My Journey to London this Autumn
London and Great Britain, in general, were still missing on the list of cities and countries to visit. Therefore I planned a pre-longed weekend this fall, combining a city-trip with a 10k-road race. On the day of arrival, a sunny Friday, I could enjoy London at it's best. Although typical touristic highlights like the Buckingham Palace weren't my favorite places, I liked these beautiful parks (like Hyde Park). Some of the pictures can be seen here.
The following day, the wheater switched completely. So I decided to visit the Natural History Museum. All the museums in the city are free to enter, there is a collection at the entrance. Because of the rainy weathercast the Museum was heavily overcrowded, especially the Dinosaur section. In the afternoon I spent as a spectator at a play called "The Wider Earth" about Darwin's journey to the Galapagos islands.
For my stay, I was based in Southend-on-Sea, a small coastal city in the eastern side of London. It was the city where the 10k would take place, but also seems to be the place where people are spending their weekends in summer, with a long sandy beach and amusement options like casinos, roller coaster, and bars.
I slept in a room at the campus from the University of Essex. The cost-benefit-ratio was exceptionally good, but I didn't think about students partying all night at the weekend. Despite this fact, I managed to line up in the early morning at the 10k, organized by the local athletics club.
After a solid build-up, featuring a 6x1600m workout at target pace, I was optimistic to clock a 31:40 or even faster. The Southend 10k is a certified, plane out-and-back course on the road. The only thing to watch out: The possibility of strong wind from the sea and the two U-turns. This conditions I simulated on this last important workout, where I ran next to the train station in Glanzenberg where the fast trains contributed to the wind and then after 800m I made a sharp U-turn and run back. I averaged a total of six times 1600m with a 3min rest in just under 5min which showed that I was in exceptional shape. The conditions this Sunday morning were good: The wet roads from yesterday dried and it was pleasant cold, though not too cold. Right from the start, two runners were in front but I tried to stay at my pace at around 3:10min/km. The 5k mark I just run through in above 15:40. I caught up to the second guy but some wind slowed us down. I was able to pull away, however, the wind somehow blocked my motivation to put in everything I had. I finished second with a time of 31min and 45sec, really happy that I achieved my goal, but not so happy how I handled those last kilometers being out of focus. There's always something to learn... and in the Lucerne Half Marathon a month later I proved how to do it. In this way, a trip which was worth it!
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