8 Dec – Can’t See The Wood

Thanks Norway…, the tree is looking good

for the trees. The old idiom of not being able to see a situation clearly because you are too involved in the details, and I must admit I am in grave danger of being that person.

I keep looking at the kms to go and am frantically re-working my excel spreadsheet to see how I can manage my runs. And I’ve suddenly realised it’s a pointless exercise. Other than one of the three Ds  occurring (death, disaster or disease), I am going to get the challenge done, so there’s no point in sweating over the details. Most days when I run I take a peek at my plan, then promptly ignore it when I’m out and about. I take my cue from how I feel when I’m out and about. Therefore no more excel jockeying for me. Saturday morning the weather was uncommonly beautiful, a gorgeous crisp blue sky day in London, in December. Who could resist the invitation to run? For sure not me. 

Bev’s mo jo is being remarkably stubborn – nowhere to be seen in London and apparently not to be found in Yorkshire either. But Bev has been running on her own mojo hunt, and after my rubbish Thursday run, I took the opportunity to re-think my mojo hunting strategy. It’s Christmas almost and Trafalgar Square has its traditional Norwegian Christmas Tree up. Now most years I don’t ever really focus on it – it’s part of the scenery. But it is a lovely enduring tradition. If the Norwegians can keep sending us trees year  after year, then the least I can do is run there and see if the mojo is hiding amongst its branches. It seems a great place to hide. Lots of folk around for company, most people smiling because it’s Christmas, twinkly sparkly lights too, oh and lions to guard you in case you are feeling scared. 

I set off through the City, the Inns of Court and made my way towards the Strand, it was all nice and quiet, save for the quiet sound of my natty new running leggings sliding down my legs… Now this was a classic case of they look good and I want them, so I’ll buy them. I did recognise that they were actually yoga tights, and didn’t have a runner’s drawstring around the waist. A rather unladylike hoist to pull them back up so I don’t look like a young teenage boy with my knickers showing…, and I continue down the Strand and arrive at Trafalgar Square – already getting quite busy, with plenty of tourists taking selfies and me taking a few minutes out to look for Bev’s mojo amongst the branches of the tree. To be honest no sign of it, so I’m guessing the mojo may have passed here a while ago…

I turn towards home and run along the Embankment Gardens and take a left hook past the Savoy – Bev’s mojo is a classy bird I understand, maybe she dropped in for afternoon tea? Back along Fleet Street, the crowds are building up and near St Pauls required all of my ninja running skills. It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t add some Christmas spice to my running… I’ve done my famous bread running, fish running, crab running and now I can add Christmas gift wrap running to the mix. We need some gift wrap, I am passing a glittery, blinged up display – in a previous life I must have been a magpie, I am always attracted to glitter. Not being able to resist the glitz, I pause my run, buy some bling, and re-start. Even in this palace of glitter and bling no sign of a mojo – I do hope she’s closer to Yorkshire now. My final 1km towards home, another unladylike hoist of the sliding leggings and I arrive home.

Success – 9kms done, giftwrap bought, and modesty maintained.

Downside – where is this pesky mojo?

Major encouragement – a donation from our Italian friends M&L, – they’ve made me determined to get under the 50km to go mark, next time out. £50 donated is a really big spur to get me under the magic 50km – grazie, grazie, grazie.

Playlist

Rumour Has It – Adele

Sign Of The Times – Harry Styles

Cabron – Red Hot Chilis

Girl From Mars – Ash

Einstein A Go-Go – Landscape

Purple Rain, When Doves Cry – His Purple Highness

Glamorous Indie Rock and Roll – Killers

Breaking Us In Two – Joe Jackson

Barbara Ann – The Beach Boys

London Calling – The Clash

Modern Way – The Kaiser Chiefs

Personal Jesus, It’s Called A Heart – Depeche Mode

Every Day I Love You Less and Less – Kaiser Chiefs

Joan of Arc – OMD

Stats

Distance 9.25km

Time 59:24

Average Pace 6:25

Elevation Gain 46 metres

Alzheimers Challenge

Kms Run 1960.6

Kms to Run 57.4

6 Dec – Having A Wobble

Yesterday a migraine stopped play and today I had the migraine hangover – muzzy head, light sensitivity, and a mild thump. I took some ibuprofen and a nice mug of tea and got on my way.

Only needed to do 8km to stay on my plan, and I didn’t really have anywhere in mind to go. Bev’s mojo appears to have had enough of London’s bright lights and may be headed back to the calming countryside of Yorkshire and who can blame her? So without a mojo hunt in mind, I was curiously adrift on where to go. I headed towards the City and looped up to Islington. Gosh today I am slow, and lethargic and I don’t really know why. 2kms in and I take a pause. 3kms in near Islington’s Upper Street and I take another pause. I don’t feel bad, just not quite right, it’s as though my legs aren’t my own, they feel curiously disconnected, a bit like running with cotton wool for legs, rather than ‘leg-feeling’ legs.

I continue on and to be honest it’s a plod, neither my heart nor legs are in today’s run. Mr JCR occasionally complaints of energy depletion, when all of a sudden he feels like one of those cartoonishly characters when the blood drains from their faces, and they look ghost-like. I think that is what I’ve got – cartoon blood draining syndrome. You heard it here first! Normally I feel quite bouncy and happily tired after a run. Today is just not one off those days. Still despite my cotton wool legs and ghost like face, it is :-

You can’t always have a perfect run, I’m glad I did it and just writing this one off as a bad day at the office. As the dictionary definition says, I’m moving unsteadily in a particular direction – and that direction is the 2018kms marker.

Playlist

I genuinely can’t remember which playlist it was at all…

Stats

Distance 8.60km

Time 1:01:52

Average Pace 7:11

Elevation Gain 39 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1951.35

Kms To Run 66.65

3 Dec – Shame and Salvation

Cherry Blossom at Christmastime

Monday morning, it’s grey, not so cold and according to the weather the chances of rain increase substantially in the afternoon. Therefore a good time to get out and do a recce run for my upcoming cultural adventure, of going with my ‘nearly’ god daughter M, her mum G,  and friends C & M to see the Nutcracker.  G has booked a restaurant up west and I wanted to know exactly where it was as my skills as getting lost are quite legendary. It’s a right and left problem for me. When we were all hunter gatherers, I most definitely would have been eaten by a man-eating beast of some description. Oh the shame and thank goodness for GPRS.

I started out in the City and made my way up West and it was all going rather nice and gentle. I had on my new trainers, but had over-layered on top, with 2 base layers and a rain jacket just in case. At the 1km stage I was beetroot red and the sweat was pouring off me. Quick adjustments and one rain jacket tied around my waist, so I started up again. Aarggh, still too warm, off comes the second layer – and added onto the waistline. At this point I was looking like the ‘coat hanger’ friend at a funfair – you know the type – everyone is on the dodgers/rollercoaster/log flume and there’s the coat hanger friend, cheering everyone on under a mountain of coats.

Okay JCR this is not so great, slow the pace down, to keep the heat down and find the restaurant. It was easy peasy to find, just not exactly where I thought it was. A mental note made and I was on my way.  The weather app had obviously failed to spot a huge great lump of rain that dropped like a water bomb. I was already sweaty on the inside and now was getting wet from the outside. Clambering back into the layers, I’d discarded earlier, I decided to cut short the run and aim for home, the quickest way through Long Acre.

At this point Mistress Fate stepped in, the rain was really chucking it down, and I saw my salvation – a Lululemon store. Well I was wearing their running tights and their running jacket, so it would have been a shame not to go in. And it would also have been a shame not to have a look around, and an even greater shame not to have used the credit card I had cunningly packed ‘just in case’. To my shame, I managed to spend an obscene amount of money in the 12 minutes the rainstorm took to pass over. Then instead of my usual fish running adventures, I proceeded to run through Covent Garden, Inns of Court and the City, all the way back home, with a heavily packed Lululemon bag tucked under my arm. It did hamper the last 3.5kms timing, but I liked the stuff I’d bought, so I justified the slower running pace by mentally claiming I’d been carrying weights. Utterly self delusional!!

Any chance of me finding Bev’s mojo in that weather, were somewhat reduced as I was distracted by the kitbag. But I did get just over 9kms done, so it was a good contribution to my running total – that’s a salvation of a sort.  

The cheery, but out of season cherry tree, was seen the following on day, on my return trip up West to return two out of the four items bought in the rain! So my shopping frenzy shame, was saved by my inability to guess my own leg size – I think they’ve shortened with all this running;)

Playlist

Going back to Razouski’s list

Baggy Trousers -Madness

Be My Number Two – Joe Jackson

Beat It – Michael Jackson

Blasphemous Rumours – Depeche Mode

Can You Feel It – The Jacksons

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? – Culture Club

Dreaming of Me – Depeche Mode

Get Dancin’ Disco Tex and His Sex-O-Lettes

Go Wild In The Country – Bow Wow Wow

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

The Look of Love – ABC

Love’s Unkind – Donna Summer

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Oliver’s Army – Elvis Costello and The Attractions

Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode

Planet Earth – Duran Duran

Purple Rain – His Purple Highness

Rasputin – Boney M

She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult

Somewhere In My Heart – Aztec Camera

Vienna, All Stood Still- Ultravox

Stats

Distance 9.27km

Time 1:08:48

Average Pace 7:23

Elevation Gain 39 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1942.75

Kms To Run 75.25

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

25 Nov – A Tale of Two Drivers

Loving the bling 

Strictly speaking it should be a tale of three drivers. The first driver being my need to make up for yesterday’s laziness and actually get over the 1900km mark on today’s run.

Bad news was a migraine  haze flickering in my right eye, good news was the combination of some nuclear grade tablets, a mug of tea and an hour later, it had gone. And an hour later so had I, out of the door into the City and heading towards Trafalgar Square, which for some reason seems to be a favourite run of mine at the moment. 

Fleet Street was virtually empty and really easy to run down, no breeze today and clear pavements – bliss. I was in a nice stride and heading towards the Strand when driver number two came to my attention.

A guy in front of me was doing the mobile phone zombie walking thing – looking down at his phone and he stepped out into the road without looking. The Tesco delivery driver slammed on his brakes and instead of hurling abuse at the pedestrian, smiled and gestured for the guy to continue crossing. The pedestrian looked a bit embarrassed and put his hand up, then the driver indicated that I should cross too. What a nice chap. A pleasant delivery driver in London, who would have thought that was possible?

I was thinking how nice that was and up I came to the next junction controlled by traffic lights. It was on green – a number of us started to cross, then a Black Mercedes S Class was being driven around the corner over the crossing. I looked at the driver and indicated the lights were green for us and he mouthed back ‘No, they’re red’ and continued driving. What an arse he was. Now I wish I’d had the presence of mind to take a photo of the car.

I admit London is confusing at junctions, but it’s a Sunday, and (even in London prior to Christmas) the traffic was quite light, therefore no excuse. I wish a plague of diarrhoea on him over the festive season, so he gets caught short in that nice Mercedes of his.

Now that my runner’s cursing was complete, I made my way to Trafalgar Square, where the street artists were doing their thing. The two guys who chalk on flags of the world, Yoda again with his faded green tunic, and this time no man sitting on his shovel, but a gold devil masked man sitting casually. I’m not entirely sure how many people would actually pay to have pictures with him, as he looks quite sinister. Bombing past I made my way up the Mall, hooked a right to Northumberland Avenue and made my way home, via the nice blingy Christmas tree at St James.  This was about 6.5kms in, and now the pedestrian numbers were increasing. Spectators were gathering for the Changing of The Guard ceremony, and my pace slowed to a crawl, trying to get past people.

I came the way I started via the Strand, Fleet Street and St Pauls – no sign of Bev’s mojo today, but I do think she may have stopped via St James and taken heart at the blingy tree.

Today it was a nice cool 11kms, and I’ve just ticked over the 1900kms mark. Next milestone is the 1918 mark, so I’m on the 100 and fewer track. Can’t wait and I have a new pair of trainers on the way, so that will give me an even bigger bounce in my step.

Playlist

Tainted Love – Marilyn Manson

Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart – Almond and Pitney

Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

All Along The Watchtower – Afterhere

Hurt – Johnny Cash

I Fought The Law – The Clash

Motorhead – Motorhead

Personal Jesus – Marilyn Manson

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This – ditto

Kids In America – Lawnmower Deth

Feed My Frankenstein – Alice Cooper

Bring Your Daughter… – Iron Maiden

The Lion Sleeps Tonight – Tight Fit

Ever Fallen In Love – FYC

War – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

San Jose – ditto

You’re So Vain – Marilyn Manson

Dear Prudence – Siouxsie and The Banshees

Don’t Leave Me This Way – The Communards

I Drove All Night – Cyndi Lauper

Small-town Boy – Bronski Beat

Cats In The Cradle – Ugly Kid Joe

Live and Let Die – Guns ’n’ Roses

Aint Necessarily So – Bronski Beat

The Sound of Silence – Disturbed

Smooth Criminal – Alien Ant Farm

Come Together – Michael Jackson

Money – The Flying Lizards

Born To Run – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Feeling Good – Muse

I Feel Love – Bronski Beat

Halo – Harper Blynn

Stats

Distance 11.04km

Time 1:13:24

Average Pace 6:38

Elevation Gain 55 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1904.44 – over the 1900 mark!

Kms To Run 113.56

23 Nov – Here Is The News

Voice Over:-And here we are live from BBC Broadcasting House, Central London with Kamal Ahmed, BBC News.

Kamal Ahmed: I’m standing in the courtyard at Broadcasting House in The West End of London, with my guest Jan CanRun. Tell me Jan, CanRun is an unusual surname, where does it come from?

JCR: My imagination.

KA: Ah, and for our audience not familiar with your imagination what does it signify?

JCR: The fact that I can run…

KA: Yes I see. And why are you here today?

JCR: I’m actually on a running mission.

KA: Would you please explain your mission and tell us why you are here at Broadcasting House, specifically?

JCR: Certainly Kamal, I am running to raise £2018 for Alzheimer’s Research, by running 2018kms in 2018. And as part of my year of running, I give myself or take on mini-challenges to keep it interesting and today’s is to help find a friend’s lost mo-jo.

KA: Pardon? 

JCR: Her mojo to run appears to have gone missing for the past couple of weeks and she is desperate to find it. It can normally be found in Yorkshire, I believe is purple and likes shiny, sparkly things. I am here to raise awareness and ask the public’s help to find it. Research tells us that an unfound mojo can suffer from feelings of low self esteem and poor body image. I’ve run to Broadcasting House to ask you to launch the national campaign to find the mojo.

KA: Where was the mojo last seen?

JCR: Yorkshire for certain, but this mojo does like the bright lights of the City, so it’s possible she is hiding anywhere from Leeds to London.

KA: I see and how do we approach the mojo if seen? What do the professionals recommend?

JCR: Fortunately Kamal, the mojo is friendly and unlikely to cause a scene. The advice we have from the mojo support group ‘Mojos a go-go’ is to take it gently by the hand, offer it a cup of Yorkshire tea with a slice of parkin, and all will be well. Mojos are bred to be homing mojos and always return home, especially if well fed and watered.

KA: Good advice there from the professionals, is there anything else you’d like to add for the benefit of our viewers?

JCR: Just that mojos are frail creatures and can be sent off course by bad weather especially in these cold hard winter months. And whilst today we are looking for one mojo in particular, anybody can lose their mojo and not just for running. But again to all members of the public, if you see a weeping purple mojo, please text Mojo Found to 12345, and we can reunite the mojo with her owner.

KA: Thanks very much JanCanRun, and now back to the news. Theresa May is at a press conference in Downing Street talking about Brexit again…

Summary – a 12km run done, no mojos to be found, but there weren’t many bright lights to be seen on a murky day in London with a fruit based phone that decided to lose all battery power in one hour at the 10km stage. But I am confident the impromptu news appearance at Broadcasting House will pay off.

Playlist

Best Covers Ever….

Kiss – Art of Noise and Tom Jones

Tainted Love –  Soft Cell & Marilyn Manson’s Version

Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart – Almond and Pitney

Good Year For The Roses – Elvis Costello and The Attractions

All Along The Watchtower -Jimi Hendrix and Afterhere Versions

Hurt – Johnny Cash

Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) – Marilyn Manson

Whiskey In The Jar – Thin Lizzy

Kids in America – Foo Fighters and Lawnmower Deth

Twist and Shout – The Beatles

Welcome To The Jungle – Richard Cheese

Amish Paradise – Weird Al Yankovic

911 is a Joke – Duran Duran

Venus – Bananarama

Echo Beach – Toyah

Don’t Leave Me This Way – The Communards

China Girl – David Bowie

Take Me To The River – Talking Heads

Live and Let Die – Guns ’n’ Roses

Mrs Robinson – The Lemonheads

Battleship Chains – Volbeat

Smooth Criminal – Alien Ant Farm

My Prerogative – Britney Spears

Halo – Harper Blynn

Stats

Distance 12.33km

Time 1:32:00

Average Pace 7:27

Elevation Gain 47 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1893.40 – tomorrow I hope to break the 1900km barrier!

Kms To Run 124.60

21 Nov – Superheroes

Maybe a mojo visited here, it’s pretty enough…

Yesterday I was a wimp, I could have gone for a run, but looked at the very wet rain and the very windy wind and decided I was going to be a very wimpy wimp.

Today wimpdom is not on the cards. I have a run to do, not a big one, but I mustn’t get into the habit of wimping out on a run, not when the prize of 2018km is within touching distance.

Mr JCR was off out to his Italian lesson, I was teaching myself duvet management – basically snuggling down and imagining the run will do itself. After an hour of duvet management, it didn’t seem as though the run was happening, so I put on my trainers and got out in the wintery sun of London.

It had to be a shortish run as we were visiting The Alzheimer’s Research facility at UCL London, to get an update on their research programme. I managed a mini-loop of just over 7kms, through the City and up towards Holborn. The challenge was to run some virtual kms for my running mentor Ju-Ju who is still crocked and whilst doing that see if I could find my running mate’s missing mojo. Adding in the fact that I needed to buy some food too, this was an all-singing and all-dancing, multi-tasking run.

The superhero element didn’t occur in my run, in fact today’s was just a run, I clocked up the kms, bought the food, but didn’t find any sign of a mojo. 2 out of 3 ain’t bad though. The superhero bit came later. We assembled at UCL in Gower Street and met with the scientists headed up by Dr Paul Whiting. There we learnt about the progress being made to date and their plans for the future. It was fascinating, encouraging and depressing all at the same time.

In summary, they are ‘copying’ the Cancer Research UK’s model of ‘Centres of Research Excellence’. Given the pharma industry have been pulling back in this area of research, they are focussing on the front end of the research piece, trying to identify suitable areas of focus, including but not limited to synapse messaging protection/mending. (There was lots of other stuff, but frankly my science and memory recall are both far too poor to adequately describe their magic here!) 

Paul mentioned that in his opinion, finding a cure is probably not possible but delaying the onset and effects, probably is. This is where the depressing bit came in, realistically we are looking at maybe 50 years. And that is with all of today’s great supercomputing powers, and the fantastically able students and scientists working on this thorny problem. In the lab tour, we saw some of their kit, 3-D modelling at the nano level as one example. They are focussing on creating new molecules, which will form critical parts of the drugs. These can then be patented and future revenues poured back into the research. They run with a lot of serious equipment that costs many thousands of pounds – and who knew there was an eBay for scientists?

My big takeout is that these scientists are absolute superheroes, they have brains I can’t even imagine and are focussing them on helping to cure one of society’s biggest threats to our ageing population.  But 50 years…., that means for the majority of the lab team working there, that a ‘cure’ probably won’t be around for them, if any are so unlucky as to get Alzheimer’s  or similar related conditions.

I am determined however to end this post on a high –  we met other invitees who have donated to Alzheimer’s, run dementia workshops etc., and there is a great sense of determination from the research teams. I started the day as a wimp under the duvet, avoiding the weather but then met some superheroes, real-life superheroes who are not wimping out on one of life’s toughest challenges. They have the brains, and I can bring the brawn into my running, to help raise as much cash as possible. On that note, a big vote of thanks to our friend M who has very generously added to the sponsorship pot today. It really brings it home, having seen the research.

And to my running mate (mojoless)  – after the tour we made our way back home and these two lovely places were en route pic above and below. I have a feeling the mojo may well have passed this way…

Playlist

Breakfast In America – Supertramp

Belfast Child – Simple Minds

Going Down To Liverpool – The Bangles

Black Eyed Boy – Texas

Grease – Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

Africa – Toto

New York Minute – Don Henley

San Francisco – Scott MacKenzie

Xanadu – Olivia Newton John

Downtown – Petula Clark

Go Wild In The Country – Bow Wow Wow

Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel

Vienna – Ultravox

Romeo and Juliet – Dire Straits

Lost In France – Bonnie Tyler

Stats

Distance7.30km

Time 50:38

Average Pace 6:56

Elevation Gain 27 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1881.07

Kms To Run 136.93