Weekly Recap: 14 Weeks Until the Barcelona Marathon

I’m back! I’m here recapping the past two weeks of training for the Barcelona marathon (which will be next March), as well as life in London- at the most festive time of year!

I’m definitely going to try to post every week going forward, I hate missing a week…and then these posts are way too long, haha!

My last post was primarily about our senior vizsla Matilda and her health scare; the update on that is essentially the best case scenario. The mass that was removed with her spleen came back as non-cancerous. The vet said they were all surprised, as they had all the reasons to believe it was hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer in dogs. Instead, it was “nodular hyperplasia.” Since it is not cancer, we don’t have to explore doing chemo. We can focus entirely on getting Matilda back up to full strength for hopefully a few more wonderful years with us!

That being said, she is a 14.5-year old dog and the recovery will be slower than if she was 10 years younger (of course.) She has 30 staples in her stomach, which will hopefully be removed soon. She isn’t meant to take the stairs or go for long walks for 2 weeks either. But she is recovering quite well, and I am so, so happy she’s going to be okay!

She’s wearing some styling surgery suits that protect her from licking her incision and staples. She’s very tolerant of the suits and being carried up and down the stairs.

Monday: I worked from home to take care of Matilda; she really couldn’t be left alone for too long; we also relied on some of our trusted Rovers to work from our place as well during the work-week. Our place has a lot of stairs and Matilda isn’t supposed to take them; she wants to though, but we really can’t take the risk that she’ll slip (due to the 30 staples in her belly!) We’ve been keeping her (and Ruth, by default) on the ground floor in the kitchen when we’re gone. We have a dog bed there, heated floors, water, music…she’s just fine, but I also don’t want to leave her for too too long, so I’m happy to have work from home as much as I can and have rovers help us out.

I was able to fit in a run in the morning before starting work: warmup 2 miles, then 5x1k at the Regent’s Park cinder track with 3 min recovery walk/jog in between, cool-down for 8.4 miles. 10 min core afterwards.

Tuesday: I woke up oddly sore and tired- I guess from the speed workout. I decided to sleep in and save my run for the evening, which I never do; it’s hard work-wise to run in the evening and I just prefer morning runs (nothing wrong with one or the other, do what works for you and your schedule!) I did a Pilates reformer class at 6 pm and then ran home for 5 miles. I learned that Regent’s Park locks its gates in the evening- I had no idea! So I had to take a slightly longer route to get home.

Wednesday: 5 mile hilly run with my friend Tilly from the Mornington Chasers run club on a beautiful morning in the Heath.

I fit in a Pilates reformer class after work.

Thursday: Run with the WMN Run group! This time I dropped my stuff off at the office, ran to their meeting spot (about 1.5 miles), did the 5 mile run with them, then back to the office for 8 miles total. It was a cloudy morning along the Thames!

Friday: Early long-ish run, just 10 miles. 7 with Ruth and Dustin and then 3 on my own. I wanted to get my long run done as our work holiday party was Friday night, and then we had guests from Minneapolis arriving early Saturday morning.

I didn’t take many pictures from the holiday party, but it was brilliant!

I wore this black velvet jumpsuit I bought at the Reiss sample sale; (Reiss reminds me of Banana Republic; it’s a very popular store here in London.)

Saturday: Rest from running. Lots of walking around London with our guests Vicki and her husband Nate. We walked over 10 miles, mostly in central London to see the major sites (Big Ben, Parliament, Buckingham, etc.) and then through Covent Garden, Mayfair, etc to see all the Christmas lights and decorations, ending with Indian food at Bombay Bustle.

Pelicans at St. James’s Park!

Sunday: Regent’s Park 10k with my visitor. You might remember her from my Minneapolis days, as we would run together quite a bit. It is so nice to have her and her husband visiting us. They’ve been to London in the past a fair amount, but never around Christmas. They definitely saw a lot of London (and Vicki saw even more through running!)

Anyways, she was up for running a 10k; we ran to the start line of the race (2.8 miles), then did the 10k together, then ran/walked home for about 11 miles total. The 10k was really fun! It’s a low-key race put on by one of the clubs I’ve joined, the Mornington Chasers, and I knew more people than I thought I would that were there. The running community is the best.

The rest of the day we explored east London- mostly Shoreditch to do a little walking tour of the street art, followed by dinner at Manteca and drinks at Bar Swift, ending the night with a little Jack the Ripper tour through Whitechapel.

Summary: 49 miles of running, mostly very easy running- 1 speed workout, 2 Pilates reformer classes

Week of December 4-10:

Monday: Rest from running, Pilates after work.

Vicki and her husband explored London on their own during the workdays of their visit; they had both been here before and were happy to do their own thing while Dustin and I worked, and then we would join them for dinners. It worked out nicely (though I also got to run with Vicki quite a few times!)

Tuesday: Vicki and I actually work at the same firm, so she joined our office 5k in the morning to meet some people from our London office. Then we ran home, though I took a wrong turn (which is so silly, I run this route all the time!) and we ended up with 5.5 to get home, or 8.5 miles total. Both of the runs we did together were a bit longer than she had been running lately, but she did great and it was such a fun way to show her more of “my” London.

After the run, Vicki and her husband were off to explore more of London and I worked from home, until we all met up for dinner at the Horseshoe in Hampstead. Even Ruth joined us! She behaved pretty well too.

Wednesday: I ran on my own- 6.75 miles and then I picked up Vicki from our place to do a few miles together in the Heath; a run or walk in Hampstead Heath is a popular “tourist” attraction, so even though we only had time for 2 miles together, she still got to see a beautiful sunrise on the top of Parliament Hill.

Then I was off to the office for the day while our guests explored one more day on their own.

Vicki did come to the office at 6 pm to join our office group for a Christmas Lights 5k! It was definitely more of a run/walk weaving through the crowds, but it was fun and festive. I ended up with another 3.8 miles, so nearly 12 miles on the day.

We ran into other groups of runners doing a similar Christmas Lights run! London loves Christmas…

We quickly hurried back to Hampstead after the Christmas lights run for one more dinner with the full group, this time at the Freemasons Arms in Hampstead.

Thursday: We bid farewell to Vicki and her husband in the early hours to head to Heathrow to fly back to Minneapolis.

I really enjoyed their visit! It was so nice to spend time with them and I’m glad they decided to come to London this holiday season. It was special to share all the seasonal activities with friends from home. I am also so glad that they were able to see Matilda, as we didn’t know if they would see her again for a bit there. They have dogsat for her since she was a puppy and were happy to spend some time with her.

Anyways, I was tired from the long mileage the day before (split between the two runs) so I slept in after our guests left and ran home from work in the evening, 5 miles. Then I went to a late evening Pilates reformer class. For someone who doesn’t like to work out after work, I’ve been doing so a bit more often lately!

Friday: Dustin, Ruth, and I ran a 7.5 mile loop around Hampstead to Primrose park before working from home.

Saturday: My alarm went off and I could hear the wind and pouring rain…I just couldn’t do it. Instead, Dustin and I went for a shorter run together (5 miles) and I decided to push my long run to Sunday.

After the short run, we hopped on the tube to go the Sky Garden in east London. The tickets to the Sky Garden are free, but you have to book pretty far in advance, and its not something we had fit in before (would be great for visitors!)

We grabbed lunch in Spitalfield’s market, before walking the dogs through the Heath to pick up a Christmas tree. Unfortunately, I had decided to leave all our Christmas decorations in Minneapolis, as I didn’t think we’d bother with a tree here, but now we have one and I have to start all over with decor! (Fortunately retail is alive and well in London- lots of place to buy ornaments!)

That evening, we had tickets to Christmas at Kenwood another Christmas lights trail, but with the high winds and rain, they actually cancelled the event and allowed us to transfer our tickets to a different date. More to come on that hopefully soon! Instead, we had a bonus evening at home, which I didn’t mind after a busy few weeks.

Sunday: Up early for my long run- so glad I postponed it as the weather was quite nice (51F/10C and not raining!) I did 14 miles total with 3×3 miles at marathon effort.

After the run, we took a few different trains (overground, underground, suburban national rail) out to Hampton Court Palace (home of Henry VIII) for their Christmas Fayre, for “foodie delights and handmade gifts!”

(Remember when I said I was doing ALL the Christmas London activities, haha!) I’ll share more on that via Instagram!

Summary: 52 miles of running, 3 Pilates reformer classes, 1 rest day

Here’s one last picture of Ruth just for fun! She’s been so good with her ‘sister’ Matilda as Matilda recovers, but I know she misses her buddy on walks and jaunts in the Heath. Soon!

I’m linking up with Running on the Fly and Confessions of a Mother Runner; check out their blogs to connect with other fitness bloggers for workout ideas and inspiration!

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