20 Jan – Pain, Rain, and Train


Today is supposed to be a running day, but I wimped out. A combination of cold and the wet, coupled with a two day old migraine, means I can’t pound the pavements today. This bloody migraine better go by tomorrow, otherwise my deficit will increase, rather than decrease, which is not my plan at all.

And so, somewhat reluctantly I have to make a doctor’s appointment to discuss these migraines, which are new to me but coming with increasing regularity. As my diet seems biased towards the inclusion of trigger foods such as coffee, chocolate, dairy and wine (all of which I love), it seems sensible to find out what I should be doing (from a proper Doctor and not Dr Google), especially as I’ve read from the latter that running can be a trigger.

However, on a positive front, Mr JCR has just booked our very first Winter Training Camp, him for cycling and me for running. For a St Valentine’s Day treat (not really), we are going to Malaga for 5 days, specifically to do some training in the warmer climes of Southern Spain, and if it works out okay, then we are going to make it a regular event. It seems rather self indulgent deciding to evade the gloom and doom of February, which always seems to be the worst month of the year, but it is a nice and healthy indulgence, although Tapas and Rioja may prove to be our undoing.

Tomorrow is another day, and so provided I have no pain, regardless of any rain, I will train and run the pale blue squares of the Monopoly board.

Today, because of no running I have to do the cursed Vampire Kettlebell exercises, maybe I will do lunges as well as the Number One dead lift. Squats already done!



19 Jan – Vampires Out

of the cupboard that is. Today is a running rest day but the pesky Vampire Kettlebells saw the light of day today. In truth, only one saw the light of day, but as vampires die in sunlight, I had to be careful.

I am a lightweight on weightlifting and Razouski my C25K running buddy, donated her ‘Kettlercise’ routine to me. I’d like to say a sincere thank you, however I don’t think I can… OMG she swings these things for an hour. An hour! Is she mental? Rhetorical question obviously.

Out of the umpteen hellish exercises, (kindly donated) I settled on 10 reps of the dead lift, after having done my squats. The dead lift could also be called a Figure One Exercise, as the Figure Eight Exercise, looks way too hard at my pathetic level. And besides which we live in a small apartment, and there’s no room to do a figure of eight.

So that’s my amazing effort, but it is a start and I have made progress, not an excuse. And for that I am pleased. And if ever any of you are approached by a fit, singing runner, with penchant for 80s music and she suggests she could donate her Kettlercise routine to you, I’d suggest you run as fast as you can…

18 Jan – Banking London’s Monopoly Board and Getting Jailed

Today I am starting from Go, but no-one appears to have handed me £200? Any volunteers? Just to keep my Alzheimer’s Challenge on track, I have decided to run the Monopoly Board – not in one go, as that is close to marathon distance, but taking it colour by colour. First run to include The Old Kent Road and Whitechapel Road.

A door-to door run is about 12km, but I do need to run a little more than that to make up for my January deficit. I am not aware of a Community Chest stop nor an Income Tax Office (now HMRC), but I can probably swing a detour via Liverpool Street and Fenchurch Street stations. That is the plan, middle aged knees may choose otherwise oh and there’s a small matter of using this run to leave me with ONLY 1,950 kms on the Alzheimer’s Challenge.

I am out of the door, Map My Run is set, Google Maps is on voice directions and I am playing my new Spotify playlist. What could possibly go wrong? Except we all know when it comes to my technical competence, many, many things can go wrong.

First of all my warm up walk takes me within a smidgeon of Liverpool Street Station, and I take a pic as proof of one Monopoly Station being done. Having scrutinised the board, the stations are not necessarily anywhere near the other coloured squares on the board, so I am giving myself leeway to visit them when the run makes it convenient. This ‘convenience’ loophole will definitely work in my favour over the coming runs.

Liverpool Street is so early in the run, I make my way to Fenchurch Street Station – about one km further on. Tick that’s another done and it’s on the other side of the Monopoly Board. Next are the not so salubrious charms of Whitechapel Road, out towards Aldgate High Street, this is a horrid area to run, mainly because it is one big traffic junction, and frankly it’s not much better on Whitechapel Road either. I came across the Whitechapel road-sign a little earlier than expected, so needing to bank some kms I trotted further up the street. First technical hitch, having gone beyond the Google Maps point, all directions have stopped, the lady isn’t even telling me to turn around; an unscheduled pitstop to re-set the Google Maps directions and I continue.

For my friends and family who know me as being directionally challenged, it isn’t that I didn’t know where these first three places where, as I used to use Aldgate East tube, go to Fenchurch Street in my old Finserv  Marketing days, and have shopped on Whitechapel Road, it’s just that I wanted the security blanket of being sure I had my route right. Heading back to Aldgate I hook left to Leman Street to make my way towards Tower Bridge, en route to the Old Kent Road. Obviously at Tower Bridge we have the Tower of London, which I understand counts as ‘Jail’ on the Monopoly board running game. Result, another square ticked off.

Now I am south of the river and in unknown territories. Lo and behold Google Maps Lady has gone awol again, so another quick re-set and we are on our way. I had a quick shimmy with what looked like one of the banned pit bull dogs on Tower Bridge Road, I must admit my heart was in my mouth, but he was more interested in sniffing a lamp-post than a middle aged nervous runner. I ended up in some back streets stuffed full of small business premises, some doing well even with the Brexit vote as one had an Aston Martin parked outside. Not quite what I was expecting in this part of South London; still expectations are best broken occasionally. Eventually I got to Old Kent Road, which looked quite grotty if I am truthful. It is a main trunk road, choked with traffic and smelling of pollution. I took the obligatory proof picture and turned back. This was my second Monopoly coloured square, so that is the ‘browns’ done with two added train stations and the jail square. This was about the 9km mark, so good JCR but certainly not exceptional.

I then remembered that I could swing home via the Bank of England and as no-one volunteered to give me £200 to start my Monopoly quest, at least I could go to a place where £200 could be found. So a scoot towards the Lord Mayor’s building and I found myself listening to a song by Clout called ‘Substitute’ on Spotify, which is all well and good, I like the song, but it wasn’t on the playlist I had been playing. Another technical hitch Spotify just wouldn’t play any of my playlists. That meant a good 2 or 3 minutes faffing about with my phone trying to get a restart. And it wouldn’t work, so I reverted to an old iTunes playlist instead. Curses, curses, curses, I did have a slight Dick Dastardly tantrum outside the Mayor’s office.

Onward to London Bridge and I climbed the steps ( I admit I didn’t run up the 30+ steps I was too knackered) going towards the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street and there she was slightly in shadow, but I had got to the Bank of England too. That definitely counts as another square in my Monopoly convenience loophole ruling.

At this point I wasn’t really sure if I had done sufficient to get me beneath the magic 1950km mark for my Alzheimer’s challenge, so I schlepped onwards through Moorgate and towards home. Outside the runner’s shop in Chiswell Street, my little legs had had enough at 14.36km, that is a third of a marathon! The furthest I have ever run. Oh and 2 brown squares, a jail, the Bank, and two train stations, that’s a great Monopoly result first time out.

Playlist (as much as I can recall given the technical hitches)

Off The Wall – Michael Jackson

Good Times – Chic

Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy – The Tams

I Wanna Dance With Somebody – Whitney Houston

Amarillo – Tony Christie

Three Little Birds – Bob Marley and The Wailers

Let’s Dance – Chris Montez

Stoned Love – The Supremes

Shake Your Groove Thing – Peaches and Herb

Boogie Shoes – KC And The Sunshine Band

Club Tropicana – Wham

Can’t Give You Anything But My Love – The Stylistics

(this was technical meltdown point and I moved from Spotify)

Don’t You Want – Human League

Einstein A Go-Go – Landscape

New Life – Depeche Mode

House of Fun – Madness

New Moon On Monday – Duran Duran

Maid of Orleans – OMD

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls


Distance 14.36km

Time 1:55:16 did include picture stops and tetchy meltdown moments!

Average Pace 8:01 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 91 metres

Tech Glitches – at least 3

Alzheimer’s Challenge

One big thank you to Neil and Angela for sponsoring me on the Alzheimer’s Challenge

Cumulative Km Done 70.02km

Kms To Do 1947.98 (it’s not looking much better, I can tell you)

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17 Jan – Am I The Only Person With…


Vampire Kettlebells in my wardrobe?

Today is a running rest day and I was meeting a fellow C25Ker Razouski for a well-earned coffee and Portugese Custard Tart. As I was choosing my coffee workout gear with care, the kettlebells winked at me. Each night they prey on my sleeping bod and syphon away any will to use them, so each morning I look at them and think ‘mmm must work out how to use them’, but never quite have the physical or mental strength to lift them off the shelf. They are exactly like Dracula, because they’ve never seen the light of day with me.

Purchased before Christmas, expressly to use both here and in Italy. I carefully decided that the two smaller ones should stay in London (space and time issues), with the two larger weights 6 and 8kg taken to Italy, on the premise that I’d use the smaller ones throughout Winter and graduate to the big girls’ version in Spring/Summer in Italy.

The reason for me thinking about them again, is  that my C25K buddy Razouski is ‘running’ injured and so as she can’t run, she is going to the gym and using kettlebells. Although I am rather alarmed at an exercise she described, which seemingly involved swinging them around at head height, especially as a guy in her class dropped his, it does seem quite an effective strengthener.

Today’s coffee and PCT session was not only fun but a great kick up the bum. Here we go –  another resolution coming up,  I will use my kettlebells on at least one exercise type, every other day (alternating with my running days).

I just have to work out which exercise it is…, and as I tried (with Mr JCR) my first ballroom dancing lesson last night, it is self evident that exercise requiring lots of coordination is out.

Anybody got any recommendations on a simple, JCR-proof exercise with Vampire Kettlebells? Oh and mentioning the word push-up, isn’t in my mind at all, Razouski described that exercise too and that sounded horrible. She is definitely a fitter, more focussed person than me 🙂

Strictly Come Kettling – here I come





16 Jan – Running Within Two Tribes

Shiny hair, tanned, lithe, young - OMG



Although I am a fan of Frankie Goes To Hollywood – my era, my City of birth, the title relates to me running through two entirely different parts of London today.

I had a routine hospital appointment at Hampstead and decided after the appointment that I would run home, but a quick check on Dr Google’s Maps App made me realise it wasn’t a sufficient number of kms, for me to keep on track with my Alzheimer’s Challenge.

What to do?, well I thought I’d run to Marylebone to my hairdressers and book in a much-needed shzuzz (I don’t how you spell this word….) and then run home and that hopefully would get me to 10 or 11kms today.

Hampstead Hospital is more or less at the top of a hill and so my run back was mainly downhill, which was very helpful for a middle aged wheezing wreck, with a very runny nose accompanying her today. Hampstead is full of yummy mummies, pushing Bug a Boos, the mums wearing Nike Roshe trainers, Sweaty Betty yoga leggings and lush parkas. I was running down Haverstock Hill, near the Belsize Park tube station and I counted six Yummys before I hit the bottom of the hill.

Hampstead then morphs into Camden, and here the vibe changes, it’s a little more edgy, multi-cultural, and a hell of a lot younger than this middle aged wheezing lady. I ran past the Roundhouse – there the one and only gig I’ve been to was seeing Erasure a few years ago. I made a mental note to see who and what is on again, for the next time I’m feeling ‘edgy’. Past Regents Canal and the shops are definitely more youthful and I am making the average age soar as I run through. Next on the cards Euston Station, hmmm, what can you say about a railway station? Nothing much except as ever any side of a rail station is always the wrong side of the tracks, I schlep quickly along here and am just about hitting the 5km mark. The Euston Road is notoriously bad for traffic and pollution so I skip across towards Gordon Square and make my way uptown to Marylebone High Street.

Aaah, we are amongst the Yummys once more, only even more well heeled here than in Hampstead. I drop off into see Richard the man who does the shzuzzing, and he does a double take at my appearance. At best, I think I may look like a pink faced ninja, in my all black ensemble (I ditched the fluoro today in favour of City neutrals). At worst, well judge for yourselves…

He uttered those words I never want to hear again ‘mmm Jan, an interesting look’. Interesting is definitely ‘Richard code’ for ‘wtf do you look like?’, which to be honest is similar to my Italian friend Gessica’s statement of ‘particolare’ which means particular. Two different tribes entirely; an English hairdresser and an Italian molto chic, working mum, but both in their own ways, use words to devastating effect. And I thought today, Gessica would probably have looked at me and said ‘particolare’.

Today, I started off in Yummy Mummy territory, where I sort of matched with my leggings and Sweaty Betty top, but this was all early on in the run – no-one gave me a second glance in Camden, anonymous middle-aged lady wearing sweaty running kit ‘nothing to see here folks’. And then my image took a huge tumble in the Really Yummy Mummy territory of Marylebone, where I stood out for all the wrong reasons.

It certainly gave me impetus to run out of there towards home, where thankfully there aren’t quite so many Yummys in residence. Today I was part of the running, sweaty, edgy tribe. Next week when I return to Marylebone, I think I need to up my game, and go for Yummy status, if indeed that is possible at my age and wear and tear.


Jean Genie – David Bowie

Scooby Snacks – Fun Loving’ Criminals

Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode

Oh Woman Oh Man – London Grammar

Maid of Orleans – OMD

Jenny Was A Friend of Mine – The Killers

Dreaming Of Me – Depeche Mode

Let’s Spend The Night Together – David Bowie

Cant Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake

Mulder and Scully – Catatonia

Fuck You – Cee Lo Green

Locomotion – OMD

Just Can’t Get Enough – Depeche Mode

Love In Itself – Depeche Mode

Get Back – The Beatles

Let’s Spend The Night Together – David Bowie

5:15 The Angels Have Gone  – ditto

By The Way – Red Hot Chilis

Tired of Waiting For You – The Kinks

Geno – Dexy’s Midnight Runners

David Watts – The Jam

Ghost Town – The Specials

Just Another Nervous Wreck – Supertramp

The Only Living Boy In New York – Everything But The Girl

Don’t Need The Sunshine – Catatonia

Animal Farm – Madness


Distance 12.38km

Time 91.21 mins

Average Pace 7:35 (mins km)

Elevation Gain 28 m

Yummy Mummies Hampstead 6

Yummy Mummies Marylebone  – way too many to count

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Km’s To Date = 55.66

Kms to Do 1962.34 (hey ho, it’s not getting any easier!)





15 January – Looking For Mr Blue Sky

Mr Blue Sky Finally Shows Up

Having read Cat Bradley’s recent post about Winter Exercise, (and btw doesn’t she look good on it?) I realised that yesterday when I ran, although the weather was yucky, it didn’t actually stop me going out. That’s a good thing  – what with this barmy challenge of 2018 kms in 2018 I’ve set myself.

London isn’t known for its blue skies, frankly the unappealing shade of grey, is the usual tone. So absolutely bloody typical, after a morning of rain and bleurgh weather, this afternoon Mr Blue Sky is making an appearance. No doubt he will disappear tomorrow when I am running again.

My weather inspired playlist may or may not have helped me yesterday, but there are two tracks that always get me moving faster and that’s the famous Mr Blue Sky and The Weather Girls and their hit ‘It’s Raining Men’.

Tomorrow, whether the weather be fair or foul, I shall be running from Hampstead to Home and a little bit more as a minimum I have to do 10km. And so decisions, decisions do I run to my Weather Mix or something else?

The Weather Mix can be found here:-


The full playlist details are:-

Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol

Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice

Fog On The Tyne – Lindisfarne

The Morning Fog – Kate Bush

Misty Blue – Dorothy Moore

Thunder Road – The Boss

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

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

Sunshine Of Your Love – Cream

Something In The Air – Thunderclap Newman

Thunder – His Purple Highness

Mr Blue Sky – E.L.O.

Sunny – Boney M

Ain’t No Sunshine – Lighthouse Family

Thunder In My Heart – Meck and Sayer

Purple Rain – His Purple Highness

Since You’ve Been Gone – Rainbow

Downpour – Backstreet Boys

Sunshine On Leith – The Proclaimers

Sunshine After The Rain – Berri

Walking On Sunshine – Katrina And The Waves

Boogie Shoes – K.C. And The Sunshine Band

On The Road Again – Canned Heat

Baby Its Cold Outside – Menzel and Buble

Cold As ice – Foreigner

Lightning Bolt – Jake Bugg

Lightning Strikes – The Black Seeds

Bridge Over Troubled Water – Artists For Grenfell

The Real Slim Shady – Eminem

Summer Breeze – Isley Brothers

Cold Cold Man – Saint Motel

Cold – Stormzy

Warmth – Bastille

Freeze Frame – The J Geils Band

Sunshine On A Rainy Day – Galimar

Hot Stuff – Donna Summer

Boogie Nights – Heatwave






14 Jan – Closer Running In The City


Today was low, slow and not too much running, at least that was the plan, but after having trotted towards the City,  there were marauding hordes of runners were coming towards me. All dressed in orange tee-shirts, I think it was Race for Life, although I couldn’t see anything in and around the City. It did cross my mind if they were going running, so could I.

First Kilometre – Towards Shoreditch – there’s a lot of maintenance going on and crane work happening in the City. I feel sluggish and cold, and the track Sunshine on Leith, hasn’t helped at all. But then that refers to sun in Scotland and we all know it’s blinking cold there anyway

Second Kilometre – Back to the City and past where I used to work, Freeze Frame comes on and this Weather oriented playlist, isn’t actually helping me.

Third  and Fourth Kilometres – In and Around the Bank of England, thank heavens Mr Blue Sky comes on, it fools me for at least 3 minutes.

Fifth and Sixth Kilometres I now enter into the City proper, and go past Lloyds of London, Fenchurch St – the white building is another of the places I used to work in London.

Seventh and Eighth – heading homewards I scoot past the Gherkin and Cheesegrater, and decide to pop into Postman’s Park. Postman’s Park has a little covered arcade in which deeds of heroism by ‘ordinary’ people are recorded on the most beautifully glazed panels. There are two panels which always stand out for me – Alice Ayres which was a character’s name in the film Closer and Leigh Pitt. Leigh’s plaque because for years the Trustees wouldn’t permit any new plaques to be raised. Leigh sadly died in 2007 and his family fought long and hard to get his heroism recorded in this little arcade.

Ninth and Last Kilometre – I aim back to Clerkenwell, where I used to live and decide to finish my run if I am able, at Brewery Square (where we used to live), when I get there, I am just a touch under the 9k, so of course I continue until  the 9km is reached at Berry Street and finish it right there.

Despite my promise yesterday, the kilometres weren’t low, but the pace was slow, and I did stop before my Mrs Overall running gait made an appearance.

Having stopped to take pics at various stages, I think I may now do the Monopoly Board run (well not all of it as it’s more than a marathon, but I’ll start choosing the locations and working out routes)


Sunshine On Leith – The Proclaimers

Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol

Freeze Frame – The J Geils Band

On The Road Again – Canned Heat

Hot Stuff – Donna Summer

Mr Blue Sky  – E.L.O.

Boogie Shoes – KC & The Sunshine Band

Bridge Over Troubled Water – Artists For Grenfell

Boogie Nights – KC And The Sunshine Band

Baby It’s Cold Outside – Menzel and Buble

Cold Cold Man – Saint Motel

Thunder Road – The Boss

Fog On The Tyne – Lindisfarne

Warmth – Bastille

Misty Blue – Dorothy Moore

Cold As Ice – Foreigner

Sunshine Of Your Love – Cream


Distance 9.00km

Time 59:01

Average Pace 6:33 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 60m

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run Cumulative 43.28

Kms To Do 1974.72 (ouch)

Thanks to Gerben and Jeanne for My Very First On-Line Donation.

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