A Run in a Park: Hyde Park, London

I was among the fortunate few who were invited by an undisclosed drug company for a conference-cum-holiday in London, UK just a week ago.
My wife and daughter came along for the trip. We put up in our Malaysia's very own Berjaya Eden Park Hotel at Bayswater. To my pleasant surprise, it was situated right next to the famous Hyde Park. (Equivalent to Central Park in NYC). So, you can imagine my utmost excitement when I found out about it....






What's more is that we were greeted by Spring time in London and the weather was SUPERB! Temperature of 12-18 degrees Celcius, clear blue skies, not to mention warm sunlight through out! The sky was already bright when I woke up (due to jetlag) at 5am on the second day of our trip. (And it wasn't dark until about 8:30pm) So, I left the hotel and went out for an exploration jog on a cool 12 degrees morning.

But, it was to my dismay that the Kensington side of the Hyde Park was closed. (Found out later that it only opens after 6:30am). I therefore circumvented the area and managed to get into Hyde Park proper.





Since it was the morning of my conference, I didn't want to overdo it and miss my meeting. And since I didn't manage to get into the Kensington side of the Hyde Park, I thought I would just scout around the area and do a 'proper' run the next day. But even with that, I ran for about 1 hour in a moderate pace.

The run did me good. I was feeling very refreshed and the jetlag was gone. I would recommend this to anyone who is just coming into a new time zone if they wish to get rid ot their jetlag.

I went back again to Hyde Park the next day. This time, at 7am. The sun was already out and the air was crisp and fresh. The temperature 12 degrees. But it didn't feel cold. Perhaps because the breeze was very mild. I started my Garmin but it could not locate a Satelite, so I had to make do without it. The feet were light as I ran on the asphalt surface. But I also had the option of grass surface too. I did a figure of '8' loop as I crossed a bridge over the Serpentine. The mileage, (I found out later) was 8.3km. Felt exhilarated after the run. It was the perfect condition and a runner's paradise.





I was hooked. The very next day, I went to the park again. At 7 am. The weather was as pristine as ever. I clocked a 10km with my Garmin (which has finally decided to work!) at 46 min. Comfortable pace and the thing is: very little sweat. I don't mean to say that I am so good that "there is no sweat to it", but the weather was cool and dry enough, I literally had very little sweat as a result of it. As it was a Saturday, there were many runners. Some doing a light run like me, but some obviously training hard. There is the feel of a running culture here as a way of life.





Since I have Sundown coming up in 2 and a half weeks, and I have not even managed to clock a decent long run of more than 21km, I have decided that I would do a LSD in Hyde Park. The condition would be perfect. Armed with my GU gels and a bottle of Lucozade, I set out on Sunday 15 May 2011 to do 4 loops for my long run. I wasn't planning to do a marathon pace but 10-20% slower would be ideal as a train up to the marathon. The weather god was smiling upon me. And the breeze was a bit gustier. So, ideal to cool my body down for such a long run.





I would be lying if I told you that there is no "sweat" in this. After the third loop, I could feel the muscles fatigue and pace slowing down. And I was breathing a bit more heavier and the thoughts that I might want to just cut short and walk the rest of the way back, occurred on a number of occasions. After all, no matter how conducive the weather may be, there is still the human factor. Limitations of the body. Though the spirit is willing....But I press on. Not wanting to spoil the occasion. After all, I came half way across the globe to have this bestowed upon me, I just can't let anything ruin it. Even if the body refuses to work, I would still drag it along for the ride.

So, I completed my 4 loops which came to 33km in 2:53. A pace of 5:15min/km. Just nice. Not too slow. Not too fast. Normally I would have drenched myself in sweat. But in such perfect condition, even the sweat was sparse. My Tee was almost dry.

Hyde Park, in the perspective of a runner, is very uniquely placed, conducive in every aspect: a paradise in a concrete jungle. Well maintained and certainly one of the place that I would frequent if I ever have to opportunity to come back here again. Oh how I wish I could stay a little longer.....

Comments

  1. Wow, so nice! The weather definitely makes running a much more enjoyable affair. I think if I live in NYC or Boulder (Colorado), I'd be logging 100K weeks!

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  2. Well, to look on the bright side, they only have this for just a few months in a year. We can run all year round. I cannot imagine training during the winter months in these parts of the world....

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  3. What I like about the Hyde Park is that, even though it is placed in an urban area, its green trees and fields remain the same. So it's perfect for office workers who want to feel the green breeze without going far.


    Walter Tully

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