Jancanrun

20 July – Week 5 Run 1 – A man, a Shovel and his Ape

Being out early meant I didn’t see any of my usual running mates. No A & A, no Mr 118 and to be honest Heinz 57 walker hasn’t been seen for a while – he could have been a tourist I suppose.

Mr Smooth did his usual cool intro, with an added ‘ This week is a bit tricky’ – so I knew I was in for fun. Slope of Hope walk was fine and then I turned into the Hill that Kills. Upside my pace was better than Wednesday’s shocker, the downside who knew 5 minutes could last a lifetime? Then my walk into Lovers’ Lane. Here it’s a national pastime to complain about infrastructure and politics, and at election time, very visible public spending occurs, so we read. Government is very localised and mayors powerful.

We have a system of comunes, which are similar to very, very local councils. One of our local council’s budgets for road maintenance in the village and surrounding roads, is 40,000 euros for the year. Which in essence, pretty much gets you a few buckets of tarmac, some gravel and a man with his Ape. No, I am not being rude about his choice of companion.

An Ape is one of those cute 3 wheeled, two stroke engine farm vehicles. We have Ape Grand Prix here, with flame painted, roll barred sharks haring around the countryside. The Ape – with an accent on the ‘e’ is so called for 2 reasons – it sounds like a bee (translates directly) and frankly it looks like one too when you see old farming couples with their harvest and shopping on the flat bed, and both their heads forced together as the cab roofline narrows, so they both have to tilt inwards.The poor old Ape struggles to get up the hills and looks just like a honeybee loaded with pollen, unsteady on its flight path.

In Lovers’ Lane, I see this summer’s road maintenance crew, a man, some tarmac on his Ape and a shovel. He fills the pothole with tarmac, bangs it down with his shovel and moves on. Then motorists are expected to drive over it to flatten it down. He’s out early and I have a feeling that this bit will stay lumpy as most of Lovers’ Lane traffic (as you can imagine from its nickname) arrives much later in the evening when the tarmac will be long hardened.

He sees me on my second walk part and says, ‘it’s hard work today’ and I say yes it is he then says ‘Piano, piano’ which means slowly, slowly. I nod and we part. Thinking about it now was he referring to his work or mine? Either way I’m glad he’s there as now there will be fewer obstacles to think about when running. Did think of taking a photo, but it seemed a bit rude, and besides which Mr Smooth hadn’t said it was photo time.

Finally the Hill that Kills beckons again and Mr Smooth tells me to visualise the finish line. Wow doesn’t that sound Olympian? So I do, but I think like many fellow Week 5ers my visualisation was a tad optimistic…

But it’s done and now 3 days off – I must run Monday, so I hope this extra-long weekend break doesn’t put me off my stride.

 

Playlist

Enola Gay – OMD

Planet Earth – Duran Duran

Love in Itself, Dreaming of me, Just Cant Get Enough – played in succession – Depeche Mode

Mulder and Scully – Catatonia

Born in the USA – The Boss

Two Tribes – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Purple Rain – Prince & the Revolution

 

Stats

Distance  3.96km

Time 38.11

Average Pace 9.38min/km

Originally published on Health Unlocked 20 July

This was a quick and dirty run, I didn’t have much time that day, so observations low and so too my run and cool down times. That’s a runner’s lot I guess

 

19 July 2017 – Week 4 Run 3 – The Hill that Kills got me – but Physio helped

After last time out with an unscheduled stop, I was feeling trepidatious (is that even a word?) about this run, as I wasn’t sure I’d actually done the second one. But after a lot of comments from the forum I decided to go for it. I awoke with horrendous stomach cramps and decided to have a drink and some ibuprofen (given my previous history with tomato vodka, I can assure you this time it was Earl Grey tea). I delayed going out for about 30 minutes, to give the Ibuprofen some time to work.

On the Slope of Hope for my warm up walk, things felt fine – even the dogs didn’t bark to day, more of a grumble really. So I started my first 3 minute run up the Hill that Kills and straightaway I could tell I was off form, as my distance in the 3 minutes was really poor.

So now I am feeling molto grumpy but carried on into Lovers’ Lane, even Mr Smooth couldn’t persuade me it was a good day. Did my usual tour of duty and then back to the Hill that Kills for the final 5 minutes. At this stage my face was probably at a new stage of red that I am going to describe as Dulux Incandescent Rage, because I was so p….d off, my legs felt heavy and I think I had a shin splint too.

Warm down walk took me back into Lovers’ Lane and when my time was up, I started to head to home thinking it was a crap day and I better just write this one off.

Then Mr and Mrs Physio came to my rescue, they smiled and said buongiorno as usual, and as my run had finished I actually stopped and chatted to them. Needless to say Mr & Mrs Physio aren’t called that at all – he is called Albino and she is Anouska which she told me proudly had Slav origins. In my pretty useless Italian, I asked if they were doing physio work and they said no she just needs help walking. Each morning, they walk from their house and do two tours of the Villa and two of Lovers’ Lane as they described it as ‘un bel inizio’ – a beautiful start to the day.

Then they asked about my training programme and how it worked, so I explained that and Albino said physical exercise was important for a good heart and head and we said our goodbyes.

So sitting in my kitchen I now realise the stomach cramps have gone, and Albino and Anouska are right it is a beautiful start to the day, so thank you A&A, for re-setting my colour chart from Incandescent to Salsa Red as usual.

My next challenge to find out Mr 118s name…

Playlist

Unbelievable (twice in succession) – EMF

China Girl – David Bowie

Save a Prayer – Duran Duran

Walk Like an Egyptian – Bangles

Don’t Look Back in Anger – Oasis

Dreaming of Me – Depeche Mode

Is She Really Going Out With Him – Joe Jackson

Blue Monday – New Order

Wishing Well – Terence Trent D’Arby

Dancing in the Dark – The Boss

Mercy – Duffy

Change  – Lightning Seeds

Glory Days – The Boss

 

Stats

Distance 5.50 km

Time 50.13

Average Pace 9.07 min/km

Originally published on Health Unlocked 19 July 2017

 

A&A are now a regular part of my running. I love seeing them they are a reminder on how to take joy in the little things of life. A bel inizio indeed

17 July – Week 4 Run 2 – When is a run not a run?

Running kit all ready and the technology all lined up to go, so what could go wrong? I’ve been reading that week 4 seems to be a make or break week, so wanted to make sure I stayed the course.

In Italy, if you are a runner you are called a podista and Italy doesn’t really do podistas. The big sport here is cycling, so people expect you to cycle, as that really is the national obsession and they generally express surprise when you say you run. That surprise also extends to when they are driving. Drivers are surprisingly courteous to cyclists, even the big groups out at weekends, but as a podista we don’t quite get the same favourable reaction. I have had people toot, shake fists and shout ‘occhi’ which means use your eyes. I’ve come to the conclusion this difference is because we podistas generally run towards the traffic rather than with it, but to be honest I’m scared of running with the flow and not knowing what’s coming behind me.

Anyway I digress, I set out as usual – down the Slope of Hope for my 5 minutes walk and then started the programme, Mr Smooth was very encouraging and I managed to do the first run up the Hill that Kills, so am dead chuffed with that. Then move onto Lovers’ Lane and curses what is that I see in the distance – my nemesis. A molto chic lady Italian podista.

Now I say nemesis, it’s nothing personal you understand, but the only lady Italians I see exercising do it in full make-up, with immaculate hair and a certain style. Even the cyclists do it too – I am the complete opposite of this model look. To be honest the physical perfection is a bit off-putting, as if you are fit skinny and beautiful I really think you should allow the rest of us (i.e. me) some slack and stay in the shadows, so we don’t see you and look at ourselves in disgust.

This lady is no exception, skinny as a rake, wearing a cute shoestring running top, caramel coloured hair swooshing gently, wraparound sunglasses and half a ton of dainty chichi bracelets adorning her wrists. I puff past with Mr Smooth telling me I’ve done 4 minutes of the 5 and to keep going. I notice too, that this lady podista is neither salsa red nor is her head bobbing. I have a fleeting thought that if Mr Smooth was given the chance he’d dump me for this molto chic lady – we exchange buongiornos and move on. I round off Villa Bali and my rest walk coincides with her running back and she starts waving at me to stop.

So after much puffing and panting, putting Mr Smooth on pause – I stop, and she introduces herself in Italian – her name is Gabrielle – well it would be wouldn’t it – with all that chic look she has an angelic name too… I’m really rather grumpy now, it’s hard enough doing this training without needing to look like a blinking supermodel too!

She then asks if I understand/speak English and I say yes, then she tells me she is not Italian but Canadian. She is re-visiting the land of her grandfather and staying with a great aunt and wants to know where to buy the locally famous biological extra virgin olive oil.

I am a sucker for pretty much anyone from North America, I’ve always found both the Canadians and Americans I’ve met to be delightfully friendly folk and if I can help a Canadian or an American I will. So we chatted a bit and I told her where she could get the liquid gold – she told me she and her family had been woofing in Tuscany. In truth I have no idea what she meant, so I smiled politely, said goodbye and restarted. so actually she was molto chic and very fit, but she was a lovely lady too – that’s kicked that particular prejudice into touch!

This is now my dilemma, we stopped for about 10 minutes for the chat and pleasantries and I just pressed start and then followed the rest of the programme.

My face colour when I got home was a shade less than my usual salsa red, but then I had a good 10 minutes rest during the session… So what to do – re-do this one or move onto the final one for Week 4. Did today really count?

Playlist

Rock The Casbah  – The Clash

Hot in the City – Billy Idol

Na Na Na Na Naa – Kaiser Chiefs

Modern Love – David Bowie

Don’t Look Back in Anger (twice in succession) – Oasis

Rio – Duran Duran

London Calling – The Clash

Mulder and Scully – Catatonia

Glory Days – The Boss

Change – The Lightning Seeds

Push The Button – Sugababes

Vienna (twice in succession) – Ultravox

 

Stats

Distance 5.67km

Time 52.54

Average Pace 9.19 mins/km

Originally posted on Health Unlocked 17 July 2017

What to say here, oh yes I since found out that WWOOFing is Worldwide Working on Organic Farms, so chic and ethical too… Do I feel inadequate, yup I do!

15 July – Week 4 Run 1 – From Barking to Bali, taking the branch line

From Barking to Bali, taking the branch line - Week 4 Run 1

Mr Smooth sent me his usual invitation, although I understand he is two timing me and you all know it!

Regardless of the heat I get out, it’s much better today because we had a mother of all thunderstorms yesterday, with flash floods. Le Marche is often described as the poor man’s Tuscany and right next door, region wise. Around here the biggest and most important crop is olives for the liquid green gold of extra virgin olive oil. We have lots of sunflower farmers too, and the lanes are lined by oaks, elms, hornbeams and something called bianca spina. That is about the sum total of my natural history knowledge. In fact most of those trees appeared to be all or part in the roads today.

I live at the top of the hill so my first walk takes me downhill, past a walnut tree grove and the house where 2 dogs bark at me every time I pass – I end up jumping and dropping the f word. That’s two f words and I’m still on the walking part. My Italian friends assure me that swearing in English is fine out of your home country, as your swear words aren’t in the least bit offensive to locals and therefore don’t count.

I then turn into the lane known by me as the hill that kills, because I always have to start my run there and it rises about 20 metres…. I pass the ‘fresh farm eggs’ house that also has 2 dogs who manage to time their barks for maximum jumping effect. That’s another two f words and for the record I am never buying their eggs, as they’d end up scrambled by the time I got home. Down past a couple of derelict farm houses, or development opportunities as a Channel 4 House-buying show would undoubtedly say.

Then into the local Lovers’ Lane, dodging lots of fallen branches (I think yesterday’s storm victims) towards Villa Bali. This is usually where I see Mr and Mrs Physio and Mr 118. Today however, they are all noticeable by their absence. Unfortunately the Lovers’ Lane and Villa Bali loop coincide with my first 5 minute run and the fifth f word is dropped when Mr Smooth tells me that there’s still a minute to go. AAARRRGGGGHHH.

In Lovers’ Lane there’s a house that has two beagles, who I managed to get past without disturbing, however not so lucky on the way back – yes they got me, and yes I leapt into the air, for the 6th f word of the run. Going back towards the Hill that Kills, I see in the distance what looks to be Mr and Mrs Physio – blimey she’s walking better. Ah no, rubbish eyesight – it is in fact a woman and man with Nordic walking poles who are at least 20 years younger than me and it makes them about 40 years younger than Mr and Mrs Physio. Oops.

My last run takes me back up the Hill that Kills and I realise that yes I am totally shattered, but today is the day I ran all the way up the Hill that Kills, whereas on my first 30 second attempt I didn’t get much further than 50 yards and was in need of oxygen. Mr Smooth may be mean at times, but I can see the difference.

Today’s vital statistics –

6 f words or none if you use Italian logic

+ 2 new strangers

– Minus 4 Regulars

Face colour – still rocking Dulux Salsa Red..

 

Playlist

Rumour Has It – Adele

Back to Black (twice in succession) – Amy Winehouse

Warwick Avenue – Duffy

True Faith 94 – New Order

Let’s Dance – David Bowie

Girl from Mars – Ash

Let’s Spend the Night Together – David Bowie

Is Vic There? – Department S

Just Can’t Get Enough – Depeche Mode

Let’s Go Crazy – Prince and The Revolution

Marvin Gaye – Puth and Trainor

Enola Gay – OMD

Everyday I Love You Less and Less – Kaiser Chiefs

Dreaming of Me – Depeche Mode

 

Stats

Distance 5.77 km

Time 55.43

Average Pace 9:39 mins/km

Originally posted on Health Unlocked 15 July 2017

So I had started giving names to the roads too, all of a sudden my running blog is starting to make sense to me anyway…

13 July – Week 3 Run 3 -Vodka, Whiplash and Meeting my Twin

Another scorchio morning arose and my data invitation arrived in my message box, so I joined Mr Smooth for our usual circuit.

First stop to the fridge to get the cold water in the water bottle. I was a little dopey this morning, so absent-mindedly picked up the bottle with tomato vodka in it. I did do a second take when I saw the water was slightly pink in the bottle. Really good job I’m not colour blind. Not sure any nutritionist would recommend vodka in your hydration pack.

Out into the glorious countryside – one of the joys of living here is you see so many different animals from cute green lizards, to chocolate brown squirrels and more. One of the flying insects here is a small bright green shield shaped flying object, that we call an APC – armoured personnel carrier. There was me happily minding my own business and then bam an APC flew right into my cheek, at first I thought it was a wasp, but then realised no stings. Anyway he got the whiplash and fell to the ground. But with all his armour, he managed to right himself and went on his way. No harm done.

I saw Mr & Mrs Physio on their circuit and we did our traditional greetings, no Mr 118 or Heinz 57 walker though. Me and Mr Smooth were in the groove and I was delighted that on my last run, although I was tired I still had some life left in me, so I thought I’d do an extra minute running and then what did I see in the distance?

My running twin – well we were both wearing dayglo orange tops, black shorts, white socks and blue trainers. His legs marginally hairier than mine. I decided against trying to catch him up, because clearly he is doing the Couch to 250 miles an hour challenge and frankly it was beyond me.

Looking forward with some trepidation to Week 4 starting. And my face colour this morning after the final week 3 run was definitely Dulux’s Salsa Red.

dulux.co.uk/en/colour-detai…

Playlist

Rumour has it  (4 times in succession according to Map My Run) – Adele

Back to Black and Rehab – Amy Winehouse

Walk Like an Egyptian – Bangles

Help Me Rhonda – Beach Boys

Dreaming Of Me – Depeche Mode

Marvin Gaye – Puth and Trainor

Warwick Avenue – Duffy

Upside Down – Paloma Faith

Vienna – Ultravox

Master and Servant – Depeche Mode

Can You Feel It (twice in succession) – Michael Jackson

 

Stats

Distance 4.93 km

Time 45.55 mins

Average Pace  9.18 min/km

Originally posted on Health Unlocked 13 July 2017

Now looking at this my first named local characters appeared. Technical ineptitude as ever, with my playlist repeating some stuff and starting off in almost alphabetical order. Doh.

11 July – Week 3 Run 2 – Strangers, Stingers, Sirens and Shades of Scarlet

The morning started a little earlier when Mr JCR got up at 5am to do a cycle trip around our Region today. By 6am I was wide awake and instead of waiting for Mr Smooth’s invitation to get my trainers on, I was ready and out the door and it was already 25 degrees!

My route means I meet the same people most times – the couple where the lady has had some kind of operation and is on crutches – helped by her husband on what I think is probably gentle physio, there’s an old chap wearing 118 ad style running shorts doing a light jog, and a young guy taking a Heinz 57 dog for a walk. Being in Italy, it would be rude not to acknowledge them, so we all do a variation on buongiorno. It does however get difficult because my route is circular and I tend to meet up with them all a second time, so we all do a second acknowledgment – a weird grunt noise – a short version of buongiorno, which ends up sounding like no. In fairness to me, on the last part of the run a grunt is about all I can manage anyway. In Italian – I am known as a straniera (stranger), but it seems odd now – I don’t know these guys, they don’t know me – but surely we’re not strangers any more?

An occupation hazard of living in the country, is no pavements and very windy narrow lanes – think Devon and Cornwall type, coupled with the famed Italian Ferrari driving style and just sometimes you can come a cropper. So this morning’s adventure on a blind bend was an unscheduled brush with stinging nettles – oh joy – I am adding that to the already itching mosquito bites from Sunday.

The great bit about this forum, is you learn stuff all the while, so I have been utterly perplexed at a ringing noise going off on my phone during my sessions. I had exhausted all my ideas – mail alerts, WhatsApp alerts, calendar alerts etc – you get the picture, then in one of our recent posts, someone ‘WB’ mentioned the half time alarm bell. Thank you  for saving my sanity. :)

Finally, yesterday amongst my usual pile of junk mail – I received an e magazine telling me that anyone wanted to sell their house this Autumn would be advised to redecorate and a coat of paint is just the ticket. Deep rich colours are the in thing, so I checked out Dulux’s colour chart and my face post run is either Salsa Red or Monarch. As I get fitter I am aiming for either Sorbet or Raspberry Diva

According to Mr Smooth, my stamina should be increasing – he just doesn’t seem to mention face colour though….

Playlist

Marvin Gaye – Puth and Trainor

Secret & Talking Loud and Clear – OMD

Lucky You – Lightning Seeds

Strong – London Grammar

Maid of Orleans (twice in succession) – OMD

She’s Electric – Oasis

Save a Prayer – Duran Duran

Glory Days – The Boss

F..K You – Cee Lo Green

Perfect – Lightning Seeds

The Reflex – Duran Duran

By the Way – Red Hot Chillis

Wishing Well – Terence Trent D’Arby

Common People – Pulp

 

Stats

Distance 4.77Km

Time 47.12 mins

Average Pace 9.53

 

Originally posted 11 July on Health Unlocked

Looking back now, this was when I first started enjoying the running and was noticing a bit more of my surroundings and the folk I saw. Oh and yes the colour chart makes its first appearance…

 

9 July -Week 3 Run 1 – Mr Smooth, Sleeplessness, Scratching and Crying

I was supposed to run yesterday but scalding heat here meant the only time the temperature dropped to 25 degrees was at 3 o’ clock this morning and as I went to bed at 1am, that just wasn’t going to happen. But I promised my virtual running buddy  that I wouldn’t flake, especially as she was thinking of doing a 27mile walk…

Mr Smooth sent me his usual message for our date – he is very insistent on trainers I find. So off I popped, having forgotten today was the 3 minute challenge. After having about 4 hours sleep due to an electrical storm and the relentless biting of what seemed to be a plague of mosquitoes, I set out.

Warm up walk absolutely fine. Third track on my playlist was Amy Winehouse – Back to Black – which coincided with Mr Smooth’s suggestion that I should try a 3 minute run. So, to anyone who ever fears looking like an idiot when starting out this plan, no-one could beat me running with a red-face, scratching my arms and legs, whilst crying as Amy Winehouse sang.

When Amy finished, the next track was Walk Like an Egyptian, so as an antidote to the crying and to keep my hands away from the mosquito bites, I did walk like an Egyptian…. Luckily this was all done in the very quiet country lanes and so no-one witnessed my bizarre behaviour.

Finally the second run of 3 minutes, coincided with The Beach Boys and Help Me Rhonda – she did, they did and finally after 6 running dates with Mr Smooth, he said very loudly ‘Yes’, when I had finished my second 3 minutes run.

I am sooo pleased, even though I am sitting here a rather fetching shade of scarlet, with 6 itching mosquito bites, and just a touch of running smugness – because a proper runner can run for more than a minute, can’t they?

Cake By The Ocean – DNCE
Hungry Like the Wolf – Duran Duran
Back to Black & Rehab – Amy Winehouse
Walk Like an Egyptian – The Bangles
Help Me Rhonda and Barbara Ann – Beach Boys
Hot in the City, Mony Mony – Billy Idol
Girls and Boys – Blur
Rio – Duran Duran
Ruby – Kaiser Chiefs
Billy Jean (twice) – Michael Jackson
Stats
Distance 4.77km
Time 47.12mins
Average Pace 9.53 mins/km
Originally posted on Health Unlocked 9 July
I can remember feeling inordinately proud of the 3 minutes achievement, because it meant I could potentially run after a bus. Not that I ever would, but it was the principle that I could.