16 June – The Countdown

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8 Italian cyclists arrive in London on Friday morning

7 days worth of sight-seeing and cycling in London to be completed in just 4 days

6 people to drop off at various locations around London

5km run completed amongst the happy bedlam and in record time too

4 days of fun, food and laughter

3 excellent London hosts – Abi, Cliff and David, looking after Leo, Maddi, Sabri, Gio, Rodo, and Patri

2 sets of fish eaten by Gio, who really, really wanted to try English fish and chips – Cod first then the Plaice…

1 batch of scones made to test whether the Devon or Cornwall jam/cream method is better…

Playlist

Ah yes  I had a music malfunction –  Abba were  on constant repeat – Mamma Mia, Money, Money, Money and Dancing Queen

Stats

Distance 5.12km

Time 25:49

Average Pace 5:02 – (I know amazing but I did sprint all the way and the distance was small!)

Elevation Gain 18 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1039.88

Kms To Run 978.12

 

15 June – Stereotype Snap

 

 

For a change, I decided to play a card game when I ran this morning. And I chose stereotype snap. The map shows you exactly where I picked up each stereotype or not. The whole idea is to pick up stereotypes and get points for each one I saw on my run through their respective zones. Now Friday is not a typical day in London, the commuters are noticeably fewer than usual, meaning stereotype snap is not such a point scorer as you may imagine.

I started off at Old Street, looking for Tech Start Up Stereotypes – identified by Apple branded everything and usually a pair of Dr Dre Beats. My score = Nil

Aiming towards Farringdon, I wasn’t aware of seeing any Start Up Stereotypes, but I did see at least two ‘More Media’ stereotypes. Their artwork type briefcases and tight trousers gave them away. My score = 2

On towards Lawyer Wanker territory, – typified by all black clothing and sharp, bright white shirt shirting, regardless of gender. The most monochrome experience you can get in one area – any hint of colour frowned upon. My score = 30+ (I lost count)

Soho,  rather surprisingly isn’t given any stereotypes on the map. But I did pass 20th Century Fox and an interestingly named restaurant…, but Covent Garden wasn’t far away, so onwards to find the Living Statue Wankers.  I’m thinking 8.30 am is too early for them to get up – even Yoda, who thinks we are fooled by his capacious gown, which clearly doesn’t have enough room for an alarm clock. My score = Nil

Then back towards Fleet Street in search of ‘Journalists Used To Be Here’. As the pubs were not yet open, there was no sign of any old soaks reminiscing about the good old days when you smoked 40 John Player Specials for Breakfast with a Johnnie Walker chaser or five. My score = Nil

My final stereotype search was for ‘Nervous Men Buying Rings’ in Hatton Garden, or at a push I’d have settled for ‘Old Men Plotting a Bank Vault Raid’. With me running before 9am,  this clearly meant all the plotters (whether for burglary or marriage) weren’t yet out. My score =Nil

Total Stereotype Score = 32 points.

Running score however was 9kms.

Playlist

Alison – Elvis Costello

Eloise – The Damned

Francine – ZZ Top

Gloria – Laura Branigan

Helena – My Chemical Romance

Poison Ivy – The Lambrettas

Jean Genie – David Bowie

Shake It Off – Taylor Swift

Kayleigh – Marillion

Layla – Derek and the Dominoes

Maggie May – Rod Stewart

Darling Nikki – His Purple Highness

Ophelia – The Band

Queen of Clubs – KC and The Sunshine Band

Roxanne – The Police

Sherry – Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

Teresa – Eddie Cochran

Single Ladies – Beyoncé

Valerie – Ronson and Winehouse

St Xenia – Katina

Zoe Jane – Staind

Stats

Distance 9.06km

Time 57:35

Average Pace 6:21

Elevation Gain 40 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1034.76

To Run 983.24

 

 

 

 

 

13 June – From Jimmy Choos to

 

to a pair of new running shoes. What has happened to me? Old life, Jimmy Choos, Louboutins, Prada and Gucci high heeled shoes. New life of Brooks, Saucony, Adidas but I’m not sure they are any the less expensive, as my latest pair will only have a running life of 3 – 4 months, based on my current mileage. My old faithful Pradas, in comparison are 10 years old and still going strong, although they only come out for Ascot Ladies Day, so maybe the cost per wear equation doesn’t work so well…

Today is the official day I managed to meet the Map My Run Beat the Year Challenge – a target of 1018kms, and I celebrated by running in my new Brooks shoes. I bought 2 new pairs of running shoes last November, before I’d decided on doing the challenge and now they are both looking a little shabby and are getting close to needing changing. Shoe life is about 500 miles and each pair has done about 600kms, but I still have 6 months to go, so time for a new pair. I’m sure I read somewhere that running was a cheap sport…

Today is a lot warmer, but I’m out earlier which is a help. I bomb through the City Streets and back out towards Holborn and the Inns of Court, I have in mind to do just the planned 7k as this is the first outing for my new shoes and I don’t want to shred my feet anymore than they have been already. The shoes feel bouncy and comfortable and I’m soon in my stride. I head towards the Strand, but it is awfully busy, so change tack and head for Aldwych and back towards Bloomsbury. A quiet run today, not a lot happening on the streets of London, not that I could see anyway. Getting close to home I see I am at just on 7k – well it wouldn’t hurt to stretch a bit would it? So I do a slight detour to add another 1km to my running piggy bank.

Run done. New running shoes broken in, and no signs of having broken my feet. That’s a result. But the Map My Run Challenge still bugs me as the ‘lady’ leading the leader board is anonymous and seemingly has run 17.506km over 287 workouts…

You figure it out I think she’s tracking every time she drives her car…

Playlist

My Coo Ca Choo – Alvin Stardust

Blockbuster – Sweet

DISCO – Ottawan

War – Edwin Starr

Waterloo – ABBA

Everybody Dance – Chic

I Feel Love – Donna Summer

So You Win Again – Hot Chocolate

Summer Breeze – The Isley Brothers

Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas

Freeze-Frame – The J Geils Band

All The Young Dudes – Mott The Hoople

Boogie Shoes – KC And The Sunshine Band

Walk On The Wild Side – Lou Reed

Killer Queen – Queen

Boogie Oogie Oogie – A Taste Of Honey

You’re The One That I Want – Newton John and Travolta

Stats

Distance 8:18km

Time 57:22

Average Pace 7:00 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 46 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1025.70

Kms To Run 992.3

 

 

 

 

11 Jun – 9 degrees of separation

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what’s 9 degrees between friends? It’s the difference for me between uncomfortable running and almost impossible running. Our home in Italy is reaching over 90 which is more or less 29 degrees in Celsius. London, however a warm 73 F but 20 in Celsius . It doesn’t matter which scale you use, London is most definitely the easier place to run. And so I must – not least because today I get to beat my half year km target, ahead of the end of the month. All these extra London kilometres will give me some breathing space in the heat of an Italian summer.

My starting tune was Here I Go Again (On My Own) by Whitesnake, which seemed somewhat apt. I was dressed in a sleeveless top and shorts, mmm it’s a bit parky as we say up North. It was really quite cool and City gents all suited and booted, did look at me somewhat askance as I ran past. I knew I had just over 2km to do to reach the halfway point and as is typical of my luck, I didn’t exactly make the milestone at an historic venue.

I have run past the Guildhall, St Paul’s Cathedral, St Bride’s Church even the Old Bailey and any of these would do as the significant milestone marker. However my running history was not to be made in any of these places – I ended up outside a salad bar called Tossed… Somewhat tossed off at the lack of a monumental historic selfie opportunity, I continued on my way knowing I am on the official downward slope on my challenge.

Heading towards the West End again today, retracing in part Saturday’s run, up to Tottenham Court Road and back to the British Museum. It wasn’t getting much warmer, but I was nice and toasty now, despite getting a puzzled look from a lady in a woollen coat crossing the road beside me. I am thinking she may be a distant relative of Dame Duvet – our puffa jacket loving walker in Italy.

My pace was nice and even, but I neither had the legs nor time available to do a long run today and so at just over 10km I called it quits. Rather irritatingly, I called a halt just that little bit too soon, had I continued for 0.5km more I would have had less than 1,000kms to go. So for the second time today, I was tossed off.

However in big shouty capitals  – I HAVE RUN MORE THAN 1009KM in less than six months. If ever I had doubted my ability to do this challenge, now I know it’s a done deal. I may well have some ups and downs, and I may have some more ‘tossed off’ moments. But this challenge is in my sights. To celebrate my achievement I had lunch with Razouski from C25K and two glasses of bubbles at the Barbican. Tomorrow, I will be hitting two celebratory places – the gin distillery to create my own gin and then dinner at Nathan Outlaw’s. But no gain without pain, I have to run again to earn the celebrations.

Playlist

Here I Go Again – Whitesnake

YMCA – The Village People

The Can Can – Bad Manners

Come On Eileen – Dexy’s Midnight Runners

Dizzy – Vic Reeves and The Wonder Stuff

You Can’t Hurry Love – Phil Collins

Money For Nothing – Dire Straits

Eye of The Tiger – Survivor

You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet – BTO

Bat Out Of Hell – Meatloaf

Summer Nights – Travolta and Newton-John

One Step Beyond – Madness

All Over The World – Electric Light Orchestra

The Wonder Of You – Elvis Presley

Dreadlock Holiday – 10cc

Mr Blue Sky – ELO

Sex On Fire – Kings Of Leon

That’s The Way – KC & The Sunshine Band

Relax – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Born To Run – The Boss

Stats

Distance 10.71km

Time 1:10:06

Average Pace 6:32(mins/km)

Elevation Gain 31 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1017.52

Kms to Run 1000.48 (the first time this is a lower number!)

98 kilometres ahead of my cumulative target

 

 

 

 

9 June – Trooping The Colour

 

Today is Trooping The Colour Day, celebrating the Queen’s Official Birthday. And today I went out for a planned mini-run. I had polled my C25K buddies to get some opinions. I’ve got really close to the halfway stage of my challenge and I thought if I managed to do 2 x 12km runs over the weekend, I’d be at halfway, about 3 weeks ahead of my deadline.

The common theme was that there was no hurry and so don’t fret and just do your normal run. Then Ju-ju – my running mentor of note, said well you could have a go, if you take it slowly, rest and hydrate. So it was with some trepidation I left this morning, I’d decided just to see where my legs could take me. Genuinely I had no plan, no minimum kms, I just thought I’d see where I ended up. The temperature was cool and my pace was nice and steady, and I seemed to be ‘run bombing’ all sorts of events. First off in Cheapside, having to swerve to avoid a bunch of runners coming the other way. They were in a charity tee-shirt, some sort of City Foundation. Then around the corner, Cheapside and One New Change were being cordoned off, for the Mr Porter Nocturne Cycle Ride.

I’d decided I would do a game of snakes and ladders – well mainly ladders, taking one road then switching back up at major junctions. London is a bit higgledy piggledy so it looked more of a snake run than a ladder’s one. I laddered my way up West towards Covent Garden and decided to aim for Tottenham Court Road. This was when I did my third ‘run bomb’ I was running against the flow of hundreds of Crohn’s and Colitis walkers. In fact I started recognising some of them, when I passed them for the third or fourth time. I was 9km in and feeling ‘loose’ which in my terms is a good thing. Not so much if it’s relating to bowels.

I stopped for a coffee, and being unable to run with both coffee and water in hand, I paused my run for 10 minutes and rested. My laddering took me to Tottenham Court Road, when I ran past Paperchase who had the superb pizza slice lilo in the window. As I ran past, a man standing in their entrance, said ‘keep it up, you can do it’. That was very nice of him, it made me smile and gave me impetus.

I rounded the corner and continued down Store Street, passed the coffee shop again and decided I’d aim for 12km. 12km came and went, my next milestone was 15.3km, which would get me to 1000kms. At this stage I’d passed the charity walkers, for what seemed to be the 6/7th time and was in/around the British Museum area. I still felt fine and my pace hadn’t dropped overly much.

At this stage, I thought maybe I should call it quits, but then I remembered my longest ever run had been 16.7km, and the JCR competitive gene kicked in and I gave myself a challenge to do 18km, if I could. I was reasonably close to 18km and I still felt fine…, so yes the competitive gene kicked in again and I thought why not aim for 21km? I was not far from the HCA in the City, when we had the most amazing flypast – I looked at Map My Run and saw I’d run 20.8km. Brilliant I got aeroplanes for beating my best ever run. Except of course they weren’t for me, they were for Liz.

So the pics show one of the official photos of the flypast, and the plain blue sky was my attempt to capture them on film! I eventually run-hobbled towards home, having done a touch more than 22km, because I wanted to make sure it was definitely more than half marathon distance.

It wasn’t non-stop, I won’t claim that, but it was a run more than half marathon distance, and I’m proud, although slightly bandy-legged at present, with hips screaming in pain.

Mr JCR was already at home and he asked me how I’d done, I showed him my stats and he was impressed. Then I had a major Map My Run failure – my run disappeared from my screen. Nothing, zilch, zip, eff all, no proof of my longest ever run. Except Mr JCR came to the rescue, his phone had my run, whilst mine didn’t – so he took screenshots to prove my achievement. And then puff, about 2 minutes later it disappeared from his phone too.

Summary, I should actually listen to advice being given, but hell, I feel happy at having run more than 20km in one outing.  Face colour today was Monarch red, but that seems fine seeing as I shared Liz’s flypast. Oh, and I passed the 1000km mark in just over 5 months’ of running. And my final lesson of the day, always make sure Mr JCR is close at hand when record breaking.

Next milestone is to make the halfway point proper of 1009km. That’s tomorrow’s job. A nice little recovery run, I promise – no competitive gene issues raising their heads.

Playlist (this is the Ju-Ju 90’s playlist)

Get Here – Oleta Adams

Say My Name – Destiny’s Child

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Love Is All Around – The Wets

Barbie Girl – Aqua

Believe – Cher

(Everything I Do) I Do It For You – Bryan Adams

Baby One More Time – Britney Spears

I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston

Wannabe – Spice Girls

Killing Me Softly With His Song – The Fugees

Never Ever – All Saints

Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’Connor

Dub Be Good To Me – Beats International

The Power – SNAP

Killer – Adamski, Seal

The Joker – Steve Miller Band

3am Eternal – KLF

The One and Only – Chesney Hawkes

Ebeneezer Goode – The Shamen

End Of The Road – Boyz II Men

Would I Lie To You – Charles and Eddie

Oh Carolina – Shaggy

Dreams – Gabrielle

Cream – His Purple Highness

Gangsta’s Paradise – Coolio

Rhythm Is A Dancer – SNAP

I See You Baby – Groove Armada

Groove Is In The Heart – Deee-Lite

Devotion – Nomad

The Key, The Secret – Urban Cookie Collective

Things Can Only Get Better – D:Ream

Everybody’s Free – Rozalla

Don’t Need The Sunshine – Catatonia

Girls and Boys – Blur

Dizzy – Vic Reeves and The Wonder Stuff

Something Good – Utah Saints

Stats

Distance 22.11km

Time 2:25:40

Average Pace 6:35 (mins/km) – this is understated though, as my pausing time doesn’t show here

Elevation Gain 93 metres

1 Flypast…

2 lives of water

1 cappuccino

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done – 1006.81 (yes over the 1,000 marker)

Kms To Run 1011.19

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 June – Visiting Old Friends

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After yesterday’s glorious run, today was somewhat tempered by yet another unwelcome headache. Pill popping is becoming a habit I’ll be happy to break, but given I still can’t track down the actual cause of the headaches, I’m stuck with a paracetamol and ibuprofen habit.

I mooched around the apartment for a bit, doing the unnecessary jobs, just to give me something to do whilst waiting for the medicine to do its thing. Eventually I was ready to go. I’d had in mind a 10k run, to Trafalgar Square and back home. The City is full of busy worker ants as usual and I was darting in and out of them towards the Guildhall and up along Holborn, for a quick detour towards the Inns of Courts. I love this area, because it’s quite quiet and civilised, a little less traffic than normal and mercifully pavements free of mobile traffic jams – or other people as they are more commonly known!

Heading to the Strand the tourist numbers were increasing and I had to keep practising my swerving moves. The Savoy and Simpsons on the Strand, being particularly popular ‘selfie taking’ spots. I didn’t see any fellow runners at all today, just harassed shopper’s being weighed down under handsful of shopping bags.

Today seemed to be the day for school trips too, with me seeing at least three separate crocodiles of children in uniform, being marshalled by what looked like very tired teachers. At Trafalgar Square, Nelson was gazing down upon the throngs and I said hello to him. It’s nice being back, the last time I was here in the Square, it was substantially colder and wintery. I  then made my way through Theatreland and Covent Garden and back to the Inns of Court once more. This was almost 7km in, and I was feeling good and full of beans. Only one fuckwit moment involving a cyclist, who seemed to delight in playing  a game of chicken with me, whilst I was trying to cross the road.

The final kms, were a little slower, mainly because the temperature had risen a bit and there was less shade to be found, and far more people on the streets than my outgoing run.  I could have run a little further, but I have two more 10kish runs planned for this week, so conserving energy is no bad thing.

I promised myself a 10km run to see some of my favourite London spots and I did that too. Simpsons On the Strand – mmm I wonder if I can persuade Mr JCR to go there for Sunday lunch?

Playlist

Stray Cat Strut – Stray Cats

Keep On Running – Spencer Davis Group

Pink Panther Theme – Henry Mancini

Smile – Gregory Porter

Easy – Commodores

Nowhere Fast – Eminem feat. Kehlani

Love In An Elevator – Aerosmith

Compression – Francesco Digillio

One Step Beyond – Prince Buster

Rest – Charlotte Gainsbourg

To Jan – Leonard Anderson

Miami Vice Theme – Jan Hammer

Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley

Running Up That Hill – Kate Bush

Marathon – Rush

Ju-Ju Man – Dave Edmonds

Question – The Moody Blues

Help! – The Beatles

There Are More Questions Than Answers – Johnny Nash

Fools Rush In – Ricky Nelson

Tread Softly – Tiny Ruins and Hamish Kilgour

Stats

Distance 10.31km

Time 1:06:17

Average Pace 6:25mins/km

Elevation Gain 40 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 984.70 ( 2 runs away from the magic 1,000 marker)

Kms to Run 1033.30

 

 

7 June – Hipsters At Home

You’ve got to love London,  for example we never let a little thing like lack of sun get us down…, we create a kiddies beach on the Southbank to pretend it’s summer proper. And there’s also no limit to the ludicrously named coffee bars you can find.

Are you a gentleman – tick

Do you like coffee – tick

Then why not visit the Gentleman’s Barista coffee bar in Borough Market?

Being neither a gentleman nor in need of a coffee or a beach, I settled for a run instead.

It was great, fast (for a snail runner like me) and feisty. I really enjoyed darting in and out of all the people as it makes a change from Le Marche’s quiet lanes and by-ways.

All the foreign accents and voices punctuating the air – it’s cosmopolitan, young and vibrant. Three school crocodiles along the Southbank, one French, one American and the other Spanish. Skateboarders, mums with prams, lots of middle-aged runners and yay I overtook one and it was a guy too… A lady busking outside Tate Modern, getting a modest ripple of applause and being chuffed to bits when it happened. The usual selfie takers on the wobbly bridge, all the elements of my typical London runs and it was glorious.

My hips were a bit knackered when I’d finished and I was walking like a gibbon. But the hipster runner is back home for 3 weeks – during which time I hope to break the 50% barrier on the Alzheimer’s challenge, before the half year is out.

11kms done. Another 10 planned for tomorrow…

Oh and in case you hadn’t spotted it, I love being home 🙂

Playlist

I Say A Little Prayer – Aretha

Let’s Dance – Chris Montez

Surfin’ USA – The Beach Boys

I’m Into Something Good – Herman’s Hermits

Feeling Good – Nina Simone

Jumping’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones

Born To Be Wild – Steppenwolf

Build Me Up Buttercup – The Foundations

Keep On Running – The Spencer David Group

Baby Love – The Supremes

Stand By Me – Ben E King

Soul Man – Sam & Dave

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

Then an iPhone moment ….

Dancing Queen, Mamma Mia and Money, Money, Money all by Abba on a 3 times repeat….

Stats

Distance 11.69km

Time 1:15:14

Average Pace 6:26

Elevation Gain 63 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 974.39

Kms To Run 1043.61