15 Sep – Stodgy Seven


IMG_6609Wednesday – rest day – lovely

Thursday – mega migraine – not so lovely – so no running

Friday – friends arriving, spent the day and night well, but perhaps not wisely – again no running

Saturday morning arrived, and I surveyed the evidence before me.  Aha I appear to have a slightly podgy and noisy tummy, due to the night before celebratory meal. This was a welcome do for our friends H&A who had come for a cycling weekend with Mr JCR and his Italian club. The celebration dinner was made up of the following courses:-

Risotto – Carbs

Pasta with cream and pancetta – Carbs, Fats & Protein

Pizza – various types – Carbs, Protein, Fats,Veggies

Chips – Carbs & Fats

More Chips – More Carbs and More Fat

Cake and Tiramisu – Carbs and Fat

Water, Wine, Beer, Limoncello, Liquorice Liquor and the local brew called Moretta (a combo of brandy, run and anise in hot espresso). Carbs…

As you can see a balanced diet, somewhat weighted towards the carbs. Which, if I was running a marathon in a couple of days, may have made a lot of sense, except I wasn’t. The sum total of all those carbs, weighed heavily both on conscience and definitely my stomach.

Saturday was planned to be 9km – 10km if I could. The portents weren’t good, the temperature had risen quite a bit and the incessant grumbling of my tum, suggested I perhaps wasn’t going to be securing any personal bests. Nonetheless it was a beautiful day; I decided to play it safe and run close to home on a small training loop, so if my tum decided to go nuclear, I wasn’t far from safety. I chose the boy band playlist, as a gentle and fun option to keep me going with cheesy songs.

Okay, the first kilometre pretty much set the scene for the remainder. Just under 8 minutes a km – and I could tell that every slice of pizza was now taking its toll. Still the first km is always slower, so I just gritted my teeth and got on with it. Down the Slope Of Hope and past the barking balcony house, no surprises today it was very quiet, and then up the Hill That Kills, and here I was quite surprised, although I felt sluggish, I didn’t actually have to stop to take a breather.

That gave me some impetus to continue, towards Lovers’ Lane, all was quiet and I got more into a running rhythm, at the second km stage, I managed just under 7 minutes a km. Not exactly troubling Mo Farah but an improvement. I pottered around to Mill Lane and made my way back down the Slope of Hope once more, on my second attempt at the hill that kills. She is a demanding hill when you’re not quite at your best and I did smile when PJ & Duncan came on with ‘Lets Get Ready To Rumble’ – I was rumbling very loudly – thank goodness there were no witnesses! As I made my way back up, she was definitely making it known that I needed to do some hill training.

At the top, I was given a welcome fillip when a local dog walker wished me good morning and a happy run. I’d managed to sustain a 7 minutes 15 seconds pace, which is pretty poor for me, but considering last night’s indulgence on food, I considered it was reasonable. At the 6km mark, I decided that 7km would be far enough, to allow for what felt like 3kg of carbs being carried in my middle. There is something self fulfilling about thinking you’re getting slower and deciding to stop – my final km was just under 8 minutes again. The power of the brain over the legs really showed.

Not my best run, but I was pleased I actually stuck at it and in the end I managed 7.23km, especially as it included some hill work.

A bit of a stodgy seven kilometres, not the nifty nine or terrific ten I had planned, but then to alter the well known adage, no plan ever survives the carbohydrate enemy.


A Little Bit More – 911

ABC – The Jackson 5

You Raise Me Up – Westlife

Stand And Deliver – Adam And The Ants

When You Say Nothing At All – Boyzone

I’ll Make Love To You – Boyz II Men

Stay Another Day – East 17

A Million Love Songs, It Only Takes A Minute, Shine – Take That

Shang – A -Lang – Bay City Rollers

Boxerbeat – Joe Boxers

Everybody, Quit Playing Games – Backstreet Boys

Let’s Get Ready To Rumble – PJ and Duncan

The Chauffeur – Duran Duran

Good Vibrations, Fun, Fun, Fun – The Beach Boys

Mama Do The Hump – The Rizzle Kicks

Everbody In Love – JLS


Distance 7.23km

Time 53:21

Average Pace 7:23

Elevation Gain – 55 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1527.10

Kms To Do 490.90













10 Sep – She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not?

Well I love both Italy and London, but clearly there’s some emotional stuff going on locally…, not Mr JCR nor me, but Andrea and Giulia have some talking to do.

Although I think if I was Giulia I’d be mortified at the message written on the road, as I’m guessing everyone in the village now knows your business.

This morning, I was feeling a little languid and after some gentle chiding by Mr JCR I got out to do my run and followed an old route, which I first used last year when training on the C25K programme. So a gentle jog down The Slope of Hope and past the barking balcony house and no barking today. Then up the Hill That Kills, – ooh I haven’t done her for a little while and she had a little nip at my calves when I was ascending, but she didn’t get me to stop. Onto Lovers’ Lane and whilst I may have passed the barking balcony without a cacophony of noise, the barking beagles got me by surprise, and sure enough I did mini leap in the air.

My usual mini loop of Villa Bali – now that the children are back at school it is all quiet and they were having a staff meeting overlooking the gardens. A nice place to be having an admin meeting, I must say. Back past the beagles, but I wasn’t surprised this time, and onto Mill Lane, there I saw Argo being walked by one of his faithful servants, he came up to say hello and I petted him for a while, said my ciao and carried on.

I decided to re-do the Slope of Hope and Hill That Kills once more, but this time round I did need a breather. The combination of warmth and inclines makes a big difference to my stamina. Looping back down the Slope of Hope through the village to Laundry Lane, where I saw Andrea’s plea. Who knows whether Andrea’s entreaties of love are appreciated or not…

I appreciated the breather that taking the pics gave me and continued on Laundry Lane. It’s a glorious sunny day, and not too hot, Laundry Lane tends to be quite quiet and I was able to complete my run, without any traffic incidents. I got overtaken by a couple of old dears, buzzing past on their electric bikes and they waved as they went past. There’s a bend on Laundry Lane, where I have to decide to either continue and do another 3km or turn around and make my way home. Unlike Giulia I was able to make my choice without the general public knowing, and so I called it quits and aimed towards home.

A nice return home run, for sure tomorrow, I’ve got to be up and out earlier, and a little faster.


iTunes A-Z

Rumour Has It – Adele

Back To Black, Rehab – Amy Winehouse

Walk Like An Egyptian – The Bangles

Help me Rhonda, Barbara Ann – The Beach Boys

Crazy In Love – Beyonce

Hot In The City, Mony Mony – Billy Idol

Girls & Boys, Tracy Jacks, Parklife – Blur

Born To Run, Hungry Heart, Dancing In The Dark, Born In The USA, Glory Days – The Boss

Tokyo Joe – Bryan Ferry



Distance 8.81km

Duration 1:02:28

Average Pace 7:05

Elevation Gain 96 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1509.79

Kms To Do 508.21



21 July – Loving The Aliens


Yes, you’re right, this does appear to be my second post for the 21st July. That was because after having done the 10km this morning, I realised I was ‘behind’ on being ahead.

Having had three unscheduled days off running, I’d lost 23kms of progress, and that is hard to make up. After my usual coffee stop, where Valentina rescued me with a cappuccino, water and pastry, I decided I’d try and do another 5km run, just to reduce the 3 day deficit. With my friend A’s warning about being sensible and not overdoing the training, ringing in my ears, I thought I’d give the run a go, and if I couldn’t do it and was too tired, then I’d just walk the scenic route home.

So it was I found myself on War Of the Worlds lane,  it seemed to me the best route home, because it’s a bit up and down, but not horrendous and very quiet. Psyching myself up for the first incline, I saw a topless runner ahead of me. Now that is worth following to ogle the bod, not in a stalkerish manner I must explain, just purely to see who he is and where he is going.

My pace was somewhat slower than his and he kept disappearing out of view. I didn’t really have enough puff left to put on a sprint, so I had to be satisfied with occasional glimpses, once I’d rounded the same corners as he had. Now we were on the straight, there’s nowhere for him to hide, except he evidently has a bit more in his motor than me and he disappears out of view once more. A kink in the road? Or has he become an alien abduction victim? As I’ve written before, he is in the perfect place for a Martian pick-up. I round the kink, and can’t see hide nor hair of him. Strange, it’s fairly flat around here – maybe a call of nature?  I plod on, with my topless runner motivation gone and get sidetracked by the appearance of the bizarre plant pictured.

In all the best sci-fi movies, there’s usually a trace element left by the aliens, to give those in the know, the opportunity to identify that something extra-terrestrial has occurred. Is it therefore a coincidence that a topless runner has disappeared and these weird plants are now nearby? Yes, it is a coincidence, because he’s turned up a junction and sprinting in the distance…, no chance of me flogging this story to Spielberg then.

Now that I have no-one to follow, my pace drops a little and at the 3km stage, I do wonder whether I can be bothered to continue, but then I spot the yellow arrows on the road. Clearly the aliens are around and in need of directions. I decide to follow some of them and see where they take me. In fact they take me to the end of War Of The Worlds lane and the arrows are for a vintage cycle race, in which riders dress in old fashioned gear and ride old fashioned bikes through the countryside.

I turn up towards Royston Vasey and men are unloading crates of water for the upcoming race, – one of the unloaders saw my face and asked whether I needed fresh water – I thanked him and showed him my half-full water bottle and continued on. Now I was getting tired and glanced at Map My Run, I was just short of 5km and as that is my minimum distance to be considered for the Alzheimer’s Challenge, I gave myself a mental shove and continued on until I hit 5.15km.

Brilliant, I made it through alien abduction territory, and caught up a little on my deficit. A good morning’s work.


Young, Gifted and Black – Bob & Marcia

Night Boat To Cairo,  One Step Beyond- Madness

Too Much Too Young,  – The Specials

Selector, On My Radio,  – The Selector

Can’t Get Used To Losing You – The Beat

Lip Up Fatty, – Bad Manners

Our Lips Are Sealed – Fun Boy Three

Liquidator – Harry J Allstars

Police On My Back – Eddy Grant and The Equals

Monkey Man – Toots and The Maytals

Rudy Got Married – Laurel Aitken

The Tide Is High – Blondie

Return of Django – The Upsetters

Rudy, A Message To You – Dandy Livingstone

King Of Kings – Jimmy Cliff

Red Red Wine – Tony Tribe

Start – The Jam

Uptown Top Ranking – Althea and Donna

Monkey Man – Amy Winehouse


Distance 5.15km

Time 41:28

Average Pace 8:02 Mins/km

Elevation Gain 106 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1223.28

Kms to Run 794.72





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.


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


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


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


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’


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


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!


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


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???


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.


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


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