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!

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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.

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! 🙂

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!

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.

Training along the Thames

Two thoughts about my first two weeks of marathon training.

1) I am so hungry.

2) I’ve never slept better!

I did each three mile run this week along the Thames after work.

I know just yesterday I was complaining about the weather in England, but actually, if you’re running there couldn’t be better weather. It’s been in the 60s and cloudy with a breeze – perfect.

Even though I’ve seen these sites hundreds of times and work by them every day, I still have to stop and take pictures.

There are no tourists in this picture, and any place in central London in which there are no tourists means it probably smells like pee. This corner totally smelled like pee.

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The first day I ran along the river toward Lambeth Bridge because I’ve always wanted to get a picture of Parliament from this angle rather than the typical Waterloo angle.

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I accidentally left my necklace on. No one likes a sweaty necklace.

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After that run I went to the only place I know that serves good iced tea – the Young Vic Theatre (where I saw Patrick Stewart!)

Perfectly unsweetened with a raspberry on top.

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Yesterday I ran by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. I hear you can get standing room tickets for £5, and I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never been!

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The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is this weekend so they’ve put up this giant picture of the Royal Family. I’m sad I have to work from home this weekend because I’d love to see all the celebrations in the city.

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Hungerford Bridge by Embankment is maybe my favorite bridge to walk across – especially at night! If you’re ever in London I’d say walking across this bridge when it’s dark is a must. The whole city and river is lit up around you. You can see St. Paul’s Cathedral (where Princess Diana got married), the lights from the South Bank, the London Eye, and Big Ben.

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I absolutely love the South Bank and feel so lucky to work here.

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As I said, I’ve been ridiculously hungry. I had to start eating some meat, because I’m clearly not good enough/creative enough yet to do otherwise and not go to bed with a hunger headache.

So, I got responsibly sourced fish and fried it up with some polenta, old bay, salt + pepper and paired it with a big pile of rocket, spinach, and potato gnocchi that I fried in a pan with a tiny amount of oil and spices so it would get nice and crispy.

I have better pictures that I took with my Nikon, so I’ll post those, along with a semi recipe, this weekend!

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Up next is a seven mile run planned for Saturday!

Mom’s trip to Borough Market

I’ve been away from blogging for a few days because there has been constant 80 degree weather and sunshine in England, so I didn’t waste one second of it. I have a tan now. The temperature is expected to be back in the 50s by the end of the week, which as far as I’ve ever been able to tell is the average summer temperature in England.

My mom’s been gone more than a week now, but I forgot to post about some of the fun things we did.

We made a couple trips to Borough Market because it’s close to my place of employment and it’s … awesome.
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Despite the milk, my random craving for a cup of hot chai tea was too strong so I slurped one down.

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Every time I have chai I love it so much that I’m inspired to become one of those hot tea drinking people.

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I go to the store and buy a big box of tea, but of course I never drink any of it. I’m just not a tea drinker.

Coffee through and through. I’ll never be a real Brit.

I still have never completed my goal of going to Borough Market with a giant bag and filling it full of fresh vegetables for a late afternoon feast. Maybe this summer?

Speaking of summer, last summer Borough Market had tons of watermelons, and you know what one of my other life goals is? To make one of those giant vodka-filled watermelons. Like college kids do. I know I’m old, but I love watermelon, and this has always seemed like a super fun idea. Vodkamelon. The way forward.

Aren’t these the prettiest ‘shrooms you’ve ever seen?

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I think this picture is actually from our random food tour of London a couple days before. Raclette cheese on new potatoes with little pickles. Pepper on top.

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Surely Borough has to rank up there with the best food markets in the world?

Marathon training begins!

My first two days of marathon training are complete. Two words: hot. sore.

I can’t say it’s in any way been easy. I took a month off from running because I was so busy before my mom came to visit, and then I had no time for even a single work out while she was here. It’s amazing how much of a difference a month will make in fitness. Before, I could run three miles and wouldn’t really feel tired afterward. After running three yesterday and two today, I am sore and so tired!

The month + of rain we’ve had in England finally left and we’ve been enjoying temperatures between 75 and 80, which is great!

It’s not too hard to stay motivated on my runs because I’m really lucky and have a lovely running route.

My favorite blue house:

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And other cute English homes:

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I live close to a large park, and it’s great because it’s not in the city center so there are no tourists! It’s well maintained and spacious, and every time I’m here I forget I live in a big, dirty city.

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Anyone who thinks South West London is anything but the best part of the city is crazy.

SW-4-Life, yo.

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As you can tell from all the pictures, I took a few walking breaks 🙂

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Another reason I love this park is because there is a good mix of pavement and dirt paths so you’re not always on concrete.

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I think I might be 75 years old. Every time I see a lawn bowling club, I really, really want to join. Doesn’t this look great?

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I can’t wait for retirement.