Oh boy…where to even start? I guess that I’ll dive into the weekly recap and bury the lede a bit.
Maybe this will be the “most skimmed post” ever as people will wonder what the punchline is and head right to the end!
This situation isn’t quite as dramatic as when I BROKE MY LEG THREE WEEKS BEFORE THE ANTARCTICA MARATHON (!!!), but it’s still a bummer…(That event set the bar high for drama.)
I’ll start at the beginning of the week…
Monday: As I mentioned in last week’s recap, my younger sister Laurie, her husband, his sister and her husband arrived for a London holiday on Sunday. I plan to write a post all about their visit to share ideas for other visitors to London (to visit me, or otherwise!) But I’ll also share some pics and recaps here in this post.
*Sunday included lots of sight-seeing in SoHo, Covent Garden, Piccadilly, etc. And of course a visit to my new favorite London store, Liberty! It’s so beautiful.
Despite the turn of events later in the week, I am so still grateful to have had my sister visit. I hadn’t seen her since my mom’s funeral in June, so it was really special to spend time with her.
Back to Monday…
I was up early Monday morning for a run before everyone else was out of bed; it was drizzling when I started, but it was a torrential downpour by the time I finished. I was soaked! But I finished my 7 miles.
The “Jessie-tour-of-London” for the day started in Westminster to see Big Ben and Parliament, before walking through St. James Park to Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guard.
The changing of the guard starts at 11, but in order to get a spot right at the gate where you could see it all, you’d need to be there by 10 am. We weren’t there quite that early as we took our time walking over, so our view wasn’t perfect, but good enough.
Next, we took a scenic walk down the Mall through Green Park past Trafalgar Square & the National Galleries, to an early lunch at 50 Kalo for some Neapolitan pizza.
After lunch, we walked to Temple Station for a 90-minute “Hidden London” walking tour booked through TripAdvisor; with an actual tour guide, not the girl who has only lived here 2.5 months (me- ha!). It was interesting! Not the traditional tourist attractions but some unique points of interest that were definitely new to me.
The tour ended at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, so we had have a quick pint at this historic pub! Read more HERE.
Post-tour, we hopped on the tube to head to Harrod’s for a traditional British high tea.
Harrod’s is quite a scene and worth a visit on its own.
The tea included quite a bit of food and we weren’t all that hungry afterwards, but I had already made a booking at a charming Hampstead pub, the Holly Bush, so we still walked (straight uphill from our flat, much to my guests’ chagrin!) there post-tea for some small bites and drinks.
Tuesday: I knew we had to be up early for some touristing, so I used Tuesday as my rest day/non-running day. We were out the door by 6:45 am to catch the tube to the Tower of London, where we grabbed a quick breakfast in that area before joining a guide for the opening ceremonies at the Tower of London.
One bonus of this tour is that after the opening ceremony, we were essentially the first guests in to see the Crown Jewels and the rest of the Tower of London. So nice to not be packed in with the crowds like I was when Dustin and I visited when we lived next door to the Tower.
Our opening ceremony tour also included tickets to Tower Bridge, so we walked over there next and went up the many stairs to the top of the tower and took some pictures on the glass floors.
Next, we walked to Borough Market for lunch. Again, so nice to go on a weekday when it wasn’t that crowded! Eating lunch at various markets (Seven Dials, Borough) worked great with guests as everyone could get what they wanted.
After lunch, we made our way down the Thames to the London Eye. I hadn’t rode on the Eye yet, as I was saving it for visitors. It was neat!
After our ride on the Eye, we walked back to St. James’s Street, Covent Garden, Jermyn Street, Piccadilly, etc. for more shopping for souvenirs and sight-seeing. One spot we went to was Fortnam and Mason, which was a great place to buy tea as a souvenir if that’s what you’re looking for.
My sister found a lovely new hat at Lock & Co. Hatters, a historical hatter on St. James’s Street!
Tuesday night, we had dinner at our local Hampstead pub, the Stag, for our last night with our guests.
My sister brought birthday gifts from all my sisters (my birthday was the 14th), including more peanut butter of course!
They also gave me a framed photo of the 5 sisters + my dad from my mom’s funeral and a framed photo of my parents from college. It’s really nice to have some of these items to make our new place feel more like home!
Wednesday: I woke up Wednesday feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. I was so utterly exhausted. My throat was hurting a bit too (to be honest, all of these symptoms had started a bit on Tuesday but seemed minor), so I took a Covid test, which was negative. I said goodbye to our guests, who were taking the train to Paris to finish out their holiday. Instead of going into the office, I decided to work from home since I wasn’t feeling amazing; I was just so, so tired…
After work, I decided to try to run; I had a moderate final workout with some 1/2 mile repeats at marathon effort and it was a TERRIBLE workout. I felt so tired and just couldn’t get my legs to move. I kept having to walk. I thought it was because I was running after work, which I never do, and because I had been go-go-go with our guests for 3 days….I mean, we had seriously walked 10+ miles every day, so it didn’t seem too crazy that I was so tired, right?
Thursday: I was up early to run 5 easy miles with Ruth before work and felt a bit less tired, but was coughing and had congestion. I took another covid test- negative.
Friday: Up early again for a 4.5 mile final London run before our early evening flight to Amsterdam. The coughing had got a lot worse and I think I probably had a fever. I never took my temperature, to be honest but I kept complaining to Dustin that our house was really cold.
I worked from home most of the day and started to feel worse and worse. Around 2 pm, just an hour before our Rover was set to arrive to settle in to house-sit the pups and we were going to leave for the airport, I took another Covid test.
That second line popped up right away. Definitely not a faint line either. Very much covid.
This meant no Amsterdam for me.
Could I run a marathon with Covid? Maybe. But should I run a marathon with Covid? Most definitely not, for so many reasons. I am fully aware of all the reasons I shouldn’t run a marathon with Covid- it was never a possibility for me.
Could I still go to Amsterdam and just cheer for Dustin, spreading my covid all over the city? I’m sure people do that, but not me. Still going to Amsterdam wasn’t an option in my mind.
So…new plan. Dustin has already had covid. We both actually were boosted with the Moderna bivalent booster 3 weeks ago. It was too late for us to get anything back on either hotel or flights on KLM, so Dustin took a Covid test and his was negative. He feels perfectly fine. Honestly, he actually worked the whole time my guests were here and didn’t join us for any activities, so it’s possible he was never exposed when I was (I was pretty good about masking on the tube, but let my guard down when my guests were here.) Fitness wise, he’s well trained for the marathon, so we decided he should still go and run the race and enjoy Amsterdam, albeit on his own. There are no restrictions on traveling after exposure; I mean, we are all exposed every day at this point.
The icing on the (birthday) cake? All of this happened on Friday, October 14. My birthday. Definitely a memorable one!
After cancelling our Rover (she was so sweet and understanding) I spent my birthday cuddling with the pups, by myself, with a lovely gift of London Covid.
I quickly let my departed guests know that I had covid and probably had it when they were here. They all are testing negative so far with no symptoms; they are all vaccinated and boosted.
How am I feeling? I am disappointed. I had trained pretty hard for Amsterdam and had a lot of solo runs over these past 3 months in London; I put in the time and the work to get the party at the end, which to me is the marathon. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t feeling a little sorry for myself. But I know it could be much worse than missing a marathon/trip due to Covid; I recognize the privilege in being able to do marathons at all and take trips; it isn’t lost on me that this is not an actual struggle, just a little blip in the road.
I avoided covid for 2.5 years, but of course I had to get it an inconvenient time. “Them’s the breaks”, right? I had become a little cocky and started to think I had some special immunity as nearly everyone else in my family has had it.
Physically, I don’t feel great (sooo tired, coughing, congested), but I know I’m going to be okay and hopefully this means I’ll have some more immunity going forward.
I also don’t want all my training to go to waste- I still want to run that 40th marathon this year, so I am looking for a back-up option. Obviously October 22nd would be too soon since I could still be recovering from covid and I don’t want to set myself up for a longer recovery by rushing back to running too soon. The weekend of October 30th, my sister Erin already has a visit here booked. So we’re looking at early November and have found a few options in Europe; I’ll share when we have decided for certain.
So, this was the long winded post as to why, after 15 weeks of recapping my training for this marathon, I won’t be experiencing 26.2 miles of Amsterdam tomorrow.