One thing I love about London, or any big city, really, is that when traffic is really bad or the Tube is “properly buggered,” you can always say, “Screw it, I’m walking.” This happened to me a few months ago when I was going to apply for my Chinese visa. It had snowed — I kid you not — maybe one centimeter overnight, and it threw the entire Central Line into chaos. I had to get off at Oxford Circus and take a pricy taxi the rest of the way so I wouldn’t be late, but I was not about to do that on my way home. I figured in the amount of time I would spend waiting for a bus and transferring I could almost walk home, so I did. All 5 miles. I considered it practice for my Great London Walk.
What’s the Great London Walk, you ask?
At the beginning of the year one of my employers sent me a survey. The last question was “What are your personal goals for 2015?” or something like that. I could have put the generic “Eat better, run more, stop attacking jars of Nutella and biscuit spread with a spoon” (I’ve gotten better at that! And by that I mean I haven’t allowed myself to buy a jar of Nutella or biscuit spread in two months), but I decided I should put something specific. So I wrote “Earn the 30,000 steps Fitbit badge.”
30,000 steps is equal to about 13 or 14 miles. The closest I came was on April 22, 2014 when I hit 25,563 steps and 11.39 miles when I was in NYC. But this year I want to hit 30,000, which is where the Great London Walk comes in.
Some day this year I am going to walk 30,000 steps (maybe even more!) around London. I have not chosen a day yet, because the conditions have to be perfect. With my work schedule, I’ll have to do it on a weekend, and since Stephen is not as passionate about Fitbit steps and miles as I am, it’ll have to be a weekend when he’s traveling for work.
I’m still working on a route. I’m thinking I will plan it so I arrive at Borough Market for lunch, which is about 5 miles away, and then I’ll wander along the Thames, strategically stepping into museums for bathroom breaks. I had another training session last week when I decided to walk to Oxford Street and back. I ended that day with 21,215 steps, 9.25 miles, and legs and feet more sore than when I ran 10K. Clearly, the Great London Walk is going to require more training.
I recently upped my running weekly mileage, partly because I want to get faster and better, partly because I cannot stop eating Chinese bakery cake. I think it’s working, because I did my fastest 4 miles yet today (with a bit of cheating — I pause the app at stoplights, does that count as cheating?). Hyde Park and Regents Park are particularly beautiful this time of year, so I’m trying to soak it all in before next week, when I’ll trade royal parks for Kentucky suburbs and nature trails, at least for a month. Though it seems Christmas was just yesterday, I’m looking forward to some quality time with friends and family, and of course, American food (apparently my Easter basket is waiting for me). (See above about the need to run more).
And now some pretty Hyde Park flowers from this afternoon’s run: