Tag Archives: pug

When a (wo)man is tired of London…

19 Apr

“Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” — Samuel Johnson

I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m tired of London, but it’s certainly grinding on me lately. The crowds of tourists have been giving me a mean case of pedestrian road rage (yes, that’s a thing), and it’s taken everything I’ve got not to body slam a group of Spanish high school students blocking the entire pavement in the park whilst I’m running. Things that used to be a happy coincidence — like just happening to catch the Horseguards changing of the guards when trying to get to St. James Park have become a huge nuisance. There’s always something going on near our flat in central London, whether it be Mary Poppins filming or an alt right protest (and anti-alt right protest and a huge police presence just in case the two protests clashed).

So while those crowds of tourists who walk at a snail’s pace and stop sporadically for selfies couldn’t be more chuffed to be in London, I am so looking forward to heading to America tomorrow. I’m looking forward to driving again, to running in my parent’s subdivision with no chance of getting trapped behind tour groups and slow walkers, and, of course, seeing family and friends. I’m starting in Milwaukee, then heading to Chicago, then finally to Cincinnati via my old pal Megabus (please no explosions this time!).

I just checked in online for my flight and was surprised when Delta informed me the second leg of my trip might be overbooked and asked me if I’d be willing to accept a voucher to go on a different flight. (A new process in light of the recent United fiasco, perhaps?) The kicker is they asked me to bid with the voucher amount I’d be willing to accept — $200, $300, $400, or $500. I opted out since I have a non refundable hotel reservation to make, but I wonder what kind of person bids $300? Whoever bids the least will be the first to be bumped. Presumably someone who for one reason or another doesn’t really want to take the flight will bid $200, but anyone who’s smart would go for the max. Who bids $300 or $400? I’d really love to know.

Here’s hoping for smooth traveling (I’m flying Delta, but wearing leggings) and as mild a case of jetlag as possible!

london pug bus

At least I saw a pug bus today!

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A look back on 2016

1 Jan

pug-new-year

 

 

Ah, 2016. Celebrities die every year, but the year that took away David Bowie, Prince and George Michael seemed particularly cruel. Then there was that little Brexit debacle and American election. But on a personal level, 2016 wasn’t all that bad. Dare I say it was actually quite good.

 

Here’s a little reflection of what went down over the past year:

-Stephen and I celebrated 10 years together
-I went to the Cadbury Creme Egg cafe
-I completed the Great Walk of London, which involved walking 16.35 miles around London solely for the Fitbit steps
-I got to be maid of hono[u]r in my best friend’s wedding in Milwaukee
-I spent Fourth of July in Chicago with good friends
-All the cousins on my dad’s side of the family were reunited for the first time in 9 years
-I started playing Pokemon Go, let it take over my life, completed my Pokedex and for some reason still continue to play
-I did gymnastics for the first time in 16 years with my other best friend and survived with only minor aches and injuries
-I traveled to China with Stephen — twice
-I complete my first half marathon
-I went to my first Cincinnati Bengals game, which happened to be in London
-I got to meet Meat Loaf, my musical idol since high school
-We bought a flat
-I saw 9 West End shows, somehow tying my record from 2015, 2014 and 2013 (maybe my 2017 resolution should be to see 10 shows!)
-I traveled to Denmark, Sweden and the Czech Republic with my parents and got to visit the house my great great grandfather built in Sweden in 1903 (link missing because I still need to make a blog post about this!)
-I spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve in London for the first time. We watched the NYE fireworks from the roof of our building and it was beyond spectacular (the most spectacular part being we got to avoid the massive crowds)
-I got to eat at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant in Versailles for my 30th birthday. We had an amazing little last minute getaway, until we almost got stuck in Paris because all flights to London were grounded. Thank god for the Eurostar train!

Here’s to 2017! I haven’t made any resolutions, but I hope it is filled with good travel, theatre, food, running, friends and family.

I’m already nostalgic and we haven’t even moved yet

16 Nov

On Monday I made my last trek to Aldi. It was dark, cloudy and rainy and I was tempted to hop on a bus, but knew I had to walk. I somehow figured if my last grocery trip from this flat was long and miserable, perhaps I’d feel less nostalgic for it once we move. I’m not sure it worked.

This week I’ve been hitting up all my favorite running spots around here since they’ll be farther away after the move. I told myself I could always run to Regent’s Park and Primose Hill from our new place, it would just be a long run. Though I don’t think I’ve run more than 5 miles at a time since my half 2 months ago. But if I get word there are good Pokemon in these parts, you know I’ll be back.

regents park autumn.png

autumn in regents park.png

paddington rec ground autumn.png(Photos of Regent’s Park and Paddington Recreation Ground I took on my runs this month)

We hired movers to do our packing, but I still spent a lot of today organizing and packing things. We’re just moving a couple miles away, but I’ve got it in my mind that I will never see my belongings again — like when we made the initial move out here and our stuff was out at sea for 6 weeks. I’ve packed my suitcase for my European trip with my parents even though we don’t leave until Black Friday (9 days from now). Surely I will have unpacked the flat at least a little by then, but I convinced myself that if I don’t pack the selfie stick and travel adapters now, they will disappear in some box and I will never see them again. That is the downside of having someone else pack for you — you have no idea what’s in every box. But the way I’m acting lately, it’s like we won’t be able to open any of the boxes.

They always say moving is a good way to purge all those unnecessary items that don’t bring you joy, which is probably one of the reasons I hate moving so much. I hate getting rid of things, even if it is things I no longer use or haven’t touched since we last moved. Though I am getting better and — dare I say — even enjoyed a bit of the purging I’ve been doing. Please remind me of this when you find me curled up in a ball in a month lamenting about the new flat’s lack of storage space. I can do this!

corgi box.gif

pug-puppies-box

(What I wish my moving boxes contained)

Summer is the worst

7 Jun

Have I mentioned that I hate summer? Specifically running in the summer? I found this handy chart that explains how heat affects your running goals:

running temperatures.png

When I set out today at 1pm it was 79 degrees (26C), which according to the chart is “extremely oppressive” and I probably should have skipped the run. But instead I decided to just lower my mileage. Instead of my normal Tuesday long run, I’d do a “short” long run of 6 miles. I stopped in my usual spot to stretch and get my audio book started before I set off. I’ve been listening to audio books on my long runs to help me pass the time and power through. Right now I’m listening to Game Change, which is all about the 2008 US presidential election. I was looking forward to today’s listen because I had finally gotten to the Palin chapters. But when I opened up iBooks, Game Change was gone. So were all my other audio books. I hadn’t updated my operating system or synced my phone, so I couldn’t figure out why they disappeared when they were there yesterday. I clicked on a bunch of tabs and finally opened up the music app, thinking maybe they somehow got moved. That’s when I realized all my music was missing too! Apparently all my audio files on my phone can just magically disappear without touching anything.
not even mad amazingSo it was not a good start to my run. Luckily I had just reactivated my Spotify Premium subscription this morning, so I listened to Tegan and Sara’s new album as I plodded along. The heat and humidity were oppressive though, and my “I’ll just do 6 miles” turned into “I will be lucky it I can do 4 and not die.” 4 is still better than none though!

And I know what you’re thinking — why don’t you just run earlier? That’s the obvious solution. Except it’s not easy. I like running, but I like sleeping even more, and I’m pretty sure getting a good night’s sleep is the healthiest thing you can do for your body. I could run first thing after I wake up like a lot of people do, but I don’t like running on an empty stomach. I’ve got a good system going that involves waking up, eating my overnight oats, working for a few hours, and then running. Why you gotta try to mess it all up, summer weather?

I’m experimenting with my summer running kit and added two new items: a visor and wrist bands. I picked them both up in the golf section of Sports Direct. I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but I never understood the purpose of wrist bands until about two weeks ago. Sweat bands I get — they keep the sweat off your face, but wrist bands? Do they keep the sweat off your hands? Who gets sweaty wrists? But then I saw someone using them in a workout video and realized you use them to wipe away and absorb sweat from your face. Seems like a better idea than just using a tissue like I’ve been doing. I got the visor to protect my face from the sun. I always wear sunglasses and sunscreen, but lately I’ve been noticing more freckles and wrinkles on my face than I’d like and was hoping the visor would help. The jury is still out on the effectiveness of both my new kit items. The visor helps a little, but it also adds an additional layer to my already overheated head. The wrist bands work OK, but not with the visor as the brim prevents my wrist from reaching my sweaty forehead. They also got a little wonky when I put them in the washing machine even though I let them air dry. Alas.

pug exercise

(When I got home I synced my phone with my computer and all my audio files came back, which is good, but I’m still curious how it happened in the first place and worried that it could happen again. I’m also mad I lost my place in Game Change. I am blaming summer for all of this.)

Bloody no longer trusty running shoes

13 May

So my running shoes are stained with blood now. Before you panic, no, I did not get seriously injured nor step on some innocent creature. I’ve been wearing the same running shoes since January and have never had any problems with blisters or weird rubbing. But since yesterday was warm, I decided to wear thin socks. I’ve worn these socks before, but they’re not my go-to. About 2 miles into my run I felt something on my ankle. I stopped, thinking a rock or leaf had gotten into my shoe, but instead noticed the skin was peeling off and getting irritated from rubbing against the shoe. This is a problem I’m all too familiar with with flats and heels, and well, pretty much any shoe that is not my running shoe. But my trusty trainers have never let me down like this. I tried to push on, but the pain was starting to get to me. I ripped my sweat tissue in half (yes, I always carry a tissue in each pocket — one for sweat, one for snot. Gross, I know) and attempted to use it as a cushion between my ankle and my shoe, but it didn’t do much. I then tried to vary my gait by running on the tips of my toes. This relieved the pain, but seemed like a sprained ankle waiting to happen. That, and I looked feckin ridiculous. Like this pug:


I gave up and clicked “workout finished” on Mapmyrun then pseudo-limped the mile home. It seems I now need to add Band-aids to my emergency running kit (which so far just consists of a 20p coin in case I need to use the loo in the park. But considering how anti-paying-to-pee I am, it would have to be a super big emergency.)

I got home and drenched my bloody sock in Oxyclean, but didn’t bother to clean the back of my shoe. It feels like some strange badge of honor. But now I’m in a conundrum. Running shoes are supposed to be replaced every 500 miles, and so far I’ve put 334.99 on these ones (yes, that is the exact figure from Mapmyrun). I wasn’t planning on buying new shoes until I’m back in the US in July. So here’s hoping I can make these bloody shoes survive for the next 2 months with the right socks and Band-aids.

Thanksgiving Day Race Recap with pugs and corgis

3 Dec

I did it! After months of sprinting on the track, huffing it up Primrose Hill, and crapping out on 4-mile weekend runs, prompting Stephen to say, “There’s no way you’ll finish that 10K in under an hour,” I did it — I ran the Thanksgiving Day Race in 58 minutes and 49 seconds — a whole minute and 11 seconds faster than my goal.

It was really the perfect race in all aspects — the weather was ideal (50 F instead of the usual 25 F), my playlist was killer, and I saw a pug at the starting line and two corgis along the course. Years ago I declared that a pug sighting automatically improved the quality of my day, so it was a good omen to start the race with one. I also declared that races should have corgis along the way to make me run faster, and there they were — two corgis — on the side of the course cheering us on! However they didn’t make me run faster because I briefly slowed down to take their photo. I decided this race nothing was going to slow me down — I had various mantras I kept repeating in my head, from Shaun T’s “Dig deeper!” and “Never sacrifice form” to Enrico Pollini from Rat Race:

its a race gif.gif

I also really wanted to prove to myself (and Stephen, who runs with me the most) that I am capable of digging deeper and reaching my goal. But when there is a corgi along the race course you cannot not take a photo. (Pics or it didn’t happen, right?) So I got this blurry pic and took off again:

thanksgiving day race corgis.png

As I ran my family was texting me from the finish line, letting me know a guy won the race in 30:39 (how??) and that the very pug from the starting line was standing near them.

cincinnati pug.png

Not only that, but there was a corgi puppy nearby too!

race corgi.png

I wasn’t able to find my family or the pug and corgi after I finished since I was on a mission to get to the snacks by the stadium, but the thought of the pug and corgi (and OK, my family too) waiting for me helped me to push through on the hills.

I was elated that I finally reached my goal, but now there’s that “what now?”. Each year I shaved about 3 min off my 10K time — do I try for 55 min next year? But this race was so good I’m not sure I want to run it again next year (or if I’ll even be in town). When I brought up my “what now?” conundrum to my runner friend, she replied immediately: “You gotta run a half!” It’s always been in the back of my head that I want to tackle a half marathon before I turn 30. So many runners of varying sizes and abilities have done it — why not me? The London Half is in October, so I’ve got 310 days to decide and prepare. In the meantime I’ve “registered my interest” and have been carboloading as only Americans during the holidays know how.

Kudos to Kaan Malkoc and Groupon UK

31 Mar

In school I was told time and time again that Wikipedia is not a reputable source.

“Anyone can edit it!” professors would insist.

I’ve used Wikipedia for years, and I still don’t know how to edit an article (though to be honest I’ve never really tried). I had also never noticed an article edited with incorrect information. Until last week.

The other day I happened to find myself on the One Direction Wikipedia page (Don’t ask, it was for work. Really.) Zayn Malik had just announced he was leaving the band, so I glanced over at the list of members.

one direction kaan malkocThat was fast, I thought — they already replaced him! …With Kaan Malkoc? I found it curious he didn’t have his own Wiki page, so I googled him. And almost nothing came up. Turns out he is not a world-renowned pop star, he’s some Turkish kid who’s a ninja at Wikipedia editing. Well done, Kaan Malkoc, you just proved all my professors right. However, Wikipedia did correct the edit, so maybe it’s not that unreliable.

one direction wikipediaIn unrelated news, I noticed a bizarre Groupon today. UK Groupons are often a little bizarre — I’ve seen ones for a decorative Lord or Lady title, as well as a 6-month supply of allergy pills (I totally just bought that one). But this one was something else:

groupon dog barkAnd then I realized what day tomorrow is and clicked on the link.

groupon april fools pug
Well done, Groupon, for kicking off April Fool’s Day early.