Sunday is long run day and today I explored three of the Royal Parks with SuperSarah. My original plan was to do 15 miles but a combination of screaming quads, skinless feet and my desire to run a sub-2:15 half marathon next weekend made me scale back my plans a bit.
The weather today was really beautiful, clear, crisp and sunny – perfect for running. The revised mission was to do at least 10 miles, to make sure we went s-l-o-w-l-y and for me to try out a few things that I’ll be using on Marathon Day.
As with the last few weeks, I started the day with a Grasshopper porridge for breakfast about two hours before the start of the run and I packed one of my Clif Shot Gels and a couple of packs of Iconiq Dolphin Water Pouch – both of these will be available on the Brighton Marathon course so I want to get used to them in training.
SuperSarah is a Brighton Marathon Survivor, so I was able to get lots of insider information about what to expect on the day and some brilliant tips for making it to the finish line with a smile on my face.
We started our run at The Ritz entrance to Green Park, ran down towards Buckingham Palace and into St James’ Park. We did a circuit of St James’ Park (along Birdcage Walk, up Whitehall and down The Mall back towards Buckingham Palace) keeping a sharp eye out for Fabergé eggs spotting three on our circuit. We decided to run as close to the Palace as possible before turning right and heading towards Hyde Park, we collected another egg – Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall along Constitution Hill.
At Hyde Park we went down South Carriage Drive towards Kensington Palace. We stopped on the way to work out how to open the Iconiq pouches and were impressed with both how easy they were to open and to carry. The verdict was that they are much better than carrying a water bottle, less cumbersome and they don’t have that annoying sloshy sound when they are half empty. I can imagine that they would also reduce trip hazards on the course as they fold up flat when empty. The only downside was that body heat warms the water up a lot quicker in the pouches than it does in bottles.
We completed one loop of the perimeter of Hyde Park (along Bayswater Road and then down Park Lane) and when we got back to Hyde Park Corner, we turned right to do the two mile loop of the Serpentine before heading back to Green Park. As we hit the 6 mile mark, we stopped so that I could try my Shot Gel. The flavour of the gel (citrus) was nice, but the consistency was horrible – it was like wallpaper paste! Definitely something to wash down with a lot of water, but unfortunately I didn’t have enough left in my water pouch to manage the whole thing. I had about half and supplemented it with one of SuperSarah’s Lucozade Energy Tablets which were much more palatable.
A nice relaxed loop of the Serpentine and then back to Green Park, we ran down Constitution Hill towards Buckingham Palace and then as we were only at 9.25 miles decided to do a loop of the pond in St James’ Park before heading back up towards The Ritz. The crowds were gathering and we had to weave in and out of dozens of people, but we stopped to admire the view across the pond and to snap a photo of the fifth egg of the day.
The last quarter of a mile took us back past Buckingham Palace and back up to the Ritz. We high-fived at 10 miles – easy, enjoyable 10 mile completed with no injuries!
To celebrate the end of a successful mission we went to my new favourite coffee shop, Kahve Dünyası on Piccadilly. We recovered with a delicious caramel macchiato Turkish style, which came with a dark chocolate spoon. Yum!
SuperSarah is running the Virgin London Marathon to raise money for The Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospital, which is a specialist trust that is dedicated to caring for adults and children with heart and lung problems. To visit her VirginMoneyGiving page and show her charity some love, please click here.