Week 15 Run 1 – Surreality Bites

It’s Tuesday and I am up before 8am, mainly because Mr JCR nagged me a lot (on my behest I must add), I am also out of the door just after 8am and it’s 27 degrees. In 2018 we had Lucifer’s summer and I think he’s coming back. I add a dash of ‘pootler’s pink’ lipstick to get me on my way and I’m ready for whatever Lucifer decides to throw at me.

First off, Mill Lane, it’s now one way and so pitted and potholey that most locals don’t use it, so I usually have the lane to myself. But not today – two cars passed me, that almost constitutes a traffic jam in these parts. On my way to Lovers’ Lane and all is empty – no Anouska, no Albino save for one car on its way to Villa Bali. I even manage to get past the barking beagle house twice without so much as a murmur. It feels surreally quiet as though Le Marche has been emptied.

I return down Mill Lane and spot a dog walker I recognise from a couple of years back, a middle aged man, with a Collie. Bald and with a white moustache – the man, not the dog, I notice he has thin wiry legs but calves like flat irons. Iron Man I think is his new name, he smiles and says buongiorno. It is nice being in Italy when people acknowledge you rather than London, where it’s a little more distant/aggressive.

Making my way down the Slope of Hope, I get goosed by the barking balcony house, ah things are getting more normal and I make my way towards the village and Laundry Lane. And there to my surprise I see Dame Duvet, rather surreally dressed for what is now 28/82 degrees. She is wearing a baseball cap, a cotton neckerchief, a tee shirt under a sweatshirt and long black tracksuit bottoms. She looks as cool as a cucumber, I on the other hand am wearing the minimum I can get away with, without offending common decency standards and am bright eyeball-scorching red. You wouldn’t actually believe we were in the same climate. The other thing is that she’s miles away from where I normally see her, so now I wonder if she’s real or a walking spectre. Because from knowing her usual roads, I think she’s walking at least 15 -20 kms in the morning. Wow.

We exchange ciaos – and I bite my tongue wanting to ask for more information… and continue onto Laundry Lane, there’s a little more shade than usual and I continue my run until I hit the unshaded incline where I decide to finish.

Walking back up Argo’s Loop, I pass my ultimate barking nemesis. There are two horrid little dogs really  quite aggressive and they live outdoors. As you can see from my first picture there is a mini enclosure. This is where they run and scramble up the fence to bark at me. Over the years, their technique has been fine-tuned and they were getting perilously close to scaling their enclosure; I see the owner has added yet more height to their scrambling wall, I fear it’s just given them more incentive to frighten me even more.

I make my way to the final ascent on Argo’s Loop and there I pass Iron Man once more, he pulls his dog to heel, smiles and we re-buongiorno. Turning the corner I see a sun hazed vision all in black. I squint thinking I recognise our friend Claudia, but she never, ever walks up our hill as it’s brutal. She crosses to the other side of the road, I say ciao and she recognises me at last. We elbow bump which is the new greeting standard and she tells me she is going for a walk. Now I am in utter shock, I’ve only ever seen her in her car this far up and her route means she has more inclines to do. Serious respect to her as I am two minutes from home and at her pace I reckon she has another hour to get home, including some horrid hilly bits.

I walk into the house, and see myself in the mirror – no wonder Claudia didn’t recognise me, the pootler’s pink has slid away from my mouth and I look a little like Robert Smith from The Cure, or one of Dali’s Melting Clocks. A surreal morning’s run, and a very surreal face…

Stats

4.4 km – slowly doing a bit more distance

Time – yup it took me time

Physio – some of it

Jump Rope – maximum 23 skips and at least 10 whipped arse moments

Music

90’s Mix

Best Track – Dizzy by Vic Reeves and The Wonder Stuff, as that was the final track on Argo’s loop and I was definitely feeling dizzy with heat at that time

 

 

 

 

 

C25K – Week 14 Run 3 & The A to Z of Running in the Heat

 

As regular suffering readers know, I am starting again and trying to increase my running distance and pace back to the dizzy heights of my 2018 running year.

However, restarting C25K in the UK in a cool Spring doesn’t give you the best foundation for running in the eighties and nineties temperature wise in Italy. So here is my definitive guide to running in the heat:-

Alarm – use it to get up early

Be Prepared – get your kit out the night before

Cold Water – an absolute must – put it in the fridge the night before, see ‘B’

Don’t Stay in Bed – see also ‘A’

Early Departure – see also ‘A’, and ‘D’

FFS – shouting at yourself may help get your sorry arse out of bed

Get a Grip – find your inner grit and use it to go out

Hunt for shade, before you run – do a recce of your route to find the shady areas

Ice cubes in your water bottle help

Jacuzzi – is a great incentive, for post run recovery

Kit yourself correctly – lighter weight clothing, dampen your headband and running vest if you can

Let the heat determine your speed, you can easily increase pace when it’s cooler

Midday/Much higher than 30 degrees and it can be dangerous to run if you’re not acclimatised to it – avoid if at all possible

Note your breathing and drinking habits – if you’re too laboured and really in need of much more water, – it’s simple you’re doing way too much

Opt for shorter distances and slower times – re-set your expectations

Plod if you need to – sometimes a walking break helps

Quitting the race – if it’s not working and you feel uncomfortable, call it quits. There’s no courage or honour in running to dehydration and exhaustion

Rinse your hair in water before you go out – it really helps keep you cool

Sunhat/screen/glasses – wear and use as appropriate

Take your time – the sun has endless patience to burn and overheat you

Under no circumstances run whilst hungover (previous history!)

Vanquish running gremlins by not setting too high a target

Water – take a bottle, take a spare bottle,  or carry cash to buy some more water

Xtra brownie points if you follow all the advice

Yes running in heat is possible, just take it slow, in shade and stay hydrated

Zzzz – a post run snooze is just the ticket

Today’s run – I followed my own advice except for  J and Q… J because it needs cleaning and filling with new water and Q – I didn’t need to quit, because for once I followed my own advice.

In truth it was mega scorchio again, it was just about 8am when I set out on Sunday to run, and the thermometer was already showing 27 degrees – 80 degrees in old money of course. On my warm up walk I passed Lord Kitchener, he was on his way to the cemetery and he barely gave me a glance, I did smile at him, but maybe he didn’t recognise me – it’s been over a year since he last saw  me after all. I had hoped to see Anouska and Albino, as I know they often get up early to walk if it’s very hot, but I didn’t see them either. No people, no dogs, no shade, no mercy.

The sun was beating down and I admit I took shelter in the one shady spot of Laundry Lane and did a few mini circuits between the trees, because it would have been awful otherwise.

At 4.3km I gave up the ghost, because the non-shaded incline was looming and in this heat you just have to be kind to yourself. But I did decide to continue for a walk to see an ‘ex- house’ of friends of ours, just to see what it was looking like now that it has new owners. It was sad really to see it, empty of people and shutters closed, whereas usually at this time of year it would be open and I could perhaps sneak in for a cheeky cup of coffee! It added a couple of 2kms to my efforts, and in truth it was too warm to do much more.

As Mr JCR pointed out I’m going to have to get up earlier and as I’m a born again teenager, lunchtime is a bit early for me to rise. It’s either that or run much later in the day and I just know I won’t do that, I’ll prevaricate, faff and generally find reasons not to.

Okay JCR for Week 15, you’re just going to have to do those big girl pants and get up earlier. We’ve got at least another 8 weeks of scorchio weather until September brings some welcome relief, so I have to woman up…

Stats

Distance – 4.3km

Time – Too embarrassing to record

Physio

Yes – crabby things, flexor things, squats, clams

No – bridge and pelvic thrusting – need a yoga mat

Jump Rope or Skipping Rope as we oldies call it – 23 skips in succession, with about 10 attempts during the day varying from 4 skips to the 23.

Whacked Arse – at least 7 times, when you stop the Jump Rope whips you, and it’s always on your bum.

Playlist

My goddaughter Molly’s Glastonbury Mix

Favourite track – Is this the way to Amarillo by Tony Christie – because I’m a recent convert to Peter Kay’s Car Share and I love his humour, and I loved his silly video for this, which we recreated on a virtual Glasto Pyramid Stage on Saturday night. Thanks Molly and Gabi and Carl for organising it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paula Meets Peter Parka – Week 9 Run 1

 

 

Paula  evidently likes hanging around, I was supposed to do this run yesterday, but she likes lockdown and had hunkered down for the long haul.

I did what you can only do in these circumstances and had a telephone based GP appointment, self isolating not necessarily by choice, but because Paula was calling the shots and I couldn’t really venture out to run.

One week’s prescription for antibiotics later, I was able to run today. As you can see my new natty shopping/trainer bag combo made an appearance, for a run out in Week 9.

It was warm and I was a little bothered that I may not be able to take the distance, so I deliberately slowed down and ran like a snail. In fact I’m overstating the speed, an asthmatic snail could have gone faster, I took a little diversion to Barbie Green and the sunken gardens that have a little slope in them and spotted the arch. It’s not exactly in the most convenient place, But I think that is where I will finish my second ‘graduation’ of C25K. It’s old like me and based in the City like me. It’s also only a 3 or 4 minute dash from home if necessary.

I was running circuits along London Wall, Fore Street and Wood Street, which is a triangular run, except for the zigzagging done in The Salters Garden, where a lady had chosen to sit for a peaceful reading session in the sun. Her silence was shattered every six or seven minutes when yours truly came puffing past. She did at least smile when I went past, unlike the security guy in Wood Street who was very seriously guarding an empty doorway in his parka coat, with the hood up and glowering very time I went past him.

Now I know it’s not exactly tropical but it was about 18/19 degrees or 64 degrees in old money and he was totally wrapped up for Winter. I have a theory he could be a long lost relation to Dame Duvet who walks our hills in Italy in quilted clothing even when it’s in the 80s. Peter Parka as he is now known –  I think may suffer from agoraphobia, because I’ve seen him many times on my route and I’ve never seen him more than a yard away from the empty doorway. Maybe he sees me as a potential security threat and thinks that I could be casing the joint – it’s just a back door as far as I can see. However, when my speed is up and I look a little less like an asthmatic snail, I will look at the door more closely, in case there’s any sign of gold bullion or diamonds or chocolate.

My musings on casing the joint were rudely interrupted by Mr Smooth telling me I had only one minute to go, leaving Peter Parka behind me I continued my run. Then finally Mr Smooth told me my run time was at an end, so I snuck in an extra minute or so, just to make up for my last run in case I’d got the timing wrong. My warm down walk took me past Peter Parka – I did smile but he just did that London thing of ignoring me.

Can I just say Peter, your distant relative Dame Duvet is much friendlier. And that is my first graduation run done and dusted. Two more to come and I’m back as a proper runner once more. Yay.

Oh and yesterday I got a new skipping rope, although you’re not supposed to call it that it’s a jump rope, and it’s not a rope, it’s a wire and you can’t skip slowly with it either. Oh and I can’t even skip with it, as my coordination is rubbish. Mr JCR did loads without blinking – me , well that’s another challenge I am to jump roping what I am to being bendy…

Stats

7km run/walk – I didn’t get as far as the fish shop today

1 new running character found

My new finishing post is established too

Physio

The Usual – but I’ve increased it a bit:-

Squats – 2 sets of 12 reps

Bridge – 1 set of 12 reps

Pelvic Thrusting – 2 sets of 12 reps

Hip Flexors – 5 reps each leg with 1.5kg weight on the resting leg

Clams – 18 reps each side

Toe touching – 10 (it doesn’t seem a lot but for a plank of wood, this is seriously impressive)

Playlist

Transport playlist

Best track – Motorbiking by Chris Spedding, on my last upward slope run in the Salter Gardens – I wasn’t motorbiking at the time, but it made me lift my head and increase my speed a bit

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0KOdiPm4dzwttZzEcwkSyh?si=xGVDhmGWS7y0lbwaZGxiaw

Paula & Jan Go Shopping With Mr Smooth – Week 8 Run 3

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Paula is taking the piss, if you pardon the pun. Her problem is my problem and after two days her problem is lessening, but not gone yet. Tuesday is fish shopping day, and Mr JCR laughed when he saw my novel approach to carrying my shopping bag.

IMG_6047
Weird – me????

This is a prototype solution, carrying it in my bra gives me three boobs, and I don’t like putting shopping in a sweaty bag. I have tried stuffing it in the card pocket of my leggings, but it looks as though I’ve got an unfortunate growth. Similarly stuffing it in my sleeves of my top looks dodgy too – I look like a one armed Popeye style bodybuilder.

Today’s run is the last in Week 8, onto graduation week next. And the attaching of my bag to my shoes, gave me an idea for my run. Paula and I would take Mr Smooth on a virtual shopping trip and see if we could get enough ingredients for dinner and maybe some items for a hobby, now that we are in lockdown and are supposedly focussing on cooking, DIY and crafting, if the tv channels are to be believed.

Yes, I know, I do have some rather bizarre thought processes whilst out running, but it does keep my mind occupied and avoids the how fast/slow, how long to go, questions that pop up when you’re building up stamina.

Now, I am very fortunate in that we live extraordinarily close to Cheapside in the City of London, and Cheapside used to be Chepe meaning market, so it’s not that big of a stretch to find some grocery shopping appropriate routes.

First off, the warm up walk, we are just around the corner from Silk Street – that’s the hobby angle sorted – I can do virtual dress-making. Then aiming towards Cheapside, I run through Milk Street and hot on its heels, Bread Street  – that’s  a virtual breakfast sorted, followed by Bow Lane. Mmm, I suppose it could go into the dressmaking basket, or maybe I could take up violin lessons, for which I’d need a bow. Or maybe try a new sport and take up virtual archery, but as someone who is chronically spatially challenged, that would be quite dangerous for anyone in the vicinity, so I think we’ll leave it at dressmaking, as my musical talent is pretty non existent too.

A bit of a detour takes me to Poultry, which is not specific enough to satisfy today’s menu, we had chicken on Sunday, I’m not over-keen on turkey and whilst we had guinea fowl last week, I’m not sure I want it again tonight. At Poultry I wasn’t quite flying along, but it was a nice comfortable pace and decided to head even further East for some more foodie goodies.

On the way to Monument, passing Fish Street Hill reminded me that I did need to go to Islington for our fish tonight. And then onto the famous Pudding Lane – again a bit too generic to really satisfy the ingredient test, but a good hint for me not to forget the sweet stuff on my shopping list. I came across Lime Street, which I thought would be good with a pre-dinner Gin and Tonic, but I couldn’t find anything alcohol related at all, so we will have to stick with the G & T from home. Considering East London was renowned for its gin distilleries, I was quite disappointed I didn’t find a Juniper Lane, or Genever Street  or similar.

Now after dinner, you should either have mints or coffee or a digestif, I could only find Camomile Street, so I guess that will be a herbal tea for after dinner then. (Thank God, this is virtual shopping, I tried camomile tea once and it’s horrid…)

Still the thorny issue of a pudding to satisfy and I noticed that whilst Paula and I had been merrily traipsing and doing our window shopping, Mr Smooth was suspiciously quiet. I checked him out, sure enough at some point in the run, the app had frozen, so I didn’t really know how long I’d been running for. Curses, the challenge of virtual shopping had made me forget the most important task the list, to complete  a 28 minutes interval. I had been monitoring my run with Map My Run and robotic lady informed me I’d been running for 33 minutes, which is not quite integrated to the C25K app, so I guessed I needed to do another 5 or 6 minutes to complete the interval.

I decided the best thing to do was to head out of the City and towards the fish shop in Islington, glancing down I noticed the shopping bag had stayed perfectly in place. At this point inspiration struck, I knew that in Clerkenwell  there is a street called Berry Street and that it was more or less on the way to Islington High Street. Berries would be a perfectly acceptable pudding.

And so more or less 45 minutes had elapsed after starting my shopping run, I’d got a virtual menu, started a new virtual hobby, and learnt that you can tie a shopping bag to your trainers.

You do get funny looks at the fishmongers when you are grovelling on the floor to untie it from your trainers, but all in all it worked well. Paula made her presence know just as I got home and our concierge was telling me a story. At this stage I wasn’t running, but I was grimacing a bit and holding on for dear life. Paula this is enough,  for next week’s runs I need to be focussed, please p… off.

Stats

About 8km run/walked

I hope I did the 28 minute interval

A breakfast obtained

Dinner menu sorted

A new hobby under my belt

Staved off Paula’s revenge attack

Physio

Usual, squats, crabby stuff, bridge, pelvic thrusting, hip flexors, toe touching, yawn, yawn, yawn.

Music

I should have a food and drink playlist, but I don’t so I played

Country and Places Playlist

And there was one food related track – Boston Tea Party by the Sensational Alex Harvey Band.

 

 

 

 

Paula’s a Problem – Week 8 Run 2

Yesterday was an unplanned rest day, due to raging cystitis calling the shots. Today it’s not quite as bad, but my plan for my run went out of the window, with proximity to home, being the key consideration. (I didn’t want to do a Paula Radcliffe by the side of the road, if Mother Nature called urgently)

Nearby, there is a quiet place called Finsbury Circus which is just off Moorgate and happily circular, so you can do laps. It’s also within sprintable distance, should my bladder start screaming. For the purpose of this post, I’m renaming my bladder Paula.

I always like to give myself a challenge to find something new to look at or do or find, as it helps me to stop being obsessed by the  C25K countdown. Mr Smooth piping up ‘well done, you’ve just completed five minutes running’ is meant to be encouraging, but in the early part of the run and the programme it can be quite depressing, especially if you’re feeling puffed already. But the problem with choosing a small circular route is there’s not much to see, I joined the circus at the 6 o’clock junction and followed a clockwise route. To my left up to about 10 o’clock I saw plenty of plants and window boxes, all very nicely manicured with olive trees featuring a lot. It certainly seems that the 6 to 12 semi circle companies enjoy more money than the 12 to 6 semi circle, as their plants were sparse, the railings scrappy and it all looked a bit neglected.

I managed four loops and then boredom hit me, as did a few pedestrians (metaphorically, not literally – they did socially distance) who decided it was a nice quiet place to walk too. Okay, plan b enacted, I’ll stay in the shade and seek out some quieter roads but still close to home. I meandered in and around the Bank of England, near Cornhill and Lothbury, all beautifully tranquil and then Paula broke her silence.

At about fifteen minutes in to the interval, she was whispering (JCR – you need to go now), but I put her firmly to the back of my mind as I was listening to Ray Stevens – The Streak on one of my playlists. It helped for the two minutes or so it was on.

Then Rick Astley burbled Never Gonna Give You Up, which helped silence Paula for a few more minutes. Unfortunately, Down Under by Men At Work with its increased tempo, made Paula stop whispering and she became a much louder chant in my head.

This was not good at all, so I decided I would continue the run until I’d done the full interval and if I had to bail out of the warm-down walk so be it. Evidently, mind over matter does work, because having made the decision to not try and fight Paula, all of a sudden she logged out of my inner ear.

I continued the interval and then Mr Smooth brought me back to reality with his time check – the twenty eight minutes were done and dusted, but as I was no longer carrying Paula’s voice, I thought I’d try and run just a bit longer and I managed the thirty minutes interval. Great news, I was just a shade under having run/walked 5k in the allowed time. Still about 20% slower than at my best, but then that’s what a year off does.

The warm down walk was fine, I managed about 3kms before turning towards home, at which point, Paula started screaming and it was very loud. I was certain most of the folk around could hear her screaming at me to GO NOW!!!!  If they couldn’t hear her, they most certainly would have spotted a woman doing a cross between John Cleese’s silly walk and Max Wall’s unusual gait, with a muted yelp from between clenched teeth.

Kegel exercises, a fixed grimace and baby steps all combined to prevent Paula from having her moment.

PHEW.

Stats

8km run/walk

Paula Radcliffe failed in her de-railing attempt

No embarrassment

Music

C25K Mentor Playlist

Most appropriate track = Under Pressure by David Bowie and Queen (but it didn’t come on), so that made me Happy by Pharrell Williams, which did

Physio

Bridge

Clams

Squats

Hip Flexor Thing

Constipated Crab

Touching Toes

 

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2aXFgHf3zPg5I1sZn4cAsU?si=Rm5VniTRSrGj3f-y7p_39Q

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking the rough with Mr Smooth – Wk 7 Run 2

After Friday’s run, I was feeling quite bullish and thought I could perhaps just move straight onto a 30 minute interval run, but it was not to be.

I’d decided to go up West and find three more ‘unknown’ sights (unknown to me) so that for my last Week 7 run, I only have three more to find. I decided that I should take a circuitous route and headed out towards Smithfield. St Bart’s Hospital and the surrounding area has been the subject of much redevelopment over the past few years and a new housing area has sprung up and I found this old insignia, with the name Coade on it from Lambeth in 1800.

It looked to be a coffee pot, so maybe a stone for a coffee shop? –  I wasn’t so sure, and googled Mr Coade, because at that time it was bound to be a Mr Coade and what do you know, it’s actually a woman. Eleanor Coade and she perfected the art of creating artificial stone. Sorry Eleanor, to give credit where it’s due this artificial stone is wearing very well.

At this stage of the run I was wearing fine, it was only the first few minutes and I toddled along Fleet Street, heading towards Trafalgar Square. It was here I was running out of puff, I have no idea why, but looking back at  my Map My Run stats, my second kilometre I improved my time over the first by almost a minute, so maybe I was pushing it a little too much.

On arrival at Trafalgar Square it was quite quiet and The Boss’s  Streets of Philadelphia came on, it’s a lovely song, but quite melancholic and seemed to suit the subdued nature of London today. I headed towards the river and took a left into Great Scotland Yard, where I saw a number of ‘new’ sights for me.

More redevelopment has occurred here, but it’s coupled with some old architecture too, I was spoilt for choice, but the horse in lockdown did appear quite funny. It’s actually a police horse and his handler was exercising in the yard. From this I’m guessing the police still have a presence in Great Scotland Yard even though they moved out from their premises years ago.

Making my way back, Mr Smooth said that I should keep breathing and then I hit the one minute to go mark, I thought I could keep on and do the whole 30 minutes, but no, my breathing was a bit rough and I had a slight pull in my right hamstring, so I decided Mr Smooth better be obeyed, and I didn’t attempt to continue running.

No worries, I am in no hurry far better to keep going than fall over, which I just can’t afford to do. I must keep running otherwise the Coronabelly will increase at a much faster pace, and there is a saying that you can’t outrun your mouth’s capacity for food.

On my warm down walk via the Strand, I was wondering what I could find to take a photo, as I know this area very well and wasn’t sure there was an ‘unknown to me’ sight to be seen. But thanks to lockdown, I found this stock of toilet roll under lock and key, behind two very grand sets of gates. Now you know we are in weird times…

Stats

8km of run and walking

A coupled spots of rain

A locked down horse

Locked down loo rolls

Taking SuzyK’s mojo, for a quick run before she goes out on Monday!

Physio

No excuses today, back to normal

Squats

Clams

Constipated Crab

Bridge

Hip Flexor Things

Toe touching ….mmm I’d forgotten to do these.

Music

Country/Places Playlist

Most memorable track – Streets of Philadelphia by the Boss

 

 

 

 

Hail to all Runners – Wk 7 Run 1

 

IMG_3663
First unknown sight, six to go

Today’s plan was simple enough, do the 25 minute interval run and see if I could find seven interesting things that I hadn’t seen before in London.

Which way to go? I’ve done a lot of running in the City because of lockdown and crowd avoidance, so decided today I’d go up west, and see if I could be fleet of foot, up Fleet Street. A change of scenery may give me a change of tempo and it would give me a good opportunity to find seven interesting things.

The weather was bright and sunny, I was wondering whether I should change out of my running tights and sweatshirt, but to be honest, I faff enough getting out of the door, taking an extra few minutes on wardrobe adjustment could mean I decide against running. I decided to stay snuggly warm then and head out.

Within two minutes I am bitterly regretting the clothing choice and decide I should run in the shade, otherwise I’ll disappear in a pool of sweat. I was concentrating so much on keeping cool, I didn’t really notice where I was going and found myself towards the Western end of Fleet Street. There I saw this little lady. I’ve never seen her before – tick that’s number one sight off my list, six to go. Except that I’m about ten minutes into the interval, only fifteen to go with six sights to capture. I looked up to the sky and saw the clouds a-gathering, and they weren’t white or fluffy. Oh well, I’ll just carry on, a bit of rain isn’t a problem and it’s the 1st of May and I recall the following rhyme

1st of May, 1st of May,

Outdoor running begins today,

But as usual, it do rain,

So we runs back home again.

Thanks to Jilly Cooper for that one, although in her novel it’s a slightly different activity.

The rain starts splatting my head and nose, and it started to get a lot colder and then joy, I got hailstones, okay it’s a bit colder but the snuggly warm sweatshirt and running tights are coming into their own. Another five minutes done and then whoosh I got deluged, it was like someone throwing a bucket of water straight at me. Now I am definitely cool, certainly soaked and a fair way from home. Roundabout this point, Mr Smooth pointed out that you need more oxygen when running and I should keep breathing. Now I love Mr Smooth and all that, but he definitely needs a script change. At no point in my run had I thought about not breathing as a tactic to finish.

Nothing to do other than keep on going, ten minutes later it’s all clear and I’m squelching through my cool down walk. I play chicken with a bus and lost that fight, so got soaking wet feet as I plunged straight into a deceptively deep puddle. The saying is right it never rains, it pours and right into my running shoes.

That is run 1 of Week 7 done and dusted, I experienced sun, hail and rain, squishy feet and one pretty statue, but no problems with the interval, so Mr Smooth was right, I am becoming a runner once more.

I think the other six sights will have to wait for my next run out, I just hope I don’t get worse weather than today.

Stats

Run/walking 8kms

One statue

Two wet feet

Music

No idea what playlist, it seemed to be a random collection of music I didn’t know I had including someone shouting about the NHS – I think I must have hit a Spotify randomised list.

Physio

I baled out, but did do the squats

 

 

 

 

No Particular Place To Go – Week 6 Run 2

IMG_3655
He was a lot bigger close up

Another day, another run and back to longer intervals this time ten minutes, which surely should be a breeze after a twenty minute stint in Week Five. Funnily enough that’s not exactly how it works, mainly because your  brain tricks you into thinking you can pick up the pace and then when you do, you find that was a really, really stupid thing to do, because you sound like an asthmatic badger at the end of the first interval.

It’s a cooler day, which is better for running and keeps most folk indoors, which helps me not having to dodge wayward pedestrians/bikes/ skateboarders/those stupid scooters/buses etc, but didn’t help me work out the best pace. Ho hum.

Whilst I was  really stupid overdoing it on the first interval, I didn’t feel quite as bad as I thought I might. But that’s absolutely no reason to repeat the mistake, and the second interval is much more of a pootling pace, which was difficult to Donna Summer singing I Feel Love, followed by T Rex and MetalGuru, then Mud’s Tigerfeet, all of which are good feel-good songs for running, but not so great for maintaining a slower pace.

The City is gradually opening up again, you can feel and sense more movement, the air is slightly more metallic in taste and it’s harder to hear birdsong. But for now, the City still represents the best place to run. It’s not blessed with many green spaces, which keeps families at home, and it’s surprisingly easy to get lost if you don’t know where you are.

Even though I’ve worked in and around the City for over 30 years, you can still get lost by taking random turns. My newest discovery is Old Sreet Yard – a funky new office area with green space and a guy talking on his mobile phone. This is near the supposedly world famous Silicon Roundabout, an area which is being seriously gentrified, although the pace has slowed a little with the virus.

At this point, I had The Rubettes keeping me company, followed by The Bay City Rollers, and I was singing along to Shang A Lang. Tragic isn’t it? But the great thing about sing alongs is they help in stopping you from constantly looking at your timer wondering when the interval is up.  And the music worked a treat, job done, intervals done, and a warm down walk to follow.

I had no particular place to go, and was wandering home, when a green and grey and Celeste flash went past. Mr JCR doing his City Limits bike ride, I did shout and wave, but he was focussed, and didn’t see me.

Another three kilometres walked, to take me up to 8kms for the day, lovely jubbly as Del Boy would say.

No particular place to go but Wednesday is the twenty five minute stint and after that one it’s just a matter of time and tempo to hit the 5K mark. Wednesday is all about mind over matter, that means a no booze supper on Tuesday. (Mr JCR doesn’t know that – he’s not going to be happy…)

Stats

Just under 5km for the C25k walk/run

One statue liked

More modern art seen, but I got lost again and can’t actually remember where it was

Sing Out Loud Moments – three (cringe)

Physio

Pelvic Thrusting on the Floor

Bridges

Constipated Crab Walking

Squats

Hip Flexor Things

Clams

I’ve got to up the ante on these, so am thinking maybe I do fewer reps but start doing it every day, so I end up doing more. Not sure as I hate doing them, but I’ve torn an arm muscle so my kettlebells are out of the question.

Music

Glam Polly Mix

Best Track of the Run =  War by Edwin Starr, although my accompanying grunting probably was a bit distracting for some

 

 

 

 

Stumbling into Unknown Territory

IMG_3633
By no stretch of the imagination is this park hidden…

Last week I was reading about how a journalist was discovering his home city of Edinburgh – through walking as part of his lockdown exercise hour. He was describing many places and sights that had remained unseen, although he was a regular walker in his own area. As he pointed out, prior to the lockdown his other walks had never been done for the pleasure of a walk, but always as part of doing something else, such as buying a paper, going to the off-licence and so on.

With his focus on the destination and not the journey (Mr JCR will hate that last word), he realised there were many byways he didn’t know and unusual sights to discover, and that is exactly what I found today. I’ve lived, walked, work and ran in London on and off for 15 years and I discovered a hidden park, well to be frank not in the least bit hidden. Evidently, every time I’ve ran through Bunhill Fields, thinking it was a cemetery and all behind iron railings,  I’d been blinkered and  failed to notice that there was an open area of parkland in there too. We are in EC1, so the word parkland maybe stretching it a bit, if you’re thinking open savannah with Toto’s Africa playing in the background, and a gentle breeze caressing grasses –  it’s a  little bigger than your average suburban lawn, but it does have trees and Covid isolation benches and for all these years I’ve missed it.

Hmmm, I wonder what else I’ve missed? Well looking at my last post again, I’ve realised I have missed basic maths too. Half way through C25K would be Week Five JCR, not Week Four and a Half. Doh, Stupid Tart Syndrome has hit me again.

During the early hours of this morning, when I couldn’t sleep I was calculating the number of runs left to C25K graduation and the number of days in lockdown. Realistically, I will re-graduate in May, hopefully in Italy, but I’m guessing probably in the UK. If I keep to the regime, I may even graduate on my dad’s birthday, which wasn’t in the plan, as the whole family were supposed to be going to Liverpool to scatter his ashes in the Mersey and hit Chinatown for his favourite Chinese restaurant.

This leads me to wonder whether graduating on his birthday would be a good idea or not. I’m guessing our family won’t be together, because we live in different towns and countries and I have a feeling that May 19th, maybe one of the hardest runs to get through, not least because it’s the culminating run, but I have a feeling I’ll be stumbling over tears.

Still best not dwell on something you can’t control, which leads me to today’s run. Well I actually found this one harder than the other two, although the run/walk intervals are exactly the same. It was cooler today, which is generally a help, but it just didn’t work out very well. The first run interval was quite laboured, brightened up by the incredibly rare event of a motorcyclist beckoning to me continue running, even though the traffic lights were in his favour.

Ordinarily that kind of courtesy gives me a shot in the arm or legs to be more precise, but I was a bit ploddy. After the second walk interval, I was off again and the feet were leaden, but more concerningly my right hip was aching quite a bit. The hip issue stopped me from running last year – any kind of motor action such as walking/jogging or sprinting hurt significantly and on both sides. I’ve been doing my physio religiously, despite not being bendy and hating it every time, so I have a little niggling feeling that all is not well in the JCR hip front. Upside  – it is only on one side not both.

Still best not dwell on something you can’t control, I continued my run up to Upper Street to buy fish on a Friday, and a second courtesy occurred, this time a cyclist gestured me to go ahead of him. This did give me a shot in the legs and I spurted up a bit, trying to look as though I could accelerate easily, and yup Stupid Tart Syndrome hit and I stumbled across the road having tripped over my own feet.

I tried to look like Joe Cool, and focussed my attention on two guys working out in the local park, but I don’t think the cyclist was fooled for one moment as he smiled at my trip.

Still that is Week Four done and dusted, it wasn’t unknown territory at all, but it does lead me to Week Five, and things start getting interesting. Mr Smooth is going to have his work cut out as I get to do my first 20 minutes interval run – yikes.

Stats

Walk /Run combo – shows as 6k but I missed 10 minutes of walking so probably 7kms

2 courtesy gestures

I hidden park

I stumble

Physio

Everything I did last time, with the addition of some swinging attempts to touch toes – the guys in the park could do it easily, so I thought I’d give it a try. Let’s just say touching toes remains an unknown territory too.

Playlist 

Deck of Ginger Ale

Best songs, (even though I was stumbling and not really running) Running Down a Dream – Tom Petty and I Ran (So Far Away) – A Flock of Seagulls

 

Coping and Hoping Week 4 Run 2

Coping and hoping was the phrase the cashier used at my necessary shopping trip yesterday, when I asked him how was he doing.

I’m coping with the lockdown relatively easily, it’s a bit frustrating not being able to pop out whenever you want, but we have been able to eat restaurant meals at home c/o Casa Do Frango (upmarket Nandos for oldies like me who won’t go to Nandos) and Bistrotheque, both of which do lovely food and deliver. It’s our ‘once a weekend’ treat and it’s my job this weekend to sort out the restaurant meal, I have a feeling The Quality Chop House in Farringdon may be starring at Chez JCR this weekend.

Back to today’s run, despite coping with the lockdown I still keep on hoping that my running legs will improve and I can move onto loping, rather than this sloping, rolling gait I have.  The run gets off to a stuttering start as I receive an emergency call on my NHS Volunteer App, but although the lady wanted help she didn’t want me, she wanted her ‘usual’ helper and apologised for disturbing me. I’ve done my training, but I don’t think the patients have been trained up, so you have to feel your way in helping them. She was very polite and apologetic, but I hoped I could have helped her as she would have been my ‘first’ help.

One false start down, I start running afresh but my right hip is grumbling still; I don’t mope nor use dope, but keep on that downward slope towards finishing C25K. Today is the halfway point run, nope I didn’t see that coming either, and Mr Smooth was very supportive telling me he’d be with me all the way.  The intervals are okay and actually I did put on a spurt at one point to overtake a couple who were ambling very slowly, but it made me realise how much of my acceleration I’ve lost. The extra timber I’m carrying doesn’t help, still lighter days, lighter food may make for a lighter JCR.

A glorious day and three sets of interval runs, doing just that little bit more than Mr Smooth asked of me. I had some fish to buy, so continued loping to Upper Street and made a long circular walk home, coping, hoping, loping and shopping all done in one trip. Another emergency call from my NHS App, so I logged in again and decided that I wasn’t  going to be much help to someone in St Leonards on Sea! I think the app needs a bit of fine-tuning, just like my running, but we’ll get there. Hoping and coping applies as much to me as it does the NHS.

A quick detour via Fortune Park and I espied the borage flowers in the community herb and veg garden, which I think is probably not going to be managed at all over these isolation weeks, which is a shame for all the efforts put in so far.

Halfway through C25K, will it also be halfway through this Coronavirus nightmare? I hope to goodness we’re over the halfway mark, as I’m really looking forward to running back in Italy.

Playlist 

Most appropriate tracks:-

Every Day Hurts by Sad Cafe – I’m sad there are so few cafes open

I Ran (So Far Away) by Flock of Seagulls – actually I didn’t run that far, but I did do over 8km on today’s outing.

Deck of Ginger Ale

Stats

Walk/ran 8km (included false start)

Lots of ‘opes’

Shopping – crab, salmon, clams, John Dory and veggies

Physio

Pelvic Thrusting  a la Rocky Horror

Hip Flexor Routine

Clams

Squats

Bridges

Constipated Crab Walking

Touching Toes – managed to reach the bit between the bottom of my leggings and my ankle, I’m not exactly killing this am I?