13 June – From Jimmy Choos to

 

to a pair of new running shoes. What has happened to me? Old life, Jimmy Choos, Louboutins, Prada and Gucci high heeled shoes. New life of Brooks, Saucony, Adidas but I’m not sure they are any the less expensive, as my latest pair will only have a running life of 3 – 4 months, based on my current mileage. My old faithful Pradas, in comparison are 10 years old and still going strong, although they only come out for Ascot Ladies Day, so maybe the cost per wear equation doesn’t work so well…

Today is the official day I managed to meet the Map My Run Beat the Year Challenge – a target of 1018kms, and I celebrated by running in my new Brooks shoes. I bought 2 new pairs of running shoes last November, before I’d decided on doing the challenge and now they are both looking a little shabby and are getting close to needing changing. Shoe life is about 500 miles and each pair has done about 600kms, but I still have 6 months to go, so time for a new pair. I’m sure I read somewhere that running was a cheap sport…

Today is a lot warmer, but I’m out earlier which is a help. I bomb through the City Streets and back out towards Holborn and the Inns of Court, I have in mind to do just the planned 7k as this is the first outing for my new shoes and I don’t want to shred my feet anymore than they have been already. The shoes feel bouncy and comfortable and I’m soon in my stride. I head towards the Strand, but it is awfully busy, so change tack and head for Aldwych and back towards Bloomsbury. A quiet run today, not a lot happening on the streets of London, not that I could see anyway. Getting close to home I see I am at just on 7k – well it wouldn’t hurt to stretch a bit would it? So I do a slight detour to add another 1km to my running piggy bank.

Run done. New running shoes broken in, and no signs of having broken my feet. That’s a result. But the Map My Run Challenge still bugs me as the ‘lady’ leading the leader board is anonymous and seemingly has run 17.506km over 287 workouts…

You figure it out I think she’s tracking every time she drives her car…

Playlist

My Coo Ca Choo – Alvin Stardust

Blockbuster – Sweet

DISCO – Ottawan

War – Edwin Starr

Waterloo – ABBA

Everybody Dance – Chic

I Feel Love – Donna Summer

So You Win Again – Hot Chocolate

Summer Breeze – The Isley Brothers

Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas

Freeze-Frame – The J Geils Band

All The Young Dudes – Mott The Hoople

Boogie Shoes – KC And The Sunshine Band

Walk On The Wild Side – Lou Reed

Killer Queen – Queen

Boogie Oogie Oogie – A Taste Of Honey

You’re The One That I Want – Newton John and Travolta

Stats

Distance 8:18km

Time 57:22

Average Pace 7:00 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 46 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1025.70

Kms To Run 992.3

 

 

 

 

25 May – Who Left The Oven On?

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Another disturbed night’s sleep. We have a new security camera (consequence of last year’s burglary) and it’s a bit sensitive to movement. It sends deliberately noisy alerts to my phone, which countermands the ’night time’ setting – which would be fine if it wasn’t for the fact I’m here home alone.

I tried to go to bed early, I did the crossword, followed by sleep-inducing exercises – then we had a second’s worth of power cut, which set off the house alarm, just as I was dropping off. That’s not the most soothing lullaby one can have. All my senses were now on alert, I checked out the security cameras all of which had lost their pictures – this is no good for calming you down.

Eventually, after going back to reciting suitable mantras – which weren’t that effective really, I fell asleep, only to be woken up at 2.30am by the insistent alert on the phone. Of course you wake with a start, sit bolt upright, heart racing, and then wonder which bogeyman is out in your garden. Of course there wasn’t one, I think we had a rather randy firefly who was getting ‘jiggy’ with the green ‘on-light’ on the new camera. He kept on doing his thing for a little while longer and as I turned the light off once more to sleep, he performed some new acrobatics and the camera sent me another security alert. Aarrggghh, Mr JCR is away, and all I need is a calm, peaceful, uninterrupted night’s sleep, to face my demons by staying here alone overnight, without having minor panic attacks.

As my friend C pointed out, we were burgled in the winter, when we weren’t here, it was obvious we weren’t here, we had no alarm and they had all the time in the world to ransack the house. No self-respecting team of burglars is likely to choose a time when the house is clearly occupied, oh and it has security cameras and an alarm. I know all of this to be true, but still evidently I’m a scaredy-cat and afraid of a randy firefly!

The firefly incident has messed up my body clock and I was woken by Mr JCR, phoning to make sure I was fine. At that point, I thought I’d get up to run ‘early’ before it got too hot. Not that early, I’d overslept the alarm, as a consequence of Mr Firefly and his night of love. I left for my run and it was 23 degrees at 9.30am. Having had hailstones on Tuesday evening (the size of marbles), now we are sweltering in the heat.

I’d taken a look at my cumulative target and saw if I could muster up the energy to do about 11km, I’d sneak over the 900km milestone. As Mr JCR said, you could just do 2 x 5.5k runs and get there. Yes, that is true, but where’s the challenge in that?

Well, what a foolish thought that turned out to be. The first 3kms are all downhill on the Bitch of a Pitch, and apart from the occasional yelps from leaping into the nettles and brambles on the verge in my attempt to avoid oncoming traffic, that was fine. It was the next 8 that were the problem. Laundry Lane was bathed in full sunlight, with hardly any shade to be found. I know now that my pace noticeably deteriorates after the third consecutive day of running. This is my 4th day, so inevitably I was going to be slower. But add in the sun, which had risen even more and the tarmac was developing a heat haze, so my pace dropped to below snail level.

I was carrying just short of a litre of water, which I was sipping at regular intervals. And then half way through the run, I got another bloody camera alert – this time from the kitchen camera. Realistically, no-one can get in without triggering the alarm, but my heart still skips a beat when you get the alerts. So a faffing stop was called for, first of all for me to check that I had actually put the alarm on and second to check that the kitchen camera was a false alarm. And yes of course it was a false alarm – I’m guessing a buddy of our randy firefly was buzzing around.

At about the 8km mark, I realised if I continued my route, I’d end up running the Slope Of No Hope, which includes a 15% gradient. That was definitely out of plan, so I did some mini u-turns on Laundry Lane to avoid that fate. I just about scraped the 10.3km mark and that I knew was enough to get me over the 900km line. I couldn’t have done much more, the oven had turned up another notch or two and when I reached home, the temperature was up to 25 degrees.

Now that summer has officially arrived and the oven is going to be left on for at least the next 3 months, I need to go to bed early, so I can get up early to avoid the scorching heat. Mmm, I wonder how that is going to pan out exactly – two more nights alone, with a sensitive security camera and a randy firefly…

Playlist

Rest – Charlotte Gainsbourg (how apt, given my lack of it, that this should be the first track)

Keep On Running – Spencer Davis Group

Happy – Pharrell Williams

Tiger Feet – Mud

Pink Panther Theme – Henry Mancini

Smile – Gregory Porter

Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice

Nowhere Fast – Eminem and Kehlani

Love In An Elevator – Aerosmith

Compression – Francesco Digillio

To Jan – Leonard Anderson

Miami Vice Them – Jan Hammer

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty

Running Up That Hill – Kate Bush

Snail – The Smashing Pumpkins

Smile – Lily Allen

Ju Ju Man – Dave Edmunds

Gotta Keep Smiling – Scouting For Girls

Marathon – Rush

The Streak – Ray Stevens

Help! – The Beatles

Tread Softly – Tiny Ruins

The Winner – Status Quo

Down Under – Men At Work

Stats

Distance 10.47km

Time 1:29:33

Average Pace 8:33 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 162 m

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 900.14* (yes – that’s another milestone done, now to get beneath the 1100s)

Kms To Run 1117.86

*I just got a note from the Under Armour Challenge for their Run the Year Challenge – telling me I only have 118km to go to meet their challenge – oh I wish!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 April – Nuff Said

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Actually, this was a particularly shit run. Everything was aching and my legs felt heavy, I managed just over 6km, but this made up for it…

Top 2% – I’ve never been in the top 2% of anything – even of women called Jan, born on the same date as me, and there can’t be many of those, can there?

Bye-bye London, it’s been fun – see you in May. Buongiorno Italia – vedro giovedi.

Playlist

Cold Cold Man – Saint Motel

Fog On The Tyne – Lindisfarne

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Sunny – Boney M

Ain’t No Sunshine – Lighthouse Family

Purple Rain – His Purple Highness

Sunshine on Leith – The Proclaimers

On The Road Again – Canned Heat

Lightning Bolt – Jake Bugg

Bridge Over Troubled Water – Artists For Grenfell

The Real Slim Shady – Eminem

Cold – Stormzy

Hot Stuff – Donna Summer

Sunshine On A Rainy Day – Galimar

Statistics

Map My Run not working so no idea but I did run 6.58km, that much has been recorded

23 Mar – When 13 Is a Lucky Number

A week of birthday celebrations, culminating in a rather lovely dinner with great friends N&A at The Fox & Anchor last night. Today however, is back to running and diet reality. No sneaky chocolate, although I have about 2 kilos of birthday chocolate to demolish. No lunchtime tapas accompanied by wine. No evening meal habitually accompanied by wine and an after dinner snifter. Still it was fun whilst it lasted. and now it is less than 2 weeks ’til we return to Italy. So some pounds and kilometres to shift.

Heading East and I came across Frying Pan Alley and the interesting yellow building nearby – still no idea what it was. Today was all about getting to a number, a very specific number – 500 to be precise. I wanted to run 13km, so I could reach the 500km mark by end March, which would put me dead on target to meet the 2018 km in 2018.

Having tried and failed miserably to hit an 18km run during my Alhambra/Granada stay, I thought 13km would be more manageable and I can now start working my way up to half-marathon distance, gradually.  After my East London mooch around, I headed out West and passed through the back of Tate Modern, where they still have adult sized swings – there are times when I wish I had company on a run – because it would have been fun to have had a go on the swing in tandem.

I continued on past the London Eye and headed northwards at Westminster. Full of crowds, so I turned off at the Embankment and headed towards home, where I came across another weirdly named alley – Tweezers Alley. Nearing St Pauls I’d hit the 13km mark – very luckily for me that signified the ‘beating’ of the 500km YTD target, I had set myself.

Run done – a shade over 15km. Fingers crossed that this run of good health and no injury continues. Oh and I have achieved the Under Armour Pavement Pounder Award for the 500km.

Next milestone – getting under 1500 kms to run for the rest of the year – I hope to do that before the end of March.

Playlist

Common People – Pulp

Rehab – Amy Winehouse

Breaking Us In Two – Joe Jackson

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

People Are People – Depeche Mode

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

Dreaming – OMD

The Look Of Love – ABC

Our House – Madness

Two Tribes (twice) – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

I Can’t Stand Up – Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Night Boat To Cairo – Madness

No More I Love Yous – The Lover Speaks

Love’s Unkind (twice) – Donna Summer

Gold – Spandau Ballet

I Am The Law – Human League

Temptation – Heaven 17

Enola Gay – Love’s Unkind

Oliver’s Army – Elvis Costello

Hungry Like The Wolf (twice) – Duran Duran

Night Fever – Bee Gees

The Sound Of The Crowd – Human League

New Moon On Monday – Duran Duran

Beat Crazy – Joe Jackson

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club

Stats

Distance 15.11km

Time 1:39:22

Average Pace  (mins/km) 6:34

Elevation Gain  97 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms done 502.2

Kms to do 1515.8

14 Mar – Things Can Only Get Better

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As D:Ream sang in the 90s  and on my playlist today. Actually I’m not sure they can. I am keeping up my 3% placing in the global challenge run by Under Armour – now up to 144,000 folk worldwide.

The leaderboard is still full of cheating profiles too, but realistically I don’t think I can go any higher. Looking at real people, as opposed to some of the bullshit profiles, it’s clear there are some ultra runners who drop 50 miles as a fun run.

I can’t see me ever thinking of 50 miles as a fun run – that’s a car journey.

Things could get better if only I could grow my legs. I was on the South Bank and a fellow runner loped towards me – his legs were at least as high as the Eiffel Tower and I looked at his stride length. Blimey, I reckon one of his was at last four of mine. If I had his legs, I reckon this challenge would be significantly easier proportionately.

I have checked out whether it is possible to extend your stride length and it is do-able, but takes time and can be problematical, so I better continue with my little baby steps.

So D:Ream how about changing that first verse from

You can walk my path
You can wear my shoes
Learn to talk like me and be an angel too

To:-

I can’t run your path
I can’t wear your shoes
I have little legs and am very short too

Playlist

Get Here – Oleta Adams

Don’t Need The Sunshine – Catatonia

Say My Name – Destiny’s Child

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Love Is All Around – The Wets

Barbie Girl – Aqua

Baby One More Time – Britney Spears

I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston

Wannabe – Spice Girls

Never Ever – AllSaints

The Power – SNAP

3am Eternal, Blue Danube Orbital  – The KLF

Would I Lie To You – Charles and Eddie

Return Of The Mack – Mark Morrison

Move Any Mountain – The Shamen

I See You Baby – Groove Armada

Things Can Only Get Better – D:Ream

Stats

Distance 9.20km

Time 1:03:50

Average Pace 6:56 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 60 metres

Face Colour: Salsa Red

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 430.03

Kms to Do 1587.97

Thanks To Caroline for her sponsorship which brings my fundraising achievement up to 35% of my target.

Team Rhomboid Torture

15 lunges left and right
10 Hollow Rocks
10 Leg Raises

3 times

That is his commandment, what I can actually achieve will be different.

An hour later…

I did all the lunges

I did 1 Hollow Rock and 7 Hollow Bodies (not sets, individuals – I find these very difficult, not having a core at all)

I did 20 leg raises, holding for 10 seconds.

 

 

 

 

 

27 Feb – The Toxic Tens

 

In running there is a well known affliction called the Toxic Tens. This is all about how long it takes your body to realise you’re being serious about exercise and oxygenating your bloodstream accordingly to manage the demands of the exercise. Typically it takes 10 minutes for your body to be running aerobically.

In fairness, most runners suffer from the Toxic Tens,  but here are the other afflictions, that trip me up from time to time, or if I’m unlucky – on every bloody run.

The ‘Orrible Ones – this is the first km you are doing, having left the warmth and comfort of the sofa. It’s ‘horrible and frankly you wonder why you bothered, as you feel sluggish and are actually running like a slug.

The ‘Trocious Twos – this is when the Toxic Tens are at their worst, you’ve done the first kilometre and now you’re thinking things will get better. But they don’t and the beginning of the second kilometre is atrocious. In fact I run like an asthmatic badger at this point.

The Throbbing or Twingeing Threes – at this stage your body realises you’re out for a run and starts those irritating little niggles, just to put you off your stride. Throbbing knee anyone? Yup, why not throw in an aching hamstring for good measure? Cramp in the arch of your foot? These are all typical of the Throbbing or Twingeing Threes.

The Effing Fours and Fives. According to all running advice, this is when you are hitting your stride nicely, it is all settling down. Except the effing fours and fives all too often coincide with the ‘where the effing hell is the nearest loo?’ None of us want to do a Paula Radcliffe, so you end up buying an unwanted cup of coffee to use the loo. Repeat every 5 kms. It’s effing annoying and expensive in equal measure.

The Shitty Sixes. Too close to the 5km for you to think you’ve cracked the run, but not far enough to be close enough to the elusive 10km. This is when mentally I become Marvin the Paranoid Android. Obsessive recalculating of my running totals vs. the plan and wondering if anyone would really notice if I walked for a km or two. Random phrases and curses pop out of my mouth at this phase, startling passers-by.

The Sodding Awful Sevens – aha this is when your running kit starts playing up. I have a pair of Dutch running tights. Why is it important that the tights are Dutch? Because the Dutch are the tallest people in the world, and I am not. This means at 7km I can guarantee my Dutch leggings will be working their way down my legs. Giving me a bare arse and wrinkled ankles at exactly the same time. A sort of granny gangsta look and not in a good way.

The Endurance Eights – at this stage of a run at eight kms and more, my running times start slipping and my running pace starts looking remarkably similar to my walking pace. This is the point when you will be overtaken by all/any of the following;-

  • Mum/Dad with BugaBoo pram
  • 2, 3, 4, 5 year olds
  • Dog walker
  • Moody ‘emo’ teenager
  • Man walking whilst looking at mobile phone
  • Fast walker
  • Pensioner with a limp
  • Skateboarder
  • Plonker on a scooter
  • Asthmatic badgers

The Naff Nines – when the body is weak and the spirit is weaker. This is often my ‘give up’ kilometrage point.

And so we return to the Toxic Tens. And today on my run I was afflicted by:-

The Throbbing or Twingeing Threes – weird ache in right arm and shoulder

The Shitty Sixes – near the MI6 building – suddenly realising it was at least 6 kms home and I didn’t fancy it much, not helped by a passing guy saying hup, hup, hup as I ran past.

Also anyone got any idea why a busker thought singing ‘Driving Home For Christmas’ by Chris Rea was appropriate 2 days before March? I know it was snowing a bit, but even so. He was la la la-ing on the giveaway lyric, but it was still evidently recognisable.

Playlist

Stray Cat Strut – Stray Cats

Keep on Running – Spencer Davis Group

Happy – Pharrell

Smile – Lily Allen

Pink Panther Theme – Henry Mancini

Smile – Gregory Porter

Under Pressure – Queen and David Bowie

Easy – Commodores

Nowhere Fast – Eminem feat Kehlani

Compression – Francesco Digilio

One Step Beyond – Prince Buster

Rest – Charlotte Gainsbourg

To Jan – Leonard Anderson

Miami Vice Theme – Jan Hammer

Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty

Running Up That Hill – Kate Bush

Ju Ju Man – Dave Edmunds

The Streak – Ray Stevens

Question – The Moody Blues

Advice For The Young At Heart – Tears for Fears

There Are More Questions Than Answers – Johnny Nash

Fools Rush In – Ricky Nelson

Down Under – Men At Work

Stats

Distance 14.75km

Time 1:39:31

Average Pace 6.44 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 108 metres

Alzheimers Challenge

Kms Done 314.9

Kms to do 1703.10 (next time out I’ll be under the 1700s)

Team Rhomboid Torture

Yesterday’s instructions were to do burpees – I can burp and I can pee, I just can’t do burpees. So I didn’t do a thing, nothing, nada, zip.

Waiting for today’s instructions, so am guessing  I will squat, wall press and hollow rock again.

 

 

 

25 Feb – Grunting and Groaning, Then Going For Green

It is a Sunday morning and I am ensconced in my bed. The date reminder from Mr Smooth tells me to get up and put my trainers on. My head is banging a familiar rhythm. Head or heart – who is going to win? Mr Smooth or Mrs Migraine.

I decide that Mrs Migraine wins for the moment and take some Paracetamol with a mug of tea. Having given Mrs Migraine an hour to go away and she decided to stay, I  then decided to run and join Mr Smooth on our date.

Today is Monopoly Board day and I have the ‘greens’ to do those are:-

  1. Regent Street
  2. Oxford Street
  3. Bond Street

Strictly speaking Bond Street doesn’t actually exist – at one end it is New Bond Street and at the other towards Piccadilly it is Old BS. I noticed as well that I am very close to having run 300km since the beginning of the year and whilst today’s plan is to do 9km, if I feel like doing a bit more, then I won’t be unhappy. This is all going on in the banging head, which is not the best state for running as the pounding of my little elephant feet on the pavement tends to compound the headache.

I trot out – again in my trusty ninja black costume happily gamboling along Theobald Road towards New Oxford Street and boom I get ninja’d -by a guy who undertook me at an incredibly fast pace and I neither heard nor saw him. I am only a trainee ninja – he was the real deal. The embarrassing bit is that he wasn’t kitted up as a ninja, he just looked like your everyday guy, in jeans and trainers – but it was like a sonic boom when he went past. Chuckling to myself I carried onto Oxford Street which even on a Sunday morning is a nightmare of limbs, pushchairs, bikes, cars buses. I took my obligatory pic and then dashed off towards Soho, to cut out the worst of Oxford Street.

Regent Street is similarly afflicted with traffic of all kinds so I made my way through Conduit Street towards New Bond Street. The shops are a lot more chichi and expensive here, so you tend to get fewer crowds, which was a help for me and my running. Dodging selfie takers outside of Tiffany’s, I managed to get to Old Bond Street without any woes.

Hitting Piccadilly, I headed off towards Leicester Square (typical when you’ve already collected those squares, you come across them again) and up towards law country. Holborn and the Inns of Court. It is nice and quiet in this part of town so I steer towards home and hurrah, I have actually passed the 300km milestone. Going for Greens, I got Gold and a medal from the Under Armour Challenge (frankly it’s utterly meaningless, but it is nice to get bling even if virtual). And I am now in the top 4% for the year all genders and ages.

I am writing this up eating marmalade on toast with a gorgeous frothy home-made cappuccino. I feel all happy and warm just like Paddington bear – if only I had a duffle coat.

Playlist

Doctor Doctor – Thomson Twins (twice)

Tainted Love – Soft Cell

Don’t Go – Yazoo

Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Tears For Fears

Every Day Hurts – Sad Cafe

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club

Hold Me Now – Thompson Twins

I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty

Don’t You Want Me – The Human League

Cars – Gary Numan

Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

I’m Still Standing – Elton John

Living On the Ceiling – Blancmange

The Tears Of A Clown – The English Beat

Eighties –  Killing Joke

It’s My Life – Talk Talk

I Want Your Love – Transvision Vamp

Trapped – Colonel Abrams

It’s A Sin – Pet Shop Boys

Gold  – Spandau Ballet

Fade To Grey  – Visage

Uptown Girl – Billy Joel

I Melt With You – Modern English

Stats

Distance 11.78kms

Time 1:17:08

Average Pace 6:32(mins/km)

Elevation Gain 51 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 300.2

Kms to do 1717.8

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Team Rhomboid Torture

He hasn’t posted today’s instructions – so I am going to do squats, wall press ups and hollow rock things, and then if he does post even if I’ve got something wrong, I will have done something.

Torture Update

2 sets of 10 reps of squats – holding the 4kg vampire kettlebell

2 sets of 10 reps of wall press-ups

4 hollow rocks – holding for 20 seconds each