A spot of sun.

So, yesterday I was indirectly complaining that I never see the sun, but for one glorious hour the sun came out to slap me in the face. It was awesome.

“One time, Regina George punched me in the face. It was awesome.”

The day started out covered in clouds as we went for a bike ride through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park.

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We wanted to see the Peter Pan statue, which is incredibly easy to find but both times I’ve gone I’ve taken wrong turns and added about 20 minutes to my travel time.

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All photos are once again taken with my iPhone.

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We were en route to a place that serves American style fried pickles when I spotted this area behind Oxford Street that had lots of cafes with outdoor seating. It was starting to get sunny, so I decided to forget the fried pickles and work on being European for a bit.

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We went to a crepe shop, where I got an iced coffee and a crepe filled with spinach, cheese and ratatouille. It set me back £8, but it was great!

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Tomorrow is Clay’s last day in England, so we’re going to see The Lion King musical. He better like it. Also, Sunday morning after I drop him off at the airport I’m running the British 10K race, which I’m rather nervous about after having to take two weeks off running due to my knee. I’ve been looking forward to this race since April so I hope I can make it through and carry on with my marathon training!

Canada Day in London

Canada Day is celebrated in Trafalgar Square every year, but with my being American I’ve never attended out of fear I’d have their traditional chips covered in gravy and cheese thrown at me.

I joke. Canadians might possibly be the least offensive people on Earth?

When I found out Our Lady Peace was going to be performing a free show this year, my American butt was there.
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It wasn’t my intention to wear a sweatshirt that screamed American, but it’s all I had. Either Indiana State or Ohio University. It was fine though, because no one noticed me or tossed gravy at me. They were too busy being Canadian!

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Eventually the show started, and I rocked out (sat on a step with my American friend) for about thirty minutes.

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Then they stopped! They played maybe seven songs and they were done. I think maybe they didn’t play much because they’re doing a real show at the O2 tonight. Still, I’ve wanted to see Our Lady Peace for more than 10 years, so in that sense I was satisfied.

Happy Canada Day!

Night walk across Tower Bridge

One of my friends took me out for an American dinner Tuesday night because I was being moody and needed a fun time. Afterward we walked past the Tower of London and then across Tower Bridge because it was right there, and there’s never, ever a time when it’s not fun to walk across this bridge at night.

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It was cool because we got to see the Olympic rings before they were let down the next day.

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See all the experiences I’m now able to share because of my iPhone?? iPhone, I love you.

10 miles in Murder Common

My mood is stinky lately. Reeeeall smelly. Like a foot.

I hate that I’m so affected by bad weather, but I can’t get rid of this feeling that I just want to go home and enjoy a normal life where I can go outside. Everything about my life in London is great and I’m really happy … but so unhappy at the same time.

Saturday morning was kind of good, weather wise. I ran 10 miles in Wimbledon Common, but I started to get upset toward the end of my run because it was getting cloudy and rainy, and stayed that way for the rest of the day – including for my party!

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I was loving Wimbledon Common because I had no idea there were so many trails and private places. I started thinking it would be a place where I could easily be killed. Later when I told one of my friends about how amazing Wimbledon Common was, the first thing he said was that a woman was murdered there a few years back. Great!

I don’t think I need any more details. It’s a great place, and if you haven’t been you definitely need to check it out!

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I didn’t have a running partner this time, but 10 miles (mostly) wasn’t as hard as I thought. It’s amazing how quickly you get in shape. Up until the fourth mile I still felt great and wasn’t tired at all.

Then I came across some soccer fields that had a track spray painted on the grass. For some reason I don’t really mind running around a track. I wouldn’t want to do it for 10 miles, but 2-3 is fine. I kind of just space out and don’t even think about running.

Plus, running around the track enabled me to set down my fanny pack and water. Yeah, that’s right. I wore a fanny pack. Even though I’m a pretty big supporter of fanny packs and can’t wait until the day they come back into fashion, any time I wear one I still pray I don’t run into anyone I know.

I own two fanny packs.

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The last mile was so tough. My legs felt dead, and even though I’d brought energy bars for the occasion, I was too tired. I still managed to run, but at the slowest of paces. My knees were also hurting, which has been worrying me.

I half-ran, half-hobbled past the fair in Wimbledon Village, where there were lots of food tents, activities and tons of horses.

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By that evening my legs were really feeling the run. Even though at the time I felt like I had a good run, I was doubting my ability to run this marathon. I felt really badly, but that was partially due to the fact that I hadn’t eaten all day. I was too busy cooking and serving to actually eat, so by bedtime I felt awful. All I could think was: if I feel this terrible after 10 miles, how am I ever going to complete the longer runs to finish 26 miles??

I have a few shorter distances before it picks back up in a couple weeks, so I’m hoping these will be better! And of course I’ll be sure to focus on proper nutrition and eating – that was a bad one-off.

It also helps that my blogging friend Jill has decided to get a bit crazy and sign up for a marathon herself, so she says she’ll be running the distances with me – except in Italy :)

She has signed up for a marathon in Budapest, which I think is SO cool. I kind of wish I’d signed up for a European race, and turned it into a racing holiday. Perhaps next year – depending on how my first marathon works out!

Independence Day in London

What do a Kiwi, an Italian, some Canadians, a Northern Irishman, some English and an Estonian have in common?

Don’t worry, this isn’t a dirty joke. The answer is an undying love for the good ol’ USA and a desire to celebrate it in style with their favorite American friend.

Maybe that’s a joke, too. But in any case, we gathered and ate and drank!

I made cornbread that was gone almost immediately. My American friend Melizza made amazing chocolate chip cookies, and they were gone before I took a picture.

I did, however, get a picture of the bread she made.

Manuela made her perfect apple pie.

And that completes the food photos! I can’t believe I took no photos of the food other than this. We also had burgers, lots of mixed drinks, and three different salads.

Although we had to celebrate a bit early I’m really glad I decided to do something this year rather than feel like I’m missing out while all my friends back home have cook outs and parties.

These are my two American friends. I don’t now why I look so crazy here.

Most of the people who came were people from work. I don’t think I’ll ever again be lucky enough to work with such cool people.

I hope everyone here had a fun “Fourth of July” and that all my friends back home have a fun one in a couple weeks!

Happy 4th! :)

Happy early birthday, USA

I haven’t had anything to say this week, so I haven’t blogged much. Maybe it’s something in the air, because Laura recently wrote a similar post about having nothing to say and it made me laugh. I used to get so angry when my aunt would say this to me: “If you’re bored then you’re boring.”

I’d be like, I’m not boring! I just have nothing to say, think about, write about or do. Maybe I am boring.

I do have exciting stuff planned for this weekend. My house is about to be all decked out in American goodies for an early Fourth of July party. I figured all my English/international friends would love to celebrate America’s independence, so I’m having a small get together with food + alcohol, and most importantly, decorations:

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I pretty much bought at least one of everything. It’s going to be like a five-year-old’s birthday party, except for the good ol’ US and A.

I got so excited that I modelled some of the stuff for myself before work this morning. Fashion show for one!

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My only regret was that they didn’t have a ridiculous American flag dress.

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On the menu:

Cornbread
Burgers
Greek salad
Spinach salad with strawberries, walnuts and balsamic vinegar
Guacamole
Apple pie
Potato salad
Some other stuff.

People are bringing a few side dishes. I guess the menu isn’t 100% ‘merican, but it’ll do!

Also, I’ve been listening to this song a lot. Sexy Sushi. Obsessed.

Summer nights

Tonight’s five mile run was surprisingly not hard.

Despite jamming my face off to some new Tim McGraw I downloaded, running through the cool air under the trees made me feel calm.

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It was such a nice night in England, but I definitely was not mentally in England. Between the country music and smell of nature I felt like I was back home running on my favorite trail in Ohio.

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I made sure to take stretching breaks, although when I sat down by the lake I really didn’t want to leave. One of those times I forget I’m in a city.

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At this point my running app decided to rudely interrupt my music to tell me my pace was now zero. Thanks for that!

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If England can hold out and have maybe just a few more days like today it might not be such a sad summer!

Jill wrote a great post about her run that coincided with my 9 mile run Saturday. Check it out! She’s also going to do 10 miles with me this weekend, except this time she’ll be back in Italy, where she claims she has to get up and run at 7 am because it gets too hot. I called her a show off! :) Give us poor folk up in England some of that heat!

Yellow beans + cherry tomato summer pasta

The thing about photographing food is that you have to take the time to photograph it before you eat it. This really doesn’t work well for me, because to do it properly you need to take a fair amount of pictures. Lately I’ve been snapping like, six, hoping they’re fine and then munch munch.

Yesterday I felt like I was making a big error putting beans in pasta, but it was wunderbar.

I was in Wimbledon Village when I stumbled upon a nice little supermarket called Bayley & Sage and found yellow beans, which I was genuinely excited about. I feel like being this excited about finding beans is some kind of reflection on my coolness factor/age …

I also bought locally grown maters and fresh egg tagliatelle.

Yeller beans. Chopped and tossed into the sauce with just a few minutes to go so they’d maintain their crunch.

To make the “sauce” I heated cherry tomatoes, a garlic clove, olive oil, white wine, lemon juice and s&p.

For garnish I added a few sliced raw tomatoes.

Twirl in the salad.

Done.

Nine miles through central London

Yesterday was my longest run in my month of marathon training.

I had to take a week off because I over did it last week, and I’ve never before moved my body nine miles in one direction without the aid of a vehicle, so I was nervous.

Luckily I had two people to run “with” yesterday. One actually with me, and one international running buddy. Jill, from The Cinquecento Project, is a fellow Mid-Westerner but lives in Italy, so she e-mailed me saying she’d coordinate to run nine miles at the same time. Really fun idea and I hope we can keep doing it! If anyone else wants to join in, let me know!

Although you’re not actually running together it’s cool to imagine you’re not alone and it also gives you more accountability because you know another person is going to be running.

My other running buddy was a friend from work. Normally I joke around and ask people if they want to run however many miles with me on the weekend and I usually get a head shake a laugh, but Hugh was crazy enough to agree to run with me. I didn’t believe it at first. I was like, “Ummm, what? Really?!?”

We met at Green Park, by Buckingham Palace, at 3 pm and did a giant loop around Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, St James’ Park, past Waterloo and back around to Embankment.
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Hello, Queen!

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I didn’t want to overdo it so we stopped after every mile and stretched and had water. And took pictures!

There was some kind of parade going on, and while we were taking pictures I stepped to the edge of the curb and noticed a bus pulling up.

Here’s the face of someone who thinks they’re going to get hit.

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We ran along the parade and into Kensington Gardens. I’d never been to this part before, but it was beautiful and full of dirt paths so we didn’t have to run on the hard pavement. I think this was a huge help for my shins as well.

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I’m such a tourist. With all the pictures we took you’d never guess we both live and work here.

All the sites we saw on this run made me think perhaps I should do a long run in every city I visit. See everything in a couple hours versus a couple days!

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We crossed the river at about mile seven, and had to walk most of the bridge because it was packed with actual tourists.

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We’d been in parks all day, but ended at Embankment so we had to stretch on a concrete slab.

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I went home, made a giant dinner that I ate as fast as I could and then iced my legs with broad beans (I’m a proud veggie lover, but broad beans = gross). I ain’t wastin’ no peas on shin icing. Peas are most definitely on my “get in muh belly” list.

Although I’m pretty sore today, I’m very happy to say I’m not having an ounce of shin pain! This makes me feel pretty confident and I’m already looking forward to next week’s 10 miles.