Running & Fitness
I have great admiration for people who run in London after my experience today. Personally I can’t think of anything worse and this is why. It was certainly not my finest few hours of running by far!
I am gradually increasing my mileage in preparation for a marathon in October and my partner Chau has been great planning routes to keep the long runs from getting monotonous. Also apparently I don’t talk as much if I’m busy looking at somewhere different so it’s a win win situation!
‘Let’s run in London and sightsee at the same time – that will be fun’ he said. ‘Sounds great’ I replied ‘it will take my mind of the 16 to 17 miles I need to do today. So off we went in the morning. I even put on a bit of make up as going to London always seems to be a special occasion (yes, I know, I don’t get out much these days!)
Parked at St James and I was very much the tourist with Chau being the Tour Guide. Poor Bugger works in London every day and now on his day off he needs to guide me around it.
After 8 years in Africa I am afraid I have l lost my ‘streetwise ways’ in London and get overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of people. Traffic and trying to cross the road is something of a mission with me.
Still a good idea to run in central London?
‘Chau, I need the loo’ I say about 10 mins into the run. Never an issue where we usually run and I am generally seen dipping in and out of bushes like a Benny Hill character. Not so in London. We decided a McDonalds would be a suitable loo stop that does not draw attention of using toilet and not paying for anything. Adding on another mile to find one I popped in for a pit stop and off we went again.
Mile three, feeling pretty good and the novelty of running along the Thames seeing the sights was keeping me motivated, ‘going to be a good one today ‘ I thought and a definite Love on my running ‘Love it or Loathe it’ Scale
I think that lasted until about mile 4 where we turned into Tower Bridge and hit a sea of people. Downhill from there. I was elbowed, hand bagged and Selfie Sticked as we dipped in and out and around the crowds of tourists, I was beginning to feel a little claustrophobic.
Stress and blood pressure levels were rising as I had to stop running to navigate through the crowd, no overtaking as I would have been wiped out by a bus. Bloody hell where had all the people come from?
Generally, at mile four of a run I have got into my stride and rhythm and settle in for the duration. Today it was run, walk, stop, reverse and arghhh – the frustration! No rhythm today and why does it seem harder to run when you stop and start?
Approaching Tower Bridge along with half the population of England and I get the mild panic feeling as my bridge phobia made its way into my mind. Can’t see Chau and the heart starts palpitating and I begin to freeze. Chau finally remembers he is on a bridge and I am not with him so he returns to get me frozen on the spot and I promptly have a teenage tantrum at him. Not his fault the poor bugger but I had to blame someone! Made it over the bridge with a lot of unsavoury language and rants and we set off again.
Under a tube station/ subway which made me feel like a sporty pickpocketer running through the tube with people looking at us strangely.
Now I am actually yearning for big green spaces and even the ‘killer mile hill’ near my house seems like heaven compared to this.
Mile 5,6 and 7 continues with pavement dodging and veering from 8.45 min pace to 14 min plus pace depending on the human and vehicle traffic and how brave I was crossing the road. You have to be a bit courageous in London when stepping off the pavement and I could be dithering about for ages if not for Chau firmly grabbing me by the wrist and pulling me across the scary road. I am such a country bumpkin.
I love London for meandering through the markets, sampling the street food and drink and window shopping. Running past all these temptations is just not the same and I was beginning to get resentful of the shops full of clothes, the smell of coffee and food and far from it distracting me from the mileage I was supposed to be doing it was just making me want to stop and sample all the food I could and swap my trainers for high heels.
Black Friars bridge loomed up and I think due to having a somewhat stressful run I had lost the mind over matter of my bridge fear and a few steps onto it I turned around and sprinted off (fasted I had run all day!)
Chau now had to readjust his internal Sat Nav and take us a different route. I promise you I did apologies to him for having ‘one of those days’ I think he understood and I promise I am making dinner tonight.
A bridge crossing was necessary in order to get back to the car. Westminster Bridge was the chosen one as I thought I would use the crowds to my advantage and squeezing across it shoulder to shoulder feel more secure. Also you will be glad to now I had regained my sense of humour plus strength of mind and ran it with a smile and not clinging onto Chau’s T Shirt. My one and only moment of glory in this run.
Mile 9 and 10 were approaching and in Green Park, thank goodness for that, space, grass, trees and security. Not to be, nice day in London equals every blade of grass covered in picnics and bottoms. Any running Mojo I had left drained from my feet and I ground to a halt.
Time to go home and watch the Olympics on the TV its ‘Super Saturday’ of the Olympics and I will be inspired. Today I will retire at 10 miles and revert to a Sport Sofa Spectator for the day.
So all in all not a great run but every run has it merits and it was 10 miles more on the legs. Now I have no doubt in my mind I am a country girl and running in the peace and quiet where you can hear the birds sing and the leaves rustle in the trees is my type of running environment.
17 miles next Saturday and no excuses for me this time
Never run in London again? Well maybe the London Marathon? ☺