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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 to meet you and so fun that you got to meet Liz. Sounds like an awesome trip Loved your IG pix. Cant wait to hear about it in person.
Yes! Look forward to chatting again when you’re next here.
I kinda love that you’ve met up with Darlene and Liz! How fun to meet bloggers IRL. You do realize that’s how Holly and I met? Who knew you could find your BFF through a blog? I hope we get to meet someday. Any trips to Chicago planned?
I don’t wear a hydration belt or pack. I carry a very rudimentary handheld.
I didn’t know/remember how you & Holly met. Guess who else I met? Stacey of Runners’ Bookshelf – Liz invited her to the curry. She’s lovely.
Hoping to do Chicago one day soon. I’ve only been twice and each was for one day, so I haven’t properly seen it. Especially as one was mid January
So cool that you got to run with bloggers you met here in person. I love it!
Yes, so much fun!
I love that you were able to meet up with Liz and Darlene – how fun! You definitely had a very exciting week!
Yes! So much fun .
Hope your time off is more restful
Always fun to meet up with other IG runner friends isn’t it?! Love the idea of a running vacation. Glad you got to go to London anyway. How fun!
Yes! And to find both just as wonderful “live”
me too – I decided I was too excited about it to give it up. And honestly, I think I enjoyed it more. The planned itinerary wouldn’t have left enough time for my sightseeing
I love to hear about bloggers meeting in real life for runs! Such a great part of this whole blogging thing. Connections!!!
Yes! Some of the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler ambassadors found my post-race blog-wish I’d joined the Wrap sooner for the chance to have met more. Next year!
What an active and amazing vacation you had! You were smart to continue with the trip even when the original plans fell through. How fun to meet Liz after connecting so many years ago. And, Darlene too (who I the pleasure of meeting IRL a few years ago). Isn’t it amazing how blogging brings us together? Speaking of different terms for things…I’m not sure what a curry is (assuming drink). I mean, I know it’s a spice and I order Red Curry dishes at our favorite Thai restaurant. Thanks for linking!
A curry is a spicy dish from the Indian subcontinent – the balti being the variety that was invented in Birmingham. Here’s the restaurant I took Cari to: http://www.kingsindiandining.co.uk/ Curries range from very mild to very, very hot: good ones should be delicately spiced. You might refer to it as “going for an Indian meal” rather than “for a curry” – we have Thai etc. food here but we would call that “Going for a Thai meal” and reserve “going for a curry” for an Indian / Pakistani / Bangladeshi meal. Hope that helps!
Holly: when I lived in Japan my introduction to curry was bizarre because I only knew it is an Indian food in the way Liz described it below. But there’s Japanese curry too and while living there I had my first Thai food. I’ve subsequently had it more often, but it wasn’t a common cuisine in the suburb where I grew up. On this trip I was lucky enough not only to have the delicious curry with Liz & her friends (cuisine topic I’m pretty sure came up from her mentioning going for a curry and me commenting how much I loved it) and a more traditional Japanese katsu curry back in London when I met a former colleague from Japan for dinner. And yes, Darlene told me about your amazing beach meetup a couple of years back. That sounds great.
Liz: it’s kind of funny – go for a/an X has become the standard at least here in the northeast. We go for the ethnic cuisine or the dish interchangeably. The latter maybe if we want a specific — sushi vs. say Japanese steakhouse. The lamb Balti was delicious, as were the samosas on appetizer.
It sounds like you had a wonderful time in London! I would love to go back for a trip – when I went 5 years ago it was only for a few short days and I was recovering from a foot injury so I didn’t get to run at all. I’m glad you had such a great time!
I highly recommend it. Airfare was great and I imagine you’d have an even easier flight being in an American Airlines hub – I had to connect in Charlotte.
Sounds like fun! Its great that you got to run there. I studied abroad in London when I was in college and I used to do some short runs in a park there. I’d love to go back some day!
Do it! I hadn’t been since college and I really loved the city
How fun to meet Darlene and Liz! Did you know that once upon a time I lived in Birmingham? I’d love to go back and catch up some day. Your runs in the UK sound wonderful. Especially the crisp weather!
I saw that where you two were discussing it somewhere. Small world! I loved the weather and am not happy to be home to 90% and 85%+ humidity
Hopefully fall is as close as September
What a fabulous couple of weeks you’ve had and how cool that you got to meet both Darlene and Liz!
Yes, such a fun traveling month. Look forward to meeting more folks here or there
Oh wow, that’s sounds like a totally awesome trip! I’ve never been to London, although I have been to Europe a few times — not in quite some time — I was relatively new to running then so any running I did was on a treadmill, and I had the darndest time figuring out kph!
I’m really impressed you came back lighter! Doesn’t seem to matter how active I am, that almost never happens to me. Pretty sure tomorrow’s WI will not be pretty.
I had that problem in Iceland and Amsterdam. I was also a complete running newb so “feel” wasn’t really an element I could incorporate.
Good luck tomorrow!
Sounds like a fabulous trip… and meet a few fellow bloggers! I carry a handheld most of the time, but for long runs I have an orange mud pack that I really like.
I’ll look that one up, thanks!
Clearly I knew it wouldn’t be outdoor weather, I haven’t even ordered one. Going to check JackRabbit this weekend
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