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 – 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…

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

 

 

 

November 21 – Water, Water, Everywhere

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and certainly not a drop to drink. Today I am doing a canal side trek as a change to my usual City based route. On Saturday at the Finsbury Park ‘Park Run’ Hannah, a friend and one of the Park Run volunteers introduced me to her friend and workmate Quentin. He lives near Old Street and recommended running by the side of Regent’s Canal. Now he is an ultra runner – 50 and 100km runs not unusual for him, so I did have to explain that 10k is about my upper limit. But he was very enthusiastic about the joys of canalside running, and one stood out – the lack of inclines – true enough there are a few bridges and locks to navigate, but it’s mainly flat.

Off I trotted, up to Islington and dropped onto the canalside, straightaway there’s one thing I notice, the smell. Or rather the lack of traffic smell, so that’s a quick win, certainly not so many particulates clogging up the old lungs here. You do have to dodge the occasional canal-side clogger-uppers, that is folk walking two or three abreast, cyclists, and prams but it’s not too bad. I am aiming to get just past Victoria Park which I think is about 5kms away.

All the male runners are wearing shorts, I am somewhat over dressed in running tights and two layers on top, but hey ho, the red face gave plenty of warning of my approach to on-comers, especially near the ‘under-bridge’ sections. Getting close to Victoria Park I see a group of canal ramblers coming towards me and through a very low narrow under bridge section. Being in no hurry I wait patiently for them to come through – aha there’s about 70 of them. Lots said ‘thank you’ and I was happy with that, but then my polite mannerly mask started to slip, as Compo, Clegg and Foggy meandered somewhat slowly through, as I was cooling down, waiting for them.

It wasn’t the slowness that upset me, it was the fact that they managed to find something to see in the water, under a bridge, in a canal, in November. They stood three abreast and discussed this thing for what seemed like a full episode of Last of The Summer Wine. Eventually, they came out, by which time my blood pressure was higher than it had been and my temperature lower, and I asked politely if they were the tail walkers and they said yes. That was my not so subtle hint for them to say ‘thank you’ – they didn’t – bah humbug, who says it’s the young that are discourteous?

I carried on through, past the entrance to Victoria Park and then unfortunately the canal side was blocked, so I trotted back through the park and back home again. This of course meant circumnavigating the canal ramblers again, but this time I was in clear territory, whoosh loads of mini-overtakes and I was past. One lady trilled ‘runner coming through’ – that’s the first time anyone other than Mr Smooth has said that. Result!

I managed 11.5km in all, but was a bit tired and was channelling my Mrs Overall running style at the end, near my local fish shop. I stopped the clock, entered the shop and eyed up the dead fish. There was one glassy eyed Sea Bream, who looked like I felt.

The day however ended better than I could have imagined – at my usual annual MOT, my doctor told me my blood pressure was now perfect, having been borderline last year. Despite Foggy, Compo and Clegg doing their worst, they failed!

Playlist

Don’t Let Me Be MisUnderstood – The Animals

Stray Cat Strut – Stray Cats

I’m Free – The Soup Dragons

Take It To The Limit – The Eagles

All Together Now – The Farm

Money – The Flying Lizards

Dirty Harry – Gorillaz

Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime – The Korgis

Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard

Crying In The Chapel – The Orioles

Daydream Believer – The Monkees

Who Let The Dogs Out – Baha Men

Black Betty – Ram Jam

Can You Dig It – The Mock Turtles

Don’t Fear The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult

Crazy Horses – The Osmonds

The Eye of The Tiger – Survivor

Hungry Like The Wolf – Duran Duran

Stats

Distance 11.53km

Time 1.26.21

Average Pace 7.29 mins/km

Elevation Gain 31metres – on a canal???

Old Farts – 3

Blood Pressure (now ) 108/52 or Perfect

 

 

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t….

 

run a Marathon. So goes the latest Map My Run advice and there are three reasons, which can be found and are discussed fully here

In summary though, they are:-

  1. You’re not ready
  2. You can’t devote enough time to train
  3. You need more race practice

As I have no intention of running a marathon unlike my super fit friend J, (who was in fact an iron woman, before the term was ever coined), I thought I would adapt this advice for a more normal likelihood in the JCR household.

So, here are my three reasons for not running with a Marathon (or Snickers bar if you’re American or if you can’t remember that Snickers used to be called Marathons in the good old days!)

  • You’re not ready –

this is because you have forgotten to buy the Marathon/Snickers bars in the first place. Next time, be prepared and buy a family pack, that should do a whole week of running.

  • You can’t devote enough time to train –

running with chocolate requires dedication, first of all you need to practice the unwrapping whilst running. Secondly, you can’t run with chocolate on hot days, it’s just plain nasty. Smudged chocolate on your hands could get you arrested for indecent running. If your need to run with chocolate occurs in the summer months, you are unlikely to have sufficiently cool enough days to practice. Unless you live in the UK of course.

  • You need more race practice –

in the JCR household, first in the cupboard gets first dibs at the chocolate. Many practice sprints help your access to the goodies, this is technically called ‘interval training’. As any seasoned runner knows, interval training is a crucial tool to help with Marathon running.

And if these hints have helped, you may like a ‘sweetie’ inspired playlist on Spotify:-

Chocolate Girl – Deacon Blue

So You Win Again – Hot Chocolate

Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard

Push The Button – Sugababes

Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles

Raspberry Beret – Prince

Girl From Mars – Ash

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This – Eurythmics

Sad Sweet Dreamer – Sweet Sensation

I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) – Four Tops

Boogie Oogie Oogie – A Taste Of Honey

Flake – Jack Johnson

Cake By The Ocean – DNCE

I’m The Fat Man – King Pleasure and The Biscuit Boys

Cream – Prince

Marathon – Junkie XL

Salt Peanuts – Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie

Ice Cream Man – Blur

I Want Candy – Bow Wow Wow

You Got The Love – The Source and Candi Staton

November 14 – Anyone got a cure for????

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Runner’s fluff?

Eeuugghh, I know it sounds gross, I’ve never had it before and it came as a big shock I can tell you. Happily de-sausaging before having a shower, I came across black fluff, all over my top half and in crevices I didn’t know I had..

Now this is a new thing, I’ve read about exercises for avoiding runner’s knee, Achilles’ problems, and many other ailments, but there doesn’t seem to be anything on Dr Google about runner’s fluff…

If it’s not too nasty for you, this is the issue; I have a new hooded running top, which I am guessing may be designed to be worn over a base layer. Trouble is I get too hot if I wear that many layers, so I go more or less ‘au naturel’ , well Berlei Shock Absorber first, then the hoodie. After an hour or so of being out in the London Autumn air, some of the hoodie decides to run off it onto me. Hence runner’s fluff.

Possible solutions:- clingfilm, naked running, base layer, dump the hoodie.

I am thinking clingfilm may help with the fluff, but not the heat. Naked running – there isn’t any one who deserves that, base layer – same problem as the cling film. Dump the hoodie – this sounds like an aggressive anti- ASBO person strategy. Don’t feel inclined to dump the hoodie, as I bought two of them, so am thinking this winter, I will be a runner’s fluff sufferer.

Today’s cheeky 5k, was all about getting out and doing some speedier work. Except I forgot about people being in the City and also traffic lights… So I bombed off around the City, chased after a rather cute man in a Vanarama tee shirt. I don’t need a van, but if he is hiring them, then I am happy to consider it 🙂 Shortly after Mr Universe ran past, I found I was quite thirsty and the above fountain appeared at the right time, although sadly I wasn’t able to drink from it.

Today was the running day when all the male runners were either booted and suited, and scurrying into offices or wearing tee shirts and shorts. I only saw one fellow running female and she was in running tights and a jacket like me. I gave her the thumbs up and continued on.

Didn’t manage to break any records today, but that’s okay I can try again another day. And if Mr Vanarama acts as my pacemaker, I think I’ll be faster.

Playlist

Money, Money, Money – Abba

Mamma Mia – Abba

Dancing Queen – Abba

Tainted Love – Soft Cell

Runnin’ Down a Dream – Tom Petty

Talk Talk – Talk Talk

I Ran – A Flock of Seagulls

Talk Talk – Talk Talk (I know user malfunction!)

I Ran – A Flock of Seagulls (I know user malfunction!)

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Dreaming of Me – Depeche Mode

Statistics

Distance 5.34km

Time 33.34 mins

Average Pace 6.16 mins/km

Fastest km 5.53

Fluff Collected – too much!

New Banksy in Town – 12 November

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It is Armistice Sunday and about 8amish, Mr JCR is in a tailspin, this time he was re-enacting the opening scene in Four Weddings and a Funeral, he had set his alarm to get up and out for a ride, meeting his fellow cyclists at a park in North London. It seems there was a technical failure between his head and the phone, and thus no alarm. Lots of frantic running around ensued, by a swift espresso (him) a kiss good bye (him to me) then a nice snuggle under the duvet (me). The great thing about being a runner is unless you’re on an organised gig, then you can just go out when you choose. So I chose not to get up, but snuggle down and read the C25K Forum posts, because lots of plucky folk are doing the poppy runs today.

One mug of tea later, I finally surfaced and started getting out the running layers, we’d been warned today was going to be colder, so I tiptoed onto the balcony (please don’t get any ideas of grandeur here, it’s all of about 2 feet wide…) in my jammies, and yup it’s brass monkey weather.

I had set myself a goal of doing my third 10K run today, but yesterday whilst walking I could feel my right hamstring pulling a bit, so was unsure if I’d be okay. Still nothing ventured…

Appropriately dressed like a ninja, all black with just a hint of fluoro today, I donned my sexy Saucony’s and gasped as the air cut through. I was glad of my hat and gloves, started my warm off walk towards the City. I love running through the City at the weekend, because it’s usually so quiet compared to during the week and it’s like a secret place, where not many folk venture. But of course today is different, I passed many roadblocks and policemen with sub-machine guns, but far more encouragingly loads and loads of folk wearing their poppies with pride, some formally dressed in overcoats, shirts and ties, some with medals, some not. It wasn’t quite the sea of poppies that the Tower of London had a couple of years back, but still a lovely sight.

I ran towards the Tower and it was very very busy, so I hightailed it back to the City, after needing to strip off the jacket, hat and gloves as I was getting a bit warm. Running along Tower Hill, ‘fag ash Lil’ as she shall be known,  turned around from admiring the Trinity Square Gardens and tipped her fag ash over my leg, as I was running past. She did look somewhat sheepish afterwards and on a positive note at least she didn’t try to stub it out on me.

I continued back to the City, along Eastcheap – even more policemen, more road blocks and more sub-machine guns. Did a quick whizz along Cannon Street and headed towards the Guildhall – from a distance it had many flags hanging in the courtyard and barriers around. So I asked  a very nice young policeman if it was okay to run there, and he said yes there was no activity there today. It certainly is true when policemen all look young, you know you’re old….

At this point, it suddenly occurred to me that actually rather than just do the 10k today, I should try and do 11K, before 11am. My own mini tribute. I continued on into the City, past my old office no problem at all, past the Modern Pantry restaurant – much harder! – they do mean cocktails for Sunday mornings, and I have to say a cocktail would have been very welcome at that point. Continued up and past Moorfields Eye Hospital and up the City Road, coming in the opposite direction a sassy dude. We ‘met’ at a road junction and just as The Supremes were starting Nathan Jones, he crossed the road by doing a pirouette in the middle – obviously a Strictly fan!

Up to Angel Islington, and back down St John Street – I passed a few fellow runners here, some nods and smiles and I continued on towards Smithfield Market, overtaking a Liam Gallagher lookalike. Running through the ‘Top Gear’ tunnel, I noticed that loads of folk were taking selfies in front of the newest Banksy – it appeared I think on Friday night. This one is painted on acetate, so maybe he’s making them portable now? Just after hitting the 10k mark, I did  a wider loop to finish at our local coffee shop ‘Fix’ in Whitecross Street and at about 10.50am on Armistice Sunday, I clocked 11.11km – spooky!

Well done to all the poppy runners today, I promise to be in your number next year.

Playlist

Andy, You’re A Star – The Killers

Ben – Michael Jackson

Clint Eastwood – Gorillaz

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Denis – Blondie

Goodbye Earl – Dixie Chicks

Frankie –  Sister Sledge

Geno – Dexys Midnight Runners

Diary of Horace Wimp – ELO

Ivan Meets GI Joe – The Clash

Jackie Wilson Said – Dexys Midnight Runners

Song for Keith – Mike Strickland

Louie Louie – The Kingsmen

Mickey – Toni Basil

Nathan Jones – The Supremes

Oliver’s Army – Elvis Costello

Peter Gunn Theme – The Blues Brothers

The Mighty Quinn – Manfred Mann

Rudy – Supertramp

Girls and Boys – Blur

Telegram Sam – T Rex

Sharp Dressed Man – ZZ Top

Stats

Time 1.12.55

Distance 11.11km

Average Pace 6.33 (min/km)

Fastest Split 6.04

Squats – 3 x 15 sets of reps

Poppies – too many to count, but enough to appreciate

 

Dodging Human Road Blocks – 11 November

IMG_0951Yesterday, I was supposed to run, but I wantonly ignored Mr Smooth’s date invitation and instead ‘treated’ myself to a day in London’s West End, to do a bit of Christmas Shopping. I had totally forgotten what a complete and utter fart it is to get around London – having taken the tube to Great Portland Street, my first human road block encountered was ‘selfish mum with pram’.

Before hundreds of mums rush to roar (unlikely this is not mumsnet), there was a reason why I tag this lady as ‘selfish’ she was pushing the pram on the pavement/sidewalk, and it was one of those larger buggy types, but she was pushing it in what I can only describe as side-saddle walking. She wasn’t behind the buggy in-line, she was taking up two person width on the pavement, as she pushed her buggy from the side of it. We don’t have the benefit of sweeping boulevards and generous pavements in dear old medieval street plan London, so I admit to snarling at her, as I sidestepped into the road. Grrrr.

Calm restored, I walked towards Harley Street en-route to Marylebone High Street, this is one of the more civilised shopping streets, nowhere near as big as its cousins Oxford and Regent Streets, so a lot easier to get around. I hunted down my quarry in fact quarries. I was shopping posh – Lululemon and Sweaty Betty, here I come for sassy, sexy running tops and jazzy leggings.

Aha slight problem, Lulelemon’s stuff is all rather classy shades of nothing, murky blue nothing, murky dark grey nothing and murky light grey nothing. I wanted bright, I needed fluoro. Clearly I am not the murky type – me and Lululemon parted company, still on friendly terms but no way BFF terms. Next stop Sweaty Betty, I had seen on the web a rather nice tangerine hoodie, but I did want to see it for real rather than a photo. So in I popped to SB… mmm murky nothingness is evidently the look for City based runners, no sign of the tangerine, closest we got was a rather sombre teal coloured top. Something else they called a tiger pattern, but it was a bit too much like Kelloggs Frosties for me, so I shuffled out of there too…

In a shuffling mode, I then met my next human road block, only this time it was two women chatting away merrily. I was behind them and they uncannily managed to move exactly the direction I wanted to take to pass them. I didn’t growl because it was quite funny, acting as their shadow I moved to the right and so did they, I then tried the left and they shifted back to the left. In the end I road-surfed for overtaking purposes.

Finally, in another shop (who have a running clothing range collaboration with New Balance) I was walking up the stairs to get to the range and hit another human roadblock coming down the stairs. We both mirrored each others’ moves and did a daft dance on the stairs and laughed – then she said ‘I love your coat, it’s beautiful’. Even though I can be a very stroppy cow at times, I would have to be a monster to be tetchy with a lady who said that…

On to today’s run, I had decided just a cheeky 5k, as I am going to go for the magic 10k on Sunday. I am trying to improve my 5k times, but it does seem that I can’t sustain a sub 6 minutes km, still a run is a run is a run. Out on my warm up walk towards the City, listening to Elvis Costello and his Angel wanting to wear red shoes, I realised I hadn’t actually started Map My Run – I have a love/hate relationship with the app. I really dislike the mechanical voice lady who prompts you to start your exercise and then tells you your times. I love the way it integrates with my iphone playlists and music library, but hate the way it won’t integrate to Spotify, so I have to listen to my Spotify playlists sequentially to recall all the music. And the music is an important distraction for me, otherwise I get caught up in times and distances.

Today I can’t blame MMR, it was my own Stupid Tart Syndrome hitting again! Ho hum, after restarting I went on my merry way to the world famous Silicon Roundabout – the throbbing hub of the UK technology scene! It is just a roundabout, with lots of coffee shops and young people carrying Apple tech with them. Having been to Silicon Valley many times, this roundabout is going to have to grow some to be a competitor. I ran past Moorfields eye hospital, along the City Road and up towards Angel Islington. Pavements were a little greasy and I was glad I was wearing my grippier Brooks Defyance today, although they did get splotted by some water from a puddle I misjudged. Ugh, wet feet running – not my favourite pastime. A much fitter runner coming towards me and in shorts – blimey he was brave.

Then from Angel Islington, back towards old friendly territory, down St Johns Street, I hook a right turn onto Clerkenwell Road, skipping through quite a few up/down ramps, scaffolding poles etc., as there’s quite a lot of development going on here. Took a left to Turnmill Street, passed the old site of the So Solid Crew Shooting, to Cow Cross Street and along Smithfield to Farringdon Road, which changes its name to Farringdon Street when it hits the City of London. On the homebound streak now, on Queen Victoria Street heading towards St Pauls and I hit 5.5km. That’s enough for today, so I unplug and walk merrily home. And I notice that whilst yesterday I was dodging human road blocks, that today not one, no dodging, cursing or laughing necessary. That’s probably a record.

Playlist

The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes  – Elvis Costello and the Attractions

Purple Rain – His Royal Highness the Purple One

Blue Monday 88 – New Order

Golden Brown – The Stranglers

Golden Years – David Bowie

Raspberry Beret – His Royal Highness the Purple One

Blue Suede Shoes – Elvis

White Wedding – Billy Idol

Cream – His Royal Highness the Purple One

Back to Black – Amy Winehouse

Being Beige – Smashing Pumpkins

Brown Sugar – D’Angelo

Forever in Blue Jeans – Neil Diamond

Yellow Submarine – The Beatles

Stats

Distance 5.5km

Time 34.11

Average Pace 6.12 mins/km

Fastest Km 5.34mins

Human Roadblocks – Thursday 3 – Friday 0

Squats – 3x sets of  15 reps