28 Feb – Snow Use….

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

complaining about the weather. Snow good wishing it wasn’t snowing. Snow time like the present. And the puns keep rolling.

Last day of February and a planned 8km run. Mr JCR came up with a good idea to try running in/around one of the Royal Parks as they are far more likely to be well managed in bad weather. I say it was a good idea, and it was, although at the time it was mooted – in my head I was screaming ‘you’ve got to be joking, running in this!’

So off I trotted, bearing a distinct resemblance to the Michelin man with four layers on top, three layers on the bottom, two pairs of socks a hat, gloves, running buff oh and the essential 10 tissues for the ever present runny nose. I caught the train to Great Portland Street tube and exited to a mini blizzard. The pavements hadn’t been gritted and were quite slippy, so I wasn’t entirely sure that it would be safe to run.

But then I found that the pavements around the park were fine, because no grit and no pedestrians meant almost virgin snow, which is grippy enough to run on, although your pace suffers a bit. So I plodded around, and slight confession here, I just thought I’d follow whichever road I was on. And it turned out it was the inner circle road which apparently I circumnavigated three times.  Here’s the thing I had no idea I had done that. I must admit to being confused at seeing a place called ‘The Holme’ on three occasions, but I thought that maybe the park had a number of lodges all called the same thing. Truthfully it’s a good job I’m not let out on my own very often, I really couldn’t find my way out of a cul de sac.

IMG_1444

I carried on and I was really enjoying it, there’s a kind of muffled silence that comes with snow; the roar of traffic from the Marylebone Road,  was just a very distant hum and the park itself, magically tranquil. A guy asked me to take a photo of him against the snow because he couldn’t believe there was that much in London.

After about 5/6 kms the park started filling up with people, some with children and most of them not, but it didn’t stop a number of snowball fights from happening. No snowflakey bans on snowballs here. And the funniest sight of all, was some twenty-something lads looking like they were re-enacting The ‘Big Air’ finals from the Olympics with all sorts of acrobatics, just without skis or a snowboard.

At this point the pathway was becoming a little more slushy underfoot and I decided to call it quits before I undertook an unplanned ‘Big Air’ moment. Who knew that running in the snow would be so lovely?  I didn’t. Snow excuses, next time – I will be straight out the door heading for Regents Park again.

Playlist (Retro Runners – Weather Mix)

Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice

The Morning Fog – Kate Bush

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

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

Something In The Air – Thunderclap Newman

Thunder – His Purple Highness

Mr Blue Sky – ELO

Ain’t No Sunshine – Lighthouse Family

Thunder In My Heart – Meck and Leo Sayer

Since You’ve Been Gone – Rainbow

Downpour – Backstreet Boys

Sunshine After The Rain – Berri

Boogie Shoes – KC And The Sunshine Band

Baby It’s Cold Outside – Menzel and Buble

Cold As Ice – Foreigner

Lightning Strikes – The Black Seeds

Cold – Stormzy

Warmth – Bastille

Sunshine On A Rainy Day – Galimar

Boogie Nights – Heatwave

Stats

Distance 7.96 km (curses just off the target 8)

Time 1:12:45

Average Pace 9:08 (mins/km)

Elevation gain 23 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 322.9

Kms to Do 1695.1 (yay under the 1700)

Cumulative Deficit 13.45km – that’s a drop of approximately 29km on January’s figures)

Team Rhomboid Torture

I should have done 4 sets of reps of squats and press-ups yesterday. I actually managed 3 sets of 7 reps of squats with 2 sets of 10 reps of wall press-ups. All the attention we were told was to be on ‘maintaining form’ and the best way to do this is to self video.

I don’t know how you insert a video camera between you and a wall, so I didn’t.

 

 

 

 

27 Feb – The Toxic Tens

 

In running there is a well known affliction called the Toxic Tens. This is all about how long it takes your body to realise you’re being serious about exercise and oxygenating your bloodstream accordingly to manage the demands of the exercise. Typically it takes 10 minutes for your body to be running aerobically.

In fairness, most runners suffer from the Toxic Tens,  but here are the other afflictions, that trip me up from time to time, or if I’m unlucky – on every bloody run.

The ‘Orrible Ones – this is the first km you are doing, having left the warmth and comfort of the sofa. It’s ‘horrible and frankly you wonder why you bothered, as you feel sluggish and are actually running like a slug.

The ‘Trocious Twos – this is when the Toxic Tens are at their worst, you’ve done the first kilometre and now you’re thinking things will get better. But they don’t and the beginning of the second kilometre is atrocious. In fact I run like an asthmatic badger at this point.

The Throbbing or Twingeing Threes – at this stage your body realises you’re out for a run and starts those irritating little niggles, just to put you off your stride. Throbbing knee anyone? Yup, why not throw in an aching hamstring for good measure? Cramp in the arch of your foot? These are all typical of the Throbbing or Twingeing Threes.

The Effing Fours and Fives. According to all running advice, this is when you are hitting your stride nicely, it is all settling down. Except the effing fours and fives all too often coincide with the ‘where the effing hell is the nearest loo?’ None of us want to do a Paula Radcliffe, so you end up buying an unwanted cup of coffee to use the loo. Repeat every 5 kms. It’s effing annoying and expensive in equal measure.

The Shitty Sixes. Too close to the 5km for you to think you’ve cracked the run, but not far enough to be close enough to the elusive 10km. This is when mentally I become Marvin the Paranoid Android. Obsessive recalculating of my running totals vs. the plan and wondering if anyone would really notice if I walked for a km or two. Random phrases and curses pop out of my mouth at this phase, startling passers-by.

The Sodding Awful Sevens – aha this is when your running kit starts playing up. I have a pair of Dutch running tights. Why is it important that the tights are Dutch? Because the Dutch are the tallest people in the world, and I am not. This means at 7km I can guarantee my Dutch leggings will be working their way down my legs. Giving me a bare arse and wrinkled ankles at exactly the same time. A sort of granny gangsta look and not in a good way.

The Endurance Eights – at this stage of a run at eight kms and more, my running times start slipping and my running pace starts looking remarkably similar to my walking pace. This is the point when you will be overtaken by all/any of the following;-

  • Mum/Dad with BugaBoo pram
  • 2, 3, 4, 5 year olds
  • Dog walker
  • Moody ‘emo’ teenager
  • Man walking whilst looking at mobile phone
  • Fast walker
  • Pensioner with a limp
  • Skateboarder
  • Plonker on a scooter
  • Asthmatic badgers

The Naff Nines – when the body is weak and the spirit is weaker. This is often my ‘give up’ kilometrage point.

And so we return to the Toxic Tens. And today on my run I was afflicted by:-

The Throbbing or Twingeing Threes – weird ache in right arm and shoulder

The Shitty Sixes – near the MI6 building – suddenly realising it was at least 6 kms home and I didn’t fancy it much, not helped by a passing guy saying hup, hup, hup as I ran past.

Also anyone got any idea why a busker thought singing ‘Driving Home For Christmas’ by Chris Rea was appropriate 2 days before March? I know it was snowing a bit, but even so. He was la la la-ing on the giveaway lyric, but it was still evidently recognisable.

Playlist

Stray Cat Strut – Stray Cats

Keep on Running – Spencer Davis Group

Happy – Pharrell

Smile – Lily Allen

Pink Panther Theme – Henry Mancini

Smile – Gregory Porter

Under Pressure – Queen and David Bowie

Easy – Commodores

Nowhere Fast – Eminem feat Kehlani

Compression – Francesco Digilio

One Step Beyond – Prince Buster

Rest – Charlotte Gainsbourg

To Jan – Leonard Anderson

Miami Vice Theme – Jan Hammer

Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty

Running Up That Hill – Kate Bush

Ju Ju Man – Dave Edmunds

The Streak – Ray Stevens

Question – The Moody Blues

Advice For The Young At Heart – Tears for Fears

There Are More Questions Than Answers – Johnny Nash

Fools Rush In – Ricky Nelson

Down Under – Men At Work

Stats

Distance 14.75km

Time 1:39:31

Average Pace 6.44 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 108 metres

Alzheimers Challenge

Kms Done 314.9

Kms to do 1703.10 (next time out I’ll be under the 1700s)

Team Rhomboid Torture

Yesterday’s instructions were to do burpees – I can burp and I can pee, I just can’t do burpees. So I didn’t do a thing, nothing, nada, zip.

Waiting for today’s instructions, so am guessing  I will squat, wall press and hollow rock again.

 

 

 

25 Feb – Grunting and Groaning, Then Going For Green

It is a Sunday morning and I am ensconced in my bed. The date reminder from Mr Smooth tells me to get up and put my trainers on. My head is banging a familiar rhythm. Head or heart – who is going to win? Mr Smooth or Mrs Migraine.

I decide that Mrs Migraine wins for the moment and take some Paracetamol with a mug of tea. Having given Mrs Migraine an hour to go away and she decided to stay, I  then decided to run and join Mr Smooth on our date.

Today is Monopoly Board day and I have the ‘greens’ to do those are:-

  1. Regent Street
  2. Oxford Street
  3. Bond Street

Strictly speaking Bond Street doesn’t actually exist – at one end it is New Bond Street and at the other towards Piccadilly it is Old BS. I noticed as well that I am very close to having run 300km since the beginning of the year and whilst today’s plan is to do 9km, if I feel like doing a bit more, then I won’t be unhappy. This is all going on in the banging head, which is not the best state for running as the pounding of my little elephant feet on the pavement tends to compound the headache.

I trot out – again in my trusty ninja black costume happily gamboling along Theobald Road towards New Oxford Street and boom I get ninja’d -by a guy who undertook me at an incredibly fast pace and I neither heard nor saw him. I am only a trainee ninja – he was the real deal. The embarrassing bit is that he wasn’t kitted up as a ninja, he just looked like your everyday guy, in jeans and trainers – but it was like a sonic boom when he went past. Chuckling to myself I carried onto Oxford Street which even on a Sunday morning is a nightmare of limbs, pushchairs, bikes, cars buses. I took my obligatory pic and then dashed off towards Soho, to cut out the worst of Oxford Street.

Regent Street is similarly afflicted with traffic of all kinds so I made my way through Conduit Street towards New Bond Street. The shops are a lot more chichi and expensive here, so you tend to get fewer crowds, which was a help for me and my running. Dodging selfie takers outside of Tiffany’s, I managed to get to Old Bond Street without any woes.

Hitting Piccadilly, I headed off towards Leicester Square (typical when you’ve already collected those squares, you come across them again) and up towards law country. Holborn and the Inns of Court. It is nice and quiet in this part of town so I steer towards home and hurrah, I have actually passed the 300km milestone. Going for Greens, I got Gold and a medal from the Under Armour Challenge (frankly it’s utterly meaningless, but it is nice to get bling even if virtual). And I am now in the top 4% for the year all genders and ages.

I am writing this up eating marmalade on toast with a gorgeous frothy home-made cappuccino. I feel all happy and warm just like Paddington bear – if only I had a duffle coat.

Playlist

Doctor Doctor – Thomson Twins (twice)

Tainted Love – Soft Cell

Don’t Go – Yazoo

Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Tears For Fears

Every Day Hurts – Sad Cafe

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club

Hold Me Now – Thompson Twins

I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty

Don’t You Want Me – The Human League

Cars – Gary Numan

Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

I’m Still Standing – Elton John

Living On the Ceiling – Blancmange

The Tears Of A Clown – The English Beat

Eighties –  Killing Joke

It’s My Life – Talk Talk

I Want Your Love – Transvision Vamp

Trapped – Colonel Abrams

It’s A Sin – Pet Shop Boys

Gold  – Spandau Ballet

Fade To Grey  – Visage

Uptown Girl – Billy Joel

I Melt With You – Modern English

Stats

Distance 11.78kms

Time 1:17:08

Average Pace 6:32(mins/km)

Elevation Gain 51 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 300.2

Kms to do 1717.8

IMG_1397

Team Rhomboid Torture

He hasn’t posted today’s instructions – so I am going to do squats, wall press ups and hollow rock things, and then if he does post even if I’ve got something wrong, I will have done something.

Torture Update

2 sets of 10 reps of squats – holding the 4kg vampire kettlebell

2 sets of 10 reps of wall press-ups

4 hollow rocks – holding for 20 seconds each

 

 

 

 

24 Feb – 2 Degrees, Did You Say 2 Degrees?

It’s Saturday, I had a day off yesterday – unplanned but welcome. So kms to make up today. It is 2 degrees outside, better assemble layers.

Hook swoosh the sports bra. Base layer on. Hooded sweat shirt on. Jacket on. Hat on, gloves on, bottom fleece-lined layers on. Socks – thick ones on, Saucony trainers on.

Go outside, blimey it’s cold – wondering whether to add another layer. Okay, upside it’s sunny. Downside it’s perishing cold. Aim towards Ropemaker St and there’s filming going on – loads of yellow minicabs – all Minis. Lots of extras huddled under blankets and they’ve doused the whole area with water, so we may have a skating rink there tonight with the frost. I decide to head away from the filming and towards the South Bank, because last night friends suggested to get my ‘Electricity’ Company in Monopoly – I could legitimately photo Bankside Power Station and that would count on the Monopoly board challenge.

I scooted first of all towards Tower Bridge, it really was a beautiful morning and then back again towards the London Eye. Lots of people, but relatively easy to get past – dressed in my black ninja running outfit. I managed to ninja a number of people, who had no idea I was behind and then in front of them. One woman did wonder why I wasn’t cold, with my jacket tied around my waist. But after 9kms of running, I was quite warm.

Turning towards home, they are still filming, so I gave Ropemakers a wide berth and trotted home. Run done with a Monopoly Square too. Oh and it’s going to be 2 degrees tomorrow. Joy!

Playlist

My Coo Ca Choo – Alvin Stardust

Devil Gate Drive – Suzi Quatro

D.I.S.C.O. – Ottawan

War – Edwin Starr

This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us – Sparks

Gonna Make You A Star – David Essex

Band On The Run – Wings

Everybody Dance – CHIC

See My Baby Jive – Wizzard

Sylvia’s Mother – Dr Hook

Roll Over Beethoven – ELO

December 1963 – Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty

Boogie Shoes – KC And The Sunshine Band

Walk On The Wild Side – Lou Reed

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

Killer Queen – Queen

Amarillo – Tony Christie

Silver Lady – David Soul

I Love To Love – Tina Charles

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Stats

Distance 12.65 kms

Time 1:25:32

Average Pace 6:45 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 104 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 288.4

Kms To Do 1729.6

Team Rhomboid Torture

3 sets of squats – 27 reps

3 sets of wall press-ups – 25 reps

8 hollow rocks – held for 10 seconds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 22 – Deficit Reduction

After yesterday’s mild disappointment on not meeting my daly target, I got up this morning somewhat later than planned, which meant my morning run was under time pressure.

I bombed out of the apartment, determined to do today’s target 7km and a bit more if I could. Although it was very chilly, I ran like the wind (well middle aged wind). And I made up yesterday’s shortfall. Hurrah.

No fuss, no dramas, no incidents. Face colour = salsa red

Playlist

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me ? – Culture Club

Do You Remember The First Time? – Pulp

Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful? – Paloma Faith

Doesn’t Make It Alright – Stiff Little Fingers

Doginabag – The Fratellis

Don’t – Elvis Presley

Don’t be Cruel – Elvis Presley

Don’t Forget Me – Red Hot Chilis

Don’t Forget To Dance – The Kinks

Don’t Go – Yazoo

Don’t Let Me be Misunderstood – Nina Simone

Don’t Let Me Down – The Beatles

Stats

Distance 7.73km

Time 46:57

Average Pace 6:04 (mins/km) – that’s more like it!

Elevation Gain – 50 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Done 275.8 kms

To Do 1742.20 kms

Team Rhomboid Torture Challenge

Only squats done today – oops epic failure, must do better tomorrow

 

 

 

 

 

21 Feb – Fated To Fail

Today was a regular appointment at Hampstead Hospital for WMAS related stuff. I go so often that I know the Receptionists’ names – they are Yvonne and Roger. Unfailing polite, but utterly bewildered as to why my appointments are like phantoms.

This morning in the coffee shop I mentioned to Mr JCR that I was bit concerned because I had neither received a confirmation letter nor the usual text message reminders. Phone them he urged, just in case there’s a problem. And of course there was, for the fifth time in succession, I had apparently cancelled my appointment. And cancelled the one for tomorrow that I didn’t know anything about. So ruddy frustrating as I had done no such thing and thus my plans for a slightly longer run were curtailed as I spent an extra 90 minutes waiting for a non-existent appointment to be created.

Not in the best of moods, I started my run home, through the delights of Kentish Town and a bypass of Somers Town (arse end of Euston station – famous/infamous but not in a good way). It was cold, I was peed off, and the route wasn’t brilliant. Job Done – except it wasn’t as I found out when I got home, I looked at my run plan and blow, bother, dash I should have done 11kms today and I didn’t.

So that’s a bit more to do tomorrow then. Oh and I have to return to Hampstead Hospital in May – and I just know that appointment will get cancelled by the mysterious force that has cancelled my previous five appointments. Roger and Yvonne will remain as polite as usual. Today, evidently not my day. Better give it a better go tomorrow.

Playlist

Get Up And Jump – Red Hot Chilis

Ghost Town – The Specials

Gimme Some Lovin’ – The Blues Brothers

Girl – The Beatles

Girl From Mars – Ash

A Girl Like You – Edwin Collins

Girl On The Phone – The Jam

The Girl Who Wanted To Be – The Manics

Girls and Boys – Blur

Girls on Film – Duran Duran

Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll – The Killers

Glass Onion – The Beatles

Glory Days – The Boss

Gnik Nus – The Beatles

Go For It – Stiff Little Fingers

Go To Hell – Nina Simone

Go Wild In the Country – Bow Wow Wow

God & Satan – Biffy Clyro

God Only Knows – The Beach Boys

God Put A Smile On Your Face – Coldplay

Stats

Distance 10.40km

Time 1:18:07

Average Pace 7:30 (min/km)

Elevation Gain 42 metres

Alzheimers Challenge

Kms Done 268km

Kms To Do 1750 km

Team Rhomboid Torture/Challenge

2 sets of 10 reps – squats (with vampire kettlebell)

2 sets of 10 wall press -ups

2 sets of 10 lying knee raises

7 reps of hollow rock holding 10 seconds

Utter failure on wrist exercises…

 

 

 

20 Feb – Anyone Got A Spare Core?

pexels-photo-191845.jpeg
This is my ‘core’ shape, notice the distinct lack of any definition…

 

As I think I need one, preferably in good working order, as opposed to mine, which is not so much a core as a doughnut hole.

Part of this running thing is making sure I am in as reasonable shape as possible, mainly to ward off any injuries and illness. But I have a teensy confession, I haven’t really done the post -run stretches much.

Mainly because:-

  1. they are boring
  2. they take time I don’t want to give
  3. I’m not awfully bendy, despite me going on a ‘get more bendy’ course last year

I do squats and on non running days the vampire kettlebells come out for an airing. But even on non-running days I don’t do stretches, for the three reasons given above. And then I found the perfect reason, according to a random article I found c/o Dr Google (who can always be relied upon for any get out clause), which said most people haven’t the foggiest idea on how to stretch properly or even when they do they don’t do it for long enough. Which takes me right back to reason number 2! From time to time I use the torture instrument known as the foam roller, although seriously not enough.

Can’t remember who said ‘I think, therefore I am’, but in my case it changes to  ‘I don’t stretch because I’m not bendy, I’m not bendy because I don’t stretch’.

But I have signed up to do a Lenten challenge which so far includes something called a hollow body – I wish, followed by press-ups. Now I did do the wall press-ups, the hollow body thing – mmm I think I just found out where the core is supposed to be. These are all stretchy things.

Somewhere in the doughy recesses  of my stomach, there is an ache. I think this could be my long lost core calling out to me. In fact she is shouting in pain ‘WTF, do you think you are doing JCR?’

Add to that the humiliation of Mr JCR actually finding me doing wall press-ups. The squatting, hollow body thing and press-ups, have been hitherto an undiscovered secret. And now my secret is out, I am trying to do something about my core.

Me and my core have history. Imagine the excruciatingly embarrassing situation of being measured for a school play outfit at secondary school (I was about 14 at the time) and your bust, waist and hip measurements being exactly the same. That’s right at 14, I was shaped like a toilet roll tube and the teacher commented on the lack of a waist. Since then my lack of a core has been hidden from the public, and now it’s out there.

I have no expectation that my waist will emerge, swan-like after having been an ugly duckling for so long. But if I get this core thing right, apparently it will strengthen my running. And if core stretching works, then maybe, just maybe I will stretch after a run.

But that’s after Mistress Howling Wolf (my new name for the hurting core) has stopped shrieking in protest. It is Tuesday, she started shrieking on Saturday… I do wish she’d shut up, as we may get stopped at Airport Security.

Today is officially a running rest day, so squatting, hollow bodying and wall press-ups will have to wait until we get back to London.

BIG THANKS TO RITA – for the very kind sponsorship donation for my Alzheimer’s Challenge. Thanks so much and see you in April!