Running Goodbyes

Moving House

Onwards to Auckland

Writing this, I’m sitting in an empty flat. Our belongings have been packed up and taken away in boxes by the shipping company, our flat has been scrubbed clean by our cleaner, and all that’s left is to trundle our suitcases out the door, closing it behind us. I’m full of mixed feelings – sadness to be leaving our lives as we have come to know them, but excited for the adventure ahead.

Team Naturally Run London Winter Run

With Laureen, Lissy and Charlie B

It’s a strange thing to say, but the goodbyes have been so much fun! They kicked off with the London Winter Run 10k race, which was brilliant. Prior to the race start I had run a lovely 9km with Laureen, bumping in to Lissy and Charlie along the riverbank and smiling the whole time. It reminded me of many hours spent training for Paris marathon with these babes, along the same stretch of Thames Path.Team Naturally Run London Winter Run

Team Naturally Run London Winter Run

TNR Girls, complete with Glitter Lips! 

It was a freezing cold yet crisp day, perfect conditions for a brisk race! I met up with other Team Naturally Run members at the start, where we jigged our way across the line to Frozen’s “Let it Go”.

Team Naturally Run London Winter Run

I ended up running with Zoe and Ashley, who definitely pulled me along in the last couple of kilometres when my legs were flagging. I was happy to cross the finish line in 1.04 – the EXACT same 10k time I had done at the Battersea 10k and the Hyde Park 10k. Consistency seems to be my thing this year!

Team Naturally Run London Winter Run

The London Winter Run race itself was really great. As promised, there was plenty of frosty themed fun along the route. I loved the cowbells, and the fake snow being pumped out onto the street – and of course, any chance to run on the closed London roads is a bonus!

Team Naturally Run London Winter Run

It struck me that the next time I would be running these streets would be in the London Marathon, and that brought butterflies of excitement and nerves with it. We turned a corner and spied the finish line, where I hugged a polar bear as I received my medal. Polar bear hugs are officially the best things ever!

Team Naturally Run London Winter Run

Team Naturally Run London Winter Run

I was obsessed with the glitter lips. Should I wear them for the marathon?! 

The fun didn’t end there, because the TNR girls had all gathered for a farewell brunch at a cafe nearby. It was so wonderful to catch up and say goodbye to so many faces who had become dear friends over the last couple of years. Team Naturally Run – I love you guys!

Team Naturally Run London Winter Run

Team Naturally Run London Winter Run

Entries are already open for the 2016 London Winter Run – sign up here!

Runthrough Greenwich 10k

The following weekend I met up with Kathy and ran from Tower Hill to Greenwich Park, and then we took on the 10k race there. It was so great to spend some good quality time catching up with Kathy (meeting her prompted my post On Friendship which is still one of my favourites), and the medal was super cute too. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed taking part in all the 10k races this year – always well organised, friendly, and cheap!

Lululemon Night Run

Photo from Cat 

I supplemented my weekend runs with a mid-week night time trail run led by Cat at Lululemon Richmond. We strapped on our headtorches and dashed around the Richmond Park hills in the dark, spying glowing deer eyes watching us along the way. Ever since Thunder Run I have had a “thing” about night running – nothing is more exhilarating or freeing, and it was fabulous to spot the glittering lights of the city in the distance, yet breathe deep and feel the freedom of running. The drinks in the pub at the end was a great way to catch up with some South-Westy friends and say goodbye too.

Long Sunday Run

A Sunday solo long run had me running from Waterloo to Chiswick to Charlie’s house – where she had made me a fabulous Whole 30 brunch as a farewell. The run was great – I had been nervous about running 24km on my own, but with listening to the Call Your Girlfriend podcasts (as recommended by Lissy) and our wedding dancefloor playlist, the miles ticked away no problems. Running along the river was gorgeous (apart from the boggy section between Putney and Barnes!) and the whole run really boosted my confidence.

Whole 30 Brunch

Delicious Whole 30 Brunch 

When I arrived in Chiswick I wanted ALL the drinks, and practically inhaled the delicious breakfast in front of me. I was really sad saying goodbye to Charlie, as she was one of the first people I met and really clicked with in London – and has become a close friend since. I’m confident I’ll see her sometime in New Zealand soon as she has family who live there… I’m excited for us to run together in my home country!

Long Sunday Run

While most runners I know were all earning PB’s down in Brighton on Sunday – Jen, Cara and I met up for a party pace final run along the river. It was a magical morning – the sun sparkled off the buildings and the path was EMPTY. We stopped many times to take photos and admire the city sights, and to high-five Hannah who we bumped in to coming the other way. It’s moments like that, that make me realise how small London really is. I’m part of a community here, and I’m really sad to leave it and those people, behind. But I’m also confident that I can, and will, find my new community in New Zealand too!

Long Sunday Run

And with that final long run done, I’m signing off from my running in London. I’ll be back for Marathon day, but my legs are ready to take me to new places, new cities, new runs, new challenges, and new adventures. Thank you London for giving me running, for giving me wonderful sights and sounds and experiences, and for most of all giving me the most wonderful friends.

How has your training been going? Who is planning to be out cheering on Marathon day? 

Marathon Training – One Month Down

Yooohooo, hello, is anyone out there?

I’m still alive – just crazy busy, crazy working, crazy running. I’ve got 25 days left in London and I just can’t even comprehend the days coming up. I’m trying to take it one day at a time and not get too overwhelmed and stressed – it’ll all happen, one way or another!

It’s hard to believe that I’ve finished 4 weeks of marathon training already! I feel really chilled about it (surprisingly). I’m so much more laid back and calm about this training cycle than I was before Paris, when it was ALL I could think about, ALL I could obsess about. I guess having a bazillion other things on your plate means you don’t fixate on your training plan, instead…it just kind of happens. It fits in around all the other commitments and it just gets done.

Hyde Park 10k

Stopping in to visit The Queen with Kathy, Lissy, Tess, Zoe and Charlie on our way to the Hyde Park 10k

In January I fell in to a good weekly routine – which involved a yoga class, 2 x Project Fit classes, a mid-week run, and a long run. I’ve been counting my 2 PF classes as my speedwork for the week, and I get the bonus of some added incline/hills in there, as well as the strength training which I am really enjoying. So far, my body feels good and my long runs – while never easy – haven’t been too awful. Because I go to PF on a Saturday (and then often trek around the city for the rest of the day), I’m running on tired legs on Sunday – which so far I’ve felt is a good thing. It does mean I am knackered come Monday though!

Run with Beki

A mid-week run with Beki

My mid-week runs have been easily filled in by joining Lululemon Run Club, or meeting Beki for a run after work. If I’m completely honest, I don’t think I have yet done a training run alone – which could come back to bite me later on…but at the moment I want to soak up as much time with my London running buds as possible!

London Marathon Training

First long run done with Laureen & Cara

The Team Naturally Run long runs have been the highlight of my weeks – meeting up with friendly faces early on a bitterly cold Sunday morning makes everything worth it. So far we have run along the river to Tower Hill and back; run a couple of miles and taken on the Battersea 10k race; ran a few miles before the Hyde Park 10k; and ran even more miles before the London Winter Run 10k (more on that soon).

Battersea Park 10k

Best medals ever! After the Battersea Park 10k

I’ve been really enjoying breaking up the long run into chunks, and running to a race has been a brilliant strategy for me. We arrive 10minutes before the start, pin on a race number, cross the start line and away we go. My 10k results have been consistent week on week, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the time I have done them in considering the miles already run prior.

Late night run with Kiera

London is so damn pretty at night! 

There was one week when my crazy diary didn’t allow enough time for a weekend run, so the wonderful Kiera joined me for 15km along the river after work on a freeeezing Friday night. It was a wild night out, I tell you – but both of us felt like total rockstars for doing it.

The mileage steps it up a bit in February, with it venturing just past the half marathon distance. I’m nervous about that, but also looking forward to it too. I’ve got one more weekend race (the Greenwich 10k), and I am having to sit on my hands to NOT take a last minute place for the Brighton half. That was such a brilliant race for me last year and I so badly want to do it again – but taking a day out of the packing & moving schedule might not be such a smart idea!

In the meantime, I’ll just keep on running!

Are you training for a Spring marathon? How’s the training going for you? 

A TOPP WEDDING: The Wedding Coordinator

Our venue is a bare venue – as in, we hire the bare bones – the land, the rooms, the facilities.  Everything else we want, we have to bring in ourselves – the catering, the alcohol, the decor, the people. There are so many pro’s to having a venue like this (wahey BYO alcohol!) but one major con is that there is no one to do the stuff on the day. 

The stuff is things like – setting up the tables, putting out placecards, hanging up decor, dealing with the caterers when they have questions, cueing the music for the bridesmaids, keeping an eye on the time and moving guests in to be seated for dinner, collecting any lost property at the end of the night. You know, STUFF.


Many wedding venues include a coordinator (usually the owner, or event manager) who you can liaise with prior, and who just handles these things on the day. When I was bridesmaid at a wedding a few years ago, the wedding coordinator of the venue was waiting when our car pulled up to the ceremony, with glasses of water. I remember thinking that it was so thoughtful – she knew we might all be a bit flustered (especially the bride), we might need to just stop, take a few breaths, and a sip of water to help our dry and nervous throats – and so she had pre-empted it and was ready. Even better – the glasses had straws in, so we didn’t ruin our lipstick at all. It was just so organized of her, even though she probably does that many times in each wedding season – I know I really appreciated it!

With other venues, you are lucky that the decor is pretty much done for you. The venue is how it is, the table settings are how they are – you just turn up and get married. This can work extremely well if you are planning a wedding from overseas and don’t want to be burdened with all the extra decor planning, organising, and setting up. Check out my friends Dayna and Matt’s wedding details recap – they got married in a gorgeous venue in BC, Canada – where everything was handled for them.

But back to the Topp Wedding. I knew (from reading MANY blogs like A Practical Wedding) that I.COULD.NOT.DO.THE.STUFF.MYSELF. I also knew that delegation was going to be a necessary – something that I am not very good at. Because our wedding is a semi-destination wedding, I didn’t want to ask any of our guests to do the stuff – if they were travelling to come to our celebration, then I wanted them all to enjoy themselves, rather than be bothered by the stuff. I thought about whether we had any family friends (or their teen children) that we could ask to help – but I knew that a) I might not trust them fully to get it right and b) some of the things we might ask of them could be out of their confidence level (ie. instructing suppliers to do certain things).

Please say hello to Aimee.

Aimee Your Perfect Day

Aimee is a friend of mine who I (way back) met on twitter and then face to face when I was up in Auckland. We both were living in Canada at the same time, and she spent time in Whistler with me and Jase, and we spent time in Vancouver with her. We moved on to London, while Aimee moved back to Auckland – and, as luck would have it, started her own Wedding Planning company called Your Perfect Day (can you hear the chorus of angels singing right now?). When Jase and I got engaged, and once I realised what I was taking on with planning from overseas – I got in touch with Aimee to see whether she thought she could help us at all. Her email back to me 100% sealed the deal – I knew I needed her there!

Fun fact: Aimee is a Whole 30’er too! 

Your Perfect Day

Aimee’s “day of coordination” package means she will:
– confirm the vendors in the lead up to the day
– create a detailed timeline for distribution to all relevant parties on the day
– coordinate and manage the rehearsal the day before
– manage the wedding day set up – the ceremony area, the reception area, and anything else required
– manage and timekeep the suppliers delivering and arriving on the day – florist, hair & makeup, celebrant, caterers etc
– completely manage everything ON THE DAY – all enquiries, problems and crises will go to her and not to the bride/groom/bridal party/family members
– stay to the end of the night and coordinate the pack down of the venue including centrepieces and linen, presents, any lost property, and straggly guests
– plus anything else we might throw her way

Aimee Your Perfect Day

I feel really lucky that we will have Aimee there on the day. With this being her business, she has the experience and knowledge to read the situations and preempt anything that we might not have thought about. While I am a super organised planner myself, knowing I have someone I trust (and a friendly face that I know personally) to hand over to means I can completely relax on the day, and not worry about anything. That’s the plan anyway!

You can check out Aimee’s website here: Your Perfect Day. 

Are you a planner like me? Would you hire an expert or go with a friend on your day? 

Want more wedding goss? Catch up here with the rest of A TOPP WEDDING posts:

A TOPP WEDDING: The Engagement
A TOPP WEDDING: My Bridesmaids
A TOPP WEDDING: Asking the Bridesmaids
A TOPP WEDDING: The Photographer
A TOPP WEDDING: The Celebrant

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