Well I love both Italy and London, but clearly there’s some emotional stuff going on locally…, not Mr JCR nor me, but Andrea and Giulia have some talking to do.
Although I think if I was Giulia I’d be mortified at the message written on the road, as I’m guessing everyone in the village now knows your business.
This morning, I was feeling a little languid and after some gentle chiding by Mr JCR I got out to do my run and followed an old route, which I first used last year when training on the C25K programme. So a gentle jog down The Slope of Hope and past the barking balcony house and no barking today. Then up the Hill That Kills, – ooh I haven’t done her for a little while and she had a little nip at my calves when I was ascending, but she didn’t get me to stop. Onto Lovers’ Lane and whilst I may have passed the barking balcony without a cacophony of noise, the barking beagles got me by surprise, and sure enough I did mini leap in the air.
My usual mini loop of Villa Bali – now that the children are back at school it is all quiet and they were having a staff meeting overlooking the gardens. A nice place to be having an admin meeting, I must say. Back past the beagles, but I wasn’t surprised this time, and onto Mill Lane, there I saw Argo being walked by one of his faithful servants, he came up to say hello and I petted him for a while, said my ciao and carried on.
I decided to re-do the Slope of Hope and Hill That Kills once more, but this time round I did need a breather. The combination of warmth and inclines makes a big difference to my stamina. Looping back down the Slope of Hope through the village to Laundry Lane, where I saw Andrea’s plea. Who knows whether Andrea’s entreaties of love are appreciated or not…
I appreciated the breather that taking the pics gave me and continued on Laundry Lane. It’s a glorious sunny day, and not too hot, Laundry Lane tends to be quite quiet and I was able to complete my run, without any traffic incidents. I got overtaken by a couple of old dears, buzzing past on their electric bikes and they waved as they went past. There’s a bend on Laundry Lane, where I have to decide to either continue and do another 3km or turn around and make my way home. Unlike Giulia I was able to make my choice without the general public knowing, and so I called it quits and aimed towards home.
A nice return home run, for sure tomorrow, I’ve got to be up and out earlier, and a little faster.
Rumour Has It – Adele
Back To Black, Rehab – Amy Winehouse
Walk Like An Egyptian – The Bangles
Help me Rhonda, Barbara Ann – The Beach Boys
Crazy In Love – Beyonce
Hot In The City, Mony Mony – Billy Idol
Girls & Boys, Tracy Jacks, Parklife – Blur
Born To Run, Hungry Heart, Dancing In The Dark, Born In The USA, Glory Days – The Boss
Well that’s the first week of September done and dusted. Thank you London, for giving me seven run fantastic days and I’ve managed just over 58km in six runs, making me a happy bunny.
Today was a slower pace, deliberately chosen, to soak up the sights before I return back to Italy. First off a mini jogette through the City, I love Fridays in the City, it’s a lot less frenetic than usual, you see a lot of Casual Friday wear, and folk seem to smile just that bit more.
There’s not quite so many people around – I guess using the ‘working from home’ ruse to start the weekend early. One of the things that’s been fun is to see the changes in the two months since I was last here, some not so great though. On Moorgate there has been a very old fashioned barbers, part of the street furniture in some ways, only noticeable now it’s not there . For as long as I can remember, at least 30 years, Flittner’s had all the old dark brown wood interior fittings, cut throat razors and their staff wore the traditional brown cotton duster coats. They even sold razor blades in waxed paper packets! They were a Moorgate tradition, Mr JCR used to buy his shaving products from them. But now no more, I think they are a victim of the Crossrail development. I assumed they’d successfully dodged that bullet, because they’ve been going strong right through the development. But now other shops on the same side are similarly closed – a bit of a shame, a slice of City history is no more.
I trotted down Queen Victoria Street to cross the Thames and do a scoot to Borough Market and I took a photo of the new potbellied tower. I don’t what fancy name it is likely to have, but this is one bit of modern architecture, I think is a bit rubbish. Into Borough Market where Victorian craftsmanship reigns supreme – well after a bit of 21st Century intervention. The renovations are all done now, and it’s lovely to saunter through the market before the weekend hordes descend and see how well it has been renovated. At this stage I was roughly 5kms into my run and decided to take a look at Spitalfields market before going home.
Spitalfields is another similarly regenerated area and now is full of City people, eating, drinking and undertaking significant retail therapy. It’s quiet in the mornings and I was able to pootle through without any hassle whatsoever. Back towards Bishopsgate and City fringes, I overtook 3 RAF servicemen and women on their way to the Honourable Artillery Company on Finsbury Pavement and I took a sneaky left turn into Bunhill Fields, which aren’t so much fields, in fact a now defunct cemetery. Here again the pace changes as we move towards Old Street, the site of the famous Silicon Roundabout. The clothes and the people change, and now so do I, from a jog to a warm down walk to a stop.
It’s time to pack up and get ready for Italy once more. It was a Goldlilock’s run, not too fast, not too slow, just perfect and a lovely way to end the week.
Oh and even better the lovely Bev Cavanagh or Mummycav to give her running monicker donated to my Alzheimer’s Challenge. Thanks so much and I promise once the 2018 km hooves have healed we’ll get together for a run.
(Countries and Places)
A New England – Billy Bragg
Lost In France – Bonnie Tyler
Breakfast In America – Supertramp
Une Nuit A Paris – 10cc
Is This The Way To Amarillo – Tony Christie
Strong – London Grammar
Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles
Vienna – Ultravox
Take My Breath Away – Berlin
Tokyo Joe – Bryan Ferry
Black Eyed Boy – Texas
Massachussetts – Bee Gees
Boston Tea Party – SAHB
Avalon – Roxy Music
Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel
Big In Japan – Alphaville
Midnight Train To Georgia – Gladys Knight and The Pips
I can imagine what you’re thinking. Damn it JCR is looking good, she’s dropped at least 10 kilos in weight, 30 years in age and grown both hair length and body length by at least 15cm.
Needless to say, the pic is not me, and I may never be a centrefold, but I am going to be in Runner’s World – well hopefully, provided the editor thinks the article and pics are up to scratch.
Tuesday found me shivering in central London for a photo shoot. In a rather gung ho mood, I thought my running kit would be fine, because although it was cool, I’d be running, so no big deal. Except, of course JCR it’s a photo shoot, and you don’t actually do that much running, you do a lot of standing around to get the light, the lines, the background and in my case a non-gurning face all right for the composition.
You also have to dodge London’s many thousands of tourists, and avoid the red tide of embarrassment at people looking at you, wondering why you have a professional cameraman taking pics.
Every shiver was worthwhile as RW are doing a feature on my Alzheimer’s Challenge; because earlier in the year whenI did my Monopoly board mini-challenge, they thought it was interesting enough to feature (or maybe the next issue is a slow news month!). Yesterday saw me in Hearst House being interviewed in an ‘Ideation’ area. I first heard that word at my old company, Oracle, and railed against it then – it’s such atrocious English. I duly joined Rick the interviewer to ideate a bit.
Rick at RW was a lovely interviewer, made me the standard crap cup of office coffee and we chatted about what I was doing. He is a serious runner and features in the mag this month – he does marathons – I am not sure I ever will, although I am tempted by a half. But that will have to wait until 2019.
This obviously is my second bite at taking on the media, my first coming after the Alzheimers Research dropped a press release about my running challenge. Not surprisingly, I haven’t exactly been in direct competition with Kylie Kardashian on her pursuit of her first billion dollars and social media domination, but I live in hope that maybe she sees this blog and donates a nice little chunk to the cause.
After two days’ worth of excitement, I needed to run again to get back to normal. I was a little late out and the weather a lot warmer than it has been. After a few day’s of sub 6 minutes kms, I didn’t feel quite as fast today, but no matter, it comes and goes. I headed out West towards Covent Garden, via the Strand and back again via Holborn. It was a tidy but unexciting run, there was a lot of media presence outside the Court of Appeal, necessitating some fancy footwork on my behalf, but other than that, not a lot to say.
From the off I was slower than I have been all week and I did try and pick up the pace, to mix up the run, but the little legs didn’t seem to want to know. I didn’t dwell on it, I know that sometimes the running recipe isn’t quite right. Maybe it was the warmer weather, who knows? All in all a useful 9km added to the total, I’m just about shading the 1500km mark and I can’t wait to be running in the 5,4,3,2,100 countdown.
Thanks London for making a 50+km week a distinct possibility. Saturday I am back home again in Italy, where warmer climes and climbs await.
But there is one thing that I really need some help with please. Does anyone have any bright ideas on a run I could do on Christmas Eve, as my last 2018 run for the 2018km challenge? I will be in London and to recap, my minimum run has to be at least 5k in distance, the maximum I’ve ever run in one go was just shy of 22km; realistically running a marathon to finish isn’t that credible, as I haven’t the stamina or training background to do it.
Any other ideas gratefully received and considered.
From The Poppy Pug Friday Toons on C25K Forum
Off The Wall – Michael Jackson
I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) – Whitney Houston
Amarillo – Tony Christie
Three Little Birds – Bob Marley and The Wailers
Let’s Dance – Chris Montez
Be Young, Be Foolish and Be Happy – The Tams
Aint No Stopping Us Now – Jimmy James
Good Times – Chic
Stoned Love – The Supremes
Play That Funky Music – Wild Cherry
Shake Your Groove Thing – Peaches and Herb
Can’t Give You Anything (But My Love) – The Stylistics
The Only Way Is Up _ Yazz
Boogie Shoes – K C And The Sunshine Band
Get Up Offa That Thing – James Brown
Band of Gold – Freda Payne
Land of 1000 Dances – Wilson Pickett
Average Pace 6:19
Elevation Gain 31metres
Kms Run 1492.41
Kms To Go 525.59
Map My Run has a weird glitch – it shows me as having run 51.68kms so far and I’ve only done 49.79, but I am taking my own excel as the definitive record.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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