New Shoes, New Places, Still Lost in London

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What a fantastic first long run in London!!!! (apologies for the excess of pictures - I got really excited). Not only did I find a ton of swans and pretty gardens, but my NEW SHOES DON’T HURT MY FEET.

I have the worst feet - really wide, no arch, and it’s been a nightmare trying to find shoes that fit, but FINALLY these work (knock on wood). Cheers to much, much happier feet!

Decided on doing my miles for Achilles International, which provides a community to support athletes with disabilities, giving training and racing opportunities to everyone from children with disabilities to disabled war veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

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I didn’t really know how far I was planning on going, but the most promising looking chunk of green on my London map was Hyde Park. It looked like it would be about 8 miles there and back, so off I went!

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aerial view of the Park - thanks Wikipedia!!

I pretty much just had to follow one straight road to get there, and I figured if I left a bit later than I had for Regent’s Park, I wouldn’t get stuck in swarms people. Wrong again - the street I was using just happened to cut through one of the busiest shopping areas in London! Whoops.

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Oxford Street on the run back over an hour later - and this was LESS crowded than it was on the way there! Yikes!

So after a significant amount of questionable curb running and pedestrian dodging, I finally made it to the park and it was HUGE. On the iPhone map it looked pretty big but definitely was not expecting to see such a huge chunk of grass in the middle of London.

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There were a bunch of paths I could have taken at this point, but since I didn’t really trust myself to find my way home if chose one of the diagonals, I kept following the road.

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Dear path I did not take and people I did not run past: sorry you all didn’t get to witness my really confused and lost run. Maybe next time?

After continuing on the road for what felt like forever but was probably actually only a few minutes, I found these AWESOME looking gardens and stopped to wander through them for a few minutes before I realized it was getting sort of dark and maybe I should turn around.

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But I didn’t because the park was gorgeous and the sunset was gorgeous and the weather was gorgeous and you get the idea.

Then I found a giant lake with so many swans in it! And ducks. But we have ducks in our ponds back home - swans, maybe one or two if we get lucky…

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I really should learn how to use my phone camera so it takes non-blurry pictures. But SWANS!

I asked a guy on a park bench who had a really fancy camera if he could take a picture of me with my new swan friends…well friend, because the rest swam away. Rationale was that if he had a fancy camera he could probably get a good picture, but in actuality, it probably meant he had never attempting to take an iPhone picture in his life. Result: I have a great 7 second video of me squatting down next to the swan with his confused voice in the background. Score!

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finally getting it right!

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swan’s leaving after one successful picture, so I guess I’m leaving too…

Ran all the way home as the sun finally set, and was at a little over 9 miles when I reached my dorm. I was still feeling pretty good, and even though it was pretty much pitch black at this point, ran an extra loop down a completely deserted street that I hadn’t ever been on before. In retrospect, this was probably not the smartest idea…on the plus side, I did finish that final mile in record time.

No falling down this time around!! I’m starting to get the hang of London running…although my people-dodging skills could definitely use some work.

My run ended up being 10.2 miles in total and my impact meter showed 25.49 miles of hope and possibility for Achilles International!! Kudos to such a great organization and to all the disabled runners for being so kick-ass!!!