Category: Races

Lessons from Cross Country

 

HEY friends! I hope you’ve all had a great weekend! I had my first ever track race today(!), but since the results and stuff aren’t yet up for that, I thought it would be a good time to look back at my cross country season instead!

 

This year has been my first cross country season, and it has been one hell of an experience! It has not only taught me a lot about running and racing, but, cheesy as it sounds, it has taught me so much about myself. And being part of a team with such amazing athletes who are also such wonderful people has been the best! Be prepared for an onslaught of race photos…

 

It taught me the importance of getting a good start in a race…

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Exhibiting my great reflexes there at the start of my first race.

 

…and of the importance of not falling asleep at the starting line.

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But by the end of the season, I was a pro at starting;)

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Cross country taught me to “man up” and run in all weathers.

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Racing and training in the snow

 

It also taught me some very painful lessons in determination and perseverance. Like trying to make it to the finish line at Nationals after spraining a calf muscle.

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Now THAT is a look of pure pain! Smile with tongue out Good times.

 

I learned not just how to run, but how to RACE…

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…how to speed up even when all you want to do is slow down…

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…how to keep pushing on…

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…and how to fight for every second.

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And those epic sprint finishes, where you manage to muster strength you didn’t know you had left to beat that girl who pushed you into a tree and gave you a concussion. Yep, that happened.

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p.s. I also happened to forget my normal shorts that race. That was a good day;)

 

But most importantly, I loved every painful, wonderful minute of it.

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Ok, now this post officially has too many photos of me in it, and I feel like the most narcissistic person on earth, so I’ll throw in this random photo of Buddy as a puppy for you to ‘aww’ at:

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Hope you’ve all had an amazing weekend! <3

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Run Monkey Run!

 

HEY friends! How has the start of your week been? Mine has been tiring, but good! Time for a lil’ weekend recap!

 

My weekend began with my last cross country race of the season! I counted last week’s as my last proper race though, because this was just a fun, informal club one! It was a 5 mile handicap (worked out based on 5k PBs), so I started almost ten minutes after the first lady went. It was a hot day, so I dressed up ready for the weather, but I wasn’t prepared for a midday race and a course that had almost no shade! All of us girls also decided to make it our annual Sports Bra Run since the weather was so nice, which do every year and each donate £5 to Breast Cancer Care:)

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I WON the handicap! To be fair, my 5k time was from last year, so it probably wasn’t entirely fair, but I’m not complaining! ;) I also realised that handicaps are my new favourite race! Chasing down the people in front of you whilst trying not to be caught by the fast people behind you is so fun!

 

I finished up with four super slow cool down miles on the trails with a teammate (plus 1 warm up) to give me my long run of the week:

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My race miles were 6 min/miles, and my cooldown was 9min/miles! I’m finally learning how to run easy!

 

After that fun morning, it was time for shopping and The Hunger Games!

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I LOVED it! My only complaints were that the choppy camera action (esp. at the beginning!) made me feel dizzy, and also that it was too long. But then I have the attention span of an gnat and hate sitting still so the fact that I still loved a movie that wasn’t Disney and was 2+ hours long is saying something! They definitely did justice to the book:)

 

Following the movie I made a beeline for Nandos and dragged my friends with me. Have I ever mentioned how much I love that place? ;) Portuguese food that is cheap, spicy, and yummy is definitely my thing!

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Veggie burger + slow cooked luso beans. I also had another plate with ratatouille and a side salad on it…ordering two plates of food is totally normal by the way;)

 

Obviously my Sunday began with a big stack of pancakes. And lots of maple syrup:)

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I was relaxing at the dining table, munching on my pancakes, thinking it was 8.45am. I was taking part in a 6 mile run for Sport Relief at 10am, so I thought had plenty of time. And then about a minute later, it hit me. The clocks had gone forward. Cue panic, frantic running around trying to get dressed, and Tweeting my distress.

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Note: I also thought the starting time was 10.30am. It was actually 10am. Double fail!

 

Nevertheless, I got there, albeit 10 minutes late! I was told that I could still join in, but that I would have to cut it short so that I wouldn’t finish after everyone else. I decided to take a different option: run as fast I could and finish it.

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FYI, the fastest you can run in a too-big monkey onesie is 7 min/miles. I finished in 42 minutes! It felt good to lap people dressed like that though haha!

 

It was SO FUN! Everyone gets very enthusiastic when someone runs around in a monkey suit! Although some people got confused and I was called a rabbit or bear on numerous occasions. Those people received a banana in the face.

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It was an uncomfortable run though, with a belly full of pankcaes and with a FLEECE onesie on. Man it got toasty in there!

 

My friend, who is INSANELY fast, won in 31 minutes!! He was so fast that there was no-one at the finish line, because the officials didn’t expect anyone to finish that soon haha! And he was disappointed because he wanted to run 29 minutes. Crazy.

 

To make matters even better, my brother had to take the car, so I had to use public transport to get home. And guess who was in too much of a hurry to think to bring a change of clothes?

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Monkey on the bus. Standard.

 

So, tell me, what was the best thing about YOUR weekend? I can’t pick one thing! My runs probably:)

 

Have you ever done a race in fancy dress? It gave me a whole new respect for people who do! It sure ain’t easy! But it is so fun, and you get so much more crowd support!

 

Have a GREAT week! <3

Race Recap!

 

Sorry for being such an unintentional tease in my last post! I did mean to write a full recap then, but after writing about two lines, I started nodding off, so I cut it short! But now time for the whole story…

 

It started on Friday morning, with my usual last minute packing rush. Someday I’ll get organised and actually pack things in advance, rather than running around in the morning in a complete panic when I can’t find my running tights.

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It was a long journey down to the west country, but I loved meeting and getting to know all my teammates! After hours of travelling, we finally arrived at our hotel!

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We went for a group shakeout jog to a restaurant for dinner. The other diners sure got a surprise when 30 hungry teenagers ran in through the door and proceeded to eat their way through the place;) Straight after, we headed back for a team meeting where I was presented with my team uniform, and then to bed for a good night’s sleep!

 

I woke up in the morning excited to RACE!

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Breakfast was a few giant bowls of cereal, since my race wasn’t for another five hours. The hotel kindly provided me with my own carton of milk too!

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Over breakfast, I was warned by the others (I was the only newbie on the team!) about the pens…

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In all my previous races, we just had to line up and go on the gun. But because of the number of competitors in this race, we had to be in pens! Each team was assigned a pen and had to line up in single file in it. So getting a good start was even more important than usual…and we all know how bad I am at those haha!

 

Walking the course, it was clear that unlike almost all the other XC races I’ve done, there was almost no hills! A couple of small inclines and a lot of twists and turns in the woods, but nothing like most of the races I’ve done! So we knew this race would be a flat and fast one. However, it was pretty muddy, and we knew that by the time my race came around (it was the penultimate one), conditions would be even worse! This called for some major duct taping:

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Despite duct taping my shoes to my feet, halfway through the race I still lost a shoe! It was so boggy at one point that the mud took hold of one of my shoes and my heel came out of it! Next time, I will tape it to my ankle as well.

 

The race start was tough. The first 400m was in around 70 seconds (and that’s on GRASS!), mostly because after the short first lap, the course really narrowed, so all 300+ of us were trying to get the best start to avoid being squished in the narrow.

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The problem was that our race was delayed by 20 minutes! We had all fully warmed up, and were waiting in our pens ready to race, but an accident on the course in the previous race meant that we had to wait. So our legs weren’t too happy with the sudden all-out sprint after standing around for so long! My start was much better than it normally was, but not quite good enough to avoid being squished out when the course narrowed. That delay meant I had to make up some places on the second lap, which I just about managed! I noticed that I had overtaken at least two of my teammates in that lap, so I was hoping that that had put me in a scoring position.

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Going into races, I usually do the ABC goal thing, but for this race, I only had two goals:

  1. Score for my team. This meant top six in the team…and seeing as I was the only one who was new to the team, I knew this would be a challenge in itself!
  2. Enjoy myself. As it was my first major race, I simply wanted to do as well as I good and enjoy the experience! And of course size up the competition for when I take it by storm in my final year in 2013;)

 

I achieved my goals. I scored for my team in a time of 19.59 (I think the distance was 5250m). And I DEFINITELY enjoyed myself! P.S. I know I look insane in the photo below but really I am just on a major runner’s high! And to explain the hair, it was seriously windy…

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That singlet is like a tent on me. They only had it in a medium, so I had to pin it up to avoid exposing myself! Smile with tongue out

 

It wasn’t personally my best race, and running half of it with only one shoe on didn’t help haha! I couldn’t find it afterwards, so it’s a good thing I won’t need some XC spikes for a while! But I really loved it and enjoyed the whole experience so much! I trained through this race, because my first track race is in less than two weeks, so I wasn’t rested like I would be for races where I would be hoping to place or PR. I was still proud of my performance, and so happy that I managed to score!!

 

Straight after I crossed the finish line, I was randomly selected and taken off for my drug test. I wonder if when Olympic athletes are tested they get a free frisbee too?

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I also loved being able to cheer on my teammates! Everyone did amazingly!

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It was a great end to my first cross country season! I’ll be doing a post on that soon:)

 

After a quick cooldown, it was time to head back home! I slept for almost the whole journey, and people took about 10000 photos of me sleeping. So flattering…

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We made a motorway stop for dinner, but I wasn’t really hungry, so I just went with soup and a couscous+wheatberry salad:

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LOVED that salad! Definitely getting that again!

 

And I arrived home to a package from my Foodie Blog Swap, organised by Jemma! My swap buddy is Yinkee, and she sent me these goodies:

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Yum!! Unfortunately those bars above weren’t vegan, but Yinkee got me spot on by throwing in my favourite one, which I demolished right away:

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My appetite was starting to come back in full force! I had a big bowl of my favourite cereal as well before hitting the sack.

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When is your next race? In ten days! Although I might be pacing my friend for a sub-21 5k this weekend! I was sposed to do it last month, but I had the flu so couldn’t run! Hopefully I’ll be able to make it up to her now though:)

 

What is your favourite cereal? I think the one above is my favourite, but I also love Nature’s Path Maple Sunrise, Peanut Butter Puffins, and Kashi cereals!

 

Hope you’re having a great week so far friends! <3

An Unforgettable Experience

 

“Many congratulations to all athletes who have made it to the national finals, particularly those who take part for the first time, it will be a day to remember for the rest of your life. It is through your dedication and hard work that you are here today and I wish you every success, now and in the future, as you line up against the best from all other counties of England.” ~ESAA Chairman

 

I will definitely be remembering this for the rest of my life.

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I will be remembering the insanely fast race start (first 400m in 70 seconds!) which you can watch here. And treasuring the fame that comes with having your race videoed and featured on Flotrack;)

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I will remember being drug tested(!), and being presented afterwards with a frisbee saying “I am 100% me” on it as a reward for being clean…

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A full recap and catch-up to come soon! I am still recovering to be honest, and I am SO unbelievably tired! It was an amazing weekend and an experience I will never forget. But right now, I need my sleep!

 

Catch me up with you! What was the best part of YOUR weekend? The race drug test. I felt like an elite! Plus I got a frisbee out of it haha!

 

And thank you all so much for the support and good luck wishes through comments/Tweets/emails/Facebook! Have a great week!<3

London Calling

 

Thank you so much everyone for your good luck wishes! It always means so much to me! I hope you all had an amazing weekend! An advance warning though that this is the longest post in the history of the world, so you may need to grab a snack for the energy to make it to the end…

 

My Saturday morning started bright and early with a bowl of plain white rice (finally NO stomach problems huzzah!!) and a long journey across London. Funny how you can live in London but still take well over an hour to get to a different part of it!

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Tip: if you want to attract attention, wear lycra running shorts on public transport.

 

Because of transport problems, my teammate and I got there later than we had wanted to. But we were excited to be there!

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It was such a beautiful day! Warm and sunny, although a few parts of the course were extremely boggy thanks to rain from Friday.

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The event was by far the biggest I have ever run in! With hundreds of competitors in each age group, they had to have everyone in “pens” at the start line, which I was not a fan of! The race was sponsored by Saucony though which made me happy, because they’re my favourite running shoe brand!

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Because of our late arrival, we just had time to quickly walk the course (which was a tough one!) and get in a short warm-up heading to the pens to start. I usually spend a good 20-30 minutes doing my warm-up before every session or race, so having to half that was not good. We also were standing in our cramped pens for a good fifteen minutes before the gun went off, which didn’t help. Unfortunately, all this caused problems for me halfway through the race!

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After my usual shockingly bad start (not helped by the fact that we started at the bottom of a hill and had to climb up it!) I was doing well, and moving up quite a lot. I was feeling good, as for once I wasn’t having to battle with a churning stomach, and with each person passed I gained more confidence.

 

However, my problem struck halfway through as I climbed the steepest, muddiest hill. I restrained my gastrocnemius (calf) muscle. The on-site physio afterwards put it mainly down to the lack of a good warm-up, but all the hills triggered it. A couple of months ago, I strained the same muscle at the beginning of a race and pulled out after ~800m because of it, but since this was Nationals, I decided to try and finish. I prayed for the strength to make it to the end.

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The last 1.5 miles were slow and painful, and my calf was hurting with each step. I think I was passed by every runner I had passed previously! Smile with tongue out But I managed to finish in an extremely slow (for me!) 23.57, and limped my way to the first aid tent where they applied ice and then strapped it up for me so at least I would be able to hobble home!

 

So my lesson is learned: arrive with enough time to do a full warm-up! I also don’t think that it’s a coincidence that this happened on my first run in weeks when I wasn’t wearing my beloved calf compression sleeves. These have helped me a lot!

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I saw my physio about it today, and she massaged it for almost an hour. So painful I almost cried. She has insisted now that I do calf strengthening exercises daily, especially since this has happened twice! By strengthening my non-existent calf muscles, it should prevent this from happening again! I took a full day off today, and tomorrow I will either do an easy run or cycle depending on how it is feeling.

 

So am I disappointed with how Nationals went? Of course I am a bit, and more frustrated by the fact that my personal worst finishing position (149th!) lead to my team only placing 14th instead of our usual top 10, but these things happen and we learn from them! Plus I am even MORE determined now to kill it at the other National XC race on March 17th in Somerset! My team did not do great anyway, because one of my teammates also injured herself during the race by spraining her ankle badly! So it was a slow limping journey home for the two of us! Smile with tongue out

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I did enjoy the race experience though as a whole! The atmosphere was amazing, and there were so many people there to support and cheer! Plus there was this amazing place called The Oat Hut, which from the looks of things, even had it’s own bouncer…

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I got a huge granola bar from there as my post-race refuel, and it was delicious!! I have to recreate this.

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After cheering all the other age groups on, my best friend called and decided I needed to take my mind off my not-so-awesome race, so she came up and took me out to Camden Lock Market for shopping! Camden is definitely one of my favourite spots in London.

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Camden-Market

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The calf tape helped a LOT and meant I could walk around with minimal pain and shop to my heart’s content! Going up and down stairs was another matter though Winking smile I bought a bunch of presents for people, and a new iPhone case for myself, which I am in love with!

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I also had to pop into Whole Foods to spend four pounds on a slice of vegan carrot cake. Yes, you did read that right, and yes I am insane/stupid. Totally worth it though for this slice of heaven:

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It was fairly late by the time we began our journey home, and I tried to take a pretty picture of London all lit up at night, but mostly just got us in the reflection instead because I am an amazing photographer like that:)

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All I wanted to do was put my feet up, order some food, and watch a good movie. So that’s exactly what we did!

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I know that Chinese food looks REALLY appetising;) Noodles+ tofu in black bean sauce, with a side of Bridget Jones. It is the movie equivalent of Friends to me…something I can watch a thousand times and still find hilarious!

 

Today I spent even MORE time in London today, with a concert in this beautiful venue:

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As per usual, I got COMPLETELY lost on my way to the rehearsal. I am the worst map-reader in the world. And I’m talking Google Maps here, not even anything remotely complex! Still, I got to see some of the nicest bits of the city as I wandered around, totally confused.

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I love this city…so beautiful!

 

What was the best part of your weekend? Aah that’s a tough one! I’d probably say church this morning because I just felt so at peace and BLESSED! The race, despite it’s downsides, comes a close second though!

 

Have you ever injured yourself during a race? If so, did you try to finish?

 

What is your favourite part of where you live, or what is your favourite thing about it? Camden is one of my fave places in London, and also the West End because of my obsession with musicals ;)

 

Have a great week everyone! <3

Race Recap: Inter Counties XC

 

Typical that when I finally have the TIME to post, my internet starts playing up! Smile with tongue out I’ve been stuck with a patchy internet connection for the past couple of days, and didn’t fancy posting from my iPhone! But thankfully it seems to be fixed now! So here is my race recap from Saturday! Back soon with my What I Ate Wednesday!

 

I woke up on Saturday feeling refreshed after a good week running-wise, sleeping-wise, and nutrition-wise (well, excluding Friday’s cupcake-fest hehe!). The night before, I had my favourite pre-race meal:

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Obviously, eating Smiles means that it’s going to be a good race

 

As I mentioned yesterday, I had fuelling problems again. This time I tried plain oatmeal made with water and a banana, and that didn’t work for me either! But I’ve got a couple more suggestions from a nutritionist to try. The other problem was that my race didn’t start till 2.45pm…and I ate breakfast at 8.30am! By this point I knew what I had eaten wasn’t sticking with me well, so I didn’t want to risk anything else. So I raced feeling nauseous, hungry and slightly low on energy, which is why I really need to work it out so I don’t have to go through this again!

 

Anyway, after a couple of hours in the car en route to the race, we arrived at the course with three hours of waiting in the freezing cold (-9C!) ahead of us. We walked the course, and it was beautiful!

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Beautiful….and hilly.

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The first of many hills, and the easiest one! Easy being relative of course…the last one was INSANE!

 

As we were walking around, absolutely FREEZING, it began to snow. Oh joy. It was all the more joyful when it was time to peel off all my layers (two hoodies and a ski coat…and I was still cold!) and change into my race singlet and shorts. I borrowed a county singlet, and it was really big on me, which didn’t help with keeping me warm! Smile with tongue outIMG_04011

 

At the start line, we were all wearing as many layers as possible, and our team managers were holding bin bags ready for us to strip and throw as the gun went off. As soon as we saw the gun being raised, we stripped down, turned into icicles, and got ready to run. I’ve never been so thankful for hearing that starting shot! We were off!

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I’m pretty sure I am riiiight over the other side of this photo! Compared to my normal shockingly slow reaction times, my start wasn’t too bad!

 

It was the toughest course I have ever run without a doubt. Four massive hills made it a course to remember for sure! The last one was so steep and muddy that we were sliding down it trying to get up! It didn’t help that I hadn’t cleaned out my spikes from the last race so they were already caked in mud and therefore useless on the hills…woops! Cue attractive “I cannot get up this hill” face:

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So pretty.

 

The aim of this race for me was simply to finish in the top eight in my county. If I did that, then I could qualify for the National finals. For the whole race bar the last hill, I was behind a girl from my county that I was convinced was the one I had to beat to qualify (I thought I was in ninth position at the time). My coach was waiting at the top of the last hill, shouting encouragement to me to overtake her, and I just about managed to as we neared the top. But she took the lead back on the downhill, which lead into the final 800m before the finish. As soon as the course levelled out for the last part though, I could see that she had nothing left. So I made a decisive break and took the lead for the final time:

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That elbow on the left hand side is  my rival’s!

 

The official results still aren’t up yet, so I don’t know the details, but I finished 4th in my county, which means that I am through to the National finals!! It was a bit of a shock, considering I thought I was in eighth or ninth position at the time! SO HAPPY!!

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I genuinely did not expect it at all. In fact, on the way there I was thinking up all the excuses I could give and thinking of ways to make myself feel better when I didn’t make it. After I had finished walking the course, I found my coach and freaked out on him. I was scared about the hills (we both know that hills are not my forte…yet!) and was convinced that there was no way I could qualify. I felt like I would not only let myself down, but let him down too. Even with his calming words and advice, I was still having doubts on the start line. But as soon as I started running, I immediately felt at ease. Sure, my stomach was churning and half the race was spent battling severe nausea, but I felt strong and sure and knew that I would give it everything I had, and if that wasn’t enough, then I would be okay with that. Running always makes me feel better Smile

 

I celebrated afterwards with friends, an Indian takeout, and a movie. Refuelling the healthy way obviously Winking smile

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My last two races are both Nationals ones, and I have a fortnight till the first one! I am excited!! Bring it on:)

I’M THROUGH!

 

Second round of regionals. 6th place. Through to the last round, and through to Nationals.

 

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Pretty…

 

Full recap and more details to come soon!

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Run Santa Run!

 

I had the perfect Christmas Eve morning.

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Parkruns are the best! They are free weekly organised 5ks that happen all over the country, and the turnout today at my local one was a record high of over 300 people! Amazing! The last time I went (back in February) there was only about 50, so it’s been growing and growing!

 

It was so fun! Like my hat? Winking smile

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I forgot to take a picture of my full Santa outfit, which I put on over my t-shirt and leggings, but I think there may be official event photos to come so you can see it then! This wasn’t a race, just a fun run with my bro! I didn’t even have time to warm-up beforehand, which wasn’t great considering the temps were freezing! But my suit kept me nice and (overly) toasty by the end!

 

Running in a Santa costume is not easy though, I can tell you that! But in my last Parkrun back in February, I ran it in 23.40. So I ran over two minutes faster and in a Santa costume too! I guess it helps when people are chanting “run Santa run!” at you! Smile with tongue out With a two mile cooldown:

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Got home and refuelled with a wholewheat bagel and PB. No bagel thins here please Winking smile

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As I was chowing down my bagel, the postman arrived. I didn’t even know post was delivered on Christmas Eve!

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A few weeks ago, I won the lovely Shannon’s iHerb giveaway, and today my order arrived!

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Peanut Flour and Iced Gingerbread Clif bars! Gingerbread is pretty much my favourite seasonal flavour, so when I saw they had this edition available on iHerb, I ordered it straight away!

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They won’t be around long, that’s for sure! Open-mouthed smile

 

My plans for the rest of the day are cleaning, preparing food for tomorrow, eating too much cookie dough, and going to a candlelit carol service in the evening (thankfully no solos this time haha!).

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all! I hope you have an amazing weekend with your loved ones, and I’ll be back tomorrow with a Christmas recap!

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My Weekend Is Not Complete Without…

 

…a race. Well, for the moment at least, EVERY weekend involves a race!

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This photo demonstrates how awful I am at starting races (I’m the one in last!). Literally, the gun goes off, and I realise about a year later, and have to spend the first minute or so catching up. My coach was yelling “what are you doing in last place?! MOVE!” to me when he saw! Haha we’ll be working on that one this week! Smile with tongue out The race itself was fun (results aren’t up yet, so I can’t share them)! My LAST “tempo” race, because I’ve been given the go-ahead to run at faster speeds again now because my injury is healing well! So this Saturday’s race (a major one!) will be all-out, and I can’t WAIT! Open-mouthed smile

 

…a Costa gingerbread latte. I think I’ve had them every Saturday and Sunday since they’ve been selling them again!

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Yes, straight after the race I did hit up the nearest Costa. Still in my shorts and muddy spikes. Coffee takes priority.

 

…party time! Nothing like cake to refuel after a race with  Winking smile

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The highlight for me was a chocolate fountain with fruit. I was challenged to try and down this kebab I made in one:

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I not only epically failed, but almost impaled myself on the end of the stick.

 

…food shopping. Saturday is my weekly shop day, but this week I just needed some essentials. And by that I mean broccoli and chocolate chips…

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x4 packets! Smile with tongue out

 

…early morning Sunday hill training! Only this week my legs were telling me that the hills from Saturday were quite enough for one lifetime weekend, so I gave them a rest instead Smile

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I know, I know, my form is shocking, but that was probably the last thing on my mind at that point haha!

 

…church. I washed my hair beforehand which was a first, and people (including the pastor!) asked me what I’d done with it, which was a little embarrassing! Smile with tongue out

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“Yeah I actually just washed it for once…”

 

…and obviously, it’s not complete without PANCAKES!

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Recycled photo, same pancakes! CCK’s Cookie Dough Pancakes (my favourite!) with the obligatory maple syrup drizzle

 

I’ve barely touched my computer all weekend, so I’ve got a lot to catch up on! I hope you’ve all had a great weekend!

 

What is your weekend not complete without?

What was the best part of your weekend?

 

What is your favourite pancake/oatmeal/cereal/etc topping? Nut butter generally, but for pancakes maple syrup is my fave Smile

 

Have a great week friends! <3

Races and Running Buns

HEY friends!! Thanks for the good luck messages and advice about my race! It was SO GREAT!!

 

I started my morning with my usual pre-run fuel:DSCF1755

Banana oatmeal with chopped dates.

 

I then got dressed in my race stuff and ready to go! My race didn’t actually start until 1.20pm but the other age groups started from 11am so we went to cheer them on, and we needed to walk the course beforehand anyway. Race outfit:

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My running team provided the top and shorts. These were the shortest shorts I have ever worn in my life!! Comfy yes,  but too short for my liking!!

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AND they rode up when I was running! Running buns are not my friend. Yet.

 

I also broke every rule in the book by wearing all NEW clothes. New team vest, new buns, and new shoes! I knew it wouldn’t matter much though for a short race, so I just rolled with it.

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Asics Hyper-Rocketgirl XC spikes. I originally bought Nike Waffles (purely because of the name Winking smile ) but they were too wide for my feet. Don’t tell anyone but I wore my spikes a bit around the house and made one huge scratch in the laminate flooring…oops! Smile with tongue out

 

It was the PERFECT running conditions, and a beautiful course!

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I walked the course twice before the start to make sure I knew the route:

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It was two laps of the course (the red loop), plus a bit extra on the second lap (the blue wooded loop on the left hand side), and I decided I officially hate two lap courses! Going past the finish line knowing you’re less than halfway is tough!!

 

So I had two hours to kill before my race started, which I used to munch on my pre-race snack…

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…and to cheer on the other age groups. I caught our youngest age group going off:

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Our team did did AMAZING in this age group, finishing 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th!! Now that is TEAM running!! Open-mouthed smile

 

Aaaand then my camera died. Guess which idiot left the spare batteries at home? So instead of a photo of me finishing (definitely a good thing- I looked like I was dying), here is a visual representation:

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I can see I have a future in graphic design for sure Winking smile That person apparently squat-jogging up the hill is yours truly, closing down on a rival who I had been shadowing the whole race. I was closing the gap in the last 200m up that hill mountain and I could feel myself pulling a Mo Farah face with the effort:

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And I BEAT HER by an inch!! I then almost passed out and had to be held up by the race marshals- trust me to be the drama queen! Smile with tongue out I recovered quickly (I had just pushed myself too hard-nothing major!) and did a little cooldown jog and stretching.

 

I didn’t wear my Garmin in the race (decided just to run by feel, which I later regretted!) and there was no race clock annoyingly, so I had no idea of my time until I saw the results come up on the website later! I came 12th out of the 98 runners in my age group with a time of 14.59 for approx 3600m (which I am very happy with considering the hills and that it’s the first race of the season!). I also broke my team’s record for the highest placing debut runner in this race! WIN! Open-mouthed smile

 

When I got back, I had a hot/ice cold shower and downed a recovery smoothie:DSCF1767

1 frozen banana, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 3/4 cup vanilla soy milk, 3 dates.

 

I did some ‘active recovery’ later with a Whole Foods trip because I was dying for some canned pumpkin. All that walking up and down the aisles did me a lot of good, as did the taster table:DSCF1769

I think you can guess where I stood munching away for 5 minutes Winking smile

 

Some of the highlights of my haul:

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An new-to-me crunchy PB, refried black beans (which were buy one, get one free and they are TOTALLY addictive!), canned pumpkin x 10000 cans, my fave granola, a spicy pinto bean dip, and some vegan sea salt dark chocolate! I cried when I found out my fave chocolate- Lindt Sea Salt- wasn’t vegan, so I was unbelievably happy when I found this!!

 

The very best thing though was the slice of Peanut Butter cream tart I bought!DSCF1778

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The photo does it no justice. It was beyond words. I am DEFINITELY going to recreate this!!

 

And today, despite the race, I had NO aches or pains, which was a first! Shows what good recovery (i.e. stretching, hot/cold showers, post-race nutrition, shopping, and cream tarts) can do for you! Smile with tongue out

 

This post is long enough already, so my Sunday shenanigans (we’re talking PANCAKES here obviously) are coming at you tomorrow!

 

What was the toughest race you’ve ever run? This one was tough- I think I’m more suited to slightly longer distances! And cross country was a bit of a shock since it is SO much tougher than running on roads!! But much more fun Smile

 

Are you a pumpkin fan? I LOVE IT!! Major obsession!!

 

What is your opinion on shorts length? Do you mind short shorts or not? I’ll get used to them I guess!! According to my coach, our race outfit for track season is crop tops and bikini-bottom style buns. I’m not sure if he was joking seeing my reaction to these shorts but I think he was serious…!

Hope you’ve all had a great weekend! <3

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