Category Archives: RHUL

2016…

Say hello to next year’s new committee!

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AWARDS!

RHUL COLOURS BALL

For a club that didn’t properly exist last year, we had a MASSIVE success at colours ball and won FIVE AWARDS.

Grace Baker won best newcomer, Emelia Górecka won college cap and full colours and I won full colours and a crest.

I would also like to say a massive thank you to Kate Bevan for waking up at early hours and coming to support me at the competition that morning – you’re amazing (my Mum thanks you too). I don’t think I would have won if it wasn’t for your cheering and telling everyone that you were my ‘coach’

And of course, thank you to all you guys – both the committee and the members. Thank you for your enthusiasm and love for the sport this last year! GO TEAM!

Surprise can be the greatest feeling

A few months ago I did my first ever indoor track event (3000m) and was ever so surprised to walk away with the bronze medal.

Next up for the RHUL team was an outdoor track event. It was part of the London Athletics series and held at Tooting Bec Athletics track.

I thought, seeing as the 3000m went so well, I’ll do that one again… However, this event wasn’t on until later on in the afternoon, meaning that I wouldn’t get back in time for the Sports Awards Ball that night. Now, I couldn’t miss that, could I!?

The 10,000m was the first event. Doing this would mean I would get back in time for the party.

Did I want to run 25 laps of a track at race pace?

No.

Did I sign up?

Yes.

Why? – it was going to be my last ever competition, competing for RHUL so I was desperate to do something. Who cares if I come last, I thought. I just want to give it a go…

Turns out (because of the awards) no one else from RHUL entered. Just me. But my lovely friend Kate (secretary of the club) joined me for moral support.

“So what event are you doing?” another competitor asked. I replied with “unfortunately the 10,000.”

They then looked at Kate, waiting for her answer…

“I’m her coach.”

Her quick wit made me burst with laughter – but the girls from the Kings College team didn’t quite know what to say.

I warmed up and slowly felt my stomach fill with churning nerves. “What am I doing?” I thought to myself. This has the potential to be very embarrassing. Everyone else had big teams, cheering them on in the stands. I had lonely Kate, doing the odd ‘woop.’ I was very grateful that she had come with me, but the fact that only two had shown up to represent RHUL and the fear of coming last would make RHUL a laughing stock…

Thoughts turned to my Dad.
“You can do it lass.”
“Give it your all.”
“Pain is just a weakness leaving the body.”

I’ll be blunt – being such an ‘under-dog’ spurred me on to really, really give it a shot.

The gun went.

First lap I was third. Then thoughts turned to the potential of also getting a PB…I went with the tactic of constantly checking in with myself, asking: ‘am I running the best I possibly could be, right this second?’

If the answer was no, I ran harder. Who cares if I end up burning out. Sometimes you’ve got to be brave and really push yourself in order to achieve what you never thought was possible.

I realised that, right that second, I could be going faster than the two girls in front. So I overtook.

I then tried to forget about anyone else and just think about how I was running at that very second. I tried not to think about what was to come, or how far behind me the other girls were.

Everytime I went past the crowd I would hear Kate’s little cheer. A few seconds later a roar would burst out for the girl behind me. But each lap, the seconds between the little cheer and the roar grew and grew.

I could win this. I thought to myself. But I also didn’t allow myself to get too excited because I just couldn’t quite believe it – surely she will have some sprint finish at the end and over-take me. But the louder the cheers were for her, the harder I pushed.

When the 25th lap finally came, I enjoyed ever millisecond of pain that sprint finish gave me.

I took home the gold for RHUL and achieved a PB of 39.44

The element of total surprise and feeling of true accomplishment made that possibly my favourite race to date.

Of course, I couldn’t have done it without Kate. The thought of making her proud at the end, really helped me keep pushing. And, what good is winning if you’ve got no-one to give you the biggest hug as you cross the finish, squeezing your ribs. And seeing their eyes glisten with true pride.

Run to get fitter, run to get faster, run to feel happier.

All the best,

Liv x

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Bushy Park

It’s the last London XC league of the season.

5k for women, 10k for men, pretty flat loop.

I had a truly glorious day. The sun was shining, Wayne the bear (our mascot) came along for the ride and everyone was in a great, joyous mood.

The race itself was fab – I felt good and strong and managed to cross the finish line smiling. It was one of those races that was very satisfying because even if it wasn’t a PB, you just know that you couldn’t have done better. You know you had a good race and your body really tried it’s best for you. You can congratulate your mind for good race tactics – you played it well rather than crossing the finish line thinking damn it, I went off too fast / didn’t give it enough on the hills, etc, etc.

Of course, we can always learn from races though. And what I learnt today is that by having the goal of ‘just enjoying the experience’ can be extremely rewarding.

It was also a tad emotional. Seeing that my team, as individuals, had improved so much since the first league made me extremely proud. Charlotte looked teary as she thanked me for being such a good President and said how much she would miss me when I leave. It made my eyes start to water too and I gave her a massive hug.

Run to get fitter, fun to get faster, run to feel happier.

All the best,

Liv

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Fast n’ flat

This XC race was short (under 4k for the women) and pretty flat.

Most would jump for joy at the thought of less distance and fewer hills. Not me.

For me, this course was too flat and too short and therefore too fast. Just because a course is ‘easier’ on paper, certainly doesn’t make it any easier in real life. In fact, in my opinion, these kind of races are more difficult. I am not a sprinter and I found the extremely fast pace difficult to keep up with.

I also found it a rather lonely race. There wasn’t a girl very near ahead of me that I could focus my energy into trying to over-take, neither was there a girl close behind me, breathing down my neck – so I wasn’t really getting pushed on at all. I was behind the amazing runners, and in front of the average runners. I was in my own little bubble. I know I would have got a better time if I had felt like I was in a more competitive environment.

Speaking of competitive, we had a fantastic sprint finish from RHUL’s very own Jack Jakins. It was so exciting to watch and we were all screaming for him at the top of our voices. I love that feeling of excitement and true joy you can feel for a team-mate.

Despite the course being too short and too flat for my liking – no shoes were lost as it wasn’t too muddy. And a quicker race means back home earlier for dinner. Happy days.

Run to get fitter, run to get faster, run to feel happier.

All the best,

Liv

BUCS!

BUCS is the big one. I had been excited about it for months. I was honoured to represent my university and couldn’t wait to spend the weekend in a hotel in Brighton with my team-mates Grace and Emelia. Both Grace Baker and Emelia Gorecka are exceptional runners – it was so cool I was going to be running alongside them.

But disaster stuck. Three days before we made the journey to Brighton I got injured.

Alongside running and doing my degree, I was in the production of Romeo & Juliet. I had several fight choreography rehearsals a week and it was during one of these rehearsals – a dodgy fall injured my lower back. It really hurt to walk and running was a no – go.

I was upset but also determined. If I stretch and do yoga and foam roll in every spare second of the day, maybe I’ll be alright by Saturday?

I was going to still go as the hotel was booked for and there was no reserve.

I’ll do it even if I have to walk over the finish line, I thought to myself.

Brighton was super fun. Me and the girls get on so well – we had such a laugh and went for some nice meals out. I don’t think I was quite myself though. I just wanted to run. I just wanted it to be magically better.

Saturday morning arrived.

I ran.

It hurt. A lot.

I didn’t do great but I finished. “I’m so sorry” I said to the girls. They said they didn’t mind at all but I did. They were amazing. Emelia WON (this is every university in the country competing, it’s kind of a big deal). And Grace came in the top 10. If only I had been fit and well, our team would have done well.

I could only put on a brave face for so long. Not long after the finish, my independence and strong, motivated-self vanished. I snuck off from the rest of the group, phoned my Dad, and had a pathetic little sob.

Alexandra Palace

It’s time for another Cross Country race.

Alexandra Palace is a two lap course for women (5k) and 3 lap course for men (7.5k). It is extremely muddy and had a rather awful hill that you have to go up diagonally to avoid slipping. (Some still slipped).

I’m worried that I may have ‘mind control’ as there was a girl in front of me who I just couldn’t catch. In my exhausted state, a wicked and rather cruel thought entered my head: ‘oh could you just fall over or something then I can pass you…’ and within only a second she slipped – down like a lamp. I passed her and felt awful. (Told my Dad and he laughed). Thankfully, she wasn’t hurt.

The first field was an absolute bog (last year it swallowed my spike and I had to finish left-shoe-less!) Since then I had purchased some sturdy trail shoes that are a very snug fit. When we were unleashed from the start line, all elbows out, I saw a few poor souls also lose their footwear in that first field. ‘Ah, you live and learn.’ I thought to myself.

There is also a rather steep down-hill on the course. You must let yourself relax when going downhill. It’s easy to stiffen up (you may injure your hips if you do). Try to relax and trust yourself. You’re more likely to slip and fall if you’re tense.

It was a tough race (races always are) but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I ended up finishing with a massive grin on my face because I have completed one of my ‘RHUL dreams.’

“To come in the top 10 in a London League cross country.”

I came 9th. Can’t stop smiling.