Weekend Recap!

 

Hey guys! Thank you so much for the lovely comments and emails in response to my last email! I LOVE YOU ALL. Here’s a little recap of the last few days:

 

Winter Running

Recently I’ve had lots of frosty morning runs…

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…and lots of freezing, dark evening runs, layered up with my favourite armwarmers, gloves, and a super-cool fluorescent vest :) I’m not a fan of running in tights though, so I suffer it out in shorts practically all year round! My legs are always numb for ages after I get back!

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Thursday night

On Thursday night my friends and I drove out to Bluewater, one of the biggest shopping malls in Europe, for some Christmas shopping. They put Christmas lights all over the trees in the car park and it looked so Christmassy!

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After a few hours of shopping, we sat down to eat at Leon, a healthy fast food chain, and one of my favourite eating places. I got my beloved baked fries alongside hummus and flatbread.

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Friday night

Earlier this year, I won a Jack Petchey Achievement Award for my running, and on Friday it was the ceremony. I had to go straight to the ceremony from training, so I had to change in the car and didn’t have time to shower beforehand! Classy as ever ;)

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Afterwards I headed out to the pub to celebrate with a friend. We chatted and laughed for hours then headed home at closing time.

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Saturday night

On Saturday we headed to our friend Becky’s birthday party. There was a DJ and lots of dancing, and a photo booth which we took full advantage of!

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Also London looked BEAUTIFUL yesterday evening!! I love this city <3

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Sunday

After hours of dancing in heels last night, this morning’s long run was so painful!! My legs and feet were really sore, so the 10 miles felt long and slow! I ran on the trails for half of it, and slipped and fell in the mud a couple of times, as always! :P

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Nothing that a few hours of chilling in compression socks and watching Grey’s Anatomy couldn’t fix though ;)

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We also put up the Christmas tree and all the lights today whilst blasting out the Christmas music! Now I REALLY feel Christmassy!! :)

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What was the highlight of your weekend?

 

Did anyone else put up their Christmas tree and decorations this weekend? Our family tradition is to put them up the first week of December.

 

Do you have a staple item of winter running clothing? I love my armwarmers, because I have a thing against long-sleeved running shirts, and I always wear a peaked cap to keep the rain/snow off my face :)

 

Hope you all had a great weekend! <3

So Thankful

 

I’m back…again! So many times over the past few weeks I have sat down to write a blog post but have been unable to write anything. Truth be told, some not-so-great things have happened over the last few weeks so I haven’t really felt like sitting down at my computer and talking about it. I’ve spent too much time in the hospital recently, both for myself and for my best friend. But for now, I’m just going to put all that aside and just be truly thankful for all the AMAZING things I have in my life. Because although I’ve had a lot of struggles over the last few weeks, I’ve also had a lot of happiness, and in many ways, things have never been better!

 

I am thankful for my health. I have taken it too much for granted in the past but I am determined that I never will again!! After weeks of illness I have never been more grateful for feeling good! :)

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I am thankful for my best friend and that she’s still with me today <3 We’ve been besties since we were five years old, and thirteen years later we’re as close as ever!

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I am thankful for my music. Aside from being my only source of income, it is one of the loves of my life, and only until fairly recently I was planning to spend the next few years of my life at music college! I first picked up a violin at the age of five, switched to viola at age ten, and never looked back. Seven music tours, 25 music exams on four different instruments and hundreds of concerts later, I couldn’t be more grateful for having music in my life!

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In the last few weeks, I have played in the orchestra in a production of Les Miserables (my favourite musical!), played at two weddings and performed for a Chinese delegation at the Foreign Office. Things are busy, but I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way :)

 

I am thankful for running. I’m sure none of you saw this one coming ;) Running has brought me so much that I find it hard to even put into words.Running makes me feel EXTRAORDINARY, and every run reminds me of how far I’ve come. And last week I got my selection letter to once again represent my county (region) at Nationals in March! It was one of the best experiences of my life last year and I can’t wait to do it all over again in a few months :)

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My coach and running team are absolutely fantastic and I’m so grateful for their constant guidance and support! Training with speedy people improves the standard of the whole group, which is clearly why we are such WINNERS ;)

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Plus I am definitely a fan of our new strength + conditioning sessions…

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clearly having far too much fun with that medicine ball ;)

 

My winter base-building begins THIS WEEK so I’m excited to start ramping up the mileage in preparation for the big races coming up in the new year!!

 

I’m thankful for the London School of Economics and their awesome free public lectures. Having the third best university in the country put on free public lectures and debates in the evening with some of the best speakers in the world is just awesome. If you live in or near London and are interested in politics/history/economics, then I couldn’t recommend them more!  I’m currently planning on studying history and politics in university, so these events are my idea of heaven :)

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The ticket on the left was for a fantastic public debate on the future of America post-elections, and the photo on the right is from a lecture on Soviet totalitarianism in the Stalin/Khrushchev era. Both were so great!

 

I’m thankful for Grey’s Anatomy. In the weeks I was ill, I went through six seasons of it. Yes, six whole seasons in just a few weeks! I can’t wait to watch the next couple of seasons, but at a more reasonable pace this time ;)

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I’m thankful that it’s LESS THAN A MONTH TILL CHRISTMAS!! This is my absolute favourite time of year, especially since my family from America fly over so we’re all together for Christmas and the New Year! I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!

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Christmas Day 2011!

 

I’m thankful for YOU GUYS. I always love reading your comments and emails, and I love having such supportive readers! I know a lot of you have asked me to do a vlog, so if you have any specific requests, just ask me in the comments :)

 

What is one thing you are thankful for?

 

What is your current favourite TV show? Right now it’s Grey’s Anatomy, but I also love the Big Bang Theory and Downton Abbey (although don’t get me started on how disappointing Season 3 was!!)

 

What is your favourite thing about Christmas? Definitely my family coming here! I also love Christmas music and will be playing it non-stop from now until December 26th :)

 

Love you all, hope you had a great start to the week!! <3

Serious DOMS

 

Moving really hurts right now thanks to some major DOMS. Yesterday I had a run with the team, then a circuit session, then another short run to finish. For someone who hasn’t done any strength training for months (I was banned because of my back issues), it was a serious challenge! And then 20 long hill sprints as today’s session was the final nail in the coffin. I don’t think I’ll be leaving my bed tomorrow ;)

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I raced for the first time this season last week, and it was my first time racing as a senior too! Our team hit up the Southern Road Relays, and in two weeks we’re off to the National Road Relays!!

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Running aside, I’ve been spending too many hours in the library going crazy on caffeine. One essay = three cups of coffee. It’s a good thing my parents got me a Costa giftcard for my birthday or I’d be broke right now!

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looking crazy after five hours of essay writing and far too much caffeine…

 

This week has also been a bit tough for me because yesterday was the anniversary of  the death of a  loved one, so more than ever I needed the people I love, and as always, they brought a smile to my face all week long :)

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I’ve got a great weekend planned too! On Saturday I’ve got my first XC race of the season, and I’m aiming for a top three finish! Then in the evening I’m going hitting up London with my best friend, and Sunday another race! It’s gonna be a fun weekend!! ALSO I’m planning on doing my first vlog (by popular demand on Formspring!) in my next post, just a heads up ;)

 

And I’ve just realised that there are far too many photos of me in this narcissistic post, so here’s a photo of Questa (my aunt’s guide dog puppy) to balance things out a bit. She’s twelve weeks old now, and has grown so much!!

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Do you do regular strength training? What kind? I will be doing a twice-weekly circuits session with my team this season! I used to do BodyPump a lot, but it no longer fit in with my schedule and my coach advised against it and suggested running-specific circuits instead.

 

Have you got any races lined up? I’ve got a race or two every weekend for the foreseeable future, and I can’t wait! I love racing! I know its now half-marathon/marathon season too, so I know a lot of people are training for those right now!

 

Love you all, have a great weekend! <3

The City of Dreaming Spires

 

Sorry for going AWOL again, but I’ve just come back from an amazing time staying in the beautiful city of Oxford!

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I stayed at the University for a History conference, which was fantastic! The lectures and lecturers were so amazing, the food was great, and I got to experience it all with some of the people I love most!

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Our accommodation and lectures were all at Hertford College, which was lovely but it SO cold inside the building! I kept waking up in the night because my room was so cold!!

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I got to look around the amazing Bodleian Library with all its 11 million books. Incidentally, it was the library used in the Harry Potter films! Apparently the crew took it over for three days for filming which really riled the academics! :P

 

I also went ice skating for the first time!! We saw there was an ice rink nearby, so we hit up the twilight session! I fell on my butt twice (and sitting down is literally a pain in the…) but I was a lot better at skating by the end! I’ll be a figure skater in no time ;)

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And of course, I got to explore the city in the best way…through running! My running bud Jessy and I had such a great time finding new places to run and nothing is better than running in a beautiful city with a good friend for company :)

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Sidenote: those beautiful shoes I am sporting above are my NEW SAUCONY KINVARAS. I am in love with them. I had racked up about 700 miles on my old Kinvaras so it was definitely time for new ones!!

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I also dropped my Garmin out of my third storey window this morning and it somehow survived without a scratch! I put it out on my windowsill to get signal and then dropped it out when I tried to pick it up! It is a miracle watch. And I really need to insure all my possessions because I am such a klutz.

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Too many early starts and late nights this trip meant that I’ve been averaging three trips to Starbucks a day to keep myself away. I don’t even want to think about how much I’ve spent on coffee in the past week!!

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Anyways, I have a life update, a review, and a RACE RECAP from my first race of the season(!!) to post this week, so I’ll be around more from now on :)

 

Have you ever been to Oxford? I’ve been a couple of times for brief visits before. My cousin is at her fourth year of uni there so I’ve been on day trips to Oxford to meet up with her.

 

What is your favourite city in the world? Oxford is up there, but it’s not quite my favourite…yet ;) I think mine are currently San Francisco, Honolulu and Barcelona.

 

Are you a coffee fan? How do you take yours? I like my coffee black usually, especially in the mornings, but I like soy lattes too!

 

Hope you’re having a great week! <3

Birthday Week

 

It has been a long, crazy week, but one of the best ones of my life. I don’t think I’ve gotten more than 5 hours sleep at any time this week, and I’ve probably eaten twice my bodyweight in cake ;)

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vegan chocolate fudge cake from Whole Foods…so so good!!

 

My 18th birthday began as most people’s do…with an 18km run ;) It was the perfect way to start the day. I joked last year about running 18 miles on my birthday, but I decided that if I wanted to live to see the end of the day, running 18km might be safer haha!

 

I spent the day with my beautiful friend Gabby. We’ve been best friends for fourteen years, so spending this day was her was extra special:)

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Judging from our text conversation the day before my birthday, she agrees that my mental age hasn’t quite caught up with me yet…

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Truth.

 

The rest of the week was spent celebrating! P.S. please excuse all the creepy flash eyes in all the coming photos…

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On Monday I had a birthday dinner out with two of my closest friends. We drove to our favourite Indian restaurant where we have weekly dinner dates and the manager (who we know pretty well) came out and presented us with a bottle of champagne on the house as his “present”!

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I had a last concert with my musical friends, all of whom are going off to music college this week! I will miss them so much, but thankfully both the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music aren’t far from where I live so they can’t get rid of me that easily ;)

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Also I HAVE to share with you this present from my friend Rachel, which my fellow Big Bang Theory fans will appreciate…

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I am never taking this off. Maybe I’ll remove the manic expression though…

 

And in running-related news, I had my first session back with my team on Thursday! My running club train all year round, so we don’t take summer/Christmas off as a lot of teams do. But I’ve been on holiday or had back problems for the best part of two months so I haven’t trained with them since the beginning of July! It was so great to see everyone again and MAN ALIVE was that a painful track session! Having not done any speedwork since I left, running a couple of sets of 600m-500m-400m-300m with short recoveries was a definite shock to my system! I was running the 600s in around 1.55, which is a lot slower than I normally do! The speed will come back quickly though I know :) Boy was I sore the next day!! I’d missed that soreness, and I’d missed my post-session chocolate milk!

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I also was FINALLY given my medal from the LYG cross country race back in November! After the race, there was a big mix up with the medals so no-one was given any! We still had a presentation and were given our certificates on the podium, and were promised that our medals would be sent to us. This was my best race and my favourite one from last year, so it was nice to finally get my medal, even if it is ten months late… ;)

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I was also handed my sheet of cross country fixtures for the upcoming season…which has no less than 21 races!! It’s going to be a fun year for sure!

 

A big THANK YOU to all of you for the birthday wishes and love and support in general! I hope you’ve all had a great week! <3

Lake District recap!

 

HELLO! I’m finally back home, and I finally have internet again! I reached my limit of mobile internet halfway through the holiday, so I couldn’t post any more updates! So here’s a quick recap…

 

Running here has been amazing. I don’t think I really talked about this properly on the blog before what with all my travelling and stuff but I basically had to take the best part of the last month off running because of a back problem. It was frustrating, as it was just a freak injury and I couldn’t even really cross-train because most movement hurt my back! So I’ve been slowly building back into running over the past few weeks, and doing one or two double-runs a week as well. I’m just so happy to be back running though, and in such a beautiful place too!

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I’m not quite sure what caught my attention in that last photo, but whatever it was clearly made me very happy! Maybe there was someone handing out free cookies.

 

The runs were TOUGH. I will never again complain about the hills back home. Fell running is no joke!!

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Runs turned into mini adventures, with lots of dodging traffic, sheep, horses, hikers, and even running through a ford once. And by running, I mean wading through 2 feet of water. Having wet feet on a run is also something I will never again complain about! :P It also rained on all of my runs except one, so it’s a good thing I love running in the rain! One of my rain-running essentials is a peaked cap, because it keeps the rain off your face nicely:)

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P.S. I don’t listen to music when I run, I just was trying to wake myself up with some tunes in this photo!

 

I also did a long hike every day with family or friends, and the views from the runs and hikes were incredible!

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Every evening I would come in exhausted and crash on the couch to watch a Big Bang Theory marathon whilst rocking the compression socks and sweats look ;)

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The food was also amazing!! So many shops served vegan (as well as GF, DF, etc.) treats, and my favourite as I’ve already mentioned was the Lakeland Pedlar in Keswick. I think in total I had four slices of their vegan chocolate fudge cake during my stay! So worth it:)

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More cake…

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vegan carrot cake

 

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gnocchi with tomato+mushroom sauce

 

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spaghetti pomodoro from an Italian restaurant

 

These are the only food photos I snapped on my phone, and despite appearances I did actually eat food that wasn’t entirely carbs ;)

 

Also TOMORROW September 2nd is the second best day of the year (after Christmas) in my opinion and I am very very excited for it!! If you can’t guess, you’ll see why in tomorrow’s post ;)

 

Have a great weekend friends!! <3

A Perfect Morning…and Cake:)

*Sorry about the dodgy formatting, I’m still blogging from my phone! Also the Internet connection where I’m staying is really bad which is making responding difficult, but I promise I read and appreciate each and every comment and email:)*

I had THE MOST PERFECT morning run ever today. I’m not the biggest morning person normally, but this view just made me so happy:)

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Six glorious miles through the wooded trail alongside the lake, and I didn’t see another soul the entire time!

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Since my normal run-view back home
is of endless roads and houses, this is perfection:)

I made myself a proper lunch today, which was a butternut squash nut roast (delicious!!), with new potatoes and baby spinach:

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After a two hour hike up a mountain…

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…I headed into town and stumbled across an AMAZING vegetarian cafe called The Lakeland Pedlar

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I left with two bags full of food, including the most DELICIOUS hummus and falafel wrap that i’ve ever had!

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Aaaaaand…vegan chocolate fudge cake!!

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The cake was perfect, and I think I’m going to go back here every day and have a slice or ten;)

I’m off to have a nap before my evening run. All this activity is making me tired:)

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Where is the best place you’ve ever run?
I loved running in Hawaii too, but it was so hot, even early in the morning!

    Have a great week friends! <3

In the Lake District!

HEY guys, happy weekend!! I’m blogging from my phone, so please excuse typos and weird formatting!

Yesterday I travelled down on the train from London to the Lake District. I’m here on my own for a couple of days, and then my family are driving down to join me, so for now I have this place all to myself!

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This is the cottage we’re staying in! It’s so pretty, and it’s situated on the banks of a small lake! The interior is lovely too, and so different from my home!

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I ran into a guy who is staying next door who is also on holiday, and he helped me with my suitcase so we are now best friends;) It had just gone 9pm and I hadn’t eaten dinner yet, so Neighbour Andy offered to take me to the local pub which he recommended highly, but I have my priorities straight and insisted on a little test of my new home first…

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testing the springiness of the beds…so mature;)

The local pub is my new favourite place on earth. Everyone there was SO friendly and welcoming, and the barman is a TWENTY time marathoner!! We talked about running for ages and he recommended some good running routes that I’ll hopefully be exploring soon! Unfortunately the pub had already stopped serving food so all we had were drinks!

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I had serious run-motivation issues this morning. On only a few hours sleep, and no food since yesterday lunchtime, I was in no mood to run! But as soon as I got my butt out the door, my mood turned right around, as it always does! 5 easy miles on quiet country roads in the rain is perfection:)

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Running in the Lake District is definitely testing my legs! The hills here are INSANE! Hopefully though it will really pay off when cross country season starts in a couple of weeks! The views are breathtaking, although you’ll just have to take my word on this since my blurry iPhone photos snapped on the run do them no justice!

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Now I am starving and off to get some brunch! Have a great weekend friends!! <3

The Olympics in my Hometown

 

Since July 27th, I have been living and breathing the Olympics. And since it ended a couple of days ago, I have been missing it like crazy. Having been completely immersed in it for 11 days, it’s hard for me to believe that it’s really all over! Thanks to the wonderful BBC and their live coverage of every single Olympic event, I  basically watched the Olympic action all day every day when I wasn’t at events! I was actually supposed to be a kit-carrier, but unfortunately all the mandatory training days clashed with my music tour!

 

One of my favourite days was when I went to the Olympic Park to see the athletics. The Olympic Park is absolutely HUGE, and the stadium is massive too!

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My running team and I were lucky enough to have been given free athletics tickets by the organisers of the London Marathon, which I am SO grateful for as I missed out on these in the ballot!

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The seats were great, the action was incredible and the atmosphere was amazing, especially when Jess Ennis (Team GB’s poster girl) came on! The cheers for her were deafening!

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I also managed to see some amazing track cycling action…out of a possible 12 gold medals in the velodrome Team GB won 9 of them! And a silver and bronze too :)

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I also went with my friend Jessy to see the women and men’s marathons. It was BEYOND AWESOME to see some of my favourite runners up close! I was so upset to hear a week before the women’s marathon that Paula Radcliffe was pulling out, but I still got to see some of my other favourites, including Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan!

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Shalane Flanagan <3

 

The marathon route was the same for both the women’s and men’s marathons, and it was a lapped course which meant that we got to see the runners FOUR times! Jessy and I managed to get the same spot on the Embankment for both marathons…it was the best spot right next to the clock and we saw them at miles 1, 9, 17 and 25!

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Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda), the men’s marathon winner

 

One of my favourite things about the London Olympics was the huge public screenings of Olympic events. After watching the women’s marathon, Jessy and I headed to Hyde Park to the BT London Live screening to watch Andy Murray win gold in the tennis!

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The atmosphere there when Andy Murray won was INCREDIBLE, with thousands of people celebrating togther and red+white+blue streamers raining down on us :) Definitely worth the hour of queuing and the OTT security to get in!

 

I can’t believe it’s all over! I think I very briefly suffered from Post Olympic Depression, but that soon turned into Post Olympic DETERMINATION. Rio 2016? ;)

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I’ve missed blogging, and I’ve missed all of you!! I should really start tackling the 500+ unread items in my Google Reader and the near 1000 unread emails, but right now it’s too intimidating so I think I’ll leave that to stew for a little longer ;) I’ve just written up a running+life update post for tomorrow/Friday because I have SO much to catch you all up on!

 

Did you watch much of the Olympics? What was your favourite event to watch? Athletics, obviously! Mo Farah winning DOUBLE GOLD was the highlight of the whole Olympics for me :)

 

Hope you’re having a great summer! <3

Puppies and Olympic Excitement!

 

For those of you who follow  me on Twitter, I apologise for spamming your news feeds with pictures of puppies. But now I am going to put them all over this post.

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On Wednesday, I visited my friend and her new puppy! Say hello to Roxie, the West Highland White Terrier puppy!

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And then Thursday and Friday I’ve been living at my aunt’s house because she has just gotten a puppy too! But this cutie isn’t just any old puppy…

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…this is Questa, and she is going to be a guide dog when she is older! My aunt and uncle are fostering her for a year and training her, and she will hopefully go on to help a blind or partially-sighted person :)

 

How on earth they are going to be able to give up this little cutie is beyond me. I couldn’t even put her down for a second!

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She is SO playful, and I spent a good half hour playing with her on the slide. She is adorable!!

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That completely exhausted her, and she had to be carried indoor and then fell asleep on me. This is TRUE LOVE and I am currently formulating a plan to steal her.

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Okay, puppy time OVER now, I promise ;)

 

It has been seriously hot here in London recently, and after a horribly hot run on Thursday…

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…I took yesterday’s run to the gym! It’s the new gym that I mentioned before, and this is why it is my new favourite place on Earth:

  1. I was the only one in the gym for almost the whole time! No waiting for machines or equipment = win!
  2. The treadmill HAS IT’S OWN FAN. Best thing ever.
  3. Has a cool “random hill” button on the tread which was fun when I got bored;)
  4. It is a nice 10 minute walk from my house, and has good opening hours so I can get in early morning or late night sessions! Oh, and their showers are actually nice!
  5. Young athlete discount means it is CHEAP:)

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Just over 7 miles done!

 

I refuelled with an ice lolly on my walk home, which I’m sure all the elite athletes do too…

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I always read running magazines whilst on the treadmill (being able to read and run is one of my many skills;) and I was SO excited to find Running Times in WHSmiths!! You know your life is thrilling when you get excited over a magazine…! It is my favourite running magazine and I stalk the website on a daily basis, but it was only available in America until now!

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In the evening, my whole family (including my aunt and uncle who are over from New York) came together and sat down to watch the Olympic Opening Ceremony. What did you guys think? I thought it was great, and SO British! But my aunt and uncle didn’t understand a lot of the connotations, and parts that left me and my family in fits of laughter just left them confused! But we all loved the James Bond bit:

The whole thing left me feeling very proud to be British! :)

 

What did you think of the Opening Ceremony? I thought parts of it were great (the young athletes lighting the cauldron, Rowan Atkinson+the LSO, David Beckham and Sir Steve Redgrave, etc.), but was it too domestic, to the extent that parts “baffled foreign viewers”? Certainly did in my uncle Anthony’s case anyway ;)

 

What Olympic events are you most looking forward to watching? ALL Olympic running events (track and marathon), gymnastics, swimming, rowing, cycling…so pretty much everything! I will be glued to the TV for the next couple of weeks. And next Friday and Sunday I will be seeing the action live! :D

 

Random: Tell me about what run/workout you are doing today! A 9-miler with my BROTHER (I take full credit for his transformation from a couch potato into a runner;) as soon as I can tear myself away from the Olympic coverage!

 

Have a great day friends!! <3

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