The Beast from the East has returned, hurrah, I had one of my best runs last year when he came to visit.
However, said Beast from the East, is a little smaller this time around. Not so much snow as a scattering of slush on the pavements.
Today is the day, I go for my rehab run – yes I am officially allowed back on the pavements of London.
Runderwear – ready
Socks – ready
Running Tights – ready
Base Layer – ready
Running Top – ready
Gloves – ready
Bobble Hat – ready
Spotify – ready (my new Blue Monday Remedy playlist)
Runner – ready
Out I venture and my warm up walk takes me to the delights of Silicon roundabout. Then I start the running to J Geils and Freeze-frame – what an appropriate tune for my first time out in 3 weeks. My hip and thigh are twingeing a bit, so I am as slow as a snail. Good job really as the pavements have a lovely mix of London Road detritus mixed in with the slush – think liquorice coloured rather than dayglo. It’s a bit slippy underfoot, and as I can famously fall over a twig, I gingerly run to the fish shop – more or less a 2km run as the physio ordered.
Not much to report really, plenty of slush, a couple of mini-slides, and a few twinges but it was wonderful to get out again. Not entirely sure how much good or damage I may have done to my leg, but no doubt the Physio will tell me on Tuesday. Jancanrun has just done a run, it’s not big, long, fast or clever, but it is a run, and there’s about another 60 tracks on the Blue Monday playlist to get through, at this rate that’s about another 10 runs.
As of today, I haven’t run for quite a while, which is not good. I can feel my waistline expanding each day of inactivity.
My list of ‘ailments’ include:-
migraine (same old, same old)
a dodgy hip that hurts permanently
a kidney infection requiring antibiotics
soon to be unfrozen shoulder (I hope)
newly diagnosed very high cholesterol count
I have a feeling that my bod has decided to allow all the ailments in, now that the challenge has finished. Luckily, I do have a fix list
New migraine treatment, which should prevent rather than cure them
Physiotherapy at London Metropolitan with the two heavies Mut and Victor
Antibiotics – 3 days down, 4 more to go
See fix number two
A promise to my GP to watch my diet and we re-test in a month
1-4 not really in my control, but number 5, I have a feeling the chocolate, cheese and rich food feasting over Christmas and New Year may have taken their toll, at least I’m hoping that’s the reason. Or maybe throughout the year my Kardashian kulo was growing due to dairy intake and not because of running muscle gain?
I really couldn’t face doing dry January, nor Veganuary, so am settling for reduced booze, chocolate, cheese, red meat, and doing meat free Mondays. I am now on Day 4 of the new regime, I hope to goodness this works!
Thursday we are meeting our friend Pete for a meal at Foxlow – the master of beef cookery in Clerkenwell. P just donated to my challenge, bringing my funds raised to just over £2,500 before tax relief, so I feel that a bit of indulgence won’t hurt, if it’s red meat just once in a week.
Any ideas for veggie recipes that are interesting, don’t involve hours worth of chopping and don’t rely on cheese or cream to make them tasty? On the banned list are the following:-
Red meat – beef, lamb, pork, prosciutto, bacon, sausages
Anything yummy, such as cake, chocolate brownies, Portugese Custard Tarts
I found a glorious shepherd’s pie recipe, but it involved copious amounts of potatoes, butter and cheese. Back to the drawing board JCR. We actually ate lentil ragu and spaghetti tonight- I’m trying to convince myself it was yummy, but in truth, at best it was edible. If it was summer, then no problem, bring on the salads and loads of fish. But winter I crave something comforting and warming.
Ho hum, I think January will involve eating sandpaper, aggressive broccoli and lentils – fingers crossed that this does the job and my GP doesn’t decide I need more drugs. I have this horror of having the daily pill list 😦
Any positive non cholesterol oriented vibes you can send, would be much appreciated.
Mr JCR’s mate Mike – and a supporter of mine, to witness the grand finale
Not only did we get soldiers with fluffy hats, we got a Horseguard’s Parade too..
It is 7am, (I know- I never, ever see that time of day). The alarm has gone and I have butterflies, my stomach is grumbling and rumbling. I feel nervous – and why?
Because, today is my final ‘2018kms in 2018’ day. When I decided on the challenge over a year ago now, I hadn’t really worked out what doing all this running would mean and now I am in touching distance. Just a gentle 5kms to do today, and I am so lucky that one of my C25K friends is leaving home, hearth and husband to run with me on my final run. We’ve bonded over 80s music, and Portugese Custard Tarts and Gill is joining me today for the last leg. With us in spirit and running around the UK are:-
Mr JCR and I walk to the park, the Strand is quiet and arriving at the park we see in the distance a woman stripping off. And who might that be? Well of course it’s Gill – only stripping down to running tights I hasten to add. We virtually met on the C25K forum and in real life met in the Barbican and I’m chuffed to call her my friend.
There’s a vague possibility of a fellow runner from the C25K Beyonders Group turning up, so we loiter around looking slightly suspicious. Then we see group of three runners hanging around nearby – I don’t recognise any of them. Wondering on the protocol for randomly accosting strangers in a park, I am very relieved when they start running on their own. I don’t think I’d be very good at blind dates…
We start off running, naked, so I can hear my own huffing and puffing, clearly running with Gill has set my speedier button as we manage one km in 5:45 pace – unheard of for me, but not for Gill who is a right speedy Gonzales. Realising I’m going too fast, I turn down the dial a little, and we make our way around the park, dodging the occasional wayward tourist, but it’s reasonably quiet – the geese, pigeons, ducks and squirrels are attracting way more attention than us two. At the halfway stage, a quick pitstop to dump more clothing and to meet Mike – one of my supporters and a friend of Mr JCR, he’s come to see us do the 5km. And we’re off onto the second lap, I quite like running with company – I didn’t know that before. And we have a gentle pootle around the park, we’re on to the home straight, I check my phone and yes the magic 5kms has been done, with a C25Ker who was a supporter for me in the good old Mr Smooth (Michael Johnson) days and has stayed the course over the year.
Mr JCR takes celebratory pics and opens the bubbles, we all toast a job well done. Gill in the meantime has been bottling up the desire to tell the world what I’ve just done… When a cycling policeman comes past, looking at 4 of us necking champagne, she tells him about the challenge. He offers me congratulations and takes a chocolate (we decided against offering some bubbles!). It was only after he’d gone when we thought that drinking alcohol may well be prohibited in a Royal Park – oops.
What a brilliant Christmas Eve run, making my distance, running with C25K friends in real life and virtually. It doesn’t get much better – oh yes it does, Mr JCR treated me to cooked breakfast on the way home.
And to all my C25K buddies who ran with me virtually today, I loved the fact that from Yorkshire to Berkshire and beyond my friends were out there, even when mojos have been very difficult to find. Thank you all.
A proper rollcall of honour will follow, as I’ve had even more donations and have really nicely exceeded the target set and now for some more bubbles.
It may not have snowed in London literally, but it has snowed donations since my last run. First off the mark, one of my fellow C25Kers jayval70 made my day, by donating and wishing me well.
Then our very good friends B&H in Warwickshire, with a lovely message to keep me going, then M from sunny Buckinghamshire, followed in a blink of an eye by our dear friends J&G in Arnhem – who came back with a second donation. Going for the more international theme, came my brother and sister in-law, in sunny but blinking cold Hingham, USA but with the greatest warm message, and their donation got me over the line on the sponsorship target.
Not to be outdone, our friends K&C, who are partially international living as they do between Italy and Nottingham, added a second donation. Followed by a very dear Italian friend M, who works in Brussels. And last but not least my running, netballing friend J.
So after the snowing down of donations, I find I have hit one target (the money), without actually having hit the other (the running). Obviously that situation can’t continue; and this morning’s run was designed to get me ready for the last leg on Christmas Eve.
With the very pleasant weight of all that money and expectation on my shoulders, I headed up West to do a ‘dummy run’ of my route around St James’s park. It’s a cold, bright and clear morning, I have got to do just under 12kms today, leaving me 5km for Christmas Eve. My route is vaguely worked out – wiggle through Hatton Garden, saunter through the Inns of Court and the Strand, nod at Buckingham Palace, and then do a lap or so of the park.
It’s surprisingly quiet in London, considering this is the last Saturday before Christmas, and before long I find myself at the Birdcage Walk entrance to the park. Now I know where all the people went, they are taking a stroll around the park, feeding the ducks, geese and marvelling at the antics of the squirrels. I am following my Strava route roughly and decide to pause just to make sure I am doing the right course and then see Mr JCR who has come to check up on progress, and my geographic tracking capabilities…
A loop of St James’s Park is done, with a small backward facing diversion and we reckon with a little bit of jiggery pokery, I can make these two loops become my 5km run on Christmas Eve. I have to continue on to make sure I reach today’s target and more or less on the roundabout near Admiralty Arch, the job is done.
I had hoped we might have snow for Christmas, but the snowfall of donations, really helped me to slip and slide my way around the park today – thanks everyone!
Job done, now to stay injury free for just one more day.
Last Christmas (twice) – Wham
Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid
Step Into Christmas – Elton John
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – The Supremes
Driving Home For Christmas – Chris Rea
Fairytale of New York – The Pogues
All I Want For Christmas is You – Mariah Carey (twice)
It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas – Buble
Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt and The Pussycat Dolls Version
Stay Another Day – East 17
Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
Have Yourself A Merry Christmas – Sam Smith
Frosty The Snowman – The Ronettes
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – The Jackson Five
I find myself in an extraordinary situation, having spent most of the year frantically making sure I am doing enough runs to give me a cushion in case of injury, I now have to NOT run, in case I do too much.
Mr JCR has been working with me on the plan to finish the challenge and on Christmas Eve at 10am in St James’s Park in London, I will be doing a gentle 5km to finish. I’m inviting any C25Kers or friends or Beyonders to join me if they wish to have the somewhat dubious honour of running with me for the last leg of my challenge.
Alzheimer’s Research have asked me to do one final fund raising push, so if anyone is in London on Christmas Eve, 10am and fancies a gentle pootle around St James’s Park, Mr JCR will be in attendance to take pics and provide some post-run goodies…
Yesterday I met up with Kat from Alzheimer’s Research at Regent’s Park to run with me for one of my final runs, to close out the challenge and give AR some footage to use for fund-raising and encouragement to other people thinking of their own challenges.
We agreed to meet up at Great Portland Street tube, so we could run together. Cue two people wearing orange on a cold but blueish sky day in London. One of the last times I ran around Regent’s Park was when we had the Beast from the East, this time no beasts in evidence.
We started the run and to be honest I set off a little bit too ‘gung ho’ and just after a kilometre with Kat shadowing me and being videoed, we settled down to a more normal pace. Kat was a star, because she carried my extra warm running top on her back in a rucksack. And this is probably only the second time I’ve run with company (park runs don’t count imho, as there’s loads of folk, but you run on your own).
We talked about Alzheimer’s and one thing Kat told me was that one of their most requested pieces of information, was their leaflet telling you what you can do to minimise the risk of getting the disease. And I must admit I’d never thought of their role in that way, but of course education and prevention is as much a part of the cure, that we all want.
It was a lovely run and we managed around 7km in the park and then convened for a very welcome cup of coffee. The talk turned to my final run on Christmas Eve and I’ve more or less decided that I’ll run in St James’s Park and I’m thinking of asking people to join me and to donate to my fundraising for the privilege. This is me letting the Kat out of the bag. You heard it here first, if you’d like to join me on Christmas Eve (precise details, times etc., to be worked out probably tomorrow) and run with me on my final run and would be happy to make a small donation to Alzheimer’s Research for the somewhat dubious privilege of my company, then I’d love to see you. Mr JCR will be in attendance, although not running, and he’ll take pics for us to share with Alzheimer’s UK.
Last Christmas – Wham
Step Into Christmas – Elton John
Let It Snow – Ella Fitzgerald
Driving Home For Christmas – Chris Rea
All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
Sleigh Ride – The Ronettes
It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Andy Williams
Stay Another Day – East 17
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Sam Smith
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…
It was my Christmas playlist, and I can’t remember one track except for Santa Baby.
Time 1:40:51 (this included unwanted coffee and phone box stops)