26 May – Squeaky Bum Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did these factors coalesce on my run today?

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

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

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

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

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

Playlist

Ode To Billie Joe – Bobbie Gentry

Soul Man – Sam & Dave

Help Me Rhonda – Beach Boys

Stand By Me – Ben E King

Let’s Dance – Chris Montez

Bad Moon Rising  – Creedence Clearwater Revival

You Never Can Tell – Chuck Berry

The Israelites – Desmond Dekker

I Only Want To Be With You – Dusty Springfield

It’s My Party – Lesley Gore

Wonderful World – Herman’s Hermits

Jumping’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones

Aint Got No – I Got Life – Nina Simone

Paint It Black – The Rolling Stones

Born To Be Wild – Steppenwolf

Under The Boardwalk – The Drifters

Build Me Up Buttercup – The Foundations

Be My Baby – The Ronettes

Keep On Running – The Spencer Davis Group

Mrs Robinson – Simon and Garfunkel

Californian Dreaming’ – The Mamas and The Papas

Stats

Distance 8.33km

Time 1:02:11

Average Pace 7:27 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain – 36 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 908.47

Kms to do 1109.53

 

 

 

 

 

25 Mar – Stealing Thunder

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Today is the London landmarks half-marathon, and I wasn’t registered, indeed didn’t even know it was happening, until way after I had decided on my 2018 challenge and by then the race registration was closed.

So to show some solidarity I ran this morning with my Alzheimer’s Fundraising tee-shirt on. Great plan JCR, except for the fact that (as can be seen) I actually crossed the race route and was mistaken for a legitimate runner by one of the race Marshalls, who said when I approached the junction – ‘ Miss you go left here’ – to my embarrassment I had to admit to not being in the race and merely out for a run.

Oops talk about stealing thunder. I headed towards Covent Garden in the hope of keeping away from the runners, but creating some awareness of Alzheimer’s Research in my bright orange tee-shirt.

Not much to say – the run needed doing and I did it. But many congratulations to the real runners and heroes of the day who ran 21km, whilst I wimped out at 7.

Playlist

Have A Nice Day – Stereophonics

Bitter Sweet Symphony – The Verve

So Why So Sad – The Manics

Freedom! 90 – George Michael

Let Me Entertain You – Robbie Williams

Disco 2000 – Pulp

Gett Off – His Purple Highness

Come As You Are – Nirvana

Cherub Rock – Smashing Pumpkins

Justified And Ancient – People of ‘K’ Feat. Crystal

Killer – Adamski and Seal

If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next – The Manics

Millennium – Robbie Williams

Creep – Radiohead

Animal Nitrate – Suede

Hope – Shaggy, Prince Mydas

Stats

Distance 7:56km

Time 50:58

Average Pace 6:44 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 39 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Run To Date 519.5km

To Run 1498.5 – below the 1500s now – fantastic!

Team Rhomboid Torture

Yesterday I managed 3 x 10 reps of squats and same of wall press-ups

(I can’t do proper press-ups, because of  ‘frozen shoulder’ – another crappy bit of middle aged bod falling off)

I couldn’t do the hollow rocks as I fell asleep…:)

Today squats, press-ups and kettlebell lifting and I may try the hollow rock thing again…

 

17 Mar – Tangoed at St Paul’s

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Mr JCR contacted Alzheimer’s Research to tell them about the 2018km challenge I am undertaking and they duly provided a tasteful tee-shirt for me.

Here I am this morning braving The Beast from the East Part 2 – the bulge around my middle is the hidden pouch pocket, stuffed full of middle aged woman’s essentials – namely tissues for the ever-present running nose.

Witnessed by our friends N&A, there weren’t that many people around to be bothered by the picture taking or the video of me looking at my most inelegant.

Today’s run 11km+

I met 3 other runner’s similarly attired all who gave a cheery wave  – Londoners aren’t that friendly normally.

An articulated lorry stopped to allow me to cross a junction even though it was his right of way.

Two hi-vis men allowed me to pass near a building site

The Beast from the East Part 2, has brought both snow and a flurry of good manners today.

Playlist

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

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

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Temptation – Heaven 17

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Love’s Unkind – Donna Summer

She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult

All She Wants Is – Duran Duran

All Stood Still – Ultravox

Baggy Trousers – Madness

Be My Number Two – Joe Jackson

Beat Crazy – ditto

Breaking Us In Two – ditto

Blasphemous Rumours – Depeche Mode

Do You Really Want to Hurt Me – Culture Club

Don’t You Want Me – Human League

Dreaming -OMD

Einstein A go-Go – Landscape

Electric Barbarella – Duran Duran

Electricity – OMD

Stats

Distance 11.58km

Time 1:14:55

Average pace 6:28 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 83 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 454.92

Kms to Do 1563.08

Team Rhomboid Torture

I think he’s taking a break – so squats and something tempting with kettlebells will have to happen.

 

 

 

16 Mar – Running Errands

Fish features a lot in my running blog, mainly because the fishmonger is about 3km away from home and so it is a convenient place to run to/from for a short trip.

This morning however, I thought I’d run a little further so headed out towards Holborn. Under the Beech Street tunnel, which is currently being re-fitted for a light installation as part of the City of London’s Culture Mile – I was running in and out of lighting gaffers and machines.  This makes a change from the rumble of non-stop traffic.

I aimed for Gray’s Inn Road, to do a loop towards Islington. It was quiet and warm and a lovely morning to be running. At last I arrived at the fishmongers and ordered my fish – Robbie now greets me with phrases like ‘here comes the marathon runner’. He asked me my running plans for the upcoming week and I explained we’d be in Granada in Spain for a short break to see the Alhambra. He then waxed lyrical about free tapas and how great the weather will be there (he is Spanish btw). I then explained Granada is getting exactly the same weather as we will, so it will be cold.

As he said if it’s cold at least the uphill running won’t be too bad. Let’s hope so. Armed with my lemon sole and Cornish crabs, I trotted back home – back again through the Beech Street tunnel to buy bread and cheese.

By this stage I think I was carrying about 5/6kgs of food, whilst running. This errand running is more like weight training. Maybe I need to get a proper errand rucksack for my running?

Playlist

Tainted Love – Soft Cell

Every Day Hurts – Sad Cafe

Fade To Grey – Visage

Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

Living On The Ceiling – Blancmange

Eighties – Killing Joke

Liberator – Spear Of Destiny

Trapped – Colonel Abrams

Church Of The Poisoned Mind – Culture Club

Ride On Time – Black Box

It’s A sin – Pet Shop Boys

Gold – Spandau Ballet

Don’t Go – Yazoo

Stats

Distance 7.73km

Time 1:00:37

Average Pace 7:50 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 30 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 443.3

Kms to Do 1574.7

TeamRhomboid Torture

mmm still no instructions – better squat and do press-ups then…

 

 

 

 

15 Mar – The Deluded Conundrum

 

Having basked in the tired glory of having done 22km over two days, I thought today I would do a nifty 5km.

That was the plan, in my head I was going to semi-sprint (I know – it isn’t a word) around the City and get back home with warm up and cool-down done in about 40 minutes. The principle being, the quicker I get the less time it will take me to do the challenge and leave me some spare ‘non-running oriented’ time.

In my head I was semi-sprinting, in my legs I wasn’t – as became apparent at the end of the run. I came across Fruiterers Passage on the North Bank – I’ve never been in there before and managed a quick pic looking back at the Shard. There were quite a few couples walking and in hand on a nice sunny day in London on the North Bank, all being buzzed by a middle-aged sweaty runner.

Running back home, I passed Polpo – one of the few Italian restaurants in London I’d  actually eat in. They have a festive menu celebrating women’s achievements. I thought it may be worth a visit, then I saw the menu – Broccoli – yuck, Gnocchi – yuck, yuck and Wet Polenta – yuck, yuck, yuck. No conundrum there, I’ll wait until we are back in Italy to eat Italian food.

But my actual conundrum is this – if I can run faster I can get the challenge done without it taking all my spare time and energy. But to move from arthritic semi-sprinting to proper fast running , means I need to do interval training. Interval training is short, sharp sprinting, interspersed with less-fast running. But when I’ve tried this before I can only manage 35 minutes and cover about 3km – and that is far short of my stated 5km minimum run for the challenge. I haven’t got enough energy to be able to do the interval training as well as the challenge, nor would it be healthy, as I wouldn’t be giving my bod any rest time.

The challenge will have to stay as it is, and I will put the idea of semi-sprinting/sprinting into the area of brain for middle aged delusions.

Playlist

I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club

Cars – Gary Numan

The Tears Of A Clown – The Beat

Trapped – Colonel Abrams

Enola Gay – OMD

I Am The Law – Human League

The Reflex – Duran Duran

Electricity – OMD

Temptation – Heaven 17

All She Wants Is – Duran Duran

Vienna – Ultravox

Two Tribes – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Planet Earth – Duran Duran

Stats

Distance 5.58km

Time 35:19

Average Pace 6:19 (mins/km) – absolutely rubbish not sprinting at all

Elevation Gain 40 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 435.6

Kms To Do 1582.4

Team Rhomboid Torture

No instructions there, so I’ll do some squats and something interesting with a kettle bell… (who thought that could even be a phrase?)

 

13 Mar – Goosing, Rowing and Running

 

From a 24 hour rest, to a run. Today was reasonably clear and I had some errands to do. First off run to the Post Office to post my nearly-god-daughter’s birthday present. It’s late for her birthday, so it is a really good job I am not an official god-mother, as I would have failed officially.  But then I’ve failed miserably at the ‘nearly’ part too. Sorry M – will do better!

At the Post Office, I was asked rather randomly if I had thought about the need for life assurance. I assured him I had thought about it and come to the conclusion I didn’t need any. He then assured me that we all need it, as you never know what is around the corner. Being polite, I thanked him for considering me and then continued my run out and around the literal corner, rather than his metaphorical one. In a lot of retail outlets, you come across the ‘art’ of the cross-sell, our most random one was when buying a shaving stypstick for Mr JCR at the grand expenditure of about £2, I was asked would I like to buy the latest Rihanna perfume at £40+.  I pointed out that I can’t stand Ri-ri, so would never buy her perfume, he then asked if we’d consider buying the gentlemen’s eau de cologne, Armani Code…. Aargghh what training are you giving staff if you think you can get a customer to up their spend from £2 to £40+? Maybe we just have  ‘cross-sell willing’ looks on our faces, or he thought I looked like I had a shelf full of sleb smellies…. Yup that’s me – Britney Shitney. Dirty Aguilera, Beckham from Peckham etc. Love them all.

Me and my ‘cross-sell’ face trucked down to Fleet Street, along the Strand and towards Westminster. A quick scoot along the South Bank and I came across two geese nestling cosily near Tate Modern. Crossing the wobbly bridge back to the North Bank, there was a 24 hour rowathon being performed in aid of the London Air Ambulance. Two geese being very lazy and three human beings being very active indeed. I was at about the 9km mark at this stage, so continued my run to my fish shop, so make sure I did more than 10km. Fish bought, wrapped and run home. This time I ran with the mute company of sea bass, a crab and some smoked salmon. And no, the fishmonger didn’t cross-sell me anything, just sold me what I asked for and that was it. Bliss.

Playlist

All She Wants Is – Duran Duran

Go Wild In the Country – Bow Wow Wow

She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult

Is Vic There? – Department S

Somewhere In My Heart – Aztec Camera

Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode

Say My Name – Destiny’s Child

Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’Connor

Dub Be Good To Me – Beats International

The Power – SNAP

Killer – Adamski, Seal

The Joker – Steve Miller Band

The One And Only – Chesney Hawkes

Dizzy – Vic Reeves & The Wonder Stuff

Ebeneezer Goode – The Shamen

End Of The Road – Boyz II Men

Oh Carolina – Shaggy

Dreams – Gabrielle

Gangsta’s Paradise – Coolio

Return Of The Mack – Mark Morrison

Move Any Mountain – The Shamen

I See You Baby – Groove Armada

Groove Is In The Heart – Deee Lite

Devotion – Nomad

The Key The Secret – Urban Cookie Collective

Things Can Only Get Better – D:Ream

Everybody’s Free – Rozalla

Stats

Distance 13.61 km

Time 1:15:47 (This is wrong my phone kept conking out)

Average Pace – no idea due to the Time issue

Elevation Gain 89 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 420.8

Kms to Do 1597.2 (yes – less than 1600s)

Team Rhomboid Torture

Not posted anything yet, so I will do some squats and press-ups…

 

 

 

 

 

5 March – Sign Of The Times

 

Today was a recovery type run after two long runs. I’d decided 5k and no more. As ever, bloody mindedness kicked in and I thought if I could do 5 then I certainly could manage 6. Having listened to tributes to Roger Bannister, I thought I should just get on and out. No fuss, no prevarication today.

And so it was, I ran through the City, dodging burrito-eating men in suits, suited and booted women in heels and loads upon loads of Railway Engineers in their high vis kit – I am thinking the collective noun should be an embankment of engineers. During today’s run it felt like passing a mountain of hi vis flesh – both in height and width.

The City returned to normal after The Beast from The East, in fact it was positively springlike, with smokers no longer huddled in doorways, but casually loitering in shirtsleeves out on the pavement.

In the midst of the suits, was a little hot liquorice legginged runner, who realised that gloves weren’t necessary today, nor was the headband, and in fact the leggings were a bit warm too. But I am not complaining a warmer day means a nicer run, and it was. I did a circuit around the City limits more or less, and on the way home passed the old police telephone box pictured above,  which informed me that the phone no longer worked but if I needed an emergency phone, to use the nearby telephone box.

Except there was no nearby telephone box – damn good job 95% of adults in the UK have a mobile phone I suppose. In fairness I didn’t have an emergency either, I just wondered what the note on the box said.

Playlist

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty

I Ran – A Flock Of Seagulls

Talk Talk – Talk Talk

Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Tears For Fears

Hold Me Now – Thompson Twins

Visage – Visage

Don’t You Forget About Me – Simple Minds

You Spin Me Round – Dead Or Alive

I Want Your Love – Transvision Vamp

A New England – Billy Bragg

I Only Want To Be With You – The Tourists

I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty

There Must Be An Angel – Eurythmics

Stats

Distance 6.27km

Time 40:07

Average Pace 6:23 (mins/km) – no danger of troubling Roger Bannister here

Elevation Gain 40 metres

Alzheimers Challenge

Kms Done 362.8 (drat, not quite the same number of kms as days in the year)

Kms To Do 1655.2

Team Rhomboid Torture

I am supposed to do

3 sets of 15 reps – squats

3 sets of 15 reps – hollow rocks

3 sets of 15 reps – leg or knee raises

I managed

3 sets of 10 reps – squats

only 3 hollow rocks, with 5 hollow body held for 10seconds (work in progress)

2 sets of 10 reps knee raises

As you can tell, I am not going the full torture garden route, just yet