by the Hill That Kills. this was the running reality, on my first run back in Italy.
It has been a hectic week – last Sunday was the London apartment close down and the unwelcome news that our water heater element had gone. Cue short sharp showers using the emergency top up facility – it was a game of chicken between you and the shower as to how long you could actually wash with hot water. Not great when you’ve been running and desperately need a shower!
Whilst I was enjoying myself running Mr JCR was packing the car with the essentials for our Christmas and New Year. Christmas Presents – check. Wine – check. Waitrose trolley dash – check. Bike – check. Solar Lights – check. More Wine – check. Whisky, Port, Sherry – Check. Holland & Barrett trolley dash – check. Clothing – check. Room in boot for the necessary cases of champagne – check. Room in boot for stop at Calais Vin to buy more wine – check. Room in boot for the cool bag of essential dairy stuff that can’t be bought in Italy – check.
Sunday night can’t sleep. Monday wake up early, everything goes to plan, except for one tiny detail – leaving space in the car for the fridge essentials is fine, one small detail JCR, you needed to have actually taken the essentials out of the fridge! This minor detail was discovered on the way to Kent – too far out of London to turn back, this meant a series of frantic WhatsApp messages to friends Maan and Dragan to go into the fridge take what they wanted and freeze the rest.
Ordinarily I wouldn’t have been that bothered by missing the groceries but we have our dear friends G & J staying with us over Christmas, G is particularly partial to all things Cornish, as a child he used to holiday in Cornwall a lot. There pretty much isn’t anything Cornish that he doesn’t like. As he and J live in The Netherlands, it’s quite hard to get Rodda’s Cornish Clotted Cream out there; my dairy surprise included this precious jewel so we could all enjoy Cornish Clotted Cream Teas over the holiday. Luckily a stop for petrol outside of Folkestone took us to a Tesco, where a last minute clotted cream dash meant we could continue with the precious cargo on board. No cool bag to put it in, but with temperatures of two and three degrees, that didn’t seem to be a big problem.
Next stop Calais, aha an hour delay on the tunnel crossing, ho hum. Next stop Calais Vins – a trolley dash, breakfast and then en route to Champagne. Next stop the champagne supplier, eight cases bought and stowed. Next stop Beaune. Overnight stay, get up, breakfast, trolley dash around the supermarket to replace the ‘lost’ Comte, Stichelton and Vacherin cheeses. To the Mont Blanc tunnel refuel, change drivers and next stop Italy, to a shopping outlet near Milan. We thought this was a good idea, because from a distance it looked like Bicester Village and we thought the food there would be better than eating in a Motorway Service Station. Hmm, we won’t ever return there. Next stop – home. Blimey, it’s brass monkey weather here, the house is literally stone cold. We unpack, shake and shiver and put the heating on, which is not really up to the job.
Wednesday morning, – more blinking shopping to do – this time it’s fresh stuff. Get home start organising the house for our friends’ arrival. Mr JCR has a committee meeting, so I set up the Christmas tree (well it is an olive tree actually, which gets decorated and then put in the garden).
As I am doing this pleasant task, I start looking for the window lights and my Santa candle (sad I know!) – it seems that when we were burgled in March, the burglars liked my taste so much that they stole my Scandi window lights and Santa candle, along with the other weird stuff. Curses. Trying to channel my inner Christmas karma, I hope they enjoy them – as my inner Christmas karma doesn’t actually extend to thieves, I hope that my Santa candle is stuffed to the gunwales with hitherto undiscovered gelignite and blows them to Kingdom come.
Thursday – my usual running day, we have chores to do in the morning and a delivery arriving in the afternoon, the delivery doesn’t actually materialise, so my run is deferred and deferred until it is dark and I don’t have torches/lights here for running, so that blows that idea out of the water.
At last, Friday arrives – now we are doing the ‘big shop’ for all the goodies for Christmas – that means my run waits a little longer. Then the Thursday delivery arrives on Friday, just as I am about to go out – so delayed just a bit longer – Faffolino has done a great job this week. I finally get out – dressed in my finest black fleece lined leggings, with fluoro orange on top, and a natty bright orange hat – I looked like a bizarre liquorice stick, with a satsuma topping.
I start my warm up walk down the Slope of Hope, the walnut trees are bare, and the wind whistles in places you wished it didn’t. Turn the blind bend and yes naturally I have to dodge a car – welcome home JCR. Past the barking balcony house – no dogs today and start my run into the Hill That Kills.
I have been running in London, I have done some park runs, some interval training and some longer runs. Quite evidently what has been missing is regular hill training. I have become a soft southern namby pamby, actually as London is north of here, I have become a soft northern namely pamby. Either way, I now can’t run all the way up the Hill That Kills, I manage to run just past Pigiama Mamma’s house and then my puffing and tired legs tell me to stop. It’s only been eight weeks since I was running hills regularly and I’ve lost my hill legs.
I start to walk and then at the hill peak commence running again, down Lovers’ Lane, now totally empty, the piadineria is shut down and it looks like Villa Bali is closed for Winter. I circuit the gardens and turn back down Lovers’ Lane – a car approaches, passes and then turns round and follows me slowly. I now have paranoid thoughts about a weirdo kidnapping me and worse. Then he pulls over and stops to take his dog out for a walk. Not a weirdo then, just a dog walker…
I run up to the mini peak on Lovers’ Lane and give myself another walking break – back to the Hill That Kills and now she is laughing at me. ‘JCR, you tested yourself and on your first visit back to me, I have taken a great big chunk out of your bum, – but there’s plenty more bum to chew, so you better get training girlie’. I decide then that I will do a mini sprint part way up The Slope of No Hope – which 8 weeks ago, I could run from top to bottom, without stopping. Well that idea was clearly misguided – I manage to wheeze my way past the barking balcony house and I have to walk again, up into Mill Lane I do one further loop and try The Slope Of No Hope, once more. I did a little better this time, past the barking balcony house to the boundary of the walnut grove.
So my summary is that just like Christmas, my running needs to be planned a little more militarily.
When packing the car and leaving room for one more thing, write a post-it note somewhere visible to tell you to take that thing with you. When running up hills, it’s not a bad idea to actually have run up some hills beforehand! I think that means when I return to London the Hampstead Heath running may be necessary to keep my running legs going.
Yellow Submarine – The Beatles
Green Eyes – Coldplay
Green Garden- Laura Mvula
Yellow River – Christie
White Riot – The Clash
Little Red Corvette – His Purple Highness
Blue Suede Shoes – Elvis
Lavender – Marillion
Pretty Fly For A White Guy – The Offspring
Fade to Grey – Visage
Purple Rain – His Purple Highness
Distance 6.03km ( I think it was about 5km really)
Average Pace 7.46 (mins/km)
Elevation Gain 55m
Bitten Bum 1