2019-20 Beginners Week 31

Well ladies, what can I say?  This year has been like no other (thank goodness!).  But through it all, you guys continue to amaze and impress us.  You didn’t have to come out this morning and do that incredibly long run, yet you did.  And you were happy!  And grateful!  And believe me when I say that we coaches are even more grateful to have coached you during this journey.  We are so proud of you!

I am personally still holding out hope that we won’t be completely restricted from leaving our homes during the next few weeks so we can all get out there to run.  For those of you who want to be able to check the “I’ve run 13.1 miles” box, the coaches would each be happy to run with 2 or 3 of you at a time to accomplish it.  We just don’t think it’s wise to do it in a group like we did today.  So please reach out and let us know and we will try to make a plan – ideally for the 28th.

Normally, I would be sending you an email about next week’s running plan, things to remember for the race and then a note about what happens after the race.  I thought I’d send you the part about what would have been next week’s plan and then after the race.  The After the Race part is still relevant.

For running going forward – if any of you think you might want to try for 13.1 on or about the 28th, keep to the plan outlined below (and run your 60 min run this Thursday).  Otherwise, you will now switch over more to a mileage run plan as we do in the MWF group.  That group generally runs about 6 miles 3x/week with Fridays being the hill (up Fitzjohn’s to Hampstead Heath) and often the Monday run is a mile or two longer.  For you all, 6 miles is about 70-75 min.  You are all trained up enough to do those runs.  But if you want to do less, that’s fine.  And if you want to keep to your Tues/Thurs/Weekend for now, that is also fine.  Once this craziness is over, we will make sure you are integrated into the regular group.
After I send this, I will forward you the message that Micki sent to the regular group about suspending the group runs for now and I will also forward you this week’s email.  And then I will add you all to the regular MWF distribution list so you get Micki’s emails going forward.  They usually go out on Saturday afternoons.

Keep messaging with each other, encouraging each other – I know you will.  We are so sad and disappointed that the beginner year is ending like this but you all have made it joyful for all of us and we love you all.  We will make sure we have a celebration, whether it is with all of WRW or just for us beginners, once this madness is behind us.

Please feel free to reach out with any questions/comments/whatever!  My What’sApp/mobile for messages is xxx.

Oh – don’t forget to cancel your hotel room if you haven’t already – the deadline is Thursday!!

The email that would have been:

This week’s plan
Tuesday – do your normal 60 minute run but don’t push it.  Thursday we will just do 45 minutes around Regent’s Park at a slow pace.  The goal this week is to enjoy your running (!!) and your group and just keep your muscles loose.  Relax!  If you push the pace this week, it may make your legs feel a bit heavier than normal on Saturday from the muscle damage that comes when you are building up muscle (you may have noticed this on your weekend runs after a long Thursday run).  Your training is done, you are READY!  As Paula said in the final email my beginner year, this week is about finding the joy in running and in your amazing group.

and then blah blah blah things about preparing for the race that I will send you if you ever want it for a race in your future but don’t need right now

and then

After the race
Next week, you officially become part of the regular WRW group.  Congratulations!  You will receive an email each week with the suggested routes for the week.  Generally, the runs after the race tend to be fun destinations.  We no longer need to worry about mileage, it’s more about being social and keeping fit (since we can use that as an excuse to eat all the good things at Borough Market…).

For the first week after the race, don’t worry about getting right out there to run.  You may or may not feel sore from the race – a lot of it will depend on the weather and how hard you push at the end.  My beginner year, my group got together the Thursday after the race and did 3 – 4 miles in Regents Park, just to get out there and to reconnect with each other post-race.  If you’re ready to come out with the MWF group on Wednesday after the race – fantastic!  It will be an easy 4 mile run across Hyde Park to the Kensington Whole Foods.  Also, for those of you willing to brave Fitzjohn’s and the Heath, we are happy to run with you on an upcoming Friday, to give you a few tips on running up the hill.  It’s hard, but it’s such a great feeling to get to the top.  Plus, the Heath is beautiful.

I know it can be tricky to start running on MWF after you’ve gotten into such a TTH schedule for the year.  It can also be intimidating to run with all those super scary advanced MWF runners.  But trust me, you are running at paces that fit within the larger MWF group.  Your coaches will help connect you with the women in your pace group and I swear, they are all really nice.  And you will meet many of them this weekend.  So please please come out and run with us whenever you can.  It will also make it easier for the fall if you meet some of your fellow pace group runners over the next month or two before school gets out.

2019-20 Beginners Week 30

Hi everyone,
In any other year, I would be saying, “Well, this is it!  Our last big run before the race!”  But this is anything but a normal year.  However, we are going to continue on this amazing journey despite the craziness in this world.  If you are feeling uneasy about running in a group, please do not feel pressure to come out.  Everyone needs to assess their own needs and do what is right for them.

Even though you have all now chosen (!!) to do this run, you may be a bit nervous about it, and that is normal.  You all can do this – and we know you know you can do it. It’s a long run, and it will feel long, and that’s OK.  We will make sure you are not running too fast and we will get there and it will be AWESOME!  

OK – a few things for the run this week:

  • Bring your Oyster card or contactless card to take the tube back plus money for coffee afterwards
  • Bring a gel, maybe two and maybe something like jelly beans, starbursts, etc.
  • Bring water (with no electrolytes please!)
  • Eat well and get a good night’s rest the night before and don’t go out partying 
  • Stretch the night before if you can
  • Eat something for breakfast

A note about bathrooms along the run – around mile 5, there is a Costa Coffee attached to the Hilton Hotel on the Kensington High Street (just past the intersection with Holland Road) which has a few toilets.  There is also a Starbucks at mile 5.7 but it only has a single toilet.  We are not going to plan a stop – it’s better to keep running – but if you need to stop, a coach will wait for you and other coaches will continue on with the group.

We will have the 8 am group (meet at 7:55 for an 8 am start) :  So far I have Nidhi in that – please let me know if anyone else will join so we know to wait.

Natasha – expected time at Kensington High Street is around 9:20 (come out of tube and cross the street – we will be running along the southern edge of Hyde Park and continuing down the street)

Yvonne – expected time at Hammersmith is around 9:40 (it’s a little tricky because there are multiple exits – you want to come out at the exit on the north side and you will see a traffic island in front of you and then to your left you will see a building that says One King Street – we will go over that traffic island and in front of that building).

If anyone else wants to meet along the way (Carrie?  Wendy?) just let us know so we know to look for you.

If you have any questions/concerns, let one of us know.  Otherwise, we’ll see you Tuesday!
The route:

We start out the normal way running to Hyde Park. Once in the park, we’ll turn to the left and run down the main walkway as we regularly do, to Hyde Park Corner. At the end of the walk, turn right to follow the main cross route in the park—beware of the bike lane! When this ends at West Carriage Drive, cross the road at the crossing and continue on the pathway towards the southwest corner of Kensington Gardens. We’ll run out of the park at the Broadwalk, turning right onto Kensington High Street and continue for about two miles until we reach the Hammersmith Tube gyratory. Run counter clockwise towards the left, ending up on Queen Caroline Street which gets you to St. Paul’s Church green. Run along the green to the right, heading to and crossing over Hammersmith Bridge. Exit Hammersmith Bridge Road to your left, go down the stairs and run under the bridge onto the Thames footpath. Now it’s time to enjoy the view as we run along the Thames for almost four miles—it’s beautiful!

This is the bridge just BEFORE the bridge we exit on.  I find it useful to know what this looks like because then I know it’s the next bridge where we get off the path (and it’s distinctive):

We will exit at the Kew Bridge, see photo below:

Run UNDER the bridge and then turn left, past a couple of tiny shops and garages. Run through the small parking lot until you see the stone steps leading to the top of the bridge.

At the top of the steps turn right towards town (not back over the river) and run along this road [Kew Road] for about a third of a mile until you reach a 3-way intersection.  At the 3-way intersection, veer right and follow Kew Road along the boundary wall to Kew Gardens until you reach the first main pedestrian entrance to Kew Gardens, the Victoria Gate. Across from Victoria Gate, is Lichfield Road (it is only sign posted on the left-hand corner). Follow Lichfield Road straight into Kew village. Starbucks is on the left where we’ll all meet up to congratulate ourselves on such a great run!

2019-20 Beginners Week 29

What is UP with the weather?!  You guys are amazing, running through the rain yet again.  And the energy you showed at the end was fabulous.

We leave for Prague in 2 and a half weeks.  I’m hoping that’s starting to feel a bit more like “YAY!” rather than “YIKE!”  Or maybe a bit of both.  We are in the home stretch and you guys are STRONG.  If you had to, you could do the race now.  The next few weeks are just about making it easier.

Unfortunately, I am not going to be here this week.  My dad has been having some strange neurological issues and I’m flying to St. Louis tomorrow (Monday) to take over from my brother.  My return flight is scheduled for Sunday so my plan is to be back here to run Kew with you all next Tuesday.  Fingers crossed that plan holds.

Prague update from Micki.  I know it’s very hard to wait for news and decisions when the whole world is responding to the COVID-19 virus, but that is the space we’re remaining in for now.  You all will have received an e-mail from RunCzech on Thursday with their current status and thinking, and they set an expectation for an update on Monday afternoon.  Our plan at the moment is still to go if the race is on, but we are considering it from many angles, taking in all the new recommendations, and carefully watching all new developments.  Carolyn continues to be in touch with the race organizers, the hotel management and the restaurants to gauge their flexibility, and we are factoring both of those inputs into our thinking as well.  Please bear with us as the situation continues to develop.

Race Gear
Make sure you try out any clothing or gear you might possibly use during the race.  We don’t know yet what the weather will be like (right now, for 10 days from now, my weather app shows high of 51, low of 36, so similar to London, but it could change and be cold or warm – I’ve seen both happen at the last minute in the past).  It could be good to have a pair of cropped running tights if you don’t already have them,  and do a run with them.  Make sure you’ve tried running in a short sleeve shirt.  And no new running bra on race day, of course.  This is the same for any water belt or whatever.  Also try out your music options – you’ll want to bring headphones but won’t start out with them in since we will all be together and chatting 🙂  so where will you put them?  And don’t forget to make a playlist. (really – one year I helped a friend in a panic on race morning because she thought she’d synched her phone with iTunes and it hadn’t worked and she hadn’t checked).

Trip Details
As the trip approaches, Micki and Carolyn will send more detailed emails about the weekend including timing and where to meet for meals, the tours, and anything else scheduled.  They’ll also send some trip packing tips which I will emphasize and add to in a future email.  If you have any questions at all about the race or the weekend, please don’t hesitate to ask.  I know it can be scary not knowing how it’s all going to play out and we want to make you all feel as comfortable and psychologically ready as possible.

WRW Coffee
This Wednesday, we will be having an all-WRW coffee at The Elgin in Maida Vale, 255 Elgin Ave, W9 1NJ and you all are invited (even if you’re not coming to the race).  It is timed to start after the regular MWF run, so about 9:30 – 11.  We would love for you all to come because you are truly part of WRW and it will be a good chance to see some of the other runners who will be coming to Prague.

This Week
This week is a bit of a break week.  This doesn’t mean we get to take it easy, unfortunately.  It just means we don’t increase our time/distance.  We are letting our bodies recover a bit from the last few long runs, giving the muscles time to repair before we move on.  

This route is a classic WRW route along the canal past Camden – The Wall.
We head down towards Regents Park, then enter the canal at the Charlbert entrance and run east [left] cutting through Camden Lock Market until we run out of canal path at Islington.  Touch the canal boat tunnel wall—this is The Wall!—then turn around and re-trace your steps back to Charlbert.  Turn left and run along Prince Albert Rd to Wellington Road and run up to finish back at Barclays.  

2019-20 Beginners Week 28

Wow – you ladies are MACHINES!  I cannot tell you how many of the regular WRW runners have told us coaches how impressed/amazed they were with you guys out there running in that weather on Thursday.  You are already LEGENDS!  And really, if you can run in that, you are ready for anything!  So congratulations to you for just getting it done.

AND congratulations to those of you who ran the Regents 10K!!  What a great day you had for it.  SO PROUD OF YOU!!

So, let’s get down business.

This is the message Micki sent out to the regular MWF group about the race and potential impact due to the virus – wanted to make sure you are all aware of our thoughts/plans.

Let’s take a second here at the start of this note to talk about the Prague trip in light of the COVID-19 issue, because it really has been a surreal week since we’ve returned from break.  Carolyn is in close contact with the Prague half marathon organizers, and everything is still on for the moment.  We will let you know immediately if we hear of any changes.  Meanwhile, do take care of yourselves and your families, follow the health guidance issued by NHS and the government, stay well, and keep running!  Your WRW team is hoping for the best with Prague, but also working on contingency plans.  Please do fill out the Meal Choices google survey by Monday, March 2; and the Photo Directory survey by Wednesday, March 4.  And let us know if you are planning to go to Prague and did not receive an email about these items!

If you have any questions/concerns, please talk to your coaches.  As we all know, this situation is rapidly evolving and we will do the best we can with the information we have.

All-WRW Coffee
On Wednesday 11 March there is going to be a WRW coffee that you all (even if you’re not coming to the race) are invited to.  We did this for the first time last year.  It’s the first time the beginners have a chance to mingle a bit with the other runners.  We will talk a little about the race but it’s meant to be a social gathering with a little race stuff thrown in.  We are working on a location but the time will likely be around 9:30 am.  So if you can make it, please mark your calendar.

Race Video
Megan Marine is in charge of the video that will be shown at the celebration dinner (a tradition).  She needs to get a video of you guys with your arms on each others’ shoulders swaying back and forth that will become part of the video.  Since we are starting off at different times now on Thursdays, I am wondering if most of you will be around on Tuesday and maybe I could come get a video of you before you start out?  Please let me know…

This Week
This week and for Kew, we will plan to take our gels while running.  We need to practice – we do not plan to stop to take the gels during the race.  Sometimes the gel packaging can be tricky – so just resort to pulling the tab off with your teeth if you have to.  This is why we practice 🙂  We will take the gels about 70-80 min into the run.

OK – for the run, don’t forget:

  • eat something before the run
  • bring water
  • bring a gel if you have one
  • bring your Oyster card

I have extra gels and will bring some with me this week for anyone who wants to try something new.

The route – Canada Water – 10 miles
To view the route in detail, click here to for a zoomable map of the route on our MapMyRun site: https://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/2407126285.

This route takes us along the Thames Path past Borough Market and Tower Bridge to Canada Water tube station (Jubilee line) in Rotherhithe. Head to Hyde Park in the usual manner. At the park, cross North Carriage Road, turn right at the silver sphere, and left just after the Italian Gardens, keeping the Serpentine to your left. Turn right at the end of the Serpentine to run along the southern edge of the park to Hyde Park Corner. Proceed towards Borough Market – past Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, across Westminster Bridge, and left along the Thames Path to the Golden Hinde. Follow the walkway to the right of the Golden Hinde and at the junction with Southwark Cathedral, turn sharply left and follow Montague Close, passing through the tunnel. You are now on Tooley Street. Shortly, you will see the “Number 1” bar on the right and a London map sign on the sidewalk – turn left here (photo below)

Turn right at the end of the passage – you are back on the river. Run under Tower Bridge, turn left down the tiny alley called “Maggie Blake’s Cause” (photo below), then right at the river. If you look behind you, you will see Tower Bridge – we don’t usually get this view!

Turn right off the river at Maguire Street (between the Ask Italian restuarant and the Blue Print Cafe). Turn left on Shad Thames and follow Shad Thames until it ends, then turn left on Jamaica Road. After a short stretch on this busy road take a left into George Row (directly opposite the Tesco Metro on the other side of Jamaica Road. The road sign for George Row is hard to see, so keep your eye out for the Tesco.) Follow George Row for a few blocks, heading back towards the river, then turn right onto Chambers Street. After the Thames Water building site on the left take the next left onto Loftie Street, then right at Bermondsey Wall East. Continue along Bermondsey Wall East – you’ll see glimpses of the river to your left. If in doubt, the black Thames Path/Rotherhithe Village signs point the general direction. Go straight through a narrow passage (see photo below) to reach the historic heart of Rotherhithe where the road turns into Rotherhithe Street.

You will soon see a small burial ground on your right, where Christopher Jones, the captain of the Mayflower, is buried. Then on the left you’ll pass The Mayflower pub, named in honor of his ship. Continue along Rotherhithe Street until you come to a red metal bridge — turn right immediately before the bridge and go down the path alongside a canal, keeping the water to your left. (photo below)

At Salter St, cross the road and follow the path with the water on your left, and continue alongside the water/canal until you reach a large open area with Canada Water station (Jubilee Line) to your right and the Canada Water library in front of you. This is the end of the route, you made it!

There is a coffee shop on the left called Mouse Tail Coffee Stories where you can find some refreshments. And, if you want to shop for athletic gear, check out Decathlon just beyond the coffee shop!