A Memo for Event Day

Since my first running event last October (Great South Run) I have been meaning to write a list of the thoughts that crossed my mind- mental memos about how to handle the whole day; what I need to know for the next time; thoughts and knowledge that should ease and help me when running/in training for an event. In the events that followed I learnt even more and I will certainly learn more in the future. For now, here are some thoughts that originated from a race that genuinely made me ask myself why I even entered!

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1. Photos. It’s not for everyone but taking photos before a race turn my nerves or doubts into positive energy. The picture above is from the first half marathon I took part in- Gosport Half Marathon. I had just recovered from an injury that meant I couldn’t train how I wanted for it and potentially had a burst of shingles. I was apprehensive to say the least. It had been a LONG time since I’d run thirteen miles but taking pictures meant my mind was occupied! And, of course, an influx of new photos on my phone will only speed me up to finish the race- then I could place them on everyone’s Facebook feed, of course!

2. A good breakfast. For most events I have run with a porridge and banana in my system, but for one 10k I decided an omelette -really Kat?! – was what I needed. Not lacking in a bit of grease, I can’t say it made me feel ready for a 10k where I was aiming to be fast. To say I was feeling stodgy is an understatement! I will always follow Mum’s Breakfast Top Tip from now on.

3. It’s not them, it’s you. I have quite a few sprinkles of competitiveness in me and most of it, I like to think, is a good thing. When it comes to competitiveness fuelling me to compare myself to others… Not so good. I have learnt that if there are people I know in a race, I just have to forget about it. Or else I think, “Man I don’t want to be slower than them” when it really, really doesn’t matter. Like we have been taught since we were infants; just focus on yourself!

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4. Don’t over think. Sometimes, on event day, I’ll anticipate the race in a way that makes me nervous and puts me off whereas I should be using these thoughts or nerves in a good way. Before the Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon (the picture above!) I was feeling particularly nervous because we’d been warned about a sludgy, slippy route (man, I did not know what was coming) which was making me apprehensive, coupled with the fact that because of this warning, I wore rubbishy, old trainers. In reality all I could do is leave genuine fearful thoughts behind and wait for the day to play out. Throwback: I actually slipped on the mud and fell onto a man- I apparently should have been worrying about how to deal with a lot of embarrassment.

5. The day is now. Simple, but the day has arrived; just do your best and stay safe!

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6. It will end. I took part in the Bournemouth Bay 10k Run this year with a chesty cough I thought had settled but evidently hadn’t (Katvice: if you’re not up for it, just don’t do it or drop out if you realise a bit too late!) and it flared up during the last two miles. I thought I could cope and although it messed up my time a little bit, the thought that the race will end definitely got me through! The picture above shows it did end and I got my favourite running top so far out of it!

7. To time or not to time. I can be pretty hard on myself when it comes to the times I get on event day. I track how I’m doing every time I do run and I’m always aware of how I am doing. This is all well and good sometimes; it can really help me and I’ll feel very aware of what I need to continue to do/start doing. However, for Great South Run I realised pretty early on I would not be getting my target time. For some it might be best, in these cases, just not to time it, but for me I can cope with it being in front of me. I made the choice, though, from that moment on in the Great South to just run it. I didn’t worry about timings and it did mean I was a little bit more relaxed.

8. Use the atmosphere. I adored the atmosphere of my first event day at the Great South; it was amazing and I can’t wait to experience it again this year. I didn’t use it to my advantage, though. It was electric and although it excited me, I remember it shooting nerves through my stomach, too. The next month at the Gosport Half Marathon, there were drummers you would hear and see quite a lot and I took that particular excitement and channelled it into feeling good and excited. I also now spend a lot of time at events hoping Eye of the Tiger will be played around the track so I can pretend to be Rocky!

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9. A lick of the lips. A weird and yet necessary thing I have personally learnt is that my lips can get seriously dry and salty when I run and I must be conscious of keeping them hydrated. All of my runs so far have involved the seaside to varying degrees which has, I think, only contributed to an uncomfortable texture. Keeping my lips moist is important for me to feel able.

10. EnjoyI adore taking part in running events so much because they are such a personal thing- they are a day for me to impress myself; or to at least enjoy one of my favourite hobbies. It relates to not over thinking, but on an event day, the best thing I can do is tell myself to enjoy it. Settle into the run and just soak up the views and atmosphere.

There is, of course, plenty more to be said and I would love any more advice if you’ve got some!

~ Kat ~

 

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I’m Just a Girl Standing in front of a Bowl

I’d seen Nourish Bowls floating around on Instagram (while I dreamed of having that beautifully artistic photo pretentious-ing up my own feed) a long time before I researched into them and made one myself (and by default, took a couple of photos). It’s a really simple and delicious way of getting a lot of different and important nutrition into our bodies- and it is so easy to alter into a snack, a lunch or even a dinner.

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Simply typing “How to make a nourish bowl” into your internet search  bar will give you a plethora of advice, tips and facts about these handsome bowls of colours. There are lots of templates that show you how to create a Nourish Bowl and they are incredibly useful. Pictures show that there is often some kind of base then topped with veggies, fruit, protein, healthy fats, your super good carbohydrates and extra goodness to finish it off. These creations are incredibly diverse and pack in goodness and nutrition we can easily forget about.

I decided which bits and bobs are some of my favourites when it came to these general categories and all of my favourites appeared, on paper, to look like a good concoction!


  • Spinach (base)
  • Broccoli (veggies)
  • Cucumber (veggies)
  • Tomatoes (fruit)
  • Blueberries (fruit)
  • Hard boiled egg (protein)
  • Avocado (healthy fats)
  • Sweet potato (complex carbohydrates)
  • Lemon juice (extra goodness)

And my healthy goodness, I sat in the sun and devoured this. I used it as a snack, but could have easily added chicken and more sweet potato to make it a meal. Not only are these inventions incredibly diverse in what you can produce, but they can serve so many functions throughout the day. If I am hungry mid-afternoon, a Nourish Bowl really is my best friend. If I have been to the gym in the morning, I will be feeling motivated and a Nourish Bowl will continue my Dwayne Johnson, kick-butt outlook.

A few years ago putting fruit on a salad would have made me incredibly confused. Heck, me bothering to make a salad would be a little odd. I think these Nourish Bowls show us that flavours can really surprise us and that the lack of rules as to what we must put in them should only encourage us to eat this unique form of a salad. We don’t have to chuck in vegetables we feel like we have to eat or fruit that we find a bit tiring- we may as well choose the fruit and vegetables we love and make a bowl of favourites. Carpe diem and all that.

I spend a lot of my time dreaming about making my next Nourish Bowl (and then an equal amount of time dreaming about the pretty photos that could come out of it). I do like your standard salad but most of the time I’m going to want it to be sat prettily next to a main meal. I understand why so many think salads are uninteresting and a bit arduous to eat but I think Nourish Bowls can be anyone’s favourite.

~ Kat ~

A Run with a View | Home Part I

The one thing that can distract me from a run is a pretty view. It takes two seconds of debating, It’s okay to disrupt a run for a photo that will get me eleven likes on Instagram, right? to know my answer. Honestly, before I have even finished the thought, I’ve slowed down and switched my phone onto the camera. For me it can really push me when I have a blue sky smiling at me – it’s like a way better version of a television, entertaining as I exercise – and this was especially true this morning when I woke up for a half eight run.

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Today I made friends with some Dachshund doggies as they sprinted with their little legs beside me, the sun was already hot enough to cause sweat that was more than welcome and I endured a few hills that shouted, “You need to hill train more often!” Running before midday used to cause me a lot of discomfort, however since running events are pretty much always placed in the morning, I discovered how crucial it is to make sure at least some of my training takes place between 06:00 and 11:00. Starting off the day with exercise, for me, also encourages a healthier diet throughout the day. As completing morning runs make me feel the kind of cheesy happy you see in High School Musical, it sometimes is the easiest thing to avoid the snooze button and get up with the help of Troy and Gabriella.

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I ran along Lee on the Solent beach to get to Titchfield Haven until Pretentious Instagram Kat just had to stop to take a few pictures. Although I love running at university because there are so many beautiful parks, the beaches and nature at home mean long stretches of lovely sights that often help me fall into a pace I’m pretty happy with. It was quiet along haven which meant for a peaceful chunk of exercise whereas the beach was quite busy with runners and dog-walkers. The change in atmosphere and company did mean I was conscious of looking Jessica-Ennis-fit and ultimately made for a faster run than my recent times- which I definitely wanted today.

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I think it’s easy to become attached to a particular route when running. However as it’s more than necessary we mix up our routes (our bodies need a change of scenery otherwise they can get a bit too comfortable, and taking on all sorts of surfaces and challenges allows for our bodies to change more easily and benefit in different ways), I find the beaches I live by only encourage me to change the channel every time I run. Runs that involve Titchfield Haven will always be one of my favourite runs of the week and add bits and bobs to my run I don’t have on other routes.

As I have felt laughed at by nature at a few running events that have featured hills that made my legs feel loose and incapable (rather than footloose and happy), I have been trying to up my hill training. My route to and through Titchfield Haven means for some leg sculpting and my legs definitely feel “it” a lot more than they will after a flat route. The hills are alive with something brilliantly evil but my body definitely thanks me for the little spurts of pain.

This morning’s run ended with a sprint finish I like to believe is worthy of a place in the Olympics, and was a run that will allow for my alarm to encourage me to cut loose and slip on my running shoes for more future morning runs!

~ Kat ~

An Inspirational Quote for Starters

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Deliberating over One Day

I have always been interested in reading books and writing. When asked, “What do you want to do when you’re older?” and the variations of this question that guarantee a crippling fear of the Newly Acquired Adult Only Curse Words (rent, gas and electric), and just a few sprinkles of arrested development, all I can muster is, “I want to do something with books or writing.” With a blush at the admittance of what seems like a silly daydream, I would and do continue to distantly hope and think, “one day.”

A hobby I have always wanted to dip my toe into is blogging. Almost as soon as I take a moment to adore the thought, though, I turn pink. If I’m embarrassed at the one-person conversation I’m having with myself, imagine the shade I will turn in the face of potential real life people reading my writing. All the same I’d think… “one day.”

After always enjoying running at school and making sure I kept it up afterwards as a hobby, I would often say, “I will run the Great South Run one day”, even though I doubted that I actually would. In fact I was pretty certain that wasn’t for me. And, yet, as it goes – *plot twist* – I ran it! The other line I would and do still spin is, “I’m going to run the London Marathon.” As long as I eventually come out on top in the public ballot, three guesses? “One day.”

I haven’t always been as interested in health as I am now. Despite having been taught all of the right things and living by a lot of the rules, historically and, well, presently… I like cake. A lot. Now, I totally buy the whole “This isn’t a diet; it’s a lifestyle” catch phrase. I could never claim to be “entirely healthy” because of my adoration for cake, but the grass – and the spinach – is greener on this side. Since wondering if I could possibly extend my answer when it comes to the dreaded Future Plans Question to include a “or maybe health and fitness route” response, I wondered if a blog that talks about kale, blueberries and beetroot could allow me to open new doors (not just the fridge’s). I have always wanted to live with health at the forefront of my mind but never took all of the steps towards it; to really change my lifestyle. If you haven’t said it in your mind already: “One day.”

With the knowledge that experience and having something to show is so important when it comes to finding a job (*cringes at the Adult Curse Word*), I decided maybe I really could write a blog that covers all of the juicy stuff above along with anything else I want to write about. Not only will my blog hold me accountable to eating well, training for future running events and any efforts to kick start a writing/bookish/health/fitness career, I can learn more and more about each of these hobbies.

As this corny “reasons why I am starting this blog, please don’t be mean” post is nearing its pointless closure, it seems only appropriate to start my blogging journey with that inevitable and more importantly, inspirational quote I’ve been tirelessly building up to.

*Stands up with rosy cheeks and clears throat.*

“One day is now.”

~ Kat ~