21 Apr – When Good Intentions

are kept. I know, who knew that was possible?

Our very good friends K&C passed by, having spent a few days in Abruzzo on their way back home to Northern Italy.

Today is a special day, an historic day, as we say in Italiano ‘irrepetibile’  for the K&C family and Mr & Mrs JCR. Today, we lunched both well and wisely. We ate, and we drank water, lots of water, followed by water.

Usually our lunches start with a snifter, or two, followed by a bottle of vino or two, and the vino gets followed by a digestivo, then lunch morphs into dinner, evening snifters, nightcaps. You get the drift. Usually a lunch invitation involves an overnight stay and a drying out day. For goodness sake, we even have wine vines growing in our garden, which are coming on a treat. Still we stayed vino free.

Today is however different for a number of reasons:-

  1. The K&C clan are en route home and both driving, hence no alcohol
  2. For my Alzheimer’s challenge, I am running this afternoon, with temperatures of over 20 degrees and full sun, hangover running is to be avoided at all costs – hence no alcohol
  3. Mr JCR is doing a 300km Audax (bike ride) overnight, in the scary dark, and up and down mountains – hence no alcohol

To my shame, I did suggest a white wine spritzer, but was shouted down most politely by the other three.  So we lunched well, and wisely. Which perhaps was all to the good, when I set out for my little run this afternoon. My feet resemble a battleground and various plasters and ointments are being brought into service, to get me round. After yesterday’s long run of 12km, I decided a short, cheeky six clicks, would be just the ticket.

I set out to Seal’s ‘The Beginning’, down the Slope of Hope, past the barking balcony house – they were quiet today. Up the Hill That Kills, and to be honest it did a damn fine job of having a go at me. I have to admit to one stop, I was pooped and hot and yes I know this is less than 1km from the house. But it was after a lovely lunch – that’s my excuse. Anyway I summoned up what little energy and enthusiasm I had and continued down Lovers’ Lane – no lovers there today, it’s too early in the day and the season. Only languid, lounging families lolling on the grass outside Villa Bali, wondering at the stupidity of a middle aged woman running in the afternoon sun.

Back out to Mill Lane past the water pump station – aarrgghh. I mooched on down the Slope of Hope again, all was quiet through the village not a creature was stirring. I hooked a right into Laundry Lane past our friends’ house, bathed in the late afternoon sun, and passed two dog walkers  – one with his dog on a lead. The other just had a dog lead, I never did see a spare dog. Maybe he hasn’t really got one and just carries a lead as a wishful desire? Or he is the ‘spare lead’ person for the original dog walker?

In truth, I know he has a dog, because I’ve seen him before. But his dog had definitely gone awol.

Laundry Lane has a gradual incline and a couple of what I call uppy/downy bits – you can tell my technical running lingo is coming on leaps and bounds with the aid of this challenge. At just beyond the 5k mark on on one of those uppy bits, Prodigy and ‘Breathe’ came on my playlist – never was an instruction so well timed. I continued on towards our friend’s house, and decided that six kms was enough.

Today was marked by good intentions being kept for lunch, but as I found out when I got back home and checked my running plan, I should have done 9km. Perhaps I could have actually checked my plan before going out – that would have been another good intention. Oh well another incident to be filed under Stupid Tart Syndrome

Face Colour – Salsa Red – that’s because it was only 6 clicks…

Good luck to all London Marathon runners tomorrow, my feet are shredded doing this challenge, heaven alone knows how you manage doing 42kms in one go.

Playlist

Seal – The Beginning

Cafe Del Mar – Energy 52, Three N One

Little Fluffy Clouds – The Orb

Shanti – Banco De Gaia

Handbags and Gladrags – Stereophonics

Some Might Say – Oasis

She’s Electric -Ditto

Hush – Kula Shaker

Breathe – The Prodigy

Drop Dead Gorgeous – Republica

Come As You Are – Nirvana

So Why So Sad – The Manics

Have A Nice Day – Stereophonics

Sleepy Maggie – Ashley MacIsaac

TNT For The Brain – Enigma

Stats

Distance 6.33km

Time 47:22

Average Pace 7:29 (I know,  that’s hopeless)

Alzheimer’s Challenge

691.31 kms run

1326.69 still to do

Maybe tomorrow I can break the 700km barrier?

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 Apr – Hypocrites R Us

 

 

 

It is 24 degrees here – yes cooler than the UK but still my first run in proper heat. I am no stranger to running in the heat, in fact last year I had to deal with the summer of Lucifer as they called it here.

A recent post from a fellow C25Ker asked for top tips for running in the heat and this is what I wrote in response to him:-

1. Generally it is better to run in the morning as in the evening the buildings will reflect heat back out and it can be a killer, especially if you’re not used to it.

2. Spec out your running route at the time of day you will usually run it and look for shady areas – these will be your friends when running. Identify suitable water stops – cafes, fountains etc, for the same reason.

3. Very lightweight running layers – vest/shorts if possible, the only thing I don’t go light on is running socks – the padding protects your feet. Dress as if it was 10 degrees hotter than the outside temperature.

4. If very hot, dampen your running vest so that the breeze cools you as you run

5. Do the same to your head, and if you enjoy a full head of hair – put conditioner on it, to stop it frying in the heat. If you don’t have a full head of hair use sunscreen/wet running hat.

6. Make sure you are well hydrated the day before you run

7. I take a small ‘sippy’ bottle of water with me when running, because I find it helps keep me cool – to make it more effective I half fill with water the night before and put in the freezer, then I top up with cold water just before running. This is contentious not least because carrying water puts your body out of running balance, but the NHS guide does allow you to do this. It also has a secondary benefit of keeping one of your hands very cool! And if you swap hands during running – both of them!

8. Suncream…

9. Mosquito repellent – you can and will be bitten if you go out early – the little blighters hang around

10. Expect your natural running pace to deteriorate – your body in the heat is trying to do two things – run and keep you from overheating. As an example I find my ‘natural’ pace worsens by up to 2 minutes a kilometre in the summer over winter. It can be worrying and you run faster to keep your old pace – that can be very dangerous if you’re already hot.

11. Don’t get macho and start introducing hills into runs if you’ve never done them before, hills and heat are also a very bad combination.

So how many of my tried and tested top tips did I use today? – that’s right 3 of them. And one of them isn’t a tip, just an observation really. Ignoring these helpful tips, I struggled to do 12kms today, and got picked up by Mr JCR to take me for a gelato. I forgot to stop Map My Run, so it added in the gelato stop…

Damn good job I am not in the London Marathon on Sunday. With temperatures expected to soar, my top tips would be sorely needed and as a fully paid up member of Hypocrites R Us, I wouldn’t be taking any notice of them anyway. The final photo shows the distinct lack of shade this afternoon and I wanted to cry. My first pic made me smile – I was in the local DIY superstore this morning, and I found ‘Bastarda’ filler, now I wonder if B&Q will start stocking such a fab product, presumably it fills anything, one calls a bastarda.

In summary, today was a bastarda of a run and no-one’s fault but my own. First rule of Hypocrites R Us club, what happens in club stays in the club. Second rule of Hypocrites R Us club; you don’t need to follow the rules.

Playlist

Crazy In Love – Beyonce

Hungry Like The Wolf – Duran Duran

Is She Really Going Out With Him – Joe Jackson

Change – The Lightning Seeds

Mony Mony – Billy Idol

Let’s Go Crazy – His Purple Highness

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

Two Tribes – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

China Girl – David Bowie

Scooby Snacks – Fun Lovin’ Criminals

The Jean Genie – David Bowie

Upside Down – Paloma Faith

By The Way – Red Hot Chilis

Common People – Pulp

Blue Monday – New Order

Let’s Spend The Night Together – David Bowie

Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode

(Forever) Live and Die – OMD (twice)

Doginbag – The Fratellis

Marvin Gaye – Phuth and Traynor

Sign Of The Times – Harry Styles

Just Can’t Get Enough – Depeche Mode

Maid Of Orleans – OMD

London Calling – The Clash

The Reflex – Duran Duran

Barbara Ann – The Beach Boys

Stats

Distance 12.13km

Time 1:34:45

Average Pace 7:48 (mins/km) after gelato recalibration

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms run to date 684.98

Kms to do 1333.02

 

 

 

 

 

18 Apr – It’s All about Ohs and Ahs

On the radio the other day I heard a deejay talk about signs that you are getting old. The indisputable evidence includes:-

  1. Saying ‘When I was a lad/lass’, ‘In my day’, ‘Youngsters today…’
  2. Groaning when sitting down
  3. No longer sitting cross-legged on the floor

I admit to number 3, but in fairness I avoided doing it (a) once I was old enough to afford chairs, and  (b)  when I wasn’t forced by my parents to sit on the floor when the old rellies came to visit for ‘tea’ and they took up all soft seating options.

The groaning – mmm not when sitting down, but with the running challenge I groan pretty much every day. An ‘oh’ when I realise it is yet another running day, and no it’s not a rest day. An ‘ah’ when the run is done. An ‘oh’ when I look at my tech and realise it hasn’t synched (actually the Oh is usually suffixed with an ‘eff’). An ‘ah’ when I realise I’ve passed another mini-milestone. An ‘oh’ when de-sausaging then an ‘ah’ when I hit my steaming hot shower.

In Italy ‘oh’ at the end of a word, generally denotes words of a masculine gender and an ‘ah’ feminine. There are exceptions, but it’s a good rule of thumb. The meaning of a noun  can also be changed quite significantly by the use of an ‘oh’ or an ‘ah’. For example, there is a road on one of my running routes called Via Prugneta, which is more or less Plum Lane. If you change the ending to prugneto, as I did once in error, you elicit gasps of outrage or giggles from your Italian friends. It’s an impolite word for a certain part of the female anatomy.

This extends to other words – a similar ending occurs on a friend’s name – he is called Marco – one is a perfectly harmless nickname, the other less so.

And so to my run, it was 8 kilometres of ‘ohs’ as my poor bod wondered what on earth I was doing, both legs were aching everywhere, I’d been bitten by some kind of nadger, so that was itching, but the flowers on the lanes were out, so that was an ‘ah’ moment. I stumbled in the road ‘oh’ and when you look at the pic above you can see why ‘ah’ that will be a rubbish road surface then…

I finished up near the now infamous ‘Via Prugneta’ she is a cow, she is steep and hard and so I didn’t run up her – I stopped the clock and walked instead. ‘Ah’ JCR you are a coward.

Playlist

Snail – the Smashing Pumpkins

Happy – Pharrell Williams

Smile – Lily Allen

Tigerfeet – Mud

Smile – Gregory Porter

Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice (twice)

Under Pressure – Queen and David Bowie

Easy – Commodores

Nowhere Fast – Eminem and Kehlani

Love In An Elevator – Aerosmith

Compression – Digilio and Accorsi

One Step Beyond – Buster

Rest – Charlotte Gainsbourg

To Jan – Leonard Anderson (this is not aimed at me this is in recognition of a C25K Forum mentor)

Miami Vice Theme – Jan Hammer

Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty

Ju Ju Man – Dave Edmunds

Marathon – Rush

The Streak – Ray Stevens

Help – The Beatles

There Are More Questions Than Answers – Johnny Nash

The Winner – Status Quo

Stats

Distance 8.45kms

Time 1:01:51

Average Pace 7:19 (mins/km)

Alzheimers Challenge

Kms Run 672.85

Kms To run 1345.15

Oh yes and I have now run 1/3 of my challenge target which is 672.66 kms and we are not yet 1/3rd of the way through the year. that’s a very satisfying ‘ah’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14 Apr – When Straight-lining Isn’t Helpful

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The GPRS is playing up, so today the app decided it took me over 10 minutes to run a kilometre, which even by my snail standards is a tad slow. It had already decided at the beginning of my run that I’d sprinted across olive groves, fields of wheat and ignored the roads. So in essence I was about 350 metres down on my measurements of this run. In the challenge I don’t need my app to try and do me favours by straightening my routes, I need all the lumps, bumps and curves I can get.

Speaking of which these lumps, bumps and curves may have set the scene for today’s run as it was all skin and blister. I’ve developed a rather large blister on the top of my big toe  (eeuugghh). No need for a spoiler alert – there isn’t going to be a frightening pic of my goat’s hoof, no-one deserves see it. Except for Mr JCR that is, who had the unenviable task of telling me what it was, seeing as neither my driving glasses or reading glasses, gave me the optical depth of field to see what this thing was on my toe. He manned up and duly gave me the diagnosis, ‘it’s a blister, something has been rubbing the top of your toe’

This is my first honest to goodness visible runner injury since starting the challenge. One blister in almost 650 km, that means I’ve only got another 2 and a bit blisters to the end of the year. Bet you’re looking forward to those updates.

To the run – a quiet warm Saturday afternoon, hardly anyone around, I managed to make about 5km before my first narrow miss, when a very old Fiat Cinquecento and its even older owner, was so dazzled by my pink geometric capris, that he seemed to aim his car towards me. Eek.

With my heartbeat returning somewhat to normal I entered the fish shop village where rampaging hordes of pre-teens came out onto the barely there pavements. One group decided walking three abreast on a teeny tiny pavement would be just the thing to do to a middle aged wheezing runner, so she got pushed out into the road.

My Italian friends M&G say that I am allowed to swear as much as I like in English because nobody knows the words, therefore my swearing doesn’t count. Calling three 12 year olds ‘f..kwits’ doesn’t count then. And I’m sure there’s some point in life when English swear words are known – let’s assume it is older than they were, otherwise I may face some local vigilante action. It’s not as if there are lots of batty middle aged English women running the roads of Le Marche, to make me difficult to find. Especially in these snazzy capris.

About two clicks from the finish, everything else went to plan, except when passing two old ladies one who had one of those rat dogs on a leash – and it went for my ankle. That got some choice English language too.

Todays stats for my run, one f….d GPRS, 3 f..kwits, 1 eff off, 1 blister and 9 more effing kms in the bag.

Playlist

Say My Name – Destiny’s Child

Love Is All Around – The Wets

I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston

Killing Me Softly With His Song – The Fugees

Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’Connor

Dub Be Good To Me – Beats International

The Power – SNAP

Killer – Adamski, Seal

The One And Only – Chesney Hawkes

Dizzy – Vic Reeves And The Wonder Stuff

End Of The Road – Boyz II Men

Would I Lie To You? Charles and Eddie

Oh Carolina – Shaggy

Cream – His Purple Highness

Gangsta’s Paradise – Coolio

Move Any Mountain – The Shamen

Devotion – Nomad

The Key, The Secret – Urban Cookie Collective

Everybody’s Free – Rozalla

Stats

Distance 9.23km (estimate because of GPRS failure)

Duration 57:42

Average Pace: 6:15

Elevation Gain 36 metres

Alzheimers Challenge

Kms Run 641.28

Kms to do 1376.72

 

 

 

 

 

13 Apr – Hoxton Hipsters in Le Marche

IMG_1666

Four seasons in one day. The meteo promised me warmer, sunnier weather. The alarm had rung – it was neither warm nor sunny, it was cold and rainy.

Quick change of the running outfit into warmer gear – get a hat out for the rain and running jacket ready. To the front door and it’s stopped raining and is warmer. Remove hat and jacket sleeves and exit. Start run, blimey oh Riley it’s hot. Remove jacket and run back to the house and post jacket into letterbox.

Technology is playing up – on a stretch where I know I’ve only run about 2km I have magically hit 4km in my best ever time of 3 minutes for a km. Mmmm, at this point I decide to re-run precisely the same route as earlier in the week, so I have an accurate view of today’s run.

No Albino and Anouska today, in fact nobody at all, nothing to report, nothing doing, nothing wrong with my body, no pains, aches, twinges. No nasty cars, overly close lorries nada.

A totally, utterly, nothing run,  but then the cycling Hoxton Hipster came into view, with his carefully sculpted beard and ‘tache. he’s not your average Hoxton Hipster. He is a Le Marche Hoxton Hipster, in his black and white cycling gear, streamlined sunglasses and oh so carefully groomed facial hair. If he could cycle in brogues he would, I’m sure.

Did I mention he’s about 70? No, oh he’s about 70, and this is the second time in as many days, that we’ve seen each other. He’s way too cool to talk or signal  that he recognises me, I try a tentative smile. No, no response whatsoever.  This is my new challenge to get a smile out of the Le Marche Hoxton Hipster…, that may mean I keep on having to do very long runs and he may think I’m stalking him. Oh well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Playlist

A New England – Billy Bragg

London Calling – The Clash

Strong – London Grammar

No Particular Place To Go – Chuck Berry

Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles

Rio – Duran Duran

Belfast Child – Simple Minds

Going Down To Liverpool – The Bangles

Tokyo Joe – Bryan Ferry

Boston Tea Party – Sensational Alex Harvey Band

California Dreaming – The Mamas and The Papas

Take My Breath Away – Berlin

Avalon – Roxy Music

Grease – Frankie Valli

Japanese Boy – Aneka

What A Wonderful World – Sam Cooke

Rhythm Is Going To Get You – Gloria Estefan & The Miami Sound Machine

Streets of Philadelphia – The Boss

San Francisco – Scott Mackenzie

Downtown – Petula Clark

Barbados – Typically Tropical

Stats

Distance 12.13 ( recalibrated as the tech said it was 15.4km)

Time 1:17:59 (yay 7 minutes faster than the last time I did it)

Average Pace 6:25 (mins/km)

Elevation gain 124 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 632.05km

Kms to Run 1385.95

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 10 – Teenage Tantrums

IMG_1659

I hate mornings, I really, really hate mornings, I’ve always hated mornings. The only good thing about a morning is that a lunch is never far away. Listening to the radio X hours later, the presenter now says that early risers are just irritating, very efficient and productive. According to the Sleep School Founder we each have chronotypes – larks, owls and hummingbirds. Teenagers are an especially sleep-deprived group and that’s how I feel when the alarm goes off. I am a teenage owl, except I can’t cope with late nights either, maybe I’m a teenage sloth?

In my zombie state, I get changed and go out. It is coolish and very windy, brrr. I do my warm up walk up Mill Lane, past the Water pumping station grrr, and then turn into the hill that kills, to start my descent. By the time I am out of the slope of hope, the weather has changed, it is now warm, sunny and no wind. At the 1km mark, I am performing origami striptease moves, designed so I don’t have to stop running. Except I end up as a tangle of wires, sleeves and middle aged women’s hankies all over the place. Okay, JCR just stop, adjust clothing and then move on.

At 2km, the running tights are being rolled up Compo style above the knees, in a vague attempt to cool me down. It isn’t working and whilst I can’t see my face, I have a feeling I am glowing brightly. Through the cobbled streets of the village I come across my first co-runner, he is running uphill (with my challenge, running up the hills of Le Marche is something I will do occasionally). We wave and smile, and then coming towards me is my first cyclist. Let’s just say I don’t think he’s been on a bike for a while. His knees are at right angles to the bike frame, his face is very red, and he sort of waves and gasps in acknowledgment. In fairness to him, had I felt that bad, I think I’d have conserved every bit of energy I had, just to keeping going.

Further on down the hill, another 2 cyclists coming up the hill, they just zoomed past, no waves, no gasps, nothing. Around the corner I see my second runner, in fluoro green and black shorts, he is loping lazily and he looks substantially cooler than I am. At this stage, I have rolled up every bit of lycra I can to keep cool. Now I realise it is about 11am, it is only 17 degrees and we are nowhere near summer temperatures yet. This means, I am going to have to get up earlier to avoid the sun and the heat, and start carrying a water bottle too, to keep me cool.

To go back to my original teenage tantrum, I hate mornings, I really, really hate mornings, I’ve always hated mornings. And now I am going to have to start getting up early in the mornings. This challenge is taking on menacing overtones. Only upside is I was back in the top 2% on the global challenge again – in fairness this only lasted about an hour – I’m back at 3% now.

Face Colour – Salsa Red

Playlist

Break My Stride – Matthew Wilder

Hold Me Now – Thompson Twins

Cars – Gary Numan

You Spin Me Round – Dead Or Alive

Uptown Girl – Billy Joel

Living On The Ceiling – Blancmange

Eighties – Killing Joke

Liberator – Spear Of Destiny

Gold – Spandau Ballet

Talk Talk – Talk Talk

Don’t Go – Yazoo

Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Tears For Fears

I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty

I Ran (Flock Of Seagulls)

Tainted Love – Soft Cell

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club

Don’t You Want Me – Human League

I’m Still Standing – Elton John

Stats

Distance 9.03km (I ran around the car park at the cafe a few time to get to 9)

Time 58:14

Average Pace 6:26 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 35 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 612.76

Kms To Do 1405.24

 

 

 

 

9 Apr – Students, Stones and Socks

Not such a bright day today – about 11 degrees and very London in colour. Still no peace for the stupid, I agreed with Mr JCR that I’d run down to the coffee shop and he’d meet me there for breakfast.

First off, up Mill Lane – past the Water Pumping Station, where I flicked a V sign. I realise it’s not its fault our water leak, but that bloody station often conks out – why oh why not this time? Anyway, up to Lovers’ Lane and Villa Bali, back to its usual coachload of school children on the obligatory science trip. As I ran around the grounds, one smart-arse yoof, decided it would be fun to mimic my running. As he did, he tripped over. I didn’t laugh although was sorely tempted, but he got his comeuppance with a roar of laughter and catcalls from the other students.

Continuing on down the hill that kills, and slope of hope, turning into the bendy, scary road. It’s always quiet on a Monday morning, most shops are shut and there’s not so many folk around. One lone cyclist came into view – it’s the ninja O.A.P., who I see quite often, fair play to him I was running downhill, he was cycling uphill. At that point the bendy, scary road lived up to its reputation with two school buses coming up behind me and a large freight lorry coming towards me. All that metal, it wasn’t worth the fight, so I stopped. Re-starting, I had stones in my shoe – stopped again, removed stone. Carried on for all of 10 metres, then there was another stone in the other one, and my sock has lost some elasticity, so my left trainer was rubbing my heel. Minor wardrobe adjustments made, I then carried on. Turning at the fish shop, I was now on the home stretch, although this part of the road runs parallel to the Via Flaminia (which is nice and flattish), but the road I’m on fools you – it starts off on a gentle slope down, but then bites you on the bum and reverts back to type – uphill and nasty.

My final schlep was on the Via Flaminia itself, where I took shelter from the thundering juggernauts and finally made it to the cafe for a well-earned cappuccino and pastry. Oh and my final ’S’ for today – I have broken the 600km barrier.

Playlist

Night Fever  – Bee Gees

Ruby – Kaiser Chiefs

Glory Days – The Boss

Hungry Like The Wolf – Duran Duran

She’s Electric – Oasis

London Calling – The Clash

Locomotion – OMD

Cabron – Red Hot Chilis

Marvin Gaye – Phuth and Traynor

Walk Like An Egyptian – The Bangles

Na Na Na Naa – Kaiser Chiefs

Upside Down – Paloma Faith

It’s Called A Heart – Depeche Mode

Back To Black – Amy Winehouse

I Try – Macy Gray

Enola Gay – OMD

Two Tribes – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Dance Away – Roxy Music

Help me Rhonda – The Beach Boys

Stats

Distance 10.23km

Time 1:05:05

Average Pace 6:21

Elevation Gain 42 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 603.73

Kms to Do 1414.27