These Streets

I’m really enjoying running on streets I’ve never visited before. Particularly while the parks are swarmed with people walking 4 across who glare at runners for daring to exist in their presence.

English streets – particularly those in this part of London – are so different to the streets I grew up with.

New Zealand is all about the 1920s wooden bungalows, large front yards and windows and doors facing the street, but far enough back to still be private. Terraced houses are reserved for modern, new-build townhouses, and you rarely see them out in the ‘burbs.

Here in Greenwich, I love the wet brick, terraced houses I run past. The small old working class homes, and the large ones up along the park.

They might vary in size and decoration, depending on the street. But once you’re there… uniform but for the colourful doors. Who knew that the colour you painted your door would be your shot at showing the world your personality? That’s a lot of pressure on a door!

I like to ponder the prices some of these houses go for – ridiculous prices – and I can only hope to be in a position to seriously consider buying one one day.

My mind wanders as I think about the families that live in the houses, and those that have in the past. Some still have childrens’ pictures of rainbows offering kindness and thanks to the NHS staff from the first COVID-19 lockdown in March/April. Others have fluffy cats lazing in the window, giving zero f*cks about those of us outside.

This all provides great distraction from the physical feelings of training my body to get used to this running, but it also gives a great change of scenery, reminding me of why I enjoy living here, and taking me away from the worries I’ve had in the day – work, family, anything. I’m in the moment, appreciating my surroundings, and the community that I live in.

Back on it!

The last couple of weeks I’ve been concentrating building back up to running more than a couple of kms at a time, and – touch wood – I think I’ve done alright.

I managed a couple of good runs over the weekend and a really fun (wow!) casual 5km around Greenwich this evening. I’m back on my training plan!

Well, cautiously back on my plan. As long as my legs are up for the challenge. If nothing else, I’m learning a lot about listening to (and understanding!) my body . And that is everything!

It doesn’t hurt that Greenwich at Christmas time is absolutely gorgeous.

Old Royal Navy College, Dec 2020

This time last year, if you had suggested that I would be out on the street, running in public where strangers could see me exercising outside the gym, I would have openly laughed in your face.
Laughed. In. Your. Face.

Now, I really don’t enjoy the thought of heading to the gym. COVID absolutely has a part to play in that, but I love being outside. The fresh air on my face, the changing scenery, and the reliance on my body to tell me what I’m doing – not a machine.

Of course, I would happily do without the groups of people blocking the walk ways, and y’know, the weather. But that’s also part of the charm!

No steppin’ in dog turds at the gym, though. At least, not yet.
If 2020 has taught me anything; never say never.

Keeping the Theme

Well, in keeping with the theme of new experiences, I had my first run in the rain tonight.

And I feel amazing now…

It’s been sunny all day, and I should have known better than to leave it until after work. But hey-ho, here we are.

The run was miserable.

No, that’s not fair. The actual raining was pretty good. I’ve had a wonderfully calm day, and my anxiety is starting to feel under control. It felt like I was making real progress with my breathing while I was out running.

The rain was f*cking awful.

My running jacket was actually pretty good. my upper body stayed pretty dry, and my phone was absolutely fine. I wouldn’t trust it to run it for an hour, but for tonight’s run it served me well.

I kept to the streets for better visibility, rather than running up on Blackheath, and it was nice having a change of scenery (though, I’ll pick Blackheath or Greenwich park in the day time, any time!).

Okay, now I’m rambling.
The point is: I ran in the rain. It sucked at the time but oh-my-God it feels amazing now.

My lungs have space. For proper breathing.
And I’m cozy with my PJs on.

Here’s to setting goals, working towards them, and feeling the buzz of progress.

We’ve got this.

Favourite Yet

Tonight’s run has been my favourite yet. I’m not sure why exactly, it could be a couple of things – but I was totally there for it.

30 minutes of run / walk intervals. Just under 4km, with a good mix of (slight) up-and-down-hill sections. And alllllllll of the endorphins.

… maybe it was the weather. Tonight was beautiful and clear. It was cool, but perfect with a jacket. I didn’t get too sweaty, though I know I worked hard.

… maybe it was the fact I hadn’t been on a run for a couple of days. Yesterday I did a bit of cross training at home, after my morning run plans fell through. And I had intended to run this morning before work, too, but dropped that hope when I was still wide awake at midnight.

… maybe it’s because I haven’t been sleeping or breathing particularly well lately. Yeah… that’s one for a different post.

… maybe I just prefer evening runs, where my body is fuelled by meals earlier in the day, and I can turn off my thoughts of work. Transitioning from work mode to relax mode, claiming this evening time as mine.

Whatever it was, I really enjoyed it and I can already feel the progress I’m making, even just in week 2.

I didn’t even stop my jog for tonight’s (wonderfully terrible) photo. One of those lines is a giant, red moon that was sitting low and bright tonight. Can you guess which one? Ha!

In Earnest

Sunday marked 6 months to my half marathon. I’ve had 2 runs since then. Though they have been very, very different, I can say I have started in earnest.

On Sunday, recovering from Saturday night, I hit the treadmill at the gym. I knew going into it that I wasn’t going to rock a casual 5km, or really do anything to ‘do the miles’. I was there to be there. To show up. To do what I’ve committed to. And I did that. With some run/walk intervals.

Today, though, was meant to be different.

The weather was clear, and I had a couple of hours until I needed to log on for work. Time was not an issue. Rain wasn’t going to hold me back. And – most importantly – I got up when the alarm went off.

There is a lot to love about getting up before everyone else. I love my bed more. But I don’t hate being up that early.

I walked for 15 min to get warmed up, but mostly to get to the big, wide (flat-ish) Blackheath – my favourite place for a no-pressure run around in South East London.

Once I got there, the running (read: run-walk, don’t worry, I’ll tell you when that’s no longer a thing) went easily. Until it didn’t.

I learned a lot this morning.

Lesson one: I need trousers that actually fit. I have so many leggings, but they were all pre-lockdown purchases. I need to be realistic and look after the body I have now. This body was a squished sausage with a wriggly belly dancing about as my waistband rolled down until it meet the savage resistance of The Hips.

Lesson two: what you eat the night before matters. We all know that our body needs to be appropriately fueled. I know I do well on an empty stomach, so I didn’t eat anything this morning. But last night’s pizza made itself known. So much so that I had to stop running half way through and power-walked myself right back home (at a not-much-slower-pace, sadly).

Lesson three: never trust the weather forecast. Actually, I already knew this, but I need to be reminded every once and a while. If I’m going to be training over the winter – which I know I will – I’m going to need some wet-weather running gear. I was warm enough while I was running, but when I had to switch to my power-walking, it started raining just a little and I really felt the chill. Really, preparing for rain in London heading into November is just common sense.

Taken with a grain of salt from now on…

So, yeah, this is probably going to get expensive.