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…

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 14 Run 1 – There’s A Hole In My Bucket

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Adriatic View From The Top of The Bitch of a Pitch

So goes the nursery rhyme, and actually our buckets were fine, it’s just that the Italian winter blew off our shed roof, our wood store roof and filled our jacuzzi full of rain water, having torn the covering tarpaulin to shreds.

Monday’s job was to try and bring some sense of order to the outdoors, which is looking a little sorry for itself after seven months of neglect, which come to think of it is like my bod after three months of lockdown.

My no-running exercise routine, included going grocery shopping (ugh), emptying said jacuzzi of about 700 litres of water and doing it by bucket to water our very sorry and sad looking oleanders.  Killing a vast number of wasps that had made nice nests under the leaky tarp – my method is to spray, pray and run. I should have been watering the newly planted hydrangeas too, but we lost all of them, due to no watering in Spring and all we have are seven sad straw stumps.

Then I helped Mr JCR recover the shed roof, with the rescued tarpaulin remnants, and now we look like long-term Italian residents. No Italian country garden is complete without a Heath Robinson type covering involving a tarp, dodgy rope and any convenient weights you can find.  We now have a fetching bright green shed roof, with an elastic garter, and three different types of wooden poles weighting the roof down. All we need is rope to hold up our gardening trousers and we’ll become a pair of Compoes from Last of The Summer Wine.

Today’s job is to empty all the previously empty buckets and containers in the shed, which are now chock full of stagnant water. Livin’ the dream! Oh and go for a run, preferably one that lasts longer than Sunday’s and is marginally quicker. That means getting up early, which means going to bed early – neither of which are in my usual routine.

And yes, epic fail, the alarm  was set, JCR not. Three hours later I set off on the same route as last time, only today it’s hotter and there’s less shade available. Stupid tart syndrome entirely of my own making and 29 degrees is about 84 F, so really scorchio.

Needless to say not a soul about, the dog walkers got out earlier on, I wonder if I can get them to bed shame me for a run? Lovers’ Lane was predictably hot and dusty and Villa Bali didn’t give me any shade whatsoever and so I made my weary back to Mill Lane, where even the water pumping station was quiet. All I could hear was the chirruping of cicadas. Now when they get going I find it makes me feel hotter, there must be something auto-suggestive about that particular noise. I could feel my face getting redder and redder and the panting was increasing too. In truth this bit of the run is always hard as it’s the first ten minutes and it takes a while to get in my stroll. I pootled down the Slope of Hope, got ‘goosed’ by the barking balcony house. They seem to have obtained another deeper voiced dog, and both of them conspired to make me jump. Both dogs have the knack of staying quiet until I’m just about past them and then they bark into action.

Having recovered some kind of composure I made my way towards Laundry Lane and it was fairly brutal, I did find a small 50 yard section under mottled shade and ran that backwards and forwards a few times, to get my run to the 4km distance marker. At that point there was no shade to be had at all and Laundry Lane starts rising quite considerably, my bucket of grit and determination was most definitely full of holes. My C25K  is now officially going backwards, I’ve done 1 km in a run less than about a month ago, but a temperature difference of running in the sixties to running in the eighties does cut me a bit of slack.

Upside I ran 4km today

Downside – not getting up and the temperature

Overall Rating – Could do better JCR

Stats

Distance 4km – so it was longer

Time – Awful – no improvement on pace, but see above

Temperature – Brutal

People – None

Leaps in the Air – Two

Physio

Just going to do it…

Oh and btw on Sunday’s run I actually tried my skipping rope afterwards. OMG it’s too embarrassing to contemplate just how little coordination I possess.

Music

Mens’s Names

Best track – Telegram Sam – I loved Marc Bolan, I think he was my first grown up crush, although my first child crush was on Troy Tempest. I actually wanted to be his mute girlfriend Marina, which considering I loathe swimming and the sea, is utterly bizarre  🙂

 

Week 13 Run 3 – All Washed Up On Laundry Lane

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Laundry Lane, before I fell victim to scorchio sun

Well it’s been quite a week, Mr Macron kindly opened the French borders on Sunday, which meant on Monday we were frantically clearing out the apartment and packing up the car to drive to Italy on Tuesday. A late night Chunnel got us to France in the very early hours of Wednesday morning. Cue a 22 hour drive marathon, with me , Mr JCR and Paula making a very untimely reappearance for the journey.

Thursday passed in a blur of sleeping and unloading. Friday similar, but add in doing some food shopping. Saturday, getting the house in order and an absolute mountain of ironing done, plus dealing with the recalcitrant Paula. All of which led me to today’s inaugural run back in Italy. It didn’t get off to a promising start, when I had the most horrendous stomach cramps, but a mug of tea and putting on my big girl pants meant I’d decided to go out.

Aha, JCR you’d forgotten about the summer in Italy, and yes it’s scorchio and leaving at 10am for a run, was perhaps a couple of hours too late as the temperature was showing at 27 degrees. My warm-up walk took me to Mill Lane and I was running in earnest down Lovers’ Lane passing two such lovers walking hand in hand, passed by a very red and panting JCR. A quick lope around Villa Bali grounds and back to Mill Lane. There I had a dilemma take the downward track of the Hill that Kills, or the Slope of Hope.

The Slope of Hope won out, and it’s nice to know that some things never change, the accursed barking dog surprised me and then I met our neighbour’s dog Argo out on a walk with Patrizia. She welcomed me back and expressed surprise at me running in make-up – actually just lipstick – pootler’s pink, one of the encouraging tricks to get me out of the door.

Taking a right turn towards our village and Laundry Lane, I’d forgotten exactly how exposed that road is, with very little shade to be had. I was running from tree to tree in an attempt to keep cool, but this was a very hard effort. And after a while, I could go no further, the heat is really sapping, and I have to acclimatise to it once more. I’d run out of water and with Paula dogging my every step, it would not have been sensible to continue running (even if I could) so at 3.5kms in I stopped running and ambled back home. Just over 5kms done, 2/3 in a run and 1/3 a very slow walk. When I did C25K the first time around I started my running in these temperatures and so acclimatised from day one to running in heat. This time it’s different I’ve done all my running in the much cooler UK and nothing has prepared me for scorchio weather without shade. Clearly more running lessons to be learned. Maybe I will alternate shorter intervals of running with a restful walk until I get used to the temperatures again…

So unfortunately, I did end up all washed out in Laundry Lane. But to continue the analogy, my dirty washing has been aired – I’m a cool weather runner apparently. I just need to get out earlier and take it slower, but sometimes it’s worth taking a step back to move forward (Mr JCR will hate that phrase – especially if I say it’s a journey!!)

No worries, I now know where I had to stop, so I will try and do just that little bit better next time out.

Stats

  • 3.6km run
  • Timing – a shocker
  • 3 leaps in the air due to dogs barking, the Slope of Hope, Laundry Lane and Argo’s loop.

Playlist

Sweetie Mix 

Best Song Deacon Blue and Chocolate Girl, because the lyrics say:

He calls her the chocolate girl
Cause he thinks she melts when he touches her

No-one around to melt me, just the scorchio sun and I was melting

Physio

Yes and I hated it…

 

 

 

 

 

Week 13 Run 2 – Hitting a Six

Okay,  Paula is still a problem, but slowly improving, so today I thought I’d try the run/walk method to see if I could run six kilometres. No need to rush it, just take a walking break and re-start running, the distance run is more important than time.

It’s a glorious day for it, a bit of shade and not too hot, although heaven alone knows how I will acclimatise back in Italy with 30 degrees+ and mosquitoes…

I hope to do one final run before we leave London, but with a car to pack, house to clear and some re-decorating to finish – yes F..ing and Bo..ks I mean you again, it seems a bit of wishful thinking, Therefore this is a brief post, so I don’t prevaricate before getting down to the clear down out of lockdown.

I ran, I rested, I ran again

I managed 6.09km, my first time since re-start.

It was hard, I’m hot and sweaty and my face is a rather unappealing shade of puce. In fact I’ve just checked it against the latest Dulux colour chart, I’m calling it in as Volcanic Red.

Which reminds me I need to update the runners’ colours page. And the beautiful flowers c/o Salters Hall gardens – my favourite mini oasis in the City. Soon I get to see my own lavender in Italy – yay

Screenshot 2020-06-14 at 11.28.33

Stats

6.09km run

Average Pace 6:37/km – not exactly Speedy Gonzales…

Music

Sweetie Playlist

Best track was  Cake By The Ocean – DNCE, it got me through the terrible tens…

Physio

Yes:-

  • Clams
  • Hip Flexor Things
  • Bridges
  • Squats
  • Touching Toes
  • Constipated Crabs
  • Pelvic Thrusts

 

 

Week 12 Run 2 – Today I Was Supposed To Be

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somewhere else. Not any old somewhere else you understand, but acting as a back up driver for Mr JCR doing a mammoth ride of over 2000km in 2 weeks to raise money for MND/ALS sufferers.

The plan was to depart on Saturday, via our good friend’s house in Arnhem, over the Alps with a few unforgettable ascents to be made and onto our home in Italy on World MND/ALS day, linking all three countries via one mad man, his bike, his forgetful spouse and loads of goodwill, all to raise lots of cash for MND and ALS support and research in UK, Holland and Italy

The ride is called the Giro Di Muscoli and is based on the principle of  a grand cycling tour, similar to Tour De France, The Italian Giro or La Vuelta. And it was supposed to start yesterday from London, with a celebrity send off and many London cyclists accompanying my husband on his first leg to Harwich. Today was to have been the arrival in Arnhem to meet up with our dear friends Gerben and Jeanne. Gerben was diagnosed with ALS five years ago now, and his tenacity and never ending support from Jeanne and family, led him to secure significant sponsorship, to enable us to put on the Giro di Muscoli to raise funds for MND/ALS. Cyclists  are paying to complete various stages and getting sponsorship for their rides.

The plan was that the tour would take two very hard weeks, finishing in Italy, our home, on World ALS/MND Day 21st June. Now things are on hold, and Mr JCR cycled the first stage to Harwich on Saturday with three ICC buddies acting as outriders and moral support. He  also did the return leg from Harwich to London on Saturday too. This ride equates in distance  to the original  Saturday and Sunday plans to get to Arnhem – the famous location of A Bridge Too Far.

Mr JCR has done two incredibly hard legs in absolutely crappy weather and now it’s my turn to get off my arse and go for a run. For me two legs of about 20 minutes time each leg, with a five minute break. Clearly there’s a significant difference between Mr JCR’s fitness and mine!

My fitness and stretching routine for Saturday involved painting that bloody wall again. Coat number four, with new paint pads instead of the sexy but blighted roller, the cheaper roller and the mini roller. And guess what, yes it’s still bloody patchy. What’s really frustrating is I’ve patched up the other hall wall with much darker paint (not Farrow and Ball) and even though I did it really hastily, it matches better than the F&B wall – oh and it is an equally expensive brand, being patched after five years. Whilst I’m happy to admit I’m not a world class painter, I’m not entirely bereft of talent. At first I thought it was the tools, but with four different types of applicator, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the paint.

You need to do one coat all the way down from ceiling to floor, without gapping or stopping to reload paint, and the minute you try and feather out the joins between the first stroke and the second stroke, you end up with a visible join.

For me F&B has now got a new name F…king  and Boll…ks. And this is what one of the decorators said on one of the fora I checked out.

No no no and no! Too much hassle too many coats. Total nightmare! Unless it’s your place and you’ve got a million years to paint it! That’s my Farrow and Ball Emulsion review

This is a running blog, not a painting blog, but I seemed to have done more bloody painting than running lately. So to today’s run…

It’s cool and I’m sporting potentially corned beef colour legs again, on my way for two 20 minutes intervals. The warm up walk takes me towards the City, to do a loop up Old Street, Clerkenwell Road, Gray’s Inn Road, Holborn, St Pauls, Cheapside and back home, I reckon it’s just about long enough to get in forty minutes of running.

All fairly quiet today, the weather keeping most folk at home I guess, and I amble my way up to Old Street, crossing a road near a petrol station and a car almost runs me down, he shot into reverse without seeing me behind. Luckily he stopped, and a nice man asked if I was okay – I was fine, the car only touched me briefly. He then said ‘it was his fault’ and I nodded. By this time idiot driver man had driven away.

Somewhat shaken out of my stride I continued on my way, there’s some signs of things coming back to normal, with a few cafes opening for takeaway, and shop owners  clearing up stocks and generally tidying up.

Making my way towards Holborn, I came across a mobile road block, a family of five taking up the whole pavement, I was preparing to get grumpy/dart onto the main road and was totally surprised when the father looked behind him, then shepherded his family to one side of the pavement so I could undertake. Wow two nice people on one run – astonishing! I did say thank you.

Heading towards the City from St Pauls, I passed this chap and did a double take, as I was running I genuinely thought someone had fallen over in a shop window.  I turned back to see if they were alright. Okay JCR, stupid tart syndrome has hit you again:-

  1. We are in the midst of an epidemic, pretty much all the shops are closed
  2. It’s a Sunday in the City, pretty much all shops are closed as standard
  3. It’s a City boy shirt company, pretty much all City boy shirt shops are closed as standard on a Sunday, as the City boys have gone home, and they haven’t been in the City anyway because of point number one
  4. The body didn’t have a head

At this point I had about 3 minutes running left, so I just ran a mini route along Poultry and Gresham Street until my time was done, sporting an embarrassingly red face, not the same colour as F…ing and B..cks, but definitely on the warmer shade of the spectrum.

Job done, the first twenty minute interval not too bad the second a lot slower, but I expected that. Today I was supposed to be somewhere else, doing something far more worthy for MND and ALS sufferers, but Mr JCR and his outriders did a fab job yesterday, and a whole host of Dutch riders are actually riding the proper Hook of Holland to Arnhem leg today.

Congratulations and Best Wishes to them all, we will see you in September, for the revised Giro.

Stats

  • Just under 6km run
  • 2 nice chaps
  • 1 plonker
  • I ‘undead’ mannequin

Music

Male Names Playlist

Best track – It’s Raining Men because it kept me going right at the death

Physio

Yes, done.

 

 

 

 

Week 11 Run 3 – Flawed Out

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Dusty and hot – so was I

And here we go again, back to normal routine after the Rainbow challenge at the weekend, and having seen everyone else’s efforts I feel slightly ashamed at a pathetic 2.6kms contribution.

Lockdown has meant an improvement in fitness, but evidently not that much and like many other folks we have a  ‘to do’ list of mini improvements to make to mind, body and home.

Number one – no snacks – well it depends what you call snacks. Does cheese count?

Number two – cut down on alcohol – work in progress, we have socially distanced cocktails tonight and tomorrow

Number three – do some much needed re-decorating – another work in progress. Mr JCR commented after my first attempt using a mini roller, that it wasn’t a great idea as you could see paint streaks when looking from certain angles. He was absolutely right, no worries – a second coat would be fine and just make the wall look smarter. Second attempt wasn’t that much better as the bigger brand new roller had a flaw in it, which meant we had a ‘pattern repeat’ of rough spots on the wall that you could still see when the sun shone…. That means buying another roller, the recommended roller can take up to 7-10 days to arrive and it’s not available from general DIY places. Number three is in danger of being constantly deferred, not least because I’m losing the will to get it done.

Number four – get a list of admin tasks done, which includes number three as above, you can see already the flaw in number four!

Having limited myself on the snacking yesterday, and Monday is a no alcohol night anyway, today was all about setting a good routine, and I was aiming to run for 40 minutes solid and going for a greater distance than 5kms. No excuses allowed, not even dodgy rollers…

The sun was shining strongly and I set off seeking shade, my first km was under 7 minutes – not great but faster than a few weeks ago. Then I got my own ‘pattern repeat’ of rough spots, second kilometre really slow, for no apparent reason and then I was back into my stride for km number three, pootling around the City.

The City is still like a graveyard, save for the occasional clatter and bang from some building sites, my right hip giving me some gip, which I think maybe due to going up and down the mini – steps for the unsuccessful decorating. Willing my hip to keep quiet and not mess me about, I made my towards Islington’s Upper Street.

I used to go fish running regularly, but usually in Winter, when I could carry it in my sweatshirt pouch, it’s not quite so convenient to wear a sweatshirt in this heat, so my aim was to get to the fish shop and finish my run there, whatever the distance. But I failed, I was really, really hot, I’d long since run out of water and the last part of the run was in full sun, so instead of doing a 6km run, I managed just about 5.5km. On the up side it’s more than the 5km  and I want to get back up to 10km as my standard run. I’ll never be a  Usain Bolt but if I can go the distance I will be happy.

At the fish shop my NHS Responder Volunteer App went off for the second time today (first time aborted as the ‘client’ didn’t respond to my three attempts to contact them). I accepted the call, thinking I was only about 20 minutes from home anyway and could help out. And another epic fail, this time the client was in Boston, Lincolnshire. I duly phoned the volunteer helpline, to tell them again that for whatever reason my location and the client’s location weren’t being matched correctly.

It’s a known bug in the system apparently and it’s beginning to bug me. I have yet to help anyone, I’ve taken umpteen calls, spanning the UK. I told the woman that whilst I could drive to Boston to help out, the police may take a dim view and I didn’t want a Dominic Cummings press conference to explain myself! She laughed and said they didn’t know why the bug worked this way and a fix is imminent, but that yes, she could see I’d had more than my fair share of ‘failed’ calls. So it feels ‘fishy’ , how come it’s always me?- Mr JCR is on the same app and he has at least had calls in London, albeit not so local, but at least he’s done some.

Me and my fish (monkfish) made our way home, I was hot and a bit peed off that I hadn’t managed the six kilometres, and I hadn’t seen anything of interest to snap. I meandered through Fortune Park, where my fortunes changed – one flowering plant, a bit hot and bothered like me, but it was blooming.

So there you go  a flaw in my paint roller, a flaw in my running plan and a flaw in the Volunteer app. It’s a pattern repeat of rough spots, but the sun was shining, and I did go out, and I did do better on distance, so it’s not totally floored me.

Week 12 will be better!

Stats

Distance 5.57 km (excluding the 3km walk back)

Time – embarrassing

Fish – two types

Physio

Yup, but focussed today just on the right hip

Music

Men’s names

Best song – Is Vic There? He wasn’t and if he was a client of the NHS Volunteer App, I bet he’d have lived in Inverness anyway.

 

C25K – Week 10 Done, and So Was I

The last run of week 10 beckoned and I was faffing. Get ready, add the shopping bag to my running shoes, because today is a fish run. Put the laundry on, take the rubbish out, chat to the concierge, strut on my warm up walk. Flash of panic, I can’t recall locking the apartment door, a run back to the block, check the door, it was fine, start the warm up strut again, slightly pinker in face than when I’d started.

Not so much JCR as Jan Can Panic, after being Jan Can Prevaricate.

On my second attempt, I decided just to run where my legs would take me – minimum 30 minutes or 5km whichever was manageable. It was very muggy and I was being covered in thrips whilst running. Particularly gruesome when they go in your mouth. Ugh.

I decided to head up West a bit via Holborn and the Inns of Court area, it’s usually quiet here and I was listening to my colours playlist, which has a reasonable number of His Purple Highness’ tracks – I’d got through Little Red Corvette, Raspberry Beret and Cream by the time I saw even more lovely flowers near St Pauls.

My favourite track is on this playlist is Purple Rain, but stubbornly His Purple Highness refused to play ball. My running mate Mummycav has the most fantastic pair of new red trainers and I thought of her taking them out for the inaugural run when Elvis Costello came on, singing Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes. I was aiming towards The Strand and took a little diversion and came across my final pic.

I don’t know if it was a lockdown hint, but like most people my ‘standards’ have taken a tumble during these past couple of months. From my hair being immaculately coloured and cut every 4 weeks, to a a badger stripe of roots having to be cunningly disguised with L’Oreal’s magic spray. Maybe I need to also look at the old eyebrows and see if they need sorting too, if so Tweezer’s Alley is the best place to do that work al fresco.

A couple of weeks ago, whilst running around the City I came across Whalebone Court, and I thought then I may need that kind of corseting to get back into pre Corona belly shape. So whilst London’s gardens are ablaze with colour and in their prime, I find my self needing hair colour, an eyebrow shape and looking less than sublime.

Maybe a virtual shopping trip run is necessary for me to improve my wardrobe and grooming, that could be a good theme for next time out maybe. I feel a running plan coming into being.

The 5kms were done but it was a struggle to get going in the warmth of mid-day. Note to self, get up earlier!

Stats

5km run

Another 5km walk

One False Start

Physio

Same old, same old

Playlist

Colours playlist

Best track Purple Rain, even though His Purple Highness waited until I’d got back into the apartment.

 

 

Saying Goodbye – Week 9 Run 3

 

So today has arrived once more – the final run of C25K – the graduation run. Today is my last official date with Mr Smooth and also a very sad day for me too. This is the first time I’ve actually run on my dad’s birthday, and this is the first after he died in December, so on my twenty-seventh run for my C25K graduation, my thoughts were a little mixed up.

You can’t measure how much someone means to you, but I thought the best tribute I could pay was to make sure I ran on his birthday, as I’m sure he’d be proud that I’d kickstarted my running once more. Prior to the curse that is Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia – he had both in a rather nasty combination, my dad was the fittest he’d ever been. He swam daily from Spring to Autumn, played tennis at least a couple of times a week and did a set number of lengths on his rowing machine (mainly because he didn’t know how to re-set it!) He had calves like flat irons and was as fit as f..k.

After a coronavirus Spring, I haven’t run daily, can’t play tennis, hate rowing, and my calves are more a Cornish pasty shape than a flat iron. However my retirement bod is a work in progress, and hopefully once lockdown recedes and we can get back to Italy, my fitness and shape will improve as I am the proud possessor of a corona paunch and a drawer full of ‘wishful thinking’ clothes.

Mr JCR promised bubbles on the balcony if I completed the run, what more encouragement does a girl need?

The sun was glorious and Mr Blue Sky was playing to start me on my way, I was going to do the usual triangle for thirty minutes. Shoulders and head heavy in thought I set out, actually avoiding the sun as it is a tad scorchio and I’m not acclimatised to the heat at all, following seven months in the UK and no warm Italian sun to get my muscles going.

First loop around, not so bad, no Peter Parka to glower at me, but quite a few chauffeurs hanging around the pavement so I needed to dodge more parkers and run in the road. On the second loop I decided it wasn’t really conducive to a relaxing run and set off towards the City and St Pauls, hugging the shade. My first kilometre was a lot faster than I’ve managed since restarting the program, and that was very encouraging. Keeping the rhythm I just kept at it and magically the one minute warning came through. Mr Smooth jubilant in his praise for me nearly doing the full thirty minutes, but what I hadn’t told him was that I was going to keep going until I’d actually hit 5kms, rather than the 30 minutes non-stop running. So I kept on going and at about 36 minutes I hit the magic 5km number. Not fast, not pretty, very sweaty, a little teary eyed, but I thought of V for Victory, V for 5 kilometres and V for very much missing my pops today.

Mr JCR arrived at the agreed Victory Arch and walked me home for bubbles on the balcony as promised. My pops would very much have liked that touch – Mr JCR making sure I never walked alone.

Stats

  • 5km run
  • Walking just under 3km
  • Tears  – many

Music

Dad Dancing Classics

Best track – Mr Blue Sky because it got me on my first 5km run in ages

Physio

Not today – frankly couldn’t be bothered, will pick it up next time