12 December – Up Speed or Deeps Pu?

I had committed to run today, to make up for a lovely indulgent week with friends N&A.  Of course, I made that commitment before having checked the weather.

We didn’t have two feet of snow in London, but we did have a considerable amount of frost and ice. As a street pounder when I am in London, it’s not awfully convenient to get to a park for a nice run. And to be honest, the thought of getting a tube to Regents Park for a run didn’t appeal, given I’d get really cold on the cool-down.

So bright spark that I was, I thought I’d do the Couch To 5K Speed Programme today instead and do it on the Barbican Highwalk. This is an interval training programme designed to help you work faster and harder at your running, increasing your speed and calorie consumption.

After a morning/lunch time/early afternoon of Faffolino visiting at my behest, which went pretty much like this:-

Cup of tea to wake up properly – of course Faffolino, why hadn’t I thought of that?

Sort out the laundry – oh it definitely needs doing, before I can run.

Cup of coffee and breakfast – sure can’t run on an empty stomach (in fact I can and do and prefer to)

Walk up to the fish shop – definitely necessary – a good protein source for today’s run

Grocery shopping – woman cannot live on salmon alone…

Do the ironing – well we have a visitor coming, so it’s better to get it done

Sew on a press-stud onto a summer shirt – self evidently a critical task

I was just about to eye up another ‘must do’ task, of wrapping up two last minute Christmas presents, when Mr JCR interjected ‘I thought you were going for a run, after you’d done the ironing?’. BUGGER, my prevarication had been sussed, so I somewhat reluctantly got changed into my kit. And as ever, my resolve always comes back when I am in kit.

A stroll to the Barbican Highwalk, with my runners buff up by my nose, hat on, double layer of gloves, including the amazing LED finger gloves above. Then Laura started all friendly…. but I know she’s a mean son of a gun. I’m all for girl power, but daughter of a gun, doesn’t sound the same.

Walk for 5 minutes on the 1,2,3,4 beat, which is fine whilst she’s counting, but when it comes to me and my counting, well I go a little awry and I use the 5 minutes to check out my running route – around the mini duck pond. No ducks but rather a lot of duck poo. There are some little patches of ice, so I note their whereabouts and carry on. 5 minutes warm up walk done – by this stage according to Laura my muscles should be nicely warm …mmm, I’m not so sure. It’s flipping freezing and my legs feel a bit leaden, but here we go.

Number One interval – 5 minutes of warm up running to a 150 bpm pace, apparently you can still count it on 1,2,3,4 they are just faster 1,2,3,4s. Well done JCR, you did that one – ah yes I’d forgotten, that’s just the warm up run. Ho hum, okay now Laura ups the ante, still the 1,2,3,4 count; only a heck of a lot faster at 165bpm. My little legs are going like pistons, but I am pleased I get it done…

Then my ‘comfortable’ pace run (according to Laura) but she can’t see my face or hear my breathing…, at which point I come up with a better pacing mechanism than the boring 1,2,3,4 count. I find I can run at the right pace whilst rasping ‘I hate Lau -Ra’ – it isn’t anything personal you understand, but these interval runs are crappy, necessary but crappy. Followed up by the sprint, it is too fast for me to curse at Laura, I content myself with wheezing a generic ‘F..k,  F..k, F..kety, F..k’

Comfortable Pace Run 3 to 6 –  four x sixty seconds of I hate Lau-Ra, which frankly on   the last one, was bloody uncomfortable, with a knee twingeing away.

Sprints 3 to 6 –  it has to be said the pace dropped somewhat, from my initial enthusiastic F..k, F..k, F..kety, F..k, to a more sedate F..k, F..kety, F..k, – I dropped a F..k, as my speed slowed.

What did I learn today?

  1. I have to do interval training to up my speed, so these training runs have to be done
  2. I really need to use Laura for something else other than speed training, as I am not sure she deserves the abuse
  3. My timing and coordination is shocking
  4. Prevarication serves no useful purpose whatsoever, and it’s much better just to go and run
  5. I had hoped to Up Speed, but it was really hard work and at the end I was in the reverse ‘deep spu’ and ended up with a slightly twangy knee and a stitch

In summary, Laura and I are probably going to have to keep dating, but Mr Smooth please, please can you come up with a programme that I like, or is that impossible?

Face Colour -Monarch Red

Playlist

Nothing – just the bizarre running beat that Laura and Audiofuel recommend – I hate it!

Stats

Distance – 3.75km including the warm up and down walks

Time 26.32 mins

Pace 7.04 mins/km (including walk elements)

Squats 3 X 15 sets of reps.

 

 

 

 

11 December – When A Shit Present Turns Out…

… to be one of the best presents you get! Rewind to last Thursday night in Cornwall. We’d seen Young Marx in Plymouth and we’re at N&As home, having a nightcap. At this point we decide to swap our Shit Christmas presents.

This is a tradition with our friends, to spend a small amount of money £10 or less on a present that is useless and makes us laugh. Over the years, we’ve exchanged a penguin-shaped tea service, broken lava lamp, body part shaped keyring, a modesty poncho for outdoors toileting, non-working tools and plenty more besides. This year, we gave N a nano-lego dog kit and A a magnifying glass toenail clipper, whilst Mr JCR was the recipient of an anatomically rude set of corkscrew, bottle opener and stopper and cycling LED lights, the latter will pimp up his very serious road bike.

I, on the other hand (bad pun, sorry) got these little beauties. I bow to no-one in my love of fluoro and bling, when running. We live in a home where bling and fluoro are unknown, so my eccentric running style is utterly at odds with my home style.  But to my delight, (which really wasn’t the point) I now have black running gloves with glowing fingertips. The fingertips remain a cool, calm, collected white during the day. And at night, the fun begins, they change colours fading in and out, they blink and each glove is different, so I can strobe away, causing temporary blindness to oncoming traffic.

Having seen Social Media  go crazy about the advertised VI Poo product – suggesting that it is wholly inappropriate to give a toilet spray as a gift, may I recommend the honourable tradition of giving a ‘shit’ present, instead? It may just be the best present you ever give.

Tomorrow, the blingy babes and I go out for a run!

 

The Shame of the No Distance Runner – 10 December

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Mmm a bad week, or a week of rest, or a week of prevarication, or a week of laziness. Whichever adjective I choose, the summary is the same, since my record breaking run (yeah right, Mo isn’t shaking in his spikes) last Sunday. I haven’t even run for a bus.  I actually don’t like buses, so not running for them isn’t necessarily a problem.

My week has been one that ran very nicely though, spending it in Cornwall with dear friends N&A.

Monday – drive to Cornwall, well actually in my case, passenger to Cornwall, as Mr JCR drives, aided by the SatNav Lady. SatNav Lady is poshish, has a very shaky grip on London traffic conditions and some rather bizarre pronunciations. 40 minutes after having left home, we were approximately a km from the house…. An hour and a half after having left for Cornwall, we were in Knightsbridge (7km from home) – truthfully I could have run there quicker than we were driving. We arrived in Cornwall for a very welcome snifter just after 5pm.

Tuesday – my usual running day, so to get off to a good start, we dive into the Italian coffee shop in Saltash for a welcome coffee. A mini walk around Saltash, an attempt to see the Christmas tree festival – not today, we were there at the wrong time and then out that evening to Plymouth, to see Goldilock and Three Smoking Bears. A pantomimesque play based around Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. So no running done (difficult when I didn’t actually take my trainers or kit!)

Wednesday – a day of rest involving a day trip to Looe, a perfect healthy breakfast of black pudding and fried egg doorstep. My body is a temple, well it was almost the size of a temple after I’d polished that off. Then a bracing cliff top walk along the harbour, to get us ready for a nice meal at home.

Thursday – my other usual running day. It started off well when N suggested that a traditional Cornish crab sandwich was critical for us to have had the proper Cornish experience. He was extolling the virtues of Boscastle, but then the crab shack only has outdoor benches. With rather cold blowy weather coming in courtesy of Storm Caroline,  his sales pitch needed a bit of working on. Well we could get the sandwiches and eat at the bus stop, actually it’s a bench, behind the public toilets…. And then A suggested that it might not be open either! So we ate Cornish crab in Devon, followed by a quick walk around the harbour area looking across Plymouth Sound, enjoying a coffee, when we saw three hardy souls cold water swimming. It’s effectively the Atlantic, a forbidding shade of grey. Two of them are doing that thing, when you splosh the water over your body in the vain hope it  will ready you for the silent scream of aarrgghh when the water hits your Oh Zone. The lady at the next table, heard us discussing the water bravery said she swam there every day. So I haven’t run because I am on holiday and it’s cold, she swims every day(ish) in what can only be described kindly as ‘cool’ water. Respect or let’s call the funny farm.

Friday morning we left for home and this time SatNav Lady redeemed herself, she still has at least two three misdirections to make-up, but we arrived home to a very cold London.

Saturday Morning – too blinking cold to run, therefore stay in bed for a duvet day.

Sunday, what’s that I see? Yes, it most definitely is snow on the balcony and it’s still snowing, and it is the wet snow, not the dry stuff. We go out for a cheeky coffee, scene of my blind date with Razouski, aha I am slipping whilst walking, so any brave/foolish thoughts I had about running, have bit the dust. I am typing this guiltily because I ought to be running and I have a day out tomorrow.

I sit here with a veil of shame covering my face, I should run, I enjoy running, but I am a ‘fair weather’ runner evidently. Tuesday is a date for running, I must go and I am writing here as a commitment to run, so other than ice, or a broken leg or similar on Tuesday I will be running.

 

 

 

Retro Runners – Country and Places New Release

Yesterday was my record breaking run… It’s not quite Usain standard, nor is it Mo Farah standard, but it is my Personal Best standard, I did my first ever sub 30 minutes, 5 km.

And I did it to this playlist, the Retro Runners Country and Places Playlist, loosely based on song titles or artistes who have a ‘country/place’ linkage. Some are a bit corny and punny, but they are fun.

In no particular order, this is the list:-

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

Take My Breath Away – Berlin

London Calling – The Clash

Strong – London Grammar

No Particular Place To Go – Chuck Berry

Maid of Orleans – OMD

Romeo and Juliet – Dire Straits

Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles

Penny Lane – The Beatles

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

Boston Tea Party – SAHB

California Dreamin’ – The Mamas and The Papas

Avalon – Roxy Music

Grease – Frankie Valli

Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel

Japanese Boy – Aneka

Big In Japan – Alphaville

Africa – Toto

(What A) Wonderful World – Sam Cooke

Midnight Train To Georgia – Gladys Knight and The Pips

Rhythm Is Going To Get You – Gloria Estefan and The Miami Sound Machine

New York Minute – Don Henley

Streets of Philadelphia – Bruce Springsteen

Pleasant Valley Sunday – The Monkees

San Francisco – Scott McKenzie

Go Wild In The Country – Bow Wow Wow

Downtown – Petula Clark

 

You can find it on Spotify here

 

 

 

 

 

Yippee – With Apologies to Luke Friend – 3 December

Having met up with super Speedy Razouski yesterday, some of her straight-line speed, must have transferred over to me through the famous energy transferral medium of Portuguese Custard Tarts, because I was raring to go out running this morning.

This morning I checked the weather, yup it was bleurgh, grey, wet and a bit breezy. So I dressed accordingly, very grey top, black fleece lined running tights, mugger’s hat and burglar’s black gloves.

I wasn’t really sure what running mood I was in, so started my warm up walk to Downtown and decided to head towards Smithfield Market. First km, not too bad but ouch there’s something in my shoe. It’s a little stone – I will ignore it and carry on and hopefully it will jiggle to the side and I’ll be okay.

Second km, I am running up Farringdon Lane to Take My Breath Away, I was puffing a bit – it is mildly uphill, but I felt a bit speedier today, ouch that stone is still in my shoe, okay I can’t be bothered faffing about to take it off, I will lose my stride and pace.

Continue on through the 3rd and 4th kms, a slight niggling soreness underfoot, so I think I will curtail the run at 5km, en route towards Silicon Roundabout and I’m boiling hot, so jacket comes off, mugger’s hat removed, gloves taken off and I continue on. Finally I hit the 5km mark and hallelujah for the very first time, I have beaten the 30 minutes for 5k and managed 29 minutes 33 seconds.

For sure Razouski’s virtual presence gave me a boost and a thought to see what I could manage, and yes the route was mainly flat, with only a slight incline to deal with, but still it is my first 5k under the magic 30 minutes!

The only slight rain on my parade today, was the discovery that the stone has done it’s best in my trainer. My 2 week old running socks are irrevocably damaged. With apologies to Luke Friend who wrote the song ‘There’s a Hole in My Heart” – this is my version.

Since you arrived, my feet became a mess

Cos running without you was the thing I did best

Now that today is over what else have I left?

Cos I hate you so much I can’t lose you, I need you to go

You should have gone but I’ll never know

Why on this day you got stuck in my sole

On my heel,  but not on my toe

There’s a hole in my sock, can you fix it?

There’s a hole in my sock, since you’ve been around

Is this P-A-I-N?

Somebody tell me what’s happening to me?

Is this P-A-I-N?

Somebody tell me, just what’s happening to me?

Since you haven’t gone

I hate you so much that it makes me think

The pain you caused just shredded my feet

Cos those socks were new, for every runner’s need

And I hate you so!

There’s a hole in my sock can you fix it?

There’s a hole in my sock can you fix it?

Playlist

Downtown – Petula Clark

Midnight Train to Georgia – Gladys Knight and The Pips

Take My Breath Away – Berlin

Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel

Big In Japan – Alphaville

Une Nuit a Paris – 10cc

Lost in France – Bonnie Tyler

Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles

Avalon – Roxy Music

Stats

Distance 5.03km

Time 29 minutes 33 seconds

Average Pace 5 minutes 52 (mins/km)

Hole in Sock – 1

Socks in Bin – 2

Yippees – at least 3!

 

A Feat Of A Meeting – 2 Dec

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Or in the picture, a meeting of feet!

Yesterday, I met up with my fellow C25Ker Razouski who is an 80s music freak, a runner, a damn good singer, as well as being a mum, a baker and cook of some skill  and very good company!

The weird thing about the C25K forum is that you get to know people quite well just on the basis of their running posts, now I don’t mean every last intimate detail, just you get a picture of some people in your minds. And for me Razouski does amazing runs (both fast ones and long ones) and writes some lovely posts. I particularly like it when she changes the lyrics of well known songs for ‘running’ versions of them, and it makes me smile, not least because a lot are from my era.

After a bit of posting to and fro on the C25k and messaging other we decided to meet up as she was singing at the Barbican and  she suggested we have a coffee at my local coffee bar.

Saturday afternoon, I walked into my coffee bar a little early, so I could catch her eye when she walked in, and there she was, sitting down already she saw me and mouthed ‘Jan?’. In a way it was like a blind date!

We had a lovely time, a couple of rounds of coffee and Portugese Custard Tarts – what’s not to like there on a cold Saturday afternoon? It was really lovely meeting a fellow runner and we chatted about all sorts of things not just running. I thought her C25K name was pronounced ‘Razowski’ but in actual fact it is ‘Razooski’ and then neither of us could work out which was the correct pronunciation of IannodaTruffe one of the forum’s mentors. We had the two variants Eyeannoda or Eeannoda -must ask him one of these days on the forum.

Similarities – we both have brown hair, although I’m guessing mine is aided by the hairdresser more than R’s. Both like food, cookery and eating out. Both love London, generally prefer running on our own, love the 80s music obvs.

Running similarities –  probably not that many – R can run generally about the 5.30 mins per km level – that is something in my dreams. Recently as I wrote here, she did  under 4 minutes 30. That couldn’t be in my dreams even with the aid of hallucinogenic drugs! Distance – R can and does run longer distances 14-15km quite regularly, whereas me, I am still working my way up and around the 10/11km mark. Park Runs, I think we both agree running on Park Runs, is a different kind of running to your own running.

So all in all a lovely afternoon, no running for me yesterday, but I was inspired to go out this morning….

Oh and in case you wondering, the foot selfie – I certainly wasn’t  ‘face’selfie ready…. so the feet on the left are mine and on the right, they are R’s!

 

 

3 Similarities Between me and Tom Cruise – 30 November

 

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He was born in the 60s –

  • so was I (just)

He is not very tall – 5ft 7inches and according to many press/magazine articles wishes he was taller –

  • I am short, but 5ft 7 inches sounds tall to me

He has brown hair, although his stubble is grey, suggesting help from a hairdresser…

  • I have brown hair, aided carefully and knowingly by Richard my hairdresser

In the pic above, he is seen at the premiere of a Jack Reacher film. I love Lee Child’s books, but I don’t buy Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. In fact the only film line of his I can recall is not from Jack Reacher at all, which brings me nicely onto today’s run.

‘ I feel the need, the need for speed’ – Maverick says in Top Gun and little did I know that was how I was feeling today.

The duvet was warm, the mug of tea was hot, Mr JCR was all kitted up for cycling. ‘Going for a run?’ he enquired ‘mmmm’ – non committal grunt came from the depths of the duvet. Eventually the tea cooled down and was emptied, the duvet was bunched and scrunched up, and my trainers were winking at me. I got out of bed, walked to the balcony and did the temperature test – ouch can it be searingly cold?

Okay, that is fleece leggings, base layer, over layer and running top, hat, buff and gloves. Phone – yup, music – yup, earphones yup, key yup. Absolutely no excuse for not running then. The apartment block is in a sheltered narrow lane, so I didn’t feel the weather immediately on my warm up walk, but hitting Moorgate aarrgghh it was cold, so I upped my pace on the walk. It has to be said most of the good folk in the City were wearing substantially more layers than me, and I did feel draughts in places one shouldn’t.

Mechanical Voice Lady from Map My Run, kicked in and told me to start exercising, and maybe because it was so cold, my pace was a lot faster than usual. It felt fast, and as I ran up to Silicon Roundabout (which still makes me laugh because California has Silicon Valley and the best we can manage is a roundabout), I did wonder what pace I was at. My first kilometre prompt came up and I’d done 6 mins 01 second.  The hat came off at this point. Usually my first km is about 6.5 to 7 minutes, so I knew I was going faster then normal. And then on the second km, I continued at quite a pace and managed 5 minutes 36, which is by far my fastest km for 2 years. The buff and running gloves came off. Now I need a velcro top so I can attach all these unneeded accessories to it, so my hands remain free.

Then came my Maverick moment – I thought I’d continue the run at that speed until I ran out of puff. So whilst I may have felt the ‘need for speed’ my little legs weren’t quite up to the task and I ran out of puff, with a very painful stitch at 2.93km. At that point, I decided to slow down and finish off on a walk home. After all my thoughts last night about going a long distance, it turns out I fancied a short cruise through the streets instead. And as Tom and I both know just because it’s short doesn’t mean it not worth much! This is the pace I need to maintain to do a sub 30 minutes 5k… mmm I think that means more interval and sprint training coming up.

Playlist

No idea – new phone and I obviously didn’t set up the Map My Run linkage properly!

Stats

Distance 2.93km

Time 17.24

Elevation Gain 22 metres

Squats 3 sets of 15 reps – and just taken delivery of kettlebells – that’s another challenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo By Dick Thomas Johnson from Tokyo, Japan – Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Japan Premiere Red Carpet: Tom Cruise, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60386378