Naturally Sweetened Granola Bars {Recipe}

I’ve been a naughty little blogger. It has been almost a month since my last post. Please forgive me? No? What about if I share my new deliciously yummy (but ridiculously healthy) recipe with you?

Before we begin, I really feel I need to comment on a post that came from my heart ‘When Work Takes Over Your Life…’. I want to thank all those who left really insightful comments, especially as I know that writing down personal criticisms about our own careers (in a world where the most common response is, “Oh yes, work’s going well/ok!”) can actually be quite a scary & frightening thing to do. I read all of them and have only just gotten around to replying to everyone as really wanted to absorb & ponder what had been said. So thank you all for sharing, it meant a lot to me.

Forgiven yet? No?

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How about now?

There’s a short story behind these scrummy bars. I knew I had to make them one Friday afternoon when a work colleague saw me, munching on yet another granola bar whilst downing an americano, & said “Gosh, you like your Costa don’t you? Doesn’t it get expensive?”. I was in my own world of heavenly granola goodness (trust me, don’t try the Costa coffee granola bars. They are seriously addictive.) but I soon snapped out of it from the sudden realisation that my ‘occasional’ treat of a coffee & a tray bake had somehow become a daily affair. Accompanied with a big hole in my wallet.

So, I decided to make my own! Partly inspired by Costa’s delights, but also ‘healthified’ as I’m sure the corporation don’t worry about putting lots of added sugar into their goods as that’s probably what makes addicts like me run back to them every morning.

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These beauties are packed full of goodies which give a balanced mix of protein, omega-3s, & carbs. I made them nut free as I know it is tempting to add tonnes of chopped nuts to recipes, or to add a jar of nut butter to ‘bind’ but I didn’t really think these needed them (or the added calories).

Not only are these vegan & gluten-free, they also are naturally sweetened by dried fruit & my newest favouritest natural sweetener… Date ‘caramel’ (sounds exotic but it is literally just blended dates & water). They are also flippin’ easy to make.

Ingredients (to make 10 well sized granola bars)

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  • One & a half cups of gluten free oats
  • Half a cup of seeds – I used a seed mix blend of pumpkin, sunflower, golden linseed & sesame seeds
  • Half a cup of chia seeds
  • Handful of dried cranberries (roughly chopped)
  • Handful of sultanas
  • Pinch of himalayan salt (or alternative)
  • 250g pitted dates
  • Boiled water (enough to cover dates – around 1-2 cups)
  • 2 tsp of vanilla essence
  • 3 tsp of cinnamon (I actually used a bit more because I love heavily spiced goodies!)

I actually couldn’t find any cinnamon so ended up grabbing this pumpkin pie mix:

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^^^ It was a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger & cloves and made my kitchen smell divine (& my bars taste wonderful)

Directions

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Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees.

Place dates in blender/food processor & just cover with freshly boiled water to soften for a few minutes. Place dry ingredients (& vanilla essence) in mixing bowl. Blitz your water/date mix & add your ‘caramel’ to the other ingredients. Mix until uniform & then place into a lined baking tray (I would have ideally used baking paper but all I had was foil. comme ci comme ca!) – I like my bars lovely and thick so used half the tray and piled up the mixture, but feel free to spread it out thinly if that floats your boat.

Pop in the oven for 25 minutes until nicely browned on the top.

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love these bars as a healthy breakfast or morning/afternoon pick-me-up coupled with a big mug of tea or coffee. They are not as sweet as my old loves from Costa coffee but I bet my bottom dollar that they are probably infinitely healthier.

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Look at that hunk of a bar.

I stored half of them in an airtight container and the rest were popped in the freezer to keep them fresh.

I have a feeling they will be making an escape soon though!

Have you ever made your own granola bars? If so, what is your favourite ingredient to add? Anyone else a granola bar addict? 

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Matcha March & Matcha Energy Balls {Recipe}

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So, I’m just over halfway into my teapigs Matcha March challenge so this calls for a little update!

  • Withdrawing from coffee is a b*****. Or more, accurately, I’m a b***** without my regular coffee fix. Thankfully the matcha green tea was there to soften the blow & made the transition as seamless as possible. Sorry, fellow colleagues, for being a grumpy little sod for the first few days of said transition.
  • Favourite way to drink matcha? Matcha lattes, where have you been all my life? I’ve been chugging these down thanks to my trusty aerolatte milk frother. I am ashamed to say that my die-hard frothing action has meant the batteries of my frother have already been replaced. But check out the head on this beauty:

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^^^ To make, I essentially followed the teapigs matcha latte recipe by heating rice (or coconut) milk in a pan or microwave (sometimes with a teaspoon of xylitol). I would then mix in the matcha green tea & mix/froth away until my mug resembles an overfilled bubble bath. Dreamy.

  • Worst way to ‘drink’ matcha? Dunking a spoon straight into the pot and trying to swallow. Any time I had tried to ‘save’ by this unusual method was completely lost from the time spent trying to de-stick all of the matcha tea from the roof of my mouth. Lesson of the day? Definitely mix matcha with liquid kids.
  • Energy levels? On one day I missed my matcha green tea and had a late morning-late afternoon slump. In the end I had to have a little espresso for a pick me up. Admittedly it was heavenly (oh I do love coffee), but then it cruelly strapped me into the caffeinated rollercoaster ride for the next few hours. Drinking the matcha in the morning seems to avoid this slump for one reason or another.

Without further ado, today’s recipe! They are essentially a simple variation on my Coconut Protein Macaroons which have always been scrummy, but I decided I wanted to make a batch of energy balls to help keep me going during my long shifts at work. Enter my:

 

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These little beauties don’t need much of an introduction. All you need to know is that they’re particularly moreish, give a healthy little energy boost (much better than an espresso shot which causes an inevitable caffeine-induced crash IMO), don’t carry a strong matcha taste (for anyone worried about that), & freeze beautifully to store.

Ingredients (for about 10 energy balls)

  • 2 teaspoons of matcha green tea (I use teapigs matcha green tea)
  • 3 scoops (one scoop is around 2 tbs) of vanilla protein powder (I use Sun Warrior classic protein)
  • 1 scoop lucuma powder
  • 2 scoops shredded coconut (plus a little more for decoration)
  • 3 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 tbs cashew nut butter (or almond butter)
  • A splash of almond milk (or even water)

Put all ingredients apart from the almond milk/water into a mixing bowl and work the coconut oil and nut butter into the mixture evenly. If it’s still too dry, add a splash of almond milk or water until the mixture can be worked into balls (they may be a little crumbly, so I patted them into balls instead of rolling them). Cover the balls with more coconut and store them in the fridge to give them some firmness.

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I love to wrap one or two in cling film to take with me to work – I find them to be perfect either in the late morning or later afternoon when I’m feeling a little peckish!

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I also love the fact that this recipe saves a lot of money compared to buying ‘ready made’ balls from health food shops. Win-win in my book!

Have you ever used matcha green tea in cooking? What is your favourite (or most unusual) ingredient to use in energy balls?

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When Work Takes Over Your Life…

When I was a pre-university teen, I was power hungry. I remember revelling in the ‘glory’ of being voted in as the director of ‘my’ company (jeeze I sound like such a tyrant… I probably was.) when competing through Young Enterprise (a business and enterprise education charity). I remember jumping for joy at another company’s loss to us at the finals (Still not quite sure how that happened. In retrospect our ribbon and jewel encrusted customised primark panties were a bit of a risky choice as a school business-venture).

Why was I like that? Perhaps because my parents encapsulated a little of the essence of the well known ‘tiger mom’. They were thankfully a lot more liberal (at least having read Amy Chua’s accounts) in that they ‘strongly encouraged’ me to do a GCSE in Latin because it would ‘get’ me into a top university (hmm parents, I’m not sure it quite works that way!) yet they didn’t freak out too much when I chose Religious Studies/Philosophy as a fellow GCSE (perhaps because they realised one humanity was compulsory).

Anyway. During these years I aspired not to be good, but to be the best in my field (whichever field I ended up choosing). I imagined myself strutting around the world walking through a sea of money (and probably stomping all over bystanders who accidentally got in my way in the process). So, I did it all (good grades/university/piano playing/kumon/[enter other hobbies here]) and got the t shirt. And then something changed.work2

^^^ Some of the beautiful institutions I have been lucky to call home. Well, as much as two libraries can be homely. I did ‘live’ in them for significant amounts of time nearing exam periods…

I started working. I enjoyed my work but, despite my expectations, I didn’t love it. I could wake up and look forward to going into work, but this paled in comparison to my expectation of an all-encompassing passion for my career choice. It was very unsettling. I felt like I had failed. And to add insult to injury, while I was totting up the hours at work (which I enjoyed but didn’t love), it reached the point of exhaustion where I actually started disliking it. Not because of the nature of the job, but because I had been pushed to my limit and was running close to burnout. Contracting a kidney infection from not having enough time in the day to hydrate or pee is not particularly dignified. Eating a bag full of chocolate bars is not a good meal replacement when there’s ‘no time’ for lunch.

Now don’t get me wrong, my job has brought me fantastic opportunities. And, during the periods when I’ve not been pushing through sleep-deprivation, I’ve loved it (such as for the last half a year or so). It’s had its perks; It’s absolutely fascinating & engaging at times, I’ve gotten to work abroad, and I’ve met tonnes of kick ass professionals who leave me in awe. I’m not work shy either. I do enjoy it.

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^^^ Working up a relatively secluded mountain in the Everest region in Nepal a couple of years’ back.

But more importantly, I enjoy it up to a pointNot when I’m being pushed past my physical and mental capabilities. Not when my relationships suffer because I’m working 3 weekends each month. I remember feeling dismayed when my friends stopped inviting me to things as they already knew what my RSVP would be. And during those rare occasions where I was present, I was just in an exhausted daze.

At some point in the last year I made a conscious decision that in less than 2 years’ time I’ll be switching to part time work (along with a massive pay cut, but enough to survive on). It was not an easy decision. It sort of felt like failure again. Failure to reach my ‘dream’ of being the top dog. Failure to meet my parents’ expectations.

With time, and a lot of conversations to some understanding ears, I realised that it wasn’t failure at all. In fact it was the complete opposite.

Success in recognising what I need as a person. Success in being brave enough to make a decision which is completely counter to what I’ve been heading towards for the most of my life. I also figured out that my parents just want me to be happy. It was a relief to say the least. I also have an inkling that they know I’m a ‘lost cause’ (in the loveliest possible way) after they told some family friends (with a bit of a sigh), “Oh, Lucy is not like us. She doesn’t really care about money. [BIG SIGH, SAD FACE.]“

So here I am, back in a place where work is somewhat taking over my life again. I’ve already been sick but am ploughing through the hours. But something is different this time. I know it is a ‘means to an end’ (sort of hate that term but it summarises it well) and actually is incredibly useful and I am learning a hell of a lot. I’m trying my best to stay grounded and not get caught up in the whirlwind of chaos. I’m trying my hardest to do my best and seeing how this translates into my day-to-day life.

Last year I came to the realisation that one driving factor in my life is connection. With anyone, from the train driver who steers my morning carriage, to the lady at the canteen, to fellow colleagues, or my bosses. And actually, instead of being the ‘best’ on paper, I just try to be the best person I can with the person I’m interacting with, and to just observe and feel a connection whether it is a pleasant one, an uncomfortable one, or an interesting one.

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^^^ Talking to students about making career choices last weekend. This was actually on a day off but was a rewarding afternoon well spent!

So, this is going to be my focus for my career from now on. It may change with time but, for now, it feels right for me.

Oh, I’m also giving myself 100% permission to be a couch potato on my days off when I’m exhausted. Pushing myself to do ALL the things(!) on my meagre days of freedom has been tried and tested and just leads to a grumpy Lucy.

How do you approach work? Do you love work & find that it is your true passion? Do you enjoy it, but feel you need a balanced work/life balance? Do you dislike it? I would love to hear your opinions about the matter!

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Champagne & Afternoon Tea at The Ritz

For the last, say 5 years or so, I’ve known that my mum has fancied going to Afternoon Tea at The Ritz. Me being me (i.e. a lover of all things cake-like, and tea-like), but somewhat disorganised (i.e. unable to get my act together when reservations are taken months in advance) meant it was only this year I actually managed to get a date in celebration of her birthday. In February. (Her birthday’s in November). Despite this, I was pleased as I had managed to grab the most popular sitting of 1.30pm (they also have sittings at 11.30am, 3.30pm & 5.30pm) and clearly it was worth it to just see how excited my mum was at a) getting to spend the whole day together, b) drink tea, and c) drink tea at The Ritz no less!

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One of the joys of our Afternoon Tea was sitting in The Palm Court with its beautifully airy high ceilings, lavish (but tasteful) touchings of gold, and their impressive floral centre piece.

We were welcomed by their attentive & immaculately dressed waiters who sat us down and helped us pick which teas would suit our tastebuds – mum went for the Ritz Royal Blend (which was a deliciously strong English tea), whereas I opted for the Darjeeling which did not disappoint. Before our silver teapots arrived, a gleaming cake stand was brought out along with a couple of glasses of bubbly.photo 2-3

The centre tier was empty as we were told that the scones were being kept warm and toasty for us which was a lovely little touch. We started on the sandwiches which consisted of:

  • Ham with grain mustard mayonnaise on white bread
  • Cheddar cheese with chutney on onion bread
  • Cucumber with cream cheese, dill, and chives on caraway bread
  • Chicken with horseradish cream on white bread
  • Scottish smoked salmon with lemon butter on rye bread
  • Egg mayonnaise with chopped shallots & watercress on white bread

My favourites were the ham taste-wise, and the cucumber (as I rarely have the occasion where they are available!). A waiter came around tempting us with more sandwiches to refill our plates, but we made the wise decision to hold off as we knew there would be (much) more to come!

Next, the scones & cakes!

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^^^ Cakes from left to right: Banana mousse, chocolate torte, millefeuille, caramel macarons.

Sadly the scones (either with raisins, or plain) came out before we had finished our sandwiches which meant they were no longer warm when we cut into them. Thankfully the two generous pots of strawberry jam & clotted cream in part made up for it:

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However, these were most definitely my least favourite part of the tea, and I’ve had lighter, more buttery scones in the past. Really, I should have just had one but the glutton with me couldn’t resist digging into another. Eventually, I stopped at one and a half as firstly, they weren’t ridiculously impressive, and secondly, I needed to make room for the cakes. Oh, the cakes!

I was a fan of the banana mousse and millefeuille, the macarons were tasty, but  those of Pierre Hermé will always be held closest to my heart. By this point we were both bursting at the seams, so the rich chocolate torte sadly never even reached my lips.

At this point, another waiter came by with an extra ‘cake trolley’! Upon which, lay both walnut, and toffee apple cakes. I had sadly had my fill at this point (hence why there are no photos, I was a little caked-out by the time it had come around..!). My mum however was loving it so got a sliver of each. I ended up having a bite of each and they were both superb (particularly the toffee apple, complete with caramelised mini apple balls mmm!).

After our delights, we had some time to sit and natter away and drink from our (seemingly) never-ending tea pots.

Over the past few years it’s been wonderful to see our relationship transform from, not only a mother-daughter dynamic, but also a deep friendship and mutual understanding. We’ve reached the point where we can chat literally about anything. We spoke about any difficulties we’d been facing in the past few months, the positive places and spaces we are in now, and our aspirations and dreams for the year to come. It was all very lovely & intimate and I was so thankful that we had had some quality time together to cherish.

We never felt rushed and slowly rolled ourselves out of the salon, collecting our coats from the plush cloakroom and paying a visit to the pretty powder room before stopping for a couple more photos.

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Happy Birthday mum, thank you for being so caring and kind, and for being a constant pillar of support or listening ear. It was a pleasure to spoil you after all the years you’ve spent looking after me.

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^^^ I took this picture & my mum exclaimed, “Ooh a selfie! Aren’t you impressed that I know what a selfie is?”… Love you mum.

Afternoon Tea at The Ritz starts at £45 per person (£47 from 1st April 2014). Check availability here for your own dreamy tea-filled experience!

Have you ever had afternoon/high tea? Who would be your guest of choice?

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Goodbye Coffee… teapigs Matcha March Challenge

February was always going to be the start of a busy work month. And whilst my hours at work have dramatically increased, and despite my anxieties about this (surprise surprise) the change has been ok. I really should have more faith in my abilities to adjust by now, right?

However, the one thing I’ve noticed though is that my coffee intake has slowly but surely rapidly shot through the roof! It’s been pulling me through late afternoon & evening slumps, but I’ve not enjoyed the accompanying feeling of ‘jitteriness’, poorer sleeping habits, and always feeling a tad dehydrated (also reflected in the condition of my skin at the moment). It’s contribution to ‘pushing through the exhaustion’ has also led to my first cold of the season, boo!photo-60 copy

^^^ So good yet, in my case, so bad! Especially as this brew is most definitely not restricted to ‘Lazy Sundays’

A few of you old-timers may remember my initial review of teapigs matcha green tea (for anyone who missed it, you can catch it here). I was a big fan of the product, particularly it’s quality, so when I got the chance to partake in a matcha ‘challenge’ i.e. drinking matcha green tea everyday for a month, I knew it would be a good thing for my body!

A coincidental visit to Wholefoods and a try of their matcha latte, had me excited for the challenge…

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^^^ I had my matcha latte with a side of brown rice salmon sushi. It was one of the best lunches of my month, no joke!

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The lovely peeps at teapigs sent me these goodies (including a milk frother, hubba hubba!) so that I can get my matcha brewing every day in March. They’ve given me a long list of health benefits but for me, personally, I would love to:

  • improve my concentration (it contains the amino acid L-theanine which “stimulates the production of alpha waves, [helping] create a state of mental alertness.”
  • have some support for my dwindling immune system
  • have clear skin!

There’s also a theory that it helps weight loss through thermogenesis (and the teapigs brand has also won an award for this…!) but personally I’m a little skeptical about claims like that..!

I’m also hoping to clean up my diet in March, I do love (and see no harm in) the odd treat or two, but if I’m being completely honest with myself, recently, sugary and fatty snacks have been my ‘go-to’ for a (paradoxical) energy ‘boost’ at work. I also need to get on top of my packed lunches as if I don’t organise myself, then we have unlimited toast & cereal at work which is tasty, but hardly the most nutritious foods out there!

So here’s to a healthy & happy matcha March! If anyone fancies joining me then please do :) You can buy teapigs matcha online here. Otherwise I’ll be sporadically updating the blog with how I’m getting along.

Have you tried matcha tea before? What are your thoughts about it?

I shall be keeping my twitter & instagram updated with #matchamarch … Come join!

{Review} Apprehensive about Hot Yoga? Try Fierce Grace Yoga

In complete honesty, the reason I went to Fierce Grace Yoga, the new breed of Hot Yoga in town, was because I found myself at a loose end one evening & my ever enthusiastic friend Sarah dragged me along. She had given it a go already and was a fan so jumped at their £35 for 30 days deal – and is now an utter convert.

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So I tootled along as her compadre and signed up for a ‘first time’ try class for a ridiculously reasonable £5.

I will admit now that I was apprehensive about the class. A couple of years ago I tried a very popular type of hot yoga (which I shall not name but you can hazard a guess) but was somewhat disappointed by the militant (yes, militant) style of teaching. Teachers clapping in the class so that people would keep in time, constantly checking their watches so that (heaven forbid!) the sequence should run too slowly, yelling words of ‘encouragement’ which sounded like something which should come out of the mouth of a horse racing commentator (“Come on now, lock you knees. Lock your knees lock your knees lock your knees!” <- all said it a very pressurised fashion) For me, it signified everything that yoga is not supposed to be.

During that period I also overdid it – I felt I was encouraged to push myself beyond the barriers (my body had actually very cleverly put up to protect itself. Well done body.) & the heat meant that I could, despite having to pay the consequences afterwards. I always locked my knees irrelevant to discomfort levels, and soon enough the ligaments around my knees became lax and I became injured. Oh joy! (ironic joy)

Anyway, we’re not here to talk about ‘that’ experience, rather what happened when I entered the world of Fierce Grace yoga.

We went to Fierce Grace North (the studio is easily accessible from both the Northern Line & overground) and were welcomed by a very happy and chilled out receptionist (am I the only one who judges how happy a place is based on the receptionist? Either way, in my book, this was a good sign).

It was time to bare our legs.

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^^^ Hot yoga legs! Looking remarkably fluorescent courtesy of the glow from the heaters…

The studio was spacious and not too crowded which meant I could see myself in the big mirrors at the front (hooray! During my previous escapades in hot yoga I was firstly a) always sent to the back for not being ‘advanced’ enough, and b) sardined amongst rows upon rows of sweaty bodies).

Sarah had warned me that we were going to follow a sequence but I breathed a sigh of relief over the implementation of said sequence. Jacqui was gentle with us and, if anything, reminded everyone to listen to our bodies as opposed to pushing ourselves over what felt comfortable. It seems that Fierce Grace are very conscious of injuries, and welcoming & considerate to those who do have niggles. There was also none of this ‘lock your knees LOCK YOUR KNEES!’ malarkey either. Phew!

From their ethos, it appears Fierce Grace values being inclusive and welcoming towards people of varying abilities whether you’re a seasoned yogi or you find it difficult to balance on one foot for greater than a second. And that easily translates into how their classes are taught, which is refreshing as it is this which makes me want to return to classes.

I actually really enjoyed the sequence – the asanas were a challenging mixture of balancing, strengthening & core work (there was even a plank and some static crunches in there! My #PlankADay is paying off!) and it never felt rushed or boring.

Dare I say it but I emerged sweaty, but invigorated.

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But the best thing?

Since I’ve been working long hours, and from what I presume is general tension, I’ve noticed niggles in my upper back. I often get them during very busy periods and it can make things uncomfortable (but is thankfully not disabling in any way). I also tense up my shoulder and neck a lot when I’m rushed off my feet at work and it had reached the point where even rolling my neck around my shoulders was very stiff and slightly painful!

The next day? My back pain had significantly improved, and I no longer felt like I was holding myself in a neck brace for whiplash.

Never one to say no to a good offer, and now that my belief system in hot yoga has been challenged, I have decided to embark on their superb ’30 days’ offer.

I’m hoping to try a variety of the classes Fierce Grace has to offer and report back so stay tuned, as more yoga adventures (and sweaty selfies… sorry!) to come…

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^^^ Sarah & I basking in our ‘glow’ (/sweatiness) post yoga

Have you ever tried hot yoga? What did you think?

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It’s OK to Run Slow. It’s OK to Run Short Distances. Let’s Celebrate Just Running.

Last year a close friend of mine jump-started her (pretty much non-existent) fitness levels by joining the gym and being generally badass. During the peak of my running escapades (i.e. last summer) I had obviously raved about it enough that she decided to give it a go, and I enthusiastically sent her a copy of the ‘couch to 5k’ plan. I never heard about it again (except for some initial texts usually along the lines of “argh, it hurts!”) so I presumed that perhaps it didn’t really tickle her fancy…

Fast forward to a catch up last week and somewhere late into our conversation she sheepishly brought up that she had entered her first ever 5k this June. I was unbelievably ecstatic about this piece of news, & also questioned her (yes I’m not known to mince my words) as to why she had left it to almost the end of our night to tell me. She dismissed her achievements, saying “oh, there are so many people training for marathons at the moment, 5k is nothing compared.” I delved a little deeper asking how she felt about it (nervous but excited & ultimately surprised, and even a little proud, that she thought she could make that distance) & she later divulged that she had told a work colleague who had told her “5k? Oh, that’s nothing, you’ll be fine.” Hmm…

Later that week (not sure why I’m having so many running-related conversations at the moment. Perhaps if I talk about it more it will make me want to run more?) my colleague told me that she had returned to the gym after a little hiatus and did 5k on the treadmill. I congratulated her on getting back on the fitness wagon and acing her 5k. Her response? “Yeah, but it took me about half an hour. That’s so slow. My friends can run 10k in 45 minutes!” Hmm again…

Now, I feel I should add at this point that I am not downplaying the achievements of all the awesome runners out there who eat marathons for breakfast and whizz off into the distance like Speedy Gonzalez.

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(^^^ Remember this guy? Thought I should add in a pic in this rather photo-bare post.)

There’s nothing more I love than sinking my teeth into recaps of kickass women rocking Steeplechases, running across the Sahara desert, & being placed as first female in ultramarathons. These women are literary/running delights!

However, I am also in total awe when reading recaps such as this 5k. What I’m saying is that my admiration is essentially the same for those who get out there and run 5 minutes non stop to those who run miles upon miles or run minute miles which would leave me gasping in their wake. We should be encouraging everyone from all walks of life to get out there and run because it is rewarding, invigorating, and all sorts of fun. Whilst I’m doing just that with my non-existent training plan (i.e. I’m just running purely based on ‘feel’), I wouldn’t want any newbie runners to feel intimidated or their efforts to be downplayed in a world where there is always a challenge bigger/better/greater/faster.

Up to the point & on the night of my first ever 10k last year, I felt so unbelievably supported, mostly in thanks to all the wonderful girls (& supporters!) Leah that shimmied together. So please, if you’re feeling at all discouraged, surround yourself with positive people.

Team Naturally, Run at We Own The Night Nike 10K

Team Naturally, Run at We Own The Night Nike 10K

For me, running at the moment is about getting outdoors, running free, and just releasing whatever my body and mind is caught up with in the moment.

My last run was yesterday:

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Just over 5k which may be a challenge for some, it may be piss easy for others. At a pace of 10’51″ which may be speedy for some, and a snail’s pace for others. All of this is irrelevant (as seen by my ecstatically happy ‘unstoppable’ smiley face in the bottom left corner) as really what I was after was this:

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A space where I could feel peaceful. A run where I could be surrounded by nature. A place where I could enjoy my strides whilst trying to race dogs (they always won), and just be present. Pure bliss!

So whether you’ve got an up-and-coming 5k, or you’re going to battle a distance 10xs that, let’s just take a moment to celebrate running outside of achievements & goals!

What was your last run? What was the best part of it? Leave a comment & let’s celebrate!

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