Swimming, cycling, running and underwear

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to take part in the Shock Absorber Women Only Triathlon at beautiful Eton Dorney Lake. I was also lucky enough to have a Shock Absorber sports bra to review whilst I was at it!

We set off at 7.30 am to get to the venue in time to register before my wave started. My husband took the day off work so that he could bring Libby down to watch. Luckily we have an estate car, but packing my bike, Libby’s buggy, the cool box for the picnic and all my other kit into the car was still a bit of a squeeze!

When we arrived at the lake, I was amazed at how few people were there! The races were so well spread out throughout the day in such a large and impressive venue that it didn’t seem packed at all. I got my kit together, took a leisurely stroll down to registration and spent the obligatory hour getting a bit nervous about doing something so ridiculous in this heat.

Eventually it was time for the swim. The organisers advised against wearing a wetsuit because the temperature of the lake was so warm. After the initial shock of the water not actually being that warm, I was pleased to be free of the restrictive wetsuit and soon warmed up once the swim started. After the 800 metre swim, I was third out of the water in my group. Unfortunately, I’m not much of a cyclist so the people I had beaten in the swim were soon whizzing past me.

The cycle was a great route though, six laps of the lovely flat course around the stunning lake. I even noticed some sheep grazing by the lake and found myself thinking what a lovely place it was to be a sheep… ok, perhaps I should have been concentrating on cycling a bit quicker!

The run was shortened due to the ridiculous heat, which I think was very sensible of the organisers. It ended up being just over 6km and that was far enough! The water stops were very welcome, as was the finishing line!

I would definitely do that triathlon again, it was a fantastic venue and amazing atmosphere. My husband is also desperate to compete there too, so we will be looking for one that he can do soon. At the end, I paid a quick visit to the Unlisted London tent. They had a great stretching zone where you could do a stretching class and I had a look through some of their amazing products. Unfortunately, not being based in London I won’t be able to use their home spa service. I will definitely be looking to order some products from their website as a treat some time though, they smelt divine!

Now on to the real hero of the triathlon for me- the Shock Absorber. I have been running in it for a few weeks now and wore it for my half marathon. It took me quite a while to get used to the clip on the back and I initially struggled to do it up. I’ve got the hang of it now though and I am definitely converted. The clip just makes it extra sturdy and massively reduces bounce. It is testament to the bra that I didn’t notice it at all during the triathlon or the half marathon. I am always nervous about bras because I still have scars from wearing the wrong bra to do the London Marathon. This one though, is a revelation. I was stunned that I couldn’t feel it at all even when it was wet through from swimming without a wetsuit. This is one piece of equipment that comes with a strong recommendation from me.

On the subject of equipment, not all of my kit fared so well. The fact that I didn’t notice the Shock Absorber really made it hit home how much I did notice other things. Firstly my cycling shoes. Awful. It always takes me ages to clip them in, then my feet get numb because they’re a bit too small and my legs never quite feel like they’re at the right angle when I’m cycling. 

Then onto the run and another footwear issue- my running shoes are falling apart. It’s definitely time for a new pair. They are more hole than shoe these days. This is partly testament to how much I love them that I’ve worn them for several years, several half marathons and several triathlons. Now though, it’s time to move on. 

The third piece of kit I have realised is essential is a water bottle that clips onto my tri bars on the bike. Yet again, I managed to drop my water really close to the beginning of the cycle and had to wait until the run to have a drink. In this heat, that wasn’t ideal. I was incredibly grateful for the carton of Vita Coco coconut water that was handed to me at the end. It was really refreshing and hydrating- that is until Libby got her hands on it when I was about half way through drinking it and polished off every last drop!

This post wasn’t sponsored, but Shock Absorber kindly gave me a fantastic sports bra and let me enter their brilliant triathlon in return for writing it. Views, opinions, slow cycling and musings about sheep are all mine. 


  1. Marianne Hopwood
    July 15, 2013 / 2:03 pm

    Well done! Libby has such a great role model. We have bad and good news in that Matt’s not going to get any more overtime from here on in, but hopefully it will mean I can start again where I left off with running in the evenings. Got at least two stone to shift so hopefully running will help 🙂

  2. Natalie Ray
    July 15, 2013 / 2:21 pm

    Thank you Maz 🙂 Libby absolutely has to get into exercise, she is so obsessed with eating that if she doesn’t she’s going to be massive! Sorry to hear about Matt’s overtime, good for you in taking a positive out of it. Two things that I think might help you with running; couch to 5k programme: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/get-running-with-couch-to-5k.aspx
    and Mums on the Run facebook group:
    (you have to ask to join but they will sign you straight up). This is very motivational and lots of mums on there doing couch to 5k. Good luck.xx

  3. Sally Head
    July 15, 2013 / 4:22 pm

    You don’t measure your bust size. I am a 36C (US) measurements. I find it hard to find a supportive and comfortable bra. Like you I am training for a triathlon in August.

  4. Sally Head
    July 15, 2013 / 4:23 pm

    Sorry. Meant to write mention not measure.

    • Natalie Ray
      July 15, 2013 / 6:22 pm

      I’m a 36DD but I’m not sure if UK sizes are the same as US? Either way, I’m large enough to have problems finding something sturdy enough and this is certainly up to the job 😉 Good luck in your triathlon Sally 🙂

  5. TwynMawrMom
    July 16, 2013 / 11:58 am

    Oh I totally have been wanting to write a post about various bras for DD girls like myself. Kudos to you! I like the sound of this bra. I have been addicted to my moving comfort bras.
    And, as for the running shoes, lady, come on! Those ‘just runners’ buy a new pair every week! I’m just as bad, though, I find my faves and don’t want to break in a new pair. But I think I’m averaging 1 pair a year.

    • Natalie Ray
      July 16, 2013 / 12:03 pm

      It’s an amazing bra and it’s not even the one specially designed for larger busts. I’m trying that soon though, so will let you know!
      I know what you mean about the running shoes. Proper runners tend to have a pair of running shoes for every eventuality don’t they? Not me. One pair and I wear them to death! I bought these 2 and a half years ago and I’ve remembered I even wore them for a 10 mile obstacle run and had to swim in a river, wade through mud and run through fire (really) in them. This was when they were quite new. No wonder the poor things are on their arse now! I’ve got a new pair on the way to review though, couldn’t have come at a better time!

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