12 December – Up Speed or Deeps Pu?

I had committed to run today, to make up for a lovely indulgent week with friends N&A.  Of course, I made that commitment before having checked the weather.

We didn’t have two feet of snow in London, but we did have a considerable amount of frost and ice. As a street pounder when I am in London, it’s not awfully convenient to get to a park for a nice run. And to be honest, the thought of getting a tube to Regents Park for a run didn’t appeal, given I’d get really cold on the cool-down.

So bright spark that I was, I thought I’d do the Couch To 5K Speed Programme today instead and do it on the Barbican Highwalk. This is an interval training programme designed to help you work faster and harder at your running, increasing your speed and calorie consumption.

After a morning/lunch time/early afternoon of Faffolino visiting at my behest, which went pretty much like this:-

Cup of tea to wake up properly – of course Faffolino, why hadn’t I thought of that?

Sort out the laundry – oh it definitely needs doing, before I can run.

Cup of coffee and breakfast – sure can’t run on an empty stomach (in fact I can and do and prefer to)

Walk up to the fish shop – definitely necessary – a good protein source for today’s run

Grocery shopping – woman cannot live on salmon alone…

Do the ironing – well we have a visitor coming, so it’s better to get it done

Sew on a press-stud onto a summer shirt – self evidently a critical task

I was just about to eye up another ‘must do’ task, of wrapping up two last minute Christmas presents, when Mr JCR interjected ‘I thought you were going for a run, after you’d done the ironing?’. BUGGER, my prevarication had been sussed, so I somewhat reluctantly got changed into my kit. And as ever, my resolve always comes back when I am in kit.

A stroll to the Barbican Highwalk, with my runners buff up by my nose, hat on, double layer of gloves, including the amazing LED finger gloves above. Then Laura started all friendly…. but I know she’s a mean son of a gun. I’m all for girl power, but daughter of a gun, doesn’t sound the same.

Walk for 5 minutes on the 1,2,3,4 beat, which is fine whilst she’s counting, but when it comes to me and my counting, well I go a little awry and I use the 5 minutes to check out my running route – around the mini duck pond. No ducks but rather a lot of duck poo. There are some little patches of ice, so I note their whereabouts and carry on. 5 minutes warm up walk done – by this stage according to Laura my muscles should be nicely warm …mmm, I’m not so sure. It’s flipping freezing and my legs feel a bit leaden, but here we go.

Number One interval – 5 minutes of warm up running to a 150 bpm pace, apparently you can still count it on 1,2,3,4 they are just faster 1,2,3,4s. Well done JCR, you did that one – ah yes I’d forgotten, that’s just the warm up run. Ho hum, okay now Laura ups the ante, still the 1,2,3,4 count; only a heck of a lot faster at 165bpm. My little legs are going like pistons, but I am pleased I get it done…

Then my ‘comfortable’ pace run (according to Laura) but she can’t see my face or hear my breathing…, at which point I come up with a better pacing mechanism than the boring 1,2,3,4 count. I find I can run at the right pace whilst rasping ‘I hate Lau -Ra’ – it isn’t anything personal you understand, but these interval runs are crappy, necessary but crappy. Followed up by the sprint, it is too fast for me to curse at Laura, I content myself with wheezing a generic ‘F..k,  F..k, F..kety, F..k’

Comfortable Pace Run 3 to 6 –  four x sixty seconds of I hate Lau-Ra, which frankly on   the last one, was bloody uncomfortable, with a knee twingeing away.

Sprints 3 to 6 –  it has to be said the pace dropped somewhat, from my initial enthusiastic F..k, F..k, F..kety, F..k, to a more sedate F..k, F..kety, F..k, – I dropped a F..k, as my speed slowed.

What did I learn today?

  1. I have to do interval training to up my speed, so these training runs have to be done
  2. I really need to use Laura for something else other than speed training, as I am not sure she deserves the abuse
  3. My timing and coordination is shocking
  4. Prevarication serves no useful purpose whatsoever, and it’s much better just to go and run
  5. I had hoped to Up Speed, but it was really hard work and at the end I was in the reverse ‘deep spu’ and ended up with a slightly twangy knee and a stitch

In summary, Laura and I are probably going to have to keep dating, but Mr Smooth please, please can you come up with a programme that I like, or is that impossible?

Face Colour -Monarch Red

Playlist

Nothing – just the bizarre running beat that Laura and Audiofuel recommend – I hate it!

Stats

Distance – 3.75km including the warm up and down walks

Time 26.32 mins

Pace 7.04 mins/km (including walk elements)

Squats 3 X 15 sets of reps.

 

 

 

 

3 Similarities Between me and Tom Cruise – 30 November

 

Jack_Reacher-_Never_Go_Back_Japan_Premiere_Red_Carpet-_Tom_Cruise_(35375035831)

He was born in the 60s –

  • so was I (just)

He is not very tall – 5ft 7inches and according to many press/magazine articles wishes he was taller –

  • I am short, but 5ft 7 inches sounds tall to me

He has brown hair, although his stubble is grey, suggesting help from a hairdresser…

  • I have brown hair, aided carefully and knowingly by Richard my hairdresser

In the pic above, he is seen at the premiere of a Jack Reacher film. I love Lee Child’s books, but I don’t buy Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. In fact the only film line of his I can recall is not from Jack Reacher at all, which brings me nicely onto today’s run.

‘ I feel the need, the need for speed’ – Maverick says in Top Gun and little did I know that was how I was feeling today.

The duvet was warm, the mug of tea was hot, Mr JCR was all kitted up for cycling. ‘Going for a run?’ he enquired ‘mmmm’ – non committal grunt came from the depths of the duvet. Eventually the tea cooled down and was emptied, the duvet was bunched and scrunched up, and my trainers were winking at me. I got out of bed, walked to the balcony and did the temperature test – ouch can it be searingly cold?

Okay, that is fleece leggings, base layer, over layer and running top, hat, buff and gloves. Phone – yup, music – yup, earphones yup, key yup. Absolutely no excuse for not running then. The apartment block is in a sheltered narrow lane, so I didn’t feel the weather immediately on my warm up walk, but hitting Moorgate aarrgghh it was cold, so I upped my pace on the walk. It has to be said most of the good folk in the City were wearing substantially more layers than me, and I did feel draughts in places one shouldn’t.

Mechanical Voice Lady from Map My Run, kicked in and told me to start exercising, and maybe because it was so cold, my pace was a lot faster than usual. It felt fast, and as I ran up to Silicon Roundabout (which still makes me laugh because California has Silicon Valley and the best we can manage is a roundabout), I did wonder what pace I was at. My first kilometre prompt came up and I’d done 6 mins 01 second.  The hat came off at this point. Usually my first km is about 6.5 to 7 minutes, so I knew I was going faster then normal. And then on the second km, I continued at quite a pace and managed 5 minutes 36, which is by far my fastest km for 2 years. The buff and running gloves came off. Now I need a velcro top so I can attach all these unneeded accessories to it, so my hands remain free.

Then came my Maverick moment – I thought I’d continue the run at that speed until I ran out of puff. So whilst I may have felt the ‘need for speed’ my little legs weren’t quite up to the task and I ran out of puff, with a very painful stitch at 2.93km. At that point, I decided to slow down and finish off on a walk home. After all my thoughts last night about going a long distance, it turns out I fancied a short cruise through the streets instead. And as Tom and I both know just because it’s short doesn’t mean it not worth much! This is the pace I need to maintain to do a sub 30 minutes 5k… mmm I think that means more interval and sprint training coming up.

Playlist

No idea – new phone and I obviously didn’t set up the Map My Run linkage properly!

Stats

Distance 2.93km

Time 17.24

Elevation Gain 22 metres

Squats 3 sets of 15 reps – and just taken delivery of kettlebells – that’s another challenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo By Dick Thomas Johnson from Tokyo, Japan – Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Japan Premiere Red Carpet: Tom Cruise, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60386378

New Banksy in Town – 12 November

IMG_0956.jpg

It is Armistice Sunday and about 8amish, Mr JCR is in a tailspin, this time he was re-enacting the opening scene in Four Weddings and a Funeral, he had set his alarm to get up and out for a ride, meeting his fellow cyclists at a park in North London. It seems there was a technical failure between his head and the phone, and thus no alarm. Lots of frantic running around ensued, by a swift espresso (him) a kiss good bye (him to me) then a nice snuggle under the duvet (me). The great thing about being a runner is unless you’re on an organised gig, then you can just go out when you choose. So I chose not to get up, but snuggle down and read the C25K Forum posts, because lots of plucky folk are doing the poppy runs today.

One mug of tea later, I finally surfaced and started getting out the running layers, we’d been warned today was going to be colder, so I tiptoed onto the balcony (please don’t get any ideas of grandeur here, it’s all of about 2 feet wide…) in my jammies, and yup it’s brass monkey weather.

I had set myself a goal of doing my third 10K run today, but yesterday whilst walking I could feel my right hamstring pulling a bit, so was unsure if I’d be okay. Still nothing ventured…

Appropriately dressed like a ninja, all black with just a hint of fluoro today, I donned my sexy Saucony’s and gasped as the air cut through. I was glad of my hat and gloves, started my warm off walk towards the City. I love running through the City at the weekend, because it’s usually so quiet compared to during the week and it’s like a secret place, where not many folk venture. But of course today is different, I passed many roadblocks and policemen with sub-machine guns, but far more encouragingly loads and loads of folk wearing their poppies with pride, some formally dressed in overcoats, shirts and ties, some with medals, some not. It wasn’t quite the sea of poppies that the Tower of London had a couple of years back, but still a lovely sight.

I ran towards the Tower and it was very very busy, so I hightailed it back to the City, after needing to strip off the jacket, hat and gloves as I was getting a bit warm. Running along Tower Hill, ‘fag ash Lil’ as she shall be known,  turned around from admiring the Trinity Square Gardens and tipped her fag ash over my leg, as I was running past. She did look somewhat sheepish afterwards and on a positive note at least she didn’t try to stub it out on me.

I continued back to the City, along Eastcheap – even more policemen, more road blocks and more sub-machine guns. Did a quick whizz along Cannon Street and headed towards the Guildhall – from a distance it had many flags hanging in the courtyard and barriers around. So I asked  a very nice young policeman if it was okay to run there, and he said yes there was no activity there today. It certainly is true when policemen all look young, you know you’re old….

At this point, it suddenly occurred to me that actually rather than just do the 10k today, I should try and do 11K, before 11am. My own mini tribute. I continued on into the City, past my old office no problem at all, past the Modern Pantry restaurant – much harder! – they do mean cocktails for Sunday mornings, and I have to say a cocktail would have been very welcome at that point. Continued up and past Moorfields Eye Hospital and up the City Road, coming in the opposite direction a sassy dude. We ‘met’ at a road junction and just as The Supremes were starting Nathan Jones, he crossed the road by doing a pirouette in the middle – obviously a Strictly fan!

Up to Angel Islington, and back down St John Street – I passed a few fellow runners here, some nods and smiles and I continued on towards Smithfield Market, overtaking a Liam Gallagher lookalike. Running through the ‘Top Gear’ tunnel, I noticed that loads of folk were taking selfies in front of the newest Banksy – it appeared I think on Friday night. This one is painted on acetate, so maybe he’s making them portable now? Just after hitting the 10k mark, I did  a wider loop to finish at our local coffee shop ‘Fix’ in Whitecross Street and at about 10.50am on Armistice Sunday, I clocked 11.11km – spooky!

Well done to all the poppy runners today, I promise to be in your number next year.

Playlist

Andy, You’re A Star – The Killers

Ben – Michael Jackson

Clint Eastwood – Gorillaz

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Denis – Blondie

Goodbye Earl – Dixie Chicks

Frankie –  Sister Sledge

Geno – Dexys Midnight Runners

Diary of Horace Wimp – ELO

Ivan Meets GI Joe – The Clash

Jackie Wilson Said – Dexys Midnight Runners

Song for Keith – Mike Strickland

Louie Louie – The Kingsmen

Mickey – Toni Basil

Nathan Jones – The Supremes

Oliver’s Army – Elvis Costello

Peter Gunn Theme – The Blues Brothers

The Mighty Quinn – Manfred Mann

Rudy – Supertramp

Girls and Boys – Blur

Telegram Sam – T Rex

Sharp Dressed Man – ZZ Top

Stats

Time 1.12.55

Distance 11.11km

Average Pace 6.33 (min/km)

Fastest Split 6.04

Squats – 3 x 15 sets of reps

Poppies – too many to count, but enough to appreciate

 

With Apologies To Gloria

Gaynor,  that is. I recently created the MummyCav playlist, On spotify

This is an A-Z of women’s names in song titles, with a few selected anthems in celebration of a fab C25Ker.

There is one notable omission, the karaoke fave, hen-night special ‘ I Will Survive’. Don’t get me wrong,  I love a bit of Gloria, ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’ love it, ‘Reach Out, I’ll Be There’ absolutely glorious.

But IWS, is one of my most hated songs ever, it’s a close run thing but that and ‘Once In A Lifetime’ by Talking Heads, make me both retch and reach for the off button, if they come on the radio.

Talking Heads, most folk agree, tend to be a Marmite Band, you either love or hate them… But disliking IWS is almost akin to saying you don’t believe in the sisterhood. In fact it’s not a dislike, I actually detest the song, I don’t like the lyrics, I don’t like the tune and sorry Gloria, I don’t like your voice on it either.

I dislike it so much that my very good  friends MandG actually tracked down an original single a couple of years back. Traded hard cash for the vinyl, on an Italian Motorway Service Station and gave it to me as part of our traditional Shit Christmas Present Swap. Inspired thinking on their part.

So Gloria, I am sorry and to paraphrase that awful song

And you see me, somebody new

I’ve never been that person, so in love with you

And when that song is played on Radio 2, I really do dislike you

So I’m afraid on my Spotify, I’m having to de-list you

Okay, it doesn’t scan, but please, I am no lyricist – mind you I don’t think the original lyrics are much better. And this was my playlist tribute to MummyCav on C25K and what tribute could include a song I loathe?

I am running on Sunday, and will be listening to the MummyCav playlist, secure in the knowledge that IWS will never appear on it!

p.s. Mr JCR loathes it too!

 

 

 

 

 

Dodging Human Road Blocks – 11 November

IMG_0951Yesterday, I was supposed to run, but I wantonly ignored Mr Smooth’s date invitation and instead ‘treated’ myself to a day in London’s West End, to do a bit of Christmas Shopping. I had totally forgotten what a complete and utter fart it is to get around London – having taken the tube to Great Portland Street, my first human road block encountered was ‘selfish mum with pram’.

Before hundreds of mums rush to roar (unlikely this is not mumsnet), there was a reason why I tag this lady as ‘selfish’ she was pushing the pram on the pavement/sidewalk, and it was one of those larger buggy types, but she was pushing it in what I can only describe as side-saddle walking. She wasn’t behind the buggy in-line, she was taking up two person width on the pavement, as she pushed her buggy from the side of it. We don’t have the benefit of sweeping boulevards and generous pavements in dear old medieval street plan London, so I admit to snarling at her, as I sidestepped into the road. Grrrr.

Calm restored, I walked towards Harley Street en-route to Marylebone High Street, this is one of the more civilised shopping streets, nowhere near as big as its cousins Oxford and Regent Streets, so a lot easier to get around. I hunted down my quarry in fact quarries. I was shopping posh – Lululemon and Sweaty Betty, here I come for sassy, sexy running tops and jazzy leggings.

Aha slight problem, Lulelemon’s stuff is all rather classy shades of nothing, murky blue nothing, murky dark grey nothing and murky light grey nothing. I wanted bright, I needed fluoro. Clearly I am not the murky type – me and Lululemon parted company, still on friendly terms but no way BFF terms. Next stop Sweaty Betty, I had seen on the web a rather nice tangerine hoodie, but I did want to see it for real rather than a photo. So in I popped to SB… mmm murky nothingness is evidently the look for City based runners, no sign of the tangerine, closest we got was a rather sombre teal coloured top. Something else they called a tiger pattern, but it was a bit too much like Kelloggs Frosties for me, so I shuffled out of there too…

In a shuffling mode, I then met my next human road block, only this time it was two women chatting away merrily. I was behind them and they uncannily managed to move exactly the direction I wanted to take to pass them. I didn’t growl because it was quite funny, acting as their shadow I moved to the right and so did they, I then tried the left and they shifted back to the left. In the end I road-surfed for overtaking purposes.

Finally, in another shop (who have a running clothing range collaboration with New Balance) I was walking up the stairs to get to the range and hit another human roadblock coming down the stairs. We both mirrored each others’ moves and did a daft dance on the stairs and laughed – then she said ‘I love your coat, it’s beautiful’. Even though I can be a very stroppy cow at times, I would have to be a monster to be tetchy with a lady who said that…

On to today’s run, I had decided just a cheeky 5k, as I am going to go for the magic 10k on Sunday. I am trying to improve my 5k times, but it does seem that I can’t sustain a sub 6 minutes km, still a run is a run is a run. Out on my warm up walk towards the City, listening to Elvis Costello and his Angel wanting to wear red shoes, I realised I hadn’t actually started Map My Run – I have a love/hate relationship with the app. I really dislike the mechanical voice lady who prompts you to start your exercise and then tells you your times. I love the way it integrates with my iphone playlists and music library, but hate the way it won’t integrate to Spotify, so I have to listen to my Spotify playlists sequentially to recall all the music. And the music is an important distraction for me, otherwise I get caught up in times and distances.

Today I can’t blame MMR, it was my own Stupid Tart Syndrome hitting again! Ho hum, after restarting I went on my merry way to the world famous Silicon Roundabout – the throbbing hub of the UK technology scene! It is just a roundabout, with lots of coffee shops and young people carrying Apple tech with them. Having been to Silicon Valley many times, this roundabout is going to have to grow some to be a competitor. I ran past Moorfields eye hospital, along the City Road and up towards Angel Islington. Pavements were a little greasy and I was glad I was wearing my grippier Brooks Defyance today, although they did get splotted by some water from a puddle I misjudged. Ugh, wet feet running – not my favourite pastime. A much fitter runner coming towards me and in shorts – blimey he was brave.

Then from Angel Islington, back towards old friendly territory, down St Johns Street, I hook a right turn onto Clerkenwell Road, skipping through quite a few up/down ramps, scaffolding poles etc., as there’s quite a lot of development going on here. Took a left to Turnmill Street, passed the old site of the So Solid Crew Shooting, to Cow Cross Street and along Smithfield to Farringdon Road, which changes its name to Farringdon Street when it hits the City of London. On the homebound streak now, on Queen Victoria Street heading towards St Pauls and I hit 5.5km. That’s enough for today, so I unplug and walk merrily home. And I notice that whilst yesterday I was dodging human road blocks, that today not one, no dodging, cursing or laughing necessary. That’s probably a record.

Playlist

The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes  – Elvis Costello and the Attractions

Purple Rain – His Royal Highness the Purple One

Blue Monday 88 – New Order

Golden Brown – The Stranglers

Golden Years – David Bowie

Raspberry Beret – His Royal Highness the Purple One

Blue Suede Shoes – Elvis

White Wedding – Billy Idol

Cream – His Royal Highness the Purple One

Back to Black – Amy Winehouse

Being Beige – Smashing Pumpkins

Brown Sugar – D’Angelo

Forever in Blue Jeans – Neil Diamond

Yellow Submarine – The Beatles

Stats

Distance 5.5km

Time 34.11

Average Pace 6.12 mins/km

Fastest Km 5.34mins

Human Roadblocks – Thursday 3 – Friday 0

Squats – 3x sets of  15 reps

Halloween, harvesting and home – 28 October

We are in the home strait, closing down the house before we return to the UK for a few weeks and we had a list of things to do as long as your arm. From harvesting the olives (thanks Mr JCR – nobly done whilst I was in London a week back), to de-fooding the house and cleaning absolutely everywhere.

Part of the new close down procedure, is setting up the security cameras inside and out after our burglary earlier this year. The cameras (in principle) are designed to make us feel safer whilst here and away. Last night Mr JCR went out to meet his Iron Man buddy for a goodbye meal and I stayed home alone. It is very dark in the countryside here; I was binge watching Catastrophe in front of a roaring fire. Then, all of a sudden my phone told me that both the internal and external cameras had lost their signals. Mmm my heart did pound a bit, as I muted the tv just in case and then sat in silence for about 10 minutes wondering if there was an axe murderer outside who had just cut the power.

I sent a casual text to MR JCR enquiring whether such power loss was normal – his answer an hour later…. ‘No idea, seems strange’

Quite clearly I am somewhat deranged as had said axe-murderer cut the power, neither the lights nor the tv would have been working… such is the power of an over-active imagination all sense of logic is lost. And any hope I may have had at being imminently rescued, was quite clearly dashed by the 1 hour delay in getting Mr JCR’s reassuring reply… Halloween obviously playing on my mind.

This morning, I decided binge-reading The Times was in order, all part of my prevarication strategy to not run this morning. But after having read the paper (can you still call it a paper when it is on-line?), really there was no viable excuse to not getting my butt out there. In daylight there was no sign of any axe-murderers having been near the house, just the hum of lots of olive harvesting going on.

Off I trotted down the Slope of Hope, into the Hill that Kills and coming towards me an unusual sight – a 1950’s or 60’s American Muscle car, driven by a guy who looked like a shorter and short haired version of Lemmy from Motorhead. Now he was truthfully a Halloween sight. Into Lovers’ Lane and I overtook a couple of women on a walk, who then decided to take advantage of the children’s playground nearby and they ran giggling to the swings and were swinging merrily as I looped back. Their giggles reverberated across the fields and back – actually what fun, to be a grown-up and play on the swings and not get tutted or told off!

Back to the Hill That Kills and I dropped down back onto the Slope of Hope and decided I’d run all the way back up. My speedy feet weren’t really on today so it was more of a plod, back up the hill to Mill Lane, where there was a car – now this constitutes pretty much gridlock. A couple of years back Mill Lane changed designation to one-way and the one-way it does go, doesn’t seem to be that popular with the locals. The car was coming away from the olive frantoio and as I passed I could see all the empty crates lined up and the waste from the pressing being churned into a waiting trailer. The air smelt full of fresh olive oil. For the second time I ran up Lovers’ Lane and this time the giggling women had gone to be replaced by the old guy who I think is closing up the piadineria and park for Winter. The swings had been removed and all is quiet, so I plodded slowly onto the 5km mark.

Back towards home having listened to Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Vincent Price’s voiceover – (what an apt day to hear this song) and Mill Lane and the local comune man with his Ape was at work. This weekend will be the All Saints Day celebration in churches and cemeteries – the local cemetery will see hundreds of visitors, the road will be partially closed off and parking wardens in attendance –  All Saints Sunday is a big day here. This also means we have to ride shotgun at our entrance gate, otherwise we can’t get in and out of the house. This is why I am running today and not tomorrow as is usual.

A slow steady 5k, nothing interesting or scary happening. And after last night’s 10 minutes of almost terror, it’s nice for things to be back to quiet, sleepy normal.

Playlist

Mercy – Duffy

By The Way – Red Hot Chilis

Let’s Dance – David Bowie

Blue Monday – New Order

Billie Jean – Michael Jackson

Beat It – ditto

Thriller – ditto

Last Train to Clarksville – The Monkees

I’m a Believer – ditto

Daydream Believer – ditto

Vienna – Ultravox

Everything Must Go – Manics

Billie Jean – Michael Jackson

Alison – Elvis Costello

Stats

Distance 5.58km (only 5.1 ran)

Time 45.10 (slooowww)

Average Pace 8.06 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 68metres

Squatting – 3 x sets of 15 reps

 

Hazard Warning – 24 October

It’s been a busy October as we are preparing to close down the house for Winter. Last week I was in London and Mr JCR harvesting olives. My return to Italy was marked by an impromptu invite to a birthday party (Friday night) involving a volcano, the end of season party for Mr JCRs cycling group on Saturday night and about 30 of his cyclist group coming for snacks and olive oil tasting on Sunday. This is all hazardous to health with vast quantities of food and wine consumed, between trying to clear out the house for our departure.

Amidst all of this activity, there is a small matter of fitting in some running – I had given myself a target to do 10K before leaving Italy for the UK and that seemed to have been stymied by a couple of weeks on the injury couch after two rather stupid slips. So today was my first attempt at getting back to a more usual distance. The morning didn’t start well, I was cold and grumpy and could hear the wind howling around the house. Eventually I gave in and got up, faffed about, prevaricated some more, went outside – jeepers the wind was bracing, so went back indoors to put on another layer and eventually off I went. I didn’t really have a target in mind, but more than 7km would be good. Warm up walk down the Slope of Hope, loads of acorns by the side of the road, so the surface a little hazardous, I kept looking down, which in Italy is dangerous in itself, as the traffic is let’s say haphazard in roadcraft. Up the Hill that Kills and did one of my fastest first km, this is not a good thing as the Hill TK is the first part of my run, if I overshoot here, it has consequences. Down Lovers’ Lane past the barking beagle house, who as per tradition made me leap in the air. The roads are quiet because most activity is in the fields, with the olive harvest in full swing and the mills all busy. I am a bit warm, so return to the house and dump my extra layer and then continue back down the Slope of Hope. In the distance I see a rangy long haired blond runner, a bit like a lanky Bjorn Borg only minus the headband. He is running faster up this damn hill than I am running down it. Curses!

I turn down to the Bendy Scary Road and decide to take the Laundry Lane loop. It’s now gloriously sunny, everywhere I run is accompanied by the snap, crackle and pop of acorns and leaves falling. We had a temporale (storm) on Sunday evening which seems to have caused a lot of debris, so there is rather a lot of twigs and branches around, requiring nifty footwork. As I plod along, I see a collection of the following ‘fruits’ which have fallen from the trees and thank heavens the temporale seems to have stripped the tree bare. If one of these had fallen on my head, that would have been rather hazardous too.

 

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I carry on and decide that if I can make 8k today I will be very happy indeed. Then I am tooted by some Dutch friends as they drive past, and just for once the running gods were smiling and I was running a nice pace, not in my tired Mrs Overall style, but all proper runner-like, so that gave me quite a boost. I arrived at Prune Way at about 7.5km and thought I could just continue so I did until I hit about 9km and turned back along Laundry Lane towards Prune Way again, as I approached I was just on the 10km mark, but remembered I had walked a few metres earlier on (when putting my extra top in the post box), so to make sure I had done the magic 10 clicks, I turned back away from Prune Way for about 200m and then ran back. Job Done. Challenge Done – a 10km run before leaving Italy. Despite Faffolino visiting, despite acorns, leaves and twigs providing low lying hazards, despite me not really wanting to do this, I did and I am a happy bunny!

Playlist

Uptown Funk – Mars and Ronson

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Sign of the Times – Harry Styles

Love’s Unkind – Donna Summer

I Ran – A Flock of Seagulls

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Oh Woman, Oh Man – London Grammar

Tainted Love – Soft Cell

Alive and Kicking – Simple Minds

Cake By The Ocean – DNCE

She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult

Marvin Gaye – Puth and Trainor

Runnin’ Down a Dream – Tom Petty

Talk Talk – Talk Talk

Rasputin – Boney M

Rumour Has It – Adele

It’s Called A Heart – Depeche Mode

Common People – Pulp

Stats

Distance 10.50km (but I reckon 10.2km of running)

Time 1.13.30

Average Pace (mins/km)7.00

Elevation Gain  51 metres

Fastest Split 6.05

Squats 3 X sets of 15 Reps

Warm Down Walk 2km with Elevation gain of 165.9m