11 Feb – No Pain, No Gain

Today was supposed to be day 2 of the new ‘4 days on, 1 day off’ regime, that I am trying. However, Friday was a legitimate rest day, Saturday was not. Saturday was instead migraine day. Oh joy, and it is impossible to run when I have one. This is another of those things nobody ever, ever tells you about getting old. You become victim to WMAS syndrome. Stupid health things that stop you doing what you want to.

Saturday was therefore a right-off, and today I had to go Monopoly yellow square hunting. That is, Leicester Square, Coventry Street and Piccadilly, all conveniently in an easy line for me to run through. The downside, none of them sufficiently far enough away for me to make up yesterday’s missed kilometres.

As usual I made my way to the Top Gear tunnel under the Barbican and my attention was drawn to a lady who appeared to be smiling rather flirtatiously at a Barbican pillar. Now the Barbican is definitely a love it or loathe it piece of architecture, personally, I am a fan, although I concede it needs a clean up. Even allowing for this lady to potentially be a lover of the Barbican, it is a weird thing to do, to smile at a concrete pillar.

What I couldn’t quite see from my angle, was that her boyfriend/husband/cameraman was taking a picture of her and he was kneeling on the ground. Mystery solved – she was smiling at hubby/boyf/cameraman – not the pillar then…

Sunday is a nice day for running in London, generally the marauding hordes are lessened and it’s easier to get around. Except that I was heading West and Leicester Square was very busy with some street entertainers garnering rather large crowds. Queues again at the Lego store and lots of people with M&M carrier bags. I must admit that is something I don’t understand, M&M’s are American and yet people come to London to buy American sweets. If it was a Smarties store, I could understand it.

I carried on along Piccadilly, as ever Fortnums doorways clogged up and their new tea based window installation (neon teapots) was causing a bit of pavement blocking for all those  authentic ‘I went to London’ photos to be taken. At this stage I had only done about 4kms which was way below the target kms, so I continued on Piccadilly into Green Park, which although bare, was rather nice to run around, the sun was shining, people strolling and it’s a nice place to be. I headed out towards the Mall and then towards home.

On the return I ‘re-got’ Trafalgar Square, Strand and Fleet Street, and then headed to the City, where I re-bagged Liverpool St Station. With a bit of jiggery pokery around the City, I ended up having done just over 13kms. Not bad JCR, but not enough to make up Saturday’s deficit… So tomorrow and Tuesday, the well trodden routes beckon and I have to get in at least 15kms on the next two runs, just to keep pace. Because Wednesday we fly to Winter Camp.

The good news was today I had no pain or migraine, but I didn’t gain the missing day’s worth of running. This tells me there really is little margin for error, illness or laziness on this challenge. If tomorrow goes to plan, I should be able to hit the 10% distance marker for the year’s challenge. And that would make me 10% of the distance with 12% of the year having gone.

Playlist

Be My Number Two – Jo Jackson

Beat Crazy – Ditto

Breaking Us In Two – Ditto

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club

Dreaming – OMD

Dreaming Of Me – Depeche Mode

Electric Barbarella – Duran Duran

Embarrassment – Madness

Every Breath You Take – The Police

Girls on Film – Duran Duran

Gold – Spandau Ballet

House of Fun – Madness

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Mamma Mia – Abba

Notorious – Duran Duran

Purple Rain – His Purple Highness

Rasputin – Boney M

The Reflex – Duran Duran

She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult

Somewhere in My Heart – Aztec Camera

Thriller – Michael Jackson

A View To A Kill – Michael Jackson

Stats

Distance – 13.49km

Time 1:27:22

Average Pace 6:28 (mins/Km)

Elevation Gain 72 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 194.21

Kms to Do 1883.79

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8 Feb – Running Like An Octopus

IMG_1497
The Final Community Chest for Monopoly

Today is the last day of my running streak.

It started well with loads of messages of support from the C25K gang and in particular ju-ju, who instagrammed name checked me. I am middle aged I don’t really know what that means, but it is a nice gesture!

With the chillier weather, I gave myself some time to faff, before going out. And so on my run, it was near Packington Street where stupid tart syndrome hit me. Why not try blowing your nose (middle aged permanent affliction it seems), whilst taking off your hat, hairband and phone in armband, whilst redistributing your keys into the running tights front pocket?

Why not? – because you need eight arms, that’s why not. I spent a fruitless age trying to get myself organised. Had I just deployed basic common sense I could have been done in a couple of minutes. As it was, I reckon I spent 5 or 6 minutes struggling to do five teeny, tiny tasks, when if I’d just thought for a moment, the time could have been spent running.

This is the problem with cold weather and being a woman of a certain age. I start off freezing cold and within 2 kms of starting, everything heats up. At the point of extreme heat, clearly my brain goes awol and stupid tart syndrome then takes me over.

Having re-arranged my hat, gloves, headband and money into the hoodie pouch, I started off again, looking like a pregnant kangaroo. Next stop the fishmonger’s – aargh there is someone ahead of me, so I have to pause the mechanical voice lady on Map My Run, and then with my fish, I add that to the octopus’s activity pocket and out I run. Now I look like a very heavily pregnant kangaroo.

After all this streak running I feel quite tired, even though I’ve only done just over 3.5kms at this point, but on I plod remembering my minimum 5km commitment. Amazingly a lorry stopped to let me cross a road, which was quite a pleasant surprise. I still hex all courier drivers, as routinely they are some of the most ill-tempered drivers I ever see. I hold particular contempt for DPD, who never, ever, stop to let you cross and when you give way to them, never, ever acknowledge the courtesy.

The 5km prompt comes up and I really want to give up, but decide I will plod just that bit further if I can. And I did not quite 6km today, but tomorrow I get a rest. I am looking forward to a day off.

Playlist

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty

I Ran – A Flock of Seagulls

Talk Talk – Talk Talk

Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Tears For Fears

Hold Me Now – Thompson Twins

I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty

Fade To Grey – Visage

Don’t You Want Me – The Human League

Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds

Eighties – Killing Joke

I Want Your Love – Transmission Vamp

Liberator – Spear of Destiny

Trapped – Colonel Abrams

Cuddly Toy – Roachford

A New England – Billy Bragg

There Must Be An Angel – Eurythmics

I Only Want To Be With You – The Tourists

Stats

Distance 5.90 km

Time 46:57

Average Pace 7:57 (including stupid tart syndrome and fish shop queue)

Elevation Gain 27 metres

Running Streak – 8 days

Alzheimers Challenge

Kms run to date 180.72

Kms to run 1827.28

According to Map My Run I am 8037th out of 113,415* participants on their 2018 challenge.

*But there are definitely some dodgy stats on there… How many people can have fitted in 40 workouts of over 100km a time do you reckon? Oh  and since the 1st January… Apparently this is an internet thing, people create false ids and cheat the system by posting stupid stats…

 

 

 

 

6 Feb – Chasing The Sun & Marked By The Devil

 

It’s brass monkey weather here, well 3 degrees anyway. And I have to go out for a run. So have invited Faffolino for a visit, and in fairness she is doing well.

First off, just go and have a nice coffee and breakfast muffin at the local Fix cafe. Second go buy and some fish – brill if you ask. Then grocery shopping, then organise the laundry, then do the ironing. Quite a lot of faffing to avoid going out in the cold…

But it doesn’t matter how much Faffolino helps me faff, the run is still breathing down my neck and so I’ll go.

Literally chasing the sun, I want to stay where the sun is shining, because in the shade, it is perishingly cold. I pass a little ray of sunshine when I see a tiny garden with gnomes – now they are not my thing at all, but on a very cold day, they did make me smile.

Although today isn’t an official Monopoly run, I do want to bag another ‘Community Chest’ square and so make my way to Clerkenwell Green, historic venue for sedition, the 1 May Workers’ March and Lenin’s Newspaper when he was living in London. For me it is the historic venue for a salt grit chest, in fact there are three there. But that is too easy for me to bag two, so I will find my final one elsewhere on a run.

After Clerkenwell Green I make my way to Lincolns Inn Fields and the legal part of London, it is quite nice being able to get away into the Inns of Court, away from traffic and (deliberately) I get to pick up another Monopoly square for the second Chance square, when I run past Chancery Lane tube station.

That’s it for Monopolysing on today’s run, I make my way to Fleet Street and St Pauls, now I am on the home run about 2km from home. It is quite quiet in and around the City – I am guessing most people want to stay indoors away from the cold, usually I have to dodge the smokers, huddled around doorways, but today none at all.

I started off chasing sunshine and ended up shading my target 6km. And then I checked into the Under Armour 2018 challenge. Good news is I am still in the top 8%,  I then thought I could look at my age group and oh dear, I appear to be marked by the device with my rating of 666th place. Better get out again tomorrow to change that.

Playlist

2468 Motorway – Tom Robinson Band

5705 – City Boy

Three Little Birds – Bob Marley

Five Years – David Bowie

She Will Be Loved – Maroon 5

Morning Train (9to5) – Sheena Easton

People In Love – 10cc

The Eleven Rap – Dark Punk

Thirteen Sad Farewells – Stu Larsen

Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen – Neil Sedaka

Edge of Seventeen – Stevie Nicks

18 Til I Die – Bryan Adams

19 – Paul Hardcastle

21 Guns – Green Day

When I’m Sixty Four – The Beatles

Disco 2000 – Pulp

96 Tears – ? And The Mysterions

Stats

Distance 6.64km

Time 47:08

Average Pace 7:05 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 28 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run To Date 166.96

Kms Still To Do 1851.04

Running Streak – 6 days

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4 Feb – Taking Mr Smooth To See The Sights

 

It had been quite a while since me and Mr Smooth had hooked up, but as I had his date reminder, telling me to get my trainers on and run, I thought I’d take him for a day out today. I’d forgotten just how blissful Mr Smooth’s voice was, from telling me that I had done well and he was sure I could make it, to him suggesting a warm up walk would be in order. Lovely.

Today’s weather better than yesterday, now me and Mr Smooth were hunting red Monopoly squares:-

  1. Fleet Street
  2. The Strand
  3. Trafalgar Square

All of which are rather conveniently located in a line, from the east of the City to the prime West End. Heading towards south Smithfield Market, the traffic was backed up – this is really unusual on a Sunday morning. I made my way to Farringdon Road and yup all snarled up. Turning off into Fleet Street (yes one red square done and less than a km from home!), I passed the first of a number of Harry Potter afficianados.

Your first one is always the best and he had the hat, scarf, hoodie and bag. I’d seen the bags and hats and scarves previously, but not the hoodie, oh and of course it was in Gryffindor colours, which I’m guessing must out-sell the other houses by about 10 to 1.

Crossing Fleet Street aiming towards the Strand, another Gryffindor hat espied and an awful lot of barriers being erected down the length of the Strand. Took my pics of Simpsons on the Strand and the road sign and on I went.

Hitting Trafalgar Square where even more barriers were being erected and Magic FM were broadcasting. Ah yes, I had forgotten today is The Winter Run in aid of Cancer Research. I couldn’t get in this year when I found out about it, the entry spaces had gone unless you were bringing sponsorship, and with the Alzheimer’s Challenge I  already have on my plate, I decided I’d try and do the Winter Run next year. And behind the newly erected barriers, a street artist had chalked the Monopoly Board.

IMG_4942
Monopoly at Trafalgar

Feeling a bit embarrassed being a non Winter Run runner – it felt like being an unwanted guest at a wedding party,  so I slipped out of the back of Trafalgar Square, to avoid all the folks with their Winter Run bags.

Final Gryffindor clothing seen, a scarf in red and gold – not entirely sure it was official merchandise, but it was definitely house colours. Mr Smooth was telling me I had one minute left to have run solidly for 30 minutes. And although he gave me permission to walk, I hadn’t quite done 5km yet, so I continued.

I headed home towards Lincolns Inn Fields and passed the Sir John Soanes’ Museum, where the lady ticket seller, shouted encouragingly at me to keep going and not give up. I hope to goodness she didn’t think I was one of the Winter Run runners, although I didn’t see any sign of the run nearby.

Just on the 6km mark, I was headed back towards Smithfield and crossing a blocked road, when a little boy of about 6/7 said to his parents (also crossing) – ‘that lady is running very slowly’. Now he wasn’t lying, I was. But it is rather humiliating to have it pointed out so publicly – his mum told him to ssshhh. With my arsey Liverpudlian mood on, I felt sorely tempted to flick him the bird. But then common sense reasserted itself and I decided that running slowly will get me my challenge done. Sprinting like Usain won’t.  I did give him a mental V sign though… 😉

Slow running with Mr Smooth kept me going and we got all three red squares today.

Playlist

Temptation – Heaven 17

Electricity – OMD

Purple Rain – His Purple Highness

Temptation – Heaven 17

New Moon On Monday – Duran Duran

All She Wants Is – Ditto

Hungry Like The Wolf – Ditto

Planet Earth – Ditto

(there was something weird going on, because when I reached Trafalgar Square Magic Fm played Rio by Duran Duran, and this coincided with my ‘shuffled’ Duran Duran episode)

I Can’t Stand Up – Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Somewhere In My Heart – Aztec Camera

Joan of Arc – OMD

Save a Prayer – Duran Duran

Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode

Every Breath You Take – The Police

Stats

Distance 7.5 km

Time 54:08

Average Pace 7:13 (mins/km)

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Completed 153.53

Kms To Do 1864.47

Running Streak – Day 4

 

 

30 Jan – Oranges and Lemons…

As part of my rather disorganised preparation for this run I ate a couple of satsumas, in homage to today’s orange theme. I also changed my Lululemon ‘fish carrying’ top for a black and orange lined running jacket, hoping that wearing orange would help in hunting down those pesky orange squares on the Monopoly board.

Km 1 – Barbican to Fetter Lane. All was fine, nicely warmed up and Gold by Spandau Ballet was playing, and that’s how my legs felt.

Km 2 – Fetter Lane to The Strand. Actually I ran past St Clements in the Dane Church (just spotted that) so my nursery rhyme title is very appropriate. Also ‘I Am The Law’ by Human League came on shortly after going past the Royal Courts of Justice. So far, so apt.

Km 3 – The Strand to Bow Street and beyond. First orange square done, but Dr Google Maps was a little behind me again, so I did go around the houses to get there. Not a lot to see.

Km 4 – Floral Street to Leicester Square – Nothing to see, nothing to report, but my it was busy with people and lots of Primark carrier bags.

Km 5 – Leicester Square to Piccadilly. This time I got the Community Chest (of grit, as recommended by MickJGof the Couch 25K community) and also did a quick step up to Vine Street, which was decidedly underwhelming. Two orange squares down

Km 6 – Piccadilly to Hyde Park. Totally nothing to see, except horrid traffic.

Km 7 – Knightsbridge to Sloane Street. Cars, cars, cars, cars, buses, buses, buses, shoppers, shoppers, shoppers. ABSOLUTELY NO SPACE TO RUN EASILY AARRGGHH.

Km 8 – Sloane Street Back to Brompton Road. Dr Google Maps was a little behind me, and I wasn’t entirely sure which was the best route to take to get that final elusive orange.

Km 9 – Brompton Road and back to Sloane Street. Yay, finally got that third orange square – Marlborough Street  and a very nice Chelsea residential street it is too.

Km 10 – Sloane Street to Pont Street. On the way home and this is where the bloody-minded gene kicks in. I think I could just do a little bit more, maybe stopping at Piccadilly, as very km counts when making up this deficit.

Km 11 – Pont Street to Grosvenor Crescent. Very well heeled and chi-chi here, I can’t tell you how many chihuahuas and similar dog rats were being walked by maids/dog walkers. I however was not well heeled and my face definitely not chi-chi…

Km 12 – Grosvenor Crescent  to Green Park. This was getting really tough my Mrs Overall running style hit me, and it was only the intervention of Purple Rain by His Purple Highness in Green Park that got me through.

Km 13 – Green Park to Shaftesbury Avenue. Way too many people for me to work around, Mrs Overall had not only made an appearance, but was asking for a piggy back, and my back was screaming at me to stop. But bloody mindedness kicked in and I decided to continue…

Km 14 – Shaftesbury Avenue to Grape Street. This was really a case of mind over matter, my legs were just shuffling and I was breathing hard, with shin splints and a stitch. No matter, I knew I could reach the magic 15km, and that was becoming a prize, devoutly wanted.

Km 15 – Grape Street to Chancery Lane. I had to dodge quite a number of folk here and elbow barged one lady – not deliberately but I was running, she wasn’t and then she moved into me. At least that is my version of events and with no soccer VAR to confirm otherwise that is the version I am sticking with.

Km 16 – Chancery Lane to Charterhouse Street. This was just hurting beyond belief, everything ached, feet, sides, glutes, calves, head, everything.  She Sells Sanctuary came on, and I did need sanctuary, I needed an ambulance in fact. But then I thought if I could just do 16 km then I’d make the half marathon distance for a whole day, and so to;

Km 16.21 – Charterhouse Street – Carthusian Street. I just had to beat the 16km mark, to prove I could. And I did.

From oranges to lemons, I feel like all the pips have been squeezed. There is no more juice to give and I hobbled home. So sore I can’t even stretch out my muscles; a hot shower, a nap and a meal beckons. I will never, ever run in the morning and then do a long one in the afternoon. Ever.

Playlist

Girls On Film  –  Duran Duran

Go Wild In The Country – Ditto

Gold – Spandau Ballet

House Of Fun – Madness

Hungry Like The Wolf – Duran Duran

I Am The Law – Human League

I Can’t Stand Up – Elvis Costello & The Attractions

I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me – Nik Kershaw

Is Vic There? – Department S

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Joan Of Arc – OMD

The Look Of Love – ABC

Love’s Unkind – Donna Summer

Maid Of Orleans – OMD

New Life – Depeche Mode

New Moon On Monday – Duran Duran

Night Boat To Cairo – Madness

Night Fever – Bee Gees

No More I Love You’s – The Lover Speaks

Notorious – Duran Duran

Oliver’s Army – Elvis Costello

Our House – Madness

People Are People – Depeche Mode

Personal Jesus – Ditto

Planet Earth – Duran Duran

Purple Rain – His Purple Highness and The Revolution

The Reflex – Duran Duran

Rio – Ditto

Save A Prayer – Ditto

See You – Depeche Mode

Shake The Disease – Ditto

She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult

Somewhere In My Heart – Aztec Camera

Stats

Distance 16.21 km

Duration 2:07:14

Average Pace 7:50

Elevation Gain 72 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done To Date 125.37

Kms To Do 1,892.63 – well at least I am under the 1900!

January Km Target = 171.43 (based on straight-lining 2018km/365)

Km Deficit as of now = 46.06Km

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