Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Postcards From Prague

Tram in Prague

Life has felt really rather all over the place the past few weeks!

I've been swamped in "life admin" - coordinating moving house and all the pre-employment checks required for my new job across two hospital trusts. Honestly, is there anyone else out there who'd like a copy of my passport and a recent utility bill? Because I feel like I'm just handing them out all over the place right now!

This month I've also worked two sets of night shifts, throwing me right off course when it comes to leading any kind of a normal life.

And as if that wasn't all crazy enough, I decided that a few days in Prague in the middle of my night shifts would be a good idea. It definitely was a good idea, although finishing work at 8:30 in the morning and jumping on a plane the same afternoon was pretty tiring...

Thanks to post-night-shifts brain and just general busyness, I never really kept track of exactly everything we did while in Prague. Mostly we simply explored the city; wandering around the Old Town in the sunshine, visiting the castle and parks and just making the most of a really good public transport system. 

So rather than write a detailed account of the places we went with advice and reviews, I've decided to share a small selection of the 400+ photos I managed to accumulate in the few days we spent there!

Tram in Prague

Charles Bridge Prague

Houses Czech Republic

View from Charles Bridge

Prague Castle from Charles Bridge

View from Prague Castle
Stromovka Park


Thursday, 1 June 2017

Vitality London 10,000

London 10000 Run

 The spring bank holiday. A perfect excuse to spend a long weekend lazing around and catching up on some much-needed rest, right?!

Nope. Two months prior to it, I decided it would be a good idea to spend it running 10 kilometres around London instead. Don't tell me I don't know how to live.

Determined to set myself some sort of goal to work towards, and to get back into running properly for the first time since last year's Bath Half Marathon, I entered the Vitality London 10,000. So come 10am on Bank Holiday Monday, I was taking my place on the Mall and stretching up on tiptoe trying to get a glimpse of the start line!

Despite busy days at work, plenty of long on-calls and a couple of weekend shifts, I made a pretty decent effort at sticking to my training plan. Some days it was a relief to pull on my trainers, put the hospital behind me and get out on the pavements or the treadmill. But there were also times when I was just too tired to run, no matter how much I wanted to. Combining the running with a busy job that sees me spending most of the day on my feet has taught me loads about doing what feels best for my body - and on more than one occasion that meant resting, or cutting my run short.

It's a great time of year for a race though. All those extra hours of daylight in the mornings and evening make it feel like there's lots more time for running. Plus there have been some beautiful views on my riverside route when the sunlight sparkles on the water.

Race day itself was rather a warm one, yet deceptively grey and cloudy. I was pleased with my decision to run in shorts rather than leggings - and grateful for the water stations and roadside shower, spraying runners with cool water just after halfway. 

The Mall London 10000

The Mall

Standing down on the start line, the atmosphere was brilliant. I've never really been one for nerves before any kind of sporting event, but I was full of excitement and adrenaline waiting for the starting buzzer to go! 

I got off to a good start, feeling nice and comfortable at the same pace as the runners around me for the first few kilometres. With the music, the crowds and the runners around me I find it much easier to just get comfortable running and not really notice my pace - normally I'm glancing at my phone every few minutes to check how fast I'm going and how much I've still go to do!

It was particularly nice to spot my parents at the roadside shortly before half way - always good to have some supporters to keep me going. 

Around 5km though it started to get a bit tougher. The streets were pretty quiet, the air was humid and I really questioned why on earth I'd ever thought this might be a good idea. At this point I simply had to remind myself that I'd put hours of training in, had a load of sponsorship on this and that it was less than half way to go - all I had to do was keep going. 

And keep going I did. Finally seeing the 8km and then 9km marker was such a relief - and a little extra spurt of enthusiasm came from the guy who reached the 9km and shouted something like "last kilometre guys, let's smash it!"

I've walked down Birdcage Walk many a time, but it was great to run down it and know that just around the corner I'd be able to see the finish line. Despite the struggle between 8 and 9km, somehow I found the energy (and fortunately the space!) to sprint the last 100m or so and cross the finish line feeling a great sense of achievement. In fact, I almost forgot to look up to my left and see Buckingham Palace - I'd been too focused on the bright pink finishing gantry!

Finishing 10km

I'd been aiming for about 55 minutes to complete the race - with previous 5km runs taking me about 30 minutes it felt like a good target to go for. So I was delighted with 53 minutes and 2 seconds! Although I've already got it in my head that I'd like to do another 10km and shave a little more time off next time...

Running Kit

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