Running with Foxes – 28 September

The alarm has gone, the date invitation from Mr Smooth well and truly received. Mr JCR up and out and JCR still in bed, pondering on the loveliness of duvets. With the sun streaming through the window;  and I think to myself what a wonderful world (thanks Louis) but clearly this laziness can’t continue, no matter how lovely the duvet is, so up I get.

I have chosen a rather fetching (father retching if spoonered) outfit combo of fluoro yellow top and blue orange diamond running shorts. I am now ready to face anything, specifically the first of a structured training plan to get me to 10K in distance again. I have done it before ( a couple of years back) but realised my runs were all downhill…

I didn’t really like the look of the app suggestion on the Couch to 5K site, so decided to go off piste and buy the Ease into 10K App, which is a 10 week plan. I am now 5 weeks post graduation of the C25K plan and on Tuesday ran 7.01km. Using this as a benchmark I thought I could safely start on Week 5 of this new App for 10K. This is  a 5 minute warm up and warm down walk with 9 minutes running and 1 minute walking intervals for a total of 4 times.

Off I pop, warm down walk past the barking balcony house and start my running on the Hill that Kills, into Lovers’ Lane again no Albino or Anouska but I am later this morning, but I do see a silver fox walking towards me – not exactly Richard Gere, in fact he looks like a cross between Only Fools and Horses’ Uncle Albert, with a touch of ZZ Top thrown in. He does however nod and say buongiorno, do my usual loop back to the Hill that Kills, and turn and run up the Slope of Hope. I have to say gasping for breath, which is quite unusual for me, maybe it is the interval training having an effect?

Towards the peak I see another silver fox, this time more reminiscent of David Gower. He too is wearing a fluoro top – clearly he heard the hunters’ gunshots this morning too and like me didn’t want to be a trophy. At this stage I am glorying in runners’ smugness because I am running up-hill and he is running down. Noting I had completely ignored the fact that he must have run up a hill to be running down it…, at that point the halo of smugness slipped and strangled me, as the nasty American prompt on the running app shouted at me to walk.

Anyway having being told to walk, I did and in that instant I did that thing I keep doing when walking as a runner. I briskly upped my pace moved my arms in a business-like manner and arranged my face into a ‘this is a training plan and I am walking because I have to’ expression. I don’t know if he got all of that out of my body language – he just smiled, said ciao and carried on.

What is it about Americans and the use of the imperative tense? * A please would go an awful long way… After Mr Ciao was out of view, the American shouted at me to run again, so I carried on into Mill Lane and back up Lovers’ Lane, to see my third silver fox – well there was a glimpse of white hair from under his backward facing baseball cap, really a backward facing baseball cap in a country lane in Le Marche? Bizarre -not much of a hip-hop scene here, I have to tell you.

I overtook him but he was walking so don’t get carried away by thoughts of me motoring past, I plodded and carried on. This new American man in my life kept on interrupting me with useless information like it has  been 4.39 km now. I am not liking this app at all and frankly returning to intervals is messing up my tempo, it seems to take a long time to rev up after the walking intervals.

I take the usual loop to Lovers’ Lane once more, the Hill that Kills and turn down towards the Bendy Scary Road. I keep going even after the American has told me to stop and ‘WARM DOWN NOW!’, I really don’t like him and besides which on this plan I have only actually wun 6.3km which is .8km less than my total run on Sunday. Being utterly bloody minded I continue until I hit Cavendish Hill and manage a few metres up it and finish on a total of 8.32km, which I think means I probably ran for about 7.5km.

So the usual summary…. hate the app, dislike intensely the imperative tense, could happily murder shouty American prompt, oh and the app doesn’t have a mapping capability, so I don’t have a route map, nor do I have the elevation stats. And to add insult to injury it doesn’t record the playlist either.

So I have a countdown type conundrum, do I do my own thing as previously, or continue with the new shouty app? Or something else?

Oh and I forgot to do my squats yesterday too…

Face Colour Monarch

* Some Americans not all, I can’t damn a whole nation…

Playlist

I can remember, London Grammar, Depeche Mode, The Killer, The Boss, Landscape, Radiohead, Ultravox….

Stats

Distance 8.32km

Time 1.02.04

Average Pace 7.27 mins/km

 

 

Old Enough to Tie Your Laces Correctly?

I really thought I was, after a number of decades on this planet… I can recall clearly parents both telling and then showing me how to chase the lace through the loop.

Truth be known I can’t remember that many catastrophes in my life as a result of untied laces, or even incorrectly tied laces, but still a risk is a risk.

Fast forward decades later when I happened upon Ted Talks and like most people do, I decided that viewing the top 20 talks would be a good introduction to Ted. Who knew what I had been missing? In 2005 this Ted Talk, changed the face of human lace tying…. (actually I am certain it is only humans who tie laces)

How to Tie Your Shoe Laces Correctly…

Having never fallen over before as a result of incorrect shoe lace tying, I was sure my life would be transformed by a new safe, secure, non-slippy form of lace tying. Never again would I fear social ostracization over an unkempt, untied shoe lace. I have had 7 or 8 safe, secure years of good lace management. In all that time, I have been able to hold my own in polite society.

Then I started running and  to my horror found out that the eminent Ted can’t actually be trusted, it does not in fact represent the World’s best foolproof method of tying your laces. There are more and specific methods for tying your trainers. Slippy heel issues, wide forefeet or high insteps, this is the definitive guide:-

Tying Laces for Running

Now you know, different strokes for different folks. I just hope to goodness I now don’t fall over on a run….

Being Buzzed Literally and Metaphorically – 26 September

A fellow C25Ker Donna79 on Health Unlocked had posted that life had somehow got in the way yesterday and she hadn’t managed to run as planned, so we did a deal I would run today if she did. And we’d name and shame if the other hadn’t done it. Today was therefore a ‘pride’ run.

My usual invitation from Mr Smooth arrived this morning, but was ignored because we had the door-lock man coming, as a result my run was to be deferred. Somewhat ironically, the front door handle came off last night, so we had to go out to get parts to fix the door to be able to let the door-lock man in! En route to the Ferramenta (Fact: The village Ferramenta is absolutely the best shop in all of Italy), the door-lock man phoned – he had problems so would be with us in the afternoon. Ferramentas are exactly like The Two Ronnies’ Four Candles sketch in appearance and methods, but there’s pretty much nothing that can’t be bought or acquired there.

Back to base, no excuses now running kit on. Warm down walk didn’t exactly start auspiciously – around the first left hand bend I could hear a scooter approaching behind me, it was Greavsie from the barking balcony house. Then in an instant, a Fiat Punto decided that a scooter on a blind bend was in a perfect place to overtake, so he overtook him and I felt the swoosh of air as he passed me a bit too close for comfort. The driver did one of those jerky arm movements and the car lurched back right – I think I frightened him almost as much as he frightened me and Greavsie.

Map My Run mechanical voice lady, told me to start running so I did;  up the hill that kills and into Lovers’ Lane. I had decided today I was going to have a go at running Cavendish Hill

Last time I tried this hill I ran down to 1979 in a vain attempt to find Mark Cavendish’s name on the tarmac, but failed as he has been lost in the mists of time and faded paint. I descended downhill and just as I hit the 1990s OMG a swarm of bees ‘crossing’ the road. Well I was amongst them so decided the best thing I could do was to keep my mouth closed, eyes down to the tarmac and hope they didn’t get miffed.  I got all the way down to the bottom which I think is dated either 1930 or 1950, again the tarmac  is way too faded to tell and I ran up Cavendish Hill. In truth I took 5 mini stops to do it, but it is about an 80 metre gain and Mr JCR’s Strava confirms it is 0.80 of a kilometre. A 10% gradient all told.

Back down Lovers’ Lane, to receive a buongiorno from two guys at the Piadineria, continued to the Hill that Kills, and then down to the Bendy, Scary Road. This is a nice slope down and I’d estimated I might just be able to do my 7km milestone before having to tackle Cavendish Hill again. I was meandering nicely down, the Adria Bus came thundering towards me – having being buzzed twice this morning already I didn’t fancy a close encounter of the third kind, so I stopped and stepped to one side. But miracles do happen he pulled wide of me and gave me loads of room. Not entirely sure what the motorist thought coming the other way though!

Winding down now I knew I had done about 6.5km and then what did I see in the distance, but the entrance to Cavendish Hill, aaarrrggghhh, I hadn’t quite got my calibration right. I entered Cavendish Hill with about 250 metres to do, but I failed to do it one go, had to have a stop. But now I have a new target for Cavendish Hill, to get up with only 4 stops…

Anyway upshot is after being buzzed, by cars and bees and nearly a bus, I am buzzing… 7km done yay!

Oh yes 3 X 11 reps of squats done last night too. Same tonight otherwise King of Squats will be on my case.

Face Colour Monarch Red

Btw Donna79 only went and did it, so no shame for either of us, only fame!

Playlist

Wonderwall – Oasis

Rehab – Amy Winehouse

Perfect – Lightning Seeds

Somebody Told me – Killers

Crazy In Love – Beyonce

(Forever) Live and Die – OMD

Lucky You (twice in succession) – Lightning Seeds

Born in the USA (twice in succession) – The Boss

Blue Monday – New Order

Einstein a Go-Go – Landscape

Sex-O-Matic Venus Freak – Macy Gray

Barbara Ann – Beach Boys

Blasphemous Rumours – Depeche Mode

In the City – The Jam

Na Na Na Na Naa – Kaiser Chiefs

Chelsea Dagger – Fratellis

Stats

Distance 7.01Km

Duration 51.20mins

Average Pace 7.19(mins/km)

Elevation Gain 116 metres

 

 

 

 

They say that looks don’t count for much- 24 Sept

It’s a Sunday and I am late out of the door, I do have an excuse we had a late night last night, cheering our friend Peter on in his first (and judging by his reactions, last) Iron Man. Iron Man came to Italy for the first time and was held in the seaside resort of Cervia.  This is what Peter looked like after his well deserved massage and on his way home to bed. Not too bad, you’d have no idea he had finished almost 13 hours of gruelling effort.

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In fact, Peter wasn’t the only one he was accompanied by over 2,000 competitors. One in particular, an unknown (by me, but confirmed on Monday as a Swiss  guy Xavier Bruchez) man who was doing the Iron Man with his cousin (Gaeten Daves). According to Peter, this guy swam towing his cousin on a float, did the bike ride on an adapted cycle for the two of them and also ran the marathon pushing Gaeten in an adapted chair. Truly remarkable that’s Iron Man Squared in my book. It didn’t look like the famous USA Hoyt duo, I checked that out later, but there was a gloriously loud ripple of cheering that accompanied them wherever they went. We saw them twice on the marathon loop. Truly uplifting.

Peter – congratulations to you on achieving an amazing Iron Man stunt. Hope you enjoyed a long deserved sleep last night.

I decided to take a new route down the ‘Bitch of a Pitch’ – this is a 5km descent/ascent depending on your direction, I don’t know the elevation gain, that’s a question for Mr JCR.  I was descending down Prune Way, and  whilst it’s downhill, the gradient is quite steep and it is dangerous to sprint down it.  Happily shuffling along, I get hooted at by a large tractor and trailer in tow. The usual road rules apply, it is bigger than me, tougher than me and can squash me. I complied with the toot and stood to one side and I got a wink. No, he didn’t have a fly in his eye, the sun wasn’t shining in his face, I got a wink.

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At my age you take anything you can get, so it made me smile and I shuffled on down to Laundry Lane.

Laundry Lane takes me up a series of long winding bends and then back down again, Joe Jackson’s lyrics were in my mind when I saw the laundry below. This was the village laundry for many years, mmm not sure I fancy putting my running kit in there now to freshen it up. But it was very popular in its heyday, we are told.

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This is my 3rd run after twingeing my back and it went fine, I ran back up Laundry Lane and heard Catatonia sing those wonderful twisted lyrics ‘I find myself constipated’, just at the point I was running out of puff, so laughed and carried on albeit slowly

Not my fastest, nor my prettiest, but then looks don’t count for much….

Playlist

Walk Like an Egyptian – The Bangles

Sign of the Times – Harry Styles

Rain on your Parade – Duffy

Common People – Pulp

The Jean Genie – David Bowie

F..k You – Cee Lo Green

Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode

Hungry Heart – The Boss

Back to Black – Amy Winehouse

Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough – Michael Jackson

Modern Way – Kaiser Chiefs

Is She Really Going Out With Him? – Joe Jackson

Dreaming of Me – Depeche Mode

Let’s Spend The Night Together – David Bowie

Mulder and Scully – Catatonia

Everything Must Go – Manic Street Preachers

Help me Rhonda – Beach Boys

Stats

Distance 7.34km (but I walked .56km)

Time 58.20

Average pace 7.56 mins/km

Elevation Gain 149 metres

Squats – 1 set of 10 reps before the run and 3 sets of 10 reps after the run…

 

 

Moist vs. Squat – Which is Worse, You Decide…

Like many people, I have favourite words; some of which I probably over-use. Others I really detest and it seems I am not alone. A poll from Oxford Dictionaries in 2016 revealed the world’s least favourite words:-

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Moist –  I  have to agree with the fair populations of USA, UK, Canada and Australia, it is truly despicable. But my own second disliked word is ‘squat’. What on earth has this got to do with running?

I don’t like the sound of it, I don’t like the thought of it, but nonetheless this year I have found myself doing it…

It all started when my virtual run buddy on Health Unlocked, gave me a challenge (still not completed btw, to do an 11 mile walk). We were trading suggestions and then I remembered, there is one member of the Health Unlocked forum, who is passionate about squatting.

Rather foolishly or cleverly depending on your viewpoint, we decided to do a squat challenge, asking Rignold The King of Squats for a challenge. So his Week 1 challenge in July was to do 3 sets of 10 reps of basic squats a day.

Some issues followed, basically I have no sense of balance – this is why running  appealed. I actually couldn’t keep my feet flat on the ground whilst squatting. Squatting in high heels, not a problem, albeit not a picture anyone deserves to see. Squatting in high heels for 3 sets of reps, you gotta be joking. Maybe trainers would be better.

Then followed some of my most humiliating moments when exercising. Can’t squat, then try doing it over a toilet! Yup that worked, but feels weird. Squatting near the bed – yes that worked too, but too many falls back onto the bed meant this wasn’t really an option.  Squatting near a wall for moral support, yes that was okay.  Squatting holding onto the door, that was fine too. Squatting in front of a mirror – total complete and utter fail, as I get the giggles watching myself, as my legs squatted so did my face. Just couldn’t seem to do it freestyle.

Many YouTube views later, I seem to have got it. And this morning for the very first time I squatted for 3 sets of 10 reps. The very first time – not a whole week’s worth mind. So now about 8 weeks after the ‘beginners’ squat challenge, it looks as though I will be able to do the most basic of squat moves.  My challenge this coming week is to squat 3×10 reps daily. Then on Week 9, I can get onto the Rignold King of Squats Week 2 challenge….

BTW moist is still my least favourite word, and now totally confirmed because squatting makes me sweaty and therefore moist…. eeuugghhh.

Squatting for Beginners Video

 

 

Groaning, Geese and Greavsie – 21 Sept

After a week on the injury couch coinciding with the twinning weekend of Mr JCR’s cycling clubs, the past few days have all been about recovery – recovery from food, alcohol and housework.

Today I had promised myself a ‘back to normal ‘ run, the weather has been atrocious and very cold, so this morning’s alarm call was rude and unwelcome. I did groan and duvet dive trying to avoid the message from Mr Smooth. Nonetheless I hauled my sorry arse out of bed and got into my running gear. Rather surprisingly the weather has changed and it’s back to warm and sunny again. Yay!

Warm up walk down the Slope of Hope, past the barking dog balcony and I almost get run over by a man on a scooter bearing an uncanny resemblance to Jimmy Greaves (in his Saint and Greavsie days). Not his fault – he was exiting his drive and I was daydreaming! Realise I should be a little more awake, give myself a mental shakedown and off we go into the Hill that Kills, I am very slow this morning, mainly because I am worried about jarring my back. The Italians call it a ‘strappo’ all I know is that it gave me a ‘stroppo’.

I am late, so no sign of Anouska or Albino, complete the usual loop down Lover’s Lane, and back to the Hill that Kills, take a detour onto the Slope of Hope (downwards) and back up again to the Hill That Kills, and I see that the grass around the olive statue has been trimmed, but I am still perplexed – is it a swan, goose, emu,  or ostrich?

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Back to Lovers’ Lane, get buzzed by a Fiat Punto, who seemed to aim right at my fluoro yellow top, maybe he was trying to tell me it was a bit loud! It is hunting season here, I don’t want to be mistaken for a wild boar, so if I offended you Sir with my yellow top, I am sorry but I am not changing it…

At the end of Lovers’ Lane, I hook a right further down the Hill that Kills, and decide to give myself a final uphill challenge. It wasn’t speedy, nor was it pretty, but I did do it. I wanted to do a clean 5km after being on the injury couch, and today it was done.

After deliberating over the pic, I think it’s a goose, in fact there are 2 of them, so officially today I groaned, nearly grazed a Greavsie lookalike and ran past a gaggle of geese. Result –  alliteration heaven!

Face Colour = Salsa Red

Playlist

Glory Days – The Boss

Blasphemous Rumours – Depeche Mode

Hungry Like The Wolf – Duran Duran

Perfect – Lightning Seeds

Creep – Radiohead

True Faith 94 – New Order

Purple Rain – Prince and The Revolution

Love in Itself – Depeche Mode

Mulder and Scully – Catatonia

Glamorous Indie Rock and Roll – The Killers

Stats

Distance 5.66km

Time 42.51

Average Pace 7.34 mins/km

Elevation Gain 62m

Fastest Split 7.21

 

 

17 September -Runnin’ just as fast as you can…

Except it’s really not true.A few days on the injury couch having impressed the Olympic diving judges with my tucked, pike dismount from the shower tray, no running at all in fact.

Saturday, I tried a jogette around the house – mmm back still very twingey, so I thought I should check out the advice again on what to do in case of injury and it turns out there’s a very useful mnemonic.

RICE = Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation

Taking them one by one

Rest – we have 10 Londoners with us for Mr JCR’s cycling club twinning event, five of whom are staying at our house (from the day after I did my muscle pull until Monday evening – yesterday). That is the Rest element well and truly off the agenda.

Ice – it’s cooler here now and I am a lizard by temperature preference, so the thought of sellotaping a bag of frozen peas to my back seems very unappealing. Oh and the peas are already in use, as one of the cyclists did her knee in.  Ice quite clearly not happening.

Compression- not entirely sure how to compress a back, got some very interesting answers from Dr Google, all of which seemed to require me to perform positions only seen in gymnastic competitions and Ann Summers gear. Compression off the list then…

Elevation – now that seemed to involve taking my back off the ground, well it normally is off the ground, and a second Dr Google search seemed to involve trapezes.

Having decided the official RICE advice wasn’t for me, I created my own RICE.

R = Ra ra Rasputin, Lover of the Russian Queen – this song is particularly good for dancing with a host of 10 London cyclists and their Italian hosts. Truthfully not one twinge did I feel whilst dancing to this, well I did feel more than a twinge of embarrassment at dancing to it and knowing the words.

I = Inglesi and Italiani  insieme. Spending 6 hours on a Saturday night through to Sunday morning, dancing, laughing and drinking with a lovely bunch of people.  This seemed to be the perfect pick me up.

C = Cool (Daddy Cool) – Boney M’s classic hit, yet another reason to hit the dance-floor, throwing some shapes…, followed by a rather nifty rendition of YMCA and Barry White’s ‘You’re My First, My Last, My Everything”. I think you get the drift of the evening.

E = Early to Bed. 2am is early!

I do not think Sports Scientists will be adopting the JCR RICE method, but it worked for me.

Sunday, I went for a run/walk – thinking in the spirit of ingliano and making up words, it is a wun. An entirely new route, so I am sure you are all waiting in bated breath for the new street names… New route included barking beagle hill, laundry lane, road to nowhere and prune way. As is my wont, I messed up the technology again and at one stage did a rather superb sub 3minutes kilometre split. Mo Farah I’m after you!

All in all about a 9km outing and I reckon I ran about 6/7 kms, which means I can start running again, properly. Next outing maybe Wednesday afternoon…

Playlist

Disco 2000 – Pulp

Just Can’t Get Enough – Depeche Mode

Save a Prayer – Duran Duran

Rumour Has It – Adele

Scooby Snacks – Fun Lovin’ Criminals

Locomotion – OMD

Help Me Rhonda – Beach Boys

Hungry Heart – The Boss

Mercy – Duffy

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Crazy in Love – Beyonce

I Try – Macy Gray

Strong – London Grammar

See You – Depeche Mode

When Doves Cry – Prince and The Revolution

Cake By The Ocean – DNCE

Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough – Michael Jackson

Sign Your Name – Terence Trent D’Arby

People Are People – Depeche Mode

Upside Down – Paloma Faith

Na Na Na Na Naa – Kaiser Chiefs

I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me – Nik Kershaw

China Girl – David Bowie

Andy, You’re a Star – The Killers

Is Vic There? – Department S

By The Way – Red Hot Chilis

Stats*

*To be taken with  a big pinch of salt only…..

Distance 8.25km (but Map My Run was stalled for at least 1km)

Time 1hr 23 mins (included 2 chats with friends….and yes I forgot to pause MMR)

Pace 10.03 mins/km

Best kilometre 2 mins 14 seconds….