Sunday, July 15, 2012

European Adventure


Thursday I packed up my bags and headed to Europe.  My plan?  Up in the air.  I wanted to be able to get in a few track races before the Olympic break, so here I am in Twickenham, England.  I am currently staying in the dorms of St. Mary’s University and while the accommodations are sparse to say the least- for thirty pounds a night I’ve got a place to lay my head, a track just steps from my door, a huge park to run in, and all this within close proximity to London Heathrow.  The plan is to stay and train here for a few days before a whirlwind of travel and races.  Deciding to meet hop, I will travel over to Cardiff, Wales on the 17th to race a rust-buster 3k on the 18th.  From Wales, I will head to Ninove, Belgium (or Szczecin, Poland depending on which race looks best) to race a 5k on the 21st.  Taking no time to rest, I’ll head back west to Dublin, Ireland, for another race on the 25th (either a 3k or mile, to be determined), and lastly I’ll jet-set to Sweden for my final race of the adventure, a 5k in Uppsala on the 28th.  And all this, subject to change on a whim.  Once exhaustion sets in (and with this much travel and so many races within a short period of time, exhaustion is not a matter of if, but when) I will head to Davos, Switzerland to meet up with my superstar girlfriend and aid her in her final preparations towards the Olympics.
My time in Twickenham has so far been an interesting one.  While rumored to be summer, the weather has been rainy and cold since I’ve arrived.  Today the sun bursted through the clouds for the first time of my visit and I still had to be bundled up in pants and a sweatshirt.  The town itself, and it’s neighboring town of Teddington, are nice little villages of shops along the Thames.  Bushy Park in Teddington, only a few minute jog from my dorm, is a great place to run, filled with herds of deer that take no mention to you running past.  During yesterday’s shakeout, a herd of twenty found their way onto a cricket field as a match was in progress.  Play had to be suspended as the players attempted to persuade the ruminants to graze elsewhere.  Teddington and Twickenham are also on the Olympic cycling course.  Huge signs are posted everywhere about the impending race, warning that all cars must be removed from the designated streets for the three day period surrounding the cycling races.  Seems like there are mixed emotions regarding the Games in England.  After talking to a cab driver the other day, people have been asked not to go to work and remain at home for the entirety of the Games as to not populate the roadways and cause congestion.  He seemed to be rather against the government’s policy on the Games, muttering “if this was for the World Cup, that’d be one thing, but for sport?  Ridiculous.”
So, onwards and upwards for me from here.  Hopefully I will be able to find my way from meet to meet and not get lost along the way.  With a tightly packed two weeks, I am hoping to make it out alive and to get some redemption from my disappointing last few races.  I am now healthy and ready to run, so I just need to make my way to the starting line and good things will come.  I am excited to race again, and ready for the adventure.
Until next time,

Ben
The track at St. Mary's


The clouds break for the first time over the River Thames

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