I hear it’s important to have goals, especially when you start out running. Signing up for a 5K or a whole marathon keeps you focused. While I’m still intent on running the Thanksgiving 10K, I set another personal goal for myself, one that’s been in the back of my head even before I took up running.
I had to find George Michael’s house.
Let me stop here and tell you that I’m not some crazy stalker. If I came face to face with the man I wouldn’t know what to say. My mom was a big fan of George and Wham! when I was growing up, and she passed the torch to me. I knew he lived near Hampstead Heath since he crashed into the Snappy Snaps there (someone wrote “Wham” on the site of impact, which still makes me laugh!)
Mostly I was just curious. So many celebrities live in London, but I never seem to run into them. I did some Googling and found out that George Michael — along with Jude Law, Sting and Kate Moss — all live in Highgate. Thanks to the Internet, I even found the exact street they all live on. I’ve never been to Highgate, so I made it my goal — I would become fit enough to run the 3 miles there and back (for a total of 6 miles, or 10K).
I pushed this goal to the back of my mind, preoccupied with all that goes into moving (or “moving house” as they say here, which seems redundant) until it dawned on me — when we move in three days, I will be even further than 6 miles away from Highgate. So I had to add one more thing to my Moving To Do List, after packing, cleaning and spackling — run to George Michael’s house.
I tried to talk myself out of it. I was set to go on Tuesday, but then I decided to go grocery shopping instead. Then Wednesday it rained all day. When Thursday came and the sun was finally shining, I knew it was now or never. I plotted the route on Google maps, emailed the screenshots to my iTouch and set off. I ran up and down Primrose Hill (not the wisest decision, but I never get tired of the view), up across the greens of Hampstead Heath, then up to Highgate West Hill. They aren’t kidding with that street name — it was quite a hill! Having only run in the pancake-flat Regent’s Park, I was struggling and eventually had to walk. It was exciting though — running somewhere new and with a goal in mind. I passed private gated street after private gated street, no doubt home to other big names, until I finally reached The Street. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a bit of a letdown — it was an average street full of average-looking houses (though allegedly with impressive backyards that aren’t accessible from the street). But that’s the thing about London — some of the most expensive, decked out places look like rubbish on the outside (aside from the ridiculous mansions on Avenue Road). I slowed to a light jog to savor the moment — I did it! I ran three miles to Highgate to see George Michael’s house! I wasn’t a big enough stalker to get a house number, so I made a lap around the street. Unfortunately, he was not out walking his dog, nor were Jude Law or Sting sitting on their front stoops. I still felt victorious, until I remembered I was only halfway done — I had to run 3 miles back. Luckily most of it was downhill and I was on a runner’s/goal achiever’s high. I accomplished my main running goal, and now I know I am actually capable of running 10K and am ready to take on the Thanksgiving 10K (as long as there aren’t any massive hills).