4 Sep -Flukey 5s

 

 

After yesterday’s record breaking run, I decided today to take things just that little bit easier and to do a 5km walk, followed by a 5km run home. The walk doesn’t count towards the challenge, just in case you were wondering, as I’d have done the 2000km by now, with all the walking that I do.

There are many types of runners to see in London,  from the sweaty commuters running because they’re in a hurry, carrying rucksacks and wearing business shoes to the ‘men only’ running groups you see tearing up the pavement, in and around the City, and especially on the Embankment. I’m sure they must exist, but I have yet to see a ‘woman only’ running group.

If I’m honest,  I prefer the lone runners just like me; we exchange a secret smile and continue on our way. It was only on Monday courtesy of The Times, that I discovered this isn’t a secret smile, it’s actually a smug smile. Carol Midgley describes receiving a power salute when running in the rain, and she says the following:-

…a salute of smugness which said “Look at us. We’re smashing it.” It said; “See how our effort not to get fat elevates us above all those dry-haired wimps in cars.”

She then describes the famous Cleese/Barker/Corbett class sketch, in which the runner is always Cleese looking down on the other other two, the cyclist is Barker and he looks down on Corbett who drives a car. As someone who is just a touch taller than the late Ronnie Corbett, I delight in the fact that as a short runner I get to achieve John Cleese’s height, even if only metaphorically.

Carol then goes onto say she likes it best when she is actually in the car, and I think I mainly agree, except for one place and that is in London. All too often, your pace as a car driver is not much faster than the pedestrians surrounding you. I often ‘race’ cars along streets, because I know I can run certain stretches faster than they can drive them. Charing Cross Road, where the sweet shop can be found, is one such stretch.

My run started as I ran homewards from Trafalgar Square, having seen the delightful sweet shop window display. Not only did I sport the smug smile, but I broke runners’ etiquette. I ‘draughted’ behind a faster runner  he could act as my unknowing pacemaker. I wasn’t close enough to gain any aerodynamic benefits, but I couldn’t have accelerated anymore to ask him if he minded. If anyone knows a runner who ran from Trafalgar Square towards St Paul’s today, who felt as though he was being partially stalked – then I apologise profusely.

He gave me my fastest km I’ve ever done at 5 minutes 20, needless to say I couldn’t sustain that and my next split was 5 minutes 55, followed by a short of breath 6 minutes 42.  But the sweet sense of success was knowing that I could do a reasonably fast 1km if I had to. Today’s run was short and sweet – it was done at an average pace of 5.56 which I’m really pleased about, because it means I have got faster legs than I’d previously thought.

Mr JCR is enjoying the sweet success of climbing umpteen mountain passes in the Alps, and I enjoyed the sweet success of knowing that 5 minute something kilometres aren’t a fluke. I can actually do them.

Playlist

Mercy, Rain On Your Parade – Duffy

Chelsea Dagger, Doginabag – The Fratellis

Down In The Tube Station At Midnight, In the City – The Jam

Is She Really Going Out With Him, Breaking Us In Two – Joe Jackson

Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake

Everyday I Love You Less and Less – Kaiser Chiefs

(yes iTunes was on alpha order)

Stats

Distance 5.10km

Time 30:19

Average Pace 5:56

Elevation Gain 33 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1483.32

Kms To Do 534.68

 

 

 

 

 

3 Sept – Where On Earth?

 

Day 3 arrives, and my third run begins, all as part of me taking advantage of the cooler weather. Monday morning can be a bit of a problem running in and around the City, because so many commuters are around, but leave it until after 9.30am and miraculously the pavements clear.

Waiting for that miracle was my perfect excuse for not getting out until after 10am. But what a cracking run! I wasn’t expecting anything exceptional, after all this is my third run in as many days and I’ve already clocked up 26km.

But surprise, surprise, my little legs had minds of their own. First stop Postman’s Park – a favourite spot, because it has the unsung heroes wall, which I think is really poignant. It isn’t that busy, unless you’re there on a sunny lunchtime. It’s a nice place to scoot through – although truthfully it’s about a 15 second wonder, but it’s still one of my favourite spots in the City. I had in mind to go up West, towards theatreland and again because it’s a Monday, there weren’t that many folk around. After an uneventful 4kms or so, on St Martin’s Lane, I found myself eye to eye with the rhino. He was standing at my half way distance – just on 5km and a welcome pause to take the pic.

There’s quite a few of the rhinos dotted around London – I’ve seen three to date and although he is plain black, he is my favourite so far. he and the others are being auctioned for charity in October. The last time I was moved to consider a similar auction bid was a few years back, for an elephant decorated in fig leaves. The bids exceeded my then budget, by a considerable margin. As this particular rhino has been created by Gavin Turk – YBA famed for his dustbin bags and sleeping bags exhibition, I am guessing he will exceed my budget too.

Moving on from the expensive rhino, I turned towards home, along The Strand, up to Fleet Street and eventually to St Pauls, where a large crowd had assembled to watch its windows being cleaned. The pic doesn’t really do it justice, there was a water squirt machine cleaning it – and it made one heck of a racket. At this stage I was close to feeling all in and I checked out my pace and found to my astonishment that I’d completed my 8km all under 6 minutes per km. I had wanted to up the pace today, as I’ve been conscious that my Italian runs in summer haven’t been that fast. I know in part the heat/sun is to blame and that I can expect a deteriorated pace, but I was a bit concerned that I might not be able to go as fast as previously.

So to ask the question again, where on earth did that run come from? It made no sense whatsoever to me – usually my day 3 runs are slower, not faster and usually I only do 6/7kms on my third run. But for whatever reason, the magic recipe came together and I was Speedy Gonzales for 9kms.

Playlist

Breaking Us In Two – Joe Jackson

Modern Way – Kaiser Chiefs

Modern Love, Let’s Dance – David Bowie

Just Can’t Get Enough – Depeche Mode

Vienna – Ultravox

Tesla Girls – OMD

Temptation – Heaven 17

Two Tribes – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Is Vic There – Department S

Einstein A Go-Go – Landscape

Alison – Elvis Costello

Marvin Gaye – Puth and Traynor

Strong, Oh Woman Oh Man – London Grammar

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

Stats

Distance 9.27km

Time 54:53

Average Pace: 5:55 (yeeeessss…..)

Elevation Gain 27 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1478.22

Kms to do 539.78

 

 

 

 

2 Sept – All The World’s A Stage

And all the men and women, merely players. With thanks to Bill Shakespeare for the lines. Actually most of London appears to be a stage on Sunday, with lots of parts of the City blocked off for filming. There appears to be at least 2 different productions on today  – the first near the City with American vehicles and a City square adorned with rustic handcarts – I’m thinking some enactment of  a street food market. The second was in and around the Inns of Court, with one of the many legal firms having had their property rebranded with German signage, and all sorts of foreign registered cars outside, German, Lithuanian and more.

It’s the fun part of living in the City, you never know who or who is going to be around the corner, although it can make doing your run a little challenging as you are often faced with no entry signs due to filming. I still haven’t had the luck of friends of friends who saw Idris in Hampstead once. I can keep on running though – maybe a Hampstead early morning/Sunday run may be in order?

After yesterday’s great effort, I had in mind to do a 10km if I could, to keep the distances up and take advantage of the cooler weather. Although it’s cooler here now, in fact it is warmer than Italy at present, but still great weather for dashing around town.

Today’s dash took me through the City, Holborn, West End, Covent Garden, Euston, Bloomsbury and it was all gloriously sunny. Tourists unable to believe their luck at the sun, although an unlucky few having to lug anoraks and coats, along side their pull along cases. One lady was carrying a duvet jacket and being overtaken by a middle aged lady in shorts and a vest – me. the contrast in clothing layers, I suppose is typical of the uncertainty of British weather.

My pace was nice and even, I must admit to being surprised as yesterday’s run was quite a long one, but I kept an even trot throughout my run. My new purchase of the trail ready water bottle worked out okay, and I had my ‘time and distance’ playlist on. His Purple Highness singing 1999 was a particular highlight when on Tottenham Court Road I caught a glimpse of the London Eye, and it took me back to one New Year’s Eve with our good friends N&A, when we were within spitting distance of the Eye as Big Ben sounded in a New Year. Poetically it would be great if I could say that was 1999 – but it wasn’t.

It was a nice, clean, uneventful run, I ran out of steam at the 11km mark and I’m very happy with that. At that point, one tune ‘This is Me’ came on for my warm down walk – and it’s not my usual type of tune, but recommended to me by my running buddy Nat. It was probably the most appropriate set of lyrics, for how I was feeling at that time. Thanks Nat!

And big shout of thanks to the Kiwi family members, who have sponsored me for my Alzheimer’s Challenge – another boost to the fund and to my motivation. Thanks guys – much appreciated.

Playlist

Based on Time and Distances – somewhat obliquely…

7 Seconds – Youssou N’Dour and Neneh Cherry

Have A Nice Day – Stereophonics

Perfect Day – Lou Reed

Wake Me Up When September Ends – Green Day

What About Us – The Saturdays

December 1963 – Frankie Valli

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Boys Of Summer – Don Henley

Forever Autumn – Jeff Wayne

Hazy Shade Of Winter – The Bangles

Year Of The Cat – Al Stewart

1999 – His Purple Highness

Disco 2000 – Pulp

Sunday Morning – The Velvet Underground

Fall At Your Feet – Crowded House

8 Mile – Eminem

Steppin’ Out – Joe Jackson

Footloose – Kenny Loggins

I Don’t Like Mondays – The Boomtown Rats

Ruby Tuesday – Rolling Stones

Winter Melody – Donna Summer

Dancing In The Dark – The Boss

Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams

Stats

Distance 11.10km

Time 1:10:30

Average pace 6:21

Elevation Gain 43 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1468.95

Kms to Run 549.05

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Sep -Black Velvet or A Bare Arse?

IMG_4337
The ‘deep water’ sign obviously refers to the Thames behind…

Which of these sartorial choices would you make on any given day, on a motorway? Yesterday saw us travelling up the A14 towards Milan, where Mr JCR and I were to part company. He to the Alps – for cycling in mountains, me to London for a hospital appointment and some homebound admin – oh and sneaky shopping if I could manage it.

In Italy when it comes to motoring, there really isn’t anything you won’t see. Motorbikers travelling at a gazillion miles per hour, wearing flip flops. Yup – seen those. Two cars driving side by side on the motorway, at 50mph, the drivers having a conversation between their windows – utterly oblivious to the mayhem they were causing behind – Yup seen that. The famed/fabled unmarked police Lamborghini  – seen that too.  Therefore, yesterday’s sojourn shouldn’t have thrown up anything unusual. Except it did, en route to Faenza we saw a young woman having ‘done her business’ by the side of the motorway, pull up her white knickers, but not before having flashed a totally bare arse at all oncoming traffic. Now we’ve seen men peeing at the side of the motorway – that’s normal – but our first time to see a bare bottomed woman. Luckily for her or unluckily the sun was out, discretion being the better part of valour, we decided against a photo.

Further on, we saw a black Range Rover, looking quite pimped up. Velvet as a fabric is a good choice for upholstery and clothing, but this Range Rover’s body work was covered in black velvet. That was a first for both of us, it looked quite smart, but you did wonder as to the practicality – it didn’t have any obvious marketing slogans on the body work – but then how would you put them on? Embroidery perhaps? Then it started to pour down with rain, leading us to wonder how much heavier the car gets with all the absorbed water…

I digress, today’s run did not afford me the luxury of either going out bare-arsed – London doesn’t deserve that and I’d get arrested, nor black velvet as running gear, as the temperature was in the high teens, it wouldn’t have been a great choice.

First off, out to find a runner’s shop, as I’d left my water bottle behind in Italy. Today’s route therefore was predicated upon finding a water bottle. First off to the City, a quick scoot in, no water bottles of the type I prefer, so a scoot back out again. Through the City towards Holborn, passing a film crew who had rather bizarrely a US laundry truck in their props. No doubt this will appear in either Sherlock, or Doctor Who or similar in months to come.

Through Holborn and I find a Blacks Outdoor Shop – another scoot in to find the water bottle, and another scoot out again, having drawn a blank. Okay Holborn also has a big runner’s shop – scoot number three coming up and yet another blank. I’m about 5kms in to my run at this point, and decide random running isn’t going to get me a water bottle. Dr Google Maps came to my rescue and on I sauntered to Covent Garden, where I found my water bottle – yay, and a very nice shop assistant, who told me he had spotted me running earlier on. A few shops later, I found the water to put in the bottle. Normal service is restored. From Covent Garden towards Leicester Square – the crowds were queuing at the half price ticket booth and a crowd had gathered in front of a street busker, who had all the gear but no idea. I say he had no idea,  but was successfully getting cash out of the audience, who were basically just listening to a backing track. All he did was make a random accompaniment on a kazoo!

I spent some time in and around the square, because it’s fun to see what’s happening in town and made my way towards Trafalgar Square. It was a glorious morning, and there was quite a spring in my step, as I do love coming home to London, especially when the weather is just that little bit cooler, making running easier. I then aim towards Embankment and saw the sculpture above, the deep water sign made me smile as the lily pond was all of about 8 inches deep. I spent a bit of time on the Embankment, but even on a Saturday the traffic is heavy and the smell of pollution strong. I decided to avoid the traffic and travel back towards the Strand, up Savoy Street and beyond Somerset House.

I then enter one of my favourite parts of town, the Inns of Court, – it always seems quite civilised and quiet and I had a good trot towards home. My final spurt took me through St Paul’s Courtyard and back to the City. At the end of my run, I was pleasantly surprised, although my hips were telling me I’d run quite far, it was a touch over 15km – I haven’t done that in a long time. So a really good run to start my September efforts. It’s nice to be home – well my other home, but nicer still to be in temperatures that are a little more helpful for my challenge. Oh and the first time I’ve run an average sub 6 1/2 minutes per km.

For someone who is known as being a lizard and sun lover, I find I’m a better runner in the cool. And I’m cool with that too.

Playlist

Locomotion, Joan of Arc – OMD

Master and Servant, Love In Itself, Save A Prayer – Depeche Mode

Let’s Go Crazy – His Purple Highness

Girls on Film, Electric Barbarella – Duran Duran

Help Me Rhonda – The Beach Boys

She’s Electric – Oasis

Down In The Tube Station At Midnight – The Jam

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Tracy Jacks – Blur

Born In The USA, Glory Days – The Boss

Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake

Mulder and Scully – Catatonia

Smile Like You Mean It, Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine – The Killers

Disco 2000, Common People – Pulp

Upside Down – Paloma Faith

Cabron – Red Hot Chilis

Everything Must Go – The Manics

Marvin Gaye – Puth and Traynor

I Ran – A Flock of Seagulls

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

Creep – Radiohead

Strong – London Grammar

Back To Black – Amy Winehouse

Crazy In Love – Beyoncé

Stats

Distance 15.23km

Time 1:38:41

Average Pace 6:28

Elevation Gain – 59 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1457.85

Kms to Run 560.15