My How Things Change

Well, wasn’t March long! It was a great month and a tough month, involving trips to London, Berlin, Dublin and Copenhagen. That sounds awesome, and it was, except when you’re setting your alarm for 3.45am. But then, I do love the chance to run in a different city.

 

I didn't run in Copenhagen, but here's a nice pic :)

I didn’t run in Copenhagen, but here’s a nice pic :)

The other thing that I’m having to contend with is of course this growing bump of mine. After a very easy first 14 weeks, things are suddenly slowing down. My overall pace has remained even since I found out, but is slower than I was running before: before a typical kilometre would take approximately 4:50, where as now it’s about 6:10.

 

When I run now, I can definitely feel something  inside. It’s so weird! It feels like a tennis ball is wrapped up in a spider’s web, and with every step you can feel the tennis ball move within the suspension of the web. And then it settles down with the rhythm, but there’s an undeniable weight that I can feel squeezing against whatever is inside when there used to be nothing!

Moody running in Durham on Saturday morning

Moody running in Durham on Saturday morning

 

As a result of all these changes, I think I tire quicker. In flat Berlin, I ran 9k and stopped every 2k or so, where as in hilly Durham I’m stopping approximately 3 times in 5k. Each time I aim to walk about 30 metres, or two lamp posts. Each run is unpredictable: there aren’t any goals, and I  have no idea how each one will go. It all depends on how I feel at the time, and I’m loathe to really push myself.

 

So what does all this mean? Fewer runs! I can’t say ‘I’ll just go out and do a quick 5k’ because who knows whether the pace will have slowed yet again, or if I’ll need to stop more than usual. Then when I do run, it makes for lazy evenings: sometimes I feel as tired as when I was marathon training, but I’ve only done 7k, not 30! So, I can’t fit it into my life as I have done previously, and each one needs more planning and flexibility.

 

On the other hand, I was starting to suffer from bad headaches, which apparently are a symptom (to be honest, everything can be written off as a symptom). Once I started running more regularly, they cleared up. And every health professional I have asked said it’s far better to run throughout pregnancy than not, as long as my body was used to it.

 

There are so many changes happening: my emotions are all over the place (that’s according to SB: I think I’ve been a dream), my body is changing shape, my clothes don’t fit, head rushes, low blood sugar and nausea if I don’t eat – with all this, it’s SOOOOOOO nice to have something to cling on to which makes me feel like ‘me’. Not to mention there’s a little thing called labour which I will need to contend with, and it seems to me that it’s far better to go into that being fit and perhaps more mentally prepared for the physical challenge that will be….

 

I’m sorry I’ve not been writing as much recently. But I’ve not been running as much! This month will hopefully be different as my travel isn’t as intense: I’ve already done two 5ks this week, and tomorrow will hopefully make a 3rd. I hope you all had a great Easter. SB and I went to the Lake District, and found a rope swing. I was not above waiting amongst the kids for my turn….I mean, I was almost the same height as most of them anyway!

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Ellie B

Berlin – Shoreditch’s bigger, sexier, poorer cousin

Hey everyone. Two weeks since my last post, and two weeks since my last run. I’ve learned that if you’re planning to move across the country, travel for work, and are growing something that basically uses all your blood and eats all your food, you get tired. Before I could squeeze in a run pretty much any time, but now I have to consider things like whether there’s a three hour drive ahead of us, or what time I need to get to the station the next day.

 

Anyway. This week I am in…… Berlin! Despite my whining above, I really like being here. Berlin feels like one giant Shoreditch. For those who don’t know London, Shoreditch is the current oh-so-cool suburb, complete with hipsters, coffee shops, bars and graffiti. My work is based in the East side of Berlin, which has loads of graffiti everywhere and loads of cool restaurants and bars.

 

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After work today I took myself on a run to Checkpoint Charlie, which was the most famous crossing between East and West Berlin. It was 9kms there and back, and it was cool to run from the quirky East side into the more commercial CBD.

 

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I wasn’t running on traditional running routes, and I only saw a couple of others out. However. In Berlin there are loads of cyclists. There were cycle lanes on every street I ran down, and the cyclists are not only speedy but assertive: god help you if you’re in the lane when they come speeding down. There are bells and yells all over the place. The cycle lanes are more on the footpath than on the road, which seemed safer for the cyclist – as long as you aren’t some stupid foreigner who forgets to look the opposite direction and almost gets run over (this happens to me every.single.time).

 

What better time for a selfie than Checkpoint Charlie?

What better time for a selfie than Checkpoint Charlie?

 

Berlin is a very flat city to run in, and there are loads of landmarks to see. I would have loved to make it to the Brandenburg Gates, but for reasons (see first paragraph and also I met my colleagues for dinner) I didn’t. It’s also a city with loads of parks, which would be nice to explore.

 

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So. This week’s run has been great. On the weekend I’ll be in Birmingham – probably not as many cool graffiti spots or historic landmarks, but you never know…..

Oh the places I’ve ran…. (with work)…

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 DjurgÃ¥rdsbrunnsviken. 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).

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Awww how can you not love it?

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  • 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?
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London Summer Running

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London Winter Running

  • 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.
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Love Hearts at Union Square

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Did you ever see such a typically American restaurant?

  • 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!).

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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:

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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:

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Ellie B