Zero Degrees, Did You Say Zero Degrees? – November 30

Yup, that’s what the weather man says, and I can look forward to a balmy 4 degrees at midday…

Oh and this is in central London… which means it is colder elsewhere in the UK. if my fellow runners can get out there, then so can I. Brave words, whilst cosseted indoors, drinking a mug of tea, actually I am telling fibs, I am currently sinking a rather nice glass of Italian red (Wednesday night!!!)…, but mug of tea sounds healthier!

Running/not running decision is made, the type of running is yet to be. Not sure I fancy the interval training again so soon after torturous Tuesday. So, JCR what is it to be? 5k, 7k, 10k, or 11k+?

Okay, I will run as far as I feel is okay. Classic get out clause, with this in mind, I can’t possibly fail, unless I don’t actually run. My fellow C25K runner did 10.5km on Thursday, so I have an upper target.

 

Bombing To The Barbican Part 2 – 28 November

 

SSSShhhlllpppp was the sound, of my buttocks being peeled reluctantly from a chair, in a warm room, in an apartment in London.

Ordinarily, I run in the mornings, as I find it easier to organise my day once my run is done. But today was a bit different, I’d binge watched some Bosch over some late nights,  so it was a slow sleepy start.

Having decided I would do interval training, Faffolino decided to visit me. Could I find the podcast for ‘speed’ that the C25K team talk about? Yup – I could find the page. Could I find the link? Yup, there it was on the page. Did the link take me through to the relevant place in iTunes? Nope it did not. Cue JCR faffing for an age, trying to find the podcast under ‘AudioFuel’ as they are the organisers for this ‘speed’ interval training. Then inspiration struck, I asked on C25K forum for help and Jonesycat was very helpful and got me there.

All this faffing took me up to coffee/lunch break. And you can’t run immediately after brunch/lunch can you? No I hear you say, you can’t. So I didn’t, I sat my sorry arse down on a chair and faffed some more. Internet shopping post Black Friday and Cyber Monday – yup why not? Organise the laundry – why not?

Eventually, guilt got the better of me, and my buttocks were lifted out of the chair, to take on the interval challenge in the Barbican.

Well I don’t know whether I am quite as grateful now to Jonesycat for helping me find the podcast, blimey oh Riley, this Laura woman is really hardcore. I have little co-ordination, non-existent balance and find it impossible to dance whether in or out of time. What I hadn’t realised was that you actually have to run to a certain beat and count.

Let’s just say I was struggling keeping to the beat of 1,2,3,4 on the walking parts…, so let your imagination run wild at the thought of me then trying to coordinate my ‘slow’ run to 155 bpm and then sprint at 165bpm. I kept doing the counting of 1,2,3,4, in my head – see I can count. What I can’t actually do is co-ordinate any movement to that count. Every time Laura interjected my hoarse counting was totally out of step with hers.

My face – well Nightmare on Elm Street covers the grimace, shoulders hunched – yup, fists clenched – yup. Was this the advice Laura was giving? –  actually no it wasn’t. I’m sure she says to enjoy it too – enjoyment not really a word I was associating with the exercise at all.

Eventually the running torture finished, and I now have great respect for fellow runners, who had way more guts than me and actually tackled this part of the programme immediately after graduating.

To the statistics, despite being in central, central London, Map My Run didn’t synch correctly and had my route all over the place – according to it I walked faster than I ran.

No meaningful information really for me to work on. That means I have to do it again, to get a benchmark just to see how bad my sprinting really is…

Statistics I can record

3 – ‘WTFs’

2 – ‘You’re having a laugh, Laura’

1 -‘I wish Mr Smooth would give me a cuddle’

2- slightly achey buttocks – is that from de-glueing from the chair, or running like a madwoman in the Barbican?

2- Dolphins in the gardens at the Barbican

Actually, I do thank Jonesycat sincerely, if I am going to improve my times, then this ‘speed’ malarkey has to be worked on.

 

Bombing to the Barbican – 28 Nov

I am ‘suffering’ from runner’s envy, for two reasons:-

  1. I can’t seem to get under 30 minutes for 5km – although in fairness 6 months ago, I’d have taken 3 hours as a personal best
  2. One of my fellow runners did just 4 minutes 15 for a km, and I am wondering how on earth that would be possible for me to do

Let’s be frank, I’m not actually suffering 🙂 – but surprisingly I appear to have found a competitive bit in me – I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a streak, maybe more a truncated dash.

Now, I am not setting up a virtual competition with a fellow runner, but her amazing km run, got me to thinking, we are similar ages, share 80s music tastes and she has been running longer than me and has done almost half marathon distances. She never saw that  km speed coming either. Therefore, maybe my original thought that I am a long distance, slow pace runner, is something that isn’t necessarily true and can be something I could see if it is possible to change.

Post C25K graduation, you are advised to consolidate your distance and time running, so that 5k becomes habitual and almost comfortable. Since then I’ve been focussed on extending the distance and time run.

Today, instead of my usual 5 to 7km effort, I am going for interval training. The coach on the podcast is Laura, and it’s my first time with her. I am used to Mr Smooth and from what I can gather Laura is a love or loathe coach.

Apparently her ‘speed’ podcast is just the ticket to get my arse moving, and whilst I am prevaricating by writing this; my arse is remaining firmly glued to the seat.

What’s that noise I hear ‘ssshhhhllllppp’ yup that’s one buttock lifting, and here’s ‘ssshhhhllllppp’ that’s the second one…

grid-cell-21562-1392094641-6

Now I am up and going to do that speed running thing in the Barbican – I do hope the good residents don’t complain!

 

 

 

Nur Krap Rewind – 25 November

It’s been a rum couple of days, and this is a rum heading for today’s post.

Yesterday Mr JCR and I decided to head up West, to buy some famous fruit based equipment. Walking into town about 4.30pm, we were passed by blues and twos, not an unusual sight or sound in London. A few minutes later, more blues and twos. Still not overly concerned we continued into town, and then noticed the pedestrian traffic was pretty much one-way, coming away from Regent Street and towards us. Some young women were clearly upset, almost everyone was glued to their mobile phones either talking or texting. Shops were closed, restaurants/bars/pubs/cafes shut and locked but with their clientele still inside. Then we heard snatches of conversation; there had been an incident at Oxford Street Tube Station and also at Selfridges.

We turned back home, making our way up Shaftesbury Avenue, when we heard two loud bangs, of course this noise caused a stampede and Mr JCR bundled me towards the side of the cafes/shops and we entered, by now somewhat alarmed, into a Wasabi store. The manager and staff were lovely and although evidently frightened themselves, invited us and many others in to shelter downstairs in their kitchen and upstairs, whilst they shut and locked the doors. As we now know, we were all involved in the ‘incident of the non-incident’. In fairness to the authorities concerned, it was handled very well and really considering what might have been, the disruption to London, was I think minimal.  A big shout of thanks to the manager and staff of Wasabi in Shaftesbury Avenue, who were helpful, friendly, calm and generous, supplying free water to those who wanted it.

After all this had settled down, we made our way towards Covent Garden to said fruit store, and then winding our way to the viewing table, were presented with a view of more anatomy than you expect to see on a laptop screen in public. Evidently we had hit ‘perv’s corner’, so Mr JCR told the staff, and the guilty person was warned about his viewing habits. In the space of a few minutes we had experienced I suppose, the extremes of human behaviour and instinct.

Another walk home via a pub, for a well needed gin and beer, and all was well in the JCR household. I’ve never been so happy to have been part of something that ended up being nothing at all!

Getting back to normality, we did the weather check – Mr JCR for cycling and me for running. Mmmm brass monkey’s weather was forecast, the usual layers assembled in readiness, because despite my misgivings I had decided (more or less) to revisit Park Run, hence the heading … Nur Krap, a spelling rewind of Park Run, not an obscure Nordic term for no rubbish! 🙂

Alarm set, Mr JCR out, I decided I would do the Park Run. I wasn’t as nervous, but still faffed a bit before getting out to go. Arrived at the Park to see frost on the ground and a man wearing shorts again. OMG is he crazy? I did my warm up walk and again skulked at the back. 9 am we were off, a similar number of folk as last time, again I tried to ignore the throngs and suffered the indignity of being overtaken by two men pushing their pushchair buggies as they passed me. I had a bit of a twangey leg this week, so wasn’t keen to push anything, first lap not too bad, but I think I set off a bit too fast, on the second lap I was tiring a bit. There was a younger lady runner beside me, she and I vied on overtaking each other – I generally was better up the slopes, she rocketed down them. But on the last leg up the hill towards the finish line, she got the better of me and motored out of sight, whereas I had the runner’s shame of walking about 15-20 paces I guess.

This time I finished 290th out of 315, vs. 312th out of 329 last time. My time improved, (despite the walking) to 33.16 seconds. An improvement of over a minute on last time here. So what do I think of Park Run second time around on my rewind? Some observations I think still stand, the volunteers are all lovely; the runners seem a nice lot too. I just don’t really like the crowds, I think I prefer the loneliness of the long distance runner.

In summary it’s Nur Krap, it’s a great experience if you want to acclimatise and run socially with lots of folk, especially if you’re thinking of taking part in races. I will pop along from time to time, not least because the slopes in Finsbury Park are a useful way of maintaining my hill legs, but I think I may run there in the same manner, that an Executive in my old company once memorably described…

‘Yes JCR, you may call me regularly, but not often’ and I think that will be how I do my Park Runs – regularly but just not often!

Playlist

She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult

Vienna – Ultravox

A View To A Kill – Duran Duran

New Moon on Monday – ditto

Save A Prayer – ditto

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club

Rio – Duran Duran

Purple Rain – His Purple Highness

Walk Like An Egyptian – The Bangles

Embarrassment – Madness

Stats

Distance – 5km

Time – 33.16

Elevation Gain 34 metres

Placed 290/315

Age and gender placed – 6th out of 6! (no improvement there!!!)

I Perv – Friday

1 Hero – Manager of Wasabi

0 Incidents and for that I thank heavens.

Mrs T – This One Is For You

A 10k racer…. who knew where Couch To 5K would take you?

Wishing you all the best for Sunday. Hoping MrT, Flynn and Erica cheer you until they are hoarse.

In recognition of one gutsy lady, here is my musical playlist tribute.

MrsT On Spotify

Second Hand News – Fleetwood Mac

7 Seconds – Youssou N’Dour and Neneh Cherry

New York Minute – Don Henley

Daydream Believer – The Monkees

Have A Nice Day – Stereophonics

Perfect Day – Lou Reed

Wake Me Up When September Ends – Green Day

All Day And All Of The Night – The Kinks

What About Us – The Saturdays and Sean Paul

Seasons In The Sun – Terry Jacks

December 1963 – Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Spring Affair – Donna Summer

Dancing In The Dark – The Boss

Summer of ‘69 – Bryan Adams

The Boys Of Summer – Don Henley

Forever Autumn – Jeff Wayne and Justin Hayward

Hazy Shade of Winter – The Bangles

Winter Melody – Donna Summer

Year of the Cat – Al Stewart

7 Years – Lukas Graham

Holding Back The Years – Simply Red

Right Here, Right Now – High School Musical

1999 – His Purple Highness

Disco 2000 – Pulp

Sunday Morning – Velvet Underground

Sunday Girl – Blondie

Ruby Tuesday – Rolling Stones

Fall At Your Feet – Crowded House

I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – Proclaimers

8 Mile – Eminem

Stepping Out – Joe Jackson

Step On – Happy Mondays

One Step Beyond –  Madness

Footloose – Kenny Loggins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Necessary 5‘Ps’ of Running in London – 22 Nov

One of  the things I notice about running in London, is that my mindset is entirely different to when I am in Italy. I am a lot more relaxed because I know where I am running and it’s not on the roads, which is one heck of a lot safer.

There are however some things well worth remembering about running in London, although I guess they’d probably apply to all cities. Here is my list of top 5 ‘Ps’ for London Running.

Peeing – absolutely critical to have a toilet strategy. Go before you go. London has loads of coffee shops if you’re desperate, but then you have to buy a guilt drink to make up for using their bathroom. So later on you need a bathroom again, and then you buy a second guilt drink and so on. Before you know it you are on first name terms with all baristas in a 5 mile radius.

Pooches and Poo – most running advice tells you to lift your head when running and not look at the floor in front of you. What this doesn’t take into account are our four-legged friends. If they are on a lead, Sod’s law says it will be on one of those expander leads which means the dog owner is about a km behind the pooch. You can get awfully tangled in the lead and no one knows, except you and the pooch. And if the actual dog doesn’t get you, then looking at eye-level means you will miss their messages on the pavement. Although if you’re in a Park, you will not be able to avoid the dog poo trees, where people suspend the poo from low hanging branches. The poo will get you, if not today then tomorrow. There is no avoidance strategy, except not to go outdoors ever again.

Pace – absolutely impossible to work out or manage your pace in the City, unless you’re running at about 3am in the morning. Too many people – tick. Not enough space to run – tick. Waiting at traffic lights for a change that’s never seems to favour pedestrians – tick. Road works, pavement works, building works, canal works, rail works – tick, tick, tick. So the trick is just to dawdle and meander your happy way. If you want to be a speedmeister, then hire a running track, run at 3am, use a treadmill, perhaps try NLP and imagine what fast running feels like. Or sharpen your elbows and just barge your way through – it’s a tad aggressive, but then that’s what everyone expects of a Londoner anyway.

Particulates/Pollution – the nasty things that clog up your lungs and make you wheeze like an asthmatic dog.  Sadiq Khan is proposing many charges to get rid of this problem, there’s the diesel charge, the congestion charge, the old van charge, the lorry charge, the drone charge, the Uber charge, the Deliveroo charge and so on. So many charges and yet no practical effect. There is only one solution to this and that is not to run in London. Ever.

Politeness – London is renowned for being rude, unfriendly and aggressive, with a recent TFL study citing the following examples of bad behaviour:-

Not looking where you are going when walking

Cycling too aggressively

Lorries blocking junctions

Tube passengers who refuse to give up their seats

 

As runners, we don’t walk, we don’t cycle, we are not lorries and we are not running on the Tube. Therefore I am neither rude, unfriendly, aggressive nor badly behaved and if anyone dare suggest  I am, then I will punch their lights out….

Or you could always just say please, thank you and excuse me whilst running – that seems to work too!