Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Got the t-shirt

Most of my runs recently have been short, fast bursts, and this blog entry is in that same staccato rhythm. 

My official t-shirt from Merlin arrived a couple of days ago. It's a bit 'white-van-man': a loose fitting singlet with lots of green writing. Nevertheless, it's exciting, and marks a final countdown to the 22nd April. 

Not my Merlin singlet

My motivation has been dwindling a little. A minor health niggle put me back for a few days, and although I'm back on track, in every sense, it has been more difficult than I'd expected. I'm managing this by focusing on each small step, and am now also resting for at least three days a week.

I'm enjoying running by the Thames, which always feels like the heart and soul of London. One of my 'weekly favourites' at the moment is running from the London Eye to Putney. The London Eye is a great place to start a Thames path run. It's easy to walk there from Waterloo, and the post card vista of Parliament is a fantastic motivator. The prospect of leaving the crowds behind also means the run is destined to start well.

detail from a painting by Samuel Scott, mid 18th Century

Just before Lambeth bridge, there is Lambeth Palace, the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury for the past eight hundred years. It's worth spinning around for a moment here, and looking back on the route to the Eye, Parliament and the Thames. In these recent blue-skied Spring mornings, it's been easy to think this is the best river view in London. 

Next up are the spooks in their cream anti-palace that houses MI6. It's said to be an incredibly ugly building, but for my money there are worse offenders.Beautiful Vauxhall Bridge more than compensates. You need to cross up and over the bridge itself, but stay on the Thames South Side.

Best view in London?

The old towers of Battersea's Power station are visible from some distance and are brilliant to head towards, as they appear closer than they are. After Battersea, there is a lot of riverside visual treats. Chelsea Bridge is as elegant and gracious as the Albert Bridge is sweeping and majestic. 

Battersea Power Station
Between these two, you will pass the Peace Pagoda, which was a gift to London from a Japanese Buddhist Order. 

Peace Pagoda

There are several statues along this stretch of Thames, which instead of enthusing about, I will encourage you to discover. The plain blue and white bridge is Wandsworth Bridge. There has been a bridge here, ever since 1873, when a toll bridge was built in anticipation of a railway line that ended up not being built. From here, it's a short run through the park, and then into Putney where there are trains, buses, tubes and many lovely cafes. 

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