Mar 17 – The Loneliness of the Non-Distance Runner

 

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With thanks to Mr Sillitoe for the inspiration for the post’s title

A recap

2018, let’s run 2018km to raise £2018 for Alzheimer’s Research – done, tick well done

2019, let’s fix the frozen shoulder and gippy hip, with a view to being able to learn to box this year – aha, a work in progress. And then go back to normal running about 1200/1500kms in a year. Oh and hopefully manage a half marathon sometime during the year.

January – physio started, doctor’s health check done – a few small issues highlighted:-

  • Kidney issuette
  • High cholesterol
  • Shoulder still dodgy, but being fixed
  • Hip being fixed, however it is resisting treatment
  • Migraines a go -go

February – mmm, things aren’t getting any better:-

Kidney infection, necessitating antibiotics for a week

Gastric type flu, which 4 weeks later is still hanging around

Shoulder, now close to being mobile – yippee

Hip, IT Band, Glutes  – all still problematic

I did however, Marie Kondo my running kit drawer, so it looks professional, even if I don’t.

March – 

Flu continues

Shoulder within touching distance of a fix

Hip – being very stubborn and I am banned from running

Upside, we are due back in Italy soon and I have my physio plan.

Downside, my physio plan involves weird crab like manoeuvres, involving me squeezing my buttocks imagining I’m holding a £20 note between them. Having never squeezed a £20 note (or any other denomination or currency) between my buttocks, this does involve a severe look of concentration, coupled with the hope that I don’t really look like a constipated crab.

Now I didn’t know that there is a YouTube character called the Constipated Crab, so here for your delectation is the Constipated Crab Video link. Any similarity between me and said crab is purely physiotherapical (I know it’s not a word!)

 

The main reason for posting is that if I keep doing the Physio and exercises, and if I write about those instead, it’ll keep me on the straight and narrow.

Wish me luck on the latest part of the physio treatment plan. Tomorrow morning – we do the stork, followed by the crab thing, followed by squatting and leg lifts, with my assorted coloured elastic bands. Think primary school bondage, and you’re not far off my current exercising look. I have a fear that after having broken the 2k km in a year, that I could end up redoing C25K again. My fingers are crossed  that me and Mr Smooth don’t actually have to start dating again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Dec – Hitching A Lift

Loving the bling…

Monday morning blues – no not me, another blue sky day in London, so what to do. Get dressed and go for a run. With a new £50 sponsorship donation geeing me on, I wanted to get under the 50kms to go mark.

Blue skies, but chilly – okay JCR, load up on the layers – underwear yup, socks yup, leggings yup, base layer yup, running top – the famous fish carrying top yup, bobble hat yup, gloves yup. Oh yes, it’s the droopy yoga leggings again  – this could be an eventful run.

Take a deep breath and enter the cold zone. Actually I think I may have overlayered, but let’s just carry on and see. It’s another trip up West, the City is busy and the crowds thin in and around Holborn and the Inns of Court. Hitch up the leggings! Looking ahead beyond Chancery Lane, town is looking a little more hectic. Okay JCR time to take a diversion, and mooch along to Great Ormond Street Hospital. It’s often busy here with ambulances and lots of patients outside of the hospital, but today it is very quiet – thank goodness as I need a second hitch of the leggings. I’m about half way into my run and I think about running home. Heading towards Kingsway, I see the lovely blingy doorway above. I’ve never thought of a purple and gold colour way – very Roman imperial for Christmas. However we don’t live in a blingy place and I think Mr JCR will have me certified as mad if I suggest a new colour way for Christmas decorations, especially when we have an apartment with hardly any storage space.  

At this stage, I am seriously overheating – that means hat off, gloves off, fish running top off – third leggings hitch. Place all items in fish carrying pocket, tie my top around my waist – re-hitch the leggings. Try to elegantly wipe a river of sweat from my face, whilst admiring the blingy doorway. I’m sure my running friend Bev said her mojo is sparkly and purple – if so Bev, I think I’ve found her, hiding in this doorway. A mojo shouldn’t be away from home at this time of year, what is it I can do to get her back to you?

I turn back towards Fleet Street, the crowds are gathering for lunch, with many queues for fast food spilling onto the pavement. Mmm fast food, what am I going to do for lunch and dinner? Well it wouldn’t be a London run, if I didn’t go shopping. It’s just a couple of kms away from home, and my thoughts turn Italian. After a month away from Italy, we’ll be having pasta for dinner – the thought of food powers my legs, but increasing the speed, unfortunately increases the rate at which my leggings droop. That’s five hitches in one run. 

Fortunately, droopy leggings notwithstanding, this run has gone without a hitch. And the £50 sponsorship did its job, I managed to get to the less than 50kms to go mark. Now I find myself sporting a MonaLisaesque  enigmatic smile – 14 days to go and about 49kms to run. I’ve actually got to slow down, otherwise I’ll finish early, which is sorely tempting, but not possible, as I’ve made some promises about Christmas Eve being the final D -Day (done day).

Playlist

iTunes had many a hitch – with most tracks only playing for 10 seconds only. After a while I gave it up, but these are the tracks I actually heard in full.

Temptation – Heaven 17

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty

Reap The Wild Wind – Ultravox

Master and Servant – Depeche Mode

Sign Your Name – Terence Trent D’Arby

Every Breath You Take – Police

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Go Wild In the Country – Bow Wow Wow

She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult

Don’t You Want Me – Human League

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

Shake The Disease – Depeche Mode

No More I Love Yous – The Lover Speaks

Be My Number Two – Joe Jackson

From Me To You – The Beatles

Hunter – Dido

Stats

Distance 9.11km

Time 1:00:00

Average Pace 6:35

Elevation Gain 42 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1969.71

Kms To Run 48.29

18 Oct – Testing, Testing

After yesterday’s kNAFFTA award nominations, I was persuaded by some running buddies to try running commando as it’s supposed to be more comfortable. In the interests of discretion, I shan’t say any more – and I won’t be repeating that experiment.

My second test, was to see if I could run without a playlist – not naked, I’ve tried that and didn’t like listening to my rasping breath and thumping feet.

I listened to a talk radio show which intersperses music with dialogue. My issue is that I can get highly irritated by some of the rather inane conversations and sweeping generalisations made. The tendency of the programme to choose guests with ragingly opposing views to create a sense of conflict, tends to stifle the debate. Hyperbolic statements thrown from both sides create no sense of nuance. But I thought I’d give it a go, because change is good and it stops you forming habits.

I discovered I was slowing down to listen to some parts of the dialogue and in fact I stopped a couple of times, because I wanted to hear what a particular expert had to say. That was unexpected, what wasn’t was a few ‘Oh for goodness sake’ type exclamations when I was running. Thank goodness no-one saw or heard me – the nutty runner muttering to herself!

Would I do it again? – it’s a different type of run, I enjoy my playlists because I can get lost in the music, sing or hum along and although I famously have little coordination/sense of timing, there are some tracks that really help me run. Eminem’s Lose Yourself is a great example of one of those.

A general chat/music show may not be the right formula, I’ve heard about two comedians who run and do podcasts, so maybe I’ll try one of those next time.

In the meantime, today’s run, short, slow and a little testing on weary legs – but the third daily run usually is.

Stats

Distance 6.13km

Time 56:05

Average Pace 9:08 (really, really slow! – may have had something to do with stopping to listen to the radio)

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1680.77

Kms to Run 337.23

 

 

 

 

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