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St Paul's Cathedral.

In total, I have lived ten years of my life in the UK and am very fond of the place.  In various blog posts (Frost Fairways,  Chappel, Isle of Dogs), I have described some of my favourite runs there.  The last time I lived in the UK was in 1992, but during the next eleven years when I lived in the US, I made many business trips there, frequently staying in hotels in central London.  Central London is a big place, and depending on where you are staying, the running options can vary.  During the latter part of my working life, when I was employed by Reuters, whose head office was in Fleet Street, my favourite place to stay was a business hotel close to St Paul's Cathedral.  It was easy walking distance from the office (passing an excellent Indian takeaway en route!), and close to the Thames River, a wonderful place to run.

HMS Belfast with Tower Bridge.

For my regular 10km run, I usually set out about 6:00am and headed east along Cannon Street past the imposing St Paul's Cathedral and then Mansion House, Cannon Street and Monument stations which were already disgorging early commuters before arcing around the northern side of the Tower of London and onto the iconic Tower Bridge.  I always enjoyed checking out the river traffic as I crossed the bridge and looking at the retired HMS Belfast anchored upstream.  On the southern side of the bridge, I descended a stairway to begin my journey westwards along the southern bank of the Thames.

Millennium Bridge and St Paul's Cathedral.

At first the route wound through some narrow back streets passing refurbished warehouses and stereotypical London pubs before joining the promenade along the river bank which I followed all the way to Westminster Bridge.  On the way it passed landmarks such as the Millennium Bridge, the Tate Modern, Southbank, and the London Eye, all the time providing superb views of the London skyline to the north across the river.  After crossing the river again beneath Big Ben, the route turned right to follow the Victoria Embankment downstream and back to the northern end of the Millennium Bridge from where it was a short run back to the hotel.

London Eye and Southbank.

It was a generally flat course along wide paved footpaths and promenades that made for a fast run if I was feeling good, which was often the case.  In summer, London had milder temperatures and lower humidity than my US abodes, and in winter, it was also milder and nice to run in shorts for a change after the winter gear required in the US.

I've been told that my recovery from the Pulmonary Embolism could be long and erratic.  Today served to emphasise the point when I struggled all of the way round what should have been an easy 5km walk in Copa.  I didn't feel my heart racing, maybe because I walked so slowly, but it was exasperating and a little alarming to feel so unfit.  My breathing was heavy and laboured and I even contemplated sitting down on a bench with a kilometre to go when I began to feel a little spaced out.  Instead, I just walked even more slowly and made it home OK.  The rest of the day was pretty sedentary and I had no problems.  On the plus side, I had a call from the office of the Respiratory Specialist I wasn't scheduled to see for another month to say they had a cancellation tomorrow, so I'm hopeful of getting a useful opinion about my situation and prognosis.