November 2, 2014
I am incredibly lucky where I live, that there are loads of interesting running routes to choose from to suit my mood.
I’m right on the edge of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, have a network of canals and towpaths when I need a longer run, great local parks and I can always jump on the tube and head somewhere else in the capital if I fancy a change.
So last night whilst sitting eating Pizza and supping on red wine I thought about where I would enjoy running today, with Rose staying at her grandmothers I had the luxury of just being able to get up and go, and to stay out for as long as I liked which is a real treat.
I planned on doing about 10 miles as my distance has been suffering lately as I struggle to fit in my longer runs each week, but I couldn’t make my mind up where I wanted to go, especially as the forecast was grey and drizzly.
But then it hit me…I hadn’t yet seen the Poppy installation at Tower Bridge.
So I headed out just after 8am, feeling a slight niggle in my knee as I walked to the top of my road whist trying to get GPS location on my new Garmin which I was testing for the first time. I haven’t done anything close to 10 miles since the summer when I did 3 half marathons back to back, but with the Royal Parks 10K series fast approaching I knew I had to cover some ground today.
Now the route from Stratford to Tower Hill is somewhat uninspiring, heading straight through Mile End and Whitechapel along a busy road with not a lot to look at, but with headphones playing this weeks Marathon Talk podcast I tried not to think about it and simply got on with it.
About an hour later I arrived at Tower Bridge to be met by an army of tourists all with their cameras trying to get a good shot of the poignant art work, I am useless at the best of times so my pictures are not that great, but I am glad I took the time to go and see it regardless.
I was in two minds what to do next really. I had only covered about four and a half miles, although it felt much further but I was having some weird cramping sensations in my tummy (I blame it on last nights Pizza), but I figured it would be a waste just to turn back and run home, and not to mention incredibly dull, so I headed over Tower Bridge remenissing about the last time I ran across it back in 2012 with thousands of spectators cheering me on. Check out my marathon report here
I headed along the south side of the Thames, not at a particularly good pace but just taking in the sights and feeling happy to be out running. I am incredibly lucky to have all of this on my doorstep I thought as I stopped to take the occasional picture, and wondered why I don’t do it more often. As I passed City Hall I set myself the goal of getting to Westminister (to get the Jubille Line back home) but it seemed an incredibly long way away, and by London Bridge I was contemplating calling it a day, but I soldiered on with a few spells of walking.
In the end it took me an hour and 40 minutes to cover the 7.1 distance from home to Big Ben, but I did stop a few times along the route, and it was incredibly busy with tourists so it was never going to be quick. Along the route I also saw the Tate Modern, HMS Belfast, St Pauls Cathedral, The National Theatre and of course hundreds of other runners, most of whom looked a whole heap more spritely than moi. But all in all I am happy with my long Sunday run, even if I din’t quite make the 10 miles that I wanted. Perhaps in a few weeks time I will get the tube somewhere a little further up the Thames and run back home instead.
I find when my motivation to run is low I have to play tricks with myself to make me do the distance, there has to be a purpose so to speak. I once run from Stratford to Bank to buy a coat I liked (read about it here), saving the tube fare and multitasking to ensure I got my run in for the week.
So next time you think about heading out on your long Sunday run think to yourself is there somewhere specifically I could run to that would be interesting, or out of the ordinary. Can I tie in my run with wanting to do something else, like visit an exhibition or friends even? Ask yourself when is the last time you headed out your door to be a tourist in your own part of the world? Its not just London that has landmarks or places of interest. Why not draw yourself a little treasure hunt map and go off on an adventure taking pictures as you go.
Its a much more interesting approach than simply relying on your normal routes don’t you think?
Keep an eye out next week for my review of the Garmin Forerunner 110, lets just say its waterproof features come in handy when I came out of the Station at Stratford after my tube journey home.