We have arrived in London!
I was pretty swamped last week, so I missed a weekly recap. I will quickly recap 12 weeks out and then 11 weeks out from the Amsterdam marathon. Buckle up, it’s been a packed two weeks!
Monday: In Minneapolis: 7 mile run goodbye run with Christie and Julie, then I picked up Ruth for 2 more miles, 9 total. Then the packers at the house all day. 10 min core + 30 min lower body after work.
Tuesday: 4 mile solo run with an Annie Frisbie siting on Bde Maka Ska! 10 min core. Movers at the house all day.
Wednesday: 6 mile run with my friend Vicki, my last lake run- so bittersweet. Then we packed up our rental van (we sold both of our cars) and drove to my sister Erin’s house outside of Chicago. She has a vizsla too, so Ruth and Matilda had a great time with him, a goodbye party of sorts for the pups and for me to see my sister before we go! (Don’t worry, she’s coming to visit in March for her kids’ spring break!)
Thursday: 4 mile pre-flight run with Dustin and Ruth from my sister’s house.
Then, we had to take Matilda and Ruth to a boarding facility outside of O’Hare because it was too hot for them to fly that day as planned.
This was incredibly difficult for me; I did not like the facility, for a variety of reasons that could make up a whole separate post, but one of which was that they told me that they would only be let out out of the kennel twice a day to go to the bathroom, around 9 am and again at 6pm. This is not at all what I wanted for my dogs, especially right before the most stressful trip of their lives; they are “velcro” vizslas- they love people and snuggles and are a very ‘soft’ breed. Plus, they need a lot more exercise (and stimulation) than that. I broke down in tears and told Dustin we just couldn’t do it, I couldn’t leave them there for four days, if not longer if it didn’t cool off.
He patiently tried to work with the pet transport agency to find other options, but there really weren’t any, as we needed a place with a vet that was willing to administer a particular de-worming medicine 48 hours before the flight (neither dog has worms, it’s just a U.K. requirement to do this 48 hours before) and the vet had to be wiling to fill out a bunch of paperwork, which many vets won’t do for animals that are not their patients.
We had no choice… So, my next option was to push hard to add actual walks and daily updates, which they agreed to do. I could write a whole separate post about bringing medium-to-large dogs (very different if your dog is small enough to be in the cabin with you) to the U.K. (and maybe I will) but this last little hiccup led to a very stressful and emotional start to our journey.
Yet, we departed… And our flight from there to Heathrow was uneventful, no lost luggage, no serious delays, surprisingly easy.
Friday: We arrived in London midday Friday and had quite a long ride from Heathrow to our flat. We had a driver, but it seems like it would have been much faster to take the tube, but we had so much luggage that the tube would have been really challenging!
When we finally arrived, we decided to quickly walk to the post office to pick up our “BRP” card, or the “Biometric Residence Permit” to allow us to travel outside of the U.K., it’s basically another document that works in conjunction with our visas. We ended up walking quite a bit (and every day since- plenty of walking to be done in London!) to get groceries, U.K. phone numbers, all that fun stuff.
Saturday: We were up early for a 14-mile exploratory run around London! We did a loop around the River Thames and saw quite a few sites along the way.
Tons more walking this day- exploring, I guess I should say. We checked out where Dustin’s office is (walkable from our temporary flat) and much more.
Our temporary flat is right next door to the Tower of London (and the Tower Bridge.) The Tower of London is doing a “Superbloom” exhibit right now, which is very pretty at night.
Sunday: 5 mile run, then more exploring. We took the tube out to Hampstead to check out that neighborhood, as it is a place we’d like to live longer term. I also “practiced” taking the tube to my office.
Summary: 43 miles of running, (almost) daily core, some strength, but not a lot. Busy week.
And here we are, 11 weeks until the Amsterdam marathon and my first full week in London!
Monday: 7 mile run around the Thames before work.
Remember how I ‘practiced’ taking the tube to work? Google maps had given me the wrong location (and I foolishly didn’t double check) so the place I arrived on Monday was not my office! Essentially what matters most in London is the postal code, as many streets have the same name, and I must have gone to a street with a different postal code.
I ended up walking 3.5 miles while trying to find the right place. Bit of a disaster of a first day at the office, right? Ha!
That evening, I did 10 min core 20 min of upper body and then called it day. I was tired, except when I actually went to bed, I couldn’t sleep as I was so worried about Ruth and Matilda, who were on their flight from Chicago to Amsterdam. The pet transport people were great and gave us so many updates along the way, with pictures and videos, but I was still nervous for them.
Tuesday: 5 mile run before work. Then I purposefully walked to work (vs. accidentally like the day before). I still got a little lost again and ended up with 3.3 miles when it should only be a 2.5 mile walk! I’ll get there next time, ha! Fortunately everyone starts work much later here, (i.e. 9 am) so I wasn’t too late.
After work, I did 10 min core + 30 min of lower body before anxiously awaiting the arrival of our dogs. The pet transport agency had picked them up in Amsterdam (yay, they survived the flight!) and drove them through Belgium and across the chunnel to reunite with us in London.
They didn’t arrive until 11 pm; I was so, so relieved and happy to see them. And vice versa! They probably thought we abandoned them; I wish we could have explained to them what was happening.
But so far, they have been pretty resilient, though there are adjustments to be made to life in London for two vizslas, especially in the busy touristy area where we are now. Can’t wait to be in a more permanent place!
I just had to laugh at this tag on Ruth’s airport kennel! Friendly and fast. So true.
Wednesday: Since it was the first day with the pups, I worked from “home” to help them settle in. I also need to arrange for a dog walker before Dustin and I can both be gone all day on the same days.
We took them for their first proper London walk (even crossed Tower Bridge) before work. While working from home, I had to take multiple breaks for more walks as they adjust; they are a little jet lagged and off-schedule!
I was able to head out for a lunch run, 8 miles. I ran east this time towards Canary Wharf, trying to find the canal that connects to Victoria Park. I ended up on a different canal- Limehouse, I believe, but just did an out and back to get to my 8 miles. 10 min core after.
My run got held up at one point by St. Katherine’s docks by a little drawbridge on the running/walking path. The same thing happened to me in Duluth, Minnesota the other weekend.
Same, same, right? Ha!
Thursday: I found the right canal (i.e. Regent Canal.) I made my way all the way to Victoria Park (which was beautiful and looks like a great place to run) along the canal. 10 miles total with some attempts at marathon pace when it was clear enough to do so. 10 min core after + 10 min barre after.
Friday: A rest day from running. I was up early to take the pups for a nice walk and then went to the gym in our temporary flat to do a little bit of upper body (20 min class with Matty on Peloton) and 10 min core. Then lots more walks throughout the day. I walked 8 miles total this day!
Saturday: 16 mile long run with Dustin. We ran to Victoria Park- saw many Parkruns along the way! We erroneously only ran part of Victoria Park, as we thought the road on one side was the end, but it could be a much bigger loop. I did spot a few parrots in a tree; not sure I’ve seen that before on a run!
Next time we will explore more of the park. There are so many parks in London, but unfortunately none of them are very close to our temporary housing, (i.e. Victoria Park is about a 4 mile run.)
Finally found bathrooms! They are hard to come by here in London.
To get more miles, we kept going on Regent’s Canal and back. 16 miles total.
The rest of the day included so much more walking! We walked to a bank to open our accounts (had to be done in person with some very particular documentation) and then checked out Borough Market near the bank. It was great! We had some wraps and then donuts from Bread Ahead Bakery School. There was a lot to eat and experience at this market; we will definitely come back!
After that, we walked the pups to the Shoreditch neighborhood, which is a bit funky and interesting (maybe a bit like Brooklyn used to be?)
The girls are being so brave with all the new sights, sounds, and smells!
That evening, we headed to the Bermondsey area for dinner, across Tower Bridge. We tried out José Tapas Bar, which was delicious.
Sunday: Ruth’s first London run! We did 5 miles with her. I did my 10 min of core and hope to do a bit more strength training later this evening if I have time.
Since our temporary flat is right next to the Tower of London, we decided to purchase tickets for the formal tour (i.e. where the Crown Jewels are kept, plus lots of interesting history!) It was well-worth a visit. We did the audio tour, but the Yeoman Warders who give guided tours seemed much more entertaining!
Summary: 52 miles of running, over 30 miles of walking (this is a lot for me!), attempt at daily core (not perfect) and some strength training on the Peloton app, but not a ton. I am not surprised that strength training has been a little harder to fit in as we adjust to this new chapter, but hopefully once we’re in a better routine, I can add it back a bit more! For now, I’m prioritizing running and fitting in strength here and there as best I can.
And that is a long-winded recap of life the past two weeks. Ask me anything! Are there any topics outside of running that you’d like me to share about our relocation to London? Let me know!