8 January – Introducing JanCanRun’s Runners’ Rules 1-10

pexels-photo-209954.jpeg

The esteemed Mr JCR, he who blogs at Colincanride.com, introduced me to the concept of the velominati, a group of folk who manage the cycling community’s rules of engagement. Absolutely nothing to do with rules of the road, or Highway Codes. Simply, this is the definitive guide to what is and isn’t acceptable to fellow cyclists when cycling.

It is an utterly subjective view, some of it quite funny and I attach the link for those interested. There are 95 rules as of today.

http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/

There are a set of published Runner’s Rules – but you have to pay to get those, and so mine are free. And in recognition of the fact that it is far easier to navigate when you know your way around, I will create the rules, ask for help on more rules and then categorise them. Oh btw, the Editor’s judgement is final and no debate will be entered into.

So my starters on the general rules are with a big thanks to the velominati for the first three :-

Rule 1 – Obey The JCR Runners’ Rules (now abbreviated to JCRRR)

Self explanatory.

Rule 2 – Lead By Example

It is unethical for someone who knows the JCRRR, to knowingly and wittingly aid an unknowing runner in breaching the JCRRR

Rule 3 – Help The Unknowing

No matter how valid your reason is for breaching the JCRRR (in your head), it is never good enough.

Rule 4 – It Is All About Running

The JCRRR does not transfer to biathlons, triathlons, Iron Men, Women, walkers, dog walkers (dog runners are permitted under the Labrador Convention*), or pram walkers (pram runners are permitted under the Jo Pavey** rule)

Rule 5 – Weather is Never An Excuse

Enough said, although if you are running on an oil rig in the Atlantic or other ocean, gale warnings are an acceptable reason not to run. If you still run, then Respect is due.

Rule 6 – Run With Your Mind and Your Legs Will Follow

Your mind can and will let you down when running. This is perfectly normal. What is not normal is to stop running merely seconds into a run because ‘I don’t feel like it’. Run the run in your head, and your legs will do the rest.

Rule 7 – Any Run Is Better Than No Run

It’s true.

Rule 8 – Runners’ Kit

There is no limit to the amount of kit needed to run, the only limit is your imagination or wallet, or both.

Rule 9 – Runners’ MoJo

May occasionally go AWOL, can be restored by putting on trainers and running

Rule 10 – Definition of a Runner

A Runner is someone who runs. Distance does not a runner make (thanks Yoda). A 100m Runner is a Runner, an Ultra Runner is a Runner. And so is everyone inbetween. Snail Runners are definitely runners. Fast walkers aren’t runners.pexels-photo-320956.jpeg

*The Labrador Convention

Canine assisted running is a very valuable training tool, therefore all dogs being run by their runner owners, or runners being run by their dogs, count as runners.

**Jo Pavey Rule

Mums who Run count or Runners who Mum count. As per Jo Pavey’s Book – This Mum Runs.

What rules do you think should follow these? I have thought of rules on

Food and Nutrition

Running Kit

Etiquette When Running

Training

Music

Racing

parkruns

Injury Management

Heroes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nur Krap Rewind – 25 November

It’s been a rum couple of days, and this is a rum heading for today’s post.

Yesterday Mr JCR and I decided to head up West, to buy some famous fruit based equipment. Walking into town about 4.30pm, we were passed by blues and twos, not an unusual sight or sound in London. A few minutes later, more blues and twos. Still not overly concerned we continued into town, and then noticed the pedestrian traffic was pretty much one-way, coming away from Regent Street and towards us. Some young women were clearly upset, almost everyone was glued to their mobile phones either talking or texting. Shops were closed, restaurants/bars/pubs/cafes shut and locked but with their clientele still inside. Then we heard snatches of conversation; there had been an incident at Oxford Street Tube Station and also at Selfridges.

We turned back home, making our way up Shaftesbury Avenue, when we heard two loud bangs, of course this noise caused a stampede and Mr JCR bundled me towards the side of the cafes/shops and we entered, by now somewhat alarmed, into a Wasabi store. The manager and staff were lovely and although evidently frightened themselves, invited us and many others in to shelter downstairs in their kitchen and upstairs, whilst they shut and locked the doors. As we now know, we were all involved in the ‘incident of the non-incident’. In fairness to the authorities concerned, it was handled very well and really considering what might have been, the disruption to London, was I think minimal.  A big shout of thanks to the manager and staff of Wasabi in Shaftesbury Avenue, who were helpful, friendly, calm and generous, supplying free water to those who wanted it.

After all this had settled down, we made our way towards Covent Garden to said fruit store, and then winding our way to the viewing table, were presented with a view of more anatomy than you expect to see on a laptop screen in public. Evidently we had hit ‘perv’s corner’, so Mr JCR told the staff, and the guilty person was warned about his viewing habits. In the space of a few minutes we had experienced I suppose, the extremes of human behaviour and instinct.

Another walk home via a pub, for a well needed gin and beer, and all was well in the JCR household. I’ve never been so happy to have been part of something that ended up being nothing at all!

Getting back to normality, we did the weather check – Mr JCR for cycling and me for running. Mmmm brass monkey’s weather was forecast, the usual layers assembled in readiness, because despite my misgivings I had decided (more or less) to revisit Park Run, hence the heading … Nur Krap, a spelling rewind of Park Run, not an obscure Nordic term for no rubbish! 🙂

Alarm set, Mr JCR out, I decided I would do the Park Run. I wasn’t as nervous, but still faffed a bit before getting out to go. Arrived at the Park to see frost on the ground and a man wearing shorts again. OMG is he crazy? I did my warm up walk and again skulked at the back. 9 am we were off, a similar number of folk as last time, again I tried to ignore the throngs and suffered the indignity of being overtaken by two men pushing their pushchair buggies as they passed me. I had a bit of a twangey leg this week, so wasn’t keen to push anything, first lap not too bad, but I think I set off a bit too fast, on the second lap I was tiring a bit. There was a younger lady runner beside me, she and I vied on overtaking each other – I generally was better up the slopes, she rocketed down them. But on the last leg up the hill towards the finish line, she got the better of me and motored out of sight, whereas I had the runner’s shame of walking about 15-20 paces I guess.

This time I finished 290th out of 315, vs. 312th out of 329 last time. My time improved, (despite the walking) to 33.16 seconds. An improvement of over a minute on last time here. So what do I think of Park Run second time around on my rewind? Some observations I think still stand, the volunteers are all lovely; the runners seem a nice lot too. I just don’t really like the crowds, I think I prefer the loneliness of the long distance runner.

In summary it’s Nur Krap, it’s a great experience if you want to acclimatise and run socially with lots of folk, especially if you’re thinking of taking part in races. I will pop along from time to time, not least because the slopes in Finsbury Park are a useful way of maintaining my hill legs, but I think I may run there in the same manner, that an Executive in my old company once memorably described…

‘Yes JCR, you may call me regularly, but not often’ and I think that will be how I do my Park Runs – regularly but just not often!

Playlist

She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult

Vienna – Ultravox

A View To A Kill – Duran Duran

New Moon on Monday – ditto

Save A Prayer – ditto

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club

Rio – Duran Duran

Purple Rain – His Purple Highness

Walk Like An Egyptian – The Bangles

Embarrassment – Madness

Stats

Distance – 5km

Time – 33.16

Elevation Gain 34 metres

Placed 290/315

Age and gender placed – 6th out of 6! (no improvement there!!!)

I Perv – Friday

1 Hero – Manager of Wasabi

0 Incidents and for that I thank heavens.

Faffolino at Finsbury Park – 18 November

Can’t sleep, won’t sleep. This is my Friday night, for some bizarre reason I am nervous about doing my first Park Run. So what’s the problem?

I’ve tested the journey, so I know where to go

I road tested (almost) the course route, so I know the topology

I can run 5k, in fact I can run 10k, at a push 11k

So what is the problem? It’s just nerves I reckon.

Saturday morning comes, I am awake before the alarm (and as a perennial teenager when it comes to getting up, this is strange).

And Faffolino decides to visit – Mr JCR makes a very welcome mug of tea, so that gives me plenty of time to just sit and mull over the up-coming run. Finally, I decide to get up and at them. Wash, brush my teeth, get dressed, go to the loo. Change clothing as am worried it’s too cool and I haven’t got sufficient layers. Faffolino coughs and I decide I need to go to the loo again. Remove a layer of clothing as I feel warmer now. Faffolino sneezes and that reminds me I may just need to go to the loo again. Get back out and decide maybe another layer, a hat, a buff and running gloves would all be helpful.

At this stage I have visited the bathroom on at least four occasions and got changed/rechanged a similar number. It is time for me to take control, but one final faff, my Park Run bar code is just printed on paper. Maybe it is better if I stick it to a piece of card and put it in plastic, so it’s more robust and doesn’t get sweaty when I run. that’s my final faff, before I leave home. Ouch the cold hits my face and I feel happy I am all togged up, walk to Moorgate to get the overland to Finsbury Park, even though it is mainly underground. I’ve actually managed to get an earlier train in my concern not to be late at the park.

I arrive at the station (not the same one as my Thursday test run) and from what I can recall the park is just across the road, but I don’t see it so start walking and then ask a passer-by for help. Oh yes just like Thursday  – ‘it’s behind you’, somewhat embarrassed I work my way back and get into the park and go to the cafe meeting point. I am trading messages with Hannah who co-opted me into doing my first park run here. Yes, I do have my barcode, but then that gives me a whole set of faffing to do, as I can’t exactly recall which pocket I put it in.  Now I am thinking I need the loo again, so that’s more bloody faffing around… because I was a tad nervous I arrived really about 30 minutes earlier than needed and as a consequence, was not really warmed up. Then I along with other newbies got the newbie briefing, so I never did a warm up walk either.

Over 300 people lined up to do the run, with some good natured jostling at the front and a ‘shout out’ to about 6 people who were doing their hundredth run. I was determined not to get caught up in the atmosphere, because you can easily overdo it trying to keep up with every one, so I reckon it took me about 20 seconds to get over the start line, as I was right at the back, and I deliberately looked at the floor so as not to get ‘pulled’ along by the faster runners. I got into a pace and tagged along with a lady runner Sophie, who looked to be doing about the same pace as me, she wanted to beat 40 minutes, because that would be a personal best. I stayed with her for about half a kilometre or so, but I naturally was just a touch faster, so she was very gracious and told me to carry on. Coming up the first run of the big hill, I was overtaken by the eventual ‘winner’ who did the course in sixteen and a half minutes… now that is depressing, even though he was about 30 years or so younger! I carried on and finished a grand 312th out of 329, I thought I wasn’t so bad when I saw I came 6th in ladies of my age group, except there were only six ladies in my age group running.

The upsides of Park Run – it really encourages everyone, there were parents, kids, old uns, young uns and dog walking uns. The volunteers were all lovely, friendly and very helpful, everyone you passed encouraged you to carry on and applauded you. The ‘multi’ park runners, all were friendly and chirpy and there is a great sense of camaraderie. I met one lady who was doing her 99th run, her husband was a volunteer and her daughter was doing timekeeper duties, so there’s a definite sense of a running family, even in anonymous, unfriendly London.

The downsides for me are personal ones, I had been really happy with my running progress from the summer start to today and had been seeing how my times were improving. In Park Run you are graded by performance and although it isn’t a race and isn’t meant to be I felt that there was a ‘race buzz’ about. I thought I’d been doing okay and now find I am decidedly rubbish…, so that was a bit demoralising. Being passed by loads of Speedy Gonzaleses also made me feel a bit crap (it was worse being overtaken by dog walkers!!!). Having spent a lot of time telling myself that I am only competing with me, all of a sudden I felt as though I was competing with 300+ folk.

Running with people, also for me is a new experience, I think I am just a miserable old cow and truthfully prefer my own company when I run. But it was nice meeting Sophie on the run and I notice that she did beat her 40 minutes target, so maybe like learning to  run, I need to learn to run with people and that will help. If Sophie can beat her time and not get disheartened, then there must be a way of doing that….

Final lesson, the warm up walking is crucial, I missed out on that due to all my stupid faffing and being nervous, but next time I won’t need the newbie briefing, so can do my warm-up.

Am I a Park Run convert/advocate? – the tone of my writing tells me I am not. But then it took me a little while to get into my running rhythm when I re-started in summer; it seems to me I should give it another go, probably at the same venue, they are a lovely crowd, I know two of the volunteers already and met Sophie. I think it’s a mindset issue; how I tackle my solo running may not work when I am being a ‘Park Runner’.

But Hannah and Lorna and the other volunteers were fab, and they make fantastic cake too, I can highly recommend the banana bread – great crumb, in a Great British Bake Off technical critique.

So down to the nitty gritty

Stats

Distance 5k exactly

Time 34 mins 42

Placed 312/329

Playlist

Be My Number Two – Joe Jackson

Temptation – Heaven 17

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Talking Loud and Clear – OMD

Einstein A Go-Go – Landscape

Mamma Mia – Abba

Dreaming of Me – Depeche Mode

Thriller – Michael Jackson

Can You Feel It – Michael Jackson

Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough – Michael Jackson

November 16 – Sneaking a Peek …

at Finsbury Park today, as on Saturday I am going to do my first ever Park Run there.

Mr JCR is a member of Islington Cycling Club and one of his fellow members, Hannah or pocket rocket as she ought to be called, is both a cyclist and a keen runner. She is one of the many thousands of Park Run volunteers across the country, and had invited me to try Finsbury Park when we returned to London. So I duly registered, got my bar code and decided I’d take a sneaky peek and do a test 5k there, in advance of Saturday, so I know what I am up for.

During the summer I have been running the hills of Le Marche, but it would appear, that 2.5 weeks of virtually flat running, has meant my hill running legs have deserted me. After a rather lengthy tube journey, involving the closure of the Piccadilly Line and a train on the platform for about 15 minutes, I arrived at Manor House tube station, and asked a nice lady where the park was, as I couldn’t see it. Yes you’ve guessed it, it was in true pantomime fashion behind me! I felt a bit of a plonker, but then I happily admit to having no sense of direction whatsoever and although I’d checked out the park run route at home on Dr Google with his maps, I really had no idea where I was going.

Off I trotted, past the two men sitting on the park bench, with rather a large supply of emptied Guinness cans. I did wonder whether my appearance may warrant a comment, but they were more interested in the remaining unopened cans of Guinness than me. Up the slopey bit, past a film crew – who seemed not to be doing any filming, but having a coffee break. They actually had 5 km worth of coffee breaks, because they were all in exactly the same seats in the catering bus, on the three occasions I ran past. And they had Tunnock’s Tea Cakes, which were awfully tempting when I ran past the catering guy with his teacake refill tray. I so wanted to nick one… 🙂

I carried around the perimeter and saw quite a few fellow runners, mainly guys, very fit guys in fact, one with a rather lovely set of dreadlocks, that were a deep purple colour, they were a lovely contrast to his grey running kit. I was behind one lady runner, who despite looking snail-like in her running, had a rather fast pace, as I found out when I tried to catch her up and couldn’t. After a lot of huffing and puffing past the VIP dog walking team – their van said they were VIPpets, which I think is a play on words of whippets, I was approaching my 5k point, so started to slow down, not that I had been going fast – this run was at least a minute a km slower than normal and that includes my recent 10km runs.

I was wondering why I felt so leaden and then remembered aha the Kennedy’s fish, chips and mushy peas supper, eaten quite late last night. That may have something to do with it! The 5km warning came up and I thought I’d walk to the gate entrance where I’d started and yup, my absolutely rubbish sense of direction meant I was walking the wrong way, and yes in pantomime fashion again, Manor House was behind me.

Ho hum, I finished off and walked to the tube to be told, no Piccadilly line service today now, you’ll have to take the bus…. In all of the years we’ve lived here, I’ve never used a bus, – Tube, Uber, Taxi, Feet, Car, Bike and Boat, but never a bus. Today I broke my duck and caught the 259 from Manor House to King’s Cross station. I won’t be doing that again…

Oh and I played my new ‘places’ playlist, but I think listening to all of these exotic places, whilst actually in old Finsbury Park, didn’t really help me at all. Maybe I need urban grime?

Playlist

California Dreamin’ – Mamas and Papas

Waterloo – Abba

Boston Tea Party – SAHB

Japanese Boy – Aneka

Une Nuit a Paris – 10CC

Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles

Vienna – Ultravox

A New England – Billy Bragg

Is This The Way to Amarillo – Tony Christie

Black Eyed Boy – Texas

Massachussettes – Bee Gees

Gound Down to Liverpool – The Bangles

Grease – Frankie Valli

Midnight Train to Georgia – Gladys Knight and the Pips

Go Wild In The Country – Bow Wow Wow

Stats

6.23km (I ran 5km)

Time 49.36

Average Pace 7.57 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 40m (so why the problem?)

3 bags of dog poo, left near to the bins, not in them, just near – arrggghhh