A trip to London and Highbury Fields parkrun

Happy Monday! Back at it with another week. This weekend was a bit of a mad one.

I was sent an email invitation midweek to a blogging event in London on Saturday and made the snap decision to go. It sounded really cool and, though London is such a faff to get to and get around, I’m trying to be more of a “yes” person. I also wondered if I could squeeze in a London parkrun before as the event didn’t start until 10am.

I almost gave up on the idea as it seemed all the parkruns were about 40 minutes from the location of the event and just not doable… until I had a look at Highbury Fields parkrun and realised it would take about 15 minutes on the tube.

I’m terrible at anything to do with public transport or being organised in general so I was a bit worried of all the pieces falling into place. I jokingly said to my dad he should come with me to help and he said that him and my mum had been wanting to go to London for ages so they’d be happy to come. The plan was we’d get a very early train (6.40am) and then get the tube to parkrun from Waterloo, do parkrun, then go to Oxford Street where my event was going to be near and they’d go off shopping while I did my thing. Then we’d meet up later for lunch.

We had enough buffer time to get to the parkrun thankfully so that wasn’t too much of a rush. The tube station is very close to the park and we saw the familiar fluorescent jacketed people setting up the finish funnel as we got into the park. We headed over and they explained the course and start to us and pointed me in the direction of the toilet as well.

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The course was five and a bit laps around a smallish park and fitness centre (side note: I saw people running on treadmills which blew my mind as it was a beautiful day and there was a lovely park outside!). There was a slight long incline up one side of the parkrun and a gentle decline the other. I’d been previously warned about this by the lovely Helen that though the incline wasn’t steep it did become wearing as the laps went on.IMG_4275

I started off way too fast and the first stretch was going up the incline. My legs felt drained almost immediately. Today was not my day, I thought. My parents (my mum’s first parkrun experience) stood on the side-lines to cheer us on. My dad had brought his GoPro so got some cool photos.

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After one lap my only thought was, “I have to do this four more times?”. I really wasn’t in the zone and was finding it quite tough.

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I fell into step with a guy running a similar pace to me and that really helped. He was probably running slightly faster than I would have if I’d have run on my own so it was good to stick with him. We overtook people which felt encouraging.

IMG_4254One more lap

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My pace master friend was the guy in blue in the above photo. He encouraged me to keep going on the last mile and I gasped, “I’m trying!”. He helped me pick up the pace.

I finished in 22:06 which was quite surprising (though my Garmin has measured it as 2.9 miles so maybe that’s why!). It wasn’t the best parkrun experience (in terms of actual running) and that incline DID feel more and more horrific as the laps went on. I hugged the guy and said thank you to him as honestly I probably would have gone a lot slower otherwise!

IMG_4168Always smiles when you’ve finished!

Then it was a mad dash back to the tube to get to Oxford Street. On the tube I had to baby wipe myself and freshen up as best as I could. I took my trainers off and put my flip flops on and attempted to sort my hair out. I was sat there doing all this next to a seriously elegantly dressed lady and felt like a right mess! But needs must.

I got there just five minutes late and they were fine thankfully. The event was a Secret London event (partnered with Collective Two) and was to involve getting your hair done by Headmasters, then yoga on a stand-up paddle board (!) followed by some smoothies from Alpro. But I’ll talk more about that in another post. Thankfully I was able to properly change and freshen up.

IMG_4173Bathroom selfie for the win Winking smile

The event lasted around two hours and was super fun. I then caught the tube to meet my parents for lunch at Barbecoa, Jamie Oliver’s London steak house. I adore Jamie Oliver so was really excited about this!

I was still in my yoga gear so felt a little dressed down but my hair looked cool soo…IMG_4273

The restaurant was fantastic. It had beautiful views of St. Paul’s Cathedral and the service was incredible. Out waitress was so friendly and so helpful and made us feel very welcome and relaxed.

IMG_4274Top left picture is the view from the window

For starter I had chicken wings (I know, I know, so boring and predictable). They were very tasty. Though there were ribs on the menu I decided to try something different for once. I chose the pit beef which, if I’m honest, I didn’t really know what it’d be!

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It came with half a romaine lettuce, bacon crumbs and bacon jam. I also ordered a side of charred broccoli with almonds and some parmesan-y sauce.

The meal was incredible. Literally every mouthful I was like, “this is so tasty”. It was very rich though and by the time I’d finished I was really full. I’d fully intended to have a pudding but I just didn’t fancy it. Who even am I, right?? I didn’t want to spoil the meal by feeling overly full so I decided to give it a miss (and hopefully find something sweet a bit later).

Then we headed to Covent Garden for a bit more shopping. Can we just talk about those stairs though at the Covent Garden tube station?! I saw a big queue at the lifts and then saw the sign for the stairs and thought that’d be quicker. I didn’t actually see the warning that there were 192 stairs (!!!). It just kept going and going and I thought I was in some weird tube station nightmare. Everyone around me was puffing and panting (as I was) and I was like “will this ever end!?”. There were two guys behind me and I kept thinking, don’t let them overtake you!

As I got to the top the security guard was congratulating everyone saying we were champions which was amusing. I assumed my parents had taken the lift. I waited for ages, seeing the people who had taken the lift all fresh faced and happy and the people who had taken the stairs on the brink of collapse.

Finally I saw my parents and they fell into the latter category. They looked like they were about to die. My mum, bless her, couldn’t even talk. I couldn’t stop laughing (I know, I’m very mean). I mean I was very proud of them of course but I couldn’t believe it – I’d found the stairs tough and I’m fairly fit!

I only had one shop I wanted to go into… Lululemon. Walking round that shop is DANGEROUS. Honestly I could have bought everything. I do find the whole Lululemon experience a bit odd though as all the staff are very American. NOTHING against them but American retail sales people are a lot different to British. They’re very chatty whereas Brits kind of leave you alone and don’t engage much in random conversation. But anyway, they were very helpful and in the end I bought a tank top, a gorgeous pair of leggings and a long-sleeved top. My credit card needed resuscitating thought afterwards!

FullSizeRenderMe in my leggings and top at the beach walking the dogs when we got back to my parent’s

Then I topped off my happiness quota by getting a giant tub of fro-yo with strawberries, raspberries and brownie pieces.

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It was delicious and perfect to finish the day with!

It was such a good day but it was a very tiring day. I was exhausted when I got to bed that evening and fully dreading my 17 miler planned for the next day…

What do you like to do in London?

What’s been your favourite blogging event if you’ve done one?

Have you done any parkruns in London? I’d have loved to have done Bushy parkrun but it was just too far away to have been feasible.

17 thoughts on “A trip to London and Highbury Fields parkrun

  1. That sounds like a hell of a weekend! Your hair looks amazing and that meal sounds delicious 🙂 I haven’t done a blogging event in ages! I’m not as keen as I once was to sit on a train for 3 hours! I guess my fave was way back when a few of us just had a meet up in Manchester it was really good fun

  2. I miss Hampstead Heath parkrun! Only the two laps. Epic hill though…
    Today in London, I bought a new lipstick and nailvarnish at lunchtime (and got a freebie lipstick), and some blister plasters. Mostly, I try and get through work… I also like to go to running practice in London (this is what comes of commuting to London for work).
    And I’ve not really been to a blog event. Other than meeting ARunningCupcake at Cakeathon…
    Jane recently posted…We are having a barbecueMy Profile

    • I am jealous of people who have such regular access to London…but I’m not sure the payoff long-term would work for me. I have a course coming up where I’ll be in London for four days and I’m super excited (hotel and everything!) but I think I’ll be happy to go home afterwards.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Training currentlyMy Profile

  3. Great job at sticking in that race!! It looks like you picked the right guy to team up with – I love that he encouraged you and kept you going! I try to do that in my HIIT classes at the gym too. Sometimes all someone needs is to know that someone is cheering for them 😉
    kat recently posted…Peanut Butter Cup Apple NachosMy Profile

    • Runners are just so supportive (usually anyway) and it’s always nice when you can chat or be helped out (or help out!) someone else. Nice work on cheering people on in the HIIT – I can imagine that’s definitely needed!!
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Training currentlyMy Profile

  4. Your hair looks so pretty! I’d love to know how to do that sort of thing, but it looks so fiddly and complicated.
    The event sounds fun, although that sort of thing is intimidating, I am not good meeting new people. I did go to a nakd bar event once and we got to make our own which was fun.
    I’ve never done a London parkrun, I suppose if I was there I would, but getting the train in seems a waste when there are others much closer. Bushy park sounds amazing with so many people doing it, 1000?
    Ah Lululemon- I’ve only ever bought things from there in the USA or Canada, somehow it seems cheaper with the exchange rate. I bought some new capri’s the other day but they were in the sale and I love that they do a properly short length Capri.
    Ha ha those stairs! I’ve done that before and then regretted it half way! Once I was going to a course and the trains were delayed, I had to go to Russell square I think. Anyway another one with stairs and I thought it would be quicker, I think I was a total mess when I finally arrived!
    Maria recently posted…Parkrun pb ponderingsMy Profile

    • Ooh the nakd event sounds cool!
      I’d like to do Bushy Park just because it’s the THE parkrun. But the London ones are so tricky to get to (well, for me anyway!) Some of the parkruns there were a good 40 minutes out on the tube. I forget just how huge London is. The places I can get to 40 minutes from my house seem so much further!
      I closed my eyes when I paid for the Lululemon. It’s painful. But it was a treat…and I’ll stroke them softly every night 😉
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Training currentlyMy Profile

  5. This looks like a packed day! I love Barbecoa – went there a few times before I turned veggie, the views are amazing too. I still haven’t been in the Lululemon store in Covent Garden, despite walking past it at least once a week – I just know I’d want everything and the prices are so depressing compared to what they are in the US (well at the pre-Brexit exchange rate at least!) x
    LilyLipstick recently posted…Food: Coconut Coffee CocktailsMy Profile

  6. The Jamie Oliver restaurant sounds/looks pretty amazing. Also those stairs at Covent Garden are a killer! I thought 192, that’s not that many but oh lordy, by the top my thighs were on fire!

    • I couldn’t do that course every week. It would kill me. We have a 5 lapped course occasionally at my local one, and it’s called the Marmite course. It’s great if you’re going for a PB as it’s flat but for a regular run it’s soo dull.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Training currentlyMy Profile

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