….and training for the Amsterdam marathon, which is now 5 weeks away.
Holy moly, what a week…
First, was the tragic news about Eliza Fletcher. My heart breaks for her family, and like many other female runners, it’s so scary; I run alone quite a bit and this could have just as easily been me. I am so angry with all the victim blaming when we should be pointing our fingers towards the assaulter. What a terrible, terrible event. I know this community all feels the same, so I’m only preaching to the choir here…
Personally, it was a challenging week in other (much more minor) ways. We moved on Monday, from the temporary housing by the Tower of London to our permanent flat in Hampstead. It shouldn’t have been a lot of work, but it felt like it! Then, I was in the office Tues-Thurs for some stressful days, and then Thursday was the sad news of the Queen’s passing. As Minnesotans say…uffda.
Read on for my full recap…
Monday: Last run along the Thames to Regent’s Canal to the east. I’ll still be able to link up to Regent’s canal from our new place, but I probably won’t be running that far east very often (though it would be easy enough to tube to Victoria Park to run with my new friend Katy!)
The canal had many snails on it this morning! I was careful not to crush any as I ran.
As tough as it was living next door to the Tower of London, I know I will look back on that month with gratitude as it was a great place from which to explore London, it was just a bit challenging living there with two vizslas! I can tell you that Ruth and Matilda are 100% happier in Hampstead, with Hampstead Heath literally 1/8 mile from our flat.
Goodbye to this stellar view…
And hello to this view from Hampstead Heath, 4 miles north of the Tower of London (we are still in London, just not central London.)
After my morning run on Monday, I worked for a 1/2 day before we picked up a zip car (well, a van), packed up our limited stuff, and made our way to our new place.
Of course, there were challenges- the keys didn’t work when we arrived. Apparently the landlord had changed them but the realtor didn’t know, so Dustin drove back to the realtor for the right keys, and I took the dogs for their first walk to the Heath.
It was a busy day settling in; neither our air shipment nor our sea shipment of stuff from home has arrived so Dustin took the van to Ikea for some basics to get us through, like bowls/cups/cutlery/towels, etc. Our 3-bedroom flat is mostly empty right now, except for an air mattress! Well, that’s not true, we’ve started purchasing some things that will work well with the other furniture that is arriving, like a desk/chair for the bedroom we are using as a home office and new dog beds (since theirs don’t arrive until the air shipment arrives), wardrobes (closet space is limited here!), and a few other things.
We have a small garden in the back, which the dogs LOVE (and its so great to just be able to let them outside again, vs. go down an elevator and walk 1/2 mile to the nearest bit of grass.)
But there are lots of snails back there- big ones too!
Tuesday: Dustin and I ran 5.5 miles together for our first run in Hampstead Heath. It’s a HUGE park, but most of it is trail vs. pavement, which is a little challenging for me. And it is HILLY. I guess I’m going to have to get used to it, as it will be my day-to-day running route. Maybe the hills and trails will make me stronger!
There is a beautiful track right in the Heath, very close to our place, called Parliament Hill Track. I purchased the year pass for £84, but technically it doesn’t open until 7:30 am, so I only think I can make it work on days I work from home. Or I can run after work (but I don’t love that idea!)
Then, it was my first day commuting on the Northern line on the tube! I have a 0.75 mile walk to Belsize Station, and then a straight shot on the Northern line to Leicester Square (i.e. Piccadilly Circus) to my office. I still hope to run commute going forward at least once a week, but the tube commute isn’t bad at all.
10 min core + 10 min body weight strength on Peloton after work.
Wednesday: Solo 8 mile run in the Heath before work. I did a lot of backtracking to try to find the paved paths. 10 min core on Peloton after the run.
Another cool thing about Hampstead Heath- there are 3 swimming ponds open ALL YEAR LONG, one for women, one for men, and one mixed. I hope my swimsuit and goggles arrive before its too cold (though maybe a great place for a quick ice bath/dip!)
Thursday: 9.7 mile run before work; I had read about this Dollis Valley Greenwalk paved path to the north of the Hampstead extension (another section of Hampstead Heath) so I used Strava to help plan a route to get there. My route took me on some very muddy & challenging trails through the Heath, but I did pop out in the neighborhood of Finchley and I was proud of myself for finding the Dollis Valley Greenwalk! I was only able to do about 1.5 sets of my speed intervals on that path before having to turn around to come back through the Heath, but the Dollis Valley path might be a good option for a long run.
At the office on Thursday, a colleague of mine with a friend at BBC news had the scoop by midday that the Queen had died and it would be announced at 6 pm London time. Operation “London Bridge” had begun; there were clues, as all the BBC newscaster had changed to all-black attire as they awaited the formal announcement.
And he was totally right! I left the office right after 6 and there was the breaking news as I emerged from the underground (my current cell phone plan doesn’t work underground.)
I will have a core memory of emerging on a rainy day from Belsize Station after a strange day at work to have a homeless man yell to me, “Ma’am! Ma’am! The Queen has died!”
Many colleagues walked over to Buckingham Palace that evening, but I had already left the office to head home to exercise the dogs at the Heath and then walk to one of the many pubs with Dustin and get the vibe regarding the news with the locals. Its going to be an interesting upcoming 12 days; I feel kind of lucky to be here to experience it first-hand.
Friday: Finally a wfh day. I took Ruth for a quick 4 mile run through the Heath; she loved it, though she would have preferred to be off-lead with ALL the other dogs running around. And multiple other vizslas!
Quick random note– we pronounce vizsla VEESH-LA, whereas everyone here pronounces it VIZZ-LA (like FIZZ). So I feel like I have to say VIZZ-LA or no one knows what I’m talking about!
Speaking of British terms, I have a highlighted story on Instagram of all the British terms I’ve learned. Check it out!
After the run, I did 20 min of core + 10 min of body weight strength on Peloton. I don’t have any weights until our sea shipment arrives, so I’m making do with barre/core/bodyweight. Send me your favorite Peloton classes that don’t require weights please!
Saturday: Dustin decided to run with me (yay!). We ran from our place in Hampstead through Camden to the Regent’s Park, then on to Hyde Park to Buckingham Palace. We checked out the crowds and memorials for the Queen before making our way back, with an extra loop or two of the Regent’s Park to get to 17.75 miles total. Solid long run and I felt way better than last week’s 20, but I am sure some of it was having company and all that was going on around us!
I will admit that a lot of what I know about the Queen is from loving the show The Crown. But it really seems like the British loved her and the whole country is mourning.
Have you watched when she had tea with Paddington Bear for her Jubilee? So sweet. I love that Paddington tweeted this when she passed:
Post-long run, the pups ran their hearts out at the Heath before we walked them to their new vet to get established as patients. Everything is neighborhood driven, and walkable. It’s the best. Definitely something I love about London.
Sunday: 6.3 mile run on the trails in the Heath with Dustin and Ruth. We ran by a little wildlife preserve within Goulder’s Green (another part of the Heath) with a deer enclosure, as well as a few random animals- donkeys, wallabies, owls, and a lemur. We will have to go back to check it out a bit closer, not while on a run!
I followed the run with 10 min core + 10 mine barre + 10 min body weight strength on Peloton.
Summary: 59.86 miles- had I known I was that close to 60, I would have added on a bit! Not a great week in strength training, but I’ll try to do better next week.