11 May – Puffin’ in the Big Smoke

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With a spring in my step, I set out this morning from Hampstead Hospital, passing about 20 smokers outside – at least 4 of whom had visible NHS staff badges on. And one patient smoking whilst still attached to his walking frame drip… Having never smoked, I thank heavens I never got addicted to the weed and for sure it wouldn’t be much of a help to a runner.

It was a lovely morning, sunny and breezy in equal measure and I was in good spirits, having had a ‘night before’ Gourmet Burger and fries, from Foxlow in Clerkenwell, which is our default place for when the ‘I need to eat meat’ craving comes on. I’d also had some red wine, so I wasn’t entirely sure this was the best preparation for my run, but in actual fact it seemed to be exactly what the doctor ordered.

I bounded down Hampstead Hill, towards Camden which was chock a block with people and pop-up market stalls on the pavements. Loads of men in shorts – some a nice sight, others well, let’s just say they were a tad sartorially challenged. I had my new running belt on today, which has nifty pockets for all manner of things including the phone. At Camden Market, according to my phone I turned in a record breaking sub 1 minutes kilometre, and within yards of the pop-up orange juice stall, I had supposedly clocked up 2 kms. Mmm, maybe the belt is obscuring the GPS.  I continued on my way towards Euston which as ever was choked up with traffic, I bombed down Southampton Way and made my way toward Holborn. It was now prime lunchtime, so a lot of worker ant dodging became necessary. I didn’t feel out of puff, but did need a drink, so removed the integrated bottle from the fit belt. Replacing it, I felt a rather unfortunate trickle of liquid, aiming for where the sun don’t shine… The integrated design obviously has some wrinkles to work out, because I don’t need to water my bum when I’m running.

I aimed towards the City to add a couple of kms to my run – I had in mind maybe doing 10kms today, then as I got bewitchingly close to home, I realised I needed to pick up a prescription from the Doctors, which was in exactly the opposite direction to my travel. Oh well, pick up the pace and run up there then. I ended up behind a lady who was not in a good way, she was puffing and very out of breath, I too was wheezing slightly, but that was more to do with having run quite a distance and at quite a pace. My business was done and I ran back out towards home. Eventually I did run out of steam, with my legs aching quite a bit, but it felt like a fab run. I’d run really fast, done some sprint intervals as well, so all in all a good one.

Then I looked at my stats – oh yes I was a record breaker – except the records weren’t true, I hadn’t actually run 17.5km as it said, at a pace of under 5 minutes. So huffing and puffing a bit, I had to be honest and recalibrate the stats, and remove  2kms from the record.

I’ve still done well and this has been my fastest run for ages, which I put down to a few days extra rest this week, the excellent Foxlow meat and wine, and the sheer joy of being back in the Big Smoke, with so many distractions to keep me occupied.

Playlist

Ode To Billie Joe – Bobbie Gentry

My Girl – The Temptations

Oh! Carol – Neil Sedaka

A Whiter Shade of Pale – Procol Harum

You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling – The Righteous Brothers

Let’s Spend The Night Together – The Rolling Stones

Help – The Beatles

Take Good Care Of My Baby – Bobby Vee

Dream Lover – Bobby Darin’

The Locomotion – Little Eva

Will You Love Me Tomorrow – The Shirelles

Do Wah Diddy Diddy – Manfred Mann

Stupid Cupid – Connie Francis

These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ – Nancy Sinatra

Blue Velvet – Bobby Vinton

Bye Bye Love – The Everly Brothers

No Regrets – The Walker Brothers

The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore – Ditto

That’s Life – Frank Sinatra

Chain Gang – Sam Cooke

Wake Up Little Susie – The Everly Brothers

Be Bop A Lula – Gene Vincent

He’s So Fine – The Chiffons

La Bamba – Ritchie Valens

Blueberry Hill – Fats Domino

Sweet Little Sixteen – Chuck Berry

Then He Kissed Me – The Crystals

Tell Laura I Love Her – Ricky Valance

One Fine Day – The Chiffons

Downtown – Petula Clark

Stats

Distance 15:48km

Time 1:29:01

Average Pace 5:45 mins/km

Elevation Gain 50 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 816.37

To Run 1201.63

(oh bum, if I could have genuinely run 17kms, I would have been under the 1200 to go mark)

27 Mar – London Fashion Week Arrives

Nicolas Ghesquiere is the new Designer in Chief at Louis Vuitton and he is heralding his new collection in the latest British Vogue issue. His ‘woman’ is in motion, and she is on the go, according to his interview with the mag.

This ‘on the go’ look involves gorgeous brocade coats, waistcoats and ruffled blouses, over ruffled trousers mixed with bulbous trainers. A mere snip at more or less £15,000. In truth I love the clothes – the trainers not quite so much.

I, as you know, am also on the go, however my running budget doesn’t quite match the aesthete of Vuitton. Think bag lady mixed with Max Wall.

Today’s run down the catwalk of Islington and what is wistfully known as East Clerkenwell, saw me sporting the following adornment.

Hair – scraped back a la Max Wall, complete with Sweaty Betty Black headband

Face Colour – Dulux’s Salsa Red

Running Base Layer – neon purple and orange ‘athleisure’ base top – brand unknown

Running Sleeveless Jacket – black and neon orange netting lining – brand Pro Touch – no I’ve never heard of them either

Running tights – Black – by Pro Touch – still no idea where or when I picked these up

Running socks – Falke – yes I’m worth Falke socks, they protect my tootsies…

Running Trainers – Sexy Saucony Echelons

Fish – by Moxons of Islington (the brill, crab and clams only accompanied me for half the run)

Total expense for this running outfit unknown, but am happy to run in one of Mr Ghesquiere’s outfits, if he donates some dosh to Alzheimer’s Research. I am guessing I don’t really match his idea of his woman on the go though.

In summary my look today – I  love the Saucony trainers – the rest of the outfit not so much!

But despite the fashion embarrassment, I went out and on the go managed just over 9km.

Playlist

Strong – London Grammar

True Faith 94 – New Order

Smile Like You Mean It – The Killers

Tokyo Joe – Bryan Ferry

Change – Lightning Seeds

Sign Of The Times  – Harry Styles

Let’s Spend The Night Together – David Bowie

Dance Away – Roxy Music

Doginabag – The Fratellis

Just Can’t Get Enough – Depeche Mode

Dreaming Of Me (twice) – Ditto

Avalon – Roxy Music

Born To Run – The Boss

Rumour Has It – Adele

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

Is Vic There – Department S

Don’t Look Back In Anger – Oasis

Stats

Distance 9.49km

Time 1:01:55

Average Pace 6:31 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 53 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms To Date 529.03

Kms to Do 1488.97

 

 

 

 

19 Mar – Planning vs. Reality

In my head I was running 18km today. In my stomach were the dregs of yesterday’s commute from London to Granada. Namely, red wine, gin and tonic, and a late night gin fizz cocktail, from an un-named bar, where collectively Mr JCR, our friends N&A, and me raised the average age from about 25 to around 60.

In this bar, we also reduced the average tattoo and piercing count, and noticed that most of the punters started paying their bills when we arrived. Clearly we were not their normal clientele. But it was very friendly including the wolf dog on a steel and leather lead – a bit like the circus poster…

I was out at 8.30 am to do the 18km, I quickly realised that it wasn’t going to happen when my first km split was over 8 minutes. Maybe the post dinner gin fizz wasn’t the best prep?

In the distance I could see a couple of runners, so I thought it might be a good idea to follow them. I have no idea if they were warming or cooling down or doing some weird shit exercise routine, but every 10/15 paces they stopped to lunge and stretch various body parts. I do my stretching in the privacy of my own home, no one needs to see my lycra groaning, nor me for that matter. I overtook them and continued to see the world famous sights and sites of Granada. Bus station, Repsol petrol station, Lidl, road closure, primary school, tram lanes.

A quick detour back to the Airbnb to divest hat, gloves and running jacket and I was on my way. Tragically, not to the 18km though. I just wasn’t feeling quite right, coupled with the fact that I seemed to have run most of Granada – bar the hill and that famous palace.

Tomorrow is tourist stuff, visiting the Alhambra and so on. The weather is supposed to be turning a little more beastly, so today with fairly mild weather to take advantage of, we enjoyed very nice free tapas which is a thing in Granada, an interesting afternoon lunch/drink and  lovely evening meal. The red wine Munana is delicious and La Tana wine bar particularly grand.

This may not be the best preparation for serious running, but it’s a lot of fun.

Playlist

Get Dancin’ – Disco Tex and His Sex-O-Lettes

Girls on Film – Duran Duran

Hungry Like The Wolf – Ditto

New Moon On Monday – Ditto

Notorious – Ditto

Planet Earth – Ditto

Go Wild In The Country – Bow Wow Wow

Gold – Spandau Ballet

House Of Fun – Madness

Night Boat To Cairo – Ditto

Our House – Ditto

I Am The Law – Human League

I Can’t Stand Up – Elvis Costello

Oliver’s Army – Ditto

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

Maid of Orleans – Ditto

The Look Of Love – ABC

Love’s Unkind -Donna Summer

New Life – Dépêche Mode

People are People – Ditto

Personal Jesus – Ditto

Night Fever – Bee Gees

No More I Love Yous – The Lover Speaks

Doesnt Make It Alright – Stiff Little Fingers

Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake

Temptation – Heaven 17

Every Day I Love You Less and Less – Kaiser Chiefs

I Predict A Riot – Ditto

Modern Way – Ditto

Na Na Na Na Naa – Ditto

China Girl – David Bowie

Statistics

Distance 12.71 km

Time 1:38:19

Average Pace 7:44 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 106 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms done 467.6

Kms to do 1550.4

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 Feb – From Martyr to Tomato

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It is a cold, wet day and not in the least bit inspiring. But off I trot through the damp streets of Islington. This, I am hoping, is one of the worst weather days for a while, as we go off to sunnier climes tomorrow for Winter Training Camp. I have a feeling that regardless of my future running intents, a February break to avoid the cold and dark may well be on the cards.

I have noticed the more days of running consecutively, the worse my km pace is. I am not expecting a fast run today. And it didn’t disappoint. I aimed for Clerkenwell and St John Street and then shooted off towards Rosebery Avenue and Islington’s Upper Street. Taking some back streets I ended up at Tolpuddle Road pictured and wondered what particular relevance Islington has to the Tolpuddle martyrs.

It would seem that a public demonstration was organised near Copenhagen Street to show support for the martyrs and this attracted over 100,000 people to a march onto Parliament. Tolpuddle Street today, was just wet, puddley, and gusty. At which point, one of the gusts blew my hat off, and having overtaken two guys, I had the embarrassment of having to stop and run back to get the hat. Not so much a martyr JCR as a tomato.

I continued onto Islington’s Upper Street, and sure enough gusts of wind blew the hat off again. So I stowed it in my jacket, giving me a very weird monoboob look. I continued on pitter pattering through the puddles to the upper end near Highbury and turned back again. This time I had Sweaty Betty in my sights, to buy yet another sports bra and pair of shorts for Winter Training Camp. For a  supposedly cheap sport this is getting mightily expensive.

All the running training guides tell you not to run carrying anything unless it is in a rucksack on your back, because you can overbalance and desynchronise your running. With this in mind, the Sweaty Betty swag bag joined the hat in the now straining at the seams running jacket. Pregnant, monoboobed runner on the loose again.

I made my way home and managed just a shade over 9km. Tomorrow is rest day and we fly to arrive in Malaga for early afternoon where I am delighted to note it is neither wet nor cold, nor gusty.

And thanks so much to the family Mackintosh (sounds like a tv series!) for their great sponsorship in my Alzheimer’s Challenge. I can’t tell you how much of a boost that was.

Playlist

Second Hand News – Fleetwood Mac

7 Seconds – Youssou N’Dour and Neneh Cherry

New York Minute – Don Henley

Wake Me Up When September Ends – Green Day

All Day And All Of The Night – The Kinks

December 1963 – Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Spring Affair – Donna Summer

Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams

Year Of The Cat – Al Stewart

7 Years – Lukas Graham

Holding Back The Years – Simply Red

Sunday Girl – Blondie

Ruby Tuesday – The Rolling Stones

I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – The Proclaimers

8 Mile – Eminem

Steppin’ Out – Joe Jackson

Stats

Distance 9.34 kms

Time 1:11:32

Average Pace 7:39 mins/km

Elevation Gain 28 metres

Hat Flying Off – 2

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 212.01

Kms to Do 1805.99

 

 

 

31 Jan- Shame on You, Under Armour

Yesterday I was delighted to see that I had managed to be placed in the top 9% of the 104,000 worldwide runners, undertaking the Under Armour ‘ You Versus the Year’ challenge.

I had entered as another means of keeping my motivation high for my own Alzheimer’s Challenge of running the year.

Seeing my position in the leaderboard, such as it is, I looked up what was happening with this challenge. There are various monthly prize draws, where you may win Under Armour gear if you’ve achieved certain milestones. Great, I thought that’s another little fillip to my efforts.

Except it’s not, you can be accepted to the challenge, no matter where you are in the world. But you only get to win the gear if you are in the USA.

Bah humbug, I have no issue with Under Armour limiting the prizes geographically, just don’t open up the challenge to all the world. Under Armour – this is a rubbish thing to do, I didn’t want the prizes necessarily, it’s just the principle of the thing.

Are you just doing a Donald and trying to make America great again? This doesn’t work for me – it makes you look closed to the world. I will continue with the challenge, because I am motivated so to do. But seriously, is this the way you encourage people to try your gear?

Let’s just compare tactics shall we? Lululemon encourage people to set goals and recognise them locally. UA have a worldwide challenge, where only folk in the USA can win…

So UA, have a guess whose running gear I am likely to be buying.

 

30 Jan – A Fishy 5km

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Orange Rectangles Gained, Now For The Orange Squares

 

Today is orange hunting day – I am due to run the orange squares of the Monopoly board, but it is still quite cold out, so I thought I’d go for a warm up run of 5km and see if I can clock a few more kms, by doing two runs in a day.

It is Tuesday and the fishmongers are open today, and so I am going to run to buy fish. Unlike last time’s jaunt  I have learnt my lesson well and worked out a mini-route which will mean I can limit the return journey (carrying fish) to a manageable 2km.

Even better news is that my new dead posh Lululemon top comes with a very useful kangaroo pouch pocket. I haven’t actually read that Lululemon recommend wearing it for shopping/running trips. I am sure they will appreciate that needs must, when you’re targeting over 2000km in a year.

I could suggest it to them as a potential new marketing gimmick maybe?

So off I trotted on a circuitous route to Islington Upper Street, it truly is a glorious day, with a fantastic if rare, blue sky and the even rarer sight of the sun. Fish duly bought and stowed in my kangaroo pouch – with me hoping that we have no leakage issues, as I am not sure the raw fish smell would come out of my new running top. A trot back via Duncan Terrace Gardens – sound posh but they are very tiny, but are a small oasis of green amongst the concrete.

Two kilometres back towards home, and rather worryingly my legs feel tired – this does not bode well for this afternoon’s run. But I am close to home and manage to clock 5.19km, which if I can do more than 10km this afternoon, will help me keep my deficit from growing too much.

This morning I was running for two ‘orangeish’ rectangles of salmon, but this afternoon the orange squares of the Monopoly Board await. At least I won’t need the kangaroo pouch pocket to collect them.

And as a p.s. I am allowed to count Chancery Lane as the ‘Chance square on Monopoly – my friends all said so.

Playlist 

Beat Crazy – Joe Jackson

Blasphemous Rumours – Depeche Mode

Breaking Us In Two – Joe Jackson

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club

Don’t You Want Me – Human League

Dreaming – OMD

Dreaming Of Me – Depeche Mode

Einstein A Go-Go – Landscape

Electric Barbarella – Duran Duran

Stats

Distance 5.19km

Time 35:21

Average Pace 6:48 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 23 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run To Date 109.16km

Kms Still To Do 1908.84 km

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

Km Deficit as of now = 62.27km

 
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29 Jan – Saying Thanks To Erin

Today is a rest day. But I do have some ‘running’ duties to perform. First off, the squats and secondly the Vampire Kettlebells. For these two penances I have to thank Rignold and Razouski from the C25K Forums.

Third running duty is to go to Lululemon in Marylebone High Street and say thank you to Erin for giving me the base layer as an encouragement to do my first 15km run. I say first, because to be frank, keeping up the kilometrage is a tough challenge, and so inevitably I will have to do more 15k runs and fewer 5ks. Especially as I didn’t start the challenge until the end of the first week of January.

The Lulelemon store is also a ‘treat’, not just a duty, as I promised myself some nice new matching kit if I did the 15km. And as I did, I am going shopping, I have my eyes on a rather natty mesh lined running hoody. This is all part of my plan to make me look just a little more ‘pro’ and a lot less ‘slow’ when I run.

Bum, bum, bum, Erin wasn’t in the store for me to say thanks and the staff didn’t know what days she would be working this week. Nonetheless I still spent some dosh on leggings, hat, trousers and that hoody. All of which, I hope will make me look like a pro, although my running style leaves a lot to be desired.

I have just had a horrid thought, I could be one of those folks ‘All the gear, no idea’.