Hey y’all. Thanks for your patience while I was a little bit AWOL last week. I started my week in London and ended it in Berlin: quite the schedule considering that last weekend was spent in Yorkshire, and the week before in Stockholm.
Yep, it all sounds peachy. And mostly, it is. But it also impacts your life in ways that all add up: I go to bed later, I rise earlier, I drink more, I eat more, and I run less. A week of travel can leave me 60% elated and excited, and 40% adrift and out of touch. But don’t get me wrong – I’m always grateful, and know how lucky I am to have these opportunities.
Over the past two weeks I’ve only ran three times: once in London, once in Yorkshire and once in Berlin. I’m feeling bloated, heavy, too-full-of-chocolate (the treat size bag of m&ms I ate today don’t help with that), so to help me clear my funk, I’ve thought of my favourite running experiences whilst on work travel:
- Edinburgh, August 2011: This was back in the day when running 5k at 6.30am was a big deal for me (to be honest, I’m still amazed when I do anything before 7am). My hotel was in the suburbs, and so I didn’t see any sights, but I felt proud that I was out running before a workday that I knew would last until at least 12am that night. I was still adjusting to life in England, and adapting my running habits to UK running. I don’t have a photo of this run because I was such a novice that it never occurred to me to take a photo while running (I’m sure some people would say it’s not great running etiquette…).
- Stockholm, March 2014: This 10k route was recommended to me by my CFO, and takes you through the town to a body of water called Djurgårdsbrunnsviken. I ran at 6am, just after the sun had risen: everything was cloaked in a fresh, golden light and the water was so still that it looked like a deep silver, silk carpet. I saw the typical Scandinavian colourful houses, as well as crystal clear reflections and dappled sunlight through tree branches. This was definitely the run that made me immediately want to go home and write wonderful poetry that so perfectly encapsulated the experience that there’d be a new literary movement called ‘Runmantics’ – like the Romantics, but running (or maybe that final sentence shows why it’ll never, ever happen).
- London, 2011-14: London is one of my favourite running cities. Unless you go first thing in the morning, it is stupidly crowded with people, but even at these times I love it. London is made up of thousands of tiny streets: running through the narrow and dark alleys like Milk Street, Bread Street and Smithfield Market, I can imagine what life would have been like 200 years ago. If I ignore the music pumping in my ears, the City Boys with their beards, pinstripes, and aviators, and the H&Ms on every corner. But! Then you reach the Thames, where you can run for ages and ages, taking in the sights of London while improving your lactate threshold. Is there anything better?
- San Francisco, January 2013: This route took me from Union Square, through the FiDi (totes just learned that means the Financial District in SF), along the water to Pier 39 and back. It was about 8k in total I think. I ran at 7pm, when it was cool and dark, so until I reached Pier 39, the route wasn’t anything special to look at. But it was ace seeing the skateboarders doing their thing, seeing the lights of Pier 39 get closer and brighter, and feeling the fresh Winter air blowing in from the bay. And it was a long way from Europe or Australia.
- Berlin 2014: So this one happened this week, which is why it’s made the list. And also because Berlin is the coolest of the cool. Our office is in the East side of the city, with MTV just down the road, so you know, that’s how we roll. It’s a really creative area, with people playing music on the streets until well into the night, loads of clubs which don’t close until the sun has been up for at least 8 hours, and fancy pants graffiti on any surface that will hold it. Shoreditch graffiti looks like a GCSE art project compared to Berlin graffiti. This run took us across the Spree, with a fab view of the Molecule Man, and into Treptower park, where I got my fix of running beside water (see Stockholm, SF and London!).
So – are you still with me after all of this?
The week in Berlin was great, and on Friday there was a regional party. On the way there, I saw this sign:
So I did what it said. Eleven hours later, I found myself going to bed (the sun was about to come up, people!), and now four days later, my quads are still sore after all that boogying. It’s not that I’m #TooOldToParty. If anything, I’ve found a great way to cross train. Same effect as running uphill: dehydrating, crying legs, a sense of disbelief as to what’s just happened.
And to close, here is some Berlin wall graffiti for you all: