Faffolino at Finsbury Park – 18 November

Can’t sleep, won’t sleep. This is my Friday night, for some bizarre reason I am nervous about doing my first Park Run. So what’s the problem?

I’ve tested the journey, so I know where to go

I road tested (almost) the course route, so I know the topology

I can run 5k, in fact I can run 10k, at a push 11k

So what is the problem? It’s just nerves I reckon.

Saturday morning comes, I am awake before the alarm (and as a perennial teenager when it comes to getting up, this is strange).

And Faffolino decides to visit – Mr JCR makes a very welcome mug of tea, so that gives me plenty of time to just sit and mull over the up-coming run. Finally, I decide to get up and at them. Wash, brush my teeth, get dressed, go to the loo. Change clothing as am worried it’s too cool and I haven’t got sufficient layers. Faffolino coughs and I decide I need to go to the loo again. Remove a layer of clothing as I feel warmer now. Faffolino sneezes and that reminds me I may just need to go to the loo again. Get back out and decide maybe another layer, a hat, a buff and running gloves would all be helpful.

At this stage I have visited the bathroom on at least four occasions and got changed/rechanged a similar number. It is time for me to take control, but one final faff, my Park Run bar code is just printed on paper. Maybe it is better if I stick it to a piece of card and put it in plastic, so it’s more robust and doesn’t get sweaty when I run. that’s my final faff, before I leave home. Ouch the cold hits my face and I feel happy I am all togged up, walk to Moorgate to get the overland to Finsbury Park, even though it is mainly underground. I’ve actually managed to get an earlier train in my concern not to be late at the park.

I arrive at the station (not the same one as my Thursday test run) and from what I can recall the park is just across the road, but I don’t see it so start walking and then ask a passer-by for help. Oh yes just like Thursday  – ‘it’s behind you’, somewhat embarrassed I work my way back and get into the park and go to the cafe meeting point. I am trading messages with Hannah who co-opted me into doing my first park run here. Yes, I do have my barcode, but then that gives me a whole set of faffing to do, as I can’t exactly recall which pocket I put it in.  Now I am thinking I need the loo again, so that’s more bloody faffing around… because I was a tad nervous I arrived really about 30 minutes earlier than needed and as a consequence, was not really warmed up. Then I along with other newbies got the newbie briefing, so I never did a warm up walk either.

Over 300 people lined up to do the run, with some good natured jostling at the front and a ‘shout out’ to about 6 people who were doing their hundredth run. I was determined not to get caught up in the atmosphere, because you can easily overdo it trying to keep up with every one, so I reckon it took me about 20 seconds to get over the start line, as I was right at the back, and I deliberately looked at the floor so as not to get ‘pulled’ along by the faster runners. I got into a pace and tagged along with a lady runner Sophie, who looked to be doing about the same pace as me, she wanted to beat 40 minutes, because that would be a personal best. I stayed with her for about half a kilometre or so, but I naturally was just a touch faster, so she was very gracious and told me to carry on. Coming up the first run of the big hill, I was overtaken by the eventual ‘winner’ who did the course in sixteen and a half minutes… now that is depressing, even though he was about 30 years or so younger! I carried on and finished a grand 312th out of 329, I thought I wasn’t so bad when I saw I came 6th in ladies of my age group, except there were only six ladies in my age group running.

The upsides of Park Run – it really encourages everyone, there were parents, kids, old uns, young uns and dog walking uns. The volunteers were all lovely, friendly and very helpful, everyone you passed encouraged you to carry on and applauded you. The ‘multi’ park runners, all were friendly and chirpy and there is a great sense of camaraderie. I met one lady who was doing her 99th run, her husband was a volunteer and her daughter was doing timekeeper duties, so there’s a definite sense of a running family, even in anonymous, unfriendly London.

The downsides for me are personal ones, I had been really happy with my running progress from the summer start to today and had been seeing how my times were improving. In Park Run you are graded by performance and although it isn’t a race and isn’t meant to be I felt that there was a ‘race buzz’ about. I thought I’d been doing okay and now find I am decidedly rubbish…, so that was a bit demoralising. Being passed by loads of Speedy Gonzaleses also made me feel a bit crap (it was worse being overtaken by dog walkers!!!). Having spent a lot of time telling myself that I am only competing with me, all of a sudden I felt as though I was competing with 300+ folk.

Running with people, also for me is a new experience, I think I am just a miserable old cow and truthfully prefer my own company when I run. But it was nice meeting Sophie on the run and I notice that she did beat her 40 minutes target, so maybe like learning to  run, I need to learn to run with people and that will help. If Sophie can beat her time and not get disheartened, then there must be a way of doing that….

Final lesson, the warm up walking is crucial, I missed out on that due to all my stupid faffing and being nervous, but next time I won’t need the newbie briefing, so can do my warm-up.

Am I a Park Run convert/advocate? – the tone of my writing tells me I am not. But then it took me a little while to get into my running rhythm when I re-started in summer; it seems to me I should give it another go, probably at the same venue, they are a lovely crowd, I know two of the volunteers already and met Sophie. I think it’s a mindset issue; how I tackle my solo running may not work when I am being a ‘Park Runner’.

But Hannah and Lorna and the other volunteers were fab, and they make fantastic cake too, I can highly recommend the banana bread – great crumb, in a Great British Bake Off technical critique.

So down to the nitty gritty

Stats

Distance 5k exactly

Time 34 mins 42

Placed 312/329

Playlist

Be My Number Two – Joe Jackson

Temptation – Heaven 17

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Talking Loud and Clear – OMD

Einstein A Go-Go – Landscape

Mamma Mia – Abba

Dreaming of Me – Depeche Mode

Thriller – Michael Jackson

Can You Feel It – Michael Jackson

Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough – Michael Jackson

November 16 – Sneaking a Peek …

at Finsbury Park today, as on Saturday I am going to do my first ever Park Run there.

Mr JCR is a member of Islington Cycling Club and one of his fellow members, Hannah or pocket rocket as she ought to be called, is both a cyclist and a keen runner. She is one of the many thousands of Park Run volunteers across the country, and had invited me to try Finsbury Park when we returned to London. So I duly registered, got my bar code and decided I’d take a sneaky peek and do a test 5k there, in advance of Saturday, so I know what I am up for.

During the summer I have been running the hills of Le Marche, but it would appear, that 2.5 weeks of virtually flat running, has meant my hill running legs have deserted me. After a rather lengthy tube journey, involving the closure of the Piccadilly Line and a train on the platform for about 15 minutes, I arrived at Manor House tube station, and asked a nice lady where the park was, as I couldn’t see it. Yes you’ve guessed it, it was in true pantomime fashion behind me! I felt a bit of a plonker, but then I happily admit to having no sense of direction whatsoever and although I’d checked out the park run route at home on Dr Google with his maps, I really had no idea where I was going.

Off I trotted, past the two men sitting on the park bench, with rather a large supply of emptied Guinness cans. I did wonder whether my appearance may warrant a comment, but they were more interested in the remaining unopened cans of Guinness than me. Up the slopey bit, past a film crew – who seemed not to be doing any filming, but having a coffee break. They actually had 5 km worth of coffee breaks, because they were all in exactly the same seats in the catering bus, on the three occasions I ran past. And they had Tunnock’s Tea Cakes, which were awfully tempting when I ran past the catering guy with his teacake refill tray. I so wanted to nick one… 🙂

I carried around the perimeter and saw quite a few fellow runners, mainly guys, very fit guys in fact, one with a rather lovely set of dreadlocks, that were a deep purple colour, they were a lovely contrast to his grey running kit. I was behind one lady runner, who despite looking snail-like in her running, had a rather fast pace, as I found out when I tried to catch her up and couldn’t. After a lot of huffing and puffing past the VIP dog walking team – their van said they were VIPpets, which I think is a play on words of whippets, I was approaching my 5k point, so started to slow down, not that I had been going fast – this run was at least a minute a km slower than normal and that includes my recent 10km runs.

I was wondering why I felt so leaden and then remembered aha the Kennedy’s fish, chips and mushy peas supper, eaten quite late last night. That may have something to do with it! The 5km warning came up and I thought I’d walk to the gate entrance where I’d started and yup, my absolutely rubbish sense of direction meant I was walking the wrong way, and yes in pantomime fashion again, Manor House was behind me.

Ho hum, I finished off and walked to the tube to be told, no Piccadilly line service today now, you’ll have to take the bus…. In all of the years we’ve lived here, I’ve never used a bus, – Tube, Uber, Taxi, Feet, Car, Bike and Boat, but never a bus. Today I broke my duck and caught the 259 from Manor House to King’s Cross station. I won’t be doing that again…

Oh and I played my new ‘places’ playlist, but I think listening to all of these exotic places, whilst actually in old Finsbury Park, didn’t really help me at all. Maybe I need urban grime?

Playlist

California Dreamin’ – Mamas and Papas

Waterloo – Abba

Boston Tea Party – SAHB

Japanese Boy – Aneka

Une Nuit a Paris – 10CC

Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles

Vienna – Ultravox

A New England – Billy Bragg

Is This The Way to Amarillo – Tony Christie

Black Eyed Boy – Texas

Massachussettes – Bee Gees

Gound Down to Liverpool – The Bangles

Grease – Frankie Valli

Midnight Train to Georgia – Gladys Knight and the Pips

Go Wild In The Country – Bow Wow Wow

Stats

6.23km (I ran 5km)

Time 49.36

Average Pace 7.57 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 40m (so why the problem?)

3 bags of dog poo, left near to the bins, not in them, just near – arrggghhh

 

 

 

 

November 14 – Anyone got a cure for????

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Runner’s fluff?

Eeuugghh, I know it sounds gross, I’ve never had it before and it came as a big shock I can tell you. Happily de-sausaging before having a shower, I came across black fluff, all over my top half and in crevices I didn’t know I had..

Now this is a new thing, I’ve read about exercises for avoiding runner’s knee, Achilles’ problems, and many other ailments, but there doesn’t seem to be anything on Dr Google about runner’s fluff…

If it’s not too nasty for you, this is the issue; I have a new hooded running top, which I am guessing may be designed to be worn over a base layer. Trouble is I get too hot if I wear that many layers, so I go more or less ‘au naturel’ , well Berlei Shock Absorber first, then the hoodie. After an hour or so of being out in the London Autumn air, some of the hoodie decides to run off it onto me. Hence runner’s fluff.

Possible solutions:- clingfilm, naked running, base layer, dump the hoodie.

I am thinking clingfilm may help with the fluff, but not the heat. Naked running – there isn’t any one who deserves that, base layer – same problem as the cling film. Dump the hoodie – this sounds like an aggressive anti- ASBO person strategy. Don’t feel inclined to dump the hoodie, as I bought two of them, so am thinking this winter, I will be a runner’s fluff sufferer.

Today’s cheeky 5k, was all about getting out and doing some speedier work. Except I forgot about people being in the City and also traffic lights… So I bombed off around the City, chased after a rather cute man in a Vanarama tee shirt. I don’t need a van, but if he is hiring them, then I am happy to consider it 🙂 Shortly after Mr Universe ran past, I found I was quite thirsty and the above fountain appeared at the right time, although sadly I wasn’t able to drink from it.

Today was the running day when all the male runners were either booted and suited, and scurrying into offices or wearing tee shirts and shorts. I only saw one fellow running female and she was in running tights and a jacket like me. I gave her the thumbs up and continued on.

Didn’t manage to break any records today, but that’s okay I can try again another day. And if Mr Vanarama acts as my pacemaker, I think I’ll be faster.

Playlist

Money, Money, Money – Abba

Mamma Mia – Abba

Dancing Queen – Abba

Tainted Love – Soft Cell

Runnin’ Down a Dream – Tom Petty

Talk Talk – Talk Talk

I Ran – A Flock of Seagulls

Talk Talk – Talk Talk (I know user malfunction!)

I Ran – A Flock of Seagulls (I know user malfunction!)

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Dreaming of Me – Depeche Mode

Statistics

Distance 5.34km

Time 33.34 mins

Average Pace 6.16 mins/km

Fastest km 5.53

Fluff Collected – too much!

Chasing after the boys – 13 November

Well you’re never too old…, or at least I’m not!

There have been a number of new men in my life since I started this running malarkey, luckily Mr JCR seems relaxed about it.

From Rolysmate and his lovely meemum, to Irish John’s philosophy ‘a run, is a run, is a run’, and Mr Run himself who was my partner in crime on the other side of the Adriatic, when Lucifer decided to visit.

I have learned something from each and every one of them and in their collective honour I have created on Spotify my A to Z of men’s name songs, with a couple of ‘generic male oriented songs’ for added effect.

This testosterone filled playlist, is an eclectic list and frankly I’d not heard of some of them, but now I have and I love all the tracks, and I hope my fellow C2Rk male runners like their tribute.

Oh and these boys spurred me onto my first 11k run too!

MrIrishRolyRuns playlist is just here

Andy You’re A Star – The Killers

Ben – Michael Jackson

Clint Eastwood – Gorillaz

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Denis – Blondie

Goodbye Earl – Dixie Chicks

Frankie – Sister Sledge

Geno – Dexys Midnight Runners

Diary of Horace Wimp – ELO

Ivan Meets GI Joe – The Clash

Jackie Wilson Said – Dexys Midnight Runner

Song for Keith – Mike Strickland

Louie Louie – The Kingsmen

Mickey – Toni Basil

Nathan Jones – The Supremes

Oliver’s Army – Elvis Costello and the Attractions

Peter Gunn Theme – The Blues Brothers

The Mighty Quinn – Manfred Mann

Rudy – Supertramp

Girls and Boys – Blur

Telegram Sam – TRex

Sharp Dressed Man – ZZ Top

Tracy Jacks – Blur

Ulysses – Franz Ferdinand

Is Vic There? – Department S

Warwick Avenue – Duffy

X Offender – Blondie

You’re The First, The Last, My Everything – Barry White

Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie

Maneater – Hall and Oates

A Message To You Rudy – The Specials

New Banksy in Town – 12 November

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It is Armistice Sunday and about 8amish, Mr JCR is in a tailspin, this time he was re-enacting the opening scene in Four Weddings and a Funeral, he had set his alarm to get up and out for a ride, meeting his fellow cyclists at a park in North London. It seems there was a technical failure between his head and the phone, and thus no alarm. Lots of frantic running around ensued, by a swift espresso (him) a kiss good bye (him to me) then a nice snuggle under the duvet (me). The great thing about being a runner is unless you’re on an organised gig, then you can just go out when you choose. So I chose not to get up, but snuggle down and read the C25K Forum posts, because lots of plucky folk are doing the poppy runs today.

One mug of tea later, I finally surfaced and started getting out the running layers, we’d been warned today was going to be colder, so I tiptoed onto the balcony (please don’t get any ideas of grandeur here, it’s all of about 2 feet wide…) in my jammies, and yup it’s brass monkey weather.

I had set myself a goal of doing my third 10K run today, but yesterday whilst walking I could feel my right hamstring pulling a bit, so was unsure if I’d be okay. Still nothing ventured…

Appropriately dressed like a ninja, all black with just a hint of fluoro today, I donned my sexy Saucony’s and gasped as the air cut through. I was glad of my hat and gloves, started my warm off walk towards the City. I love running through the City at the weekend, because it’s usually so quiet compared to during the week and it’s like a secret place, where not many folk venture. But of course today is different, I passed many roadblocks and policemen with sub-machine guns, but far more encouragingly loads and loads of folk wearing their poppies with pride, some formally dressed in overcoats, shirts and ties, some with medals, some not. It wasn’t quite the sea of poppies that the Tower of London had a couple of years back, but still a lovely sight.

I ran towards the Tower and it was very very busy, so I hightailed it back to the City, after needing to strip off the jacket, hat and gloves as I was getting a bit warm. Running along Tower Hill, ‘fag ash Lil’ as she shall be known,  turned around from admiring the Trinity Square Gardens and tipped her fag ash over my leg, as I was running past. She did look somewhat sheepish afterwards and on a positive note at least she didn’t try to stub it out on me.

I continued back to the City, along Eastcheap – even more policemen, more road blocks and more sub-machine guns. Did a quick whizz along Cannon Street and headed towards the Guildhall – from a distance it had many flags hanging in the courtyard and barriers around. So I asked  a very nice young policeman if it was okay to run there, and he said yes there was no activity there today. It certainly is true when policemen all look young, you know you’re old….

At this point, it suddenly occurred to me that actually rather than just do the 10k today, I should try and do 11K, before 11am. My own mini tribute. I continued on into the City, past my old office no problem at all, past the Modern Pantry restaurant – much harder! – they do mean cocktails for Sunday mornings, and I have to say a cocktail would have been very welcome at that point. Continued up and past Moorfields Eye Hospital and up the City Road, coming in the opposite direction a sassy dude. We ‘met’ at a road junction and just as The Supremes were starting Nathan Jones, he crossed the road by doing a pirouette in the middle – obviously a Strictly fan!

Up to Angel Islington, and back down St John Street – I passed a few fellow runners here, some nods and smiles and I continued on towards Smithfield Market, overtaking a Liam Gallagher lookalike. Running through the ‘Top Gear’ tunnel, I noticed that loads of folk were taking selfies in front of the newest Banksy – it appeared I think on Friday night. This one is painted on acetate, so maybe he’s making them portable now? Just after hitting the 10k mark, I did  a wider loop to finish at our local coffee shop ‘Fix’ in Whitecross Street and at about 10.50am on Armistice Sunday, I clocked 11.11km – spooky!

Well done to all the poppy runners today, I promise to be in your number next year.

Playlist

Andy, You’re A Star – The Killers

Ben – Michael Jackson

Clint Eastwood – Gorillaz

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Denis – Blondie

Goodbye Earl – Dixie Chicks

Frankie –  Sister Sledge

Geno – Dexys Midnight Runners

Diary of Horace Wimp – ELO

Ivan Meets GI Joe – The Clash

Jackie Wilson Said – Dexys Midnight Runners

Song for Keith – Mike Strickland

Louie Louie – The Kingsmen

Mickey – Toni Basil

Nathan Jones – The Supremes

Oliver’s Army – Elvis Costello

Peter Gunn Theme – The Blues Brothers

The Mighty Quinn – Manfred Mann

Rudy – Supertramp

Girls and Boys – Blur

Telegram Sam – T Rex

Sharp Dressed Man – ZZ Top

Stats

Time 1.12.55

Distance 11.11km

Average Pace 6.33 (min/km)

Fastest Split 6.04

Squats – 3 x 15 sets of reps

Poppies – too many to count, but enough to appreciate

 

With Apologies To Gloria

Gaynor,  that is. I recently created the MummyCav playlist, On spotify

This is an A-Z of women’s names in song titles, with a few selected anthems in celebration of a fab C25Ker.

There is one notable omission, the karaoke fave, hen-night special ‘ I Will Survive’. Don’t get me wrong,  I love a bit of Gloria, ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’ love it, ‘Reach Out, I’ll Be There’ absolutely glorious.

But IWS, is one of my most hated songs ever, it’s a close run thing but that and ‘Once In A Lifetime’ by Talking Heads, make me both retch and reach for the off button, if they come on the radio.

Talking Heads, most folk agree, tend to be a Marmite Band, you either love or hate them… But disliking IWS is almost akin to saying you don’t believe in the sisterhood. In fact it’s not a dislike, I actually detest the song, I don’t like the lyrics, I don’t like the tune and sorry Gloria, I don’t like your voice on it either.

I dislike it so much that my very good  friends MandG actually tracked down an original single a couple of years back. Traded hard cash for the vinyl, on an Italian Motorway Service Station and gave it to me as part of our traditional Shit Christmas Present Swap. Inspired thinking on their part.

So Gloria, I am sorry and to paraphrase that awful song

And you see me, somebody new

I’ve never been that person, so in love with you

And when that song is played on Radio 2, I really do dislike you

So I’m afraid on my Spotify, I’m having to de-list you

Okay, it doesn’t scan, but please, I am no lyricist – mind you I don’t think the original lyrics are much better. And this was my playlist tribute to MummyCav on C25K and what tribute could include a song I loathe?

I am running on Sunday, and will be listening to the MummyCav playlist, secure in the knowledge that IWS will never appear on it!

p.s. Mr JCR loathes it too!

 

 

 

 

 

Dodging Human Road Blocks – 11 November

IMG_0951Yesterday, I was supposed to run, but I wantonly ignored Mr Smooth’s date invitation and instead ‘treated’ myself to a day in London’s West End, to do a bit of Christmas Shopping. I had totally forgotten what a complete and utter fart it is to get around London – having taken the tube to Great Portland Street, my first human road block encountered was ‘selfish mum with pram’.

Before hundreds of mums rush to roar (unlikely this is not mumsnet), there was a reason why I tag this lady as ‘selfish’ she was pushing the pram on the pavement/sidewalk, and it was one of those larger buggy types, but she was pushing it in what I can only describe as side-saddle walking. She wasn’t behind the buggy in-line, she was taking up two person width on the pavement, as she pushed her buggy from the side of it. We don’t have the benefit of sweeping boulevards and generous pavements in dear old medieval street plan London, so I admit to snarling at her, as I sidestepped into the road. Grrrr.

Calm restored, I walked towards Harley Street en-route to Marylebone High Street, this is one of the more civilised shopping streets, nowhere near as big as its cousins Oxford and Regent Streets, so a lot easier to get around. I hunted down my quarry in fact quarries. I was shopping posh – Lululemon and Sweaty Betty, here I come for sassy, sexy running tops and jazzy leggings.

Aha slight problem, Lulelemon’s stuff is all rather classy shades of nothing, murky blue nothing, murky dark grey nothing and murky light grey nothing. I wanted bright, I needed fluoro. Clearly I am not the murky type – me and Lululemon parted company, still on friendly terms but no way BFF terms. Next stop Sweaty Betty, I had seen on the web a rather nice tangerine hoodie, but I did want to see it for real rather than a photo. So in I popped to SB… mmm murky nothingness is evidently the look for City based runners, no sign of the tangerine, closest we got was a rather sombre teal coloured top. Something else they called a tiger pattern, but it was a bit too much like Kelloggs Frosties for me, so I shuffled out of there too…

In a shuffling mode, I then met my next human road block, only this time it was two women chatting away merrily. I was behind them and they uncannily managed to move exactly the direction I wanted to take to pass them. I didn’t growl because it was quite funny, acting as their shadow I moved to the right and so did they, I then tried the left and they shifted back to the left. In the end I road-surfed for overtaking purposes.

Finally, in another shop (who have a running clothing range collaboration with New Balance) I was walking up the stairs to get to the range and hit another human roadblock coming down the stairs. We both mirrored each others’ moves and did a daft dance on the stairs and laughed – then she said ‘I love your coat, it’s beautiful’. Even though I can be a very stroppy cow at times, I would have to be a monster to be tetchy with a lady who said that…

On to today’s run, I had decided just a cheeky 5k, as I am going to go for the magic 10k on Sunday. I am trying to improve my 5k times, but it does seem that I can’t sustain a sub 6 minutes km, still a run is a run is a run. Out on my warm up walk towards the City, listening to Elvis Costello and his Angel wanting to wear red shoes, I realised I hadn’t actually started Map My Run – I have a love/hate relationship with the app. I really dislike the mechanical voice lady who prompts you to start your exercise and then tells you your times. I love the way it integrates with my iphone playlists and music library, but hate the way it won’t integrate to Spotify, so I have to listen to my Spotify playlists sequentially to recall all the music. And the music is an important distraction for me, otherwise I get caught up in times and distances.

Today I can’t blame MMR, it was my own Stupid Tart Syndrome hitting again! Ho hum, after restarting I went on my merry way to the world famous Silicon Roundabout – the throbbing hub of the UK technology scene! It is just a roundabout, with lots of coffee shops and young people carrying Apple tech with them. Having been to Silicon Valley many times, this roundabout is going to have to grow some to be a competitor. I ran past Moorfields eye hospital, along the City Road and up towards Angel Islington. Pavements were a little greasy and I was glad I was wearing my grippier Brooks Defyance today, although they did get splotted by some water from a puddle I misjudged. Ugh, wet feet running – not my favourite pastime. A much fitter runner coming towards me and in shorts – blimey he was brave.

Then from Angel Islington, back towards old friendly territory, down St Johns Street, I hook a right turn onto Clerkenwell Road, skipping through quite a few up/down ramps, scaffolding poles etc., as there’s quite a lot of development going on here. Took a left to Turnmill Street, passed the old site of the So Solid Crew Shooting, to Cow Cross Street and along Smithfield to Farringdon Road, which changes its name to Farringdon Street when it hits the City of London. On the homebound streak now, on Queen Victoria Street heading towards St Pauls and I hit 5.5km. That’s enough for today, so I unplug and walk merrily home. And I notice that whilst yesterday I was dodging human road blocks, that today not one, no dodging, cursing or laughing necessary. That’s probably a record.

Playlist

The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes  – Elvis Costello and the Attractions

Purple Rain – His Royal Highness the Purple One

Blue Monday 88 – New Order

Golden Brown – The Stranglers

Golden Years – David Bowie

Raspberry Beret – His Royal Highness the Purple One

Blue Suede Shoes – Elvis

White Wedding – Billy Idol

Cream – His Royal Highness the Purple One

Back to Black – Amy Winehouse

Being Beige – Smashing Pumpkins

Brown Sugar – D’Angelo

Forever in Blue Jeans – Neil Diamond

Yellow Submarine – The Beatles

Stats

Distance 5.5km

Time 34.11

Average Pace 6.12 mins/km

Fastest Km 5.34mins

Human Roadblocks – Thursday 3 – Friday 0

Squats – 3x sets of  15 reps

7 Things Drinking Runners Should Know*

One of the consequences of becoming a nearly serious runner, is you start acquiring kit and shopping in places you’d never have considered previously. Old Jan in Selfridges, New Jan in Sweaty Betty.  Also, your reading habits change, Old Jan reading Vogue, Elle etc, New Jan reading Runners World and various running blogs.

Not knowing much about running really, except that I enjoy it, I do look at articles offering help from time to time. My latest epic is the 7 things older runners should know, from the Map My Run team.

Find it here

And this list, is I am sure very good advice but a little bit goody two shoes for me, so here is my alternative view on the Sage Seven

*To be taken with a big pinch of salt!!!

Know Your Limits

It is critical as an older runner that you pace your wine/whiskey/beer drinking. Hangover running is no fun, and no spectator wants to see a wrinkly runner vomit!

Warm Ups Matter

Who can disagree? You should never, ever go headlong into a drinking session, without first considering the order of drinks. Personally I am bubbles first, and wine second. Or Gin first then wine. The warm-up drink is critical to consider before imbibing.

Accept Your Pace

No longer a spring chicken…, no longer able to keep up with your running buddies? That’s me to a T. So I now no longer try and keep up with my friend J (she of the hollow legs). She can out-drink and out-run me every time, oh and out-swim, out-cake, out -Limoncello, out-garden. Pretty much any activity J can outdo me. So now I accept my flaws, and cry silently into my glass.

New to Drinking? Then Sip….

As the article says, you’re the only one judging you and your performance. So if you can’t keep up with your friends who possess hollow legs, then sip and alternate the alcohol sipping with water. You know it makes sense.

Take Care Of You

Clean eating and proper hydration is all. My advice is always have nibbles with your drinks, take on some water, and at all costs avoid the late night shawarma or kebab temptation.

Add Strength

This is all about mixing up your training to make you stronger, if you run – try some weights. If you drink, try a new one that you’ve not tried before. My newest – Rhubarb Gin with Ginger Ale – dee-lish – who knew?

Take a Day Off

Rest days in running are important, and even more so when drinking. If you feel it’s all too much and you have fallen prey recently to the late night shawarma or kebab, I’d say a rest is in order….

Here come the girls…

On the C25K forum, there are many, many people I am happy to call friends and family. We’ve never met and probably never will, but we share a bond. We all have either kicked the couch and are runners, or we are starting our running lives.

Some names are already known,  like Razouski who has been immortalised with the retro runners inaugural playlist on Spotify. Every playlist name has a relevance to me and the forum. There’s one special lady who has had a hell of a running life and she always manages to come out at the end, if not smiling,  then determined to keep on. That lady is MummyCav, a fellow smoothie, and so my new retro runners playlist is chockful of ladies names and a few lady power anthems, in honour of MummyCav…

Here we go:-

Alison – Elvis Costello

Barbara Ann – Beach Boys

Caroline – Status Quo

Dirty Diana – Michael Jackson

Eloise – The Damned

Francine – ZZ Top

Gloria – Laura Branigan

Helena – My Chemical Romance

Poison Ivy – The Lambrettas

The Jean Genie – David Bowie

Respect – Aretha Franklin

Shake It Off – Taylor Swift

Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

Kayleigh – Marillion

Layla – Derek and the Dominoes

Maggie May – Rod Stewart

Darling Nikki – Prince

Ophelia – The Band

Dear Prudence – Siouxsie and The Banshees

Queen of Clubs – KC And The Sunshine Band

Roxanne – The Police

Sherry – Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons

Teresa – Eddie Cochran

Single Ladies – Beyoncé

Uma Thurman – Fall Out Boy

Valerie – Amy Winehouse

Wendy – The Beach Boys

St Xenia – Katina

Oh Yoko!- John Lennon

Zoe Jane – Staind

 

Munchkin amongst the Giants – 4 November

 

Saturday morning in a cool (effing freezing really) morning in Arnhem, I am feeling smug and perky. Smug because despite the temptation to drink Friday night with our friends, I didn’t and was a goody two shoes. Perky, because I didn’t have a hangover…

Shod in my new Brooks trainers and fluoro running tights, I was as wrapped up as I could be. Ouch the cold hurt, so I began my warm up walk towards the parkland. I ran towards the scene of Friday’s night 6 course meal, pre dinner gin and tonics pictured…, with me sporting twangy hair due to the humid conditions. I started my run and passed two people walking, totally forgetting I was in Holland, I said thank you when they let me past. Oh well my “danke je”, could wait until the next overtakee….

At the next turn I was in the parkland proper, the sunlight streaming behind me and I could hear a very loud pounding behind me, and a rather large shadow loomed over me. Fact: The Dutch are the tallest people in the world with a male average of 1.838m – that is a smidgeon over 6ft and female of 1.699m that is about 5ft 7inches. I am 5ft 4, that’s 1.635. I was a little trepidatious to say the least, my heart was pounding more than a little… then I was overtaken by a man who I reckon was just under 2 metres tall. The BFG overtook me and said Hey, so I acted cool and said hey back. Not an axe murderer then…

A fairly gentle run ensued, I passed two women walking who looked very much alike, and yes they were taller than me. In truth I was partially lost, in that where I thought I was going wasn’t actually where I was, so I continued on and found a memorial near the Arnhem cemetery. It’s nice being a Brit in Holland and especially in Arnhem, due to Operation Market Garden. I took a minute to pay my respects and ran back to the parkland; coming towards me one man, fair hair, tall and glasses and  his twin running behind him. First twin was Mr Grumpy or maybe he didn’t see me through his misted up glasses, second twin was Mr Happy and smiled and said Hey, so I did too… At this point the Isley Brothers were singing Summer Breeze, and I was feeling a bit of a breeze as my new running tights were slipping a little lower than wanted! An inelegant adjustment later, I was trucking along nicely to Boogie Shoes, and came across the horse stables, were the horses were chowing down, stopped to take a pic and carried on.

At this point I realised I might just be able to manage the 10k, I was quite slow and plodding, but continued on, oh and uphill too. Arnhem I think must have the majority of the hills in Holland. On the home strait, and coming the other way were the slim, tall, bespectacled twins. This time I got grins and hands up from both, a final push down the central runway and back again, and I hit 10.4km. Brilliant, a really happy runner am I. So to the warm down walk and as I crossed the road, I saw another set of twins this time on bikes.

Today was the day I set out as a single, dark haired munchkin runner and was overtaken by many tall blond giants. Oh and I kept on seeing double… is Arnhem the Dutch capital for twins?

This was also my inaugural run with the retro runners Glam Polly 2810 playlist, on Spotify.

Playlist

My Coo Ca Choo – Alvin Stardust

Devil Gate Drive – Suzi Quatro

Metal Guru – T Rex

Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas

Tiger Feet – Mud

D.I.S.C.O. – Ottawan

War – Edwin Starr

Lady Marmalade – Patti Labelle

Gonna Make You A Star – David Essex

See My Baby Jive – Wizzard

Band On The Run – Wings

Boogie Oogie Oogie – A Taste Of Honey

Waterloo – Abba

All The Young Dudes – Mott The Hoople

Sylvia’s Mother – Doctor Hook

Amarillo – Tony Christie

I Feel Love – Donna Summer

Roll Over Beethoven – ELO

December 1963 – Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty

So You Win Again – Hot Chocolate

Summer Breeze – The Isley Brothers

Boogie Shoes – KC And The Sunshine Band

Walk On The Wild Side – Lou Reed

Silver Lady – David Soul

You Won’t Find Another Fool Like Me – The New Seekers

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Stats 

Distance 10.46km

Time 1:21:04

Average Pace 7:44 mins km

Elevation Gain 108 metres (who knew that was even possible!)

Twins – 3 sets