21 Mar – Happy Idris To Me

It’s my birthday and so far I’ve been gifted Idris Elba, a dog, chocolate, more chocolate, a prison break tag, and a gait analysis.

Idris is by far the best gift of the day, even if only imaginary, although our friends G and J sent me a pic saying he’d see me soon.I wonder if he is in Granada and if his fiancée knows?

I had planned two x 18km runs whilst here – I blew out on the first one, and as a consequence my run plans are somewhat shot. I made up the first 18k yesteday  by doing another 7k, but that meant today  I wouldn’t be rested enough to try an 18km.

So I popped out with Idris to The Proclaimers singing I’m Gonna Be 500 Miles and almost got bundled over by 6 or 7 fellow runners, wearing leggings and carrying very heavy backpacks. They were almost dwarfed by the backpacks and they were all trying to beat a deadline – the 9am bell for infant’s school.

I continued on my way again for the delights of Lidl, roadworks, the post office, a slightly derelict industrial estate type place, the back end of the railway lines and similar. Most people come to Granada for the sights, whereas I have been running the shites.

With slightly aching hips, I managed just over 12km and then to my horror Map My Run lost the internet connection and my run was lost. I was almost in tears of frustration as my efforts had got lost somewhere in the inter web. Luckily it seems to have re-appeared, and I no longer have the dilemma of you all having to trust me when I say  I did actually run more than 12km.

Happy Idris to me, I think his silent company smiled on my run, and persuaded Doctor Google to fix my Map My Run. We are nowhere near 500 Miles but getting close to 500 kms now.

Playlist

I’m Gonna Be 500 Miles – The Proclaimers

Modern Love – David Bowie

Mr Brightside – The Killers

Enola Gay – OMD

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Disco 2000 – Pulp

Every Day I Love You Less And Less – Kaiser Chiefs

Somebody Told Me – The Killers

Let’s Stick Together – Bryan Ferry

She’s Electric – Oasis

Sign Of The Times – Harry Styles

Lucky You – The Lightning Seeds

Get Dancin’ – Disco Tex & His Sex-O-Lettes (twice)

Love In Itself – Dépêche Mode

Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine – The Killers

World In Motion – New Order

Sunny Afternoon – The Kinks

Susannah’s Still Alive – Ditto

See You – Dépêche Mode

Planet Earth – Duran Duran

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

Vienna – Ultravox

Beat Crazy – Joe Jackson

New Life – Dépêche Mode

Rio – Duran Duran

Stats

Distance 12.42

Time 1:31:14

Average Pace 7:20 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 85 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms done 487.1

Kms  to do 1530.9

 

 

20 Mar – Groaning in Granada

 

Alarm goes off early, grunt, groan and finally get up so we can be at the Alhambra early to get in on our timed ticket.

Breakfast early, very nice, stomachs groaning we make our way up the hill to the Alhambra.

Going green and groaning up the hill  via our own feet, we arrive at the imposing gates and enter. This palace/fortress was especially designed to conceal its access points and beauty from marauding hordes.

X hundred years later, it has done the same to us, we are in the wrong effing gate. Signs would have been useful, we thought, as we had to navigate our way out to the real entrance gate which was nowhere near or frankly nowhere near as imposing. Didn’t the internet ticket count? Apparently not, you had to exchange it for one that does. Where is the ticket place? – aha behind the cordoned off area, guarded by heavies. You have to ask the heavies to move to get in to swap your tickets. Aarrgghh, then you’re advised to make your way quickly to the Palace as you haven’t got much time….

The Alhambra is beautiful, but today was really really cold, and after an hour all four of us had lost feeling in our hands, so we duly retired to a nearby hotel lobby for a warming drink.

This was the Fawlty Towers of modern times. On one of the coldest days of the year the front door was wide open to attract Alhambran refugees, like us. The back door was also open to ensure you could enjoy the Moor inspired courtyard. You could also endure, sorry, enjoy the Arctic winds rushing through. We made a beeline for the cosy corner, the one with the radiator in it – plugged in at the wall. This however, like the intricacies of the Moorish design in the Alhambra palace, was just an optical illusion. The radiator was cold, the thermostat didn’t work, and heaven help the staff, who were bundled up against the cold, the whole place was as warm as your average salad crisping drawer in the fridge.

Undeterred, we ordered coffees and hot chocolate. We were told the chocolate had run out so would cocoa be okay. At this stage hypothermia was a distinct danger, so we said yes cocoa would be fine. It was a diy affair, the waiter who I shall refrain from calling Manuel, brought in the coffees and  jug of hot milk with two sachets of cocoa.

At this juncture the four of us were giggling away, as Mr JCR and I tried to froth up our cocoas. And every new order from a guest for a cocoa caused us to giggle more. We needed to use the bathrooms, which were, you’ve guessed it, outside in the Artic courtyard, without heating, hot water or heated hand blowers. After that visit we were back to being as cold as we were when we first arrived. My recommendation, visit the Alhambra in summer, or wear thermals and carry a flask of coffee and a hand towel…

After that interval the visit to the palace continued, pretty much without incident, but we were very cold. So a return visit to the tapas bar called. We took the edge off the day and meandered home merrily, no grunting or groaning this time.

This however, is not exactly pre -running preparation at its best. So a prevaricating snooze later I eventually got out to run, having missed the snow flurries. It was cold and slippy underfoot, I had in mind to run just 5k, in and around the town. My GPS kept falling out, so my tracking wasn’t great, but I did realise I had been running downhill way too much and that an uphill return would be necessary. In the end a sneaky 7km, and whilst I started off groaning at the thought of going out, it was lovely when I was out there.

Playlist

Lost in France – Bonnie Tyler

Une Nuit A Paris – 10cc

Penny Lane – The Beatles

Vienna – Ultravox

Going Down To Liverpool – The Bangles

Massachussetts – Bee Gees

Boston Tea Party – Sensational Alex Harvey Band

Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel

Africa – Toto

Wonderful World – Sam Cooke

San Francisco – Scott Mackenzie

Go Wild In The Country – Bow Wow Wow

Stats

Distance 7.05km

Duration 54:18

Average Pace 7:42 (mins/km)

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms to date 474.7

Kms to run 1543.43

 

 

 

 

 

19 Mar – Planning vs. Reality

In my head I was running 18km today. In my stomach were the dregs of yesterday’s commute from London to Granada. Namely, red wine, gin and tonic, and a late night gin fizz cocktail, from an un-named bar, where collectively Mr JCR, our friends N&A, and me raised the average age from about 25 to around 60.

In this bar, we also reduced the average tattoo and piercing count, and noticed that most of the punters started paying their bills when we arrived. Clearly we were not their normal clientele. But it was very friendly including the wolf dog on a steel and leather lead – a bit like the circus poster…

I was out at 8.30 am to do the 18km, I quickly realised that it wasn’t going to happen when my first km split was over 8 minutes. Maybe the post dinner gin fizz wasn’t the best prep?

In the distance I could see a couple of runners, so I thought it might be a good idea to follow them. I have no idea if they were warming or cooling down or doing some weird shit exercise routine, but every 10/15 paces they stopped to lunge and stretch various body parts. I do my stretching in the privacy of my own home, no one needs to see my lycra groaning, nor me for that matter. I overtook them and continued to see the world famous sights and sites of Granada. Bus station, Repsol petrol station, Lidl, road closure, primary school, tram lanes.

A quick detour back to the Airbnb to divest hat, gloves and running jacket and I was on my way. Tragically, not to the 18km though. I just wasn’t feeling quite right, coupled with the fact that I seemed to have run most of Granada – bar the hill and that famous palace.

Tomorrow is tourist stuff, visiting the Alhambra and so on. The weather is supposed to be turning a little more beastly, so today with fairly mild weather to take advantage of, we enjoyed very nice free tapas which is a thing in Granada, an interesting afternoon lunch/drink and  lovely evening meal. The red wine Munana is delicious and La Tana wine bar particularly grand.

This may not be the best preparation for serious running, but it’s a lot of fun.

Playlist

Get Dancin’ – Disco Tex and His Sex-O-Lettes

Girls on Film – Duran Duran

Hungry Like The Wolf – Ditto

New Moon On Monday – Ditto

Notorious – Ditto

Planet Earth – Ditto

Go Wild In The Country – Bow Wow Wow

Gold – Spandau Ballet

House Of Fun – Madness

Night Boat To Cairo – Ditto

Our House – Ditto

I Am The Law – Human League

I Can’t Stand Up – Elvis Costello

Oliver’s Army – Ditto

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

Is Vic There? – Department S

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Joan of Arc – OMD

Maid of Orleans – Ditto

The Look Of Love – ABC

Love’s Unkind -Donna Summer

New Life – Dépêche Mode

People are People – Ditto

Personal Jesus – Ditto

Night Fever – Bee Gees

No More I Love Yous – The Lover Speaks

Doesnt Make It Alright – Stiff Little Fingers

Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake

Temptation – Heaven 17

Every Day I Love You Less and Less – Kaiser Chiefs

I Predict A Riot – Ditto

Modern Way – Ditto

Na Na Na Na Naa – Ditto

China Girl – David Bowie

Statistics

Distance 12.71 km

Time 1:38:19

Average Pace 7:44 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 106 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms done 467.6

Kms to do 1550.4

 

 

 

 

 

 

17 Mar – Tangoed at St Paul’s

IMG_2710IMG_9901.jpg

Mr JCR contacted Alzheimer’s Research to tell them about the 2018km challenge I am undertaking and they duly provided a tasteful tee-shirt for me.

Here I am this morning braving The Beast from the East Part 2 – the bulge around my middle is the hidden pouch pocket, stuffed full of middle aged woman’s essentials – namely tissues for the ever-present running nose.

Witnessed by our friends N&A, there weren’t that many people around to be bothered by the picture taking or the video of me looking at my most inelegant.

Today’s run 11km+

I met 3 other runner’s similarly attired all who gave a cheery wave  – Londoners aren’t that friendly normally.

An articulated lorry stopped to allow me to cross a junction even though it was his right of way.

Two hi-vis men allowed me to pass near a building site

The Beast from the East Part 2, has brought both snow and a flurry of good manners today.

Playlist

Get Dancin’ – Disco Tex & His Sex -O-Lettes

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

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Temptation – Heaven 17

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Love’s Unkind – Donna Summer

She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult

All She Wants Is – Duran Duran

All Stood Still – Ultravox

Baggy Trousers – Madness

Be My Number Two – Joe Jackson

Beat Crazy – ditto

Breaking Us In Two – ditto

Blasphemous Rumours – Depeche Mode

Do You Really Want to Hurt Me – Culture Club

Don’t You Want Me – Human League

Dreaming -OMD

Einstein A go-Go – Landscape

Electric Barbarella – Duran Duran

Electricity – OMD

Stats

Distance 11.58km

Time 1:14:55

Average pace 6:28 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 83 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 454.92

Kms to Do 1563.08

Team Rhomboid Torture

I think he’s taking a break – so squats and something tempting with kettlebells will have to happen.

 

 

 

16 Mar – Running Errands

Fish features a lot in my running blog, mainly because the fishmonger is about 3km away from home and so it is a convenient place to run to/from for a short trip.

This morning however, I thought I’d run a little further so headed out towards Holborn. Under the Beech Street tunnel, which is currently being re-fitted for a light installation as part of the City of London’s Culture Mile – I was running in and out of lighting gaffers and machines.  This makes a change from the rumble of non-stop traffic.

I aimed for Gray’s Inn Road, to do a loop towards Islington. It was quiet and warm and a lovely morning to be running. At last I arrived at the fishmongers and ordered my fish – Robbie now greets me with phrases like ‘here comes the marathon runner’. He asked me my running plans for the upcoming week and I explained we’d be in Granada in Spain for a short break to see the Alhambra. He then waxed lyrical about free tapas and how great the weather will be there (he is Spanish btw). I then explained Granada is getting exactly the same weather as we will, so it will be cold.

As he said if it’s cold at least the uphill running won’t be too bad. Let’s hope so. Armed with my lemon sole and Cornish crabs, I trotted back home – back again through the Beech Street tunnel to buy bread and cheese.

By this stage I think I was carrying about 5/6kgs of food, whilst running. This errand running is more like weight training. Maybe I need to get a proper errand rucksack for my running?

Playlist

Tainted Love – Soft Cell

Every Day Hurts – Sad Cafe

Fade To Grey – Visage

Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

Living On The Ceiling – Blancmange

Eighties – Killing Joke

Liberator – Spear Of Destiny

Trapped – Colonel Abrams

Church Of The Poisoned Mind – Culture Club

Ride On Time – Black Box

It’s A sin – Pet Shop Boys

Gold – Spandau Ballet

Don’t Go – Yazoo

Stats

Distance 7.73km

Time 1:00:37

Average Pace 7:50 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 30 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 443.3

Kms to Do 1574.7

TeamRhomboid Torture

mmm still no instructions – better squat and do press-ups then…

 

 

 

 

15 Mar – The Deluded Conundrum

 

Having basked in the tired glory of having done 22km over two days, I thought today I would do a nifty 5km.

That was the plan, in my head I was going to semi-sprint (I know – it isn’t a word) around the City and get back home with warm up and cool-down done in about 40 minutes. The principle being, the quicker I get the less time it will take me to do the challenge and leave me some spare ‘non-running oriented’ time.

In my head I was semi-sprinting, in my legs I wasn’t – as became apparent at the end of the run. I came across Fruiterers Passage on the North Bank – I’ve never been in there before and managed a quick pic looking back at the Shard. There were quite a few couples walking and in hand on a nice sunny day in London on the North Bank, all being buzzed by a middle-aged sweaty runner.

Running back home, I passed Polpo – one of the few Italian restaurants in London I’d  actually eat in. They have a festive menu celebrating women’s achievements. I thought it may be worth a visit, then I saw the menu – Broccoli – yuck, Gnocchi – yuck, yuck and Wet Polenta – yuck, yuck, yuck. No conundrum there, I’ll wait until we are back in Italy to eat Italian food.

But my actual conundrum is this – if I can run faster I can get the challenge done without it taking all my spare time and energy. But to move from arthritic semi-sprinting to proper fast running , means I need to do interval training. Interval training is short, sharp sprinting, interspersed with less-fast running. But when I’ve tried this before I can only manage 35 minutes and cover about 3km – and that is far short of my stated 5km minimum run for the challenge. I haven’t got enough energy to be able to do the interval training as well as the challenge, nor would it be healthy, as I wouldn’t be giving my bod any rest time.

The challenge will have to stay as it is, and I will put the idea of semi-sprinting/sprinting into the area of brain for middle aged delusions.

Playlist

I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club

Cars – Gary Numan

The Tears Of A Clown – The Beat

Trapped – Colonel Abrams

Enola Gay – OMD

I Am The Law – Human League

The Reflex – Duran Duran

Electricity – OMD

Temptation – Heaven 17

All She Wants Is – Duran Duran

Vienna – Ultravox

Two Tribes – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Planet Earth – Duran Duran

Stats

Distance 5.58km

Time 35:19

Average Pace 6:19 (mins/km) – absolutely rubbish not sprinting at all

Elevation Gain 40 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 435.6

Kms To Do 1582.4

Team Rhomboid Torture

No instructions there, so I’ll do some squats and something interesting with a kettle bell… (who thought that could even be a phrase?)

 

14 Mar – Things Can Only Get Better

IMG_1529

As D:Ream sang in the 90s  and on my playlist today. Actually I’m not sure they can. I am keeping up my 3% placing in the global challenge run by Under Armour – now up to 144,000 folk worldwide.

The leaderboard is still full of cheating profiles too, but realistically I don’t think I can go any higher. Looking at real people, as opposed to some of the bullshit profiles, it’s clear there are some ultra runners who drop 50 miles as a fun run.

I can’t see me ever thinking of 50 miles as a fun run – that’s a car journey.

Things could get better if only I could grow my legs. I was on the South Bank and a fellow runner loped towards me – his legs were at least as high as the Eiffel Tower and I looked at his stride length. Blimey, I reckon one of his was at last four of mine. If I had his legs, I reckon this challenge would be significantly easier proportionately.

I have checked out whether it is possible to extend your stride length and it is do-able, but takes time and can be problematical, so I better continue with my little baby steps.

So D:Ream how about changing that first verse from

You can walk my path
You can wear my shoes
Learn to talk like me and be an angel too

To:-

I can’t run your path
I can’t wear your shoes
I have little legs and am very short too

Playlist

Get Here – Oleta Adams

Don’t Need The Sunshine – Catatonia

Say My Name – Destiny’s Child

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Love Is All Around – The Wets

Barbie Girl – Aqua

Baby One More Time – Britney Spears

I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston

Wannabe – Spice Girls

Never Ever – AllSaints

The Power – SNAP

3am Eternal, Blue Danube Orbital  – The KLF

Would I Lie To You – Charles and Eddie

Return Of The Mack – Mark Morrison

Move Any Mountain – The Shamen

I See You Baby – Groove Armada

Things Can Only Get Better – D:Ream

Stats

Distance 9.20km

Time 1:03:50

Average Pace 6:56 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 60 metres

Face Colour: Salsa Red

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 430.03

Kms to Do 1587.97

Thanks To Caroline for her sponsorship which brings my fundraising achievement up to 35% of my target.

Team Rhomboid Torture

15 lunges left and right
10 Hollow Rocks
10 Leg Raises

3 times

That is his commandment, what I can actually achieve will be different.

An hour later…

I did all the lunges

I did 1 Hollow Rock and 7 Hollow Bodies (not sets, individuals – I find these very difficult, not having a core at all)

I did 20 leg raises, holding for 10 seconds.