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Good Sport

We’re now firmly into that time of year when it’s cold, dark and often miserable. Christmas aside (and many don’t enjoy that either), there’s not much to look forward to as it’s such a long time until the days start to get longer and lighter, and I find myself sinking into a fug of uninspired outfits and lethargy! Funnily enough, I always lose weight every winter, even with the comfort foods and lack of movement. I thought it was supposed to be the other way round – hot weather suppressing one’s appetite, and the motivation to look better in skimpy clothing and all. But no, as the mercury plummets, so does my desire to eat. But losing weight by not eating much isn’t the most healthy of things. Roll on Christmas and multiple feedings by my amazing mum!

But if you’ve been following my blog this year, you’ll know that somewhat unexpectedly, I’ve got rather into my sports. Since signing up to, training for, and finally doing, my Run to the Beat half-marathon in September, I’ve refused to do what many (it must be said) are guilty of – running over the finish line and not a single step further. Rather, I have gone completely the other way. Because keeping active is better than any mood-lifters money could buy! Being strong makes me feel alive! And so, back in November I did something that this time last year I would have deemed sheer madness. I went on a sports holiday.

Club La Santa looks like any other sun-holiday resort, with a lagoon pool surrounded by sun loungers, restaurants on site, and comfortable, if basic rooms. But from 8am until sundown, the sound of loud dance music, tapping feet, bouncing balls or Olympic splashing fills the complex as dozens of guests take part in the mind-boggling array of activities on offer.

 Me and the bro – him in lycra, me rocking a Matalan playsuit and a TAN. I KNOW!

I went away with my running club, the Elmbridge Road Runners (and my brother), staying in a big self-catering flat together. We would get up around 7.30 (unheard of on holiday), eat porridge (see previous), head to the pool for ‘Morning Gymnastics’ (or Poncing by the Pool as the guys called it), do a three to five kilometre run… then come back for a shower and second breakfast! I did lots of yoga in the daytimes, swimming, circuit training, Body Combat (I can’t recommend this enough!), cycling and, of course, sunbathing. I ate loads, and burned it all off. I refrained from the half marathon that the more experienced club members (and my bro, on a whim) did one morning(!).  My goal for next year is to be fit enough that I can just decide on the spot to do a 13.1km run… but the climax of this amazing holiday was the mini triathlon I did on my final day.

Over the course of the stay, I established I could just about swim 400m, and just about bike 15km (on a road bike with a tiny, hard saddle. Not the leather sofa that comes with my Pashley!). And I could run 5km, no problem. But all together in one go, without stopping for a rest? Madness!

But I did it. I didn’t have any of the right kit whatsoever, and I came last, but I did it! Only by two minutes as well! The bike section let me down, as did the loo break I had to have before the run (too much nerve-settling tea). But the feeling of sheer delight at crossing the line was immense.

Life affirming stuff! And keeping it kind of vintage with my midriff top 😉

It was the first holiday I’ve ever come back from in better shape than before I left, and I enjoyed every second of it. It helped that 90% of the men there were toned Adonises as well 😉 I’m now hoping to go back to La Santa next year, as well as trying to save up for a road bike, swimming lessons and triathlon club membership. You won’t even recognise me in six months time! I may have to give up pinup in favour of fitness modelling though, if my muscle tone continues to build in the same way it has up to now! I’m obviously made to be athletic… and that is fine. We should all be proud of our bodies and I have honestly never been more proud of mine as I am right now.

I don’t of course advocate any non-sports fans spending money on such a holiday, but I do strongly encourage those who feel the winter blues to get a little more active – get the blood pumping and the endorphins rushing.You don’t have to be out pounding the pavements to mental and physical benefits from exercise. And you don’t have to entirely compromise your vintage sensibilities, either. Swimming in a retro swimsuit, aerobics classes indoors in the warm, budget gym memberships (I just took one of these out, at less than half of the cost of a normal gym, it’ll be my lifeline over the rest of the winter), brisk walking with pets, loved ones or solo; and, of course, dancing. Anything that raises your heart rate for twenty minutes or more, and raises a bit of a ‘glow’ on your skin will put more of a spring in your step and a pep in your personality. It also raises your metabolism, so comfort food will have less of an effect, and if you don’t change your eating habits (as opposed to using it as an excuse for an extra treat, as I am wont to do) then you’ll lose weight, trim down and tone up. Your fabulous vintage clothes will fit better, drape perfectly and look smashing. And if you can inject a bit of style into the running community, then that’s a bonus! Luckily sportswear brands are starting to cotton on to the fact that stylish types want a bit of colour, with patterns and bright shades creeping in. I’d do a post about it if I thought there was demand. Any other vintage triathletes out there?

I’m yet to brave wearing red lipstick during a race though… maybe next year. 😉

The Women’s League of Health and Beauty would be proud of me!

Fleur xx



I don't think I could ever do a traithalon! Well done. You look fantastic with a tan, very '30s Hollywood'!

I take my sport more sedately- walking, dancing and swimming mostly. But it is a great way to relax.


These sport posts you write are so inspiring for me. Today I had a 60 minute run, because my goal for 2011 is to run 10 km. I think I'm almost there.
In january I will start swimming again, I also want to get a tour bike (road bike?) but I need some new running shoes wich of course you know are so expensive, so I have to postpone the bike.
Please keep us updated about your sports. The only thing missing from this blogpost are pictures of the Adonises, hahaha!


Congratulations! I'm in awe – I just rose from my fainting couch (and a round of antibiotics) – to return to work, so I'm very inspired now. (Note to self: Avoid adorable babies from out-of-town during the holidays.) You look great and achieved so much that it can only enhance your vintage look.


Great post, it's really inspiring to hear about your sporting adventures. I'm a vintage lover who is also an avid runner – I would never pass on the feeling on a good run in the outdoors, but I do despair of my kit. I get so fed up with the sports branding (and the prices) that I end up running in really tatty and shapeless stuff. I don't know whether it's a compliment or not when people say they don't recognise me when I'm in my running gear! So I'd really love if it if you did a post of stylish sportswear, I definitely need some pointers please.


This sounds like my kind of holiday – but a half marathon is 13.1 MILES -You are selling yourself short by quite a lot by saying it is 13.1km. Saying that – any distance of a run is amazing!


Whoops, that is a typo! Having done a half marathon, I certainly felt all 13.1 miles 😉
Will correct when not on my phone.


I am not terribly fit but I've found an aerobics class that I really enjoy and you are so right about the mood-lifting properties! I am in complete awe of your triathlon achievement – well done indeed!


PS: I wear a cheap pair of Primark jogging bottoms and old band t-shirts! The only things I've spent money on are my shoes and my sports bra – both crucial pieces of kit, I am sure you agree!


Great post! I suffer from depression and the best thing my doctor ever did was prescribe me a free gym membership! I am now totally medication free and in training for a marathon next year, i love your posts but I especially love your sporty ones although i m horribly jealous that you can do a mini tri and cross the finish line looking stunning ! x


I'm training for triathlon (London Fields tri club), I also went on the tweedrun with you! I'd be up for a vintage triathlon!


Hey! That was so funny! I just realized you were just a few miles from me, on the beautiful island of Lanzarote. I was excited seeing the photos and reading your post. I live on the island of Gran Canaria, which is next to Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. I was at Club La Santa for two years, the family vacation. Delicious!


Good old Club LaSanta! We went there a couple of years to Mike Gratton's marathon training camp. It was a brilliant place, but the twice a day runs left me too shattered to make use of all the other wonderful facilities, so it was rather wasted. We had some great nights at the pub, though. One year there were these dancers all dressed up in ice cream coloured zoot suits, complete with matching hats. They were amazing dancers and the costumes were just a hoot. Not sure I got very fit, mind, but I survived my marathons and lived to tell the tale…


Your holiday sounds amazing! I've decided to train for triathlons too, and I'm hoping to do my first (if small ones!) next year. I ran for the first time in 3 months the other day and it felt so good considering I'm not a runner! I'm definitely going to look into this exercise holiday thing.
Plus someone mentioned vintage triathlon – amazing!

Clare Peartree

I know I am supremely late to this party, but I have been playing catch up! I absolutely love this post – a fitness holiday is something the teenage me used.to adore. Now I am out of shape (unless you consider my hefty roundness as a shape all unto itself) but I got back on the fitness train last year. Unfortunately, I've ruptured a disc in my neck following a spectacular tumble off the pavement and am unable to train again until about 10 weeks after my cervical discectomy and fusion op (read July/Aug 2014). This post, however, has.got me itching to get moving though… And.I will.defimitely need a.holiday this coming winter… Merci, Fleur x


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