Week 16 Run 2 – Depeche Mode or Iron Maiden?

It’s Tuesday, Mr JCR asked me the night before what time would I be getting up. Having looked at the cooler weather forecast, I’d decided I could go running at about 7-8ish. He arched an eyebrow, knowing full well I could be blagging it, but I was being totally truthful. The weather is cooler and that means I don’t have to get up at stupid o’clock to run.

My successful Team Violet run at the weekend persuaded me that maybe now I should be firing up the hill legs. So far I’ve avoided most hills, other than a few small inclines, mainly because I knew I wouldn’t be fit enough to cope with the hills and the heat together.

Today JCR it is going to be different. I’d planned my running route – Slope of Hope – downhill, followed by The Hill That Kills uphill, Lovers’ Lane – which is both up and down, followed by three runs up the Hill That Kills.

I haven’t really got a clue what the distance would be, but a focus on hills will be tougher than doing a longer distance on the flat/downhill, and I was determined to be happy with the training session and not worry about a distance target.

Now I say that, BUT Map My Run Lady was being a tad difficult – from time to time she loses the GPS signal and today was the day she decided to do it again. I knew it wasn’t going well when she reported that I’d only walked 200 metres in five minutes. Okay I am not as fit as I was, but even so.

The first time up the Hill That Kills and Iron Maiden came on my playlist ‘ Run To The Hills’. Can I say this is not the ideal tempo for my first attempt at the Hill That Kills? I made three stops in my efforts to get up the hill. Pathetic really, and Iron Maiden’s stirring guitar playing wasn’t really a help.

At the top of the hill I turned around and pootled back down again, to the dulcet tones of Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus, and I didn’t need him at that point, all was hunky dory.

Back to the bottom for my second run-up. Hmm well clearly I don’t have hill legs, it was two stops to get to the top and at one stage I paused Map My Run to change the music. At this stage Stupid Tart Syndrome hit again and I forgot to re-start Mechanical Voice Lady. I wish I could say I’d realised it, but I hadn’t, I think I was focussing on burning legs and bursting lungs. It was on my final ascending run, that I realised all my efforts hadn’t been recorded. Which is why when Simple Minds coming on with Don’t You Forget About Me, made me laugh even though inside I was angry at forgetting to switch the app back on.

Talking about being forgetful, I walked back home and walking towards me on the same side of the road was Dame Duvet. Now save for exchanging the occasional Ciao, Salve and Buongiorno, I had forgotten that she doesn’t really know me at all, even though I refer to her in my blog and I sort of feel that I know her. As we passed each other a lorry was driving up behind me, so I couldn’t really give her the required two metres distance, without being run over. So I kept my mouth shut and just put up my hand in greeting and smiled. She didn’t say a word, didn’t smile, just dived into her pockets and put on her mask.

Oops I was ‘mask shamed’ by an Iron faced Maiden aka Dame Duvet. I must admit I’ve never thought of carrying a mask with me when out running in the Marche hills, but maybe I should.

So I confess to my own Personal Jesus, I never thought about carrying a mask when running and I wouldn’t want Dame Duvet to think I don’t care, but given social distancing, wearing a mask and the language/cultural differences, maybe I will have to re-name her Iron Maiden as she may no longer smile/exchange greetings.

A small casualty of Covid, on a day when all my running plans went awry.

I told Mr JCR about the technology fail and he commented wryly that if it wasn’t recorded it didn’t happen, so on that basis I didn’t  run up that hill and nor did I offend Dame Duvet…

Stats

Don’t know – but I did run up The Hill That Kills – four times

10 pauses on THTK

One mask forgotten

One oops moment

Physio

None done – but I did help Mr JCR weed 100 lavender plants

Music

Classic Album Tracks playlist

Best track was The Race by Yello – that’s because it was a good warm up truck, before the rest of the run went belly up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 12 Run 2 – Today I Was Supposed To Be

IMG_3766

somewhere else. Not any old somewhere else you understand, but acting as a back up driver for Mr JCR doing a mammoth ride of over 2000km in 2 weeks to raise money for MND/ALS sufferers.

The plan was to depart on Saturday, via our good friend’s house in Arnhem, over the Alps with a few unforgettable ascents to be made and onto our home in Italy on World MND/ALS day, linking all three countries via one mad man, his bike, his forgetful spouse and loads of goodwill, all to raise lots of cash for MND and ALS support and research in UK, Holland and Italy

The ride is called the Giro Di Muscoli and is based on the principle of  a grand cycling tour, similar to Tour De France, The Italian Giro or La Vuelta. And it was supposed to start yesterday from London, with a celebrity send off and many London cyclists accompanying my husband on his first leg to Harwich. Today was to have been the arrival in Arnhem to meet up with our dear friends Gerben and Jeanne. Gerben was diagnosed with ALS five years ago now, and his tenacity and never ending support from Jeanne and family, led him to secure significant sponsorship, to enable us to put on the Giro di Muscoli to raise funds for MND/ALS. Cyclists  are paying to complete various stages and getting sponsorship for their rides.

The plan was that the tour would take two very hard weeks, finishing in Italy, our home, on World ALS/MND Day 21st June. Now things are on hold, and Mr JCR cycled the first stage to Harwich on Saturday with three ICC buddies acting as outriders and moral support. He  also did the return leg from Harwich to London on Saturday too. This ride equates in distance  to the original  Saturday and Sunday plans to get to Arnhem – the famous location of A Bridge Too Far.

Mr JCR has done two incredibly hard legs in absolutely crappy weather and now it’s my turn to get off my arse and go for a run. For me two legs of about 20 minutes time each leg, with a five minute break. Clearly there’s a significant difference between Mr JCR’s fitness and mine!

My fitness and stretching routine for Saturday involved painting that bloody wall again. Coat number four, with new paint pads instead of the sexy but blighted roller, the cheaper roller and the mini roller. And guess what, yes it’s still bloody patchy. What’s really frustrating is I’ve patched up the other hall wall with much darker paint (not Farrow and Ball) and even though I did it really hastily, it matches better than the F&B wall – oh and it is an equally expensive brand, being patched after five years. Whilst I’m happy to admit I’m not a world class painter, I’m not entirely bereft of talent. At first I thought it was the tools, but with four different types of applicator, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the paint.

You need to do one coat all the way down from ceiling to floor, without gapping or stopping to reload paint, and the minute you try and feather out the joins between the first stroke and the second stroke, you end up with a visible join.

For me F&B has now got a new name F…king  and Boll…ks. And this is what one of the decorators said on one of the fora I checked out.

No no no and no! Too much hassle too many coats. Total nightmare! Unless it’s your place and you’ve got a million years to paint it! That’s my Farrow and Ball Emulsion review

This is a running blog, not a painting blog, but I seemed to have done more bloody painting than running lately. So to today’s run…

It’s cool and I’m sporting potentially corned beef colour legs again, on my way for two 20 minutes intervals. The warm up walk takes me towards the City, to do a loop up Old Street, Clerkenwell Road, Gray’s Inn Road, Holborn, St Pauls, Cheapside and back home, I reckon it’s just about long enough to get in forty minutes of running.

All fairly quiet today, the weather keeping most folk at home I guess, and I amble my way up to Old Street, crossing a road near a petrol station and a car almost runs me down, he shot into reverse without seeing me behind. Luckily he stopped, and a nice man asked if I was okay – I was fine, the car only touched me briefly. He then said ‘it was his fault’ and I nodded. By this time idiot driver man had driven away.

Somewhat shaken out of my stride I continued on my way, there’s some signs of things coming back to normal, with a few cafes opening for takeaway, and shop owners  clearing up stocks and generally tidying up.

Making my way towards Holborn, I came across a mobile road block, a family of five taking up the whole pavement, I was preparing to get grumpy/dart onto the main road and was totally surprised when the father looked behind him, then shepherded his family to one side of the pavement so I could undertake. Wow two nice people on one run – astonishing! I did say thank you.

Heading towards the City from St Pauls, I passed this chap and did a double take, as I was running I genuinely thought someone had fallen over in a shop window.  I turned back to see if they were alright. Okay JCR, stupid tart syndrome has hit you again:-

  1. We are in the midst of an epidemic, pretty much all the shops are closed
  2. It’s a Sunday in the City, pretty much all shops are closed as standard
  3. It’s a City boy shirt company, pretty much all City boy shirt shops are closed as standard on a Sunday, as the City boys have gone home, and they haven’t been in the City anyway because of point number one
  4. The body didn’t have a head

At this point I had about 3 minutes running left, so I just ran a mini route along Poultry and Gresham Street until my time was done, sporting an embarrassingly red face, not the same colour as F…ing and B..cks, but definitely on the warmer shade of the spectrum.

Job done, the first twenty minute interval not too bad the second a lot slower, but I expected that. Today I was supposed to be somewhere else, doing something far more worthy for MND and ALS sufferers, but Mr JCR and his outriders did a fab job yesterday, and a whole host of Dutch riders are actually riding the proper Hook of Holland to Arnhem leg today.

Congratulations and Best Wishes to them all, we will see you in September, for the revised Giro.

Stats

  • Just under 6km run
  • 2 nice chaps
  • 1 plonker
  • I ‘undead’ mannequin

Music

Male Names Playlist

Best track – It’s Raining Men because it kept me going right at the death

Physio

Yes, done.

 

 

 

 

25!25! Means I’m A Runner – Wk6 Run3

The day didn’t start well, as in the day started by me not being able to sleep, another 2am read of the newspaper, culminating in feeling like rubbish when the alarm went.  Much wrangling in the front loader with the grappling iron and I’m readyish to go. Onwards and upwards, today is the 25 minute interval run, a slight increase on last week’s twenty minute job.

Mr Smooth was his usual chirpy self and I decided to play my Numbers playlist because I could recall there was a song on it called 2525, (in my head) by a group called Zadig and Voltaire. Except Z&V is actually a fashion brand and the group’s name was actually Zager & Evans – stupid tart syndrome giving me fake memory syndrome.  Nonetheless I thought it would be quite good if I got to hear that tune during the run.

Being really conscious to keep the pace down, I set out for the City limits as usual, nice and quiet but quite grey. Seven minutes into my run around Finsbury Circle, I got the fright of my life when my NHS Responder alarm went off, it’s like a klaxon and quite loud in the old ears.

Oh bum, what to do – carry on running or answer the alarm? I should really have set my responder status to ‘off duty’ – another stupid tart syndrome moment. Okay I’m a volunteer and this is my sixth call – I haven’t actually completed one call yet, so I thought I’d answer the call and do the run later. And what do I find, a man in Nottinghamshire utterly perplexed as to why I was phoning. Here we go again, I rang the responder helpline and told them I was dropping the call as being in central London wasn’t awfully conducive to helping someone in Notts.

This is my third flaky location alert, after Yeovil and St Leonards On Sea. I’ve had one asking me for a defibrillator, one lady who did want a volunteer but not me, as she already had a favourite that she used, one call that was in South London and had been bounced by a responder just around the corner from me as it was too far away. And if it was too far for her, then it was also too far for me. Hmm not sure this app is working so well and for sure this run wasn’t working out so well either.

Okay decision time, do I just run for eighteen minutes more having had a ten-minute break talking to the responder helpline or do I start again? I started again, and realised my Spotify list had moved onto  Z&E singing In the Year 2525, truthfully you couldn’t make it up. I took the tune as an omen to start my run all over again, and carried on trucking around the City. Mr Smooth gets a lot quieter on the longer runs, which is a bit off-putting because I thought I may have lost the connection, but I kept my pace down and got to the one minute to go warning. At this stage Mr Smooth said something along the lines ‘if you feel you have the energy pick up the pace for the last minute’ – was he having a laugh?

It’s Mr Smooth and he’s not known for joking, therefore I decided I would try and up the pace but not for long. Luckily for me 21 Seconds To Go, by So Solid Crew came on, and I thought I’d accelerate for a count of 21 seconds, as my playlist uses the 12 inch version, which I hazarded may mean a total meltdown if I tried to accelerate for all of it.

A little longer than 21 seconds later, Mr Smooth told me my time was up and that this run made me a ‘runner’. Well I’ve been here before, but it does seem I’m getting there slowly.

Week 6 Run 3, 25 minutes down, listening to 2525, oh and a little extra seven minutes done too…

Stats

8km ish _ I reckon about 4kms on my main running bit, the rest was warming up and cooling down walks

2 stupid tart syndrome moments

6  failed opportunities as an NHS volunteer

Playlist

Best track for appropriateness The Year 2525 by Zager & Evans

Physio

Usual Stuff – blah, blah, blah

 

 

Stumbling into Unknown Territory

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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

 

15 Dec – What A Huw and Cry

After the Huw and before the cry…

Thursday morning, snuggled up in bed – sorry all, it was 8am and my Messenger in-box perks into unexpected life.

An old work friend of both of ours is asking me for my email address. I oblige and ask why… Expect an email he says. A little while later I see a very generous donation has been made to my cause. I say thank you and then get a Brucie bonus, he has not only donated to the cause, but asked for a matching donation from his employers too. Wow – I can’t tell you how much that means and what a great idea to do. I never ever thought of mentioning that as an idea to friends. It really brought a lump to my throat, and just shows me how utterly generous people are – and unknown to me he actually reads this blog too. Generous with money and his precious free-time too, to read up on my blather. So thank you Huw, it was a lovely surprise and I definitely want a catch up and coffee!

Thursday was an official rest day and as I am running out of kilometres to run, so was Friday. Saturday arrives, and we are up early to Borough Market, to avoid the crowds; my run is delayed a little while. I get changed and make my way up West again. 

It is grey and London is not looking at her best, but then for me to run, she doesn’t need to be. I pass around the City fringes and see some brightly dressed Father Christmases, both running and on bikes – I’m guessing it must have been some kind of Santa Saturday event. There’s not much people traffic around in Holborn and I am having a lovely Christmassy run, listening to my latest Christmas playlist. Hitting The Strand, things start to get a bit busier, the Saturday food kitchens for the homeless are in full swing, with the soup kitchens doling out hot curries and soups, for some very grateful people. I make my way towards Trafalgar Square and then there’s a lot of noise and commotion with ambulances and police cars rushing around and the police helicopter above. This being London and near to Christmas, I ring Mr JCR to see if there’s any kind of incident. he tells me he’ll message me in case I need to divert from a trouble spot. Arrangements made, I make my way to Liz’s gaff. Just as I cross to St James’s Park, my fruit phone decides to die. Aargh, this is not helpful especially if there is an incident. 

Then follows a classic JCR stupid tart syndrome run.  Panicking at the thought that Mr JCR may be concerned if he can’t message me and receives a message to say I haven’t received the message, I think I must find a BT phone box.

Well, what do you know  – there are lots of them in and around London, it’s just that none of them seem to actually work. Aside from the routine posting of porn adverts, they have a variety of ailments:-

First post box near Westminster – phone is working but no receiver.

Second phone box  near Westminster – phone is working, I have my credit card and unsurprisingly it is declined – because who in their right mind would use a credit card to make a phone call? As my phone isn’t working I can’t phone my credit card company to tell them it’s okay and not a dodgy criminal. I do have cash – a £20 note. The phone box doesn’t take notes, only coins.

Okay, JCR continue the run to buy an unwanted cup of coffee, get  suitable change, and make this phone call to Mr JCR.

Third phone box – there’s a queue of tourists outside it, all taking selfies one by one, in the box. I sip the coffee and wait patiently. After 5 selfie takers had finished (it seemed like 50), I put in my money. Stupid tart syndrome hits again – never, ever, lodge your highest value coin to test the slot. Yup that’s a £1 coin gone to the profits of BT, as the machine jammed and no coin return. 

I’ll change my route and head along the Embankment and through Victoria Gardens park – oh no you won’t JCR – the air ambulance is in the gardens – and that explains the earlier commotions.  

Fourth phone box – not a BT one, it is black and operated by some unknown company, which doesn’t give me much confidence. Working coin slot – hurrah, but of course it accepts my 20 pence piece and swallows it into oblivion.

I look at my coins I now have just one £1 coin left and a 5p. The latter isn’t accepted in any phone box and the former is my last chance of contacting Mr JCR, unless I go and buy a second unwanted cup of coffee. The next phone box I see is another one of the ‘dodgy’ black and gold ones, at this point I’ve decided I have been way too charitable towards these telcos and just continue home. 

No music to listen to, no Mechanical Voice Lady to tell me how slow I am running, just the pounding of my feet and heartbeat to keep me company, with the occasional muttering of ‘effing hell’ ‘I hate BT’  and ‘ Mr JCR may be panicking’. 

Needless to say I arrived back home all in a state, one could say a ‘hue and cry’ and Mr JCR looked up and said ‘nice run?’, I then went into this big long explanation about the phone, the boxes, the air ambulance. Had he messaged me at all? Nope – so that was a totally, utterly, completely pointless waste of emotional energy, and I had no real idea of how long I took, only a guesstimate. I’ve done the run before so didn’t lose out on recording the kms. 

I started out on Thursday with Huw, giving me a really big boost to go out on Saturday. I ended up on Saturday almost crying with frustration. Next run out, I’m carrying my battery charger…

Playlist

It was my Christmas playlist, and I can’t remember one track except for Santa Baby.

Stats

Distance 11.04

Time 1:40:51 (this included unwanted coffee and phone box stops)

Average Pace 9:08

Elevation Gain 21 metres???

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1989.33

Kms To Run 28.67

30 May – Roses Are Red

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Roses are red

And the air was blue

There’s no fool like an old fool

Overtaking teenagers times two

Another day of enforced rest due to migraine – boo hiss, so today after taking the nuclear tablet option of migraine cures, I was able to go out for a run in the early evening.

I’d decided on a quick 6/7km and blimey it was muggy, it felt like running through a wet blanket. Good news was my pace was blindingly fast, in fact according to Mechanical Voice Lady on Map My Run, I managed my first km in just 1 second. Aha, a significant GPS failure. I pressed restart and it wasn’t any better, so I decided to use a route I’d done before and just take the timings manually.

I passed the man with the missing dog – this time his dog was present and correct. Socially,  we’ve now progressed to nodding, a smile and saying the ‘Salve’ greeting. All was quiet and in the distance I could see two runners, evidently quite young, one wearing fluoro and proper running shoes, the other some fashion baseball boot type shoes and baggy shorts down to his knees.

Coincidentally, they seemed to be going my way, or rather I was going theirs. After a while I caught up with them, not deliberately I hasten to add, I was beyond the toxic 10s and in a good rhythm. I ended up about 3 steps behind them and they were going at that really irritating speed that meant I’d end up looking at adolescent acne’d neck for all of my run, unless I did something about it.

Not in too much of a hurry, I switched to the opposite side of the road and overtook them. Evidently that hit the teenage boys’ egos hard, and I could hear them talking together. About 10 seconds later,  baggy shorts boy overtook running shoes boy and pressed down on his accelerator and away they zoomed. Baggy shorts boy was the pacemaker I think. I was the tail walker in comparison. It did make me smile, but in fairness to me I reckon they were about 13/14, so I am at least 4 times their age. And they had longer legs. That will teach me to be a smart arse runner – Stupid Tart Syndrome strikes again.

I continued at my own slower pace and came across another dog walker – well the dog looked more like a wolf to be honest. This was not a recognisable mutt nor owner, but this isn’t my usual time for running, so maybe I was unrecognisable to him too.

I finished my run and walked up Argo’s loop home and saw the beautiful roses above, and they matched my face perfectly. It was both red from exertion and embarrassment.

I vow that the next time I see acne, long legs and baggy shorts I am just going to mind my own business, slow down, and not try an overtaking manoeuvre.

Have you ever done something a bit silly (along the lines above), that you regretted afterwards? Or is it just me?

Playlist

Dancing Queen – ABBA

Mamma Mia – ABBA

Money, Money, Money – ABBA

Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake

Mr Brightside – The Killers

Upside Down – Paloma Faith

Darling Nikki – His Purple Highness

Disco 2000 – Pulp

Marvin Gaye – Puth and Traynor

Modern Love – David Bowie

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Is Vic There – Department S

Rio – Duran Duran

You Love Us – The Manics

Cabron – Red Hot Chilis

Stats

Distance 7.16km

Time 47:49

Average Pace 6:40

Elevation Gain 64metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 928.13

Kms To Be Done 1089.87

 

13 May – Rewind to Saturday

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Yes that is bacon you see…

Saturday brunch with C at Balthazar in Covent Garden. An inspired choice for lunch/brunch/whatever we call it.

The first thing to do was to get a drink, a young waitress came to the table – and we thought we were away. Aha, she ‘only’ does the water – evidently not qualified to do anything else. We exchanged a wry glance, this didn’t look as though it was going to go well. Things looked up though when we got our proper ‘I can do drink and food waitress’.

In quick succession a Corpse Reviver and Blood Mary were ordered, followed by asparagus starter (C), snails (me), and by C’s recommendation, two mac’n’cheeses with bacon, oh and green beans to share as the healthy part of the meal.

Selfies of the drinks were a little less successful – well C was more than capable of the task, let’s just say my timed selfie of us and the drinks ended up with just a pic of the napkin on the table. These pics were to be sent to our respective husbands, both of whom were on the London Revolution bike ride, circumnavigating London, with an overnight camping stay in Windsor. I think C and I were both agreed, we had chosen the better weekend option.

We were however, in a wine quandary,  which was immediately resolved by us ordering a Bloody Mary each, as the coup de grace had been made most elegantly by the inclusion of an oven baked bacon rasher in the Bloody Mary. What inspired thinking! This is now my favourite cocktail accompaniment. Not sure how it will serve with a Cosmopolitan.  I am wondering what could better a baked bacon rasher with cocktails. Got it, cocktails with bacon rashers with either Daniel Craig or Idris Elba serving them…

What a glorious lunch and thanks to C for the inspired choice of venue. Brilliant.

Today’s run, well not a lot to say I did the reverse version of Saturday’s run with a bit extra added on for good measure. My overactive boobs paused the application again, so the timing is suspect to say the least and I am not sure this bra carrying method is really working that well.

Sunday morning in the City fringes is even quieter than a Saturday and there’s not much to report, I saw one fellow runner, coming towards me I smiled, but she looked too knackered to respond. I know that feeling well. I had a slight stupid tart syndrome moment running back towards home, when a runner came really close to me and I gasped – oh no, JCR it was your reflection in a mirrored shop front window.

So whilst Mr JCR and his friend D were circumnavigating London yesterday and today, I have done two loops of the same circuit, with not quite such impressive statistics. Still it’s another 7km in the bag. I never knew snails, followed by mac’n’cheese could be so delicious, and they didn’t seem to slow me down at all today.

Today’s gourmet delight is an afternoon tea bus tour with fingers crossed my ‘nearly’ god-daughter M. I have a feeling though all this rich, hefty food is going to exact its revenge at some time soon.

Playlist

Snail – The Smashing Pumpkins

Smile – Lily Allen

Tiger Feet – Mud

Easy – Commodores

(Hey You) The Rock Steady Crew – Rock Steady Crew

Love In An Elevator – Aerosmith

One Step Beyond – Prince Buster

To Jan – Leonard Anderson

Good Keep Smiling – Scouting For Girls

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty

Question – The Moody Blues

Help – The Beatles

Tread Softly – Tiny Ruins, Hamish Kilgour

Stats

Distance 7.48km

Time 41:30 (suspect, due to boob pause)

Average Pace 5:33

Elevation Gain 32 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 830.85

Kms To Do 1187.15

 

 

 

 

7 May – JCR and The Juggernauts

IMG_1770

It is a Bank Holiday Monday in the UK and for what seems like the first time in decades, they have good weather there.

This is not at all like my childhood, when the weather was invariably crap and Bank Holidays were spent mooching indoors bemoaning the weather. When the weather was rubbish, you watched the Bank Holiday movies. This was in the days of only three tv stations, so not a lot of choice no Netflixing, no Disney channel, no Nickleodeon, just the same old list of films you’d seen a thousand times and usually war-themed. To be specific, 2nd World War films. The damned Germans, nasty Japanese, plucky French, swanky/swaggering Yanks, and heroic Brits. Regardless of nationality women seemed only to cook, do the ironing, and weep occasionally – the full complement of stereotypes. Now some of these movies were undoubtedly classics, but when you’re a kid there is a limit to the number of ‘stiff upper lip’ war movies you can watch. And they were in black and white too.

So, hurrah for something different and one of the most popular regurgitated movies in our house, was Jason and The Argonauts, in glorious technicolour. No clipped accents here, a man wearing a rather fetching loin cloth affair – although I think I was a bit too young to really fancy him. Fantastic monsters that came to life from stone,  sea creatures that could take out a boat – think Jaws and needing that bigger boat. We didn’t realise that they were glorified puppets – no wizard special effects available at that time. Jason of course acquired his Golden Fleece and all was right with the world until the next rainy Bank Holiday, when he’d return to battle with the same monsters and still we marvelled at them.

It is not a Bank Holiday in Italy,  and so all of the commercial traffic is back on the road. I had in mind to run about 9 or 10km. We’ve had our good friends J&G staying with us for the weekend, during which we have eaten, drunk, laughed, slept – pretty much on repeat. We had a casual agreement that on Monday the three of us would go for a run. Mr JCR is excused as he can’t run due to his back surgery. J&G didn’t have a great night’s sleep, so decided to catch up on some zeds. I however, didn’t have that excuse. Getting ready to go, using my new Body Glide gel which prevents chafing and blisters – I realise I’ve just smeared my feet liberally with Dove roll-on deodorant. Aarrggghh, stupid tart syndrome hits again. I then apply the proper stuff over the deodorant hoping that will work. As an aside, in Italy there are two types of Body Glide – one for runners and sportspeople, the other for more intimate needs. Given I am so stupid, I may as well have bought the second type! Off I go, giggling at my own stupidity.

Usual route to Mill Lane, Lover’s Lane only this time – I decided to take the barking beagles on and play them at their own game. They lie in wait until I am passing and then always seem to make me jump when they bark. My new cunning plan, to quote Baldrick, is to run quietly up to their home, cause them to bark and then run away. It was childish, but it worked a treat! On I went to the bendy, scary road, through the village and rounding the walled bend, my first encounter with a juggernaut. A large camper van took the corner very closely and I ended up kissing the wall with my hands. Not so great, but here everyone runs or walks on the same side and direction of the traffic and I run facing the traffic, so I guess they weren’t expecting a pedestrian to be there. Ho hum.

Carrying on towards the fish shop village, I’m overtaken by a crane, a tractor with its trailer and three large coaches in convoy coming towards me. The difficulty with the juggernaut traffic is the noise, if they are on the road, I can’t hear any other traffic, so I have to stop running for safety reasons. I did a lot of stopping on this run. I continue down bin lane and see all the domestic bins are out – this means I could have to dodge the bin lorry. Luckily not, but as I turned the corner onto the Rome road, yup even more lorries hurtling towards me, so I took refuge in the driveway of a local business. After a cavalcade of lorries, noise, and exhaust fumes, I made it to my ‘pick up’ point.

I survived the juggernauts and ran an acceptable 9+km, not quite an epic journey à la Jason, no Golden Fleece as a reward, but a very nice brunch with J&G, followed by the first Aperol Spritz of the year.

The pic shows an Argonaut – this is Argo, our dogshare – strictly speaking he is our neighbour’s dog, but when they are out he likes company and so pays us a visit. Here he is supervising Mr JCR on the lawn cutting.

Thanks to Gabi who has donated to my Alzheimer’s Challenge using my alter ego’s name Auntie Bubbles – I’m looking forward to afternoon tea on Sunday.

Playlist

Rock The Casbah – The Clash

Modern Love – David Bowie

Hungry Like The Wolf – Duran Duran

Avalon – Roxy Music

I Won’t Let the Sun Go Down On me – Nik Kershaw

Crazy In Love – Beyoncé

Smile Like You Mean It – The Killers

Disco 2000 – Pulp

Down In The Tube Station At Midnight – The Jam

Girls and Boys – Blur

Let’s Go Crazy – His Purple Highness

Talk Talk – Talk Talk

Born To Run – The Boss

Change – The Lightning Seeds

Is Vic There – Department S

It’s Called A Heart – Depeche Mode

Parklife – Blur

Marvin Gaye – Puth and Traynor

Stats

Distance 9.80km

Time 1:05:48

Average Pace 6:42

Elevation Gain – 37 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 793.6

Kms To Go  1224.44

 

 

 

 

21 Apr – When Good Intentions

are kept. I know, who knew that was possible?

Our very good friends K&C passed by, having spent a few days in Abruzzo on their way back home to Northern Italy.

Today is a special day, an historic day, as we say in Italiano ‘irrepetibile’  for the K&C family and Mr & Mrs JCR. Today, we lunched both well and wisely. We ate, and we drank water, lots of water, followed by water.

Usually our lunches start with a snifter, or two, followed by a bottle of vino or two, and the vino gets followed by a digestivo, then lunch morphs into dinner, evening snifters, nightcaps. You get the drift. Usually a lunch invitation involves an overnight stay and a drying out day. For goodness sake, we even have wine vines growing in our garden, which are coming on a treat. Still we stayed vino free.

Today is however different for a number of reasons:-

  1. The K&C clan are en route home and both driving, hence no alcohol
  2. For my Alzheimer’s challenge, I am running this afternoon, with temperatures of over 20 degrees and full sun, hangover running is to be avoided at all costs – hence no alcohol
  3. Mr JCR is doing a 300km Audax (bike ride) overnight, in the scary dark, and up and down mountains – hence no alcohol

To my shame, I did suggest a white wine spritzer, but was shouted down most politely by the other three.  So we lunched well, and wisely. Which perhaps was all to the good, when I set out for my little run this afternoon. My feet resemble a battleground and various plasters and ointments are being brought into service, to get me round. After yesterday’s long run of 12km, I decided a short, cheeky six clicks, would be just the ticket.

I set out to Seal’s ‘The Beginning’, down the Slope of Hope, past the barking balcony house – they were quiet today. Up the Hill That Kills, and to be honest it did a damn fine job of having a go at me. I have to admit to one stop, I was pooped and hot and yes I know this is less than 1km from the house. But it was after a lovely lunch – that’s my excuse. Anyway I summoned up what little energy and enthusiasm I had and continued down Lovers’ Lane – no lovers there today, it’s too early in the day and the season. Only languid, lounging families lolling on the grass outside Villa Bali, wondering at the stupidity of a middle aged woman running in the afternoon sun.

Back out to Mill Lane past the water pump station – aarrgghh. I mooched on down the Slope of Hope again, all was quiet through the village not a creature was stirring. I hooked a right into Laundry Lane past our friends’ house, bathed in the late afternoon sun, and passed two dog walkers  – one with his dog on a lead. The other just had a dog lead, I never did see a spare dog. Maybe he hasn’t really got one and just carries a lead as a wishful desire? Or he is the ‘spare lead’ person for the original dog walker?

In truth, I know he has a dog, because I’ve seen him before. But his dog had definitely gone awol.

Laundry Lane has a gradual incline and a couple of what I call uppy/downy bits – you can tell my technical running lingo is coming on leaps and bounds with the aid of this challenge. At just beyond the 5k mark on on one of those uppy bits, Prodigy and ‘Breathe’ came on my playlist – never was an instruction so well timed. I continued on towards our friend’s house, and decided that six kms was enough.

Today was marked by good intentions being kept for lunch, but as I found out when I got back home and checked my running plan, I should have done 9km. Perhaps I could have actually checked my plan before going out – that would have been another good intention. Oh well another incident to be filed under Stupid Tart Syndrome

Face Colour – Salsa Red – that’s because it was only 6 clicks…

Good luck to all London Marathon runners tomorrow, my feet are shredded doing this challenge, heaven alone knows how you manage doing 42kms in one go.

Playlist

Seal – The Beginning

Cafe Del Mar – Energy 52, Three N One

Little Fluffy Clouds – The Orb

Shanti – Banco De Gaia

Handbags and Gladrags – Stereophonics

Some Might Say – Oasis

She’s Electric -Ditto

Hush – Kula Shaker

Breathe – The Prodigy

Drop Dead Gorgeous – Republica

Come As You Are – Nirvana

So Why So Sad – The Manics

Have A Nice Day – Stereophonics

Sleepy Maggie – Ashley MacIsaac

TNT For The Brain – Enigma

Stats

Distance 6.33km

Time 47:22

Average Pace 7:29 (I know,  that’s hopeless)

Alzheimer’s Challenge

691.31 kms run

1326.69 still to do

Maybe tomorrow I can break the 700km barrier?

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 Apr – In The Pink

As a Red – that is a Liverpool fan I am a happy bunny this morning, after we summarily despatched Manchester City last night in the Champion’s League.

From being very happy Red to  being tickled pink, the lipstick colour used to give me some motivation to go out and face the world and run. In London, the colour is bright red – runner’s ruby. In Italy, as I forgot to bring my red lipstick here, my fuchsia pink is now known as pootler’s pink.

Having promised that I need to drink more water/soft drinks and get up earlier, I did just that. Slapped on a dash of pootler’s pink and was on my way.

Today was to be a short run of about 6km, cunningly worked out by Mr JCR last night on his Strava thing. Of course, best laid plans and all that, he hadn’t allowed for me developing stupid tart syndrome again. Yup, I never learn, when needing to de-clothe, just stop running, do what you need to and carry on. Nope, I decided against that course of action and in de-gloving whilst running, promptly lost one glove, which I didn’t discover until a little later.

I digress, I was in a good mood (thank you Mo Salah),  I passed through Mill Lane and despite the recent Watergate scandal, was still smiling when I entered Lovers’ Lane. My smile grew wider when who should I see but my favourite Italian cheerleaders Anouska and Albino .

Whether or not I am their favourite runner, who can say – actually I’m probably not, because Anouska said ‘Don’t stop, carry on running’. I stopped though and explained we’d just got back home, and she was asking how long we were staying for. I answered and we exchanged goodbyes and went on our way. What A&A don’t know is that last year when I started the C25K training programme, seeing them every other day acted like a commitment I had to meet. So I was really chuffed to see them for the first time this year. A proper runner’s welcome.

In my enthusiasm to show off the fact that I am considerably fitter than last year, I did set off rather too quickly and in my speedy Gonzales moment, decided to de-glove and that’s where the route planning went awry. I passed A&A again on their return leg, and decided I would detour via home to dump my running jacket and gloves as I was quite warm. Then I found I was a glove missing, so back again to the same places – Mill Lane where my smile faltered a bit at the water pumping station, up Lovers’ Lane – no glove to be seen, what’s that in Villa Bali’s grounds – no it’s a bird JCR, it’s just flown away.

Eventually I found the glove, needless to say it was more or less the furthest point away it could have been. That meant the route planning session was a waste of time.  So down to the slope of hope, incident free and to Laundry Lane, which again was mercifully free of traffic. At the 6km mark the lane starts to rise and reader, I confess, I walked about 20 paces to get my puff back. Will you forgive me that lapse? Or do I have to add an extra 20 paces onto my next run?

Anyway to the tune of some very tetchy beagles barking, I finished my run at just a shade over 7km.

Playlist

I Ran  – A Flock Of Seagulls

Joan Of Arc – OMD

Breaking Us In Two – Joe Jackson

Marvin Gaye – Phuth and Traynor

Oh Woman, Oh Man – London Grammar

Sex-O-Matic Venus Freak – Macy Gray

I Try – Ditto

Crazy In Love – Beyonce

Blue Monday – New Order

Mr Brightside – The Killers

World In Motion – New Order

This Girl – Kungs

The Jean Genie – David Bowie

Stats

Distance 7.16Km

Time 50:58

Average Pace 7:07 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 64 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 619.92

Kms To Do 1398.08 (yes, under the 1400s, we’re getting there)