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