Thursday, May 3, 2012

April 22-29: Lapping up London - p

I had signed up for a Half Marathon on the weekend of April 21, but a business trip came up.  Sad to miss the race, but it's a trade I'm happy to make! 

The London marathon was going to be the same weekend, too.  Unfortuantely, they sell out way in advance, and I'm in no shape for it anyway, but it just added to the excitement.  I considered going to the expo because I love big race expos, with all the gear and samples and the exictement, but I decided to take advantage of the little time I had in the city to tour around instead.  Very tempting, though.

I toured around London on Saturday (after landing at 7:15am).

Trafalgar Square

Parliament and Big Ben

Tower Bridge


St. Paul's Cathedral, from Millenium Bridge (reconstructed after the Death Eater attack)

King's Cross

The next day, I was going to travel to Cambridge with other coworkers flying in that day (from New Zealand and Italy), so I didn't go into London to watch the marathon.  But it was great just to get to watch TV coverage, since there's so little of it available.  TV coverage can be better in many ways, too, since you get to see the elites in action from start to finish, and you get to see lots of parts of the race across a variety of vistas.

I watched pre-race coverage on the BBC while running on the hotel treadmill.

And after an English breakfast...

I watched most of the race from my room.

For the run, I did 10K (they measure in Ks) in 52:40, 8:30/mi. 

Then, off to Cambridge, which was is about 20 min away from one of my company's plants.
Cambridge recently celebrated its 800th anniversary!!!  Crazy.

Its old buildings reminded me of home (Princeton).

On Tuesday morning at 6am before work, I "ran" for 4.1 mi, but I was stopped taking pictures as much as I was running, so it took 1:13:23 to cover the distance.  It didn't feel at all like I had run afterwards, so I didn't count it as a run. 

The next day, on Wednesday, I took fewer pictures, and it felt enough like a run that it cunted.  4.2 in 41:03, 9:47 ave, even after stopping my watch whenever I stopped for shots (at least most of the time).  It would start raining about halfway through my run.  It rained most of the day, every day.  They're in a multi-year drought, but this is April showers.

On Thursday, I didn't run, to save up for my return to central London, when I planned to hit up the 3 parks by Buckigham Palace.  It's a run mentioned on my most recent favorite podcast, Marathon Talk. 

Friday evening, I checked into my hotel, suited up, and went out for the run, which goes something like this:

I started at Buckingham Palace.

I went through Green Park, went around Hyde Park, back on the far side of Green Park, then around St. James Park.

St. James Park borders Horse Guards, which will become the site of the Olympic Volleyball court.

The run was 6.7 in 54:51, 8:10 ave.  Love the Garmin!  Usable anywhere in the world.  I liked the park run in that you could stick to grass as much as you wanted.  I didn't like having to cross streets sometimes, but those times were rare.

On Saturday, it was time to do some more exploring in London.  I hit all of the key sites on my first day in town.  I had considered going to Stonehenge, but it would've been 2hrs of travel by bus each way, using up 4 hours, and once at Stonehenge, you couldn't get that close to the rocks.  A co-worker based in the UK recommended the Portobello Market, famous for antiques and farmers markets and old and new stuff.  She also mentioned Greenwich, home of the Prime Meridian.  I also decided to try to venture out to the site of the Olympic Village.  After that, I had a ticket booked for the London Eye, which rotates once every 30 min.  I got a day/night ticket, which lets you ride once during the day, and once at night.

For breakfast, I bought a carton of strawberries and ate the whole thing, mostly because it was raining, and it would've been a mess to stick it in my bag.  I wouldn't have been able to eat many more than I did.

Next, I took the Tube to the Olympic site, where there's still construction going on for the August games.

Then, I traveled to Greenwich.  It's like the hub of the UK's seafaring power. 

The Prime Meridian

I was cold and wet by the end of the day walking around everywhere.  I had an umbrella, but your legs don't benefit as much from that.

Pile of umbrellas on the bridge between Parliament and the London Eye.  Thrashed by the wind.

Falafel Dinner

I considered doing the 3-park run again on Sunday morning, but it was raining, and I was realllly tired after a week of even less sleep than normal, plus travel.  I went home happy, though.

1 comment:

lindsay said...

i'm totally jealous! for one - great runs, what scenery! and a free trip is never a bad thing :) also cool that you got to see some of the set up for the olympics! i can't wait for them.