2 Dec – Babbo Natale Arrived Early

The loneliness of the long distance runner, was a short story by Alan Sillitoe and also a film –  I’ve just learned courtesy of the inter web. Like many people I had heard the phrase but didn’t really recall what it was about. I am not an ‘angry young man’ in a borstal running and earning privileges. I am a happy middle aged runner, who this year is running long distances – although I have a feeling I may well still be running long distances for years to come.

When I run, although I run on my own, I am never alone, because I have the good wishes and encouragement of my friends and family and in particular a special group of friends. These people I know very well, but in truth I don’t actually know them at all. These are the Health Unlocked and C25K Beyonders Groups. It’s fair to say I could probably walk past most of them in the street and not recognise them. There’s a few I would, but most are running friends hidden from view by user names and avatars. I guess they’d probably say the same about me. Yesterday I updated my HU and Beyonders group on the forums, just to let them know how my Alzheimer’s Challenge was going, and I’ve been blown away, by the support and encouragement given by my running friends. 

When I set out this morning for my run, I wanted to do 10km, because that would get me below the ’90km to go’ mark, but there’s something about receiving a whole load of good luck messages and also three donations to my sponsorship that really spurred me on. I started out in East Central London – Barbican area, and I had promised Mummycav that I’d keep on with my search for her missing mojo.

First off I spotted the Crossrail excavator, surely a mojo wouldn’t be operating heavy machinery on a Sunday morning? Probably not, so I continued my way up West, pausing to get the long awaited refund from a shop, I bounced my way along Holborn, Fleet Street and made a small stop at Somerset House to admire the Fortnum & Mason Christmas tree and the skaters. Surely Mummycav’s mojo would have passed this way. It’s friendly and fun and look at that tree. What’s not to like? I then made a tactical error and made my way on Embankment to Westminster bridge, I would like to say I was running, but it was an occasional spurt when space permitted, as it was chock full of tourists. I was ninja-ing my way through them and had to smile as there was a fellow runner doing exactly the same. Then a decision to make – run along the SouthBank or not?, and I did – mmm – that was a bit stupid JCR, but in fairness I had company with my stupidity – the fellow runner did exactly the same too. 

Now there were two ninjas darting in and out of the tourists, I’m not sure Mummycav’s mojo would have been here, as she would have got squashed. Ordinarily I can get a bit tetchy when there’s too many people around, but this tourist avoidance run, was entirely of my own making and this time it was fun, because sometimes I was smaller/niftier than the other runner and could get ahead, at others he was more aggressive than me and did some parkour type actions to sprint ahead. We managed to stay more or less in synch until we reached Tower Bridge at which point he bombed into the Underground and I carried on into the City, at which point calmness resumed.

I’d done about 12km and the legs felt fine so on I continued, no sign of a mojo in the City, but I certainly didn’t feel any loneliness. 2kms running in and around Fenchurch Street and I made my way home, to sneak in a nifty 15kms. The loneliness of the long distance runner wasn’t an affliction for me at all, in fact I was accompanied by my HU and Beyonders friends.  

Three in particular, who donated yesterday, gave me a real incentive to kick my heels and get out. Babbo Natale arrived early in the shape of these lovely runners – a big, big, big thank you to MimiRossi, Kim Terry and of course her highness Irish Princess – seeing your donations and lovely goodwill messages gave me wings today and I laughed in the face of my 10km target and did 50% more. That is the difference between running on your own, but not alone. Thank you.

Playlist

Trying out the birthday number ones  playlist …

You Got What It Takes – Marv Johnson ( this is mine – it is rubbish)

Cathy’s Clown – Everley Brothers (Mr JCR’s)

Maggie May – Rod Stewart

Keep On Running – Spencer Davis Group

Cum On Feel The Noize – Slade

I’m Into Something Good – Herman’s Hermits

The Loveliest Night Of The Year – Mario Lanza

Hot Love, Metal Guru – T Rex

Cars – Gary Numan

9 to 5 – Dolly Parton

Mambo No 5 – Lou Bega

Mona Lisa – Nat King Cole

Hello Goodbye, Please Please Me – The Beatles

Tigerfeet – Mud

The Wonder Of You and Good Luck Charm – Elvis Presley

Fire – The Crazy World of Arthur Brown

Spirit In The Sky – Norman Greenbaum

January – Pilot

Living Doll – Cliff Richard and The Drifters

I’m A Believer – The Monkees

Come On Eileen – Dexys (Kim Terry – yours came up!!!)

I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye

Have I The Right – The Honeycombs

I’ll Never Find Another You – The Seeker

Heart Of Glass – Blondie

Stats

Distance 15.07km

Time 1:44:35

Average Pace 6:56

Elevation Gain 92 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1933.48

Kms to Run 84.52

9 June – Trooping The Colour

 

Today is Trooping The Colour Day, celebrating the Queen’s Official Birthday. And today I went out for a planned mini-run. I had polled my C25K buddies to get some opinions. I’ve got really close to the halfway stage of my challenge and I thought if I managed to do 2 x 12km runs over the weekend, I’d be at halfway, about 3 weeks ahead of my deadline.

The common theme was that there was no hurry and so don’t fret and just do your normal run. Then Ju-ju – my running mentor of note, said well you could have a go, if you take it slowly, rest and hydrate. So it was with some trepidation I left this morning, I’d decided just to see where my legs could take me. Genuinely I had no plan, no minimum kms, I just thought I’d see where I ended up. The temperature was cool and my pace was nice and steady, and I seemed to be ‘run bombing’ all sorts of events. First off in Cheapside, having to swerve to avoid a bunch of runners coming the other way. They were in a charity tee-shirt, some sort of City Foundation. Then around the corner, Cheapside and One New Change were being cordoned off, for the Mr Porter Nocturne Cycle Ride.

I’d decided I would do a game of snakes and ladders – well mainly ladders, taking one road then switching back up at major junctions. London is a bit higgledy piggledy so it looked more of a snake run than a ladder’s one. I laddered my way up West towards Covent Garden and decided to aim for Tottenham Court Road. This was when I did my third ‘run bomb’ I was running against the flow of hundreds of Crohn’s and Colitis walkers. In fact I started recognising some of them, when I passed them for the third or fourth time. I was 9km in and feeling ‘loose’ which in my terms is a good thing. Not so much if it’s relating to bowels.

I stopped for a coffee, and being unable to run with both coffee and water in hand, I paused my run for 10 minutes and rested. My laddering took me to Tottenham Court Road, when I ran past Paperchase who had the superb pizza slice lilo in the window. As I ran past, a man standing in their entrance, said ‘keep it up, you can do it’. That was very nice of him, it made me smile and gave me impetus.

I rounded the corner and continued down Store Street, passed the coffee shop again and decided I’d aim for 12km. 12km came and went, my next milestone was 15.3km, which would get me to 1000kms. At this stage I’d passed the charity walkers, for what seemed to be the 6/7th time and was in/around the British Museum area. I still felt fine and my pace hadn’t dropped overly much.

At this stage, I thought maybe I should call it quits, but then I remembered my longest ever run had been 16.7km, and the JCR competitive gene kicked in and I gave myself a challenge to do 18km, if I could. I was reasonably close to 18km and I still felt fine…, so yes the competitive gene kicked in again and I thought why not aim for 21km? I was not far from the HCA in the City, when we had the most amazing flypast – I looked at Map My Run and saw I’d run 20.8km. Brilliant I got aeroplanes for beating my best ever run. Except of course they weren’t for me, they were for Liz.

So the pics show one of the official photos of the flypast, and the plain blue sky was my attempt to capture them on film! I eventually run-hobbled towards home, having done a touch more than 22km, because I wanted to make sure it was definitely more than half marathon distance.

It wasn’t non-stop, I won’t claim that, but it was a run more than half marathon distance, and I’m proud, although slightly bandy-legged at present, with hips screaming in pain.

Mr JCR was already at home and he asked me how I’d done, I showed him my stats and he was impressed. Then I had a major Map My Run failure – my run disappeared from my screen. Nothing, zilch, zip, eff all, no proof of my longest ever run. Except Mr JCR came to the rescue, his phone had my run, whilst mine didn’t – so he took screenshots to prove my achievement. And then puff, about 2 minutes later it disappeared from his phone too.

Summary, I should actually listen to advice being given, but hell, I feel happy at having run more than 20km in one outing.  Face colour today was Monarch red, but that seems fine seeing as I shared Liz’s flypast. Oh, and I passed the 1000km mark in just over 5 months’ of running. And my final lesson of the day, always make sure Mr JCR is close at hand when record breaking.

Next milestone is to make the halfway point proper of 1009km. That’s tomorrow’s job. A nice little recovery run, I promise – no competitive gene issues raising their heads.

Playlist (this is the Ju-Ju 90’s playlist)

Get Here – Oleta Adams

Say My Name – Destiny’s Child

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Love Is All Around – The Wets

Barbie Girl – Aqua

Believe – Cher

(Everything I Do) I Do It For You – Bryan Adams

Baby One More Time – Britney Spears

I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston

Wannabe – Spice Girls

Killing Me Softly With His Song – The Fugees

Never Ever – All Saints

Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’Connor

Dub Be Good To Me – Beats International

The Power – SNAP

Killer – Adamski, Seal

The Joker – Steve Miller Band

3am Eternal – KLF

The One and Only – Chesney Hawkes

Ebeneezer Goode – The Shamen

End Of The Road – Boyz II Men

Would I Lie To You – Charles and Eddie

Oh Carolina – Shaggy

Dreams – Gabrielle

Cream – His Purple Highness

Gangsta’s Paradise – Coolio

Rhythm Is A Dancer – SNAP

I See You Baby – Groove Armada

Groove Is In The Heart – Deee-Lite

Devotion – Nomad

The Key, The Secret – Urban Cookie Collective

Things Can Only Get Better – D:Ream

Everybody’s Free – Rozalla

Don’t Need The Sunshine – Catatonia

Girls and Boys – Blur

Dizzy – Vic Reeves and The Wonder Stuff

Something Good – Utah Saints

Stats

Distance 22.11km

Time 2:25:40

Average Pace 6:35 (mins/km) – this is understated though, as my pausing time doesn’t show here

Elevation Gain 93 metres

1 Flypast…

2 lives of water

1 cappuccino

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done – 1006.81 (yes over the 1,000 marker)

Kms To Run 1011.19

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

4 Mar – Going Posh Up West

The last two official squares of the Monopoly board were on my list today, taking me to Mayfair and Park Lane. Only the gas company to go, it has been suggested I look for a gas tank somewhere in central London, that one will be the last of my Monopoly challenge before we return to Italy.

It was grey but warmish today, and I ran down Shaftesbury Avenue, towards Chinatown and Piccadilly, heading up Clarges Street towards Park Lane. And there it is in all its glory  in my third photo. Such a grotty road really, yet with such a glamorous reputation.

Next onto Mayfair – which is not a road just an area so I chose a view of Grosvenor St, as the Grosvenor family own most of Mayfair.

On the way back I scooted through Covent Garden and Holborn and saw the Aston Martin parked in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Now forgive me, but if you can actually afford an Aston Martin do you really need a registration plate ‘YES 1AML’ – which I am guessing is meant to signify yes I own an Aston Martin. We know you do – it’s parked on the side of the road.  So in the self congratulatory vein my registration plate for today’s run is ‘YES I4K’

But the true achievement today was by our friend Abi, who when the Bath half marathon was cancelled today, still went out and ran a half marathon, but all on her own. Wow she deserves ‘YES 21K’, maybe the owner of YES 1 AML might oblige by buying it.

Playlist

7 Seconds – Youssou N’Dour

New York Minute – Don Henley

Have A Nice Day – Stereophonics

What About Us – The Saturdays and Sean Paul

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, Richard Burton, Justin Hayward

Winter Melody – Donna Summer

7 Years – Lukas Graham

Right Here, Right Now – Vanessa Hudgens, Zac Efron

1999 – His Purple Highness

Disco 2000 – Pulp

Ruby Tuesday – The Rolling Stones

8 Mile – Eminem

Steppin’ Out – Joe Jackson

Step On – Happy Mondays

Footloose – Kenny Loggins

Fall At Your Feet – Crowded House

Sunday Morning – The Velvet Underground

Second Hand News – Fleetwood Mac

Stats

Distance 14.47km

Time 1:42:06

Average Pace 7:03 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 73 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 356.5km

Kms To Do 1661.5km

Team Rhomboid Torture

12 burpees to do and squats – yuck….

 

 

25 Jan – Tickled Pink, Finding Blue

Part Three of my Monopoly Board challenge. Today I was to do the final pale blue square of Euston Road and then the three pinks of Whitehall, Pall Mall, and Northumberland Avenue, but I spotted an opportunity to get Marylebone Station too. Then by donning my smart arse hat, looked up on Dr Google to see if I could find an Electric Company – he reliably informed me that I could find a certain Electricity Supplier at 333 Euston Road.

‘Jolly Good’ and off I went in search of my pale blue Euston Road, wearing my new glorious Lululemon dark blue base layer. From Barbican to Euston Road isn’t the most edifying of sights, so I spent time in the back streets, trying to keep away from traffic and my plan was to take a photo of the Electric Company at 333 Euston Road. Except that 333 Euston Road, is no longer an Electric Company it appears to be a kebab shop. Except even the kebab shop is now closed. Obviously not an auspicious site for businesses… but it did get me my last of the pale blue squares. I will have to look for an Electric Company on another day. Then a quick detour up beyond Great Portland Street, Warren Street and Baker Street, to snap Marylebone Station. Great, that is all 4 stations done.

Now onto Pall Mall and the rest of the pinks. Aiming towards Oxford Street and New Bond Street heading off towards Piccadilly it was rather congested and the Dr Google’s famous maps app, wasn’t keeping up very well. This was a bit frustrating, because I’d specifically mapped out a route to make sure I did my first 15km run, so whilst I didn’t need the directions to know where to go, I did need the directions to take me through various ‘longcuts’ (routes which take a longer way to my destination). Cue lots of swearing and intermittent stopping to check out the damned app, to see where I was supposed to head even though he (Dr Google) was about 5 minutes behind me. Crossing Horseguards, I eventually swore out loud at Dr Google ‘FFS’ unfortunately I was quite close to a well dressed man who turned and looked; I did grimace and move away somewhat embarrassed.

Cue a whole set of pics, as once I’d snapped the Nell Gwynne connection on Pall Mall, Whitehall and Northumberland Avenue came up in quick succession. Fantastic  – I’d done what I set out to do Monopoly Board wise, but was still adrift of my 15km target, so couldn’t rest on my laurels. I was aiming for 15km today because as part of my Alzheimer’s challenge to run 2018kms in 2018, I also wanted to 15km done prior to the end of January.  As we are away for a couple of days, it really had to be this week or not at all. Secondly, after Erin at Lululemon had given me my new base layer as an encouragement to get the 15km completed, it had been winking at me for a couple of days, nagging me to get out there.

I headed off down the Strand, past the Royal Courts of Justice, lots and lots of lawyers around the place, then up Fetter Lane towards home. By now my little legs had got somewhat slower and my Mrs Overall running style had made an appearance. Whenever Mrs Overall appears, I need to stop, so I did. And that was 16.64km in the bag. Thanks Erin, your freebie encouragement worked! So I am very much tickled pink to have done the pinks and the blue and 15km+ too.

Playlist

Chocolate Girl – Deacon Blue – 3 times

So You Win Again – Hot Chocolate – twice

Push The Button – The Sugababes – twice

Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles

Raspberry Beret – His Purple Highness

Girl From Mars – Ash – 3 times

Sweet Dreams (are made of this ) – Eurythmics

Sad Sweet Dreamer – Sweet Sensation

I Can’t Help Myself – Four Tops – twice

Boogie Oogie Oogie – A Taste of Honey – 3 times

Cake By The Ocean – DNCE – twice

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

Cream – His Purple Highness – twice

Marathon – Junkie XL and Glennis-Smith – twice

Salt Peanuts – Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie – twice

Ice Cream Man – Blur

I Want Candy – Bow Wow Wow – twice

You Got The Love – The Source and Candi Staton – 3 times

Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice – 3 times

(this was from my Retro Runners, Sweetie Playlist on Spotify, in hindsight not enough tracks for a 2 hour run!)

Stats

Distance 16.64 km

Time 2:06:25

Average Pace 7:35 km/min

Elevation Gain 84 m

FFS – 1

Sorries – 3 ( I kept bumping into people)

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Done 93.88kms

To Do 1924.12 kms (ugh)

Monopoly Challenge

Browns – Done

Pale Blues – Done

Railway Stations – Done

Pinks – Done

Jail and Bank – Done

Couldn’t Find Electricity Board

Next time – the Oranges.

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