Thursday, 12 June 2014

Lauren's good news!

So it feels as though summer is finally here – well almost – this changeable weather keeps teasing us and especially those of us that tend to ride our bicycles quite a lot! On my last update I talked about the fact that I have had a rather unfortunate start to 2014 with various illnesses and that I was about to compete at the 2014 European Duathlon Championships so here is my race report…

On Friday 11th April a big bus load full of Cambridgeshire based Duathletes and their respective partners, parents and avid fans embarked on a road trip across the channel to Horst in the Netherlands for the 2014 European Duathlon Champs. We all managed to find accommodation based in Center Parcs in Horst which was an ideal base for the race.

The race consisted of 2 distances the long and the sprint. I raced in the Sprint distance in the female age category 30-34 (my first race in this age-group). I knew that I didn’t have the ideal preparation for this race and so decided that I was going to concentrate on enjoying it and not get too hung up on my final result. I was confident that I could put in a good bike performance but that my run would be what suffered the most and this held true. I finished in 8th place (a little disappointing as I was 6th last year – but in a differe
nt age category so a bit tougher this year) but on analysis of my overall time I was only 50 seconds down on last year’s race and therefore cannot be too down hearted about it. As I mentioned in my last blog I had the Worlds to try to get fit for and so that was my new aim. Just get fit!

A part of me ‘getting fit’ involved my BUPA health check that I receive as an employee of Spire Healthcare. It revealed that I have the lung age of a 58 year old (which was assessed through basic peak flow measurements) and as you can imagine as an athlete this came as quite a shock! It does however explain why I have been under-performing and not feeling well and it was suggested that I have what is called Post Viral Asthma. Blood tests and X Rays came back clear and actually with some extended rest, I have not as of yet had to take any medication and think that I am starting to come out the other side.

During my ‘rest’ period I was very fortunate to be invited out to Canada to be the Physiotherapist for the Great Britain Diving team that were competing at a Grand Prix event in Quebec. This was a great opportunity to work alongside some of our Olympic athletes and future hopefuls and the first time I have worked with Divers in a competitive environment and they certainly kept me busy poolside! I managed to squeeze in a few quality run sessions (that were actually along the run route of last year’s World champs that were held in Ottawa) and my data revealed that I was indeed starting to pick up my pace which was encouraging.

As I continued to feel better, I upped the training a little and took part in a sprint triathlon back home in Nottingham at the beginning of May. I raced well and felt as though I was starting to get back into shape and ended up winning my age group and was 5th female overall. This gave me confidence that only a few weeks out from Worlds my performances were starting to pick up. Throughout this time I must give a special mention to my boyfriend Tom Vickery who I must say has been a true inspiration and a real driving force in improving my performance. He very kindly bought me an amazing Garmin triathlon specific training computer that basically tracks my every move whilst swimming, cycling and running and has been very interesting to analyse my training and racing and is really helping me to up the ante. This data can be uploaded to an App called Strava that most competitive triathletes/cyclists/runners use to keep an eye on their statistics and follow other athlete’s daily training (it is like the Facebook for athletes!). You can follow us both on the App if there are any avid Strava fans amongst you!

So next stop –2014 World Duathlon Championships, Pontevedra, Spain. I had a lot to prove to myself at this race. 2013’s Worlds I had food poisoning so had an awful race and after this year’s Europeans wanted retribution! And I got it. I managed to finish in 3rd place in my age category and 8th Female overall out of 175 women. This is my first international medal and I feel so incredibly proud to own it! I had an amazing race, recording a Personal Best performance and had the quickest bike split in my age group which I am also incredibly chuffed with as I have been working really hard on the bike. I can now see where I need to improve – need to get quicker at running and especially running off the bike but it felt so good to be fighting for a medal – it felt like a proper race! Because of my placing I have pre-qualified for next year’s World Championships in Adelaide, Australia which will be amazing! Need to go for Gold now =)

So what’s next…. I have the Cambridge triathlon in 2 weeks which will actually be my first Olympic distance triathlon – so I am excited to see how I fair at that distance. I am then going off to Morzine with Tom and some close friends for a ‘training camp’ (not a holiday) to get some good solid bike miles in the legs and train the mountains – I cannot wait! I have a Half Ironman race called the Vitruvian which is based in Rutland Water at the end of August and so I need to get out of sprint mode and onto the long train! I am hoping to enter a full Ironman race next year so this could be the beginning of the end….!

Until next time =)

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Jane Dixon's first Blog!

‘Write a Blog’, my boss said.  ‘What’, I said.  ‘Yes – about your last trip to the Netherlands’, he said.  ‘At my age’, I said.  ‘No excuses’, he said!

So here I am, at the tender age of – well we won’t go into that now – writing my first ever blog, about one of my regular trips to Europe.  But a bit of background info first.

Here at Progress, I am the Clinical Specialist Women’s and Men’s Health physiotherapist working at Advanced Practitioner level treating such things as urinary and faecal incontinence, prolapse, erectile dysfunction, constipation etc. etc.  All those problems that people generally don’t want to talk about.  I’ve been specialising in this area of physiotherapy for 30 years now, and teach both undergraduate and post-graduate students.

In 2002, I added a new dimension to the ‘tools of my trade’ and purchased a real-time scanner to enable me to get more in-depth information about the problems I was treating.  In fact I was probably one of the first women’s health physios in the UK to use a scanner.  I have a physiotherapy friend who is also a sonographer, so he put me through my paces and trained me up.  Without going into too much detail, the scanner enables me to watch pelvic floor and core abdominal muscles working, and analyse where things are going wrong.  And so to the reason for my trip.

As you’ve probably guessed, one of the things I teach is pelvic floor scanning.  I started teaching in Belgium in 2008, and in The Netherlands in 2011. The course runs over 2 days and is highly interactive. I wouldn't have it any other way, and it does keep me on my toes.

So my recent trip to The Netherlands was a busman’s holiday.  This time I flew to Amsterdam and took the train to Almelo.  Normally husband, dog and I drive and stay with our daughter who lives in Antwerp.  The dog knows all the ‘necessary’ stopping places en route!  But not this time as it didn't fit with other plans.

The course ran according to plan, with 16 delegates all keen to understand how ultrasound scanning improves assessment and treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction problems.  The physiotherapists are very focused and keep me on my toes with the hundreds of questions they ask.  Discussion is always rife, and I find this very rewarding too.  Not only am I teaching, I always leave these courses having learnt something from my colleagues too.

My trip home was equally exciting.  I had to stay overnight at Schipol Airport, as there were no late flights back to the UK on the Saturday.  So I stayed at the new modular CitizenM hotel. 

Rather than describe the layout, I’ve attached a couple of pictures.  Now it’s not every day that you make your daughter jealous but, well ……. 

I’m off again to The Netherlands in May to teach for two days and, yes, I’m going to stay overnight at the airport!!!

Lauren Bradshaw April Update

Spring is here finally! So a lot has happened since my last posting back in January. First of all I turned the big 30 and was fortunate enough to have multiple celebrations with family and friends which included a posh afternoon tea at the Savoy in London! (Far too much indulgence!) However, birthday week I developed the nasty cough/flu bug much like many of you reading this may have also developed as it seemed to be quite prevalent amongst my patient population and it completely wiped me out from work and indeed my training.
So despite aiming for a PB at the Cambridge Half Marathon unfortunately it was not to be – my heart rate was still far too high and technically I shouldn’t have ran but me being me wanted to push myself and after the first 3 miles felt awful and did not think I would complete the race. I did however manage to finish in a not so impressive time of 1.37 (personally disappointed after having such great training post-Christmas) and subsequently still have the 1 hr 30 to beat (I will do it!) The event was terrific and the weather was absolutely gorgeous – I think most of Cambridge came out on the streets to support the competitors and I was very thankful for the personal cheering I received from my friends and family – it’s amazing what a boost it can give you.

My story only goes from bad to worse however as I the ended up in hospital the following Tuesday and unfortunately had to undergo surgery to remove a cyst – that would explain another level of why I had been feeling so unwell. Another two weeks off from training was really hard to take but I felt really so unwell that I knew it was necessary rest and as most athletes may empathise, it was like pulling teeth! As I started to pick up a little I had a slight concern that I had a Cycling training Camp coming up at the end of my 2 weeks rest. I decided that I would pack my bike and all my kit and head out to Mallorca with Cambridge Triathlon and Cycling Club and just see how I felt. I am pleased to report that with a sensible start of weaning my way in easily I managed to ride everyday an average of 75-80 miles and progressed from strength to strength each and every day finishing with a 100 miler along the North West Coastal road that was full of challenging ascents and descents and forceful winds! I managed to squeeze in a few runs off the bike (otherwise known as a brick session) but my running (despite being my strength) is really not up to par at the moment and has taken the greatest strain from the illnesses I have had. I have however had the chance to really improve my bike strength and know that my running will come back to being what it was, I just need time.
So this last weekend I decided with one week to go until the European Duathlon Championships in Horst that I really needed to get a race under my belt and entered Diss Duathlon. Despite as I previously mentioned not running at my best and still not quite feeling a 100% managed to win my age group and finished 4th female overall. So I have to take the positives of that race and move forwards to Holland where I will be competing for GB in the Female Sprint race on Sunday April 13th. I know it has not been the perfect preparation for such an important race but I feel that I am starting to get my mojo back and will target the World Championships at the end of May as the race to peak for.
On another note, I was extremely honoured to speak at the Royal Society of Medicine in London on Monday 7th April at a conference for Aesthetic Performers and Athletes. I spoke about the uses of Performance profiling for rehabilitation specialists and how I as an ex ice dancer used profiling regularly to help achieve personal goals and achievements. The conference was extremely interesting covering topics from nutrition to strength and conditioning and bone health in sports such as dancing, gymnastics and diving. I hope that more opportunities arise in the future to discuss Performance profiling as it is the foundation of my current Masters dissertation and I am extremely passionate about helping our athletes maximise their performance.

All in all turning 30 hasn’t been so nice to me but I will keep on striving to stay fit and healthy and get my race face back on!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

An update from Tom Quantrell

So I have just spent my 3rd day at the National Sports Centre, Lilleshall with England Hockey on my interview/probationary period. 

2 more days to go and then I find out whether I can call myself an England Hockey physio, another day at Lilleshall in a weeks time and then a final day at Bisham Abbey.

Even if I am not successful I have now just about got a full set of quality people I have spent time shadowing during these days, the head physio for London 2012, the head physio for team GB 2012, the head physio for Paralympics team GB and the head physio for the Glasgow 2014 commonwealths.

Not a bad list of people to spend time and learn from. I will keep you posted, fingers crossed I don’t make an idiot of myself over my last 2 days.

Lauren Bradshaw – Specialist Sports Physiotherapist

Specialist Physiotherapist

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Cambridge Half Marathon 2014

What a glorious day for the Cambridge Half Marathon last Sunday!

We assembled a great team to provide much-needed relief to the runner’s tired and achey legs and backs. 
Sports massage is a great way to deal with post-event muscle soreness, and demand was high.  Our team saw over 150 runners… that’s a lot of calves!!

Everyone was genuinely grateful for the treatment they received, and despite two and half hours of continuous massage we were proud to support all of the runners that were supporting charities.


Here is a photo of most of the team from Sunday!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Lauren Bradshaw's post christmas update!

Well what happened to January?! Often January can be a month of post-christmas blues and gloomy weather but fortunately for me I was lucky enough to travel to Verbier, Switzerland for my first ever ski trip! If you read my last blog I suggested that I may have some stories to tell from this trip and indeed I do….

So, my entire life I have wanted to go skiing but due to my previous commitments as a competitive ice dancer was not really allowed in case I injured myself (probably a wise move!). Therefore the excitement I felt embarking on my first trip was like a child at Christmas – I couldn’t wait to hit the slopes!
Day 1: I spent on the nursery slope figuring out how on earth to put on a pair of skis and indeed how to learn to stand up from falling over a million times. Using a button lift was also an interesting experience and my they do make your legs ache!

Day 2: I decided it would be a sensible choice to have lessons so stumbled upon a nice instructor who took me down my first blue runs showing me how to link up my turns and control my speed. We had a complete white out that day and so the safety of having an instructor was very reassuring.

Day 3: It was my friends 30th birthday so we had a fun day planned. I spent the morning in lessons with my nice instructor who turned out not to be so nice after deciding he would push my ability and started me on red runs and unbeknown to me took me down some black run! I had learnt to parallel turn, parallel stop and tackle the moguls – I can honestly say I was pretty petrified for most of this lesson but felt exhilarated and immensely proud that I had conquered a black route on my 3rd day of skiing!
I believe that my underlying strength and endurance from triathlon along with my balance and technical ability from figure skating really helped me to pick up skiing so quickly. After my lesson my thighs were on fire and decided to meet my friends for lunch only to discover that one of them had dislocated her knee cap and had been helicoptered off the mountain!! After the trip to hospital to collect the injured friend we decided to put the trauma of the day behind us and get on with celebrating the 30th birthday. We had all packed animal onesies and decided to hit the apr├Ęs ski dressed in our amazing costumes (I was an owl!) –much to the delight of the Verbier nightlife we were a big hit!!!
For the remainder of the week I returned back to the blue and red slopes and consolidated my new found skiing skills and made the most of the catered chalet food, wine and spa facilities!

I have almost definitely caught the skiing bug and I am already hoping that I may be able to sneak in a last minute long weekend before the end of the season and have already starting planning next year’s trip! Over at Progress we offer ski assessments which looking back in retrospect would have been ideal, especially for my friend who dislocated her knee – as ultimately this almost certainly occurred due to a lack of strength and stability.

So what next….?
I have a very busy spring coming up with a cycling trip to Majorca so I have been busy putting the miles in on my bike around the Cambridgeshire, Essex and Bedfordshire countryside along with many a sweaty evening in my garage sat on my turbo trainer (an indoor training system that you attach your bike to in awful weather!).
I really want to build up the miles as we will be averaging around a 100 miles per day on pretty mountainous terrain – therefore I do not want to burn out! I have also been building up the mileage in the running in preparation for the Cambridge Half Marathon on March 9th where I’m hoping to run a PB of sub 1 hour 30 minutes. Progress will be sponsoring the half marathon and offering post-race sports massage so I’m hoping my colleagues can flush my legs out afterwards!!

(Will be nice to be the patient for a change!) I’m also starting to build my swimming fitness up too – however I have a niggling shoulder injury at the moment so I need to make sure I practice as I preach and do my rehabilitation exercises to keep it nice and strong!

Until next time……happy training =)

Monday, 27 January 2014

Cris Kellett gets back on the slopes...

After 20 years of snowboarding I ventured back onto a pair of skis at the weekend. 

I landed at MK Snozone at 0730 on Saturday full of anticipation and trepidation. 

Reassuringly I remembered how to put the kit on, and was comforted that skis now look like elongated snowboards. 

I joined the Ski Performance group, ably tutored by Steve.  Apart from skiing like I did in the 1980's (knees together but without the mullet), I loved it.

Did I fall? Only once when 'not paying attention' on the button lift.  Further strength and balance work, plus some AlterG sessions, should see me set for the real thing in February.

For further information on Cris view his profile at