21 Feb – Fated To Fail

Today was a regular appointment at Hampstead Hospital for WMAS related stuff. I go so often that I know the Receptionists’ names – they are Yvonne and Roger. Unfailing polite, but utterly bewildered as to why my appointments are like phantoms.

This morning in the coffee shop I mentioned to Mr JCR that I was bit concerned because I had neither received a confirmation letter nor the usual text message reminders. Phone them he urged, just in case there’s a problem. And of course there was, for the fifth time in succession, I had apparently cancelled my appointment. And cancelled the one for tomorrow that I didn’t know anything about. So ruddy frustrating as I had done no such thing and thus my plans for a slightly longer run were curtailed as I spent an extra 90 minutes waiting for a non-existent appointment to be created.

Not in the best of moods, I started my run home, through the delights of Kentish Town and a bypass of Somers Town (arse end of Euston station – famous/infamous but not in a good way). It was cold, I was peed off, and the route wasn’t brilliant. Job Done – except it wasn’t as I found out when I got home, I looked at my run plan and blow, bother, dash I should have done 11kms today and I didn’t.

So that’s a bit more to do tomorrow then. Oh and I have to return to Hampstead Hospital in May – and I just know that appointment will get cancelled by the mysterious force that has cancelled my previous five appointments. Roger and Yvonne will remain as polite as usual. Today, evidently not my day. Better give it a better go tomorrow.

Playlist

Get Up And Jump – Red Hot Chilis

Ghost Town – The Specials

Gimme Some Lovin’ – The Blues Brothers

Girl – The Beatles

Girl From Mars – Ash

A Girl Like You – Edwin Collins

Girl On The Phone – The Jam

The Girl Who Wanted To Be – The Manics

Girls and Boys – Blur

Girls on Film – Duran Duran

Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll – The Killers

Glass Onion – The Beatles

Glory Days – The Boss

Gnik Nus – The Beatles

Go For It – Stiff Little Fingers

Go To Hell – Nina Simone

Go Wild In the Country – Bow Wow Wow

God & Satan – Biffy Clyro

God Only Knows – The Beach Boys

God Put A Smile On Your Face – Coldplay

Stats

Distance 10.40km

Time 1:18:07

Average Pace 7:30 (min/km)

Elevation Gain 42 metres

Alzheimers Challenge

Kms Done 268km

Kms To Do 1750 km

Team Rhomboid Torture/Challenge

2 sets of 10 reps – squats (with vampire kettlebell)

2 sets of 10 wall press -ups

2 sets of 10 lying knee raises

7 reps of hollow rock holding 10 seconds

Utter failure on wrist exercises…

 

 

 

20 Feb – Anyone Got A Spare Core?

pexels-photo-191845.jpeg
This is my ‘core’ shape, notice the distinct lack of any definition…

 

As I think I need one, preferably in good working order, as opposed to mine, which is not so much a core as a doughnut hole.

Part of this running thing is making sure I am in as reasonable shape as possible, mainly to ward off any injuries and illness. But I have a teensy confession, I haven’t really done the post -run stretches much.

Mainly because:-

  1. they are boring
  2. they take time I don’t want to give
  3. I’m not awfully bendy, despite me going on a ‘get more bendy’ course last year

I do squats and on non running days the vampire kettlebells come out for an airing. But even on non-running days I don’t do stretches, for the three reasons given above. And then I found the perfect reason, according to a random article I found c/o Dr Google (who can always be relied upon for any get out clause), which said most people haven’t the foggiest idea on how to stretch properly or even when they do they don’t do it for long enough. Which takes me right back to reason number 2! From time to time I use the torture instrument known as the foam roller, although seriously not enough.

Can’t remember who said ‘I think, therefore I am’, but in my case it changes to  ‘I don’t stretch because I’m not bendy, I’m not bendy because I don’t stretch’.

But I have signed up to do a Lenten challenge which so far includes something called a hollow body – I wish, followed by press-ups. Now I did do the wall press-ups, the hollow body thing – mmm I think I just found out where the core is supposed to be. These are all stretchy things.

Somewhere in the doughy recesses  of my stomach, there is an ache. I think this could be my long lost core calling out to me. In fact she is shouting in pain ‘WTF, do you think you are doing JCR?’

Add to that the humiliation of Mr JCR actually finding me doing wall press-ups. The squatting, hollow body thing and press-ups, have been hitherto an undiscovered secret. And now my secret is out, I am trying to do something about my core.

Me and my core have history. Imagine the excruciatingly embarrassing situation of being measured for a school play outfit at secondary school (I was about 14 at the time) and your bust, waist and hip measurements being exactly the same. That’s right at 14, I was shaped like a toilet roll tube and the teacher commented on the lack of a waist. Since then my lack of a core has been hidden from the public, and now it’s out there.

I have no expectation that my waist will emerge, swan-like after having been an ugly duckling for so long. But if I get this core thing right, apparently it will strengthen my running. And if core stretching works, then maybe, just maybe I will stretch after a run.

But that’s after Mistress Howling Wolf (my new name for the hurting core) has stopped shrieking in protest. It is Tuesday, she started shrieking on Saturday… I do wish she’d shut up, as we may get stopped at Airport Security.

Today is officially a running rest day, so squatting, hollow bodying and wall press-ups will have to wait until we get back to London.

BIG THANKS TO RITA – for the very kind sponsorship donation for my Alzheimer’s Challenge. Thanks so much and see you in April!

 

Feb 19 – So Long Sunshine

It’s been nice seeing you again, I’d quite forgotten what grey skies look like.

Winter training camp well what’s to be said about it…

Upsides

Weather is much nicer, so it feels easier to run

Having an apartment means you can do home laundry for all the sports gear

Eating and drinking locally is fab, I’d forgotten just how much I like tapas

Getting to run by the side of the beach is glorious, there’s always something to look at (even if you don’t want to see what’s there!)

You get to feel the City a little more, rather than just being a tourist doing the sights

Downsides

Weather is much nicer, so it feels easier to run – therefore no excuses not to

Having an apartment means you can do home laundry for all the sports gear, but I do feel like a laundromat assistant doing ‘service washes’

Eating and drinking locally is fab, I’d forgotten just how much I like tapas, and how they are not the ideal ‘training’ food

Suggested running routes don’t always tell you what you will find; once leading to a sharp exit from an alley where I felt decidedly out of place

You don’t get as much time as you imagine to ‘see the sights’

I came out with a mental plan to ‘do’ 40 km in the 5 days I was here and that’s quite a smoking 8km per day; whereas the most I’d done previously was 7. In actual fact, I’ve run just over 45kms in my time here, so a little better than I thought with a daily average of 9kms. The benefit of sunshine therefore comes out at 1km a day  I don’t know whether Mr JCR will consider the cost benefit analysis a strong one… 😉

Oh and a sunny wave to ju-ju who had a crap start to the day.

Playlist

A New England – Billy Bragg

Is This The Way To Amarillo – Tony Christie

London Calling – The Clash

Strong – London Grammar

No Particular Place To Go – Chuck Berry

Maid of Orleans – OMD

Romeo and Juliet – Dire Straits

Penny Lane  – The Beatles

Rio – Duran Duran

Vienna – Ultravox

Belfast Child – Simple Minds

Going Down To Liverpool – The Bangles

Black Eyed Boy – Texas

California Dreaming’ –  The Mamas and The Papas

Avalon – Roxy Music

Grease – Frankie Valli

Japanese Boy – Aneka

Big in Japan – Alphaville

What A Wonderful World – Sam Cooke

Rhythm Is Going To Get You – Gloria Estefan and The Miami Sound Machine

Streets of Philadelphia – The Boss

Downtown – Petula Clark

Barbados – Typically Tropical

Stats

Distance 10.52 kms

Time 1:21:00

Average Pace 7:42 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 28 metres

Running Streak = 5 days (but tomorrow is a rest day as we fly home) (12km, 10km, 6km, 6km, 10km)

Team Rhomboid Torture (or Lenten Challenge)

20 squats

6 Hollow Rocks holding 10 seconds

20 Wall Press Ups

1 knackered body

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run to Date 257.6

Kms to Do 1760.40

(Hopefully I’ll have kicked in to the 1600s by the end of Feb)

 

 

18 Feb – You Can Take The Girl Out of Liverpool

 

But you most definitely can’t take Liverpool out of the girl. Last night’s gourmet feast was in a little restaurant we had seen on Thursday evening and thought it looked good. Had we looked at the menu? – no. Had we looked at the price point? – no. On what did we base our judgement – we liked the decor. Luckily the decor judgement seemed to work for the food and we had a very nice meal. Oh and a fantabulous bottle of Rioja too.

Starters for Mr JCR – some kind of sausage – it sounded chorizo like, so I assumed it would be like a charcuterie plate. No it was a sausage, with fries and a dipping sauce. Mine was dead easy – the menu had me at ‘morcilla’ – which is the Spanish version of black pudding, a rare treat, that I eat about twice a year.When I do this in France or Spain the locals  often wonder if the Englishwoman has gone mad and knows what she has ordered. I have been questioned about it before – in Paris, a colleague asked ‘you do know that is black sausage don’t you?’ Yes I was fully conversant and I expected my morcilla, maybe with some spinach, or apple or a mustard sauce. No, it came with chips. This is all fine, except Mr JCR had ordered his main course of steak and chips and me, well I’d wimped out on the chips and had the ‘healthy’ baked potato option.

Last night’s healthy preparatory meal for today’s run and Mr JCR’s bike ride was basically meat and spuds, twice. I thought the Northern gods would be smiling at my conversion of a namely pamby Southerner.

With what felt like 10 tons of meat and spuds weighing me down, I was wavering whether or not to run. I wavered for at least two hours, whilst reading the newspaper. And then it came to the crunch time – read the rest of the paper and blag to Mr JCR that my hips were too sore to run or be honest and go out for a run. To my surprise, honesty won, and I ran. It wasn’t record beating, certainly it was slow, but it was a run and I did City sights today, having pounded the seafront one too many times for interest.

Malaga is undergoing quite a renaissance, and so it seems in the area I found (well I think the Malaguenans built it a little while ago) I’m not claiming Christopher Columbus rights here. And I was running in a chichi paved and shaded area near the port, with a modern art Rubik’s cube thing. This break is all about the running and riding, so we aren’t spending much time doing cultural stuff, but definitely worth a return visit, when my legs aren’t aching so much that I’d happily go for a walk.

Running lessons learnt today:-

Meat and spuds twice is not the best prep for a morning run

I need to travel with my own pillow; Ikea’s finest just aren’t hacking it

Following Team Rhomboid’s 40 day Lenten Exercise Plan, is bloody hard work – and I am only on Day 2. Wall press-ups anyone?

Playlist

I Don’t Want To Go To Chelsea – Elvis Costello

I Spy – Pulp

Start – The Jam

Minnie The Moocher – The Blues Brothers

In My Bed – Amy Winehouse

When You’re Young – The Jam

Don’t Look Back – Madness

In My Life – The Beatles

Darlin’ – The Beach Boys

Boom Boom – John Lee Hooker

Smokestack Lightnin’ -Howlin’ Wolf

Heroes – David Bowie

I Love To Boogie – T Rex

London Traffic – The Jam

Round & Round – New Order

Stats

Distance 6.22km

Time 48:15

Average Pace 7:45 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 28 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run To Date 247.1km

Kms To Run 1770.9km

 

 

 

 

 

 

17 Feb – Wimp or Wally?

You decide, after a very long night’s sleep and an understanding Mr JCR who knew exactly why I needed to crash, I thought I may just go for a walk today, rather than run.

But then why walk when you can run? (even if it is now ‘glacial pace’*) and furthermore the run counts towards your Alzheimer’s Challenge, whereas walking wouldn’t.

I toddled off, in fact it was like treading on hot coals, but I really slowed down and took the coastal path along the seafront, wearing running shorts for the first time this year. Running shorts without a pocket, so some frantic re-arranging of my shoelaces and I managed to put the Airbnb keys in my trainers.

Today saw a significant number of folk on the beach and the beach barbecues were all in force, giving a very nice aroma en route. These are formed in steel boats and the fish/shellfish are skewered vertically to cook. It was very appetising seeing fresh sea bream and prawns cooking, if a little tempting to just pack in the run and have lunch instead.

I had got used to the jingle of keys accompanying me and then all of a sudden, no jingle. The Airbnb keys had worked out, so a slight retracing of steps and I continued on.

At one stage I was so slow I was overtaken by a pedestrian, but then I’m guessing they haven’t run 20+km in the past two days.

It was warm, my pace was dreadful but I snuck in another 6km. This is day 3 of running a 4 day streak. I am not sure my body can deal with it. Still, we are eating out tonight and I have plenty of time to rest before going out tomorrow.

Must up the water intake, as today I saw a thermometer saying 22 degrees; Southern Spain is hotting up. Upside, I didn’t wimp out – downside, I may have overcooked days 1 and 2, so that probably makes me a Wally.

At the final countdown in December, we will find out.

* gratefully plagiarised from The Devil Wears Prada

Playlist

Please Don’t Go – Madness

Please Please Me – The Beatles

Please Stay – Duffy

Politik – Coldplay

Pop Muzik – ‘M’

Porcelain Gods – Paul Weller

Precious – The Jam

Press Lightly – Paloma Faith

Prettiest Star – David Bowie

Pretty Vacant – Sex Pistols

The Price Of Admission – Stiff Little Fingers

The Price of Love – Bryan Ferry

Pride (In The Name Of Love) – U2

(obviously I didn’t shuffle my playlist…)

Stats

Distance 6.86kms

Time 1:04:59

Average Pace 9:28 (see, it’s getting much worse this is 3mins a km worse than my usual)

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 240.9

Kms To Do 1777.1

Sponsor me on BT MyDonate

16 Feb – All I Am Fit For Is

 

the knacker’s yard. There isn’t a bit of my bod that is not hurting today

K – knees aching and it’s only the first kilometre

N – not as hot as yesterday, thank goodness

A – arms are aching – why for God’s sake as they aren’t even doing the running

C – cool dudes playing ping pong in swimming trunks, draw attention from the pain

K – knees still aching – inside and outside both legs – it’s only halfway through the run

E – every minute I am whispering to myself, just one more lamppost

R – red, the colour of my face – luckily at 6kms I find water fountains

E – ever regret making a hasty declaration about running the year?

D – don’t be so bloody wet JCR, you ran 12.5kms yesterday – no wonder you’re tired

Playlist

Cars – Gary Numan

Drive  – The Cars

Sailing On The Seven Seas – OMD

Surfin’ USA – Beach Boys

Big Yellow Taxi – Counting Crows

Riders On The Storm – The Doors

They Shoot Horses Don’t They – Racing Cars

Groovy Train – The Farm

Skateboarding –  Xinobi

Don’t Pay The Ferryman – Chris De Burgh

What I Go To School For – Busted

Drive My Car – The Beatles

Ocean Drive – Lighthouse Family

Driving In My Car – Madness

Ship Of Fools – Erasure

Airport – The Motors

Hey Soul Sister – Train

Ride On Time – Black Box

Walk This Way – Aerosmith

The Passenger – Iggy Pop

2-4-6-8 Motorway – Tom Robinson Band

Stats

Distance 9.82 Km

Time 1:25:26

Average Pace 8:41 (mins/km) It is always worse after a long run

Elevation Gain 31m

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 234.08

Kms to Run 1783.92…

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 Feb – Tapas 5 – Running 0

 

Winter training camp is to be taken very seriously. Up to this morning, I have run precisely 0 kilometres and eaten 5 sets of tapas.

So far we have had:-

Patatas bravas – slow oven roasted new potatoes with warm red pepper mayonnaise sauce

Croquetas jamón – can’t tell you how scrummy these were, potato puree, really creamy with tiny flakes of ham

Gambas tempura – say no more

Porco Iberico con pimientos padron – neither of us had the nuclear grade padron pepper, but the Iberico pork was stupendous.

Queso Manchego – manchego cheese

I am hoping this food will give me legs for a run today, or maybe too much of a good thing could mess up my plans. We shall see…

3 hours later:-

One of the problems of a British Winter is that you get so used to being cold and grey and wet, you forget exactly how to dress for warmer climes. And so it was today. I got dressed in long running tights, long sleeved base-layer, short sleeved tee shirt over and a running cap.

At about 2 kms in with rivers of sweat pouring down my face, the hat came off. Another two kilometres in and an unscheduled middle-aged striptease occurred on the seafront. Off came the short sleeved tee shirt, off came the long sleeved base layer. On went a ‘Do I really care that I am stripped to the waist?’ look on my face and I brazened it out in front of the good people of Malaga. In fairness I am sure they have seen much worse on their beaches in summer.

Another kilometre in and I was having a hot running tights issue. No matter how brazen I felt earlier, there was no way I was going to run bare-arsed, so I had to settle for rolling up my running tights to knee height. It didn’t even look as good as Norah Batty – much more Compo. Not a hope in hell of me ever achieving molto chic podista look.

The Malaga seafront has a nice flat promenade, with a slight sea breeze today which did help, but how quickly I had forgotten that, in the sun, every bit of effort is so much harder.  Today was a touch over 20 degrees according to one thermometer I saw and last summer I would have welcomed that rather than Lucifer’s inferno of 40 degrees plus. But after four months of running in cool/cold weather, it felt really rather scorchio.

A fairly boring route along the promenade, enlivened by hundred of pairs of multicoloured leggings. They obviously are very popular here – not necessarily for keeping fit though, mainly as a promenading outfit, oh and age no barrier either. Along with the multi-coloured leggings the ceramic paving had a wavy line on it that gave an optical illusion of you running up and down mini hills. It was most peculiar when looking down (which was necessary due to dog poop), it really made my head spin.

One of the nicest things was seeing beach volleyball, there’s something lovely about seeing people have fun on a sunny day. This is my second try at running 4 days consecutively, then taking a day off. So it will be interesting to see how I get on.

My lessons on Winter camp so far:-

  1. Drink enough water the day before
  2. Dress as though it were much hotter than you imagine
  3. Don’t go out in full sun

Playlist

People Are People – Depeche Mode

True Faith 94 – New Order

Change – The Lightning Seeds

The Jean Genie – David Bowie

Unbelievable – EMF

Marvin Gaye – Puth and Traynor

This Girl – Kungs

Rain On Your Parade – Duffy

When Doves Cry – Prince

Is She Really Going Out With Him – Joe Jackson

Rio – Duran Duran

I Wont Let The Sun Go Down On Me – Nik Kershaw

Just Can’t Get Enough – Depeche Mode

Enola Gay – OMD

Let’s Stick Together – Bryan Ferry

Save A Prayer – Duran Duran

Blue Monday – New Order

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

World In Motion – New Order

Modern Way – Kaiser Chiefs

Upside Down – Paloma Faith

Parklife – Blur

Lucky You – The Lightning Seeds

Sign Your Name – Terence Trent D’Arby

I Predict A Riot – Kaiser Chiefs

Rockferry – Duffy

Love In Itself – Depeche Mode

Stats

Distance 12.25km

Time 1:37:05

Average Pace 7:55

Elevation Gain 31 metres

Clothing Removed – 3 items

Clothing Replaced – 1 item

Red Face/Paddington Stare – 1

Alzheimer’s Challenge

224.26 kms done

1793.74 to be done (but first time down in the 1700s)