15 July – Infamy, Infamy

 

They’ve all got it in for me – voted one of the best comedy one-liners in film. Thus goes the Kenneth Williams’ line in Carry On Cleo, a rather random romp through the story of Antony and Cleopatra. My preparation for this morning’s run was pizza and fries – what a health machine I am  – followed by a night-time stroll through Fano, which is staging its ‘Times of  the Caesars’  festival. `Five days of fun, spectacles and bacchanalia as the publicity posters advise.

Saturday night had lots of music and dance spectacles. We managed early on to miss the children’s dance of the cinghiale (wild boar), which I have to say as a casual observer that the boar looked more like a deer, but maybe I missed something in translation. Or perhaps the boar hadn’t made its entrance at the point we passed.

We arrived late in the evening to see the spectacle and miracle of fire, a celebration of all things pyro. I could only see the sparks but there was a distinct whiff of paraffin in the air and lots of whoops at the spectacle. And another thing, the audience are active participants, so many locals wearing togas of differing colours (and hopefully non-flammable material), which we believe relate to the local quartierie – local rivals if you will. It’s not often you find yourself in a clothing minority, by not wearing full Roman regalia, I felt decidedly under-dressed.

But if you were feeling sartorially challenged like me, there were many stalls where you could buy full gladiator, or legionnaire kit, including helmets, swords and gladiator sandals. No home-made, ‘chuck a sheet over your head’ togas here.  Toga-wearing locals were doing just about everything –  from carrying polystyrene columns over their shoulders to dancing to ‘Everybody Needs Somebody’ by the Blues Brothers. I’m sure the latter would be a welcome update if the Carry On franchise ever revisited its past hits.

Togas were riding bikes, mopeds and wearing trainers – it was a most surreal sight, and there’s more to come with Sunday night’s finale, a procession and a Ben Hur horse race re-enactment, around the central streets and piazza of Fano. The last Ben Hur show we saw was in London c/o of a well connected friend, who knew the director; and it didn’t go well. Doves had gone missing, the critics panned it and the show must have lost the backers a small fortune. Still it was the only time I ever heard the ancient language of Aramaic, although I can’t recall a word of it now.

Back to Caesar’s Le Marche  – a 1am bedtime wasn’t conducive to an early start, but I schlepped out and took the Royston Vasey Ridgeway through the village – it’s cooler today so no need for a water top up. Map My Run Mechanical Voice Lady is suspiciously quiet, aha that’s because GPS has gone awry. Well they didn’t have GPS in Roman times, so that makes sense. After about 3 km I realised she wasn’t going to keep me posted, as she recorded me running less than 1/2 a km in 20 minutes, also in a perfectly straight line for good measure. At the 4km mark I turned off into War Of The Worlds Lane, dappled with shade, thank goodness and made my way on, having decided to re-run previous route so I could register the kms properly.

After only two runs down there, I am already starting to recognise folk. There’s a man and his two dogs, one of whom is called Arturo. Arthur was teasing another dog, who wasn’t at liberty and was stuck behind a big gate. Arturo’s fellow dog mate is yet unknown to me, and it seems too early to be making introductions. Arturo’s owner looks like one of the Hairy Bikers, although without the beard.

Near the alien abduction landing point, a lonely plough was working in the fields and the driver passed me and put up his hand. They are very friendly here, a fellow runner came in the opposite direction, but he was really motoring whereas I was definitely in plodding mode. No verbal communication, just the runners’ nod and he was off. About 3 minutes later, the run was done – a shade over 7km again and I’m very close to the 1200km mark, which is a welcome bonus.

Playlist

Map My Run failure  – it didn’t record the tracks

Stats

Distance 7.75km

Time 55:59

Average Pace 7:13

Elevation Gain 103 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1198.07

Kms To Run 819.93

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 July – The Ups and Downs

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Going Up

Kilometres Completed – still ahead of schedule

Tiredness – inevitable consequence of taking on the challenge, I think

Injury Niggles – shoulder, toe, hamstring, knees – middle aged bits falling apart

Migraines  – weekly is now the norm, hello pill-popping middle aged stay at home wife stereotype

Temperature – scorchio

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Going Down

Kilometres Still To Run – a good thing

Motivation – slipping a bit in truth, it’s hard to do this when it’s hot

Alcohol Consumption – see ‘migraines’ in Going Up section

6km run, when I’d planned 9km – see ‘motivation’

Playlist

Purple Rain – His Purple Highness

Everyday I Love You Less and Less – Kaiser Chiefs

Let’s Dance – David Bowie

Blasphemous Rumours – Depeche Mode

Parklife – Blur

Alison – Elvis Costello

Two Tribes – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Sign Of The Times – Harry Styles

Disco 2000 – Pulp

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

See You – Depeche Mode

Rio – Duran Duran

Andy, You’re A Star – The Killers

Warwick Avenue – Duffy

Stats

Distance 6.84km

Time 56:54

Average Pace 8:19 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 108 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1,168.60

Kms To Run 849.40

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

22 June – Posh or Sporty?

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It’s a Friday morning, the day after Ascot Ladies Day when I ‘poshed up’ to see the races. And what a brilliant day it was, I got four winners on the horses and for the first time ever beat the bookmakers on my betting. It has to be said I am a rubbish gambler, but this year’s tips were spot on. I even got to bet correctly on the winner of The Gold Cup. I wasn’t quite as bold with my stake as the guy in front, who put £200 on the same horse, but nonetheless I was happy with my winnings.

Every time I go to Ascot with my friends, we choose frocks and hats very carefully and if you look closely at the pic taken from our car, there is a lady who had chosen a really pretty orange striped combo. Unfortunately  it would seem her friends hadn’t told her the picnic tablecloth matched her dress, and she was almost perfectly camouflaged. She wouldn’t have fared any better coming to see us in our picnic area either, as we had the matching placemats!

Thursday’s finery duly changed for Friday’s sporting gear, to go for my run. This was the Hampstead to islington return loop, similar to Thursday afternoon, but I added in a couple of extra roads to change the route. It was another very warm day, but I know the shaded areas and run accordingly. Down through Hampstead, lots of yummy mummies in short yoga leggings, vest tops and bugaboos, with unbelievably cute children looking wide eyed at the sun and surroundings. Next up Camden, yup it’s more edgy, a distinct whiff of weed in the air, and a large number of people swigging beer from bottles, just before noon arrived.

Getting closer to Euston and the crowd changes once more to the office workers spilling onto the pavements, out of pubs. A group of football fans debating the merits of the England team and whoosh I am in Bloomsbury, a little more  sedate here, although a lot more tourists, pushing and pulling their trolley bags along pavements ill-designed for this type of traffic. I decide to turn off towards Lamb’s Conduit’s Street – a little designer food and fashion haven in Bloomsbury, with a couple of chi-chi delis sporting outside tables. Glossy manicured fingers wrapped around wine glass stems, filled most appropriately with the ‘still just about fashionable’ rosé wine.

I move on and pass the Lady Ottoline pub (I think Ottoline is the most beautiful name), towards Gray’s Inn Road. We are now close to Clerkenwell, and the people change once more, now we have hipsters in deeply turned up jeans, girls in floaty floral dresses, some sharply dressed guys, as we close in to the art and design hub of the area. I move towards Old Street, the atmosphere changes once more, a bit younger, studenty except for the sweating puffing middle aged runner amongst them. I run down Golden Lane – not much of a lane and frankly not that golden either to Fortune Park – another mis-named place, and it’s full of children and their mums (sorry dads) at the playground and coffee stall. They are punctuated by gossiping groups of workers lounging on the grass for a lazy Friday lunchtime. It’s a glorious scene, every type of Londoner on a small threadbare piece of park, but getting the most out of an untypical warm, sunny summer’s day in the City. And at Fortune Park I stopped my run.  I don’t recall much about the run, because it was such a nice day and so much to see, it flew by.

As to the Spice Girl reference, it was a thought that flashed through my mind, that one day I was posh and the next sporty – in fairness I couldn’t really attempt to be the other names in the group. I am not changing my name to Mel (whether it’s B or C). Even at my most vain, I don’t think I look young enough to be called Baby and Ginger (well my hair colour is helped by my hairdresser, but he draws the line at orange), so I’m either Posh or Sporty. I quite like both looks, but Sporty is a lot more common occurrence nowadays.

And a huge thank you to Polly2810 of my C25K Forum who has generously donated to my Alzheimer’s Challenge Sponsorship. Thanks so much, we are getting there slowly!

Playlist

2468 Motorway – Tom Robinson Band

Lucky Number – Lene Lovich

Three Little Birds – Bob Marley and The Wailers

I Can’t Help Myself – The Four Tops

Reach Out, I’ll Be There – ditto

Perfect 10 – The Beautiful South

One In 10 – UB 40

Swords Of A Thousand Men – Tenpole Tudor

People In Love – 10cc

The Eleven Rap – Dark Punk

21 Seconds – So Solid Crew

12 – The 1975

Fourteen Rivers Fourteen Floods – Beck

Sixteen Going on Seventeen – Carr and Truhite

Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen – Neil Sedaka

Edge of Seventeen – Stevie Nicks

18 With A Bullet – Pete Whingfield

19 – Paul Hardcastle

30 Minute Love Affair – Paloma Faith

Disco 2000 – Pulp

96 Tears –  ? & The Mysterons

Stats

Distance 8:25km

Time 1:03:41

Average Pace 7:43 Mins/km

Elevation Gain 21 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1077.38

Kms To Run 940.62

 

20 June – The Road To???

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Run number two coming up, after an appointment in Hampstead in the afternoon, I thought I’d run home, to make sure I don’t fall behind on my target kms.

It’s a straightforward route taking one road all the way from Hampstead, through Camden, Euston and then turning off towards home through Holborn and Bloomsbury. At about midday the sun was shining and it was quite warm about 23/24 degrees, and so my sippy bottle of water didn’t last the 2km mark. At Camden Market I bought a pint of freshly squeezed orange juice as a top up. Mmm, running with sticky hands is horrid, as I kept on decanting the juice into the sippy bottle and of course it ran over the sides. Note to self, just buy water next time.

Making my way towards Euston and a very sweaty, red faced, gentleman with a briefcase and pull-along case, asked me if he was going in the right direction for Kings Cross. At this stage he was near Mornington Crescent tube; I explained he taken a wrong turn, so accompanied him back a little way,  just so he could see where he should be. I felt quite virtuous, I’d helped a stranger. He thanked me and I continued my easy route home. Then in Tavistock Square in Euston, two ladies couldn’t make head nor tail of a map and they were searching for a small hotel. I offered my services, except I’d forgotten that I am the geographically challenged member of the JCR family.

Flushed with success at rescuing a lost businessman, I looked at the map with utter bewilderment, it was a blown up photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy. The road names were blurred, but the ladies seemed to know their start point. I re-oriented the map and showed them the way to go. At that moment, one of their colleagues turned up and asked them were they were going. I was sending them in precisely the wrong direction. The hotel, whilst not visible, was only about 100 metres from where they were standing. Oops – but they were very pleasant about it and thanked me for trying. Ho hum – lesson learned JCR, quit whilst you’re ahead.

The rest of the run was humdrum and a bit slow, but I had already run over 12km that day, so I wasn’t upset. The signpost says far away, but the kms are dropping. Happy days.

Playlist

Dancing Queen – ABBA

By The Way – Red Hot Chilis

Dreaming Of Me – Depeche Mode

Somebody Told Me – The Killers

I Predict A Riot – Kaiser Chiefs

Hot In The City – Billy Idol

Save A Prayer – Duran Duran

Blasphemous Rumours – Depeche Mode

I Try – Macy Gray

Disco 2000 – Pulp

Avalon – Roxy Music

Tesla Girls – OMD

Oh Woman Oh Man – London Grammar

Down In The Tube Station At Midnight – The Jam

Locomotion – OMD

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Stats

Distance 6.86km

Time 59:19

Average Pace 8:38

Elevation Gain 13 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1062.27

Kms to Run 955.73

 

 

 

 

 

15 June – Stereotype Snap

 

 

For a change, I decided to play a card game when I ran this morning. And I chose stereotype snap. The map shows you exactly where I picked up each stereotype or not. The whole idea is to pick up stereotypes and get points for each one I saw on my run through their respective zones. Now Friday is not a typical day in London, the commuters are noticeably fewer than usual, meaning stereotype snap is not such a point scorer as you may imagine.

I started off at Old Street, looking for Tech Start Up Stereotypes – identified by Apple branded everything and usually a pair of Dr Dre Beats. My score = Nil

Aiming towards Farringdon, I wasn’t aware of seeing any Start Up Stereotypes, but I did see at least two ‘More Media’ stereotypes. Their artwork type briefcases and tight trousers gave them away. My score = 2

On towards Lawyer Wanker territory, – typified by all black clothing and sharp, bright white shirt shirting, regardless of gender. The most monochrome experience you can get in one area – any hint of colour frowned upon. My score = 30+ (I lost count)

Soho,  rather surprisingly isn’t given any stereotypes on the map. But I did pass 20th Century Fox and an interestingly named restaurant…, but Covent Garden wasn’t far away, so onwards to find the Living Statue Wankers.  I’m thinking 8.30 am is too early for them to get up – even Yoda, who thinks we are fooled by his capacious gown, which clearly doesn’t have enough room for an alarm clock. My score = Nil

Then back towards Fleet Street in search of ‘Journalists Used To Be Here’. As the pubs were not yet open, there was no sign of any old soaks reminiscing about the good old days when you smoked 40 John Player Specials for Breakfast with a Johnnie Walker chaser or five. My score = Nil

My final stereotype search was for ‘Nervous Men Buying Rings’ in Hatton Garden, or at a push I’d have settled for ‘Old Men Plotting a Bank Vault Raid’. With me running before 9am,  this clearly meant all the plotters (whether for burglary or marriage) weren’t yet out. My score =Nil

Total Stereotype Score = 32 points.

Running score however was 9kms.

Playlist

Alison – Elvis Costello

Eloise – The Damned

Francine – ZZ Top

Gloria – Laura Branigan

Helena – My Chemical Romance

Poison Ivy – The Lambrettas

Jean Genie – David Bowie

Shake It Off – Taylor Swift

Kayleigh – Marillion

Layla – Derek and the Dominoes

Maggie May – Rod Stewart

Darling Nikki – His Purple Highness

Ophelia – The Band

Queen of Clubs – KC and The Sunshine Band

Roxanne – The Police

Sherry – Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

Teresa – Eddie Cochran

Single Ladies – Beyoncé

Valerie – Ronson and Winehouse

St Xenia – Katina

Zoe Jane – Staind

Stats

Distance 9.06km

Time 57:35

Average Pace 6:21

Elevation Gain 40 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1034.76

To Run 983.24

 

 

 

 

 

5 Jun – Scratch Runners

closeup photo of black and red round fruit

After the particularly bad run on Sunday, I decided to take a day off, to give some weary bones a rest. And so, today I needed to do better than planned, so I don’t fall too far behind plan. With a day of rest under my belt, I had thought my run would be okay and the pace quite tidy.

Good news is that the weather has broken again; we had thunderstorms last night, bringing this morning’s temperature down to about 18 degrees and cloudy. Having read yesterday about one of my C25K buddies doing his first half marathon, I ran to my Men’s Name playlist – which he in part inspired. If he can do a half marathon, and he actually graduated later than I did, then I thought I should be able to do 9kms without much of a sweat. Hmmm, pride comes before a fall JCR, you should know this by now.

I set off-  the usual route down Mill Lane, onto Lovers’ Lane, when I ran up to the barking beagles’ house and having cause them to create a barking commotion, my work there was done and I continued onto the Hill That Kills.

No-one around and very quiet today, but down the bendy, scary road, things got a little more hairy. The verges are growing apace, which means my visibility is somewhat limited and that too of the oncoming traffic.  This meant  I executed two speedy leaps into the brambles leaving me with a stinging right knee, bearing  little splatters of berry red crimson blood on my leg.

In fairness, I don’t really think today was the motorists’ fault, the verges really need cutting, as the undergrowth has overgrown to over my height and is spreading on the road. I have to hug the verges to make sure I don’t get run over and so when one of the cars came too close, leap number one occurred. The second time, I heard the car earlier in its approach, but it too was hugging the verge. There is no argument that a runner can win against an oncoming car, so my second leap for self preservation happened. I splashed my legs with my drinking water to lessen the gore and continued on.

I tried some intermittent sprinting, as I am conscious that my pace is too ‘samey’ and really I need to mix things up a bit to improve stamina and distances. I’m not sure it worked overly well, but I did manage a 5 minutes 45 seconds km, which is quite good.

Quick turn at the fish shop and along to Bin Lane, where it was all in shade, so no need for me to take shelter near smelly skips. Job Done, Run Done 9.3km. Not fantastic, but it was better than Sunday’s efforts. Meantime Mr JCR is recovering from 600km bike riding without sleep, so I feel a bit of a wimp only managing 9km today.

Back to the big smoke of London tomorrow, for some City running experience. Good news is whilst the traffic is equally as dangerous there, a least there aren’t brambles on the pavements.

Playlist

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Goodbye Earl – Dixie Chicks

The Diary of Horace Wimp – ELO

Ivan Meets GI Joe – The Clash

Jackie Wilson Said – Dexy’s Midnight Runners

Geno – Dexy’s Midnight Runners

Song For Keith – Miles Strickman

Louie Louie – The Kingsmen

Nathan Jones – The Supremes

Rudy – Supertramp

Girls and Boys – Blur

Tracy Jacks – Blur

Warwick Avenue – Duffy

Frankie –  Sister Sledge

Clint Eastwood – Gorillaz

The Mighty Quinn – Manfred Mann

A Message To You Rudy – The Specials

Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie

Maneater – Hall & Oates

Ulysses – Franz Ferdinand

Stats

Distance 9.32km

Time 1:01:35

Average Pace 6:36 mins/km

Elevation Gain 35 metres

Alzheimers Challenge

Kms Done 962.70

Kms to Run 1055.30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 June – Two Squoops Of The Caposala Virus

 

 

It is 8am, Mr JCR has texted to say he has ridden almost 500km, I in contrast have only  run 7km, but consumed about 500 meals as a result of M&D’s extraordinary generosity with food and drink. Bologna is known as the La Grassa, amongst other nicknames and yes that is ‘The Fat’ and that is how I am feeling this morning, after spending time with these Bolognese friends, who know how to entertain royally.

Last night, M, D and I went to a local trattoria for something to eat. With it being Republic Day it was, as expected, quite busy and then we had a Fawlty Tower’s evening. Our table was lovely, the water we had was also lovely, which is a good thing as it had to last us a long while, because this trattoria only seemed to have one guy with the magic tablet to take orders.

He described himself as the Caposala – Head of The Room. M & D looked perplexed because this is a title akin to a maitre’d or similar, all of which you’d expect in a Michelin starred restaurant, but not necessarily in a roadside trattoria. And the Caposala had what M described (with superb irony) as ‘ individual contributors’ working for him. Anyone from my old company would recognise this job level description. These were the lowest levels of IC you could possibly have…. they couldn’t even answer simple questions.

As IC’s they weren’t allowed to do the ordering by tablet, which meant we were at the mercy of the Caposala. And he kept being diverted, it as as though the rest of the restaurant exerted a magnetic pull, from which our table was excluded.

He’d come magically and tantalisingly close – just as one of us was about to ask for the menu or actually order food or drink, he then would be pulled away and we’d be left contemplating our glasses of water once more.

Eventually after yet another promised 3 minutes wait (it was nearer 15!) we ordered. This is  a 50 minutes plus wait over a bottle of water and we were getting hungry. The food was actually superb – M had ordered a house special. D asked me if I’d ever had them before and I hadn’t. They were I think called crescentina – a sort of big ravioli shaped pillow of dough, deep fried that you fill with ham,cheese and condiments. Sounds awful, but actually they were deliciously light and fluffy. At this point D suggested I try some and also another dough based delicacy – now you can see why I was feeling fat on Sunday morning!

The Caposala came back to our table after frantic waves and gestures on our part. D asked for a crescentina refill, the other bread type and she also chased for our second bottle of water. The Caposala looked perplexed ‘have you drunk the two bottles already?’ With great restraint D advised that no we’d only had the one but were waiting for the second one that we’d ordered ages ago. He didn’t apologise just moved swiftly on and away. The magnetic field was working again, but not in our favour.

The water came eventually, the second delicacy came, but still no refill of the crescentina basket. After another 15 minutes or so of all three of us trying to catch the Caposala’s eye  – to no avail, D asked one of the IC’s where the crescentina refill was. He said he’d have to ask the Caposala.  The Caposala then returned to our table and told us that we hadn’t actually ordered the refill at all! In fact, we must have imagined we did…., but he could order it now if we really wanted it. We decided at this point, that probably Lady Luck was not with us, so going home would be a better option.

The company was fab, the food brilliant and to be honest the Caposala made the evening a giggle, even though I am not sure he had any idea of how useless he really was.

And so to Sunday morning’s run. It began with me deciding to do a version of the same two squarish loops I’d previously done. The Squoops, as I called them. But the Caposala experience had left its mark. Like the night before’s experience, I just couldn’t seem to get started, to eat up those planned kilometres. I think the missing crescentina must have found their way into my stomach overnight, because I really felt sluggish.

The sun was much hotter and I sought shade as much as I could. But there’s no denying it – the run was crap, in fact it wasn’t just crap, it was Caposala level crap. I saw other runners doing a much better job than me, my music didn’t help. The fridge cold bottle of water didn’t help, nor the change of scenery. It was just a rubbish run – I could hardly place one foot in front of the other. It was so Caposala crap, that I made myself do more than the 6k planned, just to punish myself for being a Caposala.

It was a big fat mistake of a run. By the time I returned Mr JCR had cycled another 25km or so and was well on his way home to the 600kms. But then he was a man on a mission, very organised, route planned and job done. I on the other hand, had caught the Caposala virus. I am hoping recovery is swift, otherwise this challenge is doomed to be completed only in my imagination.

Playlist

Second Hand News – Fleetwood Mac

7 Seconds – Yussou N’Dour and Nenah Cherry

New York Minute – Don Henley

Daydream Believer – The Monkees

Have A Nice Day – Stereophonics

Seasons In the Sun – Terry jacks

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Spring Affair – Donna Summer

Summer of 69 – Bryan Adams

Forever Autumn – Wayne, Hayward and Burton

Year Of The Cat – Al Stewart

7 Years – Lukas Graham

1999 – His Purple Highness

Disco 2000 – Pulp

Sunday Morning – The Velvet Underground

I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – The Proclaimers

8 Mile – Eminem

Step on – Happy Mondays

One Step Beyond – Madness

Hazy Shade of Winter – The Bangles

Ruby Tuesday – The Rolling Stones

Steppin’Out – Joe jackson

Stats

Distance 7.46km

Time 1:01:17

Average Pace 8:12 (Caposala….)

Elevation Gain 44 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 953.38

Kms To Do 1064.62