Welcome, formerly known as 'Salford Swim Swim'. This is a Manchester blog about running and swimming and random stuff. Oh and mental health, it is good to be mentally healthy. Which we of course are not.......so if you're not too then check this out.........Moodswings

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Bye bye Olympics

I have a crush on Bradley Wiggins, I am a shallow, shallow cow. Its blatantly because he looks ace on a bike, wins shit, has the same musical taste as me and is a mod.

Mods and Jesus lookalikes are my two weaknesses in life alongside crispy creme donuts, curry, peanut butter kit kats, vodka, kittens and little puppies and soft porn. No I am only joking. I don't watch soft porn, except 'True Blood' which is basically socially acceptable porn. Alexander Skarsgard is a knicker pinger and I want him to bite my neck.

I also have a weakness for Fred Perry, Mods in Fred Perry slay me.

Right enough of this, I am getting hot under the collar. I just wanted to point out his amazing achievement of looking shit hot in a polo shirt and growing impressive side burns and congratulate the whole of Team GB for a fantabulous Olympics.

Now we can all go back to shit telly and hating each other again.

Peace out, Sam x x

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

What a winner looks like

Well it's been a long time coming but after getting thrashed in the swim and half marathon last year I have finally defeated Kath.

What does victory taste like - sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.

I'm not letting Kath's sarcastic post dampen my spirits. She is still fit as a butchers dog so it was a fair win. Though Kath - I have to say if you're not going to put the time in then what do you expect.


There is some poor dude from the wave before us still doggy paddling in this bottom shot.

And as for my victory dance, well it went a little like this......

Kath suggested we run a 10km in September, I know why. She is so desperate to beat me again because I can't run very well anymore. What a cow. xxx

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Great Manchester Swim 2012 - The Results

I know Sam's natural modesty will prevent her from mentioning this so I'll confirm:

It's official - Sam beat me. She is a faster swimmer, she is the winner, I am the loser. 

Sam has suggested that we include this information (i.e. that she is faster than me, she doesn't like to mention it) in our work's newsletter in block capitals in bold, so I've put together an article for them:

"Plucky Samantha Ward has a reason to smile at last....

After her bruising defeat at the hands of her colleague Kath Henderson (41) last May, Sam (31) vowed not to be overtaken again. 'It's not fair' she whinged daily for over a year. 'She's taller than me. And she has bigger feet.'

Having spent the winter and the spring laboriously carbing up, diminutive Sam started training in earnest with weeks to go before the event, some or indeed everyone who knows her might even say to the point of obsession. 

"She's like an angry wasp on speed. She's going to do herself an injury." a concerned Kath said, as Sam dozed at her desk following yet another night ogling the Bodypump instructor punishing workout.

"DO YOU WANT TO BEAT HER??!!!" screamed her swimming coach every time Sam looked like she was faltering.

The results speak for themselves. Best Performance: Samantha Ward.

And does Samantha plan on keeping fit? "Oh, yes" gushes Sam. "I've already been doing lots of victory dances around Kath's desk. I can see me doing this every day until Kath retires."*

And so I have a few bits of advice for any Olympic athletes out there wondering how best to prepare for an event:

It's best to do some training;

It's even better to train in the sport you're actually going to be doing. I've been doing a lot of cycling, but it turns out thighs of which a tree trunk would be justly proud are of no help at all when swimming;

It's best to do a sport you enjoy. This will definitely not be open water swimming at Salford Quays. 



* For the record, Kath will retire 11 years and 1 day before Sam. Ha.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Fat Muscler

Today marks the 60th day of training preparation for the Great Manchester Swim.

And my total weight loss - between 0 and 3 pounds depending on if I have taken my earrings off before I have stepped on the scales. I dont think they are very accurate but then I don't think I have lost much weight, instead I have cleverly converted it into muscle in a bid to swim proper fast.

So I am now a fat muscler.

I'm not happy that I haven't lost weight, well because I have worked mighty hard over the last 2 months and thought I might have lost a bit more than nothing. Honestly, in the past I have lost more weight after having a really big wee than I have with all this training.

But then I do have freakishly muscley arms for my standards and I have one of those big muscles just above the knee like what them footballers have.

I don't recommend this to anyone, I become a little obsessed when I start something and inevitably end up on crutches or sobbing into a chiropractors spongey table whilst they try to put me back together again. I'm a real life humpty dumpty.

So here it is - my training log for the last 2 months:

13 swims, 3 of which open water yes I know I am training for a swim and therefore should be swimming more but call me a shallow bitch but I just don't like getting my hair wet.

4 runs with a pretty poor total distance of 17km

but then here's the real impressive bit - a whopping 46 exercise classes including -

2x legs, bums and tum classes.

Verdict - I haven't felt such arse pain since I fell off a rope swing onto a pile of broken brick in 1989.

I have only just discovered this class but will return quite simply for the soundtrack in class. We call our instructor 'Motown Man'. Which kind of makes him sound nice but really he is a sick sadist who hates your body.
22x Body Combat classes.

Verdict - There isn't anything in the world that can make me sweat like this. Though I am not sure if this is because it's dead hard work or because I am bad in love with the instructor.

4x Aerobics classes.

Verdict - Not for the uncoordinated, I have had a couple of my toes amputated from grapevine miscalculations.

Sweaty mind, very sweaty.

Actually, while we're on the topic will someone please explain to me what the f$£k is a grapevine? I always thought it was a Marvin Gaye single used to hoodwink women into bed.

6x Body Pump classes.

Verdict - This does really give you additional strength and tones you up like nothing I have ever known before. It also makes it hard to fooking walk anywhere for 3 days.

Not advised for people who have to climb stairs on a daily basis.

1x Beginners Spin Class

Enough said.
3x Yoga classes.

I really haven't done enough of these. Mostly because it would mean missing episodes of the 'Big Bang Theory'.

Though I shall be staying away from the 'Life Yoga' classes as I actually think I dislocated my ninny.

And finally, 8x Zumba classes.

Verdict - I think it's time to retire from Zumba as it is nothing less than an exercise of humiliation for me.

It hurts when your mate spends most of the lesson bent over double laughing at your boobie shakes. Especially when you haven't got much boobie to shake.

I don't think I sweat enough to make it worthwhile.

Oh and 1x abseil off my office block. I am sure that fear is a calorie burner cause I sweated more during that than Pete Doherty in a custom queue.

Now, I am too tired to write anymore. Only 2 more days of training & 4 days to the swim with a bit of Stone Roses dancing in between

Sam out x

Friday, 22 June 2012

Paula Radcliffe on injury


"My advice to runners whose training is held back by an injury is to focus on what you can do. Eat the right things to heal faster, get the treatment and do the rehab religiously. Pour the frustration into the cross-training and don't forget the power of the mind too. Regularly visualise yourself back from the injury stronger and faster."

Paula Radcliffe never gives up. She's my hero.

And if all else fails, there is always anti-inflammatory gel which is (for me) brilliant. I have taken way too many ibruprofen tablets over the years and this is more topical for when my shit bits start to swell up like a fat kid in a cake shop.

Obvs check with your quack first it's okay to use. 

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Sweaty gym pants


Yes, we are lapsed bloggers. There are three reasons that I have decided to post after a long break.

1. A very nice first aider from work recognised me from the blog and told me she read it as she herself was training for a sporty charity event. This made me feel all warm and funny inside and had a glimpse at why people like being famous. It also made me a little embarrassed and feel a bit weird like someone had just looked in my knickers drawer.

2 & 3. I've been contacted twice in the last week by people promoting exciting type sporting events. Which made me think people still read the blog even though Kath and I don't do anything to update it at the moment.

So here we are, I kind of have forgotten how to blog. I think I just used to write down wingey mutterings with poor grammar and punctuation - I don't see why I should change now.

You're probably wondering what the above photo is about, this one of my two gym bags I have on the go at the moment. I have to have two because I have been working so bloody hard and training near daily, it smells like a warm crappy nappy and I can't even remember what it's like to wear pretty clothes.

So since we've been away here's an update about what Kath and I have been doing.

1. We still sit next to each other at work which is unproductive and annoying. Roles have been reversed and Kath is now the lazy one whilst I have been training like Wayne Rooney high on Viagra in a Nursing Home. Kath still fancies me, I spend all my day feigning off her advances - it's tiresome. She has been especially enjoying me sing Jimmy Nail to her all day long today.

2. Kath went to a Kayaking event we were invited to last night - post to follow. YES Kath, I have put it up here now so you'll have to post you lazy cow.

3. Despite said training (see point 1) I am still fat and Kath is still skinny despite eating chocolate fucking digestives all day whilst I have to constantly wipe sweat from my cracks from all the body combat classes I have been doing.

4. We are both swimming in the Great Manchester even though its actually in Salford Swim again a week on Sunday.

I would ask Kath to put up a training post but she hasn't done any apart from cycle to work yesterday which she only did cause it was cycle to work day and she could get some free shit, including a full english breakfast.

The final photo is an example of what I have to sit next to each day, this is Kath smiling cause I  came into work with a short skirt on. She loves it when I do that.

Peace out

Sammy x

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Body Pump = Pain

I cannot walks down the stairs, I don't think I'll be able to tie my shoes laces so I plan on wearing ballet pumps for the next week. The reason - body pump.

I've never been one for classes for the following reasons:

1. I used to be fat, I didn't want to be the fatty in the class bounding about like a pale space hopper in Lycra. In my mind exercise classes were generally filled with fake tanned goddesses and I couldn't think of a more intimidating environment.

2. I lack coordination, I am probably dyspraxic, if I ever let my boss get me tested by an educational psychologist then I am sure this would be confirmed. She keeps asking me of I want a test, if an experienced head of a disability service repeatedly asks you if you want a test then it's a pretty sure sign you've got a specific learning disability. Anyway lack of coordination - this is problematic for classes, I once did a aerobics class at uni - stood on about 4 people's feet and was hated by many for the remainder of the class.

3. Going to a class involves a level of organisation and planning that I lack, see point 2 - I probably have a specific learning difficulty.

4. Embarrassing gym attire, until recently I never spent any money on sports clothes as I saw it as a waste of time. I would much rather spend my money on many, many seventies style floppy hats that I will never wear. Wearing cotton joggers to an exercise class is only going to cause the following - a sweaty wit woo area, overheating danger and most probably some kind of sweat induced infection around creaky and crack type areas.

So back to Body Pump - I am actually writing half of this post after another class. It gets easier but it did take me 2 days to be able to walk down the stairs efficiently without sliding on my bum or making painful huffing noises. I can only now lower myself onto a toilet seat without screaming and no longer have reduced movement in my limbs.

It basically shags your muscles out, it must be good because 'no pain no gain' right?

Here's Wiki's explanation of Body pump -

"BodyPump is a weight-based group-fitness program, created and distributed globally by Les Mills International. Created in 1991 by Phillip Mills, it is now found in over 70 countries and 10,000 health-clubs and gyms worldwide.

BodyPump classes are 60 minutes long and contain eight separate muscle-group specific songs or "tracks" along with an opening warm up track and closing cooldown track. There is also a 45 minute class format, which omits two muscle groups /tracks (biceps and triceps) and is used in timeslots where participants generally don't have a full hour to spare."

I am going to keep going at this bad boy - I hope to see some results soon. I will let you know the results - maybe even show you a picture, woo what a treat.

Sam out x

Thursday, 12 April 2012

RIP Caballo Blanco

So Kath told me about the sad loss of Micah True (the white horse) yesterday, she is pondering getting into bare feet running so I guess this is how she stumbled upon the news.

I will let Kath tell you about her new fad but the basic gist of it is she has found some pretty looking bare feet style running trainers on Nike.com and is getting sucked in by their sale price.

Anyway, back to the post. Micah True was an inspirational ultra marathon runner who developed his running style from the TarahumaraRacers in Mexico.

He also created the 50 mile Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon and had a pretty zen outlook and was a true believer that running will set you free.

Then it dawned on me this is the dude who was the inspiration for Christoper McDougall's best selling book 'Born to run'. Which weirdly my mate just gave me a copy of this week - thanks Califia.

I haven't started reading it yet and find it a little sad starting it now knowing that his body was found a couple of weeks ago next to a stream in Mexico after heading out for a 12 mile run.

This is terribly sad but what warms me somewhat is that he died doing what he loved.

Sleep well man.

Peace out - Sam x

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Big news beard trim

Breaking news - Anton trimmed his beard - news done.

I love my Wii. Rhythym boxing and badass dancing to just dance 3 has taken over my life. Who needs runnning anyway, fook you bad hip!

Fecking Wii loves to point out that I am overweight. I prefer to imagine that I have a strong muscle base that is insulated by a fine layer of fat.

Check out that balance though - that's what yoga does for you.

yeah my Mii is somewhat portly. There is a weird thing that happens when you turn 30, you can't seem to lose a stone anymore after a night over heavy drinking followed by a morning of heavier vomiting. If this is ageing then I don't like it.

My Wii interpreting Beyonce's Crazy in love.

I would love to show you a video of some of my mates dancing to Just Dance 3 (after 6 hours of drunken Wii fun *not wee fun) but I promised I wouldn't.

So Instead I would like to share this piece of filmatic genius. These girls are brilliant and incidentally this is one of my favourite tracks to bound about to even though really I hate Katie Perry cause she is a twee annoying bint.


If you have a Wii or an Xbox Konnect then get a Just Dance game immediately, you will have no regrets.


Monday, 2 April 2012

Living the Olympic Dream

Well, despite the reported pandemonium and chaos at petrol stations, I managed to get to London for the Olympic Park Run. Anyone who didn't know better would think the media had nothing better to do than create stories out of thin air.

I stayed at the Oakley Court Hotel in Windsor, and very posh it was too. Riverside grounds, tennis courts (yes, I played tennis. No, I will not be repeating the experience), a pool, gym and a bed big enough for three luxurious room. They filmed the Rocky Horror Picture Show there you know.

I ditched the Magenta costume for this T-shirt

The daffodils and conservatory have been added since Frank N Furter's day

Very few men can carry this look off, so please don't try this at home.

Freezing my bits off waiting for it to start

We had to be at the stadium a couple of hours early  to indulge in a spot of the great British sport of queuing, and it has to be said it was flipping chilly. The atmosphere was, if not electric as the announcers kept saying, friendly and good-humoured. We all huddled together for warmth in the starting enclosure, leaving our friends and family to the entertainment in the stadium itself - watching the officials struggling with a barrier that fell over on to the track every time there was a breeze.

I'm the one in the very attractive socks calf compression tights.

It was a nice-ish run (i.e pretty flat), if running around a building site is particularly your thing. We were encouraged along the way by random groups of musicians, and the occasional builder, before running under the stadium to strains of Chariots of Fire.

It was an inspired way to get us into the stadium, and running the last 300 yards round the track being cheered on was pretty amazing.

Crossing the finish line in a chip time of 40 minutes 40 seconds - that's over five minutes faster than a Princess, you know.

So that was my weekend - running at the Olympic stadium. I'm sure people who weren't able to get a place on the Park Run because the organisers knew they were trouble still had a lovely time. Sam, for example, got to watch a Twilight film that she has seen before on DVD. Rocking.



Do it like Barrowman

Reet  - Sam here.....NOT Kath (there are two of us who write the blog - I am the other and significantly better half). I write all the amazing funny posts. yeah, but don't tell Kath I said that.

So Kath ran the Olympic Park Run on Saturday at the Olympic Stadium in that there London.

I entered but didn't get in and I am in no way bitter about it because it is clearly biased, they obviously are intimidated by my beauty. I don't actually know what their criteria was for entrants but whatever it was, I wasn't it. If Kath got in the criteria is probably pretty weak - ha!

Have I just insulted myself with that? well whatever.

I haven't spoken to Kath yet but I sent her lots of good luck messages so hopefully she did it in a mega fast time and showed those southern pansies how it's done. I also am kind of hoping she didn't get bullied by the other kids because she was wearing her knee high compression socks which teamed up with her slim legs makes her look like the stunt double for dennis the menaces legs.

While Kath has been enjoying the big smoke and staying in Frank'n'furter's Mansion (from The Rocky Horror Picture Show), I have been doing some freaky exercising of my own......on my wii.

I am having serious trouble opening and closing doors as well as pulling my trousers up and down because of the amount of lactic acid flowing through my body because of this game...........

Feck me I hurt, its is so addictive. I have been throwing myself around my living room like John Barrowman on an 'E' for the last week. I don't think I have lost any weight actually I know I haven't cause my fecking wii fit balance board keeps telling me so but I my trousers fit me better.

It is proper funny, I thought I had rhythm but according to my scores it appears not though I suspect the sensor is broken on my remote. yeah, that's it, the sensor is deffo broken. To be honest I always suspected I was rhythmically challenged and that's why I don't partake in any exercise classes that require coordination. I've tried before and stood on way to many girls feet and I am not popular with girls at the best of times.

So this game is ace for me because the only victims of my lack of balance and poise are the cat (sorry Morrissey, Mummy will take you the vets tonight and get you some new paws & you don't need a tail anyway) and the paper lampshade in my living room which I have stabbed 4 wii remote shaped holes in and knocked off the ceiling twice.

Anyway my point is it is brilliant and the best work out I have ever had in my living room. So stop buying Davina dvd's and get this. It is hilarious and has a multi player function so you can smash into your mates too.

Erm, my writers block has just kicked in again so I bid you goodbye.

Hopefully Kath will have an exciting London post for you soon to wet your blog appetite.


Sam x x x

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Olympic Park Run

I'm off to Sunny London this weekend for the Olympic Park Run!

Not to be confused with parkrun (only a complete idiot would do that in their original ballot application), this is very much a one-off - a 5 mile run round the Olympic Park, ending in the Olympic stadium full of cheering supporters.

They've sent me a super-smug t-shirt to wear.

This will doubtless look amazing with my new Skins compression calf tights (otherwise known as "very tight socks") and shorts.

Hot, huh?

 The packaging says "It's not like your sense of style falls asleep the moment your muscles go to work. Consequently Skins are also designed to make you look great." 


It is all very exciting and once in a lifetime-esque. I'll be beating Paula Radcliffe over the Olympic finish line! Not that she's running on the same day as me, but still. And there'll be celebs doing it. Well, Princess Beatrice is running it anyway - here's hoping her crown doesn't fall off.

So, if you're watching the National Lottery Show on Saturday, look out for me (and find yourself something considerably better to do next Saturday night).



Monday, 19 March 2012

A shoe review - New Balance 660

Well now, the folks at SportsDirect offered me an opportunity to review a pair of running shoes for them from their range.

I have been given free rein to tell you the honest truth about these trainers folks so hold onto your knickers.

I went for the New Balance (NB) 660, why? - well I hadn't ever had a pair of New Balance before and I have a mate who swears by them so why the hell not.

Brand Comparisons

I am  big Nike fan - they fit wide trotters and I like the bounce of the air and they can look a little cooler than the norm. I have had mixed reviews from my podiatrist on how they are for pronators. I have been told off for wearing them in the past & after all I am constantly injured. Though I think the reason why my doc didn't like my Nike's was because they didn't have a rigid sole.

I am currently running in Asics - which I am not 100% with, they seem to shock absorb okay but I had to get a larger size for my wide feet so I pull out of the back of them a little. New Balance do offer a wide fit on some shoes though - worth noting for the ones of us with fat feet.

Asics are like the big fat gypsy wedding dress of running shoes. They have gaudy colours and are uglier than a Pat Butcher frock (may you rest in peace Pat).

NB have a classic looking range, they are a bit like the Gap for shoes - classic and unoffensive but not fruity like Nikes. What I like is they seem to stock tomboy colours and girly pretty colours in the same shoe. They are a decent looking shoe as running trainers go and this was definitely what attracted me as I am a bit of a shallow cow.

They are super light, compared to the Asics they feel like jumping around on clouds. I notice this is because they have a foamish filled sole, Asics soles are full of gel and this makes them a little on the heavy side. Nike are pumped full of air so they bounce a bit.

The weight of these shoes excited me as I hate being dragged down by weight. Though, I didn't feel the NB shock absorption was enough for me personally. I pronate bad, really bad on one side and the 660's sadly didn't cushion my terrible biomechanics.

I chose the 660's for the stiffened sole, I found it to be very rigid which will offer protection around the arch area. As you can see in the photo above, if the shoes have a central grey block of colour on the inside sole you know that they have a rigid centre to protect the arch.

NB shoes seems to run small, you need to go up at least a size for them to fit. Also you will need to remember to incorporate half a size to allow for foot swelling when running.

So I STRONGLY recommend you try before you buy to ensure the right fit.

Positives -
Light shoe
Good looking
Comfortable from the second you put them on
Rigid sole

Lack shock absorption
Run small
Not wide enough

Advise for
Neutral gait runners
Short competitive runs - 5km (light weight speed my friend)
Occasional short distance runners - road or other flat surfaces
Gym shoes
People on the feet all day

Advise against
Long distance runners without a neutral gait
Running on uneven ground
Insole users
People with high arches

Despite my comments these shoes will not be joining all the others in my trainers graveyard, I intend to wear them in the gym and maybe for a competitive short distance race because they are so light.

New Balance 660 c/o of Sportsdirect
They are easy in the gym bag but not on the knees in my opinion.

In the interest of fairness I took these shoes out with both insoles and without. My insoles are half shoe ones and are designed to prevent my high arches dropping. I didn't find there was enough support in these shoes and I needed the insoles. I usually slip them under the trainer insoles but these were quite narrow and slipped about on top of my inserts.

There was no way enough arch support for me without my insoles.

Do not let my experience put you off these shoes, they are mid-priced and would deffo suit a neutral runner or gym bunny better. They are incredibly comfortable from the minute you put them on so if I had a job that involved being on my feet all day e.g nurse, physio then I would consider these but I don't think they are built for high impact running.

Saying that my mate runs probably at least 50 miles a week in New Balance trainers; she has no complaints and has never ever experienced an injury. It all depends on you, we're all different - thank shabba for that coz I wouldn't wish my Oprah thighs on any of you guys.

You won't know if these are truly for you without a gait analysis first. All the specialist running shops do this, do what I do - get a free analysis and then seek them out at a cheaper price.

I didn't have a gait analysis for these but I could see my left foot was out and my knee felt pulled after a few 5km runs.

I won't be hanging up my Asics for the 660's though I am willing to give New Balance another go as, despite my quibbles, they are comfy and light, I just need to find the right fit for my disco feet.


Sam x

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