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.
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.
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”.
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!
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!
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!
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!
Entries are already open for the 2016 London Winter Run – sign up here!
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 RunThrough.co.uk 10k races this year – always well organised, friendly, and cheap!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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?