What to say re: the past 7 weeks? How to adequately sum up my trip?? No words will be able to do it justice. Basically, I had the best time of my life. True story. I had the most AMAZING time: with friends, with family, with new friends, by myself, seeing new places, eating new things, singing to old things, reminiscing about old things - on my gosh, it was so so good. If I start to try and put it down as my sketchy jet-lagged memory may see fit as of today, then I just simply would not be able to do it justice. So, just know it was incredible. The best time of my life. And I'm sad that it's temporarily over (I say temporarily as I'm aiming to get back to see more of Vietnam real soon, fingers crossed).
Seeing as this is predominantly a RUNNING blog, I thought I'd focus on the RUNNING (and training) aspect of the past 7 ish weeks - and I managed to get a fair amount of running in during the month in the UK, and a couple of times in Vietnam (until partying took its place, oops....). I started out in London, seeing some good friends and a couple of relatives, and running through beautiful canal pathways and peaceful, chilly London parks, complete with bushy-tailed foxes and giant geeze, not to mention hundreds of other runners! I'd forgotten how busy London was, but every morning seemed to be as if I'd crashed a cycle/running event as commuters combined two birds/one stone as they exercised their way to work. I had also forgotten how dark it remains in the UK in winter time! Didn't get light til about 8am most mornings! So had to adjust my 5:30 start somewhat.
Then it was on to North Devon where my runs were predominantly along Woolacombe Beach and the trails up and around the dunes there, and sometimes heading up the hill for some hill-training to extremely picturesque Mortahoe. These were some hardcore training runs considering the torrential rain and gale force winds at times! I also supplemented my training by attending my nephew's gymnastics class and play dates at crazy play areas - does this count as cross training? This little dude also had me doing some interval/speed sessions around the kitchen island bench but there's no way I could keep up! He is fast!
Next up on the run schedule was a run through my childhood stomping grounds of Charlton and Greenwich Park, then a final run through Victoria Park in East London, followed by some goodbye-England Karaoke (I feel this counts as some kind of cross-training considering our screeching loud efforts):
After this there is a shocking gap in runs! Not til some 5 days later when I arrived into beautiful, wonderful Hoi An (where I ran to An Bang beach and back to suss it out, and intended to do the same a couple more times before I left until drinking got it the way, oops...). In the meantime, I tried to incorporate some cross-training by kayaking around Bai Tu Long Bay and taking myself on my own cycle tours whenever and wherever I could:
The only place that I didn't manage to get a run in was in Stunning Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh City as it's officially known). Mind you, I did walk around the city for hours on my first full day there, so tried to get my bearings this way instead. Then, once again, celebrating and partying somehow took precedence over sleeping and running. I have no regrets and would do it all again I'm sure!
Since flying back I've aimed to shake the horrible jet-lag by a beautiful Sydney-side run through the city and along Darling Harbour, and then a terrific trail run along the beach to the east of Merewether Ocean Baths and through the Glenrock Nature Reserve. But this jetlag, it's s stayer hey... Let's hope tonight's Wootervals session (intervals with the wonderful Wooters) sorts it out once and for all.
I should be at the start of my marathon training for July now, as I was all set to take part in the Gold Coast Marathon again this year, but now, due to my ever changing mind and penchant for indecision, I may not be in the country at that time anymore. So, to train or not to train?? That is the question. I'll take my own advice here I think and take each day as it comes, step by step - I have this event on 28th February (something I hope my Woolacombe training will have come in handy for!): The Big Beach Challenge - 15km on soft sand in the sun: http://bigbeachchallenge.net/15km-beach-runwalk/15km-beach-runwalk/info
So maybe I'll just focus on that, and of getting back into some regular strength training too, and the rest will figure itself out.
Thanks again to everyone who kindly had me stay and who I caught up with - love you all and it was so good seeing you all again, and thanks to all you amazing people who I met and who made my Vietnam trip so very memorable, and to all you beautiful Novocastrians - awesome to see you all again and cheers for having me back! It's good to be home, even if it's just temporary. Until next time folks, happy running!!!