The winter night London run.

4 December 2012

[If you're wanting extra mo0dz, while reading this [moody] post, this is pretty solid:  clicktolisten]

I can't remember the last time I so desperately wished I had my camera with me.

I went running tonight.  Over the summer I worked out every other day.  Which was a real accomplishment, took some incredible chutzpah, because I have never done anything like that in my entire life.  I haven't regularly exercised since bi-weekly soccer practice during my freshman year of high school.

Sanne and I in October/November were going every three days or so.  We got to the second stage of couch-to-5k. But then I didn't mention it for a couple days, and then Sanne wouldn't want to go when I started suggesting it again or she would be busy.  So after a three week lapse, I've started up again, but this time on my own.

There's a good place close to my flat that I usually go running, but once it gets dark (at 4pm now that it's winter in London -___-) it's not well lit enough for me to safely go there.  As illustrated by my run before tonight's—tripping all over creation.

I've had it in my head to go running by the Thames for ages.  The walk on the north side of the river from St. Paul's to Parliament I've done tons of times just for fun.  Actually that's the walk I take usually when I want a break from "things."  I'll get a coffee and take my notebook and maybe sit on a bench near the pier.  And I would always see joggers breezing past whenever I went on these little escapes.

So on the bus home from school (it still really amuses me that I take public transport to uni – not entirely sure why), I decided today was the day.  It was three and the light was rapidly fading, but I threw some running clothes on, shoved toast slathered in crunchy peanut butter down my throat, and took the tube to Westminster.  When I exited the station, it was already dark.  No surprise there.  I've started listening to This American Life again and had begun an episode on the journey.  The first two intervals with running were admittedly difficult even with the story to distract me.  I was cold despite my three layers, and I was worried about faltering over loose pavement stones.

But then it stopped.  It stopped being difficult so quickly.  I glanced back and there was the moon of Big Ben behind me.  And I wasn't thinking about how annoying running was anymore.  I was looking at the fairy lights strung between lamposts and uprooted benches and then I was zooming past the blue hulking outline of the London Eye.  And I was listening to stories and looking at the dome of St. Paul's illuminated in the distance and the steely metal wisps of the Waterloo Bridge and the glistening inky water of the Thames.  And before I knew it I was half way done.

Instead of continuing to St. Paul's and going home from there, I crossed one of the bridges.  Tower Bridge maybe?  I'll look it up.  I remember it looking older and ornately painted.  Nope, wrong.  Very, very wrong guess.  I think it was Southwark Bridge.  Anyway, I ran up the stairs and then about halfway across I looked out to the west and it was the most— I don't even know how to describe it.  In that moment I wasn't even there running.  I mean, I was running, but I was elsewhere.  I was swept over with the feeling that this is my city.  And how incredible my life is.  That all of this was set up for me and I had stumbled upon a present I'd been saving for myself.  It's so hard to describe.  None of these words are right enough.  Maybe it was just a really killer runner's high.  But the view and the lights, I just felt baffled by it all.  There and not there.  In it and above it and a part of it.

And then I was at Southbank, weaving through the crowds of families and couples and groups of friends at the Christmas market.  And then across Westminster Bridge and a cool down back along the path I started and a loop across Waterloo Bridge.  People must have thought I was crazy, taking my jacket off since at that point I was just strolling.

I'm not sure what I'm trying to tell you with all this.  Maybe I just want a placeholder for me to remember this evening.  Or maybe I want to say that there are some really transcendent moments you can only get on your own.  So I'm telling you to go out on your own, where you live.  To your favorite place where you are.  And spend some time there.  With just you.


  1. That sounds like a very lovely evening. The feeling you get when you go for a run and you get to the point where it doesn't even feel like you're running anymore is my favorite part about running.

  2. Sounds like an AMAZING place to go for a run... I hadn't started running yet when I lived in London but I wish I had done that one.

    Also, do you have a Facebook page? I can't seem to find it!

  3. I love this and your writing style! It reminds me of when I worked at Disney World and would go to the parks by myself and just sit and take everything in. I regret not writing down my experiences, all I have is my memories, but that is better than nothing I suppose!
    I've now been inspired to enjoy more of Washington and it's gorgeous nature before I return to the realms of smoggy Los Angeles.

  4. I miss that feeling. It would happen to me a lot when I studied abroad. At the oddest but best moments. (Now's my chance to tell you to VLOG about this moment? We miss the old "marionhoney's talkin' to the camera in her room" videos!)

  5. this is shockingly motivating

  6. I really want to start running! But I feel like I look really silly. Any tips for getting over any embarrassment?
    Great post!

    1. If you want to start running, thinking about your appearance should be the last thing on your mind. I know I totally look dumb and unattractive as hell when I run. I just don't care. So that's my tip for you--don't care about what you look like.

  7. I love the way you write. The whole thing sounds so lovely. It makes me wish I wasn't stuck inside doing coursework and revision all weekend. I may go for a run early tomorrow morning when there aren't too many people around. I love being outside alone.

  8. This is exactly what I needed to hear right now.

    Thank you.