Run Britannia!

In a bid to transform myself into an early morning workout obsessive, (which I’ll need to be to clock up the miles needed to actually get a decent time in the Royal Parks) I made to commitment to meet my running BFFs,  Emily and Laura at 7am on Sunday morning. That’s a 6am wake up call on my usual Day of Rest (i.e. 11am lie in!).

Needless to say, it was a struggle turning off the snooze button and lacing up my trainers. Even Stella didn’t budge in her basket as I left this morning.

I did feel very smug to have arrived at High Street Kensington before any of the morning trains had even kicked in for the day.  Less smug seeing hoards of Olympic volunteers merrily striding down the streets looking polished and ready for action, while I was still yawning and checking if I had my t-shirt on the right way round!

We had decided to trial Sweaty Betty’s Run Britannia, a program of sightseeing runs (5k or 10k) through London running over the Olympic period.  Although we were slightly apprehensive at first thinking we may just be running alongside very fast, very experienced Sweaty Betty Staff and uber runners, we were greeted with huge smiles from the team and set off at a manageable but challenging pace. Note: I am slow, clocking 11 minute miles, so needed a push!

We chose the Royal Park run, which seemed fitting for our training, and with beautiful weather and early enough to be a bit cooler – we meandered through Kensington Park Gardens, via the Royal Albert Hall clocking up 10kms, with a few tips on form and pace along the way from coach Hannah.


Those tips clearly paid off immediately as I clocked up my fastest training 10km! Shaving nearly 4 minutes off my last race time

Back at the Hight Street Ken branch, we were presented with fantastic goody bags (the coconut water went down a treat!) including water bottle, bag and flash neon laces. Nice reward for the weekly long run indeed, thank you Sweaty Betty!

Planning on a few more sessions, taking in up Soho and a bit of window shopping around Harrods – fitness, fashion and soaking up the Olympic atmosphere? Perfect.

The Crew

Saturday Crew

I count myself very lucky to have a number of mates who also happen to run. They understand the obsession with lycra, the constant worry over every niggle in your knees pre race, they actually want to hear the mile by mile account of your last triumph and understand how crazy it makes you when injury flares up and you’re stuck wearing flats with your beloved trainers gathering dust.

But strangely I have never been into running with other people if I can help it, even the fellow obsessives. I like the fact I don’t have to make conversation. I can change my pace without the worry of being too slow or too fast and I get to occasionally fall in a heap post massive hill climb or muck about with the dog and turn off the GPS. But even I, the solo running purist, had to admit, it can get a tad dull.

That all changed recently when I started running with a colleague from work who has similar running experience to me and doesn’t mind mixing up the chat with a good dose of iPod time too. Now with the Royal Parks training underway and both of us registered and hitting up the training schedules, I’m counting myself even luckier to have a bit of company on those long runs which can get very tedious when you’re clocking up 10+ miles!

Our first Saturday session this morning was a scorcher, first sight of the sun we’ve had in weeks and we managed six miles before 10am (this is early for me on the weekend!). Stella the Dog avoided an altercation with a mastiff puppy in Holland Park and we all managed not to pass out. Not a bad result for our first meet!

The CHASE is on!

Yes, we’re back on the blog at it again! Signed up and ready to get our training ON! Royal Parks Half Marathon on Oct 7th this year- and this time with another 30 or so colleagues from Random House so no doubt we’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

We’re all running for Chase, and I’ll be adding the fundraising details to the blog this weekend once we’ve got our charity page set up. Brainstorming a few crazy ideas to get you all to part with your hard earned cash for a very worthy cause. All and any suggestions also eagerly welcomed!

Watch this space!