7 July – Grit and Goatees

 

After a day of enforced rest – gippy hamstring playing up, I was out early today to take advantage of the cooler weather after yesterday’s temporale (thunderstorm). The weather was warm but not oppressively so. I trotted out to Mill Lane,flicked my customary vee sign at the water pumping station and pootled to Lovers’ Lane. Ah, it evidently was very busy last night, with evidence of  ‘lurve’ strewn all over the road and verge. The barking beagles were nowhere to be seen, neither were Anouska and Albino.

I ran down the Hill That Kills into the bendy scary road and saw my first Saturday cyclist, sporting a natty goatee beard. Le Marche is not London, and I have to be reminded of that fact when I bemoan not being able to get hold of certain items. But one area where Le Marche is up and coming and metropolitan in style, is the adoption of the goatee beard. Age, colour of hair, wispiness of hair, none of these factors are taken into account by the ubiquity of the goatee. My first goatee was about 50 years old, dark brown hair almost black in colour with a few stray whites or greys as the ads call them. A border collie type of goatee. He was friendly enough and waved as he cycled past.

At the 3km mark, just before the Royston Vasey village, I got another two goatees – much younger this time, about 20ish I’d say, dark brown both of them, better sculpted than the 50 year old’s, almost perfect rectangles of thatch on the chin. I raised my hand as they cycled past – they didn’t. Not all goatees are friendly goatees.

Through Royston Vasey, a quick water stop with the unspeaking woman, but a new breakthrough, one of the locals asked me if he should move out of the way so I could get my water. It’s the longest, most polite conversation I’ve ever had in that village. He didn’t have a goatee – maybe there’s a causal link between being clean shaven and more talkative?

Now towards the fish shop village and coming towards me is the Hoxton Hipster cyclist I’ve seen many times before, and he has a fully sculpted goatee. As we ‘know’ each other now, despite never being formally introduced, he said ‘Salve’ as he cycled past. A white and steel grey goatee to add to today’s collection.

I then entered the final 2kms of my run, along Bin Lane, no sign of life here, except for two teenage boys – way too young for goatees, and I turned off towards my cafe stop. And absolutely brilliant, having seen an array of goatees, I got the best one today, – I saw my first head goatee – the guy in question removed his cap and the rest of his head had been closely shaved, except for the mysterious goatee patch dead centre.

I feel a new craze has been started, maybe I should let the Hoxton Hipsters and Shoreditch crowd know that they are now officially behind the times and Le Marche is leading the way on head/hair sculpture.

The gippy hamstring is still twingeing and twanging,  but I gritted my teeth and carried on. Goatee hunting is quite good fun, it kept me occupied and not focussing on the aching of my leg. The 3.7km walk home with a 190m elevation gain, perhaps wasn’t my most sensible warm down either

Next up, helmet head hairdo hunting…

Playlist

Einstein A Go Go – Landscape

(Forever) Live and Die – OMD

Rock The Casbah – The Clash

Mr Brightside – The Killers

Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine – ditto

Somebody Told Me – ditto

When Doves Cry – His Purple Highness

Purple Rain – ditto

Creep – Radiohead

Sign Of The Times – Harry Styles

Hungry Like The Wolf – Duran Duran

Girls On Film – Ditto

Boombastic – Shaggy

Tesla Girls – OMD

Modern Way – Kaiser Chiefs

Lucky You – Lightning Seeds

Reap The Wild Wind – Ultravox

Vienna – ditto

Stats

Distance 10.26km

Time 1:10:43

Average Pace 6:53 mins/km

Elevation Gain 38 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1151.38

Kms To Run 866.62

 

 

 

5 July – So Shite and The Seven Dwarves

 

Well after my last rubbish run, England did at least overcome the penalty hoodoo, and for the first time in ages proved that they could be brilliant both on paper and on grass. In truth I’m not sure brilliant describes their performance, but the job was done. Thanks to G for the internet meme of ‘Arry Kane.

I still had something to prove, having had a lousy run and a sore hamstring last time out. After a day’s rest I was back out in the fray. The headline may give you a clue as to how today went.

I’d decided to run my old C25K loop, which is the Slope of Hope, followed by ascending the Hill That Kills, into Lovers’ Lane, around Villa Bali and back up Lovers’ Lane, a descent of the Hill That Kills. And repeat, until your running time is up. I thought this would be a good idea as it keeps me close to home in case of a niggle/problem.

Today’s characters in order of appearance are:-

So Shite

A middle aged woman who may have bitten a poisoned apple of a challenge in trying to run the year.

Sleepy

Last night we were out eating and drinking in-between the vines at a local vineyard. I didn’t over indulge but it was a late night, so I wasn’t at my best when I hauled my sorry arse out of bed.

Sneezy

On my way down the Slope Of Hope for the first time, I saw a Fiat 500 veering rather erratically on the road. We do have some elderly drivers here who’ve never taken a driving test, so I wasn’t overly alarmed, just stopped and waited for him to drive past. He wasn’t actually sneezing but he was having a coughing fit, hunched over the wheel, causing him to rock from side to side. As Disney didn’t call a dwarf ‘Coughy’, Sneezy will have to do.

Bashful

My hamstring was aching quite a bit as I entered the Hill That Kills – she could be the Evil Stepmother, as she’s quite cunning. You think she’s easy to ascend, but there are a couple of rises that give you quite a challenge. I wasn’t feeling very confident about getting up her today, and was quite bashful about being able to achieve it. First time – yes I managed to run up all the way, without a breather/pause. Second time, no she got me and I had a halfway stop.

Dopey

When not feeling great what’s one of the worst things you can do – that’s right JCR (or Dopey as I now should call myself), it’s running in full sun without shade, that was two loops of Villa Bali and whilst they were short the sun was hot and high in the sky. Who chooses to run in sun when it is 28 degrees? I could have avoided those loops easily and stayed in the shade. But no Dopey by name, and dopey by nature.

Doc

At my second attempt to run up the Hill That Kills, my hamstring started grumbling even more. Evidently this niggle is here to stay. having checked my Dr Google injury recovery checklist – I can expect this to hang around for 2 weeks. I may need to use the foam roller torture instrument to see if that helps. Otherwise rest is the main cure – that is not in the least bit helpful, leading me onto ….

Grumpy

I’m pissed off. I should have run 10km today and managed a pathetic 5k.

Happy

How I was before this stupid hamstring thing.

Playlist

Rock The Casbah – The Clash

Sex-O-Matic Venus Freak – Macy Gray

Everything Must Go – The Manics

Alison – Elvis Costello

Lucky You – Lightning Seeds

It’s Called A Heart – Depeche Mode

Two Tribes – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Smile Like You Mean It – The Killers

Rain On Your Parade – Duffy

Down In The Tube Station At Midnight – The Jam

Wonderwall – Oasis

In The City – The Jam

Sign Your Name – Terence Trent D’Arby

Stats

Distance 5.57km

Time 47:16

Average Pace 8:29 mins/km – So Shite!

Elevation Gain 47 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1141.12

Kms To Run 876.88

 

2 July – Lucifer is coming

 

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No, this is not a pronouncement from the Seventh Day Adventists, it’s a prediction from the Italian Weather Channel. Lucifer visited us last year, culminating in a shockingly hot summer with temperatures of forty five degrees plus. Lucifer, is this time, African in origin, with the continent’s heatwave due to visit us.

He definitely was around yesterday, with temperatures topping 32 degrees, today I think he’s taken a day off and introduced his brother Lucifer Junior, who can’t quite muster the same level of heat.

LJ and I went for a run and I think I probably got the worst of his temper. I took the usual route, having an idea of doing 9km, just to keep momentum if I could. LJ had some more mischief up his sleeve. Trotting down Mill Lane I fell into a pothole. Two things I’d observe – the pothole was clearly visible and I run down this road regularly. It’s hardly a surprise, but nonetheless I stumbled inelegantly – all of two minutes into my run

LJ 1 – 0 JCR

I gathered my wits such as they are and continued towards Lovers’ Lane – none there today, so I turned back towards the Hill That Kills, at which point LJ made his presence known. iTunes decided for some bizarre reason to suspend my music, so a lot of faffing ensued, me trying to work out which setting was responsible for the glitch and in the meantime LJ was giggling quietly at my incompetence.

LJ 2 – 0 JCR

Now onto the bendy, scary road, which thankfully had quite a bit of shade and tidy verges. Curses  – LJ struck once more, as a result of said tidy verges there was a ‘branch’ on the roadside – okay a largeish twig, which for some reason I managed to catch between both my feet, and a rather dramatic stumble was witnessed by a passing car. I didn’t actually do any damage, more a case of hurt pride, so I got my own back there.

LJ 3 – 1 JCR

Into the fish shop village, I am on the pavement and two folk are walking abreast towards me. Now my rule of thumb is that when you are two abreast and there’s one person coming your way, one of you drops back to allow the oncoming person to pass. Evidently no-one has heard of this rule in Italy, or specifically this morning, in this village, on this pavement. That meant I was faced with a pavement block, so I had to run into the road – luckily no cars were coming. Therefore LJ’s plan to cause me a road related injury, failed miserably.

LJ 3 – 2 JCR

Entering Bin Lane, my right hamstring really started hurting, twingeing and twanging with every step. My biggest fear on doing my challenge is that injury will cause me to fail, so LJ got me good and proper on my hamstring. I tried to continue and gingerly tested the hamstring again by gentle jogging, but it was not to be. So I decided to quit before any more damage was done.

LJ 4 – 2 JCR

Meeting Mr JCR at the cafe, he discovered a better running route, which will keep me away from juggernauts on the ‘all roads lead to Rome’ road.  That’s another goal clawed back to lead to a final score of:-

LJ 4 – 3 JCR

Same as when France beat Argentina in the World Cup on Saturday. I am hoping LJ keeps away from England vs Colombia.

Playlist

Rumour Has It – Adele

Alison – Elvis Costello

Change – The Lightning Seeds

I Predict A Riot – Kaiser Chiefs

Sign Of The Times – Harry Styles

Rockferry – Duffy

Rio – Duran Duran

Blasphemous Rumours – Depeche Mode

Dancing In The Dark – The Boss

Oh Woman Oh Man – London Grammar

Let’s Dance – David Bowie

Cabron – Red Hot Chilis

Ruby – Kaiser Chiefs

Stats

Distance 8.44km (didn’t quite manage the 9km – thanks LJ)

Time 54:48

Average Pace 6:29

Elevation Gain 57 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1130.18

Kms To Run 887.82

 

 

 

26 May – Squeaky Bum Time

Today is Champions League Final Day and my team are in the final. To quote Alex Ferguson, today is squeaky bum time (I don’t like him much, but this is a great quote).

I hope and pray that Liverpool will win, but they are the underdogs in this fight for glory.  My little challenge is also at its squeaky bum time, I’m getting searingly close to the halfway kilometrage mark, but things are occurring outside of my control.

The heat – Summer has arrived and today’s temperature is up on yesterday’s,  I went out in 24 degrees this morning and got back at 26 degrees. This will continue, so I need to have a game plan for dealing with the heat. I do actually have one, chock full of useful hints and tips, the most important of which is getting up early enough to avoid the heat. With my now infamous sleeping habits, as a teenager when it comes to sleep, this is not going to be easy.

The opposition – Real Madrid are a tour de force and have some of the best footballing talent in their team. I run in the lanes of Real Marche and my opposition is the combination of inclines and traffic, both of which can end up as a near lethal cocktail. As the countryside verges grow ever taller, I become increasingly less visible, even when wearing my high-vis running kit. Safe running is a necessity, I may need to change my running venues.

The fitness – Real Madrid have some of the finest and most experienced footballing athletes in Europe, Liverpool are building theirs and I dearly wish they can teach the ‘show pony’ Ronaldo, a lesson. My lessons are that I really need to improve my core and overall fitness, as this will help carry me through the challenge, although the big toe issue is not helping one little bit. And to mix metaphors, this toe is becoming my Achilles heel. I saw a documentary on fitness that was talking about using your own body as a counterweight and that may be the route to better fitness that I have to take. Wall sitting anyone?

Managing the game. Liverpool’s big problem this season has been a leaky defence and an inability to shut the game down when it matters. For me, this is all about focussing on the task in hand – I want to do the 2018km challenge – anything else frankly is of secondary consideration. For example, I had toyed with the idea of running a half marathon during this year, but now that I’ve looked at various training plans, they all require me to be doing less weekly kilometrage than my challenge would permit. Somewhat reluctantly, I’ve kicked this idea in to touch. So my slow slog will continue, without the sexy addition of a half marathon as spice.

Finding the magic. Liverpool ‘found’ (although ‘bought’ seems more truthful) the magic when Mo Salah joined the team, he gave a different dimension and possibilities. For me in the running, this is a difficult thing to uncover. What is the magic of this challenge?  – I suppose it has uncovered my sheer bloody-mindedness at wanting to do it, despite being ill-prepared, the wrong age, not a natural athlete, an inexperienced runner etc., etc., etc.,

How did these factors coalesce on my run today?

Heat – I was not up early enough to avoid the sun, but I can blame lack of sleep these past few days, but I have to get a grip on getting up earlier. JCR – you can do much better here.

The Opposition – I ran one of my usual routes, including the very fast and dangerous ‘all roads lead to Rome’ road. But I stopped my run early so I could walk the last part in safety. If I get up earlier, there’s not so much traffic – back to point 1 JCR!

The Fitness – well I did do some squats last night before going to bed and tried the wall sitting, but didn’t want to do it in jeans. Let’s just say an attempt was made. Good news though, the toe wasn’t playing up nearly as much, so that is a good result.

Managing the Game – I tried fartlek during the run to improve tempo, not sure it was a resounding success, as I ended up running much slower at the end of the run. My times now have to allow for shade seeking and shelter, but I am okay with that. It always was going to be a marathon challenge and not one to be sprinted through.

Finding The Magic – the nearest I got to Mo Salah’s standard was reading about him in an Italian sports supplement, (which helpfully captioned the photo in case you didn’t know who he was!). The bloody-mindedness kicked in, as today is officially my rest day and I managed to run just over 8kms. And then managed the 4km walk back up the Bitch of a Pitch. so a small sprinkle of magic occurred today.

Playlist

Ode To Billie Joe – Bobbie Gentry

Soul Man – Sam & Dave

Help Me Rhonda – Beach Boys

Stand By Me – Ben E King

Let’s Dance – Chris Montez

Bad Moon Rising  – Creedence Clearwater Revival

You Never Can Tell – Chuck Berry

The Israelites – Desmond Dekker

I Only Want To Be With You – Dusty Springfield

It’s My Party – Lesley Gore

Wonderful World – Herman’s Hermits

Jumping’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones

Aint Got No – I Got Life – Nina Simone

Paint It Black – The Rolling Stones

Born To Be Wild – Steppenwolf

Under The Boardwalk – The Drifters

Build Me Up Buttercup – The Foundations

Be My Baby – The Ronettes

Keep On Running – The Spencer Davis Group

Mrs Robinson – Simon and Garfunkel

Californian Dreaming’ – The Mamas and The Papas

Stats

Distance 8.33km

Time 1:02:11

Average Pace 7:27 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain – 36 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 908.47

Kms to do 1109.53

 

 

 

 

 

25 May – Who Left The Oven On?

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Another disturbed night’s sleep. We have a new security camera (consequence of last year’s burglary) and it’s a bit sensitive to movement. It sends deliberately noisy alerts to my phone, which countermands the ’night time’ setting – which would be fine if it wasn’t for the fact I’m here home alone.

I tried to go to bed early, I did the crossword, followed by sleep-inducing exercises – then we had a second’s worth of power cut, which set off the house alarm, just as I was dropping off. That’s not the most soothing lullaby one can have. All my senses were now on alert, I checked out the security cameras all of which had lost their pictures – this is no good for calming you down.

Eventually, after going back to reciting suitable mantras – which weren’t that effective really, I fell asleep, only to be woken up at 2.30am by the insistent alert on the phone. Of course you wake with a start, sit bolt upright, heart racing, and then wonder which bogeyman is out in your garden. Of course there wasn’t one, I think we had a rather randy firefly who was getting ‘jiggy’ with the green ‘on-light’ on the new camera. He kept on doing his thing for a little while longer and as I turned the light off once more to sleep, he performed some new acrobatics and the camera sent me another security alert. Aarrggghh, Mr JCR is away, and all I need is a calm, peaceful, uninterrupted night’s sleep, to face my demons by staying here alone overnight, without having minor panic attacks.

As my friend C pointed out, we were burgled in the winter, when we weren’t here, it was obvious we weren’t here, we had no alarm and they had all the time in the world to ransack the house. No self-respecting team of burglars is likely to choose a time when the house is clearly occupied, oh and it has security cameras and an alarm. I know all of this to be true, but still evidently I’m a scaredy-cat and afraid of a randy firefly!

The firefly incident has messed up my body clock and I was woken by Mr JCR, phoning to make sure I was fine. At that point, I thought I’d get up to run ‘early’ before it got too hot. Not that early, I’d overslept the alarm, as a consequence of Mr Firefly and his night of love. I left for my run and it was 23 degrees at 9.30am. Having had hailstones on Tuesday evening (the size of marbles), now we are sweltering in the heat.

I’d taken a look at my cumulative target and saw if I could muster up the energy to do about 11km, I’d sneak over the 900km milestone. As Mr JCR said, you could just do 2 x 5.5k runs and get there. Yes, that is true, but where’s the challenge in that?

Well, what a foolish thought that turned out to be. The first 3kms are all downhill on the Bitch of a Pitch, and apart from the occasional yelps from leaping into the nettles and brambles on the verge in my attempt to avoid oncoming traffic, that was fine. It was the next 8 that were the problem. Laundry Lane was bathed in full sunlight, with hardly any shade to be found. I know now that my pace noticeably deteriorates after the third consecutive day of running. This is my 4th day, so inevitably I was going to be slower. But add in the sun, which had risen even more and the tarmac was developing a heat haze, so my pace dropped to below snail level.

I was carrying just short of a litre of water, which I was sipping at regular intervals. And then half way through the run, I got another bloody camera alert – this time from the kitchen camera. Realistically, no-one can get in without triggering the alarm, but my heart still skips a beat when you get the alerts. So a faffing stop was called for, first of all for me to check that I had actually put the alarm on and second to check that the kitchen camera was a false alarm. And yes of course it was a false alarm – I’m guessing a buddy of our randy firefly was buzzing around.

At about the 8km mark, I realised if I continued my route, I’d end up running the Slope Of No Hope, which includes a 15% gradient. That was definitely out of plan, so I did some mini u-turns on Laundry Lane to avoid that fate. I just about scraped the 10.3km mark and that I knew was enough to get me over the 900km line. I couldn’t have done much more, the oven had turned up another notch or two and when I reached home, the temperature was up to 25 degrees.

Now that summer has officially arrived and the oven is going to be left on for at least the next 3 months, I need to go to bed early, so I can get up early to avoid the scorching heat. Mmm, I wonder how that is going to pan out exactly – two more nights alone, with a sensitive security camera and a randy firefly…

Playlist

Rest – Charlotte Gainsbourg (how apt, given my lack of it, that this should be the first track)

Keep On Running – Spencer Davis Group

Happy – Pharrell Williams

Tiger Feet – Mud

Pink Panther Theme – Henry Mancini

Smile – Gregory Porter

Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice

Nowhere Fast – Eminem and Kehlani

Love In An Elevator – Aerosmith

Compression – Francesco Digillio

To Jan – Leonard Anderson

Miami Vice Them – Jan Hammer

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty

Running Up That Hill – Kate Bush

Snail – The Smashing Pumpkins

Smile – Lily Allen

Ju Ju Man – Dave Edmunds

Gotta Keep Smiling – Scouting For Girls

Marathon – Rush

The Streak – Ray Stevens

Help! – The Beatles

Tread Softly – Tiny Ruins

The Winner – Status Quo

Down Under – Men At Work

Stats

Distance 10.47km

Time 1:29:33

Average Pace 8:33 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 162 m

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 900.14* (yes – that’s another milestone done, now to get beneath the 1100s)

Kms To Run 1117.86

*I just got a note from the Under Armour Challenge for their Run the Year Challenge – telling me I only have 118km to go to meet their challenge – oh I wish!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24 May – Busy Doing Nothing

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Mr JCR is in the Alps, either on/in his bike depending on whether you are English or Italian, or he could be watching the Giro D’Italia.

I am at home, alone, busy doing absolutely nothing. This morning’s packed agenda – get up, run, shower, and go out for coffee.

All done with the minimum of fuss or effort. This afternoon’s packed agenda – yet to be decided, but I am thinking lunch and maybe wine, oh and launder the sweaty sports gear.

At coffee my friend C was telling me how she keeps fit – she does a sports called hydro-bike, which is an exercise bike submerged in a swimming pool. Yes you pedal and you also do upper body exercises too. I’ve never heard of this but the course is fully subscribed and closes next month – oh well maybe something to try another time then. But it sounds quite good fun.

Todays’ run, hot, sweaty, quiet and short. Done. No people, lots of dogs barking – I just typed that in a Spoonerism way and it came out bogs darking… Not much shade actually,  as the temperature has risen after the recent cold snap. Didn’t enjoy it much, but that’s the way it goes from time to time.  Am hoping I can pull together enough fitness and enthusiasm to get me over the 900km mark tomorrow.

Playlist

Sugar Baby Love – The Rubettes

Bye Bye Baby – Bay City Rollers

Shang A Lang – ditto

A Little Bit More – 911

When You Say Nothing At All – Boyzone

Mandy – Westlife

Boxerbeat – Jo Boxers

Everybody – Backstreet Boys

Bye Bye Bye – NSYNC

Shine – Take That

It Only Takes A Minute – ditto

The Chauffeur – Duran Duran

Rockin’ Robin – Michael Jackson

Fun, Fun, Fun – The Beach Boys

Mama Do The Hump – Rizzle Kicks

Everybody In Love – JLS

Stats

Distance 5.67km

Time 40:03

Average Pace 7:03 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 42 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 889.77

Kms to Run 1128.23

 

23 May – Vino Collapso Necessary

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Last night we watched the UK weather forecast and news, seeing people in London and Manchester wearing tee-shirts. We however were sheltering indoors from rain and hailstones the size of marbles. The skies were very grey and overcast, and we did wonder exactly why we had chosen to be here when we could be at home in the sun.

I think this is Lucifer’s revenge – the summer here last year was ferocious, with temperatures regularly topping 40 degrees and some places hitting 50. Evidently Lucifer (as last year’s summer was called here) decided that this year is the UK’s turn and so we in Italy will suffer from rubbish weather.

The hail and rainstorm brought a lot of greenery, gravel and mud onto the roads and so this morning, we awoke hoping that the night had cleared the weather and the roads too. Ahh, no such luck – it was throwing it down once more. Now I don’t actually have wet weather running gear in Italy, mainly because it is almost never required and whilst I don’t mind getting a bit wet, the thought of running in torrential rain didn’t really appeal. Today was looking like another enforced day of rest.

Mr JCR is off to the mountains with his cycling buddies and they are going to both cycle and watch the Giro D’Italia. Having dropped him off at the allocated time and place, I meandered my way slowly back home, avoiding the puddles, branches and general clag on the roads. I decided to take a chance and go for a short run, the thunder clouds were being somewhat menacing over the hills, and it was drizzling slightly, but not too much.

Off I trotted, to Mill Lane passing the water station, which reminds me Watergate Part III has occurred. The Water Company’s engineer turned up to make sure that our leak was genuine and that we hadn’t been filling up swimming pools or selling water to the locals. He asked to look at the water meter and when he saw it said ‘ Oh it’s only a small loss, the meter is hardly moving at all and the reading is very low’. We then had to point out, that he’d missed the critical ‘1’ figure to the left of the dial, at which point he visibly blanched and said ‘I have to talk to my boss, I’ve never seen a loss as big as this, you’ve used almost 10 years of water in 2 months . He then went onto explain that up to a certain limit the water company will do you a deal on lost water, but that we were almost double that level of loss, which way exceeded any authority or guidance he could give.

Then we had to eat humble pie as he explained the benefits of switching your water off at the mains whenever you are away. What was even worse; he felt compelled to show us how to do it…. We often say we need a tee-shirt  for Italy with the slogan ‘I am English, not stupid’  written in Italian, but in this case, we may be English but we were most definitely stupid!

Anyway, I digress, having flicked the V at the water pumping station, I continued into Lovers’ Lane, managed to upset the barking beagles and did my usual tour of Villa Bali, with yet another school trip witnessing my ungainly strides. I turned back, descended the hill that kills, and took the slope of hope, to Laundry Lane, which was nice and quiet save for a lady who was frantically un-bunging a road drain, thereby allowing all the muddy slush to disperse. The rain had stopped, but my hair already resembled an unkempt haystack, I could feel it escaping from my ponytail band. No swooshy, sexy Nike advert ponytail for me…

I turned back on Laundry Lane aiming for home. No-one around, just grey clouds scudding across a greyer sky. Then I saw a lady walker in scarlet with a very bright white ponytail, all nice and swooshy, no fuzz and frizz for her – I wonder what’s her secret. She was taking a gentle stroll admiring the countryside, whereas I was huffing and puffing, wishing the run would end. I’ve come to the conclusion that I am better running in the mornings, I seem to have better energy and humour. In the afternoons I am more sluggish, maybe it’s the post lunch lull. Certainly I wasn’t running particularly fast, given my ‘toe’ situation, I’m deliberately keeping a measured pace.

At just over 7km I finished my run and was walking back up the Slope of No Hope, when I saw my friend C in her car. She stopped and reversed and we had a little chat, she was telling me what great shape I was in and I was telling her how many wrinkles I had… Upshot is I have a coffee invitation tomorrow morning – now do I brave it and run there and back which is a cool 12km or thereabouts? The run has hills, lots of them and some of them are up to 18/19% in gradient, so it’s hardly an easy one, especially with a toe that will probably need amputating at some point (okay somewhat overstated the injury!).

Or do I drive over and back and do my run afterwards, at which time the weather forecast is telling me we will be hot and sunny…, which means I will have to wait until late afternoon to run. Which takes me right back to my earlier point, I’m not very good at running in the afternoon.

The decision will have to be made over a glass of vino collapso, although I’m on my own, and in truth don’t like drinking alone. Maybe a mug of tea is a better decision making tool. As you can see from the pic, our wine making grapes are a long way off being ready, so if I wait for them to mature, I won’t be making a running decision until October at the earliest, and that’s a little bit too late for tomorrow’s run.

Playlist

Tears Dry On Their Own – Amy Winehouse

Inanity Over Christmas – Madness

Art School – The Jam

Distant Dreamer – Duffy

Glory Days – The Boss

He Can Only Hold Her – Amy Winehouse

The Things That Dreams Are Made Of – Human League

Blue Jean – David Bowie

I Would Die 4 U – His Purple Highness

Help – The Beatles

Darlin’ – The Beach Boys

The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow) – The Jam

Lola – The Kinks

Money, Money, Money – ABBA

Running Bear – Stiff Little Fingers

You Love Us – The Manics

Stats

Distance 7.28km

Time 51:47

Average Pace 7:06 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 83 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 884.00 (Officially more kms than I ran in all of 2017)

Kms to Do 1134.00