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LA Phil violist Mick Wetzel takes a break from his run in London to pose for a photo.
Stacy and I have been touring with major symphony orchestras for 30 years. Before we came to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, we played with the San Francisco Symphony.. This has been a wonderful privilege to have been able to do this and most especially together.
Over the years as we have become more experienced and frankly, as our bodies have aged, we have found it helpful and even necessary to stay in the best physical shape that we can. We try to eat right and sleep right. But we also find it necessary to make time to exercise. I have preached to my college aged children that the key to academic success in college is high quality SEE (sleep - eat - exercise). I have guessed that I had better practice professionally what I preach paternally. Leading a healthy lifestyle helps us to avoid injury as string players and improves and maximizes our abilities to perform well as members of the LA Phil.
So we run. And run...
It is so fun to find interesting and beautiful places to run when we are on tour with the Philharmonic. Because we have been doing this for so long, we have a pretty good idea of where the safe and beautiful places are to run and when to run there.
LA Phil violinist Stacy Wetzel poses in front of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment during a run in London's Hyde Park.
When we arrived in London on Friday, we were thinking that we might take the tube the next morning, out to Hampstead Heath, one of our old running haunts, and work out there. This is a loveley place that is an open park area. It is easy to get a 3 to 6 mile run in without exiting the park or without duplicating any routes. There is even a promentory that affords a spectacular view of downtown London. But our hotel, Intercontinental London Park Lane, is just across the street from Hyde Park. This is a wonderful place to run. There are many beautiful, well-manicured running paths where you only have to share the “road” with fellow runners and walkers and the occasional herd of Royal horses. The best part for me about this is that I don’t have to worry about looking RIGHT.
The weather for our runs was pretty cold and rainy but we are hearty folk (especially with our GoreTex running gear on). We love seeing our fellow local Londoner runners. Just as an aside, I have seen in the last few years, a trend among the young professional men, running to work with their business suits in their backpacks...very inspiring. We also did encounter the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment on our runs in the park looking very much, I am sure, like they have for centuries.
During our stay in London, Stacy and I were able to run 4 times in Hyde Park on the 4 mile exterior path. We usually keep a humble 8 min. 30 sec. pace and even though we do the proverbial LSD (long slow distance) type of run, it did enhance our ability to perform at our optimum for the three concerts in London.