28 August – Terrible Tuesday

white ceramic figurine of angel illustration
You can look serene when you’ve won the battle…

There’s a battle raging between the devil vs. the angel, both are sitting on my shoulders

The devil’s conversation, more or less as dictated to me…

Tired, oh I am tired, maybe I needn’t run today

Under the bedcovers, it’s so cosy, why run?

Evidently, I don’t need to run today, I’m ahead of plan

So, I could just stay here and mooch awhile

Default position is that I can run tomorrow, and nothing will be lost

And besides which, I haven’t had a cup of tea

Yawn, I do feel a little tired – bed’s a good place to be

The angel’s…

Go and do it

Even if you’re tired, you’ll feel better if you go

That is your running kit on the chest of drawers – it’s winking at you

 

You’re doing this for a good cause, a very good cause in fact

Only you can do this, there’s no team back up

Until you get out, I’ll continue to nag you

Rise out of your pit and go!

 

Alrighty, that’s progress, we are clear of the duvet

Running kit is being put on

Setting the Map My Run lady up

Exiting the bedroom

 

On the way to kicking the devil off my shoulder

Up and down the hills of Le Marche

Ten kilometres done, with a twinge or two, but it is done

Am I the only person to feel this way from time to time? Today was a mental battle to get out, even allowing for the cajoling from Mr JCR. The thing I don’t understand is that this challenge is entirely self-set. There’s no-one forcing me to do it, although I think I’d feel duty bound to return some sponsorship if I didn’t do it.

How do you keep yourself motivated when at times, like today, it feels too hard to contemplate? Thinking of having to write up an admission that I didn’t want to run, stopped me from flaking, but it was close.

If anybody has any great ideas on how I stop these particular devilish gremlins, then I’d love to hear them…, or was it just a case of a terrible Tuesday?

Playlist

Still rocking the eighties vibe

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

I Ran – A Flock Of Seagulls

Talk Talk – Talk Talk

Shout – Tears For Fears

Every Day Hurts – Sad Cafe

Break My Stride – Matthew Wilder

Hold Me Now, Doctor Doctor – Thompson Twins

Visage – Visage

Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds

Uptown Girl – Billy Joel

I’m Still Standing – Elton John

I Melt With You – Modern English

Eighties – Killing Joke

Liberator – Spear of Destiny

Cuddly Toy – Roachford

Ride On Time – Black Box

It’s A Sin, West End Girls – Pet Shop Boys

I Only Want To Be With You – The Tourists

Don’t Go – Yazoo

Stats

Distance 10.59km

Time  1:20:12

Average Pace 7:34

Elevation Gain 98

Alzheimer’s Challenge

This is my mental kick up the arse message to myself

You are running 2018km in 2018 to raise £2018 for Alzheimer’s Research, if you can

Your friends and some strangers too  (although friendly ones), have donated to keep your efforts going.

You are over 2/3rds of the way there to completing the challenge

You will be letting yourself down and others if you don’t do it

Kms Run So Far 1442.62

Kms To Go 575.38

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

27 August – Monday, Monday

IMG_7011

With sincere apologies to the Mamas and the Papas…

 

Bah-da bah-da-da-da
Bah-da bah-da-da-da
Bah-da bah-da-da-da
Monday, Monday, so very cool and windy
Monday mornin´, it wasn’t what I hoped it would be
Oh Monday mornin´, Monday mornin´ couldn´t guarantee
That Monday evenin´ my legs would forgive me
Monday, Monday, with my feet of clay
Monday, Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way
Oh Monday mornin´ you gave me no warnin´ in Royston Vasey
Oh Monday, Monday, that today I would run 11k
Every other day, every other day
Every other day of the week is fine, yeah
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
A-you can find me running all of the time
Monday, Monday, so good to me
Monday mornin´, it was all I hoped it would be
But Monday mornin´, Monday mornin´ couldn´t guarantee
That Monday
Actually, it wasn’t that bad, weather cool and blowy, pace not fast, but nothing ever seems to happen on a Monday run. However, I did get a welcome lift back to the house from our friend J, as I was walking up the Bitch of a Pitch.
Playlist
(Yes it’s mainly the 80s – let’s rock those shoulder pads!)
Break My Stride – Matthew Wilder
Doctor, Doctor – Thompson Twins
I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty
Fade To Grey – Visage
Don’t You Want Me – Human League
Cars – Gary Numan
Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds
Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
Shout – Tears For Fears
Uptown Girl – Billy Joel
Living On The Ceiling – Blancmange
Tears Of A Clown – The Beat
Eighties – Killing Joke
It’s My Life – Talk Talk
I Want Your Love – Transvision Vamp
Cuddly Toy – Roachford
Gold – Spandau
Don’t Go – Yazoo
I Only Want To Be With You – The Tourists
Trapped – Colonel Abrams
You Spin Me Round – Dead Or Alive
Stats
Distance 11.18km
Time 1:16:22
Average Pace 6:49
Elevation Gain 46 metres
Alzheimer’s Challenge
Kms Run 1432.03
Kms To do 585.97

24 August – Hello, Good Morning, Welcome

healthy beach woman girl
This is how I’d like to look…

It’s Friday and pretty much the last day of the feria here in Italy, most of our Italian friends are back to work on Monday, and the upcoming end of month means we will have some ‘white night’ celebrations too.

Having given myself a new running plan, today was meant to be a 10km run, starting early to take advantage of the cooler weather. It didn’t happen, although I was out just after 8am. In my mind, I’d like to look like the pic above, all perky and healthy and smiley. However, after an interrupted sleep due to heat and a fighting bird at 3am (who the hell picks fights at 3am in birdland?) I looked little more like Waynetta Slob.

644e1f3ceb6787b61066f6b8f2625766--first-baby-burke

I trotted out towards the usual route Mill Lane – Bendy Scary Road – Royston Vasey – Fish Shop Village – Cafe. I wanted to do the same run as yesterday, just to make sure I hadn’t cheated on recording my distance. I felt I ran really quickly yesterday but I could only approximate my distance because of the GPS failure of Map My Run – more of that later. All was quiet and sleepy as usual, I didn’t see a soul until the bendy, scary road. First up two older cyclists, dressed in matching kit – they were wearing fluoro green and black shorts, and so was I. They were very pleasant and waved and said Buongiorno.

A bit further on, three more cyclists this time in blue tops and I got a Salve, Buongiorno and Buon Di (which is local dialect for good day). Never has one of my runs been so friendly, and my pace was nice and tidy, given it’s a bit cooler here, I could actually respond to them all, whereas often I can only wave feebly, due to my lungs bursting with exertion. On my way down towards Royston Vasey, I’d crossed the road to run-on one of the very rare pavements, which also was benefitting from shade – that’s a big win in my book – no sun and no traffic to be scared of. On the pavement a little old nonna, with her shopping trolley – she looked at me, smiled and also said Buon Di.

So far so friendly, I’m about 6 km into the run and I see I have made a better pace than yesterday, which is somewhat strange as I was definitely running faster yesterday. Through Royston Vasey and a lone cyclist struggles up the hill – he was a ‘comfort not speed’ man and he smiled weakly as he went past. On the way to fish shop village, I stop to change my water bottles over and re-start and I get overtaken by my bodyguards, they are in their car. I did think briefly that it might be nice to hitch a lift, but opportunity lost as they pootle off in the distance, leaving me to plod on.

At fish shop village, all is deserted and I make my way to Bin Lane and past the local kids club, which appears to be doing an Italian version of ‘musical chairs’ only using very loud and rather aggressive rap music. I hit the 9km mark and realise that I must have slightly undercounted yesterday’s run. On I go, although my pace is slackening a bit, out of Bin Lane, when a fellow runner came the other way wearing a cap and rather natty and orange and taupe running kit – all nicely co-ordinated. he also said Buongiorno.

At the cafe, I couldn’t see Mr JCR and registered that this run was actually a touch over 11km, which lends credence to my thought that yesterday’s run was faster. I did a mini loop of the car park – always embarrassing doing that, as people look at me as though I am slightly stupid – which of course, yes I am…

Run done 11.55km. Based on my ‘fag packet’ calculations yesterday I thought I’d run 10.77kms – at an average pace of 6:50, when in fact the distance was 11.21kms and my pace was 6 minutes 35 seconds – I’m really happy with that, the scorchio days are coming to an end and so my pace improves.

A nice realisation, after a lovely run, meeting (even though briefly) some very nice strangers along the way.

Playlist  – Country/Places on my Spotify, (but no Italian place oriented songs)

Lost In France – Bonnie Tyler

Une Nuit A Paris – 10cc

Strong – London Grammar

Penny Lane – The Beatles

Boston Tea Party – SAHB

Rio – Duran Duran

Vienna – Ultravox

Belfast Child – Simple Minds

Going Down To Liverpool – The Bangles

Tokyo Joe – Bryan Ferry

Black Eyed Boy – Texas

Massachusetts – Bee Gees

Grease – Frank Valli

Big In Japan – Alphaville

Africa – Toto

Midnight Train To Georgia – Gladys Knight & The Pips

New York Minute – Don Henley

Streets Of Philadelphia – The Boss

Pleasant Valley Sunday – The Monkees

Wonderful World – Sam Cooke

Japanese Boy – Aneka

Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel

California Dreamin’ – Mamas and Papas

Stats

Distance 11:55

Time 1:17:29

Average Pace 6:42 mins/km

Elevation Gain 48 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1420.85

Kms To Run 597.15 – yes below the 600 marker!

 

 

 

 

23 Aug – Swiping Right For Mr Smooth

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About 14 months ago, in fact 1 year 9 weeks ago to be precise, I realised my life quality needed to change. As a woman of a certain age, I needed to take some action; thus was drawn to Tinder. I know the app has a reputation for casual hook ups, but this was going to be different. I’d joined the C25K group and was looking at their dating app, to see who I fancied. Now there was an eclectic mix of dates available to me:-

Sanjeev Kohli – Sorry Sanjeev I had no idea who you were and if I was going to hook up with someone, I had to know something about them and despite looking at your wiki page, I was none the wiser

Sarah Millican – love her accent and jokes, just not sure she and I would have the right chemistry, and to be frank I’m not sure she has ever done what I was about to

Jo Whiley – achingly cool, tall, slender, blonde, fit, sexy voice – I’ve never been/had any of those attributes, so somehow we weren’t destined to date

Michel Johnson – okay, tall, dark, handsome, fit, credible, Olympic gold medallist, world record holder. What’s not to like? Oh and a voice that could coax blood out of a stone – I was sold. Mr Smooth it was.

The Tinder in question was the NHS Couch to 5k app, which takes you from the couch to running for 30 minutes/5km non stop in/around a nine week timeframe. Why so much attention on choosing my running coach? Well to be frank, I can be both bloodyminded and incredibly flaky at the same time, so if I was going to make a commitment to running, it had to be with someone I wanted to be with and that someone had to have credibility. And that was why I chose Mr Smooth, because as much as I love Sarah Millican’s humour, I couldn’t see me training hard alongside a lass who loves her chips and biscuits a little more than she likes exercise.

Thus started a 9 and half weeks affair, with the dashing Mr Smooth. It should have been just nine weeks, but I had to repeat a failed run, so it took just a touch longer, but 9 and a half weeks was the name of a very steamy film I recall, and it seems apt that my affair with Mr Smooth lasted that distance. Especially so, as we got together in one of the hottest summers in Italy’s history – with the Lucifero heatwave being an unwelcome ’three in a bed’ alongside me and Mr Smooth.

A year ago, yesterday my time with Mr Smooth came to an end, as I graduated the programme, having committed to him, that I would continue our affair, even if he wasn’t around. I made a promise to keep running at least 3 times a week, for no less than 30 minutes each time. How on earth was I going to keep that up, without my silken voiced coach egging me on? A combination of psychological kidology, treats, and habit, seemed to do the trick.

I sent myself ‘date invitations’ from Mr Smooth, which appeared 3 times a week, telling me to get out and run. I also got my running kit out the night before, in view of the bed, so there was no excuse not to see it. I take my running kit with me when on holiday.

I bought posh shower gel which I am only allowed to use if I have been running. I treated myself to new music downloads on iTunes, once my week’s running schedule had been met.

A year on, which of these still stick? Well the date invitation is still sent, but now I have the Alzheimer’s Challenge, the 3 x a week, is actually overridden by my new schedule. Similarly the running kit trick is used occasionally, but again the Alzheimer’s Challenge makes me get out anyway. Holiday running – yup that has happened, ask my long-suffering friends N&A who had their ‘cultural’ weekend in Granada, punctuated by the departure and arrival of a middle aged ball of sweat, at the apartment. Oh and they never signed up for the challenge…

The shower gel treat is still working – except now I only use it if I’ve met my target km for the run. The downloads have been superceded because of lack of storage space on my phone and the cost, which I was getting miffed about, so I create playlists on Spotify instead.

Overall I stuck with Mr Smooth through thick and thin, even though he told me a year ago, that our time was at an end and he’d enjoyed partnering me. In week 6 of the programme, Mr Smooth told me I was runner and I hope a year on, he’d agree that I am most definitely a runner, not a fast one, not a record breaking one, but a runner nonetheless, and so today in recognition of all he has done for me, we went running together again. Week 9, Run 3 on a repeat play.

Ooh, I’d forgotten just how delicious his voice is, he guided me through all the usual places, Slope of Hope, Mill Lane, Lovers’ Lane, The Hill That Kills, The Bendy, Scary Road, Fish Shop Corner, Bin Lane and All Roads Lead to Rome road – actually he didn’t manage all of them, because I no longer run just for 30 minutes or 5km, my runs are usually over an hour and over 10km.  I actually outlasted Mr Smooth!

And when he had said his final goodbye, I didn’t shed a tear, which would have been a bit too Hollywood, but I did allow myself a secret smile, because Mr Smooth, I kept at it, just like you knew I would. And yesterday, on my runniversary, the other Mr Smooth in my life (Mr JCR, with his shaved cyclist’s legs) took me out for a lovely lunch to celebrate our first date anniversary from 25 years ago.

There are two Mr Smooths in my life, to one I am a lover, the other I’m a wife. Let’s be honest JCR – Mr Smooth doesn’t even know you exist, and he’s got another 24 years of sticking around to do, to meet Mr JCR’s commitment…

Playlist

Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood – The Animals

I Saw Her Standing There – The Beatles

Stand And Deliver – Adam And The Ants

Money – Flying Lizards

Dirty Harry – Gorillaz

Whatever It Takes – Imagine Dragons

Hippy Hippy Shake – Rockin’ Robin and The Blue Jays

Everybody’s Got To Learn Some Time – The Korgis

Daydream Believer – The Monkees

Crying In the Chapel – Sonny Til and The Orioles

Who Let the Dogs Out – Baha Men

Black Betty – Ram Jam

Crazy – Seal

Can You Dig It – The Mock Turtles

Hungry Like The Wolf – Duran Duran

For Your Love – The Yardbirds

Eye Of The Tiger – Survivor

Papas Got A Brand New Pigbag (twice) – Pigbag

S-S-S single Bed – Fox

Don’t Fear The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult

5 Years Time – Noah And The Whale

I’m Free – The Soup Dragons

Stats

Distance 10.77km

Time 1:13:41

Average Pace 6:50

Elevation gain – 225 metres ( think that is wrong but the GPRS was awry again)

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1409.30 (yes I’ve consigned the terrible 1300s to history)

Kms to Run 608.70

 

 

21 August – Figging Hell

It’s a late start and yes I know I should have got my lazy arse out earlier in the day but I didn’t. After customary faffing, I had in my plan to do about 12km today, mainly to get the terrible 13s out of the way. This month has been punctuated by migraines to an extent that I’ve lost a lot of my banked progress and so it would be quite nice to say Ciao to the terrible 1300km range and start on the 14s, with fresh impetus.

I made my way to Mill Lane and straight off the bat, Map My Run confirmed I hadn’t moved an inch despite taking 5 minutes of walking to get there. Okay, restart the app, it’s not a big deal, as the first 5 minutes walking warm-up never count anyway. On I ambled to Lovers’ Lane, aha it is a bit scorchio today and I think I may have made a strategic error being so late. Okay JCR, make up your mind – choice (a) wimp out and walk back home (b) continue and see what you can do (c) stick it out and do the 12km. Choice (a) not really a choice at all, considering I only committed to a new running plan yesterday. That left b and c. Either would be fine. In Lovers’ Lane I was all alone and I realised I was very thirsty, mmm today’s run not going to plan at all. I also spotted some dropped figs, which are slightly squishy underfoot, not an ideal running surface – better keep your eyes peeled JCR. The run continued without incident, I was running along the bendy, scary road, and spotted more figs ahead. No worries I ran around them, no problem at all and in the distance I could see a cyclist coming towards me – all in white, head down and coming up the hill.

As Mr JCR is a cyclist and has many cyclist friends, I always look out for them in case I recognise any. On my way down the hill – totally free of traffic, this arsehole on a bike, kept his head down, didn’t give way and I was forced onto the verge, as he passed he caught my eye and didn’t say thanks. An arsehole truly – given he was wearing  ridiculous white bib shorts – you could see his arsehole from behind too. I cursed him, using ‘figging hell’ or similar.

Normal service was resumed when a little later, an older group of cyclists went past me and shouted Brava Signora – an altogether nicer experience. I am going to be totally ageist here – the arsehole on a bike, was I estimate in his mid-twenties – clearly manners played no part in his education. And so it was with a great sense of schadenfreude, when later on in my run, I saw him again with a problem trying to fix his chain. I sincerely wish him more chain breaks, and a few near misses too.

That’s the arsehole rant over… 🙂

There were a couple more fig puddles to work around, on the way into fish shop village, but I must admit that at just over 8km in, my plan for today was undergoing a rapid recalculation. My average pace was atrocious, the heat playing its part, my legs felt like lead and I wasn’t really enjoying the run. Okay JCR you’re at a crossroads literally and metaphorically, do you continue the run or call it quits and walk. Well my bloodyminded gene kicked in and I decided to continue running, but accepted the pace would be slow.

In Bin Lane, it was not so shady, and the heat was catching up with me, I glanced at the app and I was just over 9km – okay let’s make it 10km and I’ll call it a day. Onto the all roads lead to Rome road and I clicked over the 10km mark. Job done, I’m a bit miffed that I didn’t get to 12km and get into the 1400s, but it will happen next time out.

Playlist

Blasphemous Rumours, People Are People and It’s Called A Heart – Depeche Mode

Disco 2000 – Pulp

Rehab, Back To Black – Amy Winehouse

Enola Gay, Talking Loud and Clear – OMD

Mony Mony – Billy Idol

Mulder and Scully – Catatonia

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty

Mercy – Duffy

Is She Really Going Out With Him – Joe Jackson

Creep – Radiohead

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

Rock the Casbah – The Clash

Is Vic There? – Department S

Everyday I Love You Less and Less, Modern Way – Kaiser Chiefs

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Strong – London Grammar

Let’s Dance – David Bowie

Jenny Was A Friend of Mine – The Killers

Stats

Distance 10.40km

Time 1:24:07

Average Pace 8:05 (snails can go faster…)

Elevation Gain  43 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1398.53 – not happy!!!

Kms to Do 619.47

 

 

 

 

 

23 Aug – Disco Diva Playlist

 

It’s been a week since we lost Aretha,  and so it seems a little too late to be celebrating the Disco Divas with my latest playlist. Aretha’s Respect – was the first song I chose for this list. Thanks to all, for the suggestions. Please enjoy it and perhaps ‘Say A Little Prayer’ for the ultimate diva of Soul Music, who will be sadly missed.

Playlist

Knock on Wood – Amii Stewart

Ring My Bell – Anita Ward

Respect – Aretha

Think – Aretha

I Say A Little Prayer – Aretha

Yes Sir, I Can Boogie – Baccara

Cruel Summer – Bananarama

Really Sayin’ Something – ditto with Fun Boy Three

Ma Baker, Sunny, Gotta Go Home – Boney M

Young Hearts Run Free – Candi Staton

I Feel For You, I’m Every Woman – Chaka Khan

Let’s Hear It For The Boy – Deniece Williams

Upside Down/Chain Reaction – Diana Ross

I Say A Little Prayer – Dionne Warwick

I Feel Love, Hot Stuff, Love To Love You Baby – Donna Summer

Love Come Down – Evelyn Champagne King

Rescue Me – Fontella Bass

Rhythm Is Gonna Get You – Gloria Estefan

Never Can Say Goodbye – Gloria Gaynor

Pull Up To the Bumper – Grace Jones

Ain’t Nothing Going On But The Rent – Gwen Guthrie

Somebody Else’s Guy – Jocelyn Brown

Funkytown – Lipps Inc

Borderline – Madonna

Heatwave – Martha Reeves and the Vandellas

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Terrell and Gaye

Forget Me Nots – Patrice Rushen

Lady Marmalade/ Stir It Up – Patti LaBelle

Jump, Automatic, I’m So Excited – The Pointer Sisters

Street Life – Randy Crawford

Car Wash – Rose Royce

Ain’t Nobody – Rufus and Chaka Khan

Let the Music Play – Shannon

He’s The Greatest Dancer, Lost in Music – Sister Sledge

Object Of My Desire – Starpoint

Boogie Oogie Oogie – Taste Of Honey

Tell It To My Heart – Taylor Dayne

Don’t Leave Me This Way – Thelma Houston

What’s Love Got To Do With It – Tina Turner

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

I Wanna Dance With Somebody, How Will I Know  – Whitney Houston

 

 

 

 

 

20 Aug – Baldrick For A Day

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With apologies to my dear friend and very capable accountant G – this is as good as my Excel gets! This is my cunning plan to run the year. August has been a particularly crap month for running – a combination of heat, migraines, social events and a basic lack of get up and go. By now I should have run approx 120km in the month, and am down quite substantially.

But I have channelled my inner Baldrick and come up with a new plan. Rather than running for three days and resting, I’ve calculated that I can actually now afford to run for two consecutive days and then rest. This will still get me easily to my target for Christmas Eve.

Not sure I’ve ever publicised that bit of my target, I started just on a week late into the year and I want to finish a week early, so I can have a ‘non running’ Christmas break. After many machinations and sophisticated excel modelling which took at least 20 minutes, my new plan is set.

Like Baldrick’s it probably may come a cropper, but as of today I am on course.

What to say about the run – nothing really, it was hot, so was I, nothing to see, nothing to talk or write about.

Playlist

Chain Reaction – Diana Ross

I’m So Excited – The Pointer Sisters

Jump ( For My Love) – ditto

Young Hearts Run Free – Candi Staton

Don’t Leave Me The Way – Thelma Houston

Forget Me Nots – Patrice Rushen

Ring My Bell – Anita Ward

Knock on Wood – Amii Stewart

Car Wash – Rose Royce

Somebody Else’s Guy – Jocelyn Brown

Love Come Down – Evelyn Champagne King

Object Of My Desire – Starpoint

Tell It To My Heart – Taylor Dayne

I Say A Little Prayer – Dionne Warwick

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Gaye and Terrell

Rescue Me – Fontella Bass

Heatwave -Martha Reeves and The Vandellas

How Will I Know – Whitney Houston

Funkytown – Lipps Inc

Never Can Say Goodbye -Gloria Gaynor

Yes Sir I Can Boogie – Baccara

Sunny – Boney M

Ma Baker – ditto

Gotta Go Home – ditto

Stats

Distance 10.67km

Time 1:23:20

Average Pace 7:48

Elevation Gain – it says 300m but that’s tosh, Map My Run and GPRS failed once more

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1388.13

Kms To Do 629.87