Week 17 Run 2 – Being Kate Bush

IMG_3824

And today is the recovery run. Recovering a sense of purpose to run up that damned hill. the Hill That Kills – in fairness it’s not the hardest hill around here, that accolade goes to Cavendish Hill , nonetheless after injury and a lung issue last year, the Hill That Kills is still my nemesis.

Tuesday’s run saw me fail miserably at my attempt to do five ascents. Today, I was out at about the same time, but the benefit was the weather has considerably cooled down after a ‘temporale’ – a tempestuous storm bringing scudding grey clouds, claps of thunder, gusts of wind sufficient to blow Mr JCR off his bike and enough to stop our gates from opening. Yesterday Mother Nature had a periodic clearing of the decks, to start afresh with warm but not scorching weather.

Today, therefore was a good day to take advantage of Mother Nature’s generosity.

The plan – just to do five ascents of the Hill That Kills, pausing is okay, walking is not. Speed is immaterial (damed good job I added in that criterion, I can tell you).

Now THTK – it’s just under 400 metres of running uphill, and it rises 10 metres, which doesn’t sound too bad, but add in my slightly wheezy lungs after last year’s bronchitis, and it may as well be Everest.

All of the running books tell you to take your time, do the back stitch method and so on. However they don’t take account of my somewhat ill-advised bloodymindedness. After the earlier failure, I was going to run up that damned hill five times whether it killed me or not.

And of course, the song going around in my head was Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill, the theme for the day.

Kate and I have form. She doesn’t know it, but we do. Years ago when I wasn’t a JCR, my surname was Bush. At a boring business ‘do’, one of the fellow attendees, was perplexed as to why I’d ignored her all evening, and asked one of my friends, whether she’d done something to offend me, because she’d been calling me all evening and I hadn’t once turned around or talked to her. My friend gently pointed out my name was Jan and not Kate, and that was probably the reason why I hadn’t answered…

My hair also does a very good impersonation of Kate’s ‘twangy’ look in the Wuthering Heights video, when the weather is humid. So I feel we are kindred spirits, oh except that she has amazing talent and oodles of money, whilst I possess no natural talent whatsoever, and my bank balance probably doesn’t look like Kate’s either.

The opening lyrics to my/her song for the day, start:-

It doesn’t hurt me
Do you want to feel how it feels?
Do you want to know, know that it doesn’t hurt me?
Do you want to hear about the deal that I’m making?
You, it’s you and me

Let’s be clear, THTK does actually hurt me, on my first attempt, I made three pauses, although one was forced as I could hear a car crashing through the undergrowth, and safety was my prime motivation for stopping.

I reached the top of THTK, and saw a gentleman coming towards me wearing a sweatshirt, a man bag and mirrored sunglasses.  Now it is cooler today, but it was still about twenty degrees, so I wasn’t entirely sure why the long sleeved sweatshirt was necessary. With social distancing in mind, he swapped sides, and I didn’t have the heart to tell him, I’d soon be running down THTK after him. With a nice socially distanced overtaking manoeuvre done, I continued to the bottom and started my second ascent. Man Bag man  looked a little perplexed, we runners are rare in  Le Marche. Exercise is mainly bike oriented, or posing on the beach oriented.

Second time up THTK, this time only one pause outside pigiama mama’s house, and I heard a deep rumble, and a builder’s merchants lorry thundered past me. Back down again and I spotted Dame Duvet in the distance on the Slope of Hope. After my mask shaming incident recently, I didn’t feel inclined to wave at her in case she might think I am some kind of deranged stalker wanting to infect her with a particular English variant of COVID 19.

Third time up THTK, and we had a Mexican stand off with two flatbed car things, a cross between a car and a van. Two Italians unwilling to give way, because one had moved to make way for JCR. To avoid any international incidents, I moved onto the grass verge, got ankle nipped by a mosquito for my trouble, and the car on my side then moved in and the other moved on.

Phew, Lyse Doucet won’t be visiting here in her bullet proof vest.

Hitting the bottom of the hill, I got hooted by our very dear friend and neighbour F, who was in his LandRover, (recognisable by the wonky number plate). I waved back and felt encouraged, albeit a tad tired.

Using the Mr JCR method of calculation, half way to halfway is a real thing (25% distance to us normal people), I knew I was about to get half way past halfway. Problem was my legs were halfway to complete knackeration. So this time out, I took two pauses, this was part of my earlier deal with THTK.

Descending for my final push, I have to say I didn’t feel too bad, but I also knew that as the temperature was rising once more, I could end up in trouble if I pushed myself too hard. At a snail’s pace I did my final ascent, and that was that. THTK, I made the deal and I completed the deal.

Now the ultimate test, can I do my old running route to Laundry Lane and manage the final ascent? (since we got back from London, I’ve avoided doing it) There’s only one way to find out, and so my plan for the next run is sorted.

Kate has other songs that reflect this new challenge

Rubberband Girl – because I did bounce back and do the five climbs challenge

Wow – because to be honest I thought I’d flake it

Breathing – the lungs held up

Don’t Give Up – I didn’t!!!

Stats

Distance 4.26Km

THTK – 5 times up it

Physio

Yup, but I still haven’t bought a yoga mat, so no bridges or pelvic thrusting

Jump Rope

53 skips in succession , thereafter it all went pear-shaped

Playlist

Time and Distance 

Best track – Sunday Morning by Velvet Underground. Even though it was a Saturday.

 

 

Week 17 Run 1 – Hare of the Dog

brown rabbit on green grass field
No this wasn’t him, he was bigger and moving

 

Now this post is a little late, and I’m a little embarrassed. This was supposed to be the final hill run week, to see if spending three runs up and down The Hill That Kills, would help increase my stamina and/or on the level pace. Being buoyed up on the unexpected success of four runs up the hill (albeit my Map My Run doesn’t say that and you’ll just have to believe me 😉 ) – I really thought that I’d be able to do five.

The day didn’t exactly start as planned as Mr JCR was out on his bike doing another umpteen hundred kilometre training run for the Giro di Muscoli and I was supposed to get up early, because this week was forecast to be scorchio.

I slept through my alarm – actually I woke up , switched it off and promptly fell back asleep. I was out and about nearer to 8 o’clock and not prior to 7, as had been planned.

I’d decided to do Mill Lane  and Lovers’ lane as my warm up run, to make sure my legs were ready for the challenge ahead, and just exiting Mill Lane, a rather leggy hare bounded across the road and out of sight. He was huge and in a hurry, I am not so huge but the Covid kilos are persisting, and even though I’m in a hurry to get rid of them, they’re a little more relaxed about enjoying the sunshine. I took the running hare  to be a good omen and continued towards Lovers’ Lane, there for the first time in a while I saw Lord Kitchener   now it has to be said he is not carrying Covid kilos, but his moustache and haircut were not quite as dapper as usual. But his reduced sartorial elegance was not matched by his courtesy – he tilted his head, smiled and said Salve.  So far so good, lots of stuff happening on my run. I realise that so far lots of stuff counts as seeing an animal and a human, mmm JCR don’t over-egg the pudding.

Making my way back to Mill Lane in readiness for my hill killing session ahead, I met Argo with P, our friend who was walking him. We stopped and had a chat – I told her my plan for the run, and she gave me a friendly but definitely ‘are you mad?’ look and said ‘it’s very hot, you should have got up earlier’. I agreed with her – to be fair it was hard to disagree, with the sun beating down mercilessly on my head and the sweat dripping lazily down my cheeks. At that point I think the seeds of doubt had been sown. We said our goodbyes, after having given Argo a thorough stroke and I got ready for The Hill That Kills. Or rather, mentally my readiness changed from ‘let’s do this’ to ‘are you really sure?’. Where the head leads the legs follow, evidently my mind had been made up whilst talking to P.

Blimey, oh Riley, hills and heat don’t mix, it was about twenty five degrees – just touching eighty in old money, and to be frank I couldn’t do it. First time up, I stopped three times, second time up I stopped four times, and third time up, well there wasn’t a third time. There was a two and a half times up, as the combination of over-heating, shin splints and sheer weariness got to me. I couldn’t even muster the energy to shout at myself.

So that was a complete and utter shit show of a run. On the positive side, I did go out, I did run overall just over 4kms, including two hill climbs, but I failed against my other target.

Now what to do? The plan was to have three good hill running sessions, see if that helps with stamina and then try out one of my usual runs to Laundry Lane and see if I can do it faster and/or ascend the final sharp incline. My amble home, (because by now my legs were thumping the tarmac like an elephant’s) was slow and ponderous. But I came to the conclusion, one shit show doesn’t make a summer and so I’d give the five hill attempts another outing later in the week.

In summary, I was running like I had a hangover, yet I hadn’t drunk the night before, I was hydrated and I had a plan, just no mental conviction. Ho hum.

Stats

Distance 4.06km

The Hill That Kills  – two and a bit attempts

Grit and Determination – AWOL

Temperature 23 degrees at the start and 26 degrees at the finish.

Physio

Nope – couldn’t be bothered

Jump Rope

Similarly crap – 23, 13, 6, 10, 14, 22 skips in succession…

49 skips seems an awful long time ago and I’ve set a target of 100 in succession… this could be another Hill That Kills disappointment

Music

Reggae and Ska Playlist

Favourite track – One Step Beyond by Prince Buster, it seemed to fit the mood

 

 

 

Week 16 Run 3 – Operator Error

Screenshot 2020-07-19 at 10.32.32
Bet he would know how to use Map My Run

I had a few days off – Wednesday = rest day, Thursday – Hairdresser’s, Friday – peeing down with rain, Saturday – other stuff to do.

So back to the ‘normal’ routine of running on a Sunday. And another go at running the hills, to try and get my hill legs back. There is a method to improve hill stamina called back stitching. You set a small distance run up the hill to it and back down, next time you run up the hill, you go a bit further and so on. My version of this is to try and do the Hill That Kills all in one go and to be frank it isn’t working, to be honest it’s killing me, as even though it’s cooler, it’s not England cooler.

Last time out me and the technology didn’t get on awfully well, I paused the app and forgot to re-start it, so lost some of the distance and have no idea how much of an elevation gain I’d run.

This time, I was determined it wasn’t going to happen again. I was focussed and had my plan. This time out my usual route and then four circuits of the Hill That Kills, with as few stops as I could manage.

As Helmuth Von Moltke (The Elder) said, “No plan of operations extends with certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy’s main strength”. In this particular case – no plan of running extends with certainty beyond JCR’s first pausing of the app. And yes, I managed it again, whilst pausing physically and Map My Run wise to allow a wide load of cut wood go past me, I forgot to restart the app. Running back down the hill, it suddenly occurred to me that Mechanical Voice lady had been suspiciously quiet. And yes I’d had stupid tart syndrome once more… Okay I thought, not a big deal I’ll just carry on and record the rest of the run, and guess what, I promptly forgot to press resume.

I resumed and ran up that hill another three times, Map My Run however didn’t, so I guesstimated the amount of times I’d run and walked them instead this time recording it on MMR. The stats are utterly wrong, and I am utterly stupid, instead of pausing the app when I am stopping I should just let it run on, as I’m not really trying to improve my speed on the hills, just my stamina.

On my final run up that cursed hill, I was stopping to wipe my brow and a much older cyclist wearing a rather natty dayglo top, said ‘menomale finita’ – a kind of ‘Thank God it’s done’ comment. And he was right, I was a bit too tired to think of having another go and aiming for five runs, but maybe that’s next time out.

So what can I say? – taking advice from Moltke and learning from my mistakes, I’ll just leave the app running and then I can find out how far/how high I am running, and how many pauses I need to do that.

I’m going to do one more try of this hill running, this time aiming to do 5 run-ups and then see if a week of hill runs, help me on the Slope of Hope, Laundry Lane incline. Because so far I’ve not been inclined to try doing it, and that probably makes me a coward in Moltke’s eyes. He had many sayings including:-

Strategy is a system of expedients; it is more than a mere scholarly discipline. It is the translation of knowledge to practical life, the improvement of the original leading thought in accordance with continually changing situations.

I think therefore, my new Map My Run strategy, has translated the realities of my stupidity to practical life, by just letting the application run, even when I’m not.

 

Stats

Who really knows?

I think it was just on 5km, based on the JCR guessometer

4 runs up the hill with 8 pauses

Physio

Just on my way

Jump Rope

49 skips, followed by 20, 10, 16, 23, 12 and 22

My target is to get to 100 skips in one go, without whipping my bum

Playlist

Ska and Two Tone

Best track – Skinhead Moonstomp by Symarip, because on my final ascent I was stomping,

Week 16 Run 2 – Depeche Mode or Iron Maiden?

It’s Tuesday, Mr JCR asked me the night before what time would I be getting up. Having looked at the cooler weather forecast, I’d decided I could go running at about 7-8ish. He arched an eyebrow, knowing full well I could be blagging it, but I was being totally truthful. The weather is cooler and that means I don’t have to get up at stupid o’clock to run.

My successful Team Violet run at the weekend persuaded me that maybe now I should be firing up the hill legs. So far I’ve avoided most hills, other than a few small inclines, mainly because I knew I wouldn’t be fit enough to cope with the hills and the heat together.

Today JCR it is going to be different. I’d planned my running route – Slope of Hope – downhill, followed by The Hill That Kills uphill, Lovers’ Lane – which is both up and down, followed by three runs up the Hill That Kills.

I haven’t really got a clue what the distance would be, but a focus on hills will be tougher than doing a longer distance on the flat/downhill, and I was determined to be happy with the training session and not worry about a distance target.

Now I say that, BUT Map My Run Lady was being a tad difficult – from time to time she loses the GPS signal and today was the day she decided to do it again. I knew it wasn’t going well when she reported that I’d only walked 200 metres in five minutes. Okay I am not as fit as I was, but even so.

The first time up the Hill That Kills and Iron Maiden came on my playlist ‘ Run To The Hills’. Can I say this is not the ideal tempo for my first attempt at the Hill That Kills? I made three stops in my efforts to get up the hill. Pathetic really, and Iron Maiden’s stirring guitar playing wasn’t really a help.

At the top of the hill I turned around and pootled back down again, to the dulcet tones of Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus, and I didn’t need him at that point, all was hunky dory.

Back to the bottom for my second run-up. Hmm well clearly I don’t have hill legs, it was two stops to get to the top and at one stage I paused Map My Run to change the music. At this stage Stupid Tart Syndrome hit again and I forgot to re-start Mechanical Voice Lady. I wish I could say I’d realised it, but I hadn’t, I think I was focussing on burning legs and bursting lungs. It was on my final ascending run, that I realised all my efforts hadn’t been recorded. Which is why when Simple Minds coming on with Don’t You Forget About Me, made me laugh even though inside I was angry at forgetting to switch the app back on.

Talking about being forgetful, I walked back home and walking towards me on the same side of the road was Dame Duvet. Now save for exchanging the occasional Ciao, Salve and Buongiorno, I had forgotten that she doesn’t really know me at all, even though I refer to her in my blog and I sort of feel that I know her. As we passed each other a lorry was driving up behind me, so I couldn’t really give her the required two metres distance, without being run over. So I kept my mouth shut and just put up my hand in greeting and smiled. She didn’t say a word, didn’t smile, just dived into her pockets and put on her mask.

Oops I was ‘mask shamed’ by an Iron faced Maiden aka Dame Duvet. I must admit I’ve never thought of carrying a mask with me when out running in the Marche hills, but maybe I should.

So I confess to my own Personal Jesus, I never thought about carrying a mask when running and I wouldn’t want Dame Duvet to think I don’t care, but given social distancing, wearing a mask and the language/cultural differences, maybe I will have to re-name her Iron Maiden as she may no longer smile/exchange greetings.

A small casualty of Covid, on a day when all my running plans went awry.

I told Mr JCR about the technology fail and he commented wryly that if it wasn’t recorded it didn’t happen, so on that basis I didn’t  run up that hill and nor did I offend Dame Duvet…

Stats

Don’t know – but I did run up The Hill That Kills – four times

10 pauses on THTK

One mask forgotten

One oops moment

Physio

None done – but I did help Mr JCR weed 100 lavender plants

Music

Classic Album Tracks playlist

Best track was The Race by Yello – that’s because it was a good warm up truck, before the rest of the run went belly up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 16 Run 1 – Running for Team Violet – Beyond C25K

 

It’s a Saturday and it’s a six number on the clock. Ouch for a teenager in sleeping habit, early morning starts are definitely a tough challenge. Maybe not quite as tough as climbing Everest, or circumnavigating the world by pedalo, but on my ‘ I’d rather not’ list.

Today is Part 2 of the Rainbow Relay Challenge with the Facebook Beyonders running group, of which I am a happy, but amateur member. We are divided into teams and each day one team member does a run for 19 minutes and logs their distance, passing on the baton to the next team member. Last time out I managed 2.66km in 19 minutes in a cool, flat London.

This time round, it’s not about the overall distance, but whether you can exceed your last run and by how much. There’s no ‘minus shaming’ , so if you can’t manage to do more, then that’s fine. My plan was to do my warm up walk, and start my run doing at least 10 minutes so that I was nicely warmed up, for my 19 minute stint.

It’s hilly here, and it’s not cool. The challenge to exceed my time and distance marker last time out was not going to be easy.

Plan going swimmingly, on my warm up walk, I was passed by a nice collie dog accompanied by his owner Iron Man

We made our usual ‘buongiornos’ and continued each on our own way. Up via Lovers’ Lane, past the barking beagle house, where I received my usual cacophonous welcome but I saw they were out and about, so no jumping in mid air for me. No-one around just me and no music today, and I decided to run naked,  to aid focus on stopping Map My Run at 19 minutes – which is not easy to do either:-

  1. The app is on my phone
  2. The phone is in an armband – with a handy window for pressing the buttons
  3. The handy window no longer works, so you have to remove the armband and
  4. Remove the phone and enter the security code
  5. Go to the app and see if you’re close to 19 minutes  (it only does time reminders every 5 minutes, therefore giving squeaky bum time during the last 4 minutes when you’re not quite sure how far in you are)
  6. Put the phone back if you haven’t reached the 19 minute mark – and reverse steps 1 and 2
  7. Complete steps 1-6 and repeat as necessary until 19 minutes is reached
  8. Take a screenshot to prove what you did

I started my Team Violet run in The Hill That Kills, and made sure I was running quite fast (well fast for me) to maintain momentum and so I could make sure I didn’t let Team Violet down. Onto the Bendy scary road, and I dart into Lovers’ Layby (the alternative destination for lovers who can’t be arsed driving another couple of kilometres for ‘the love’ in Lovers’ Lane) to avoid the number 73 bus. In fairness he’s quite a nice bus driver, he usually steers a wide berth, but sometimes with oncoming traffic that’s not possible, still I always feel nervous when the bus is around.

There’s another blind bend coming up and a tradesman’s pick up truck whistles past, I can feel the hairs on my arms stand with the draught. Listening to my breathing I’m conscious that I’m pushing it a little too much and should slow down, there’s no point in me blowing up on the challenge. Luckily the shade remains and I spend a happy few minutes trotting along with nothing to do /see. Then in the distance I spy Inappropriate clothing man only thank goodness, he is riding up the hill as I am running down, and hallelujah he is wearing black cycling shorts. 😉

My alarm goes and I’m chuffed to bits – I’ve exceeded my last run – 2.92km in 19 minutes…

Now lets see how Team Violet does overall – we won the challenge last time, so standards need to be maintained!

Stats

Distance 2.91km plus the 1.7km I did on the earlier part

Time – well what difference does it make? – I did do 2.91kms in 19 minutes

Physio

Yup – except for the stuff requiring a yoga mat

Jump Rope

I managed 43 continuous skips… but I did also manage only 21, 10 and 7 in my previous attempts

Music

None – all naked running

 

 

 

Week 15 Run 3 – It needs to be 6, to do 5

 

The alarm has been set and it’s a six number…

Mr JCR has his kit all ready, JCR has too. He’s in cycling gear I’m in pink running gear.

A coffee in the kitchen and we are out of the door. Mr JCR to do some silly amount of kilometres on the bike, as part of his training run for the Giro di Muscoli and me to do a far more sensible number on my feet.

It’s 18 degrees out, which feels pleasantly cool and so I make my way to the top of the Slope of Hope to start my warm up walk. Breaking into a run in Mill Lane, all is quiet and mercifully quite shady, not a soul to be seen, only the flowers are out and a few commuters, bombing past in their vans and cars.

Lovers’ Lane is a litte less shady and here I see my first sign of life, a lady in camo trousers walking two gorgeous greyhounds. Well I say walking, she was walking with one and then having to wait quite a while for the other one to stop investigating the lane’s undergrowth, and believe me it’s not nicknamed Lovers’ Lane for no reason, you really don’t want to go delving into the hedgerows.

We exchange ‘salves’ and I continue to make my way to the Hill That Kills – only this time I’m running down it, with the slightly cooler weather I’ve decided to take a different route for the first time since returning to Italy.

I pass the eggs for sale house, owned by pigiama mama, even so I think it’s too early even for her, all is quiet and shuttered. I’m in my stride now and making my way towards the bendy, scary road and to my delight it seems to be mostly in shade.

My delight is tempered by the commuting traffic, there are a number of blind bends, and you really do have to take the corners slowly in case you hear the whooshing sound of oncoming traffic. Drivers/riders still don’t expect to see runners on the road and so they are often very, very close to the verge. I never run with both earphones in as it’s way too dangerous. I pass through the danger zone and enjoy the relative cool. Glancing at my phone I see the temperature has already risen by four degrees Celsius in just on thirty minutes of my run. I’m holding a nice pace and just about to enter the next village’s outskirts, a little short of my five kilometre target and see I have 200 metres or so to go.  I decide to continue the run downhill and then do the final 100km running back up. I’ve been avoiding serious gradients, and that’s a pointless exercise really… I live on the top of a hill, sooner or later I have to get my hill legs working, so it may as well be now.

I truth I didn’t quite manage the full 100 metres back up the hill, I reckon I was five metres short, but I did with a breather finish at just over 5kms, at the memorial ‘park’ for the Italian hero who saved Churchill from a German sniper. I’d done a bit of my run towards a significant point in the Gothic line, and the park is so small I think I’d probably have to run around it about twenty times to do 100 metres. But it’s a nice safe place to stop and so I do.

The more direct route home is a 3km walk, and that’s the way I go. The temperature is now 25 degrees, I have suffered 3 mosquito bites – the downside of the shade and so no Dan Runner I won’t be running at 4.45 am, because I reckon the itch count would be significantly more.

Lessons learnt

  • it needs to be six a.m ish for me to do five kilometres or more
  • Italians are equally as mucky as British people – I saw nine discarded facemasks in the verge
  • My hill legs haven’t disappeared, but they do need some work

Stats

Distance 5.1km

Time – still iffy

Mosquito Bites – 3

Physio

Yes – but really must buy the yoga mat, as I’m not doing Bridges or Pelvic Thrusting

Jump Rope

33 skips!!!

Then 23, then 31 – but it is improving for a woman with no rhythm or coordination or spatial awareness…

Playlist

My goddaughter Molly’s Virtual Glasto Concert playlist – best track

Cake by the Ocean by DNCE, as who wouldn’t like cake by the ocean?

 

 

 

Week 15 Run 2 – Running From Brexit

 

 

 

I don’t really care how people voted in the referendum, because we all have different perspectives and reasons for making the decisions we do. There is no such thing as a right or wrong referendum result, it’s just a result. I don’t want to chat to the ‘other side’ about their decision vs. mine, because that way all hell ensues and as I’ve read many times friendships can break over this question.

Unfortunately for us, the referendum now has real, unimagined consequences. Pre -referendum our life plan was to live more or less half and half between Italy and the UK. Being an EU citizen meant we could achieve that with little impact on our lives in either country.

But sadly no more, we have to choose between two countries we love. In the new post B world we can only stay in Italy as part of the Schengen Area for 90 days in any 180, and it’s a rolling period. So we can’t disappear to a non EU country say Switzerland for a couple of days and re-set the clock. This Schengen rule means 90 days here, 90 days there.  Or we could do one month here, one there. Maximum – oh and that uses up all your EU Schengen Area allowance, so no extra trips to France for wine, or Holland to see our friends. Bum. And gardens with cherries, figs, olive trees and vines don’t wait for you to be back in the country before growing. Put it another way, we can choose Spring and Autumn or Summer and Winter, but we can’t bookend the 90 days so that we have a six month ‘block’ here.

I do not ask nor expect any sympathy – we are second home owners who very, very luckily can afford this semi-nomadic lifestyle. But it’s decision time, which country and which lifestyle do we want and can we afford? My initial strategy was of the wait and hope variety. Canvassing friends in similar situations, some like me are waiting and hoping, others are just going to live with the Schengen rules, others are pursuing EU citizenship. Friends in London have researched their heritage and found that due to relatives settling in Portugal many years ago (running away from the Pogroms) they are entitled to a Portugese passport. No such luck on the JCR/Mr JCR front. His exotic lineage as far as we know extends to Wales, mine does have a Russian connection (Pogroms again), but I don’t think a Putin linkage is going to get me a European passport. I’m guessing Russians will be marginally less popular than British folk, when it comes to the EU handing out passports post Brexit conclusion.

Now we are having a meeting with an English commercialista (kind of accountant). We are not so English that he has to be English, but to decide to move here requires us to understand the financial consequences of arriving here, being taxed whilst we live here and the impact of moving back to the UK (which we will do one day).

The commercialista therefore needs to know both Italian and UK taxation, the dual taxation treaty clauses etc etc etc. Once we know the ins and outs, we have to decide to be in or out. And in truth I’d like to be both, to have my proverbial cake and eat it.

This morning’s run started much earlier, thanks to Mr JCR’s rather aggressive alarm setting tactic – it went off at 6am (this was planned and with JCR agreement – it’s just in my mind any alarm setting is aggressive!) Finally after a bit of faff and coffee, I was out just after 7am with the temperature a cool 26 degrees! Being ‘out’ at this time of day is nice and quiet, there’s more shade to be had, but you often get more commuting traffic for a workday start time of 8am. Mill Lane was all in shade and I passed unnoticed into Lovers’ Lane. The barking beagles nowhere to be seen, and my only company was the chirruping of cicadas. That’s also a worrying sign, they usually come to life in the heat of the afternoon, but with temperatures rising, they are out and about early too. On my route back to Mill Lane, Iron Man and his dog came out of the olive fields. We made our customary greetings and I carried on.

The Slope of Hope was very still and then wham, four cars all in a row sped past me – this is LA style freeway traffic levels in our village. I crossed over to make my way to Laundry Lane as usual (yes my run is predictable, but until the temperature eases a little that’s the way it will stay) and leapt out of my skin as a juggernaut passed close by. The road narrows as it approaches the old village and it can only really be considered roomy enough for two way traffic if one is a car and the other a bike, or maybe a three wheeler Ape. The narrowing of the road also channels the sound waves – hence my mini leap into the air.

In Laundry Lane, I passed our friends’ house R and P, who arrive from USA, for a few weeks in their family home. The garden was all pristine and perfect for their return. My thoughts turned back to the in/out question. On days like today it’s clear that here is a lovely place to be, we have space, gorgeous weather, we can get to the sea within minutes, it’s not polluted, we have friends here – all the ingredients for a perfect life.  To be in Italy is like living the Dolce Vita everyday. And so I am running thinking about being in and out.

In my perfect life, the EU and Boris will have a chat (maybe a tad more formal) and agree that they both like the JCR family so much that they are prepared to come to a compromise which means out of all the commercial considerations the JCR clause comes into effect, allowing JCR to have cake and eat it!

In my running mind I am consolidating after C25K and I should be improving my lot. The reality is the heat is killing my progress and I’m actually going backwards on both time and distance measures. This is our Brexit situation to a T. To enjoy all that Italy offers, means a significant detachment to our metropolitan London living lifestyle we’ve enjoyed for 15 + years. If we accept Schengen rules, it will be like when we were working and could only be occasional visitors here, a likeable anomaly, but not locals. If we live here, we will become London visitors – not quite as likeable nor anomalous to those locals.

This dilemma is also encapsulated in my running route – some of it is pleasant shade and some scorching sun, both of which are perfectly lovely in context, and I love being in both places, although sometimes it can be uncomfortable. And in a running sense of having my cake and eat it, I want to run in the heat but not get overheated.

My run ended up with me still wanting to be in and out, in Europe and out of London when we want to be. I think  our plain speaking Yorkshire man commercialista may be telling me the way to go.

I finished my run having done just over 4.5kms – just a tad more than Tuesday and the temperature had risen another couple of degrees, so I decided I’d actually track the walk back home, to see how much I’d have to do if I tried to run it all. It would be another 1.3kms but with an elevation gain of 61 metres on just that bit – see the MMR pic for how horrid it is in full sun! Ouch, maybe that will wait until the Autumn and maybe by then we will know for sure if we are in or out.

On my final trek up the hill, I met a young lady dog walker with a very sociable dog I think she called it Atlanta. Now that’s an inspirational name for a pooch. Atlanta do you have any ideas on whether we stay in the EU and become Italian residents or  stay out and leave Italy with pleasant memories of la dolce vita?

Stats

Distance 4.52km

Time – still too embarrassing to record

Physio

Yes – but still no pelvic thrusting or Bridges as I still haven’t bought a yoga mat

Jump Rope – 2 sets of 17 skips and it just got worse from then on…

Playlist

90’s playlist 

Best track – Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio, because it’s Italy and we do live in a paradise, it’s just that the gangsters are somewhere else…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 15 Run 1 – Surreality Bites

It’s Tuesday and I am up before 8am, mainly because Mr JCR nagged me a lot (on my behest I must add), I am also out of the door just after 8am and it’s 27 degrees. In 2018 we had Lucifer’s summer and I think he’s coming back. I add a dash of ‘pootler’s pink’ lipstick to get me on my way and I’m ready for whatever Lucifer decides to throw at me.

First off, Mill Lane, it’s now one way and so pitted and potholey that most locals don’t use it, so I usually have the lane to myself. But not today – two cars passed me, that almost constitutes a traffic jam in these parts. On my way to Lovers’ Lane and all is empty – no Anouska, no Albino save for one car on its way to Villa Bali. I even manage to get past the barking beagle house twice without so much as a murmur. It feels surreally quiet as though Le Marche has been emptied.

I return down Mill Lane and spot a dog walker I recognise from a couple of years back, a middle aged man, with a Collie. Bald and with a white moustache – the man, not the dog, I notice he has thin wiry legs but calves like flat irons. Iron Man I think is his new name, he smiles and says buongiorno. It is nice being in Italy when people acknowledge you rather than London, where it’s a little more distant/aggressive.

Making my way down the Slope of Hope, I get goosed by the barking balcony house, ah things are getting more normal and I make my way towards the village and Laundry Lane. And there to my surprise I see Dame Duvet, rather surreally dressed for what is now 28/82 degrees. She is wearing a baseball cap, a cotton neckerchief, a tee shirt under a sweatshirt and long black tracksuit bottoms. She looks as cool as a cucumber, I on the other hand am wearing the minimum I can get away with, without offending common decency standards and am bright eyeball-scorching red. You wouldn’t actually believe we were in the same climate. The other thing is that she’s miles away from where I normally see her, so now I wonder if she’s real or a walking spectre. Because from knowing her usual roads, I think she’s walking at least 15 -20 kms in the morning. Wow.

We exchange ciaos – and I bite my tongue wanting to ask for more information… and continue onto Laundry Lane, there’s a little more shade than usual and I continue my run until I hit the unshaded incline where I decide to finish.

Walking back up Argo’s Loop, I pass my ultimate barking nemesis. There are two horrid little dogs really  quite aggressive and they live outdoors. As you can see from my first picture there is a mini enclosure. This is where they run and scramble up the fence to bark at me. Over the years, their technique has been fine-tuned and they were getting perilously close to scaling their enclosure; I see the owner has added yet more height to their scrambling wall, I fear it’s just given them more incentive to frighten me even more.

I make my way to the final ascent on Argo’s Loop and there I pass Iron Man once more, he pulls his dog to heel, smiles and we re-buongiorno. Turning the corner I see a sun hazed vision all in black. I squint thinking I recognise our friend Claudia, but she never, ever walks up our hill as it’s brutal. She crosses to the other side of the road, I say ciao and she recognises me at last. We elbow bump which is the new greeting standard and she tells me she is going for a walk. Now I am in utter shock, I’ve only ever seen her in her car this far up and her route means she has more inclines to do. Serious respect to her as I am two minutes from home and at her pace I reckon she has another hour to get home, including some horrid hilly bits.

I walk into the house, and see myself in the mirror – no wonder Claudia didn’t recognise me, the pootler’s pink has slid away from my mouth and I look a little like Robert Smith from The Cure, or one of Dali’s Melting Clocks. A surreal morning’s run, and a very surreal face…

Stats

4.4 km – slowly doing a bit more distance

Time – yup it took me time

Physio – some of it

Jump Rope – maximum 23 skips and at least 10 whipped arse moments

Music

90’s Mix

Best Track – Dizzy by Vic Reeves and The Wonder Stuff, as that was the final track on Argo’s loop and I was definitely feeling dizzy with heat at that time

 

 

 

 

 

C25K – Week 14 Run 3 & The A to Z of Running in the Heat

 

As regular suffering readers know, I am starting again and trying to increase my running distance and pace back to the dizzy heights of my 2018 running year.

However, restarting C25K in the UK in a cool Spring doesn’t give you the best foundation for running in the eighties and nineties temperature wise in Italy. So here is my definitive guide to running in the heat:-

Alarm – use it to get up early

Be Prepared – get your kit out the night before

Cold Water – an absolute must – put it in the fridge the night before, see ‘B’

Don’t Stay in Bed – see also ‘A’

Early Departure – see also ‘A’, and ‘D’

FFS – shouting at yourself may help get your sorry arse out of bed

Get a Grip – find your inner grit and use it to go out

Hunt for shade, before you run – do a recce of your route to find the shady areas

Ice cubes in your water bottle help

Jacuzzi – is a great incentive, for post run recovery

Kit yourself correctly – lighter weight clothing, dampen your headband and running vest if you can

Let the heat determine your speed, you can easily increase pace when it’s cooler

Midday/Much higher than 30 degrees and it can be dangerous to run if you’re not acclimatised to it – avoid if at all possible

Note your breathing and drinking habits – if you’re too laboured and really in need of much more water, – it’s simple you’re doing way too much

Opt for shorter distances and slower times – re-set your expectations

Plod if you need to – sometimes a walking break helps

Quitting the race – if it’s not working and you feel uncomfortable, call it quits. There’s no courage or honour in running to dehydration and exhaustion

Rinse your hair in water before you go out – it really helps keep you cool

Sunhat/screen/glasses – wear and use as appropriate

Take your time – the sun has endless patience to burn and overheat you

Under no circumstances run whilst hungover (previous history!)

Vanquish running gremlins by not setting too high a target

Water – take a bottle, take a spare bottle,  or carry cash to buy some more water

Xtra brownie points if you follow all the advice

Yes running in heat is possible, just take it slow, in shade and stay hydrated

Zzzz – a post run snooze is just the ticket

Today’s run – I followed my own advice except for  J and Q… J because it needs cleaning and filling with new water and Q – I didn’t need to quit, because for once I followed my own advice.

In truth it was mega scorchio again, it was just about 8am when I set out on Sunday to run, and the thermometer was already showing 27 degrees – 80 degrees in old money of course. On my warm up walk I passed Lord Kitchener, he was on his way to the cemetery and he barely gave me a glance, I did smile at him, but maybe he didn’t recognise me – it’s been over a year since he last saw  me after all. I had hoped to see Anouska and Albino, as I know they often get up early to walk if it’s very hot, but I didn’t see them either. No people, no dogs, no shade, no mercy.

The sun was beating down and I admit I took shelter in the one shady spot of Laundry Lane and did a few mini circuits between the trees, because it would have been awful otherwise.

At 4.3km I gave up the ghost, because the non-shaded incline was looming and in this heat you just have to be kind to yourself. But I did decide to continue for a walk to see an ‘ex- house’ of friends of ours, just to see what it was looking like now that it has new owners. It was sad really to see it, empty of people and shutters closed, whereas usually at this time of year it would be open and I could perhaps sneak in for a cheeky cup of coffee! It added a couple of 2kms to my efforts, and in truth it was too warm to do much more.

As Mr JCR pointed out I’m going to have to get up earlier and as I’m a born again teenager, lunchtime is a bit early for me to rise. It’s either that or run much later in the day and I just know I won’t do that, I’ll prevaricate, faff and generally find reasons not to.

Okay JCR for Week 15, you’re just going to have to do those big girl pants and get up earlier. We’ve got at least another 8 weeks of scorchio weather until September brings some welcome relief, so I have to woman up…

Stats

Distance – 4.3km

Time – Too embarrassing to record

Physio

Yes – crabby things, flexor things, squats, clams

No – bridge and pelvic thrusting – need a yoga mat

Jump Rope or Skipping Rope as we oldies call it – 23 skips in succession, with about 10 attempts during the day varying from 4 skips to the 23.

Whacked Arse – at least 7 times, when you stop the Jump Rope whips you, and it’s always on your bum.

Playlist

My goddaughter Molly’s Glastonbury Mix

Favourite track – Is this the way to Amarillo by Tony Christie – because I’m a recent convert to Peter Kay’s Car Share and I love his humour, and I loved his silly video for this, which we recreated on a virtual Glasto Pyramid Stage on Saturday night. Thanks Molly and Gabi and Carl for organising it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Couch to 5K, Week 14 Run 2 – Too early for dogs…

IMG_3784
Come on red men…

After Mr JCR promised to get me out of bed early enough to avoid the sun, we had both forgotten one major factor. My team were playing last night, and so we had to watch the match to see four superb goals and then at least an hour’s worth of punditry telling me how brilliant my team were.

Jamie Redknapp using tech to show just how superb TAA’s strike was, Graeme Souness sitting on his smugness cushion of five League Championships, three European Cups and four League Cups. John Barnes, not quite the svelte figure he once was, but with a lovely twinkle in his eye describing Liverpool’s dominance. After match interviews with TAA, Salah and my middle aged crush Jurgen Klopp – see he is almost named after the Kop, his parents just got their surname wrong.

It was another hour of bliss as far as I was concerned, but all of this orgy of self congratulation meant we weren’t exactly in bed at the appointed hour, late to bed doesn’t mean an early start. Nonetheless I was out earlier today, it was a nine number not a ten or eleven, but even so still scorchio.

When it’s 27 degrees at 9am you know you’re in trouble. And so I started my warm up walk outside the house and did a mini loop before starting up Mill Lane, all to get the warm up walking done in sun and be able to start my run in some shade. It was going brilliantly and I was pootling up Lovers’ Lane and who did I see ahead of me but my running inspirational couple – Anouska and Albino. It’s been over a year since I’ve seen them and there they were strolling along enjoying the views. We exchanged ciaos and salves (Roman Italian for good health) – it gave me a real boost. However not enough of a boost to be able to overcome the scorching heat and I think I may have overcooked my start.

On the Slope of Hope, I was early enough to avoid the barking dog balcony and made my way towards Laundry Lane. There I spied my red poppies, here again it’s boiling hot and even an hour or so earlier, it’s in full sun. I traipsed my way to the small shaded area and ran backwards and forwards. Out of the shade, I ran towards the local winery on Laundry Lane, passing another barking dog house, but although they were out I spotted them and didn’t leap when they started barking. But the sight of the unshaded incline really got the better of me, and I stopped running. 5km seems too much of a reach at the moment in 80 degree plus heat.

I managed 4.2km in all, a little better than last time out. The timing is still abysmal, but I think I will ignore that for now and just focus on getting the distance up, oh and getting up earlier. Sunday is my next scheduled run, so if I aim for an eightish departure then hopefully the temperature will be a little lower.

Suzy K – you are consolidating – how is it going? And do you have a classic album track for my latest playlist?

Today was too early for dogs, but not early enough for me. Change is going to have to be made, but if the red men win the Premiership tonight, then I promise to be up and out by 8am on Sunday.

Stats

  • Distance 4.2km
  • Time – Abysmally worrying
  • Leaping in the Air – not once

Physio

Yup and I was reading in the PHD Runner’s blog about her getting a gait analysis as she’s had a chronic injury problem, and one of the recommended exercises was the crab walking squats, and I’ve remembered I’d totally forgotten about doing those, so yes they are on my list too, along with bridges, hip flexors, pelvic thrusts, squatting, touching my toes.

And the skipping rope – now they’re called jump ropes, and they’re not rope, they are wires and they don’t half hurt when you swipe your bum with them. Well my best effort so far is 12 jumps in succession – that tells you how rubbish my coordination is… Still I’m going to have another go and see if I can manage 15 consecutive jumps.

Playlist

Birthday Number Ones

Best Song Metal Guru – By T Rex – just loved Marc Bolan