Week 20 Run 3 – Puffa Jackets, Porn, Plonkers and Puffing

Friday lunchtime in Fano at our favourite fish restaurant Yankee. It’s about 27 degrees, which is distinctly cooler than it has been, but it’s still warm. Not a cloud in the sky nor a puff of breeze, but the month has changed and so too has Italian clothing.

On a warm, some would say hot, Friday lunchtime jeans are de rigueur and I espied my first puffa waistcoat. I was wearing a thin cotton dress, Mr JCR was wearing shorts, but we’d forgotten the golden rule that when September arrives so does the Autumn wardrobe for the Italian family. We are underdressed by his standard, but it’s so warm we actually feel overdressed.

Saturday is my usual rest day and another hot day was in course. Saturday night was quite noisy with lots of motorbikes around at night and youthful screams of joy.

Sunday morning; I found out why we had the youthful screams.

Mr JCR was up and out, I’d had a lousy night’s sleep and so I did one of the following and I wonder if you can guess what it was?

  1. Said goodbye to Mr JCR – turned over in bed  and didn’t go for a run
  2. Said goodbye to Mr JCR – decided to have  40 winks and run after
  3. Fell asleep almost immediately and woke up with a guilty start just before 10am

Yup it was number three. Heading out of the door, it seemed a little warmer than it had been for a while oh and yes it was about twenty four degrees and not much shade to be seen. Mmm JCR another epic fail on the getting up front.

I’d decided I’d do a circuit or two of The Hill That Kills and made my way towards Mill Lane, it was hardly encouraging when I realised there was little shade there, on I plodded to Lovers’ Lane. Here we have the evidence of a debauched night out with discarded light green sex aids at the roadside. That was obviously the source of screaming last night.

Not that I have any particular views on the colour of sex aids, but green seems a somewhat bilious choice. Ah yes JCR, lockdown eyesight has struck once more, now that I am closer I see they are discarded or dropped vegetables. But I’m sure somewhere in pornland there’s a fetish site for sex with long green bendy vegetables. Perhaps the bikers were just whooping because they’d found fresh ingredients for a vegetarian feast?

Taking my usual trip around Villa Bali, I make my way back up Lovers’ Lane and I see a topless man running towards me, with his baseball cap on backwards. He’s a bit gangly and if he was setting out to impress the local talent, he looked more to me like an Italian Peter Crouch, which is not that sexy imho. And to be honest the average age of the people who walk run and cycle here is at least double his age. Maybe he likes old’uns?

Back towards the Hill That Kills, I am sauntering downhill and Yoda is coming the other way, we wish each other a good morning and continue on our way. I’m coming up to the pigiama mama house and a car is coming towards me indicating right. I think they are visiting pigiama mama, so I stop by the side of a tree just ahead of the driveway, so they can get clear passage without worrying about me.

But they didn’t turn into the drive, they kept indicating and drove straight towards me, stopping so close, I thought they were going to ask for directions or something. I started to move and then holy moly so did they. As I ran across pigiama mama’s driveway, they reversed into it. What absolutely effing stupid  plonkers. I’d stopped, waited, given them room, they’d overshot, then boxed me in and when I started moving they shadowed me.

Harrumph! I reached the bottom of THTK, and I could hear them behind me. Runner’s revenge ensued I took an age to cross the road ahead of them, turned right up into the Slope of No Hope and then re-crossed it to run back down again, all the while they had to wait for me to finish.  Revenge was sweet, although they had air conditioning – I didn’t and now the temperature was touching twenty six, so I was looking a little puce. I decided to do one more run up THTK to hit just under 4kms. I was a bit puffed and so messed up Map My Run again, and ended up doing a few mini runs to make sure I’d really run the 4km.

My weekend started on Friday with a man in a puffa jacket to keep warm, a pink face realising I hadn’t spotted sex aids after all and a mini episode of red hot rage because of some plonkers. But of course being British I kept it all under a veneer of civilised disdain.

Stats

Distance 4km

Physio – some of it, still need to buy a yoga mat

Jump Rope – 39, 23, 7, 19, 46

Music

First Single Ever Bought

Best track – it’s quite cringeworthy but Mississippi by Pussycat, because my beloved IyeIye (grandmother) thought it was wonderful, and she was a wonderful person too

Week 20 Run 1 – Oh I can’t do that…

Barking Beagle House – no barking today thank goodness

The sun is up and so is Mr JCR, using his usual persuasive tones to get me out of bed and into my running gear.

I’d had yet another lousy night of sleep, something to do with incessant dog barking during the night, coupled with boy racers on their whining mini motorbikes at about 3am and it being scorchio during the night. And to cap it all, I’d been bitten to pieces by the dreaded pappatacci. All in all, not great prep for a run.

After having done the Laundry lane curves a couple of times of late, I decided to go to the bendy, scary road instead. 

Up Mill Lane, all is quiet but the cicadas are starting up already. I think this means we are going to have a warm day ahead. Towards Lovers’ Lane and there’s a dog walking lady busily picking up poop, carrying a rather capacious carrier bag for the purpose.

The dog is some kind of terrier, and he’s skittering all over the place sniffing trees, and running rings around his owner, who was picking up more poop. Maybe she is a volunteer poop picker upperer, as I can’t believe one small terrier could poop that much. He came bounding up to me, gave me the once over and went back to his owner, clearly a sweaty middle-aged woman with no treats or doggie toys is of no interest whatsoever.

I looped around Villa Bali and with no shade to be found, I was heating up once more. The terrier and his owner were in the distance, and I began the slow overtaking haul. I managed to get past the barking beagle house, with no barking and evidently no beagles. I’m guessing they may be on holiday.

Aiming for the Hill That Kills, I dodge out of the way for a rather large tractor – my guess was he was going to do me a lot of damage if I stood my ground.  At this time of year with all the harvest work, it’s sensible to let them go past. Running towards Pigiama Mamma’s house, she is revving up her motor to come out and politely lets me cross. I wave and continue on to the Slope of Hope.

I can see Yoda in the distance,  wearing his dayglo and camo outfit. He’s heading up the hill and I’m heading downhill, to the dubious delights of the bendy scary road.

Three trucks in succession are coming towards me and I dip into Lovers’ Layby to avoid them and here things went slightly awry. I could see the barking beagle house and thought it looked rather nice against the blue sky and took a photo. Yup I’d forgotten to restart Map My Run and didn’t realise until a little later on in my run.

All in all it was an uneventful run, I made the Italian soldier memorial in the next village and started on my way back. I was overtaken by a rather ungainly cyclist, who I recognised straightaway.

Yes it’s arse crack man, thankfully since our first unfortunate meeting he has had cyclist etiquette advice and is no longer wearing the see-through cycling shorts. Which today is a good job, because clearly he is suffering as much in the heat as I am and he takes quite a bit of time to pass me on his bike. That would have been a nightmare having to watch his bum do Morse code again as he passes me slowly… Instead he gasps and rocks side to side, in a strange way that’s a comfort knowing I’m not the only one.

I make my way back towards home, I’d had some rather optimistic thoughts of running back up the Slope of No Hope, and so it keeps that name, as my thoughts were ‘Oh no I can’t do that’. 

Funnily enough that strapline is one shared by the Italian Postal Service. We have a saying in English from George Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman ‘ Those who can, do; those who can’t teach’.

From our time in Italy, I have the Italian version ‘ Those who can, do; those who can’t work in the Post Office’.

I got home and was mooching around the house when the intercom buzzed into life. It was Poste Italia with a parcel to drop off. I also had a parcel for them to pick up, suitably ready with all the necessary bar codes attached, having received firm instructions that it was 100% my responsibility to attach the bar codes to the parcel as the driver did not have the technology to do it.

I went to the gate, – social distancing rules mean Poste Italia have a ready made excuse to be worse than usual, and my parcel was balanced on the gate. Now there was nothing breakable in it, but the gate is electronic and was closing, so he was playing Russian roulette with my parcel. Will it stay on the gate or will it drop? I decided I wouldn’t take that chance and took it off its perch. Hmm, I called him back as he was about to shoot off in his turbo charged minivan.

‘What about this other parcel?’ he looked confused. ‘I received a message yesterday saying you’d be picking up this parcel’ 

‘Oh no, I can’t do that- someone else will be doing that’.  He explained he was the drop off man and couldn’t do picking up. That much was obvious with how he had handled my delivery packet – drop it off on our gate, hope it doesn’t fall and let the owner pick it up off the ground. My reason for saying this is not blind bias, as my parcel pick up  was for a candle that had been smashed to smithereens, when I found the parcel ‘left’ on the drive, with the usual social distanced delivery mechanism. 

And so that was my run story too, I dropped off the pace and couldn’t really pick it back up again. My ready made excuse is that with the heat over 80 degrees again, it’s as much as I can do to pick up my trainers and put them on.

I keep kidding myself that it’s getting cooler, maybe Sunday’s run will be cooler, otherwise I’ll be repeating ‘oh, I can’t do that’ and that wouldn’t do at all.

Stats

Distance 4.56km

Physio – Yes, but still haven’t bought a yoga mat

Jump Rope – 36, 23 10, 5 9 – clearly my co-ordination isn’t improving..

Music

Razouski’s 80 playlist

Favourite track ‘Lose Yourself’ by Eminem, because I love the rhythm of it, even though when it came on I was walking.

 

 

 

 

Week 19 Run 13 – What the F..

Figgy Heaven for Breakfast.

I’ve joined Mr JCR in getting up early. The bathroom thermometer shows an internal temperature of 29.3 degrees C.

It’s before 7am. Now I could have got up even earlier, but then it was darker and the dratted mozzies are still out. One of my arms resembles an aubergine in shape, following a co-ordinated attack by either a horde of mozzies, or one very hungry female who had a large family to feed.

After a not so great run last time out, I decided that a re-run of Laundry Lane up the bends was a good idea.  Regular readers will now know that this was decidedly flawed thinking as the ‘leaving home’ temperature was 24 degrees, albeit there is a little more shade at that time of the morning.

I turned left onto the Bitch of a Pitch and started my warm-up walk backwards and forwards before starting the descent. Clearly I was up early, as for the first time I discovered where Lord Kitchener lives, he lives on the B of a P, and was coming out of his house, saw me and said Good Morning. I replied and carried on towards Prune Lane.

Clodhopping – Autumn is coming

Turning down the lane, I came across a mini white road I’d not taken before, so I thought I’d go for an amble and check it out. Aha it’s a dead end, and quite agricultural here, as you can see above. Definitely clod-hopping territory. Making my way back to Prune Lane, which as it’s so steep is quite difficult to run down as you have to dig your heels in to prevent you from tipping forwards. Just as I saw Laundry Lane in the distance, I saw a day-glo green flash. Well a flash is over-egging it, as he wasn’t in the least bit fast, it was a cyclist on a mountain bike, making his way up Prune Lane. Well we exchanged smiles and I wished him good luck, because it’s bad enough coming down Prune Lane, but I get out of puff walking up it. His ascent was very slow and laboured.

After my last attempt on the Laundry Lane curves, I’d decided that this time I wouldn’t sprint, but I’d take it regularly and walk if I needed to. This method is called Jeffing as it was created by a guy called Jeff Galloway, an Olympian and running coach. The idea is that the walking breaks allow for recovery and permit you to run further. It’s also entirely allowable in events such as marathons.

So I’d decided I was Jeffing up this bends, well as the mercury was rising so was I , not only did I Jeff but I was Effing too, not least because I’d forgotten to restart Map My Run after my photo stop. Damn and blast. 

I think the benefit of Jeffing may well have been compromised by the effing heat, as halfway up those bends, the temperature was now at 26 degrees. It has to be said I wasn’t really Jeffing at all at this stage, the ‘sprint/run’ section were getting shorter and shorter and the need for shade becoming more important. I was almost out of water when two cyclists passed and waved. At this point, I’d decided I’d do most of my running in whatever shade I could find, and walk in the sun. I continued the for the rest of the run, and on one of my walking intervals, green flash man came cycling the other way. 

I wasn’t totally run-shamed, because he was cycling downhill and I was walking up a steep curve. Passing G & B’s old house, I managed a final run once more to finish in Argo’s loop, where I was met by a clowder of kittens, all miaowing at me.

Another cyclist was getting on his bike and my face matched his kit. Still I had jeffed and effed up that hill, and he had yet to start. 

At that point my run was done and so was I. I passed the barking dog house (Alsatian and Mutt) who were a tad aggressive in their welcome for me, and I made a slow walk back to the house – one of the Argo loop roads is very steep and now covered in rotting figs, one of which I slipped on. 

Figging hell, I’d also remembered I had some figs to collect back in the garden, as we were causing a wasp frenzy with the amount of fruit which had tumbled to the ground. Ahead of me I saw the loop’s namesake, Argo, being walked by our friend R. She saw me and asked where I’d been, when I told her she grimaced and said ‘I’m sweating for you’. The mercury had risen to 28 degrees/82 in old money. I needed a cool place and some water.

R and Argo continued their walk. Entering our garden I passed our fig tree, and thought a fresh fig breakfast would be rather nice, and prevent two more of them dropping on the ground.

Tragically 2 figs out of approximately 500 isn’t going to make much of a dent in the supply, but it’s a start, as was my second attempt at the Laundry Lane ascent. Who knows by the time the figs are back in harvest again, I may be able to get up that hill without the Jeffing or effing.

I do hope so.

Stats

Somewhat dubious as I forgot to restart Map My Run

Distance – 5.3km

Time – awful

Physio – yes

Jump Rope – 32, 31, 5, 7, 14.

Steps – 10 minutes cool down.

Music

Razouski’s Playlist – mainly 80s 

Best song – Every Breath You Take – by The Police. Because I more or less counted every breath up that damned hill

7 Jan – Looking for Blue

IMG_3141.JPG

 

and finding only grey skies today. Second run of the year, just going where the legs took me.

London is slowly returning to its pre-Christmas normal. The fake German market huts have gone, the lights are down, but the tourists are still around and an awful lot of post-Christmas runners are skipping around the City.

I made my way through the City and towards the Strand, the pavement traffic was light and I was nicely light on my feet, turning south, I wanted to run by the river. Ooh it’s a bit windy and I am ‘joined’ by a running group. They are four and on my heels, but I have solo ninja power to aid me and I keep them at bay. But like wolves circling their prey, slowly, relentlessly they hunt me down and overtake in a swoosh near Tate Modern. I try to pick up the pace but have a slightly dodgy right hamstring, which having read up on Dr Google is another runner’s ailment beginning with ‘p’. I take a chance to have a breather and read up on this new ‘p’ ailment – it apparently can be due to overrunning (mmm I wonder how that happened), or lack of flexibility (okay hands up).

A bit of random stretching is in order, and I do have a right real pain in the bum – literally. Oh that’s another sign of this ‘p’ ailment. I decide to slow the pace and do a jogette back to base. The only light blue I saw was on the Tower Bridge railings, but my mood is not blue, it was a lovely run and an appointment has been made to see a physio on Thursday.

Playlist

First singles ever being tested.

Ride A White Swan – TRex

How Long – Ace

Living For The City – Stevie Wonder

Living Doll – Cliff Richard

Maggie May – Rod Stewart

Baby, Stop Crying – Bob Dylan

It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me – Billy Joel

Bedsitter – Soft Cell

As Long As You Love Me – Backstreet Boys

The Things We Do For Love – 10cc

Babe – Take That

I’m Not In Love – 10cc

Mississippi – Pussycat

mmmBop – Hanson

Take A Chance On Me – ABBA

Hello This is Joanie – Gary Brown

Changes – David Bowie

The Bump – Kenny

Killer Queen – Queen

Cool for Cats – Squeeze

Keep On Running – Spencer David Group

Life On Mars – David Bowie

Creeping Death – Metallica

Transmission – Joy Division

Hippy Hippy Shake – Swinging Blue Jeans

Take My Breath Away – Berlin

Stats

Distance 10.48km

Time 1:07:19

Average Pace 6:25

Elevation Gain 85 metres

Cumulative 16.5 kms (this is 16.5km more than I managed this time last year, so it’s not exactly bad news)

 

 

 

 

 

28 Dec – Oops, I Did It Again

Running Forgetfulness

This title is the only thing Britney Spears and I have in common. I did say I’d have a two-week sabbatical from running, but the full-to-busting running kit drawer, seemed to whisper very time I passed it, and so I gave into the inevitable and went for a run.

Before I get complaints from the BBC viewers association or whomever, I did make sure that it couldn’t count towards my Alzheimer’s Challenge.

First off, I ran for 2kms to the doctors had my appointment and then ran home – just on 5kms logged but not in one run, so therefore ineligible for the challenge.

Then I had to go back to the doctors, so that was another 4kms banked. That’s 9kms run in a day and none of it counts towards the Alzheimer’s Challenge, but it did count towards the removal of chocolate and Christmas poundage.

Speaking of pounds – thanks to Alan P, who very kindly donated to my cause. Thanks Alan.

Playlist

I Am Henery The Eighth I Am – Herman’s Hermits

Bela Lugosi’s Dead – Bauhaus

Flash – Queen

Doctorin’ The Tardis – The Flag

I Just Shot John Lennon – The Cranberries

Motorhead – Hawkwind

Angie – Rolling Stones

Delilah – Tom Jones

Elvis Ain’t Dead – Scouting For Girls

Clair – Gilbert O’Sullivan

Genghis Khan – Iron Maiden

Maid Of Orleans – OMD

Oh Yoko – John Lennon

Stan – Eminem and Dido

Stats

Distance 9.35kms

Calories 675 calories supposedly – that equals just over 100grams of chocolate. Just a pity I’ve eaten a lot more than 100g of chocolate!

24 Dec – Bubbling Along


It is 7am, (I know- I never, ever see that time of day). The alarm has gone and I have butterflies, my stomach is grumbling and rumbling. I feel nervous – and why? 

Because, today is my final ‘2018kms in 2018’ day. When I decided on the challenge over a year ago now,  I hadn’t really worked out what doing all this running would mean and now I am in touching distance. Just a gentle 5kms to do today, and I am so lucky that one of my C25K friends is leaving home, hearth and husband to run with me on my final run. We’ve bonded over 80s music, and Portugese Custard Tarts and Gill is joining me today for the last leg. With us in spirit and running around the UK are:-

  • Mummycav 
  • HelenWheels
  • Tartan Cat
  • Suzy KK
  • IgaT
  • Mimirossi
  • Tailchaser

Mr JCR and I walk to the park, the Strand is quiet  and arriving at the park we see in the distance a woman stripping off. And who might that be? Well of course it’s Gill – only stripping down to running tights I hasten to add. We virtually met on the C25K forum and in real life met in the Barbican and I’m chuffed to call her my friend.  

There’s a vague possibility of a fellow runner from the C25K Beyonders Group turning up, so we loiter around looking slightly suspicious. Then we see group of three runners hanging around nearby – I don’t recognise any of them. Wondering on the protocol for randomly accosting strangers in a park, I am very relieved when they start running on their own. I don’t think I’d be very good at blind dates…

We start off running, naked, so I can hear my own huffing and puffing, clearly running with Gill has set my speedier button as we manage one km in 5:45 pace – unheard of for me, but not for Gill who is a right speedy Gonzales.  Realising I’m going too fast, I turn down the dial a little, and we make our way around the park, dodging the occasional wayward tourist, but it’s reasonably quiet – the geese, pigeons, ducks and squirrels are attracting way more attention than us two. At the halfway stage, a quick pitstop to dump more clothing and to meet Mike – one of my supporters and a friend of Mr JCR, he’s come to see us do the 5km. And we’re off onto the second lap, I quite like running with company – I didn’t know that before. And we have a gentle pootle around the park, we’re on to the home straight, I check my phone and yes the magic 5kms has been done, with a C25Ker who was a supporter for me in the good old Mr Smooth (Michael Johnson) days and has stayed the course over the year.

Mr JCR takes celebratory pics and opens the bubbles, we all toast a job well done. Gill in the meantime has been bottling up the desire to tell the world what I’ve just done… When a cycling policeman comes past, looking at 4 of us necking champagne, she tells him about the challenge. He offers me congratulations and takes a chocolate (we decided against offering some bubbles!). It was only after he’d gone when we thought that drinking alcohol may well be prohibited in a Royal Park – oops.

What a brilliant Christmas Eve run, making my distance, running with C25K friends in real life and virtually. It doesn’t get much better – oh yes it does, Mr JCR treated me to cooked breakfast on the way home.

And to all my C25K buddies who ran with me virtually today, I loved the fact that from Yorkshire to Berkshire and beyond my friends were out there, even when mojos have been very difficult to find. Thank you all.

A proper rollcall of honour will follow, as I’ve had even more donations and have really nicely exceeded the target set and now for some more bubbles.

Playlist

Just my huffing and puffing

Stats

Distance 5.11km and that’s all that matters

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 2018.00

Kms To Run 0

22 Dec – Let It Snow…

It may not have snowed in London literally, but it has snowed donations since my last run. First off the mark, one of my fellow C25Kers jayval70 made my day, by donating and wishing me well.

Then our very good friends B&H in Warwickshire, with a lovely message to keep me going, then M from sunny Buckinghamshire, followed in a blink of an eye by our dear friends J&G in Arnhem – who came back with a second donation. Going for the more international theme, came my brother and sister in-law, in sunny but blinking cold Hingham, USA but with the greatest warm message, and their donation got me over the line on the sponsorship target.

Not to be outdone, our friends K&C, who are partially international living as they do between Italy and Nottingham, added a second donation. Followed by a very dear Italian friend M, who works in Brussels. And last but not least my running, netballing friend J.

So after the snowing down of donations, I find I have hit one target (the money), without actually having hit the other (the running). Obviously that situation can’t continue; and this morning’s run was designed to get me ready for the last leg on Christmas Eve.

With the very pleasant weight of all that money and expectation on my shoulders, I headed up West to do a ‘dummy run’ of my route around St James’s park. It’s a cold, bright and clear morning, I have got to do just under 12kms today, leaving me 5km for Christmas Eve. My route is vaguely worked out – wiggle through Hatton Garden, saunter through the Inns of Court and the Strand, nod at Buckingham Palace, and then do a lap or so of the park.

It’s surprisingly quiet in London, considering this is the last Saturday before Christmas, and before long I find myself at the Birdcage Walk entrance to the park. Now I know where all the people went, they are taking a stroll around the park, feeding the ducks, geese and marvelling at the antics of the squirrels. I am following my Strava route roughly and decide to pause just to make sure I am doing the right course and then see Mr JCR who has come to check up on progress, and my geographic tracking capabilities…

A loop of St James’s Park is done, with a small backward facing diversion and we reckon with a little bit of jiggery pokery, I can make these two loops become my 5km run on Christmas Eve. I have to continue on to make sure I reach today’s target and more or less on the roundabout near Admiralty Arch, the job is done.

Who’d have guessed it was even possible?

I had hoped we might have snow for Christmas, but the snowfall of donations, really helped me to slip and slide my way around the park today – thanks everyone!

Job done, now to stay injury free for just one more day.

Playlist

Last Christmas (twice) – Wham

Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid

Step Into Christmas – Elton John

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – The Supremes

Driving Home For Christmas – Chris Rea

Fairytale of New York – The Pogues

All I Want For Christmas is You – Mariah Carey (twice)

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas – Buble

Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt and The Pussycat Dolls Version

Stay Another Day – East 17

Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses

Have Yourself A Merry Christmas – Sam Smith

Frosty The Snowman – The Ronettes

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – The Jackson Five

Walking In The Air – Aled Jones

The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole

Silent Night – Andrea Bocelli

Rockin’ Robin – Michael Jackson

A Spaceman Came Travelling – Chris De Burgh

Winter Wonderland – Gwen Stefani

A Winter’s Tale – David Essex

Stop The Cavalry – Jona Lewie

Stats

Distance 11.52km

Time 1:16:07

Average Pace 6:20

Elevation Gain 34 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 2013.00

Kms to Run 5.00

21 Dec – I’m Not Lazy – Honest!

Christmas Eve – 10am – My last leg…

I find myself in an extraordinary situation, having spent most of the year frantically making sure I am doing enough runs to give me a cushion in case of injury, I now have to NOT run, in case I do too much.

Mr JCR has been working with me on the plan to finish the challenge and on Christmas Eve at 10am in St James’s Park in London, I will be doing a gentle 5km to finish. I’m inviting any C25Kers or friends or Beyonders to join me if they wish to have the somewhat dubious honour of running with me for the last leg of my challenge.

Alzheimer’s Research have asked me to do one final fund raising push, so if anyone is in London on Christmas Eve, 10am and fancies a gentle pootle around St James’s Park, Mr JCR will be in attendance to take pics and provide some post-run goodies…

The fundraising link is here https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/jancanrun

Or if you prefer, Mr JCR will carry a collecting tin for ARUK on the day. Donations are not obligatory, I’d just be happy to see people who’ve helped me through the year.

In any event I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

JCR XXX

17 Dec – Letting Kat Out Of The Bag

Meanwhile in our village in Italy….

Yesterday I met up with Kat from Alzheimer’s Research at Regent’s Park to run with me for one of my final runs, to close out the challenge and give AR some footage to use for fund-raising and encouragement to other people thinking of their own challenges.

We agreed to meet up at Great Portland Street tube, so we could run together. Cue two people wearing orange on a cold but blueish sky day in London. One of the last times I ran around Regent’s Park was when we had the Beast from the East, this time no beasts in evidence.

We started the run and to be honest I set off a little bit too ‘gung ho’ and just after a kilometre with Kat shadowing me and being videoed, we settled down to a more normal pace. Kat was a star, because she carried my extra warm running top on her back in a rucksack. And this is probably only the second time I’ve run with company (park runs don’t count imho, as there’s loads of folk, but you run on your own).

We talked about Alzheimer’s and one thing Kat told me was that one of their most requested pieces of information, was their leaflet telling you what you can do to minimise the risk of getting the disease. And I must admit I’d never thought of their role in that way, but of course education and prevention is as much a part of the cure, that we all want.

It was a lovely run and we managed around 7km in the park and then convened for a very welcome cup of coffee. The talk turned to my final run on Christmas Eve and I’ve more or less decided that I’ll run in St James’s Park and I’m thinking of asking people to join me and to donate to my fundraising for the privilege. This is me letting the Kat out of the bag. You heard it here first, if you’d like to join me on Christmas Eve (precise details, times etc., to be worked out probably tomorrow) and run with me on my final run and would be happy to make a small donation to Alzheimer’s Research for the somewhat dubious privilege of my company, then I’d love to see you. Mr JCR will be in attendance, although not running, and he’ll take pics for us to share with Alzheimer’s UK.

Playlist

Last Christmas – Wham

Step Into Christmas – Elton John

Let It Snow – Ella Fitzgerald

Driving Home For Christmas – Chris Rea

All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey

Sleigh Ride – The Ronettes

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Andy Williams

Stay Another Day – East 17

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Sam Smith

Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses

Little Saint Nick – The Beach Boys

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – The Jackson 5

Stats

Distance 12.15km

Time 1:24:03

Average Pace 6:55

Elevation Gain 49 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 2001.48 – Kat we hit the 2000 mark!!!

Kms To Run 16.52

15 Dec – What A Huw and Cry

After the Huw and before the cry…

Thursday morning, snuggled up in bed – sorry all, it was 8am and my Messenger in-box perks into unexpected life.

An old work friend of both of ours is asking me for my email address. I oblige and ask why… Expect an email he says. A little while later I see a very generous donation has been made to my cause. I say thank you and then get a Brucie bonus, he has not only donated to the cause, but asked for a matching donation from his employers too. Wow – I can’t tell you how much that means and what a great idea to do. I never ever thought of mentioning that as an idea to friends. It really brought a lump to my throat, and just shows me how utterly generous people are – and unknown to me he actually reads this blog too. Generous with money and his precious free-time too, to read up on my blather. So thank you Huw, it was a lovely surprise and I definitely want a catch up and coffee!

Thursday was an official rest day and as I am running out of kilometres to run, so was Friday. Saturday arrives, and we are up early to Borough Market, to avoid the crowds; my run is delayed a little while. I get changed and make my way up West again. 

It is grey and London is not looking at her best, but then for me to run, she doesn’t need to be. I pass around the City fringes and see some brightly dressed Father Christmases, both running and on bikes – I’m guessing it must have been some kind of Santa Saturday event. There’s not much people traffic around in Holborn and I am having a lovely Christmassy run, listening to my latest Christmas playlist. Hitting The Strand, things start to get a bit busier, the Saturday food kitchens for the homeless are in full swing, with the soup kitchens doling out hot curries and soups, for some very grateful people. I make my way towards Trafalgar Square and then there’s a lot of noise and commotion with ambulances and police cars rushing around and the police helicopter above. This being London and near to Christmas, I ring Mr JCR to see if there’s any kind of incident. he tells me he’ll message me in case I need to divert from a trouble spot. Arrangements made, I make my way to Liz’s gaff. Just as I cross to St James’s Park, my fruit phone decides to die. Aargh, this is not helpful especially if there is an incident. 

Then follows a classic JCR stupid tart syndrome run.  Panicking at the thought that Mr JCR may be concerned if he can’t message me and receives a message to say I haven’t received the message, I think I must find a BT phone box.

Well, what do you know  – there are lots of them in and around London, it’s just that none of them seem to actually work. Aside from the routine posting of porn adverts, they have a variety of ailments:-

First post box near Westminster – phone is working but no receiver.

Second phone box  near Westminster – phone is working, I have my credit card and unsurprisingly it is declined – because who in their right mind would use a credit card to make a phone call? As my phone isn’t working I can’t phone my credit card company to tell them it’s okay and not a dodgy criminal. I do have cash – a £20 note. The phone box doesn’t take notes, only coins.

Okay, JCR continue the run to buy an unwanted cup of coffee, get  suitable change, and make this phone call to Mr JCR.

Third phone box – there’s a queue of tourists outside it, all taking selfies one by one, in the box. I sip the coffee and wait patiently. After 5 selfie takers had finished (it seemed like 50), I put in my money. Stupid tart syndrome hits again – never, ever, lodge your highest value coin to test the slot. Yup that’s a £1 coin gone to the profits of BT, as the machine jammed and no coin return. 

I’ll change my route and head along the Embankment and through Victoria Gardens park – oh no you won’t JCR – the air ambulance is in the gardens – and that explains the earlier commotions.  

Fourth phone box – not a BT one, it is black and operated by some unknown company, which doesn’t give me much confidence. Working coin slot – hurrah, but of course it accepts my 20 pence piece and swallows it into oblivion.

I look at my coins I now have just one £1 coin left and a 5p. The latter isn’t accepted in any phone box and the former is my last chance of contacting Mr JCR, unless I go and buy a second unwanted cup of coffee. The next phone box I see is another one of the ‘dodgy’ black and gold ones, at this point I’ve decided I have been way too charitable towards these telcos and just continue home. 

No music to listen to, no Mechanical Voice Lady to tell me how slow I am running, just the pounding of my feet and heartbeat to keep me company, with the occasional muttering of ‘effing hell’ ‘I hate BT’  and ‘ Mr JCR may be panicking’. 

Needless to say I arrived back home all in a state, one could say a ‘hue and cry’ and Mr JCR looked up and said ‘nice run?’, I then went into this big long explanation about the phone, the boxes, the air ambulance. Had he messaged me at all? Nope – so that was a totally, utterly, completely pointless waste of emotional energy, and I had no real idea of how long I took, only a guesstimate. I’ve done the run before so didn’t lose out on recording the kms. 

I started out on Thursday with Huw, giving me a really big boost to go out on Saturday. I ended up on Saturday almost crying with frustration. Next run out, I’m carrying my battery charger…

Playlist

It was my Christmas playlist, and I can’t remember one track except for Santa Baby.

Stats

Distance 11.04

Time 1:40:51 (this included unwanted coffee and phone box stops)

Average Pace 9:08

Elevation Gain 21 metres???

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1989.33

Kms To Run 28.67