Well the week got off to a positive start as I had my second Covid jab, and I have to say even as an events specialist I was super impressed by their efficiency at the local vaccination centre. It's not often you can say you have had an appointment of any kind completed 10 minutes before it was due!
Yet again the weather was very up and down for training, however I managed to get one run back into my training as my achilles seemed to have settled down a bit. I even managed some additional shuttle sprints at a bright and early HIIT class in Hyde Park.
Sadly the timing of the rain (as in, nearly every day) meant that the paddleboarding took a back seat again this week. But I still managed a respectable total of 200.5km.
The distances look like this:
(Hillwalking with a bike 2km....)
I was delighted to have at least one of my swims in the Serpentine before the clouds broke, and luckily had my new friend the GoPro with me to capture the mood. It is moments like this that really make me love open water swimming so much. Even the next day when it bucketed down with rain and I sought refuge under a temporary BBQ station by the lido to try and keep my clothes dry. I still loved it!
With a total distance of 3,186km now covered, I would be approaching the world famous area of Machu Picchu. Shrouded by mist and surrounded by lush vegetation and steep escarpments, the sprawling Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is the most famous archaeological site on the continent.. This awe-inspiring ancient city was never revealed to the conquering Spaniards and was virtually forgotten until the early part of the 20th century.
But of course much as this archaeological gem is very much on my hit list, there isn't much chance of me actually being there anytime soon. There, was however a rather intriguing set of hills which I often pass in the car en route to my partner's in High Wycombe. Northala Fields is a park located in Northolt consisting of four artificial hills overlooking the rather salubrious A40. Perhaps I could set myself a mini adventure to get there?
So on a very wet Saturday morning (yet again) this was my destination. Despite it's location, the best bike route there was along the Grand Union Canal path which is always a nice change from the London traffic. And in fact the rain even stopped for all of 30 minutes!
Some helpful signage gave me the opportunity to finally find out more about this intriguing site. Apparently the hills were constructed using rubble from the demolition of the original Wembley Stadium in 2003. The name ‘Northala’ is how the old manor of Northall (Northolt) was recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086.
The rain once again started to close in as I wheeled and carried my bike up to the summit of one of the hills. Well, it had to be done, even though I knew what view was awaiting me at the top. Kind of surreal to feel like you were hiking, but with the sounds of major traffic whizzing by! The fun continued as I decided to take a 'short cut' back down the hill. I now saw why the winding path was a better option than skidding down a vertical muddy path holding onto a bike!
As if the week wasn't exciting enough, the highlight for me had to be my latest video conversation. Very topically, being Mental Health Awareness Week, I had the privilege of speaking with Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, highly acclaimed sleep and energy expert and author. I met Nerina purely by chance just a few months ago when I was swimming in the Thames at Teddington. Joining her for a cold water swim and a chat has become one of the highlights of my week, and it was great to be able to speak to her 'properly' (ie not shivering on a riverbank) and hear some of her wonderful insights and tips.
Denise Yeats is an events director, communications consultant, endurance athlete and avid adventurer.