Category: Uncategorized

Life Lately

 

When my life gets busy, the first thing to go is always blogging. I should probably learn to prioritise at some point in my life, and bite the bullet and cancel my Netflix subscription. One day…  But I miss it when I go too long without updating this space, so a random life and training update it is!

 

Training

Summer base training has been going really well so far! I’m really enjoying upping my mileage, and apart from the odd niggle, my body seems to be handling it well *touchwood*! I’ve been seeing a physio regularly for regular deep tissue massages, and despite these leaving me with some lovely bruises and being the most painful thing in the entire universe (“melodramatic” is my middle name), they have helped immensely in keeping my legs happy. Plus my physio is the most wonderful lady ever and gave me her personal email address so that I could email her any time with my numerous niggle concerns. I may have been abusing this privilege and am now slightly concerned that she will seek out a restraining order. What can ya do.

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Where the torture magic happens. Thank you Six Physio for being awesome!!

 

Week 5 proved a tough one in terms of fitting everything in around a 50+ hour work week and long commutes, but I got all the running done! One less strength session than planned, but generally super happy with this week of training!

Monday: OFF
Tuesday: 40 min track interval session (600, 500, 400, 300) + strength
Wednesday: 60 min recovery
Thursday: 60 min easy + strides
Friday: 40 min easy AM + Pilates PM
Saturday: 50 min easy
Sunday: 95 min long run for just over 12 miles at avg 7:45 min/mile

Totals for Week 5: 5 hours 45 minutes of running, 2 hours cross training

 

Tuesday’s track session was tough. I usually rely on my endurance to get me through, so when the repeats are shorter, I have to work hard to keep up with all my speedster friends! I know I’ve said this a thousand times, but my running friends are total lifesavers. We pull each other through these tough track workouts and encourage each other to go after our respective goals. I am so blessed to have these amazingly supportive people in my life <3

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This. Girl. Is. So. Freakin. Awesome.

Work

I’ve been working a lot recently, not just at my retail job, but also performing quite a few quartet gigs in the evenings. I’m having a lot of fun with it, and I know that I am so fortunate to truly love what I do! Especially quartet jobs for weddings because that usually involves being served fancy wedding food and hanging out with three awesome girls who I’ve been friends since we began at music school when we were six years old…it’s a tough job for sure ;)

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I’ve had to make a few adjustments to fit in the miles around work, but through this I’ve totally fallen in love with run commuting! London is undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best, cities in the world to run in. My route to work takes me down the Mall to Buckingham Palace, through St James’ Park, Hyde Bark, Battersea Park, and finally along the Thames Path to work. It’s the perfect run route, and sure beats being squished to death on an overcrowded Tube! The only downside is that there are no shower facilities at work…I’m pretty sure my colleagues hate my guts.

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Thames Path <3

Life

Outside of running and work, my life can be summed up with just a few things…

 

…services at Hillsong London

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…road trips with friends (usually to get coffee…I know you’re shocked)…

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…hanging out with my BFF and her new Siamese kitten (IT’S SO TINY AND CUTE)…

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…and of course, spending half my salary in Starbucks. My barista friends have my drink ready for me when I run in the door before/during/after work and always upgrade me to the “venti” size for free. They are facilitating my caffeine addiction, and I am more than okay with that:)

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Iced soy lattes are my jam

 

And finally, a huge shout out to New Balance for sending me these awesome new racing flats! They are the prettiest running shoes I think I’ve ever and I haven’t stopped hugging them since I got home a few hours ago because I am weirdly obsessed with them already. I can’t wait to test out these bad boys during our team speed session on Tuesday!! Oh, and if any of you mock the size of my feet in the comments, I will cry.

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New Balance RC 1600s. Ready for a #summeroffast !!

 

Tell me…how is your running going?! Who else did a long run this weekend? I did mine this morning and got some beauuuutiful compression sock tanlines out of it. Don’t be too jealous.

 

How do you fit in your training around your job/studying/kids etc,? I try to always get it done first thing in the morning, or else life usually gets in the way! Plus I’ve become addicted to my 6am endorphin high, and now when I don’t start my mornings with a run, I am a total grump.

 

Have a great rest of the weekend friends! <3

Base Training Week #1 and Travel Running Essentials

 

I’m currently writing this blog from the airport. I don’t want to talk about the fact that I’m leaving Sydney, so instead this post is going to be avoiding that issue and focusing entirely on a running. At some point over the next couple of days I’ll do a recap of my amazing last few days here, but until then, this is denial at its finest;)

 

Summer is here which means base training is a go! Every year over the summer we aim to as many miles as we can handle in preparation for cross country season in the autumn. Two weeks into base training last summer I tripped over my own giant feet and fractured my ankle, so here’s to hoping that this summer is more successful than last! And also to hoping that someone will invent foot size reduction surgery.

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MASSIVE MAN FEET. Also laundry day = ninja running outfit Ninja

 

My primary goal for base training is to remain injury-free whilst building my mileage. To help facilitate this, my physio suggested I do a weekly Pilates class to help with core strength/alignment etc., as well as two running-specific strength training sessions a week (more on that later!) and general strength exercises (can be found here) after every easy run.

 

This past week was a great first week of base training! One less strength session than planned but apart from that, a great and enjoyable week of training! Last weeks summary:

Monday: 50 min easy run
Tuesday: 60 min XT (elliptical)
Wednesday: 60 min run, including 4x5mins @ threshold pace PM 60 min Pilates class
Thursday: OFF
Friday: AM 90 min long run + strides PM 60 min BodyPump class
Saturday: 40 min recovery run
Sunday: 55 min easy run

Totals for Week 1: 4hr 55 mins running, 3 hours cross training

 

In case I haven’t mentioned it enough times already, I am so in love with running in Sydney. I have amazing friends to run with, miles of glorious trails to explore, and every run is guaranteed to give beautiful views.

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Evening run along the harbour #nofilter

 

My last run of the week was done in the delightful company of these two. I sure wish my dog was as fit as Ruby here! 7 miles @ 7:51 min/mile pace on a warm sunny Sunday morning was perfection. I also found it hilarious how my friend Andrea was wearing long sleeves and tights for our run and complaining about the cold whilst I was sweating in shorts and a tee…you can sure tell who is the Aussie and who is the Brit here! :P

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I’m currently on a serious overnight oats kick. Mainly because this kitchen doesn’t have a microwave and since it’s warm out and I’m always hot after a run, I love having a nice cold breakfast waiting for me! It’s just rolled oats with soy yoghurt, almond milk and chia seeds stirred in and left overnight. I think I’ve had this every day for breakfast for the past fortnight when I haven’t eaten out!

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Topped with blueberries, almond butter and honey, and a side of  Nuun to drink!

 

A couple of you guys have asked me about giving tips/advice on running whilst travelling and I think I’ll write a full post on this later, but for now I’ll just list a few of my current running travel essentials which have been lifesavers on this trip!

 

The Grid mini foam roller is probably my #1 for the travelling runner. I swear by foam rolling and try to do it every day now, even if it’s just for a few minutes whilst watching TV. Everyone has their own “problem areas”, and mine are most definitely my calves. They are perpetually tight and have caused many injuries over the years for me, from shin splints to torn muscles. While I still have problems with it occasionally, foam rolling has helped immensely. So I recently bought this travel sized foam roller which fits nicely in a suitcase or even in your hand luggage if, like me, you don’t mind looking like a complete loon rolling out your legs in the departure lounge. Well, what else is there to do on a 10 hour layover?! ;)

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A runner’s wrist key pocket. As a disclaimer, I did get this from my work, but just as part of a goody bag thing and not to review on the blog. I’ve actually had this for months but never had use for it back home, since I normally only take a small house key when I run with me (which fits into the pocket on my shorts) and nothing else. But it has been invaluable for running whilst abroad! When running in a new place, I like to take the apartment keys/fob, some cash, my phone, and possibly a card as well with me, which unfortunately doesn’t all fit securely in a shorts pocket! But I found it all fit nicely in my wrist pocket, and I ended up wearing it on every run here in Australia.

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2XU compression recovery socks. I’ve probably mentioned these on the blog before but I ended up buying a second pair of these in Sydney (for 30% off in Rebel Sports wahoo!) because I love them so much! They are super easy to pack, double up as flight socks, and help you recover between your runs/workouts. These are such an essential item for me whether I’m home or away, and having tried a couple of brands of compression socks (Nike, Skins, and ProCompression), I personally think these are the best and well worth the money.

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So those are my top three travel running essentials! By the way there’s no affiliations there or anything, just my own tried-and-tested opinions! Aaaand now I’m off to hit up Duty Free to spend the last of my Australian dollars on some completely necessary touristy paraphernalia.

 

Tell me about your running! Are you training for anything?

 

Do you enjoy running whilst on holiday/vacation or do you take a break from it? Exploring new places through running is one of my absolute favourite things to do. There’s no better way to see the sights if you ask me! I can’t imagine not running on a holiday!

 

Have a great day friends! <3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Settling In

 

First off let me just wish a big {belated} HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to the most wonderful man I know. Sending you lots of love and hugs from Australia Dad! <3

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***

It’s been exactly a fortnight since I arrived here in Sydney, and I’m starting to adjust and become accustomed to my new temporary home. I now know that when someone refers to “thongs”, they mean flip-flops and not underwear. I now know that what I thought was a giant mutant squirrel that crossed my path yesterday was in fact, a possum. Slightly anticlimactic. I also now know that tipping is not expected in Australia-something I wish someone had told me two weeks earlier!!

My friends here in Aus have been great, correcting my Britishisms (apparently I need to stop saying “fab” all the time), taking me to see the sights, and showing me all the best eating places. We’ve had breakfast/brunch out most days in different places, and every place I declare to be my new favourite!

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Brunch at Bourke Street Bakery! Muesli with coconut yoghurt, fresh pear slices, and almond milk + soy cappuccino. Not only was the food delicious, but it was the best coffee ever!

 

I settled into the apartment super quickly, not least thanks to the fact that the owners themselves are runners! The owners are part of the running team I joined here but they’re currently travelling in Europe, so I’m letting their apartment while they’re gone. They kindly left the kitchen well stocked with essentials like oats, coconut oil and Lindt chocolate (<— gone already, obviously) and left a map with all the best running routes marked out on it, which was beyond thoughtful of them! Plus you know you’re gonna fit right into a place when there’s a giant foam roller in the living room ;)

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Thanks to the map of running routes the owner left, I’ve discovered some beautiful runs in the area! I’m still a short run away from Centennial Park where my team workouts are based, but also just a couple of miles to this beautiful coastal path where I usually do most of my easy runs now. My first run here I kept stopping every other minute to take photos…the views were just too incredible to resist! If you’re visiting Sydney, you absolutely have to walk or run this coastal path!

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I’m also literally a twenty second run away from a quiet trail which runs along a creek. The only downside to this trail is that there’s a steep never-ending staircase that leads down to it…running back up it not easy! I ran an easy 6 miles along this trail this morning in the sunshine…bliss:)

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One of my absolute favourite things about running in Sydney, aside from all the sunshine of course, is the fact that there are just so many runners here. Back home, on my solo runs, most of the time I won’t see any other runners at all! But here, I am surrounded on every run by so many other runners, and I love it so much!! I then read this in the Australian Women’s Health magazine, and I wasn’t surprised one bit:

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If only 80% of Brits were regular runners! A girl can dream…

 

I’m also waaaaay too close to Westfield (the giant shopping mall) and I’ve developed a bad and ridiculously bank-draining habit of picking up a Boost juice there every morning after my run. In my defence, their “Caribbean Green” smoothie is to DIE for. It makes me want to cry that this flavour isn’t yet available back in the UK. This fact alone may make me tear up my return ticket home.

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mango, passion fruit, banana, spinach, mango nectar, coconut milk, coconut water & ice = HEAVEN

 

After a two nights in a row of dinners out, tonight I’m having a relaxing evening in. That means feet up, compression socks on, and Lost episodes at the ready! My dinner of stir-fry literally took five minutes to make: stir fry veggies, garlic, and marinated tofu bites sautéed in coconut oil, served with organic spinach noodles and heaps of tamari sauce. Quick, easy, and tasty!

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Got a delightful 5am wake-up call for tomorrow’s session…and it’s 1k repeats on the cards! My friends think I’m weird, but they’re my favourite:)

 

Did you do anything special on Father’s Day with your dad? Father’s Day in Australia is apparently in September, so I nearly forgot!!

 

Do you have a favourite run route, or do you mix it up? Whenever I’m on holiday somewhere, I always try out new routes, and end up getting lost 90% of the time haha! But when I’m at home, I usually stick to my tried-and-trusted routes so I can totally zone out and just run.

 

Have a great week friends! <3

Taking It All In

 

*ETA* I wrote this post last week, but I haven’t had internet since then to post it! I’ve now moved apartments and have working WiFi yaay so I can finally post this! I’ll post a more up-to-date post very soon cos I’ve got lots to catch you all up on!

 

Yesterday I had my first “I can’t believe I’m really here” moment. Super cheesy I know, but up until now, I guess I was so busy running around trying to see and do everything that I never really stopped to take it all in. But as I was sitting in the Royal Botanical Gardens with friends gazing out over the harbour, it really hit me. I’m in AUSTRALIA!! It must’ve been the sunshine that brought all this on…after months of being deprived of it during the English winter/spring, it’s probably a bit of a shock to the system;)

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Blocking the lovely view of the Sydney Opera House with my giant head, and a full view sans giant head.

 

We had a picnic on the grass (I provided the drinks but forgot to bring glasses…woopsie) then took our time strolling around the gardens and harbour. I am now officially obsessed with this city. Sorry family, but I’m never coming home.

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On Tuesday I had my first proper session with the running team here! Our sessions are Tuesdays and Thursdays (same as at home) with long run on Sunday. It was definitely my first time ever doing a hard session at 6am unfuelled! Our hard workouts back home are always in the evening, so I only ever do easy runs in the morning normally. Despite feeling like I had a little less energy in my legs than usual (probably more due to jetlag than anything else), the session went really well. It was 12x1min at 3k pace with 1min jog recovery (for 7 miles total, avg pace of faster minutes was 5:57min/mile). The short recoveries off a fairly fast pace was the hardest part, but during the fast minutes we had a pacer on a bike to follow which was a fun experience! Plus with the view running around this lake, it wasn’t hard to enjoy it at all :)

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After beauuuutiful weather the last couple of days, today was grey and rainy, which, being a Londoner, I am more than used to ;) So we spent most of the day indoors. Breakfast at the restaurant in Dymock’s, followed by Bad Neighbours at the cinema (so funny!) and then to the gym where Karyn kicked my butt in the weight room. She’s a saint for putting up with my death glares (during burpees) and whining (throughout).

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Kaz being badass. I, on the other hand, used 1/1000th of the weight and also fell on my butt

 

As I’m a Virgin Active gym member back home, I get free use of the one here in Sydney for a month. It is by far the best gym I have ever been in, and a gazillion times better than the VA gyms in London! It is HUGE, has an amazing healthy cafe, more group ex classes than I have ever seen in any gym before, and even has a nap room(?!). If they had this back home, I genuinely would never leave the gym. Love a good nap. I tried to take a photo in there but (understandably) got some dirty looks from fellow nappers, so I stole one from the website so you can see the cool sleep pods!

Relax in Sleep Pods at Virgin Active Pitt Street

(photo source)

 

I am off to spend the night in bed resting my majorly DOMSy legs/butt whilst watching Frozen for the thousandth time and eating this stuff from the jar. Thank you to my Aussie blog readers for the tip offs for my nut butter problems in my last post because thanks to you I found this deliciousness and I am in heaven.

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Dark chocolate peanut/cashew butter with chia and sesame seeds…this is true love <3 

 

Tell me about your last run/workout! I think I have permanent DOMS after todays and my apartment building’s lift is broken…help.

 

Do you ever take naps? I love naps and take them whenever I can! I remember reading once that US marathoner Ryan Hall naps religiously (pun intended if you’re familiar with the guy ;) ) and actually schedules in his daily nap as a “business meeting” so that it doesn’t get skipped. I wonder if my boss will let me do that…

 

Back tomorrow with another update! Have a great day friends! <3 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

33 Hours Later…

 

…and I am finally here in Sydney!! This is now my second full day here in Australia and I am LOVING it!

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I’m going to be blogging pretty regularly while I’m here, not least because I have been coerced into it by family and friends back home, but also because since I’m not working while I’m here, my #1 excuse is null and void ;)

 

Before I left I had a farewell dinner with my BFF at our fave Pizza Express. Lucky Gabby has been on the receiving end of my excited Australia natters for months now so I’m pretty sure this Instagram post is a lie and she’s actually super relieved that she won’t have to hear me go on about it every other day any more.

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Carbo-loading before a long flight is obviously very important, so we just had to order the sharer portion of doughballs and I unashamedly encroached on Gabs’ half too. No shame, too delicious.

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So the journey. I’m not a great flier at the best of times (I am Figety McGee and hate sitting still for more than a couple of hours at a time, let alone 10 hours in a cramped confined space) but a few things spiced up the otherwise mind-numbing journey. Some of the highlights:

  • When Chinese officials refused to believe that the person in my passport photo was me. Who even properly looks at the photo anyway?! British border officials barely ever give it a cursory glance, but I had to spend a good 20 minutes trying to persuade the customs officers that yes, that was in fact what I looked like when that photo was taken at the age of twelve.
  • Attempting to clamber over a sleeping lady to get to the airplane bathrooms without waking her only to end up losing my balance and falling in her lap. Awkward.
  • Getting caught by the same woman taking sad plane Snapchat selfies. Still awkward.

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  • Experiencing what Starbucks coffee in China tastes like (read: avoid at all costs)
  • Getting a run in during my 10 hour layover in Beijing. I booked a day room at the hotel airport just so that I could use the fitness facilities and have a few hours of shut eye in a comfy bed before heading back onto a plane. Totally worth the stress of trying to cram my massive running shoes (courtesy of my gargantuan feet, thanks parents for the stellar genes) into my carry on.
  • Blending right in to said hotel (a fancy Hilton full of very important-looking businessmen) in my sweatpants and flip flops.
  • Meeting Bradley Cooper’s Australian doppelganger at Sydney airport customs. I told him as much (in my state of sleep-deprived delirium) and he told me that he thought I was “weird but charming”. I’ll take that as a compliment.

 

After landing in Sydney, I hung out in the airport for a bit, mooching off their free Wifi, and then hopped on a train to the city centre and sat in Starbucks for a few hours doing some serious caffeinating. Like, three coffees in a row kind of caffeinating.

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In the evening, I met up with Karyn for a healthy balanced dinner of pancakes. Man have I missed this gal!! We had a lot of catching up to do whilst devouring a years worth of carbs.

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We then went for a stroll around Darlington Harbour and checked out the amazing Vivid Sydney, which opened just the day before I arrived. It’s an incredible winter festival of lights and music spread across the city. We joined what seemed like half the city’s population in looking around…it’s so incredible!! My Aussie friends back home thought it was hilarious that I decided to visit Sydney for the first time in winter, but I’m so glad I did because otherwise I would’ve missed this!

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This morning I had the most amazing Sunday long run ever. As usual, I had my standard wild Saturday night of putting my feet up, watching quality TV, and a 9:30pm bedtime. This time featured Harry Potter which was on tv and instant noodles from the carton…classy as ever ;) Incidentally I’m obsessed with these noodles. Only a dollar and vegan+organic and ready in a few minutes= my dinner for the next 25 days.

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The run was around Centennial Parklands, which is the most beautiful and also the most humungous city park ever. I would have got totally lost in it if it weren’t for my amazing training group who gave me the guided run tour. This training group is partnered with my running club back home in London and everyone has been super welcoming and lovely to me:) Looking forward to doing some quality sessions with them over the coming weeks! We ran a couple of loops for a total of 90 minutes (12 miles) in the sunshine. Also I love how Australia’s winter is still warmer and sunnier than London’s summer, crazy!!

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I also saw a sign for this and I’m excited to check it out next week! Mainly for the food trucks of course…the music is just a nice bonus ;)

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Came back and refuelled in my apartment with my beloved Vega recovery accelerator that I brought from home and oatmeal with vanilla almond milk <—- my latest obsession, why don’t we have this back home?! Australia 1, UK 0.

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Also I made the mistake of forgetting to bring any PB with me and Australia doesn’t seem to be as big on it…I honestly don’t know how I am going to make it through the next few weeks without my hourly  daily fix. Oh and while I’m on the subject I just remembered that a couple of you commented on my last post wanting to see the damage I did to the stock levels of NYC’s nut butters…

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I have a problem.

 

Right now I’m off to do some more touristy sightseeing stuff and more importantly, to hunt down a foam roller cos mine wouldn’t fit in my suitcase and I can’t live without one.

 

What’s your favourite city to run in? London aside (I’m biased), Sydney is definitely my favourite that I’ve been to. I’ve never seen so many people out running before! Love it!

 

Do you enjoy flying? I know a lot of people do but I am definitely not one of them! However I do love airports and especially the duty free ;)

 

Any tips for getting over jetlag?! I keep waking up every couple of hours and eventually just gave up trying to sleep at 3am and just read a book until it was run time! It’s driving me BATTY.

 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend friends! <3

Flashback Friday: NYC Recap!

m4s0n501

 

Happy Friday everyone! I’ve had a busy week, but a fun one! Lots of breakfast dates, coffee dates, and run dates. Again, it’s a tough life ;) I’m working the weekend though which means 6am starts to get my runs in…I need a coffee IV.

 

A couple of months ago, I hit up NYC for a few days to visit family and I never got around to recapping my trip! As always though, my motto is “better late than never”, so here goes nothin’! A quick run-down of my fave things from the trip…

 

1. Snowy Central Park runs. This is one of my favourite places to run in the world :) Miles of perfect paths and trails, beautiful scenery, and gazillions of other runners to keep you company. What’s not to love?!

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My first run there last week was on a bitterly cold morning (I have never been so cold in my life…that is no exaggeration) and I genuinely was panicking for 99% of the run about getting frostbite, but the other runs were great! Also a quick PSA for fellow morons: don’t wear shorts in this weather. And no Emma, your calf compression sleeves will not keep you warm.

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= FROZEN LEGS

 

2. Brunch and dinner at Blossom Cafe. Everything in this amazing restaurant is organic, vegan, and INCREDIBLY delicious. I went to the Upper West Side location with my (omnivorous) family who live in NYC, and we were all blown away by how good the food was! We went there for brunch, and loved the amazing food and service so much we made reservations for dinner that evening! I could not recommend this place more.

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Brunch of Stuffed French Toast and lots of coffee

 

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Mushroom ravioli appetizer, smoked BBQ tempeh entree, and chocolate cake for dessert. Delicious!!

 

3. Too. Much. Shopping. I needed an intervention and more specifically, someone to stop me from buying all of the crack cookie butter in Trader Joe’s.

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And can we just admire my new track spikes for a second?! These bad boys are going to help me to crush my PRs this season :)

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4. Seeing an incredible concert at the Juillard school. The Juillard is one of the best music schools in the world, and they often put on free concerts (highly recommended!!), so I dragged my unwilling family along to one. They sure were glad to have me over to visit after sitting through a three hour long concert ;)

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5. Peanut Butter Puffins. Boy have I missed these! Also I am not showing you how many jars of PB I brought back with me because you will judge me. But just know that my suitcase was 8kg heavier on the way home and that will give you a good idea.

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6. Airport manicures. Whilst sitting snoozing in a massage chair. Don’t mind if I do…

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7. Red-eye flights and jetlag. Getting off a sleepless red-eye home from NYC and heading straight into an early morning work meeting was just as much of a party as it sounds. Jetlag is not my friend.

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8. My family and friends. They waved me off at the airport and I FaceTimed them about two minutes after we said our goodbyes because I have abandonment issues. I can’t wait to see them this summer when they come to visit, and later this year when I go back to NYC. Until next time JFK.

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Ever been to NYC? What are your favourite bits? My new NYC obsession…Blossom Cafe. I still dream about that stuffed French toast. When I return later this year, we’ll all have to have a big meet up for a run in Central Park and refuel with lots of French toast:)

 

Do you suffer from bad jetlag when you travel? SO BADLY. I recently read an article that showed that the more regular your sleep routine, the worse you suffer from jetlag, Darn my strict self-imposed 9:30pm bedtime!!

 

Any plans for the weekend? I’m working both days, so nothing exciting,  but I’m  looking forward to the usual Sunday long run (my fave!) and the pancake breakfast that follows mmmmm!

 

Have a great weekend friends! <3

Friday Faves!

 

Once upon a time, I actually used to post more than once every few weeks. But then, back in my blogging heyday, I also didn’t have a full-time job, a strict 9:30pm bedtime, and a Netflix addiction. Life sure is tough ;) 

 

  • 3 weeks today I will be landing in Sydney!! I am SO EXCITED as anyone who has been around me recently weeks can attest to because I just can’t stop talking about it. Packing for Sydney might be a problem though, since I still haven’t unpacked my suitcase from New York…or the one I used when I went to Poland back in November…woops. I’ve also been doing some light reading in my spare time so I know where to find all the coffee shops within a two block radius of where I’ll be staying. Priorities.

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Clearly excited…and you’re welcome for the uncomfortably close selfie.

 

  • Running has been really great  this week. We had a great track session on Tuesday of 400m differentials (run the last 200m four seconds faster than the first…practising that finishing kick!), and it’s good to be getting some speed back in the legs :) This morning I had a hill session on the cards: 20 min w/u, 6×90 second hill reps @ 5k effort (jog back down recovery), 20 min c/d for 7 miles total with a 6.53 avg pace on the hills. And the cooldown on the trails afterwards was beauuutiful!

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  • My running family are always a Friday Fave. These speedsters are the most wonderful, supportive, and motivating girls you will ever meet and they make even the most gruelling training sessions fun! After training recently we drove to Nandos to devour our bodyweight in food and chat for hours. It was the best time. And you haven’t seen nothin’ until you see a bunch of hungry athletes devour their food! We sure can EAT!

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  • Disney movies solve everything. After hard sessions on a Tuesday evening, I usually struggle to muster any enthusiasm to hop on the treadmill the next morning for my recovery run. It is definitely my least favourite run of the week, because my legs usually feel like crap and it’s early in the morning and all I can think about it having coffee and some breakfast. BUT I’ve found the solution to my problem…

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Watching Frozen on my iPad worked like a charm. Best movie EVER. The run flew by!

 

  • This book is awesome. If you are remotely interested in sport/genetics/science/running, give it a go! It’s mostly made up of fascinating anecdotes, so it’s super easy to read. I gave it to my dad to read, and even as a non-sporty guy, he loved it! I can’t recommend it highly enough!

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  • Last week I had the best pancakes of my life. I went for breakfast at L’Eto before work with my friend Silvia, and the food was so mind-blowingly good that I swear I almost cried with happiness. If I could afford it (my breakfast alone cost over £20/$35…!!) I would eat there for every meal.

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Apple pancakes with fresh berries and apple sorbet and a non-alcoholic strawberry mimosa :)

 

  • I took my first ever TRX class at Heartcore a few days ago, and it still hurts to move. It was a lunchtime class (to my colleagues, if you are reading this, again I apologise for choosing to eat my lunch afterwards instead of showering or changing my clothes) and it kicked my BUTT. If you want a killer strength workout, try out TRX! It’s especially tough when your instructor makes you do a gazillion burpees between each move!

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We did all these exercises during the class. They hurt. Source

 

  • I am OBSESSED with Vega Sport at the moment, especially their Recovery Accelerator. I just empty a sachet of the stuff into my water as soon as I finish a track session or long run and shake it all up and it is perfect. It’s just like drinking flavoured water (none of that horrible chalky taste you sometimes get with powders) and I have noticed a total difference in how well I recover after a hard session! I’m also loving the Pre-Workout Energiser before morning runs. I don’t usually have anything before an early run, but if I wake up feeling like I need something or if I’m running more than 10 miles, then I’ll have this beforehand. (P.S. This is not sponsored or anything, just a genuine product recommendation!!)

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I <3 Vega! Refuelling on the train to work after a long run

 

  • Warmer weather = bringing back the iced coffee addiction. Double fisting the goodness on a sunny Friday. Because why not Sun

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Tell me one of your Friday Faves!

 

Anyone who has been to or lives in Sydney, any recommendations for me?! I’m there for a month, so I’d love any suggestions!

 

What are you currently reading? I’ve just finished The Sports Gene, and am about a quarter of the way through Gone Girl. I have to say, so far I’m not totally convinced…

 

Have an amazing weekend!! <3

Heartbreak and Don’t Tell Coach… {Confession Time #5}

 

I am in a world of sadness. My BFF and world’s-best-PT Karyn has moved back to Sydney. I’m trying to be strong about it and not succumb to the urge to spend all day on the couch eating Ben and Jerry’s and listening to Sad FM. In our last few days together we had a final training session (which did in fact consist of 10000 burpees like I said it would…Karyn you need to stop reading my blog and using it against me) as well as lots of coffee/cupcake/breakfast dates. We will be reunited in a few months when I go to Australia, but until then, pass the sugary comfort food please.

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Post-training breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien

 

Not only that but two of my other BFFs Lucy and Becky (who I went to Poland with a couple of months ago) are also leaving on a five month backpacking trip around south-east Asia and Australia. I miss them already Broken heart

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I’ve decided to take my mind off of all the heartbreak by confessing some of my running sins to you all. Since I laid my cards on the table in terms of my running goals in my New Years post and committed myself to a year of solid training, it was time I ‘fessed up to last years transgressions. So to my wonderful running coach, I apologise in advance and here are my 2013 running confessions that I sincerely hope you never read…

 

  • When I said I’d stretch and do core work when I got home, I lied. Instead I sat my foam roller next to me as I watched The Big Bang Theory and ate ice cream from the tub (Tuesdays) or watch whatever movie is on and drink hot chocolate (Thursdays). Consistency is key after all.

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  • I counted strides and drills in my weekly mileage.  

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Strides adding a good 15% to my weekly mileage ;)

 

  • Every time you schedule in a cross-training session of pool running, I opt for a spin class instead. Mostly because people don’t (usually) comment when I don’t wash my hair after spin, but they never fail to do so if I skip a shower after swimming. Hygiene is so overrated.

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  • I get tired on our warm-ups. Incidentally, whenever I “stop to do up my shoelace”, it’s really just because I’m tired and want a break.

 

  • I sometimes do the odd crunch whilst I’m watching House of Cards, and count that as my daily core work done.

 

  • When I’m late for training (which is 99% of the time), it’s not because the traffic was bad. It’s because I stopped off at Starbucks for a latte.

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  • Every time you left the room during our circuit training sessions, I would flop onto the floor for a quick but totally necessary rest. And encourage everyone else to join me.

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  • I took that list of “healthy running refuelling foods” and promised to look into them. But then still continued to opt for hot chocolate. Or my teammate Abi’s incredible rainbow cake in the locker rooms.

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  • When you said to focus on hydrating throughout the day, I really took it to heart. I’m sure you were talking about coffee when you said that….

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Double fisting the caffeine

 

Obviously all of these things are in the past and absolutely none of them have continued into 2014…

 

Tell me one of your running/life confessions!

 

Have an amazing week friends! <3

Backtracking

 

So after over a month(!!) of not blogging, a catch-up post is long overdue. This past month has been crazy busy, but a FUN one. Lots of training, working, consuming vast quantities of sugar and caffeine…the usual!

 

Training

Despite 50+ hour work weeks for the past fortnight(!), I managed to hit my highest weekly mileage and best training weeks since 2012, which I am super excited about!! I’m not sure if I’ve ever done a weekly training recap on the blog before, but here is last weeks…

Monday: AM 60min easy run
                      PM Team circuit training session
Tuesday: PM 60 min team workout (25 min hill Parloff session +warmup and cooldown)
Wednesday: AM 45 min recovery run+60 min session with Karyn
Thursday: AM 60 min easy run w/last 10 min progressive
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: AM 4 mile run to work
                        PM 4 mile run home from work
Sunday: AM 90 min hilly long run (half on trails)

 

All in all, a great week of training! I was ridiculously tired and sore for most of the week (serious DOMS from strength training with Karyn…I struggled to walk for three days afterwards so thanks for that Kaz;) so I spent lots of time with my BFF the foam roller and kept my easy and recovery runs slow and relaxed.

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Standard pre-work routine…run, foam rolling, and a soy latte that’s bigger than my head

 

Tuesday’s workout was super awesome. I tried to write out an explanation of what a Parloff relay is but it was so convoluted and made no sense. So to simplify, you are partnered with another person or two and you take in turns sprinting and jogging up and down a hill continuously for ~25 minutes. It’s a great hill workout because you have to sprint the downhills too, so you get the benefits from that as well. We met at the track, then ran 1.5 miles to the hill (the warm-up was also uphill…), then ran the session (about 4 miles), then the cooldown back to the track. My blurry dark picture does this hill no justice, but it’s killer! Our team does most of our hill workouts here, so we’ve gotten very familiar with it over the years.

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My partner and I “won” the session so our coach rewarded us with Mars bars and chocolate cupcakes. Refuelling after those workouts in the best way Thumbs up

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And all that sugar consumption is clearly paying off because our training group WON at the South of England championships a few weeks back!! It’s incredible what a difference training partners can make to your running. I love mine. So weird and wonderful <3

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And because I love lists, here’s some other random things from the past month…

 

1. Three dinner dates at Ping Pong in the past month. This place is the best. And thanks to this I am now poor.

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2. I did my first ever run commute last week! I bought a running backpack (I chose this one because it is super light…and also because it’s pretty and pink. We all know that aesthetics are just as important as functionality). The weather was perfect and the route took in all the best parts of London, so it was perfect:) It’s proving a great way to get in some easy mileage, so I am definitely making this a weekly thing!

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My co-workers all make fun of me for this, but I keep the most ridiculous amount of food in our work kitchen. So refuelling after my run to work was super easy. I know it’s been way too long since you’ve seen one of my beautiful photos of my AB&J topped oatmeal on this blog, so you’re welcome for this;)

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3. I went to see The Lion King with Karyn (it was SO AWESOME!), and I cried when Mufasa died. It was inevitable.

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4. In 9 days time I am off to New York!! I. Am. Pumped. On that note, does anyone else choose their hotels based on the gym facilities and the proximity to a Starbucks? You can’t ever say I don’t have my priorities straight ;) My brother sent me this photo of Central Park recently…it had better still look like this when I get there.

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5. I have managed to take my relationship with the baristas at the Starbucks next door to my work to the next level. I now have a free soy latte waiting for me every morning. Barista BFFs are my faves <3

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So I’ve just finished an awesome and killer track session (5x600s) and I’m more than ready for bed. Especially since I have a session with Karyn tomorrow morning before work. Heaven help me. (P.S. Karyn I know you’re reading this so please be nice tomorrow and can we not do 10000 burpees, thanks)

 

Tell me one highlight from the past month!

 

How is your training going? Training for any upcoming races? Track season is fast approaching, and I’m excited to tackle my PRs this year!

 

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

 

 

 

2014 Goals!

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR friends! Only five days late with that…and with this post! Better late than never as I always say;)

 

As those of you who have been following my blog for a while will know, every year I make some goals for the year ahead. I’m very much a goal-orientated person, so making my goals for the coming year is a big deal, not something I decide spur-of-the-moment on NYE after a few glasses of champagne. I usually sit down with a vat of coffee, look over my training diary and reflect on the past year, discuss it with my coach/family/friends, and think about what I want to achieve over the next 12 months. My motto: dream big, but plan right.

 

I have many goals for 2014, but for now, I’ll just share my “big picture” ones:

 

1. My biggest running goal this year is to work on CONSISTENCY. I’ve gone through a lot of changes in my life  and routine this year, and the same will be happening again in 2014. As my coach has drilled into me many times, consistency is the key to successful training. Consistency encompasses all the aspects of running, from getting in base mileage to regular strength training and stretching. Thanks to the unpredictable working hours of my job, being sent a 2 month training plan (which was what my coach used to do) no longer works for me, as I’m constantly having to change around workouts to fit in with my work, and often end up missing one or two important sessions a week as a result. So this year, we’re trialling making training plans on a fortnightly basis, so that I know exactly when I’m working and therefore when I can fit in runs. More consistency=better training=watch out PRs.

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Standard post-race “I LOVE RUNNING” photo. I’ve got big PR chasing plans this year!!

 

2. Strength, strength, strength. 2014 will be the year I focus on getting strong! Meet my new personal trainer:

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Karyn was too busy demonstrating what I call the Devils Pushup to stop for a photo op. Also maybe I should make improving my photography a goal for this year…

 

One of my closest friends, Karyn, is a PT, and after she witnessed my pathetic attempt at a push-up (she didn’t believe that I couldn’t do a single full push-up…I proved her wrong haha), she took me on as an urgent charity case ;) I’ve had two sessions with her so far (one this morning!) and I have never known such pain. No exaggeration. I think I have permanent DOMS. I’ll do a post soon about my experiences of training with a personal trainer, but so far, I am loving it!! Well, loving it after the session is over anyway haha.

 

3. Working on balance. I’ve never been good at finding a work-life-run balance, and 2013 was the worst that balance has ever been! But I’ve now got a plan in place (planning is my fave) to help fix that imbalance. This year, I’m taking more time for my running, travelling, and friends/family, and fewer 50+ hour work weeks. I’m especially looking forward to the travelling I’ve got planned for this year! There’s nothing I enjoy more than exploring new places through running:)

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Dear Hawaii, I will be back this year. See ya soon.

 

I’m excited for 2014. It’s gonna be a good year. 

 

What are your goals/resolutions for 2014? I read that telling a friend about your goals increases your chance of achieving it by 72%, so get sharing!!

 

What are you most looking forward to this year? Running lots and travelling lots!

 

Have an amazing week friends! <3

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