Hello from London!

I have been back in the UK for a full week now and have been meaning to write for days, so clearly the craziness of my NYC trip has followed me across the pond! In between organizing my things, I’ve been catching up with friends and visiting some of my favorite places before I officially move back to the US.

I love the Fall, particularly on the East Coast and in the UK, so I have been trying to make the most of the lovely crisp weather these past few weeks before it slips away. London hasn’t been *quite* as sunny as NYC – in fact it has mostly been foggy, dark and damp – but that means when the sun does shine it’s particularly glorious and far more appreciated. I’m beginning to wonder how I managed to convince myself for four years that the weather wasn’t actually that bad here!

After several dreary days, the sun finally emerged just in time for my 12 mile run in Richmond Park on Saturday. I finally tried out my new Nike running top, which was my one splurge in Portland after the marathon. The colors and the cut got me to try it on, but the two pockets in the back (and Portland’s amazing no sales tax!) convinced me to buy it. The pockets are like those on a cycling top  – they don’t have zippers, but they’re deep enough to fit gels, snacks or whatever else! Check it out:

I put a gel in one pocket to have during my run and one of my homemade pumpkin muffins (cut in half and wrapped up) in the other pocket so I could have a healthy treat after finishing. It was very comfortable – this top might just become my next marathon tank if I can cram enough gels in the back and ditch my usual gel belt!

E and I decided to head to Richmond Park – I love doing my long runs there and the hilly trails were perfect for my North Face half marathon training, at least compared to running along the Thames. We got a late start – 11am or so – but it was still quite peaceful and the scenery was beautiful.

Let’s do this!

E kept me company for the first 7M loop and then waited for me at a coffee shop. Turns out he ran his second marathon without telling me (or as one of my friends called it, a SNEAKATHON) in Switzerland while I was in NYC!! He was afraid I would put my coaching hat on and lecture him that he wasn’t fully prepared for it (because he wasn’t), but he did quite well, especially considering the challenging course profile and the fact that it was far above sea level. I am very proud of him! He felt fairly recovered but was only just starting to ease back into longer runs.

It’s a good thing we both ran that morning, beacuse later in the day we headed over to our friend’s place for a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving feast! Last year, I celebrated the holiday in the UK with my group of US expat friends, and we had such a good time that we had “Thanksgiving” in July too. Since E and I will be in New Hampshire this year and this is my last London visit for awhile, we thought it would be fun to have one last group dinner together. There was, as you can imagine, tons of amazing food. I made a goats cheese and beet salad as well as a huge bowl of sweet potato, pumpkin and carrot ginger mash, pictured below. I could eat it for dessert it was so tasty!

The next morning we were still so full we could hardly move, but we had Sunday lunch plans up in Hampstead so we hopped out of bed and made our way up north. It was a perfect Fall day – so mild that we were able to eat outside on the pub’s patio and enjoy some cold pear cider. I got the venison – yum!

  

It was a rest day for me but after all that food I was craving a nice long walk in the sunshine. One of the things I love most about London is just how green a city it is – there are so many beautiful parks, both manicured (like Regents Park) and a bit more rustic and wild (like Richmond and Hampstead Heath). The Heath in particular is lovely – you really feel like you have escaped the city, as you are pretty much up on a hill looking down on it in the distance and there are no cars in sight. I wish I had explored it more often while I lived here – the terrain is quite hilly so I will perhaps aim do my 14M run there this Friday!

      

Between the parks and the river, there are so many great running paths in this town. Speaking of which, I have a race pace run to do – off I go to my local park!

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