29 Jan – JCR Is On The Road Again

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Strictly speaking, this is not exactly true, but the Physio has confirmed I can try a little run, no more than 25% of my usual distance and I must rest for 24 hours minimum afterwards.

This coupled with Mr JCR acting as a muscly stretching person on my unwilling legs and an introductory course of Pilates, is supposedly going to get me back to normal. Hurrah. (I’m trying to forget the squats instructions…)

As to the dodgy shoulder, that’s a longer game, Mert and Victor and Raffaella are going to continue to see me weekly for at least a couple of months to come. As I don’t run with my shoulder, that’s a little less of an issue, although the injury is more severe, but it is going to curtail any thoughts of boxing for a while.

A little ray of sunshine pierced through the injury gloom, and the blooming flowers in the park on the way home, made me feel quite optimistic.

From a Couch to 5K member, to a 2000km runner, I am now back to doing just 2kms, but it’s 2kms more than I’ve been able to do for almost four weeks now.

If the Beast from the East is returning for me, I’m ready and waiting – trainers are on standby.

 

 

 

10 Dec – Hitching A Lift

Loving the bling…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Playlist

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

Temptation – Heaven 17

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty

Reap The Wild Wind – Ultravox

Master and Servant – Depeche Mode

Sign Your Name – Terence Trent D’Arby

Every Breath You Take – Police

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Go Wild In the Country – Bow Wow Wow

She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult

Don’t You Want Me – Human League

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

Shake The Disease – Depeche Mode

No More I Love Yous – The Lover Speaks

Be My Number Two – Joe Jackson

From Me To You – The Beatles

Hunter – Dido

Stats

Distance 9.11km

Time 1:00:00

Average Pace 6:35

Elevation Gain 42 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1969.71

Kms To Run 48.29

2 Dec – Babbo Natale Arrived Early

The loneliness of the long distance runner, was a short story by Alan Sillitoe and also a film –  I’ve just learned courtesy of the inter web. Like many people I had heard the phrase but didn’t really recall what it was about. I am not an ‘angry young man’ in a borstal running and earning privileges. I am a happy middle aged runner, who this year is running long distances – although I have a feeling I may well still be running long distances for years to come.

When I run, although I run on my own, I am never alone, because I have the good wishes and encouragement of my friends and family and in particular a special group of friends. These people I know very well, but in truth I don’t actually know them at all. These are the Health Unlocked and C25K Beyonders Groups. It’s fair to say I could probably walk past most of them in the street and not recognise them. There’s a few I would, but most are running friends hidden from view by user names and avatars. I guess they’d probably say the same about me. Yesterday I updated my HU and Beyonders group on the forums, just to let them know how my Alzheimer’s Challenge was going, and I’ve been blown away, by the support and encouragement given by my running friends. 

When I set out this morning for my run, I wanted to do 10km, because that would get me below the ’90km to go’ mark, but there’s something about receiving a whole load of good luck messages and also three donations to my sponsorship that really spurred me on. I started out in East Central London – Barbican area, and I had promised Mummycav that I’d keep on with my search for her missing mojo.

First off I spotted the Crossrail excavator, surely a mojo wouldn’t be operating heavy machinery on a Sunday morning? Probably not, so I continued my way up West, pausing to get the long awaited refund from a shop, I bounced my way along Holborn, Fleet Street and made a small stop at Somerset House to admire the Fortnum & Mason Christmas tree and the skaters. Surely Mummycav’s mojo would have passed this way. It’s friendly and fun and look at that tree. What’s not to like? I then made a tactical error and made my way on Embankment to Westminster bridge, I would like to say I was running, but it was an occasional spurt when space permitted, as it was chock full of tourists. I was ninja-ing my way through them and had to smile as there was a fellow runner doing exactly the same. Then a decision to make – run along the SouthBank or not?, and I did – mmm – that was a bit stupid JCR, but in fairness I had company with my stupidity – the fellow runner did exactly the same too. 

Now there were two ninjas darting in and out of the tourists, I’m not sure Mummycav’s mojo would have been here, as she would have got squashed. Ordinarily I can get a bit tetchy when there’s too many people around, but this tourist avoidance run, was entirely of my own making and this time it was fun, because sometimes I was smaller/niftier than the other runner and could get ahead, at others he was more aggressive than me and did some parkour type actions to sprint ahead. We managed to stay more or less in synch until we reached Tower Bridge at which point he bombed into the Underground and I carried on into the City, at which point calmness resumed.

I’d done about 12km and the legs felt fine so on I continued, no sign of a mojo in the City, but I certainly didn’t feel any loneliness. 2kms running in and around Fenchurch Street and I made my way home, to sneak in a nifty 15kms. The loneliness of the long distance runner wasn’t an affliction for me at all, in fact I was accompanied by my HU and Beyonders friends.  

Three in particular, who donated yesterday, gave me a real incentive to kick my heels and get out. Babbo Natale arrived early in the shape of these lovely runners – a big, big, big thank you to MimiRossi, Kim Terry and of course her highness Irish Princess – seeing your donations and lovely goodwill messages gave me wings today and I laughed in the face of my 10km target and did 50% more. That is the difference between running on your own, but not alone. Thank you.

Playlist

Trying out the birthday number ones  playlist …

You Got What It Takes – Marv Johnson ( this is mine – it is rubbish)

Cathy’s Clown – Everley Brothers (Mr JCR’s)

Maggie May – Rod Stewart

Keep On Running – Spencer Davis Group

Cum On Feel The Noize – Slade

I’m Into Something Good – Herman’s Hermits

The Loveliest Night Of The Year – Mario Lanza

Hot Love, Metal Guru – T Rex

Cars – Gary Numan

9 to 5 – Dolly Parton

Mambo No 5 – Lou Bega

Mona Lisa – Nat King Cole

Hello Goodbye, Please Please Me – The Beatles

Tigerfeet – Mud

The Wonder Of You and Good Luck Charm – Elvis Presley

Fire – The Crazy World of Arthur Brown

Spirit In The Sky – Norman Greenbaum

January – Pilot

Living Doll – Cliff Richard and The Drifters

I’m A Believer – The Monkees

Come On Eileen – Dexys (Kim Terry – yours came up!!!)

I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye

Have I The Right – The Honeycombs

I’ll Never Find Another You – The Seeker

Heart Of Glass – Blondie

Stats

Distance 15.07km

Time 1:44:35

Average Pace 6:56

Elevation Gain 92 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1933.48

Kms to Run 84.52

30 Nov – Stroppy Salmon, Shoes and a Squirrel

Last run for November and I have to do more than 8kms to get under the 100km to go barrier.

First up, I have to do a mini-stop at a shop to get a refund for an order (the truck got hijacked and my order has gone AWOL along with 20 other orders too). I remember very clearly saying to the woman on the phone ‘The local store will know that this order has been cancelled and they will be able to refund me won’t they?’ I knew I shouldn’t have believed her when 1km into my run, a short pause became a long stop, waiting for a shop assistant to have to phone the same number that had phoned me… 15 minutes later, my pause and patience were both up. I left the shop in a strop, without my refund.

As I stomped along Holborn, I decided the best thing do was to go shopping in a shop where I am known, they usually have the stock, and things are simple. So I run-stomped my way back to the fish shop, obviously my fish carrying pouch top was being washed after its last outing with two crabs and a sea bass, so I was reliant on good old fashioned hands to carry my wares home.  

And it was bliss, a nice run, the weather was quite warm, not many folk around, clear pavements and my new trainers – Hokas – were really bouncy. I bought my salmon, Robbie and Sam at the shop asked how my challenge was going and wished me luck. With more of a spring in my step, I pootled off home,  and in Fortune Park – a great name for not such a great space, I chased a squirrel all along the path. I was holding my salmon, he was clutching on to an acorn, both of us scurrying home with our dinners. 

And now a small sigh of satisfaction escapes my lips – I have now fewer than 100kms to run. Albeit a tiny smidgeon less than 100kms, but job done, and my earlier strop has been run totally out of my system.

Playlist

This was supposed to be the Mummycav mix, but the fruit phone had a fit…

Alison – Elvis Costello

Helena – My Chemical Romance

Poison Ivy – The Lambrettas

Shake It Off – Taylor Swift

Queen of Clubs – KC and The Sunshine Gang

Oh Yoko – John Lennon

Don’t You Want Me – Human League

Is Vic There? – Department S

Night Fever – Bee Gees

All Stood Still – Ultravox

Baggy Trousers – Madness

Stats

Distance 8.68km

Time 58:34

Average Pace 6:44

Elevation Gain 45 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1918.41

Kms To Run 99.59

28 Nov – Friends, Fish and Fantasy

Just occasionally our Italian and London lives coincide, or collide may be a better description, and so it was today. Rewind about a month ago and local Italian friends said they may be coming to London. Stay with us we said, it’ll be a bit tight, it’s only a 2 bed apartment, but we can manage. The only thing is please don’t book the week of the 26th November as we already have friends staying….

Monday morning, WhatsApp starts going a bit crazy ‘hello, we arrived yesterday, we are in Regent Street’. Okay so we don’t have to provide accommodation, but similarly we do have a schedule with our British friends who are arriving that afternoon – booked about 6 months in advance. This is the collision point – Brits organised, Italians a little less so. Our very good friends N&A very graciously, were relaxed at the thought of us leaving them for a couple of hours so we could meet up with our Italian friends for an impromptu breakfast yesterday.

I still wanted to get in a run, so suggested to Mr JCR that I’d wear my running gear for breakfast and run back home afterwards, and do some shopping en route. My usual fish shop challenge. Breakfast just around the corner from the British Museum was fab and it was nice to see G and family, whilst they were here. Then Mr JCR and I parted company. I ran towards Islington and the famous fish shop – well famous in my London running life. I was wearing my super smooth Lululemon running top with kangaroo pouch pocket, perfectly designed for carrying fish. At the shop – half way through my run, I chose the fish with care – a huge bass and two crabs. 

Then followed the dance of the fish pouching. And I had a choice the crabs could be carried in my pouch, or the bass. Just not both. Clearly to paraphrase from Jaws, I needed a bigger pouch. Okay, I’ve run before carrying a baguette, how hard can it be running with crabs in my pouch and a big bass in my hand?

First of all, the crabs despite being cooked crab, had a momentum all of their own, there was a veritable rock pool sloshing around my middle. Okay the waves of crustaceans could be calmed down by me putting my left hand in my pouch to hold them down. Think Napoleon, only female, not French, nor wearing a silly hat. It’s not a great running style with one hand jammed in your pouch holding down Crabby Crab and his mate Crabby McCrabface.

I haven’t forgotten Billy Bass, now he was a beauty and made for 4 people, which meant he was shorter than your average baguette, but about 3 times as heavy. Billy had to be carried in my non crab-calming hand. And there’s another difference between a baguette and Billy. Baguettes are firm and don’t ripple. Billy on the other hand was a combination of perfectly undulating pescatarian muscle. Yup and that means he was equally at home rippling through the air, as he would have been in the ocean. So picture the scene, one hand jammed holding down two crabs in my pouch, in my right hand a Billy bass metronome was flipping and flopping all the way home. Of course I kept on losing my grip with Billy, so I did some hand swapping – right hands holding the crabs and left hand holding Billy. In all the faff, I totally failed to look for Bev’s mojo, although I am certain she probably wasn’t anywhere near my pouch…

I got home, de-crabbed my pouch and placed a rather battered Billy Bass in the fridge. The run was short today – just over 5km, but truthfully being a mobile fish runner is quite hard and I’m not sure it was awfully helpful either to my running or to our dinner later on.

A quick lunch and we whizzed to the theatre to see A Very Very Very Dark Matter – a modern dark parable about colonialism and its effects. This has certainly polarised the critics and the line I did love was Catherine Dickens saying to her husband in a posh voice ‘You’re shitting me’. It was a fantasy performance and very odd, I’m still not sure if I liked it or rated it, but I did enjoy parts of it. And that was exactly like my run, I started off enjoying it, and it got very odd when I was fish pouching/crab managing and bass dancing. It was a complete distraction from the norm, so much so I know I listened to a playlist, and I know it was the Best Covers playlist, but I have no recollection of any of the tracks.

Stats

Distance 5.29km

Time 36:54 including fish and crab handling

Average Pace 6.55

Elevation Gain 34 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1909.73

Kms To Run 108.27

14 Nov – Mission Failed

 

A recap,  yesterday’s run fantastic, everything achieved that I wanted to do with a nice pace, great weather and my running mentor joining me virtually even though she’s poorly.  That was a ‘posh bird run’ through many nice parts of London.

Today, a little more prosaic. I have three errands on my ‘to do’ list all of which could happily be done by phone, but I thought it would be more fun to do them by run.

The three were:-

Dentist Appointments – the joys of living between two countries means there’s a constant stream of admin to organise when you return ‘home’

Track down a specific skirt – I know, hardly a task, but still it was on my to do list

Organise haircut and colour  – the badger stripe is appearing, it has to go

The omens were good, the weather even nicer than yesterday, which is a real bonus in the City in Autumn, grey is the de facto colour of the sky and it does tend to ‘grey’ your mood somewhat.

I left home and took a circuitous route to the dentist – job done. Fab, all within 2kms of home, now a run towards Oxford Street and I am aiming towards Marylebone Street – not the High Street, but a smaller street in parallel, this is where Richard my genius hairdresser can be found. It’s about 4kms away, if you wiggle a bit on your route map. I arrived not too sweaty, (having made a respectable 6.5 minutes/km pace) to enter a posh hairdressing salon, but it didn’t matter about my sweatiness or otherwise – no-one was at home. No grey skies here, but if I don’t get that appointment, way too much grey on my head will be appearing.

Oh well, his salon is close to a shop that I need to check out for this mystery skirt. The assistant did look somewhat askance at me in my dayglo top and capris, standing amongst the finery for the Winter party season. I was amidst a sea of sparkling sequins and leopardskin print. Frankly in my more blingy moments, this would be Retail heaven. (I do have to rein in my inner Bet Lynch, from time to time)

I asked and she said no they didn’t have it, was I sure it was them?  For sure, I didn’t look quite like their usual clientele. After some faffing with my phone I was able to prove that I hadn’t imagined this skirt, it did exist – except it was summer stock. Perhaps I could try an outlet store; I am convinced that she was doing her best to be helpfully snooty or snootily helpful.

Okay – that’s errand number three blown out. Maybe I should just concentrate on the running instead, that seems a lot more successful. I made my way home this time via Marylebone Lane and the fantastic VW Rouleaux shop – one of London’s retail secrets. If you want unusual ribbons, trimmings etc for any occasion, this is the place to go. For Christmas they ‘had blinged up’ the outside with gold oak leaves and acorns, as shown on the pics. I often go in there for a mooch around, but figured that in the present running kit, perhaps wouldn’t suggest a woman interested in ribbons ’n’ trimmings.

Okay JCR, head straight, trainers propelling forward, heading for home. I was slower today than yesterday, but that’s not unusual on Day 2 runs. My runnerchondria hip, is aching a touch, but it just has to hold on for 5 more weeks and then it gets a rest.

Errands attempted 3  vs. errands successfully completed 1. But another 12km in the bank which means Mission Failed turned out to be rather successful after all.

Playlist

Second try out of best cover versions

Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’ Connor

Kiss – Art of Noise and Tom Jones

Back to Black – Amy Winehouse

Tainted Love – Mark Almond, and Marilyn Manson versions

I Only Want To Be With You – The Tourists

You Can’t Hurry Love – Phil Collins

Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

Hallelujah – Alexandra Burke

Blue Suede Shoes – Elvis Presley

Motorhead – Motorhead

Sweet Dreams, You’re So Vain – Marilyn Manson

Whiskey In the Jar – Thin Lizzy

Kids In America – Foo Fighters

Stand And Deliver – No Doubt

Feed My Frankenstein – Alice Cooper

Amish Paradise – Weird Al Yankovic

911 Is A Joke – Duran Duran

Faith – Limp Bizkit

War – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Take Me To The River – Talking Heads

Cats In The Cradle – Ugly Kid Joe

Live and Let Die – Guns ’n’ Roses

Stats

Distance 12.08km

Time 1:24:12

Average Pace 6:58

Elevation Gain 35 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1839.45

Kms to Run 178.55

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25 Oct – There’s No Flies On Me

photography of fly on green leaf
‘Orrible little monster isn’t he?

This is a saying originating in Australia which means you are quick witted and alert. I wish in my case this was true –  when running I regularly attract my own posse of flies looking just like Pig Pen in the Snoopy cartoons. (Although he was carrying the dust and dirt of ancient civilisations)

PigPen_(Peanuts)

Today I needed to do 8km but didn’t necessarily need to be quick, although it would have helped avoid the flies. I hadn’t really planned my day well and was running in the afternoon, after cauliflower and truffle soup and some chapatis. This is not the balanced, light meal you should have before running, but it is very helpful at emptying the cupboards before an imminent departure back to the UK.

Mr JCR pointed out that the house stank of cabbage a bit like an old NHS institution, so maybe that was why the flies were following me around. Eau de brassica, clinging to my clothes…

With the institutional aroma accompanying me, I set off on my run – the usual route beckoned; Mill Lane, Lover’s Lane etc., but this time back to Argo’s Loop to include a there and back run on Laundry Lane. This I reckoned would get me just over the 8km mark. Blimey, well I can confirm that cauliflower and truffle soup sloshing about in your stomach is not conducive to creating record breaking runs.

The olive harvest is in full swing, and the fields are full of folk, nets, tractors, noise, and olive wobblers. I ran past one field and one of the pickers in our neighbour’s field shouted Brava Signora. I continued my run and met up with Argo (our dog share) on Laundry Lane –  he gave me a baleful look and carried on his own way towards home.

I then passed one of the small, local wineries where the owner and his dog were outside, watching the world go by. In truth the dog was peeing rather than people watching, but I did get a ‘Salve’ greeting from the winery owner, I waved and continued on, did a u-turn and came back – the dog was still peeing and that was 3kms later. He was tiny – a small Jack Russell, I don’t where he got the bladder capacity from. At this stage I was about 1km from doing my planned 8km, and was congratulating myself on not giving up, despite the gallons of soup making themselves felt. The light was fading somewhat and the flies were gathering, giving me nasty nips, reminding me that short sleeves are not a good idea at dusk.

I finished my run at just over the 8km and made my way home, where more flies awaited when I opened our bedroom window. At this time of year they seem to have a death wish and 20 or so committed hari-kiri on the bedroom floor.

Oh joy, I’d been stalked by flies on my run and now I had to clean them up too. However, there are no flies on Mr JCR when it comes to action – he swept into the room with his James Dyson mean machine and left no traces of the fly invasion.

It wasn’t a flying run – sorry – but it’s in the bag  and tomorrow I will not:-

  • have cauliflower and truffle soup for lunch
  • run after lunch
  • wear short sleeves

Playlist

Two Tone and Ska

Liquidator – Harry J Allstars

Ghost Town – The Specials

It Mek, 007, Israelites – Desmond Dekker

Police On My Back – Eddie Grant and The Equals

Carry Go Bring Come – Justin Hinds and the Dominoes

54-56 Was My Number, Monkey Man – Toots and The Maytals

Skinhead Moonstomp – Symarip

Housewive’s Choice – Derrick and Patsy

Rudi Got Married – Laurel Aitken

One Step Beyond, Al Capone – Prince Buster

The Tide is High – Blondie

House of Fun – Madness

Monkey Man – Amy Winehouse

My Boy Lollipop – Millie Small

Red Red Wine – Tony Tribe

Lip Up Fatty – Bad Manners

Let’s Do Rock Steady – The Bodysnatchers

Free Nelson Mandela – The Starlite Singers

Stats

Distance 8.41km

Time 1:02:02

Average Pace 7:22

Elevation Gain 78 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1728.03

Kms to Run 289.97