London Calling, weeks of 8.12, 8.19

So London was meant to be part of an organized runcation, but that didn’t get the minimum number of people to go forward. By the time it was cancelled I already had the time off work and the itch to go to London for the first time in 17 years-not counting a layover 11 years ago- and I decided why not.  I’m an obsessive trip planner and immediately hit up a Google map. Grown ups think of literature based London prompts. Me? All nursery rhymes. I had Pussycat, pussycat in my head throughout. I also picked up a London version of the Moleskine City books and while I didn’t use the features for which I bought it: the maps, I really loved it for making trips before and during the trip.

While I was unsure about pre-booking a run tour I hit up Strava for a couple of routes including a River Thames sightseeing loop, a 6-7 mile run of the Royal Parks, and Regent’s Park/Primrose Hill for the views.

More to come on the London front in another (series of) posts. In the mean time, weekly wrap catch up. I’ll do what I can to catch up on reading as well.

Weekly Wrap with Holly and Wendy:

Week of 8.12:

  • Monday:  for the first time in a while #NeverMissAMonday was running based. I had an epic case of do not wanna and had to literally bribe myself to get an additional quarter mile from miles 1-3. Some things never change. I did the same workout as this Monday and came in about thirteen seconds faster. I alternated quarter miles at 5.5 with 6.3 with .05 miles of walking at 3.3 after each 6.3 segment. The walk segments were consistently shorter and the running quarter mile segments didn’t fluctuate in speed.
  • Tuesday: was supposed to be a cross training day, but I was at the office late getting some deadline items done and really needed to pack for London, so it turned into a rest day. I also think four days in a row was not a smart plan with the distances I wanted to do to run/sightsee in London.
  • Wednesday: finally got the chance to meet Darlene who seems to run here as much as I do, despite not living in the city. It was a beautiful evening with relatively little humidity and we had a comfortable run/walk through Central Park. Other than office run group I don’t typically run with others, so this was good practice in running at a conversational pace. Not linking Strava because holy hell did my watch have a hissy fit or six.
  • Thursday: office run group and my watch worked! Alas it was 85+ and 60% humidity so we weren’t setting any land speed records. Still nice to catch up with some folks between vacations.
  • Friday: London bound!
  • Saturday: I wanted to shake off the plane stiffness and explore a little so I’d be tired enough to go to sleep on London time. The training plan called for 8 and I got in 9.10 photo taking, sightseeing miles. It was super crowded by the Eye and across Tower Bridge as I took the very long way from my hotel to Buckingham Palace via a version of the Thames Path above. Couldn’t get Strava to work properly offline, but it was easy enough to follow the riverside paths. London is a great running city.
  • Sunday: no running, but sightseeing took in 12.38 miles, so I’m not calling that a rest day!

Week of 8.19

Some of this fell under Saturday and Sunday, above, but it’s still insane to look at. When I left for London I’d walked about 238K steps on the month, run 30 miles and run walked 112. I ran/walked 89.31 miles, ran 20.56 miles in the UK. Most insanely? 204, 202 fitbit steps! There’s a chance for my third 500K step month. I was 13 miles off my 700 miles on the year pace when I left and less than five off when I got back. What did that look like? Note: some of these links are more London sightseeing than running photos. Assume I’m forgiven 😀

  • Monday: my only true rest day. I’d booked a day trip to Stonehenge, Glastonbury and Winchester (which turned into Avebury) and there was a lot of driving. It also left really early and wrapped with dinner with two wonderful friends. Fell asleep before I could hit my step goal, hysterical compared to the other days
  • Tuesday: back in London and a short-ish morning run on the Thames before ten more miles of walking exploring Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and the British Museum.
  • Wednesday: traveled to Birmingham to meet Liz! We met through Bookcrossing shortly after I joined in 2005 and just missed one another in Iceland last February, but the stars aligned and we planned a visit while I was in the UK. I got a little of my typical first meeting jitters, but those were gone as soon as we met at the train station and as long as we were awake, we didn’t shut up for the entirety of my visit. So amazing when someone is just as fun live as online. No running today, but we explored architecturally fascinating Birmingham and I got to see Dippy! Dinosaurs turn me from 38 to 3. We also walked some of the canals Liz ran along during her race a couple weeks back. The day finished in both book swapping and running form when we had a lovely curry with running bookworms. So much fun.
as we took off down the block
Post-run selfie!
  • Thursday: we got to run together! Cool, drizzly, refreshing run. Liz took me on a tour of her area, which I’d seen through her blog and a photography project which she’s participated in for five years. Great to see it in 3D. I had a good laugh though, Liz was way better about pausing her watch to cross streets, etc. and I’ve mostly just written that off as slow downs. Yet Strava gave me a better pace than it did her. Strava, you’re drunk. Here’s Liz’s wrap, which also includes our run. When I first started blogging about running it was just a diary for myself, then I either linked Liz or she found it and started reading. She introduced me to the Runners’ Bookshelf where I met Wendy, who introduced me to this linkup.  Life is good! I also now have a buff from Liz’s running club, so cool. Over the years we’ve had various discussions on American v. British English terms for things. When she first mentioned a buff, I had no idea what it was. Turned out it was less American v. British and more running English. Oh the jargon, although that really isn’t one.

After running, we headed to explore Stratford-Upon-Avon (where else could two book lovers go?!) Rejuvenated after the train ride back to London, I decided to take advantage of St. Paul’s summer late hours and was treated to an amazing sunset. 6 AM run, gorgeous sunset. Why yes I am trying to pack in all the sightseeing!

  • Friday: last full day in London and the only part of it that I’m willing to call a rest day is the boat ride to Greenwich after doing the Tower of London. Or possibly the 15m squiz back to my hotel to charge my phone before heading to Tate Modern and dinner with a friend who I worked with in Japan 17 years ago. Another 11 miles walking day. See what I mean? Not a rest day.
  • Saturday: knew I had to leave for the airport around 10:30 so I headed out for a farewell run of London. It was a beautiful 60 and crisp. Had to abandon my usual shade running for warmth until I warmed up. It was in three parts (1,2,3) as I also did a few pre-flight errands. Wasn’t long run mileage, but better than nothing and helped me be tired enough to doze on the long flight home. Thanks to AA rebooking I was able to get a direct flight home and was tucked in bed before original connection was to take off. Life is good sometimes.
stocked smoothie fridge
oh hello beautiful East River. I missed you!
  • Sunday: I was actually not up too early time zone wise, but arranged for grocery delivery between 6 and 8AM. Why the urgency? I had no creamer for my coffee. Wasn’t supposed to be an issue as with planned connection I’d have overnighted at mom’s.  Since I was up and it was beautiful, I decided to go for a run to shake out the legs. It also looked to be the last good outdoor running day as it’s to be in the 90s all week. Yuck. The run was OK (I was tired) until my water bottle fell. I thought I hadn’t fastened the top loop. Nope, bottom came undone. I guess it’s to be expected with the weight of a 20 oz bottle bouncing up and down. When I looked up my orders, I realized I bought it on August 24, so it’s older than I thought. Time to find a new one and maybe make peace with icky, dirty reusable bottles. Any favorite hydration belts? Can’t use a backpack as they’re not allowed in NYRR races, which are most of what I do. Also, think the straw would gross me out too much. I ran a little more but had nothing left in me, so met mom for brunch got some girly girl things done and came home to crash.
farewell fair belt!

All in all an amazing trip, and great exercise week. I came home weighing less than when I left, and so many memories. More TK. Although I didn’t end up booking a running tour due to my schedule, I’d recommend London as an active vacation spot. England marked the 4th country outside the US that I’ve run in, 2nd outdoors.

Total 10M Training Mileage, July 31 to date: 55.77 miles.

Great Saunter and Steps Goals

The Great Saunter is not only a gorgeous walk for a great cause, it’s a wonderful thing for my steps math. With Saturday’s 60K steps (~56K of which were Saunter), my May stretch goals went from iffy to doable.

That reminds me, I never followed up here on my May goals once April’s were finalized. In short, my realistic goal with the Saunter was hoping to top May 2015 (slightly higher than 2016 as I had Saunter and walking vacation) even with a non-walking vacation. I left my stretch goals what they were the last two months and while I’m not certain, I think I have a good chance at them. Exactly what stretch goals should be.

pre-saunter average: 6,559.21

post-saunter average: 10,131.06

Pre-saunter step goals:

Steps needed to goals before the Saunter

 

Post-saunter step goals:

steps needed to goal after the Saunter

 

The craziest thing about that is the change in average in the 1m goal column. That usually increases because my spreadsheet math isn’t good enough to factor that there’s another month of days left. With 60K in one day, I lowered that.

I topped my Saunter distance from last time and although I didn’t keep such great spreadsheets, I’m sure my numbers were just as fun.

Part of the reason the pre-saunter average was so low was I’d factored in some minimal days for time out of the city and day post Saunter. That way I have a worst case to work from. I look forward to what May brings.

Great Saunter 2017

I started the #GreatManhattanLoop project because I knew I could never finish the Saunter. That was ~50lbs ago and before I discovered my Fitbit addiction. Two attempts and five/six years of walking Manhattan later I’ve realized I’m never going to finish the Saunter and I’m OK with that.

Last time I walked 19.5 miles and yesterday? 22.5. No shame in that. While I had a mental image of going all the way in my head I nearly dropped out much earlier so 22.5 miles is way more than a moral victory. More on that later.

Looking back at the photos from last time (and IG for the project) I realize how much has changed. Aside from the opening of Hudson Eats at Brookfield, the Seaglass Carousel is open, Hudson Yards is blooming and the end of the Greenway on the west side is finished. Can only imagine what this walk will look like in ten, fifty or one hundred years.

As I went digging through the #Loop archives I realized that the 2017 Saunter and photos were a walk down memory lane to areas I’ve explored the last few years. Especially when I first “finished” the “Loop”. That’s a fun feeling and why I love the Saunter/Greenway. I was very excited for more/better photos this year because of my new camera. I went to turn it on to take a photo of the Statue of Liberty in the mist and… dead batteries. In my quest to be sure both phones and external battery packs were charged, I forgot to check my iPod and camera. Fail. That’s when I first had an inkling I wouldn’t finish. I didn’t think I could do it without music.

One World Trade and the Winter Garden, May 2017

Even though I was just in Battery Park and the Battery Park City portion of the Greenway for the 9/11 Memorial & Museum 5K, I didn’t get to take it in as I was jogging. The lower portion of the Greenway and its piers were the first walk I did on the loop and places such as the above (so very different five years ago!) and the AIDS Memorial still catch my attention. Wary of last time’s lessons, I switched into my fitflops early and headed north. I was feeling good, although I wasn’t particularly excited. Not sure why. The weather got warmer though and once we crossed 42nd it seemed to go fairly quickly.

I was on/ahead of pace (pre registering & having my packet mailed helped) through Inspiration Point and even the walk from the Lighthouse wasn’t as bad as I was dreading. Yay run training paying off. If it hadn’t been more of a climb to the subway I might have bailed here. I was just tired. At Inspiration Point I paused to change back into my sneakers ahead of the rougher trails in Inwood Hill Park, have a second Uncrustable and take Advil. Quads were in worse shape than feet and I was thinking that if I took Advil while walking it might help (It did – I’m not terribly sore today). By the time I reached the halfway point at Inwood Hill Park for a potty/snack break I’d fallen about ten minutes off pace. If I hadn’t committed to walking at least as far as last time, I probably would have jumped on the train — the 1 train between Inwood Hill Park and the Speedway was a strong pull. I’d decided ahead of this year that I wasn’t going to have sit down breaks, I thought those were my undoing last time. I think part of the reason I was flagging though was I pretty much hadn’t stopped other than for 2-3 minutes since 7:10 AM and it was now 1/1:30. That’s a long time.

I thought at that point that I might have eight more miles in me, which would take me to the point on the Saunter that passes my apartment. Even if I was feeling good, that would be hard to resist. Along the Speedway I once again walked with some folks and that energized me. I was also sneeze powered for a ton of this section. Not sure how much was my allergies and how much was the pollution from the adjacent cars. Almost no cherry blossoms this year which made that section just as desolate as when I first walked it. I pointed out the Brush stairs to a couple of baseball fans and I was tempted to end the walk there again. It wasn’t pain, I just wasn’t loving it. I did enjoy the Horse Fountain, which I was disappointed to miss last time due to pure exhaustion.

When we reached the bottom of Edgecombe – amazing architecture – we learned that we couldn’t head east as planned and instead were to head south on St. Nicholas to 111th Street before walking back east to pick up the Greenway. While I was hoping to get the eight miles from Inwood to home-I had a backup ejection plan at 126th & 2nd Avenue where I could pick up the m15. I had a feeling I was going to take it as I headed over to St. Nicholas.

Almost exactly four years ago (May is my perfect walking month, clearly, from these posts) I said I needed to go back to Hamilton Grange. Yesterday thanks to the St. Nicholas/Edgecombe detour I ended up back there. Unfortunately, both my phone batteries were dead/dying and I didn’t have the stamina to even walk into the park to eke out a photo. I’d been toying with evaluating what I head left when I hit 126th and seeing if I could push on to home, but that’s when I knew I was done. It wasn’t fun anymore. As someone I walked with on the Speedway said, this shouldn’t be an ordeal. As I said last year when I bailed on the Bridge Walk:

There’s no “have to”, especially when something isn’t fun. No winning for martyring.

I think that’s why I’m OK with not finishing the Saunter. I’ve known that the streets don’t interest me as much since 2013, I just need to remember that day of. I have walked the loop. When I turned left on 125th St. I realized just how far west the detour had taken us. Or rather, how much narrower Manhattan is where we should have turned. It was a challenge not to hop on a crosstown bus, but I walked to 2nd where I got off my feet and took in just why my feet were so sore!

 

end of my Saunter, 4:02 PM

Only just realized the time on making the collage. I’d like to say I’d have walked another eight minutes to have walked 9 hours, But I really don’t think I’d have cared.

Now I want to focus on exploring more of the neighborhoods – especially uptown. I now know how close High Bridge, Coogan’s Bluff and Hamilton Grange are to one another and how relatively easy it is to get there. That’s on my list for this summer.

For now, more Saunter pics:

14,793

Mini update time.

14,793. That’s the average step count of my current 31 day Fitbit goal streak that dates back to March 15, the day after a snow day.  I hadn’t realized the streak was so long and only went back to count when I realized I crossed 75K in this week’s Workweek challenge and was thrilled. Now, full disclosure, the streak is a streak*. It includes one day where I missed goal by six- yes, 6! – steps. But considering my goal is 11K and I exceeded it by an average of 3.5K, I’m not worried about six steps one day.

Running is also going well. I’m seeing some results in my “speed” and some of my intervals might actually be called running and not walking.

2016 in places

an actual travel post on what used to be a travel blog? A Festivus miracle.

I began 2016 in Florida, for Billy Joel in Fort Lauderdale and will return to Florida late on New Years’ Day 2017. I was also there once in between to finally visit the Space Coast and the wonderful and historic St. Augustine. It’s TBD if mom’s and my trip to the Fountain of Youth paid off.

Including the various Florida trips, I clocked four million and counting steps! Still working on my 2017 goals, but definitely hoping to build on the trend of eleven months (December TBC) of 300K steps in a row.


Create Your Own Visited States Map
I hit two new states in 2016, both of them on an accidental whim. Takes me to 32 (+ DC) and counting which puts me in a good place to hit all 50 states before I turn 50. I don’t have any plans for new states in 2017, but I didn’t for 2016 either so…

No new states? That’s because I’m going overseas for the first time in almost eight years. Iceland and Amsterdam, here I come. Possibly UK too. Really need to reboot the countries visited map.

Here’s to 2,017 memories in 2017

 

#GoTheDist: October 2016

so what where my October goals?

  • 301,135/302,677 (actually aiming higher, I want a cushion against a bad December)
  • 30 miles biked

And my October totals?

  • 334,831 steps
  • 137.53 miles walked
  • 4.5 miles biked (way too nice out)

That’s insane/amazing with two weekends away and I’m really thrilled. I’m starting November strong with a 15K day and am going for 4m.

Downside of weather being nice enough to walk home almost daily? No reading time. 77/75 books read, 57 for #2016TBRPile. I won’t hit 100 on the year due to work, but hopefully I’ll have a good start on 2017 with a week’s vacation to start the year.

#GoTheDist 2016 3.1

I came to an important realization this weekend. Or, to be honest, an acknowledgement of something I realized a long time ago. I cannot enjoy a good step day/week/month because I’m forever fretting about the next. Le sigh.

That said, July was a-MA-zing.

  • 345,390 steps
  • 141.86 miles
  • 72.43 miles biked (11 gym visits)

My July 2016 goal? 325,000. I’m not actually going for 1,000,000 this quarter due to heavy travel in August, but it was nice to hit the soft super stretch goal of 333,333. As I mentioned when plotting Q3, I needed more thought on that goal. 900,000 is almost too doable with the good start so I’m shooting for 950,000. If not, I know I can do 925,000. I’d really like 950,000 though as that would get me to 3m steps at the end of Q3.

My soft goal for August is 280,000 to split the 40K “excess” over two months but I really want to push for 300,000 because that would be the eighth month in a row. Thanks to my spreadsheet with the worst-case days plugged in (great tool), I have my “marching” orders

Steps needed to hit August 2016 goals
Steps needed to hit August 2016 goals

On a non step note, not only was the heat good for gym visits but I topped not only my July 2015 total (7.94 miles) almost ten-fold, but I also topped my Q3 2015 totals (same). That’s insane and pathetic and I’m soldiering on.

To infinity… and beyond!

PS: Books status: 64/75 books, 49/75 for #2016TBRPile challenge

40,000 steps

In. One. Day.


40,000 steps and 16.6 miles
40,000 steps and 16.6 miles

It’s not my personal best. That honor still goes to the Saunter. But it’s my best since that day and was also a product of Shorewalkers. The thing I’m most proud about? Nearly 6 of these miles were after I bailed on the official walk.

Anyway…

I’ve had a thing for bridges for a while now and in the words of the famous Jack, who I had the pleasure of meeting today, “There are a lot of bridges on the east side of Manhattan.”When I saw the Shorewalkers June newsletter I saw they were doing one of the three annual  and was initially bummed that it was taking place on a Friday. When I realized the date was wrong and it was today I decided to do it. Did I mention that was yesterday?

Oops.

So I knew I wasn’t going to finish. I’ve actually made a lot of progress with walking the bridges, but I liked the idea of trying to do all at once. I was nervous though because I remembered hating both the Williamsburgh (for its incline) and Triboro (proximity to car exhaust). I decided I was just going to take it as far as I could and play “the end’ by ear.

We met at the Municipal Building where Thomas Kinsella’s 1872 words served as a nice start to the walk. It was just after 9 AM and the Brooklyn Bridge crowds weren’t too bad. From there it was an uphill walk through DUMBO to the Manhattan Bridge which has stunning views but is by far the ugliest and loudest of the bridges. Back in Manhattan it was a nice wander through Chinatown and pit stop in Seward Park before crossing into Brooklyn again on the Williamsburg Bridge. I took that for the first time in 2013 on Citibike and remembered hating it for the long slog over land (no view) and the incline. Both still true. At this point the group split and some hopped on the bus to LIC while some opted to walk that portion. Fresh off the bus and on fresh legs, we crossed back into Manhattan on the 59th St. Bridge.

After a pit stop at Bed & Bath Walt opted to take the Greenway up to 103rd rather than 1st Ave as initially planned. If the group had gone up 1st I’d have taken the bus on this leg since I knew I wouldn’t make it past my street without peeling off. As we walked from Carl Schurz north along the greenway to Wards Island, I found myself thinking of something I said nearly three years ago:

I don’t see most of the Harlem River bridges happening. Walking between the Harlem River Drive and Major  Deegan is underwhelming, as I realized from Macombs Dam and there is no “have to” in this project.

There’s no “have to”, especially when something isn’t fun. No winning for martyring. The heat was getting to be too much especially with the car exhaust so when they turned right to cross the Wards Island Bridge, I went left and over to 1st Avenue. I was done. I wasn’t in pain like when I stopped the Saunter, I’d just had enough and wasn’t enjoying the walk. I do want to do the Washington and Henry Hudson** and plan to join this walk when it starts at the GW in the fall and heads south though.

After re-charging with an iced coffee at Dunkin and some down time in Target’s AC, I set off again. Destination unknown. Knew I wanted to do sunset though so I headed crosstown on the m116 before landing in Riverside Park. When I realized tomorrow was Father’s Day, I knew where I wanted to spent sunset. Soldiers & Sailors of course. I stayed there and read for a while before it got crowded with prom pictures so I instead headed south where I was treated to this. How i know i wasn’t feeling the official walk? I barely took any photos.

From sunset I caught the m79 home via 16 Handles and an extra lap around the block to hit 40K. I didn’t do 30 miles, but I had a magical day.


sunset from W. 80th and the Hudson River
sunset from W. 80th and the Hudson River

my inner Japan, 2016

You can take the girl out of Japan, but you can’t take the Japan out of the girl. Specifically, the love of cherry blossoms ingrained in me in April 2002 in Himeji and then again during April 2006 in Hiroshima.

This El Nino’ed winter meant an early and short peak for this year’s blossoms. I was hoping to get to Brooklyn Botanic Garden this weekend because I don’t think the blossoms will last until Sakura Matsuri later this month, but it’s supposed to snow. Oh Mother Nature. So much for some April steps.

These are the last few weeks, mostly in Central Park, and a mad cap dash through the Park today before they all freeze tomorrow.

#GoTheDist 4.1

While I finished the month strong-ish, it wasn’t quite enough to hit my September goals.

Monthly steps
Monthly steps

 

  • 292,984 steps walked
  • 120.4 miles walked

If I’d realized I was that close I’d have taken 16 more steps for 293K.

I actually realized about midway through the month that 300K wasn’t happening but, when I came home from last weekend’s travel it was still theoretically attainable and I decided to push for it.  Thursday was a feet mental health day (aka I went for a pedicure) and it was lost, but I hit 14K on 10/31 to close out the month. Thanks, Mother Nature!

I’ve added the deficit of ~7K to November’s goal (now 257,016) and plugged in my travel slug days and I think it’s very doable.

Here we go!