happy to chat about how we can help and inspire, whatever your goal. 

Harriet Chettleburgh, November 2019




I reckon during post-race euphoria I bang on enough about Ironman without subjecting you to every detail of our weekend – so I’ll cut to the chase!

The golden memories:

  • Coached athlete Javi becoming an Ironman! Having not seen Javi since the start line, I was thrilled to see him on the marathon. Knowing he’d made it onto the run course without disaster and was on his way to becoming an Ironman was just brilliant!


  • Damien and Stuart from Tri20 becoming Ironmen! (I didn’t see them finish but we’d had breakfast and travelled to the lake together…so we were all on that journey)
  • Running like a loon up the finish shute, high-fiving the ‘voice of Ironman’ Paul Kaye

Going craaaazy down the finish shute!

  • Feeling powerful during miles 70-112 on the bike, on the stretches where I felt rubbish last year

Focussed – on Sheephouse Lane

  • Having a laugh with my friend Waveney (also on Planet Ironman for the weekend but as part of Team Ironman). Her visiting me in the medical tent post race was pretty funny! Both wired and in the zone… absorbed in the race since 3am but from different angles… me drinking chicken soup and her on Red Bull!
  •  The awesome support from the crowds and volunteers. The ‘men in pants’ at the top of Sheephouse Lane climb. The beer-fuelled ’crowd tunnel’ of Babylon Lane. The razzmatazz, bodies, music, cheering and air horns all the way up Hunters Hill. My parents shouting me on at the foot of Sheephouse Lane climb. Javi’s parents cheering me on in T1 as I ran out with my bike – and in Le Mans crescent on the run. Amazing support makes the race!
  • Laughing at myself driving back from Pennington Flash practise swim in my swimsuit (in the rain) on Friday afternoon! There were no changing facilities at the lake, everyone else was attempting to change in/behind their cars. I just put a towel on my seat and another around me, drove back to the hotel and snook in through the fire exit!

The painful bits:

  • THAT hot, hilly marathon. Oh my! Last year I was the hammer (3:39 felt great) this year the nail (3:53 felt sick). Yep, that’s Ironman. Last year the marathon was my best bit, I felt powerful and strong on the run. This year I felt sick and exhausted from mile 10 onwards. Reckon I caught a chill on the bike (cold air temperature at 7.30am and windy on the moors….biking in wet lycra for 6.5 hours….I could feel my chest tightening and a little cough developed during the bike) then my cold body got baked by the midday sun on the marathon. Nausea is so debilitating! Think I retired from all competitive sport at least three times during that marathon!

Pink armband #doingitforKatie

  • Getting clobbered a lot during the swim. It was a ‘self seeded drip feed’ start, which means you’re swimming mostly with men, rather than in a women only wave. When they clock you over the head with an arm, or swim over you at a buoy, you certainly know about it.

Always a relief to finish the swim

  • Spending a couple of hours in the medical tent post race, wanting to go back to the hotel with my parents but being unable to get up off the bed! I was fine in the end, just a little exhausted! Thanks to the nurses and to Mum for looking after me – and getting me out of there eventually!

The frustrating bits:

  • Getting stuck behind a horse box for 5 minutes on the bike. 15 minutes previous, a female contender in my age group had overtaken me and I’d made a concerted effort to overtake her back immediately and put some distance between us. Every second I sat behind that horsebox, chugging along at 60% of my race speed and spitting exhaust fumes into my face, I imagined her pulling up alongside me. The guy beside me remained really calm, whilst I seemed to develop Tourette’s! Coincidentally the guy stuck beside me turned out to be a friend of a good friend – I worked that out from the sponsorship on his jersey and we struck up a conversation (punctuated by my Tourette’s!).
  • A random cyclist (not entered into the race) cycling with us for about 40 miles. Speeding up, slowing down, sitting on my wheel, drawing alongside, getting under my wheels, chatting… Super annoying! Asked him politely to ‘do one’ after a while. But he just moved in front a few places and hung around. Difficult enough trying to overtake/avoid drafting penalties/get round tight turns safely without randoms trying to join in and getting under your wheels! He clearly had no idea of the negative impact he was having on our races (and that we’d paid £hundreds to race this event!). They’re public roads so anyone can ride on them – but please just not alongside us whilst we’re racing!
  • Not having any access to water between aid stations on the run. I felt super-thirsty during miles 15-26 and as they were serving water in paper cups, there was only so much you could drink at each aid station – you couldn’t carry paper cups with you. I felt really light headed at one point and asked the crowd for water, but they reminded me I’d risk disqualification by taking it, so I ran on without.

Yes crisps. Every time!

  • The finish line Dominos Pizza, which I’d been dreaming of (before the sickness began!). Why did my slice happen to have the hottest chilli in the world all over it?! I’ve just finished a bloody Ironman! I don’t need more pain in my life after crossing the finish line!
  • Faffing around for about 36 hours pre-race spending lots of time achieving seemingly very little. I let this go (it’s just what you do at Ironman – and it’s a necessary part of my mental prep). But as a time-poor person in normal life, who relies on being efficient, it’s a bit of a mindwarp! Especially when all that faffing is done in Bolton, in the rain (kinda different when you’re in Hawaii)
  • Waiting for 25 minutes to get on a bus to the lake at 4am. Big queue, no buses! Everyone else waiting patiently. Me hopping from foot to foot (swearing lots again, oops!).

What went well:

  • My transitions. Compared to Ironman 70.3 Staffs (my first race of the year and transitions felt rusty) they felt pretty slick. According to those tracking me, I was 16th out of the water and 6th by the time I started the bike. 10 places gained in T1! Where others faff, I run into the transition tent, dump my wetsuit, put my helmet and glasses on and leg it to my bike (shoes already fixed to my bike with rubber bands). I’d already decided early that morning that it was going to be warm enough not to warrant arm warmers or a gilet. With hindsight it was colder than expected and I might have benefitted from some clothing.
  • My bike – particularly the second lap where I felt strong. I knocked 8 minutes off last years bike time, despite race week road re-surfacing and plenty of loose chippings making for a slower ride. Improved bike fit is nice and comfy (thanks Callum). Just love that Specialized Shiv and those Rotor Q Rings!

Shiv and I on’t top of t’ill :-)

What went badly:

  • The marathon – enough said! But hey, that’s Ironman. No two races are the same – and I’m well aware it could have been a whole lot worse. Lots of people I spoke to afterwards suffered sickness and plenty of Pro athletes (as well as many age groupers) were visibly suffering on the run. Several times I stuck my fingers down my throat to try to make myself sick, but to no avail. I remembered last years winner of our age group (who had beaten me into 2nd place) telling me afterwards that she’d been sick on the marathon. Dig deep H. Look at your pink armband, talk to Katie H and just get to the finish.

As a competitive athlete I naturally break it all down, analyse it and look at how I can go faster. But racing Ironman means so much more to me than that. It’s about overcoming adversity and dealing with the challenges presented. Horseboxes, sickness, not getting the drinks/foods you’re craving, bike mechanical disasters – whatever it is, you have a choice. Give up or try to find a way to continue moving forward. Watching Froome running up Mont Ventoux last week made me cry, because I recognised that raw emotion – that feeling of sheer desperation to get to the finish line as quickly as possible, whilst the wheels are falling off around you. Doing everything within your influence to just to keep moving forward. Not caring about anything but getting there as quickly as possible. For me, that’s racing.




Plenty of people have asked whether I’m happy with 2nd place. Am I? I’d loved to have won. Having placed 2nd last year, that was my goal. I always race to win, though I never expect it. I’m very aware that so much can go wrong in full distance Ironman – and this is my 4th one in 3 years. Not only am I pleased to have remained uninjured during those 3 years, I’m mega-pleased to have been able to finish all 4 races and give each one my best shot. So yes, I’m chuffed with my 2nd place, for the 2nd year in a row. I’ve qualified for the Ironman World Champs in Kona, Hawaii again (I got the 2nd of 2 slots). But after having raced (or let’s call it ‘completed’!) Kona last year, walking away from it this year was surprisingly straightforward. No second thoughts and no regrets. I know I’m capable of qualifying again and I’ll go back someday – but on my terms, when I’m ready as an athlete and when it’s the right time of my life to make the trip. To race there again this year would simply be a repeat of last years experience. Before I return I need to strengthen, improve, get a lot faster – and once my transformation is complete then I’ll return and give it my best shot! But more importantly I’m looking forward to spending the summer holidays with the kids and Jim. I want to eat ice creams and enjoy the odd cocktail (I’ll be on the floor after a couple – it’s been a while!). I’ll enjoy our family holiday in Sardinia without having to find a way to train. I can rest my mind and body for the first time in ages. I have the confidence now to lose my fitness during my break, knowing that I’ll regain it (plus extra) because I rested properly. Then from October I’ll build back up, get stronger and more powerful – ready for Ironman Austria on 2nd July 2017. Austria is where I (as Katie H used to say) ‘popped my Ironman cherry’ so it’s a special race for me. It’s a fast course which draws fast athletes – plenty of speedy central European athletes hammering out some mega splits! Work to do, but as ever for me, it’s as much about the journey as the destination.

Congratulations to Javi, Damien and Stuart on becoming Ironmen. You didn’t pick an easy one guys! Thanks to family, friends, clients and Tri20’ers who wished me luck and tracked me through the race – your support means SO much. Thanks to all the volunteers and crowd who got us through, including the Wylie and Melguizo parents (mine and Javi’s!) who were just awesome (especially my parents dishing out my special needs goodies and post race in the medical tent). Thanks Waves for your smiles and positivity throughout the weekend – and for organising the amazing weekend which is Ironman UK! Huge thanks to Specialized Newbury, especially to Chris Stevens-Ballard who prepped my bike so well in the workshop, and to Callum Hughes who has helped me significantly with bike fit (and is a brilliant source of multisport wisdom!). Big thanks to Sweaty Betty Windsor and to Susann at Biestmilch (Biest Booster on the bike is magic), to my masseuse Katy Digby and to my golden training buddies who keep me pushing!

Happy Holidays! X





On the Friday before Sunday’s race I kissed my family goodbye and got into the car to drive up to Staffordshire. On the same Friday last year, our friend Katie Henderson had done the same, but tragically never made it to her destination. By 10am I had cried twice already. Once on the school run hearing about the death of a friends beloved dog, then again listening to Kirsty Young interview war-zone surgeon David Nott on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs (worth a listen) Emotions were running high for sure.

At Shugborough, having attended the race briefing and checked out the transition zone, I drove to my hotel. Only at a race would you spend a lot of money to sleep at a hotel sandwiched between a power station, a McDonalds and the Amazon warehouse, right?! After dumping my bike and (massive!) suitcase I ventured out to drive the wet bike course, in the pouring rain. That evening I had dinner with client Javier who was also racing. Plenty of carbs and an early night. Perfect!


Saturday (the day before the race) was spent setting up at the two different transition areas (around 15 miles apart), pacing around my hotel room fiddling with race kit, reading my lists and generally faffing about! Javier was pretty nervous by this stage, so I drove us to a country pub on the bike course for lunch, where we could escape the Ironman madness and chill a little. It seems Ironman Europe have suddenly stopped giving out bike covers, so we’d left our bikes in transition exposed to the wet weather, which stressed me a little. I should have bought a couple of my covers from home, so got a bit annoyed with myself.


That evening I’d planned to have an early night, but I couldn’t get hold of my family at home or on Jim’s mobile and started to worry… Of course, they were perfectly safe and sound… playing cricket on the field in front of our house until gone 9.30pm. But of course with my jelly-race-brain I was convinced something awful had happened! Somehow (yep, jelly-race-brain again) I managed to mess up one of my number tattoos and it disintegrated before it reached my arm. Under normal (non-race) circumstances I’d just laugh at myself, but 12 hours before the race I began to stress a little… Does it matter about my missing number? What if I get disqualified? Why won’t my brain work?! Will it work tomorrow on race day?! I’ve come to learn that the day before race day is always a bit like this for me!



Sunday morning I woke at 3.55am just before the alarm. Quick bowl of Ready Brek with honey, flask of tea, race kit on – and exit (checking out of the hotel at the same time). I was wearing my pink armband in memory of Katie, and remembered how I felt at this time last year, at the same race, knowing that she wouldn’t be at the start line with us. I drove to race HQ, parked and caught a bus to the lake with Javier. Once at the lake we setup in T1, queued for way too long for the Portaloo, got into our wetsuits and warmed up ready to go.


Once God Save The Queen had played and the starting gun had fired, we drip fed into the water for our rolling swim start. The swim would have been pretty uneventful, had my goggle strap not snapped two thirds of the way through the swim! Bizarre as they’re a relatively new pair. With hindsight it may be that the strap popped off the top of my head when I adjusted my (slipping) swimcap….But I chucked them and swam to the finish without, so shall never know! Shutting my eyes for 5 strokes and opening them to sight was actually pretty effective – for the first time during the swim I could actually see the yellow buoys. I’d never had visibility trouble with my mirrored goggles before, but made a mental note that when racing on an overcast day I need lighter goggles to see the buoys properly.


I flew through transition (wetsuit off, helmet and number on and GO!) and got out onto the bike, only to find myself wondering why the goggle disaster had happened. “H, it’s history now move on and focus on the bike” I told myself. Feeling like I’d messed up the swim, I concentrated on riding efficiently on the bike. The first 8 miles of the course are pretty technical and challenging given the narrow, twisty (and in parts gravelly) lanes and the large number of mixed ability riders racing along them. I was relieved to get that stretch behind me and get out onto the open road.

Two annoyances at the beginning of the bike: Firstly my lovely S-Works Trivent shoes felt like they were slipping on my wet feet and when I tried to tighten one of them, I accidentally released it and wasted more time – doh! Secondly my water bladder (in the frame of my Shiv) wouldn’t release any water. My own fault. The tube was twisted and I performed some major adjustments at 20+mph, but to no avail. Why had I not checked it properly in transition? By now I was getting a bit annoyed with myself. Am I losing it? Too complacent? Would I have let this happen a couple of years ago? Am I rusty having not raced since Kona? Another few sharp words with myself “H – get back on it and focus on what’s ahead”. I was feeling OK on the bike but noticed that some of the men overtaking me were riding a better line than me at roundabouts and turns. And a few of them made ground on me as they powered up the hills (despite what people often think from looking at me, I’m not a natural climber – much stronger on the flats). More work to do!

Without about 20 of the 56 miles to go on the bike, the heavens opened and it absolutely poured. At one point it turned into spiky rain or hail and stung my bare arms. There were centimetres of water on the road at some points. I tried to nail the flats but was conservative on the downhills. “You can’t win it from the floor” I reminded myself! I thought about Javier and my Tri20 clubmates and hoped everyone was safe on the bike. I’d already seen two people come off and a couple more with nasty road rash. After the climb into Cannock Chase I chewed a Biestmilch Biest Booster tablet. Bovine colostrum and guarana, I use these in training and they never fail to work their magic for me. 5 miles from home I got held up by a van, arghhh! The roads were closed to traffic so I assumed it must be officials. He overtook me with his hazards on, then put his brakes on and stayed behind a much slower cyclist, holding me up. I wondered whether it was the referee and thought maybe they were deliberately trying to slow me down or stop me. There were centimetres of water on the road and deep puddles, it was all a bit confusing and I after a couple of minutes I got really frustrated and began to gesticulate! Should I try and overtake?! No, too dangerous… or they might disqualify me! Thankfully they overtook the cyclist in front and I got back up to speed. On the way into Shugborough I overtook a guy running with his bike and shouted encouragement. “It’s my 3rd puncture” he cried. Reminded me how lucky I was to have arrived back without mishap.

Out on the run course I found myself a few metres behind winner Lucy Gossage, who was on her third and final lap. She had the Channel 4 TV cameras on her and I thought I was probably in the rear of the shot. Had a little joke with myself about whether I should put in a massive sprint and try to overtake her hahaha!

Awesome support on the run from Dave Lait, Abby Evely and her girls and also Tom Ward (who ran up behind me, had a quick chat and then pulled away making it look easy). Contra to what Ironman told us in the briefing, all the gels had caffeine in, which was annoying (I was carrying 2 caffeine gels but wanted to save my caffeine hit for the second half of the 13 miles). A kind soul donated one of their gels to me, which really helped. On my third lap, Edwina overtook me at a cracking pace on her first lap – inspirational! I like 3 lap courses: First lap to get settled, second lap nail it, third lap hang on. The third lap was tough, I counted breaths, counted strides, zoned out a little and tried to stay in the moment. The last 5 minutes hurt a lot. As always, you can see and hear the finish, but it’s not there yet. Finish line I need you now!!!

As I crossed the finish line I thought of Katie. How lucky we are to do what we do. And how lucky am I to have survived the race without any major mishaps. A huge sense of relief washed over me and I celebrated in the tent with Clare Lait, Nick Parris, James Darler and Javier. I was in there for ages and it was like party central. Everyone was buzzing, telling stories, eating and drinking at the buffet, getting changed into dry clothes. Initially Ironman couldn’t find my Streetwear bag with my phone and car keys in, which elevated my heart rate again for a while! Thankfully they found it after 20 minutes or so, phew.
Switching on my phone I had a text from my husband Jim. It just said “Amazing X”. I send him one back asking “What’s amazing?! Where did I come?!”. After what seemed like and age he texted “You won your age group” and gave me my split times. Then came the tears! Having come second last year it was what I’d set out to do, and it meant the world to have done it.


After a lovely afternoon drinking coffee and chatting with Javier, Edwina and Warren, I was able to lift that trophy and think of how chuffed Katie would have been for me. There was one slot in my age group to qualify for the World 70.3 Champs in Mooloolaba on Australia’s Gold Coast in September, but I’d already decided to turn it down. Sadly this year it’s too far and too expensive!

I was hugely inspired seeing Peggy Chrome, aged 73, climb onto the podium and lift her own Age Group trophy. What a lady!


The weekend wouldn’t have been the same without the awesome support of Javier (who had a strong debut race himself), my lovely Tri20 family plus Tom and the Laits from Passionfit.

A huge THANK YOU goes to Specialized Newbury (especially Callum Hughes for his bike fitting expertise and Chris the mechanic for doing all the stuff I can’t do), Sweaty Betty Windsor for their continued support and also to Susann at Biestmilch. I am very proud to be associated with you all! Thanks also to Ironman for a fabulous weekend. Big thanks to all my family, friends and supporters who tracked me remotely and sent positive vibes. As always, this means so much to me.
So what’s next? Javier and I race Ironman UK Bolton on 17th July (as I write this, that’s just 4 weeks on Sunday). We never stop learning – and we’ll be sure to take all our Staffordshire lessons up to Lancashire with us!




Our Kona ‘home’ was a beautiful house called Lane Kai Hale (meaning ‘sea and sky house’). On a hill with panoramic views over the Pacific, it was just off the 4 mile marker of the marathon course on the famous Ali’i Drive. We arrived there late at night exactly one week before race day and were truly gobsmacked by the ocean views and tropical bird noises when we awoke the next morning. Wow, not used to seeing so much blue water!

Fortunately none of us suffered any jet lag. Arriving late at night after a 30 hour door to door journey meant we went straight to sleep in our new home and awoke at 6am ready to get up and go! We stayed on (what I call) Ironman Time for the whole of that first week – crashing out by 8pm each evening and waking up early – a good rhythm to have approaching an Ironman race where you’ll be getting up before 4am!


At the Parade of Nations

Our first week was spent getting race ready, exploring Kona and relaxing at various local beaches. The highlight of those first few days was Fergus and Edith racing the Ironkids Dip n Dash. So proud of them both and chuffed that Edie, aged just 7, did the ocean swim as one of the youngest Ironkids. There was loads of fun stuff that first week: the Parade of Nations, the Underpants run, the amazing Expo, swimming out to the coffee boat…. and freebies galore! Everywhere we went people gave us T-shirts, gels, snack bars, drinks, visors, caps… and during the few days prior to the race all the nutrition companies had their tents out on Ali’i Drive so when you ran you could just stop for a drink and snack every 1km or so. Triathlete heaven!


Ironkids Fergus (9) and Edith (7)

The atmosphere in Kona built day by day and by Wednesday it was just crazy! Athletes, bikes, supporters and triathlon related merchandise absolutely everywhere! I was glad we were staying a few miles out in Ali’i Heights where we could chill out away from the crowds. Friday I racked my bike and dropped off my bike and run bags in preparation for racing the next morning. Setting up in Transition in Kona is special: You get a chaperone, who walks you through the area and waits whilst you rack your bike and hang your bags, and then ushers you out. That means obsessive compulsive faffers like me don’t get to do all the usual faffing around! Plus there are tonnes of industry people watching you enter and exit transition and writing down what wheels/helmet/bike you have and asking you which brand of skinsuit you’ll be wearing on race day. Superstar treatment!

On race day we got up at 3.50am, I breakfasted and we drove to the King Kamehameha hotel where the race would start and finish. Bodymarking (getting your number tattooed on your arms), special needs bag drops (all the special personal food items for bike and run), setup in transition, toilet (massive queues which took forever!) – and suddenly it was time to get ready for the off. The helicopter was hovering right above us as I put my skinsuit on – the soundtrack to World Championship racing – I was nervous now. I had a quick dip in the sea at the little beach next to the pier, so that I wouldn’t be entering the water dry. Swallowed a gel and had a few last minute swigs of water – and then it was into the ocean for us.


Setup in Transition before sunrise

Over 600 pink swimhats bobbed up and down at the startline. I put myself 3 rows back towards the middle. There were thousands of people watching and the helicopter was overhead again, then suddenly with no warning BANG the gun went and we were off!


The swim start!

Given the huge number of people and the importance of the race, I found the swim was a surprisingly calm affair. Many people say it’s like that at Kona because everyone is experienced. I tried to find a solid rhythm and swim a good line, but the ocean waves made sighting tricky and the strong ocean currents and swell made my swim slower than normal. But considering I rarely get the opportunity to swim in the sea, I felt very comfortable and at home with the movement of the ocean.


Exiting the water into T1

Out of the water at T1, grab a hose to quickly wash away the salt, grab bike bag from volunteer and (with the help of 2 more volunteers) don UV wings (sleeves with shoulders like a ‘shrug’ to protect against sunburn) and some suncream. Stupidly though I forgot to remove the bottom half of my swimskin! Doh! So used to swimming in a wetsuit that once I’d peeled off the top half and rolled it down to my hips I completely forgot I still had it on!. Run to bike, notice most bikes have already left T1 (calm down – it’s the World Champs and you’re no fast swimmer!), exit T1 and mount (shoes already in pedals and heel loops attached to bike with elastic bands). 2 minutes later an Aussie guy shouted “hey you know you still have your swim skin on”. Oh rats!! Decide it won’t really matter, tuck it onto my top and pedal on….


The lava fields out to the Hawi turn point

See Jim and kids twice through town, then out onto the Queen K Highway heading for the lava fields. Now I’ve raced it, I know what all the fuss is about. Ironman racing, wherever in the world you do it, is both physically and mentally tough. But the Kona bike course was far more challenging than the two other Ironman bike courses I’ve raced (Austria 2014 and Bolton 2015). With Austria it’s a given that central Europe in the summer makes for a hot race. But the intensity of the heat and humidity somewhere like Austria doesn’t come close to what you experience in that desert north of Kona, where the sun radiates off the black asphalt and the black lava and temperatures top 40 degrees. Add in the 45mph gusting headwinds and crosswinds, plenty of false flats and you’ve a bike course which looks fast from the car but rides really tough on race day. Plus 112 miles is a long way (which is remarkably easy to forget once you’ve done a few Ironman races!). And the best triathletes in the world are riding faster than you! The last 20 miles were truly tough, I thought about Katie and about family and friends tracking me at home. I expected there to be an aid station towards the end and there wasn’t – I’d run out of water and was overjoyed to reach Kona and get my bum off the saddle at long last.


The long hot windy road back towards Kona


I felt rough getting off the bike, so running though T2 wasn’t easy. Unusually for me (normally Queen of transitions) I took ages in T2 as I couldn’t feel my feet and wanted to drink more water before embarking on the hot marathon. But once I started running down Ali’i Drive my legs came back to me and I began to feel quite good. I always relax a bit once the bike is done, because I know it’s just one foot in front of the other and down to me – no chance of mechanicals ruining my race. But the first couple of aid stations had run out of ice, which annoyed me a bit as I really wanted to cool myself down! I’d tucked a packet of Kettle Chips in my race belt as my body never wants sugary gels on the marathon, and they became my saviour! I’d taken salt tablets every hour on the bike, as well as electrolyte drinks and coke. Now I just wanted orange segments, crisps, water, coke and a little red bull. I saw Jim and the kids exactly where I expected to see them by White Sands beach, which gave me a lovely lift. I ran well with a healthy cadence for the first 10 miles, but once I reached the Queen K I started to flag and my splits dropped – and I spent more time walking through the aid stations. Given the intense heat I was a little fearful about what might happen at around mile 17, so I tried to keep my pace in check and keep running without pushing too hard and wiping myself out prematurely.


Running past Jim and the kids on Ali’i Drive

The sun literally scorches you as you’re exposed to it from sunrise until sunset. Even generous amounts of water repellant sunscreen, body glide and tactical UV protective clothing don’t completely save you from sunburn, blistering, swelling and chafing (given that you’ve already swum 2.4 miles in salty seawater). I had to spend much more time and energy hydrating and cooling myself than I normally would. At every single aid station on the run (they were a mile apart) I followed the same routine religiously: drink a cup of water, put 2 wet sponges into my top, pour a cupful of ice down my bra top, drink a little coke, drink more water – then whilst running away from the aid station redistribute the ice from my bra top to under my cap, down the front and back of my shorts, then hold onto pieces of ice in each palm until they melted. On the 26.2 mile run I did that from mile 1 to mile 24. It takes time and energy and slows you down, but it’s essential if you want to keep running and avoid overheating.


Salt replacement thanks to Kettle Chips tucked in race belt!

By the time I hit The Energy Lab it was dark and we were all given glow sticks so that we could be seen. Running in the pitch black was weird. Nice because it was cooler, because I couldn’t see my watch to know what pace I was running at, so was able to zone out and find a nice rhythm. But tricky because you couldn’t see the ground in front of you so had to concentrate quite hard on not tripping over.


My support crew waiting for me on Ali’i Drive


I was happy they hadn’t lost my special needs bag (I had to stop while they found it) as I was in need of of my Nuun caffeinated drink and my second bag of Kettle Chips! Back on the Queen K and heading for home I started to feel livelier and was able to pick the pace up a bit. I had nothing to fear now and my mentality was “the faster I run, the sooner I cross that finish line”. I thought about Katie and how hard she’d be pushing, if she had this opportunity now. There weren’t many supporters in the dark of the Queen K, but those who were there really helped us through with cries of “You’ve got this” and “Awesome job” plus (my fave even tho he was blatantly fibbing) “Running like an angel in the night with those white wings – take it home Angel”.

With 4 miles to go I began to get excited, I was going to become a Kona Finisher! In the 2 Ironman races I’d done prior to Kona, I’d got an energy surge at 22 miles. I believe it comes from the knowledge that “even if I walk – I’m still gonna do it and well within the cut off”. Mind and body work as one…

The crowd and commentator noise running down Palani Hill and Henry Street and along Ali’i Drive into the finish shute was just AMAZING. Past Jim and the kids, along the red carpet…. and finally – over that legendary Ironman Kona World Champs finish line! I’d finished in 12:57 with a 1:29 swim, a 6:52 bike and a 4:24 run. That’s a much slower time than my 11:06 Ironman PB and my marathon was 45 minutes slower than the one I ran in Bolton at Ironman UK 3 months ago – but hey that’s Kona. So much can go wrong in those challenging conditions and I was over the moon to be a “Kona Finisher”.



Strangely I didn’t sit down at all until I got into the car an hour and a half later! I feared my body would seize completely and punish me for what I’d made it do, so I found and hugged my family, collected my bike, walked to the car… Only once I was tucked up in bed an hour or so later did I stop moving around.


Kona World Champs necklace and medal

Looking at pictures and film clips of the race still brings a load of emotion to the surface 10 days later. Racing Kona was a magical experience which I’ll cherish forever. I owe my privilege to many who’ve believed in me and supported me along the way. A huge thank you to Specialized Concept Store Newbury and Mark Letters for my amazing Shiv race bike and Roval wheels (perfect for the Kona crosswinds), Sweaty Betty for their awesome swimwear and outfits which I wore all over The Big Island, Tim Challinor for the loan of his bike box, Javier Jimenez for the loan of his white (heat friendly!) S-Works Evade helmet in place of my own black one, Sarah Carter for being an awesome bike training partner, Clive Alderson for sharing his experience of Kona so that I could prepare obsessively, Glyn Bevans, Richard Dines and Roy McWhirter for all their swim help (work in progress), Katy Digby for helping to keep my body performing, my loyal friends, Tri20 clubmates and clients (many of whom stayed up late to track my progress), my The Right Fit Trainers. And of course my Chettleburgh and Wylie family for their amazing support and care. A big thank you to everyone who donated to Katie’s legacy – we’ve raised over £1100 to help introduce new athletes to Para Triathlon

What does life after Kona hold? For the next few weeks, plenty of rest and relaxation. Time to pay my body and my family back, to catch up with friends and do some stuff outside triathlon. After that?! Well, I have a few ideas, which I’ll share with you at some point!


Sunset on The Big Island, Hawaii


Kona Bound

It’s been all go for the last couple of days getting Team Chet and all our kit packed up and ready to leave our home and business for a fortnight. With loads of last minute stuff to do and the house looking like a bomb site, I found myself randomly baking an apple pie with our garden apples at 7pm last night (definitely not on the critical path but be a shame to waste them huh?!) whilst Jim was outside in the dark for hours securing the guinea pig run (he’s so glad we got those pigs…!!). At 6.45 this morning we had to turn back at the end of the road to switch the heating off (oops!). Then a few minutes later on the M4 our car started to make an almighty rattle and we braced ourselves for a breakdown….but finally made it to Heathrow. Hooray.

So here we are on our 11 hour flight to San Francisco, where we’ll hang around for a few hours before the 6 hour flight to Kona on The Big Island of Hawaii. Excited? Definitely! But relieved and happy too. Getting onto that plane represented a major milestone. Not injured, no one poorly or unable to fly… I always say it but getting to the start line of a race in a good physical and mental place is a big achievement. Getting onto the plane brought us one step nearer to that goal. And after a busy week and a good day of swim, bike and run training yesterday I’m more than ready to sit down and rest my legs for a stint. Those who know me well won’t be surprised to hear I’ve got a foam roller and cricket ball in my hand luggage! I’ll find myself a quiet little corner at San Francisco airport and do my little routine. The place will be teaming with Kona-bound athletes – ‘not normal’ becomes ‘normal’ at San Fran and Los Angeles airports this weekend!

Our Kona adventure is a trip of a lifetime. Looking along our row of seats at the kids I’m so happy to be able to travel as a family and for us all to experience Hawaii together. Triathlon (and sport generally) opens so many doors for us and I hope the kids will keep fond memories of this holiday forever. We’ve a 3 centre trip ahead of us: 9 days in Kona at Ironman World Champs, 3 days at the Volcano National Park and then a couple of nights at The Hilton just north of Kona to finish off in style!

Lots of people have asked me this week what I want to achieve at Kona. Sitting here at 38,000 feet above the ground heading for California my thoughts are:

* Get to the start line healthy and strong, ready to give it my all. Finish the race having given it my absolute best shot out there on the course.

* Have a wonderful time with my family. When I’m not training or prepping, relax and focus on spending good times with them. And once the race is over, pay them back for all their support!

My research has led me to believe that this will be a very different Ironman experience for me. 35 degree heat, 90% humidity and winds gusting at 45mph are to be expected. Sunset is just after 6pm so I’ll be running and finishing in the dark. They give out glowsticks at the run aid stations, so that runners can be seen. Reflective strips on shoes and shorts are compulsory, and I’m even putting a head torch in my run ‘special needs’ bag as it’s said to be difficult to see what’s on offer at aid stations. Whilst the main drag of the famous Ali’i Drive has a “World Championship” feel to it, much of the 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run take place well away from crowds with no spectators at all. Just black lava and black asphalt radiating heat!

The Air Stewardess just asked me with an incredulous look on her face “hey are you doing that Ironman thing in Hawaii?” and I had to laugh as she shook her head and walking away saying “well I guess you must know what you’re letting yourself in for huh?”.

Anyway, another plane meal beckons…..tummy is calling!
H x

From Bolton to Hawaii: Ironman UK, 19th July 2015


The evening before IMUK I sat in a pub having dinner with my family whilst they told me where they were planning to be to view the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run. My Mum read out the estimated split times I’d given her a couple of weeks previous, upon which they’d based their viewing plans. “Blimey I must’ve been feeling good that day” I thought, as I muttered something about ‘best case scenario’. Haha! Butterflies appeared out of nowhere, though they didn’t stop me wolfing down potato skins, ribs and fries with gusto.

I woke at 3am just before my alarm and had breakfast in my hotel, with the guys at the next table questioning me about the biro writing on the back of my hand (which miles the aid stations are located) and about the pink armband on my arm (in memory of our friend and clubmate Katie, who was so tragically killed in an accident on her way to our Ironman 70.3 race in Staffordshire last month).

It was dark, raining and the bus driver got lost on the way to the lake at Pennington Flash! I stuck my headphones on and buried myself in some deep tunes. At Pennington Flash I setup in transition, warmed up and got into the queue behind the pontoon for the ‘self-seeded drip start’ into the water. The National Anthem was played and the starting horn sounded. Entry into the water from the the pontoon was quick and without fuss. Given that there were almost 2,000 people in the water, the swim was a relatively calm affair, compared with the mass start I’d experienced at Ironman Austria last year. I was able to find my rhythm, though the taste of diesel in the water for the first couple of hundred metres was a bit unpleasant. When I get into water I think about Katie and visualise her swimming, which helps me settle. Confusingly the kayakers were wearing hi vis vests in the same orange colour as the turn buoys. At one point on the first lap I realised I’d been sighting a kayaker instead of a buoy and made a mental note to be more careful with my sighting! On the second lap of the swim it started raining heavily and I could feel it spiking my cheek when I turned to breathe. I came out of the water in 1h16 and in 16th place within my age group. A few minutes slower than expected, though with hindsight most athletes swim times look slower than expected…

The transition tent was full of steam, wet bodies and athletes struggling to get wetsuits off and bike clothes on. The rain on the roof of the tent was torrential and loud! Knowing it was only 13 degrees out there and unpredictable up on the Lancashire moors, I pulled on arm warmers and a gilet and ran for my bike. I was barefoot (bike shoes attached to my pedals with rubber bands) and it was really muddy underfoot. A far cry from the glamour of Austria last year! Transition 1 took me just over 5 minutes.

The exit from transition was chaos in the downpour. Deep puddles had formed and it was almost dark, bottles were flying off bikes as cyclists negotiated speed bumps, brakes were squealing and glasses were misting up! I was glad to get out onto the open road, settle down, eat a bar and exchange a few words with Tri20 clubmate Martin as he overtook me.


Having ridden the course twice in training and having read several course reports from Pro athletes, I was prepared for a really tough bike leg. It’s not the four category 4 climbs which make it so tough, it’s the combined way in which all the elements come together to grind you down over the 112 miles. Constantly changing terrain, high speed gusting winds, twisty roads, shabby road surfaces and plenty of potholes all encourage power spikes, mess with your efficiency and sap your energy.

I didn’t really allow myself to take on board how brutal the wind was during the race (called staying positive!). The high speed gusts along the stretch north from Belmont were the strongest crosswinds I’ve ever ridden in and a few people were blown off their bikes. I was riding with Roval CDX 60 wheels which I love for racing, but a couple of times the wind almost whipped my front wheel out from under me! My Specialized Shiv is a truly amazing race bike and deals very effectively with crosswinds. The stretch north from Belmont felt more like sailing than cycling as every muscle in my body and every ounce of concentration went into trying to be at one with my bike, negotiating the crosswinds and surviving the inevitable gusts when riding past gateways and gaps in the hedges. I tried to stay aero down on my bars and not come up onto the hoods too often – a big challenge when my top speed was over 36mph.



Sheephouse Lane climb was fun! Amazing crowd support (including my parents) plus a gang of Men In Pants who were just hilarious and having a great party up there! There were several crowd hotspots on the course where the support was just awesome. One one hill they formed a narrow lane with cowbells and music and yelled you through and up the hill! I fared OK until 80 miles when my heart rate dropped and I felt tired. After reminding myself to keep calm and get some more nutrition down me I took a caffeine gel …. then around the corner at the start of a steep climb I spotted Jimbo and the kids, with a huge “Go IronMum” banner and cowbells! That gave me just the lift I needed! By 90 miles I was heading for T2 and feeling more upbeat again.


I finished the bike in 6h38 in 3rd place for my age group (though I didn’t know my position at any point in the race). I was mighty glad to reach T2 and rack my bike! But no carpet and nasty rough concrete meant running (a long way!) through T2 was surprisingly painful on my princess feet – ouch! Of all the painful bits, that really sticks in my memory – probably as my feet are really sensitive and I’d so looked forward to the getting off the bike… Transition 2 took me just over 5 minutes.


Call me a weirdo, but I loved the marathon! I tend to run on feel and don’t pay too much attention to pace or heart rate, just checking it every so often as a guide. I got into my ‘run forever’ pace, keeping my cadence high and focussing on efficiency. Once I’m into my rhythm and overtaking people, I get positive energy and enjoy it. The Kiwi Pro Sam Clark complemented me on my running as he overtook me, which was lovely and gave me a real lift. Don’t get me wrong, I was waiting for 17 miles where I thought the wheels might fall off! But I knew I’d call on Katie, who’d been in my head for the entire race, to help me through to the finish. I thought about my bike training partner Sarah, riding the Etape du tour in the Alps that same day. As I was digging deep on my third discipline, she’d be climbing her third and final col. The course was pretty hilly, which made for a challenging marathon and I found miles 20 to 24 the toughest. My family were brilliant with their Special Needs offerings. Each lap they were there in the designated Special Needs zone with crisps (can’t do without them), salt n vinegar snack a jacks (had OD’d sugar by then) fulfilling all my diva style demands!


Running up the finish funnel was AMAZING! No words can describe how this felt. I didn’t have a clue where I’d placed – and didn’t particularly care. I knew I’d left it all out there, that I’d executed my plan and I was happy. Ten minutes after finishing my Mum told me I’d got 2nd place in my age group. I knew there were 2 slots for the Ironman World Champs in Kona, Hawaii and it finally began to sink in that my dream had come true. I was going to Kona. Woohoo!!

My marathon was 3hr39 – around what I’d hoped for and I was chuffed to have run faster than 4 of the 10 Pro females. This gave me an overall finish time of 11h44 (38 minutes slower than Ironman Austria last year, but on a much tougher course with much tougher conditions). Bolton was never going to be about my time – it was much more about placing and chasing a World Championship slot in Hawaii.

In the recovery tent I got a massage, tried to rehydrate and chatted to Tri20 clubmates Martin and Callum. But half an hour later I crashed and burned! With my head on the table in Bolton Costa, surrounded by my family and what seemed like half the population of Bolton, I felt terribly ill and couldn’t move even a few steps (let alone walk to the car to return to the hotel!). With hindsight I should have forced some electrolytes and food down, but all I could do was drink coke and groan a lot.

The next day my dream really did come true. I was presented with my trophy at the Macron Stadium and claimed my Kona slot in a dramatic World Championship Qualifiers ceremony. In Ironman we’re all Rock Stars for a day. Firmly back to reality now – and planning my race in Kona.


I owe my amazing experience at IMUK Bolton to so many people. I just wish I could take a whole plane load of us to Hawaii! I’m fortunate to have many people who not only believe in me but have taken the time and trouble to help me live my dream. Specialized Concept Store Newbury, Specialized UK and Mark Letters for supporting me as their Ambassador and giving me my Shiv race bike, which is the absolute business. Sweaty Betty Windsor for supporting me as their Ambassador, Sarah Carter for being an awesome bike partner and living the ups and downs with me, Glyn Bevans, Richard Dines and the lunchtime swim crew for their tireless support in the pool, Roy McWhirter of TriPro for his help with my swim, my lovely Tri20 club mates who feel like a family, Clive Alderson for his many pearls of wisdom over the past 6 years, Katy Digby for helping my body stay strong, Mitch Lloyd for her support over many years, Mark Mansfield for suggesting I try racing long distance and helping me believe Kona was possible, my supportive clients and Trainers Phil and Natasha at The Right Fit, my friends who are always there for me. And of course my amazing Chettleburgh and Wylie family for everything.


The oldest person to finish Ironman UK was 72. I saw blind people complete the swim leashed to their guides and disabled athletes in hand cycles. People raised huge amounts of money for charities close to their hearts. The day before our race, 2,500 children (including both of ours) took part in the Ironkids event in Bolton. These endurance events are a true display of human spirit. If anyone had told me 7 years ago (having just had my youngest child, unfit and overweight, never having done a triathlon, with no swim or bike experience) that I’d be going to Kona I’d have been surprised! As they say at Ironman “Anything Is Possible” and I do believe that’s true.


Start today!

Posted by on 9:25 am in Nutrition, Weight loss | 0 comments

Start today!

Once you begin to exercise and eat right, it usually takes about 4 weeks until you begin to see your body changing. Many say it takes around 8 weeks for your friends and family to notice – and 12 weeks for the rest of the world. So start today and give it 12 weeks! Get in touch today – let’s get started!

read more

Swim in the lake

Posted by on 9:18 am in Triathlon | 0 comments

Swim in the lake

Ever tried open water swimming? I’ve helped many clients take that first plunge into the lake! It’s a wonderful experience and brings you close to nature. Get in touch to find out more.

read more

FitPro Awards Finalist

Posted by on 9:05 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

FitPro Awards Finalist

I was one of four finalists at the FitPro Fitness Professional of the Year award in 2014. I’m particularly skilled at helping busy people work exercise and healthy eating into their day to day lives. Call to find out more about how I can help you.

read more

Find your strong

Posted by on 8:21 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Find your strong

We help you discover the the type of training that works for you! As well as using our own bodyweight to exercise, we work with a wide variety of equipment including Kettlebells, TRX suspension kit, ViPR, barbells, skipping ropes, BOSU and more. Get in touch to find out more!

read more

Achieve your goals

Posted by on 8:11 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Achieve your goals

What are your goals? What do you want to achieve? We’ll help you set SMART goals – and support you on your journey to achieve them. Get in touch and tell us what you want to achieve. We’ll help you get there.

read more

Outdoor fun

Posted by on 8:03 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Outdoor fun

Our HQ, Bradfield Cricket Club Pavilion, stands in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with miles of running trails on the front doorstep. We use the beautifully manicured cricket field for our private and group sessions. The Pavilion provides us with an indoor option when we really want to be indoors. There’s also a covered terrace where we train in winter – outdoors but sheltered from the rain! Come and train with us!

read more

Transform your body

Posted by on 10:53 pm in Nutrition, Weight loss | 0 comments

Transform your body

I can help you transform your body with the right exercise and nutrition! We’ll focus on body measurements, body shape, muscle tone and on how clothes feel – as much as we will on pounds or kilos. As a busy working Mum with a corporate background, I’ve a wealth of practical advice to help busy people achieve their fitness and weight loss goals, amidst the pressures of our busy lives. Call me to begin your transformation.

read more

Do Triathlon

Posted by on 10:51 pm in Competitive training | 0 comments

Do Triathlon

Triathlon is a fantastic sport! I get a real buzz from helping novices complete that unforgettable first triathlon – and from helping experienced athletes achieve challenging goals at the competitive end of the spectrum. I’m a qualified British Triathlon Federation Level 2 Coach, have represented the Great Britain Age Group team at several European and World Championship events and am currently racing Iron-distance triathlons. Contact me for a chat about how I can help you achieve your triathlon goals.

read more

Get fit with friends

Posted by on 10:18 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Get fit with friends

It’s fun working out with friends! Why not hire one of us as a Trainer for your own group? You get to socialise whilst working out – and share our fee between you. It’s a popular format and a lot of fun! Classes are tailored to the needs of your group. You choose a slot which suits you – you can even choose the music for your session! You’re also welcome to bring your children to the session if you’re happy for them to play unsupervised whilst you workout. It’s a hit! Contact me to book your group...

read more

Eat yourself healthy

Posted by on 10:17 pm in Nutrition | 0 comments

Eat yourself healthy

I can help you learn how to eat for improved health and, if desired, for weight loss. You can’t out-exercise poor nutrition! If you want to lose weight, making good food and drink choices is crucial. It’s not just about the science of nutrition – it’s also about the practical application of that science. Think food psychology, organising your cupboards and shopping lists, habits around food and drink, plus lifestyle changes. That’s what gets results! Contact me for a chat about how I can help you.

read more