On our second day in London, we took a train to lovely and quaint Leamington, which became popular in the 1900s among the affluent as a spa town. (Think hot springs of Laguna.)
We took a car ride to Walton passing Stratford-Upon-Avon where Shakespeare was born and, shortly after, arrived at Walton Hall, a 19th century country mansion, which was the venue of my cousin’s wedding and also our home for the next two nights. (Now think Downton Abbey!)
- The kids were thrilled about our room overlooking the countryside -
- View from the tower room -
I was thrilled to be here for my cousin’s wedding. Celine and I grew up together being born just a month apart. We went to the same school from Prep to Highschool. We shared the same group of friends all our lives. I spent most of my time after all of our elementary school days at her house doing our homework together, playing hopscotch or piko, or turning her bathroom into a huge bathtub and soaking in the bubble bath together. (See, I showed early signs of eventually getting into swimming!) And, even when we went to different colleges, started working, and I got married and she left for New York for her MBA and moved to Singapore, we remained close. So, I was excited to see my “sister”/barkada/best friend finally settling down with Rob, her British boyfriend who we’ve also come to love.
- with Laurie and Cel, my bestest friends since forever, after Cel’s bridal shower at the Salon. Missing: Vicky and Krie -
Walton Hall was beautiful. I felt like I had gone on a retreat…a running retreat! We were surrounded by nature, lush green grass, swans and ducks in the lake, trees that could tell tales from the past. The weather was cold, but it was invigorating and refreshing.
The next morning, Friday, I was to run my last run before the London Marathon on Sunday. The hubby and kids came along with me. We walked. We jogged. We laughed. We looked for animals. Then, they got hungry and went ahead for breakfast. LOL.
I was planning on running 5k alone. As I ran, I felt great. Correction: Not just great. I felt like my entire body, especially my legs, were completely prepared for the marathon. My form was good. My legs felt springy and light. Everything felt perfect. And so, barely even hitting 3k, I stopped and decided to enjoy breakfast with the family.
If there’s one thing I learned about as a serious runner, it’s NOT to take running too seriously. There are precious moments and special people in your life that are more important than a race. Not to mention croissants and Nutella waiting at the breakfast buffet.
That afternoon, as bridesmaid, I witnessed one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever attended. It was touching. It was emotional. It was inspiring.
I indulged in good food, a little wine, and then the following day, the family and I took a train back to London for an easy Saturday before the big day: London Marathon!
Thank you so much to all the people who got me to London! Unilab Active Health for sponsoring the trip. Special thanks to my favorites Enervon Activ for keeping me energized during training and race day and Enervon HP for aiding in recovery. Thank you to Timex Philippines and Timex UK who snagged me a race slot.