I’m filing this post from a Delta Airlines flight 30,000 feet above the ground en route to Kansas City.
I’m returning home after a quick business trip to London, where I stayed a block from the Notting Hill flat our family rented this summer during our United Kingdom vacation. Kate helped me find the cheap apartment, which offered access to the familiar neighborhood haunts we grew to love several months earlier.
The short trip provided several running opportunities, of which I took full advantage. Even though Kate and I are tapering for tomorrow’s Gobbler Grind Half Marathon, I decided several short circuits in nearby Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park wouldn’t hurt.
Thursday, I logged an enjoyable six-mile run in the final hour of daylight. And I squeezed in an easy 4.5-miler late yesterday afternoon. Did you know the sun sets at 4:30 p.m. this time of year in London?
Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park were marvelous, just as they were during my first runs there in July. They hold every bit of the wonder and magic of New York’s Central Park.
What was amusing — and reassuring — was the concern I drew in front of my apartment after both runs. As I cycled through my post-run stretch routine Thursday, I heard a well-heeled British voice coming from the Range Rover parked along the nearby curb.
“Are you okay, man?” the gentleman asked. “Is everything alright?”
I laughed and assured him I was fine. I’d just finished a beautiful run in the park, I said, and was stretching my muscles.
He looked unconvinced.
I stretched in the same place Friday after finishing my 4.5-mile loop. Just as I bent over sideways to stretch my iliotibial band, the apartment landlord left with the day’s mail.
“Are you alright, sir?” he asked with a concerned look on his face as he noticed me doubled over near the apartment building entrance.
“Yes,” I said with a smile. “I just finished running in the park and am stretching.”
“Oh,” he sad unbelievingly. “OK.”
I was amused by the Londoners’ inquiries. I must look pained during my post-run stretching!
Their consideration also touched me. In a city half a world away, it felt good to know others were concerned about my well-being.
In fact, it shouldn’t surprise me. In the world of running, there are no strangers.
I’m looking forward tomorrow’s Gobbler Grind Half Marathon with Kate. I’ll cross another item off my bucket list and expect to see some familiar faces along the way.
Kansas City Runner