Armbands for Argentina

11 January 2015, 17:39

I had a bit of a stroke of genius just before Christmas, as my bag of lycra fabric scraps was literally overflowing – If I sewed up a bunch of Running armband pockets I could make some space in my sewing room and fundraise for the Argentina World Transplant Games at the same time!

So I took a few days over the holidays and went through my lycra scraps, cutting out as many armband pieces as I possibly could from my collection of wicking and high quality lycra fabrics. Each armband requires two pieces of fabric, so I got to play with different combinations for the armbands, too.

Armband pockets in progress

I then sat in my sewing room and sewed together as many as I possibly could, assembly-line style, so that you’ve got loads to choose from! I figure this is a win all around – you get a great, stretchy pocket that fits on your arm to hold your phone, keys, gels, or other small items, and I get some help in reaching my fundraising goal for the Games, too!

Armband pockets
So many to choose from!

I’ve reworked the pocket size a little bit from my free sewing pattern so the pocket itself is a bit taller – iPhone 4s and 5s easily fit inside, as do iPhone 6s and the Samsung Galaxy phones. There’s a little fold-over flap at the top which keeps the contents from sliding out, but is still easy enough to access while you’re on the move.

Armband pockets - with iPhone 5s
The pocket can hold most modern phones – seen here with an iPhone 5s partially inserted inside (it does fit!)

I wasn’t sure which arm size would be most popular, so I just based it off my own meaty biceps, making the majority of them size Small, but a few XXS and XL ones thrown in as well. I’m hoping I can tell from this first lot which sizes most people want!

Armband pockets - on my hand

I’ve worn mine on both my lower arm and upper arm during races as I find them to be super convenient for gel storage, but others love them for phone storage, too. There’s no excuse to still be still holding your phone in your hand, or even worse, down your sports bra!

Armbands being worn

How do you get one?
For convenience, I’m going to start by offering these at Run dem Crew and our workplaces so I can cut out the postage process altogether. If you’d like one, please bring £10 in cash and you can pick out whichever one you like, first come first served. If these sell well, I’ll make another batch later in the year! All proceeds go towards
my fundraising target for the World Transplant Games – the registered charity is Transplant Sport.

If you see one in the photo you absolutely must have (and I’ll be seeing you in person sometime soon) – drop me an email and you can reserve a particular one with an online donation instead.

Or if you’d like to help get me to the Games but have no need in an armband, you can alternatively sponsor me below!

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

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My new favourite speed combo

14 July 2014, 14:27

Unfortunately of late I’ve got lots to say, and not enough time to say it! I find myself composing posts on my slow and solitary runs, but then when I’m back at my computer, the paid work and writing for my sewing business takes precedence.

I don’t often talk explicitly about my sewing patterns here, but you’ve seen enough of them in my race photos, and I wanted to show you my new favourite running set.

The top is my latest pattern, the VNA Top, made with three different wicking fabrics that happened to coordinate absolutely perfectly when I put them together. I had only a tiny bit of the geometric print leftover from the top, but it was enough to pair with some black Suziplex wicking lycra to make a pair of my Duathlon Shorts in the “booty” length. If you’re interested in the fabrics or sewing details, I’ve posted in great detail over at FehrTrade.com. Or if you don’t sew yourself, get in touch if you’d like to commission me to sew you something.

teal mixed print VNA set

These were taken this morning before (left) and after (right) my interval session along the river this morning. It was hot enough at 8:30 that I was thankful for the shorts, and the extra silicone elastic I added to the hems to keep them in place (as an aside, this is a super easy fix to store-bought shorts that ride up!).

I’ve only got a month left now until the British Transplant Games, where I’ll be defending my double gold medals in the 3km “mini marathon” and 1500m, but also running the 800m, 400m, and 200m. So hence all the speed intervals and track sessions! But I can’t afford to give up my long runs, either, as I’ve got Berlin marathon looming at the end of September, too…

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British Transplant Games - double gold medals

12 September 2013, 17:09

The British Transplant Games are an annual event for all survivors of organ or bone marrow transplant to compete in a variety of sports. I wrote these reviews just after the event in August, but I’m playing a bit of catchup in posting them now.

On Saturday I traveled up to Sheffield from London to compete in my first British Transplant Games, and despite having done specific track training for the past few months, I was absolutely bricking it in the lead-up to the first race.

As a distance runner, I’d signed up to run in their longest events: the 3km “mini marathon” (awwww!) and the 1500m, plus a mixed 400m relay. I was surprised to find on Saturday evening however, that despite training for several months on the track, the “mini marathon” was actually a road race (good thing I didn’t put my spikes in!), that there was a non-transplantee fun run happening at the same time (with no separate start for those of us competing for medals), and that my main rival was out with a stress fracture so the showdown I’d been building up for wasn’t going to happen. Still I set off strong, and by the time I exited the stadium and hit the roads outside Don Valley, I only had a few men ahead of me. I gradually picked off a few more up the unexpected hills, and by the time I re-entered the stadium for the finish, there was only one man ahead! My final time was never recorded (arrgh!), but I was unbelievably chuffed to see I’d come in under 12 minutes, which was more than enough to earn me a gold medal for my age category, plus a trophy for being the first woman across.

BTG 2013 3k finish After the Mini marathon
I was so surprised, I did an unintentional Mo Bot when the commentator told me I came in under 12 minutes!!

Then the next morning was my second race, the women’s 1500m (3.75 laps around the track). This indeed was a true track race, with a gun start and a bell for the final lap! I came out in front in the first 200m and grew the lead over the race, ending up finishing over a full minute ahead of the next finisher! I had to lap a few of the other ladies, which I felt bad about, so I tried to offer encouragement as I went past.

Crossing the 1500m finish line

I also ran in the mixed 400m relay later in the afternoon, but despite making our way through the heats, our team came in 4th in the final. Only one of us had done baton handoffs before, so we practiced just before the race, which was actually quite fun! Everything went smoothly and we all sprinted our hardest, but the other teams were just faster! No shame in that!

Ruth & I on the podium

All in, I was really proud to earn two gold medals for Kings College Hospital (at the games, you compete for your transplant hospital), and proud to wear the Kings tracksuit up on the podium. For the first race, I wore my trusty Nike short shorts and my disco split back top, but for the second race, I threw all caution to the wind and wore my brand-new Jalie shorts & sports bra set since it made me feel that little bit more elite, ha.

Not bad for someone who was a few weeks from death four years ago! It was a truly inspiring weekend of sport, with only points deducted for missing out on a good tussle with my rival. Bring on Bolton 2014.

British Transplant Games, 3km: sub-12minutes, 1500m: 5:45, 17-18 August 2013

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