If you look closely, you can see Islington’s Christmas lights…, I realised in all my glamorous running for Bev’s mojo, that I had not highlighted the amazing Islington Christmas spectacle.
A basic local run today, and not a lot to say. It was cold, but we had blue skies and I saw just one fellow runner, he was wearing shorts and a tee shirt, with a grimace. I’m not surprised at the look on his face, it was a bit cooler than perhaps he’d imagined when he first set out. I on the other hand was sporting a matching blue running jacket, non-droopy running tights, sexy new Hokas and a stupid grin, because I’m just about a week away from doing my challenge.
Pride or smugness may well come before a fall, and whilst I don’t want to hex it, I do think this challenge is in the bag. At the fish shop, Robbie asked me how I was doing and he whistled when I told him – he said I was looking well on it (maybe that’s because he wants me to keep buying my fish from him)
Not entirely sure Bev’s mojo will have been Islington way though, I think she’d look at the three stars and shake her head sadly at the lack of bling. 8kms done, listening to a mix of covers and Christmas songs. Not fast, not slow, but a lovely pootle on a lovely day.
Good Year For The Roses – Elvis Costello and The Attractions
Monday morning blues – no not me, another blue sky day in London, so what to do. Get dressed and go for a run. With a new £50 sponsorship donation geeing me on, I wanted to get under the 50kms to go mark.
Blue skies, but chilly – okay JCR, load up on the layers – underwear yup, socks yup, leggings yup, base layer yup, running top – the famous fish carrying top yup, bobble hat yup, gloves yup. Oh yes, it’s the droopy yoga leggings again – this could be an eventful run.
Take a deep breath and enter the cold zone. Actually I think I may have overlayered, but let’s just carry on and see. It’s another trip up West, the City is busy and the crowds thin in and around Holborn and the Inns of Court. Hitch up the leggings! Looking ahead beyond Chancery Lane, town is looking a little more hectic. Okay JCR time to take a diversion, and mooch along to Great Ormond Street Hospital. It’s often busy here with ambulances and lots of patients outside of the hospital, but today it is very quiet – thank goodness as I need a second hitch of the leggings. I’m about half way into my run and I think about running home. Heading towards Kingsway, I see the lovely blingy doorway above. I’ve never thought of a purple and gold colour way – very Roman imperial for Christmas. However we don’t live in a blingy place and I think Mr JCR will have me certified as mad if I suggest a new colour way for Christmas decorations, especially when we have an apartment with hardly any storage space.
At this stage, I am seriously overheating – that means hat off, gloves off, fish running top off – third leggings hitch. Place all items in fish carrying pocket, tie my top around my waist – re-hitch the leggings. Try to elegantly wipe a river of sweat from my face, whilst admiring the blingy doorway. I’m sure my running friend Bev said her mojo is sparkly and purple – if so Bev, I think I’ve found her, hiding in this doorway. A mojo shouldn’t be away from home at this time of year, what is it I can do to get her back to you?
I turn back towards Fleet Street, the crowds are gathering for lunch, with many queues for fast food spilling onto the pavement. Mmm fast food, what am I going to do for lunch and dinner? Well it wouldn’t be a London run, if I didn’t go shopping. It’s just a couple of kms away from home, and my thoughts turn Italian. After a month away from Italy, we’ll be having pasta for dinner – the thought of food powers my legs, but increasing the speed, unfortunately increases the rate at which my leggings droop. That’s five hitches in one run.
Fortunately, droopy leggings notwithstanding, this run has gone without a hitch. And the £50 sponsorship did its job, I managed to get to the less than 50kms to go mark. Now I find myself sporting a MonaLisaesque enigmatic smile – 14 days to go and about 49kms to run. I’ve actually got to slow down, otherwise I’ll finish early, which is sorely tempting, but not possible, as I’ve made some promises about Christmas Eve being the final D -Day (done day).
iTunes had many a hitch – with most tracks only playing for 10 seconds only. After a while I gave it up, but these are the tracks I actually heard in full.
for the trees. The old idiom of not being able to see a situation clearly because you are too involved in the details, and I must admit I am in grave danger of being that person.
I keep looking at the kms to go and am frantically re-working my excel spreadsheet to see how I can manage my runs. And I’ve suddenly realised it’s a pointless exercise. Other than one of the three Ds occurring (death, disaster or disease), I am going to get the challenge done, so there’s no point in sweating over the details. Most days when I run I take a peek at my plan, then promptly ignore it when I’m out and about. I take my cue from how I feel when I’m out and about. Therefore no more excel jockeying for me. Saturday morning the weather was uncommonly beautiful, a gorgeous crisp blue sky day in London, in December. Who could resist the invitation to run? For sure not me.
Bev’s mo jo is being remarkably stubborn – nowhere to be seen in London and apparently not to be found in Yorkshire either. But Bev has been running on her own mojo hunt, and after my rubbish Thursday run, I took the opportunity to re-think my mojo hunting strategy. It’s Christmas almost and Trafalgar Square has its traditional Norwegian Christmas Tree up. Now most years I don’t ever really focus on it – it’s part of the scenery. But it is a lovely enduring tradition. If the Norwegians can keep sending us trees year after year, then the least I can do is run there and see if the mojo is hiding amongst its branches. It seems a great place to hide. Lots of folk around for company, most people smiling because it’s Christmas, twinkly sparkly lights too, oh and lions to guard you in case you are feeling scared.
I set off through the City, the Inns of Court and made my way towards the Strand, it was all nice and quiet, save for the quiet sound of my natty new running leggings sliding down my legs… Now this was a classic case of they look good and I want them, so I’ll buy them. I did recognise that they were actually yoga tights, and didn’t have a runner’s drawstring around the waist. A rather unladylike hoist to pull them back up so I don’t look like a young teenage boy with my knickers showing…, and I continue down the Strand and arrive at Trafalgar Square – already getting quite busy, with plenty of tourists taking selfies and me taking a few minutes out to look for Bev’s mojo amongst the branches of the tree. To be honest no sign of it, so I’m guessing the mojo may have passed here a while ago…
I turn towards home and run along the Embankment Gardens and take a left hook past the Savoy – Bev’s mojo is a classy bird I understand, maybe she dropped in for afternoon tea? Back along Fleet Street, the crowds are building up and near St Pauls required all of my ninja running skills. It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t add some Christmas spice to my running… I’ve done my famous bread running, fish running, crab running and now I can add Christmas gift wrap running to the mix. We need some gift wrap, I am passing a glittery, blinged up display – in a previous life I must have been a magpie, I am always attracted to glitter. Not being able to resist the glitz, I pause my run, buy some bling, and re-start. Even in this palace of glitter and bling no sign of a mojo – I do hope she’s closer to Yorkshire now. My final 1km towards home, another unladylike hoist of the sliding leggings and I arrive home.
Success – 9kms done, giftwrap bought, and modesty maintained.
Downside – where is this pesky mojo?
Major encouragement – a donation from our Italian friends M&L, – they’ve made me determined to get under the 50km to go mark, next time out. £50 donated is a really big spur to get me under the magic 50km – grazie, grazie, grazie.
Rumour Has It – Adele
Sign Of The Times – Harry Styles
Cabron – Red Hot Chilis
Girl From Mars – Ash
Einstein A Go-Go – Landscape
Purple Rain, When Doves Cry – His Purple Highness
Glamorous Indie Rock and Roll – Killers
Breaking Us In Two – Joe Jackson
Barbara Ann – The Beach Boys
London Calling – The Clash
Modern Way – The Kaiser Chiefs
Personal Jesus, It’s Called A Heart – Depeche Mode
Every Day I Love You Less and Less – Kaiser Chiefs
Yesterday a migraine stopped play and today I had the migraine hangover – muzzy head, light sensitivity, and a mild thump. I took some ibuprofen and a nice mug of tea and got on my way.
Only needed to do 8km to stay on my plan, and I didn’t really have anywhere in mind to go. Bev’s mojo appears to have had enough of London’s bright lights and may be headed back to the calming countryside of Yorkshire and who can blame her? So without a mojo hunt in mind, I was curiously adrift on where to go. I headed towards the City and looped up to Islington. Gosh today I am slow, and lethargic and I don’t really know why. 2kms in and I take a pause. 3kms in near Islington’s Upper Street and I take another pause. I don’t feel bad, just not quite right, it’s as though my legs aren’t my own, they feel curiously disconnected, a bit like running with cotton wool for legs, rather than ‘leg-feeling’ legs.
I continue on and to be honest it’s a plod, neither my heart nor legs are in today’s run. Mr JCR occasionally complaints of energy depletion, when all of a sudden he feels like one of those cartoonishly characters when the blood drains from their faces, and they look ghost-like. I think that is what I’ve got – cartoon blood draining syndrome. You heard it here first! Normally I feel quite bouncy and happily tired after a run. Today is just not one off those days. Still despite my cotton wool legs and ghost like face, it is :-
You can’t always have a perfect run, I’m glad I did it and just writing this one off as a bad day at the office. As the dictionary definition says, I’m moving unsteadily in a particular direction – and that direction is the 2018kms marker.
I genuinely can’t remember which playlist it was at all…
Monday morning, it’s grey, not so cold and according to the weather the chances of rain increase substantially in the afternoon. Therefore a good time to get out and do a recce run for my upcoming cultural adventure, of going with my ‘nearly’ god daughter M, her mum G, and friends C & M to see the Nutcracker. G has booked a restaurant up west and I wanted to know exactly where it was as my skills as getting lost are quite legendary. It’s a right and left problem for me. When we were all hunter gatherers, I most definitely would have been eaten by a man-eating beast of some description. Oh the shame and thank goodness for GPRS.
I started out in the City and made my way up West and it was all going rather nice and gentle. I had on my new trainers, but had over-layered on top, with 2 base layers and a rain jacket just in case. At the 1km stage I was beetroot red and the sweat was pouring off me. Quick adjustments and one rain jacket tied around my waist, so I started up again. Aarggh, still too warm, off comes the second layer – and added onto the waistline. At this point I was looking like the ‘coat hanger’ friend at a funfair – you know the type – everyone is on the dodgers/rollercoaster/log flume and there’s the coat hanger friend, cheering everyone on under a mountain of coats.
Okay JCR this is not so great, slow the pace down, to keep the heat down and find the restaurant. It was easy peasy to find, just not exactly where I thought it was. A mental note made and I was on my way. The weather app had obviously failed to spot a huge great lump of rain that dropped like a water bomb. I was already sweaty on the inside and now was getting wet from the outside. Clambering back into the layers, I’d discarded earlier, I decided to cut short the run and aim for home, the quickest way through Long Acre.
At this point Mistress Fate stepped in, the rain was really chucking it down, and I saw my salvation – a Lululemon store. Well I was wearing their running tights and their running jacket, so it would have been a shame not to go in. And it would also have been a shame not to have a look around, and an even greater shame not to have used the credit card I had cunningly packed ‘just in case’. To my shame, I managed to spend an obscene amount of money in the 12 minutes the rainstorm took to pass over. Then instead of my usual fish running adventures, I proceeded to run through Covent Garden, Inns of Court and the City, all the way back home, with a heavily packed Lululemon bag tucked under my arm. It did hamper the last 3.5kms timing, but I liked the stuff I’d bought, so I justified the slower running pace by mentally claiming I’d been carrying weights. Utterly self delusional!!
Any chance of me finding Bev’s mojo in that weather, were somewhat reduced as I was distracted by the kitbag. But I did get just over 9kms done, so it was a good contribution to my running total – that’s a salvation of a sort.
The cheery, but out of season cherry tree, was seen the following on day, on my return trip up West to return two out of the four items bought in the rain! So my shopping frenzy shame, was saved by my inability to guess my own leg size – I think they’ve shortened with all this running;)
Going back to Razouski’s list
Baggy Trousers -Madness
Be My Number Two – Joe Jackson
Beat It – Michael Jackson
Blasphemous Rumours – Depeche Mode
Can You Feel It – The Jacksons
Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? – Culture Club
Dreaming of Me – Depeche Mode
Get Dancin’ Disco Tex and His Sex-O-Lettes
Go Wild In The Country – Bow Wow Wow
I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me – Nik Kershaw
The Look of Love – ABC
Love’s Unkind – Donna Summer
Lose Yourself – Eminem
Night Fever – Bee Gees
Oliver’s Army – Elvis Costello and The Attractions
Last run for November and I have to do more than 8kms to get under the 100km to go barrier.
First up, I have to do a mini-stop at a shop to get a refund for an order (the truck got hijacked and my order has gone AWOL along with 20 other orders too). I remember very clearly saying to the woman on the phone ‘The local store will know that this order has been cancelled and they will be able to refund me won’t they?’ I knew I shouldn’t have believed her when 1km into my run, a short pause became a long stop, waiting for a shop assistant to have to phone the same number that had phoned me… 15 minutes later, my pause and patience were both up. I left the shop in a strop, without my refund.
As I stomped along Holborn, I decided the best thing do was to go shopping in a shop where I am known, they usually have the stock, and things are simple. So I run-stomped my way back to the fish shop, obviously my fish carrying pouch top was being washed after its last outing with two crabs and a sea bass, so I was reliant on good old fashioned hands to carry my wares home.
And it was bliss, a nice run, the weather was quite warm, not many folk around, clear pavements and my new trainers – Hokas – were really bouncy. I bought my salmon, Robbie and Sam at the shop asked how my challenge was going and wished me luck. With more of a spring in my step, I pootled off home, and in Fortune Park – a great name for not such a great space, I chased a squirrel all along the path. I was holding my salmon, he was clutching on to an acorn, both of us scurrying home with our dinners.
And now a small sigh of satisfaction escapes my lips – I have now fewer than 100kms to run. Albeit a tiny smidgeon less than 100kms, but job done, and my earlier strop has been run totally out of my system.
This was supposed to be the Mummycav mix, but the fruit phone had a fit…
Just occasionally our Italian and London lives coincide, or collide may be a better description, and so it was today. Rewind about a month ago and local Italian friends said they may be coming to London. Stay with us we said, it’ll be a bit tight, it’s only a 2 bed apartment, but we can manage. The only thing is please don’t book the week of the 26th November as we already have friends staying….
Monday morning, WhatsApp starts going a bit crazy ‘hello, we arrived yesterday, we are in Regent Street’. Okay so we don’t have to provide accommodation, but similarly we do have a schedule with our British friends who are arriving that afternoon – booked about 6 months in advance. This is the collision point – Brits organised, Italians a little less so. Our very good friends N&A very graciously, were relaxed at the thought of us leaving them for a couple of hours so we could meet up with our Italian friends for an impromptu breakfast yesterday.
I still wanted to get in a run, so suggested to Mr JCR that I’d wear my running gear for breakfast and run back home afterwards, and do some shopping en route. My usual fish shop challenge. Breakfast just around the corner from the British Museum was fab and it was nice to see G and family, whilst they were here. Then Mr JCR and I parted company. I ran towards Islington and the famous fish shop – well famous in my London running life. I was wearing my super smooth Lululemon running top with kangaroo pouch pocket, perfectly designed for carrying fish. At the shop – half way through my run, I chose the fish with care – a huge bass and two crabs.
Then followed the dance of the fish pouching. And I had a choice the crabs could be carried in my pouch, or the bass. Just not both. Clearly to paraphrase from Jaws, I needed a bigger pouch. Okay, I’ve run before carrying a baguette, how hard can it be running with crabs in my pouch and a big bass in my hand?
First of all, the crabs despite being cooked crab, had a momentum all of their own, there was a veritable rock pool sloshing around my middle. Okay the waves of crustaceans could be calmed down by me putting my left hand in my pouch to hold them down. Think Napoleon, only female, not French, nor wearing a silly hat. It’s not a great running style with one hand jammed in your pouch holding down Crabby Crab and his mate Crabby McCrabface.
I haven’t forgotten Billy Bass, now he was a beauty and made for 4 people, which meant he was shorter than your average baguette, but about 3 times as heavy. Billy had to be carried in my non crab-calming hand. And there’s another difference between a baguette and Billy. Baguettes are firm and don’t ripple. Billy on the other hand was a combination of perfectly undulating pescatarian muscle. Yup and that means he was equally at home rippling through the air, as he would have been in the ocean. So picture the scene, one hand jammed holding down two crabs in my pouch, in my right hand a Billy bass metronome was flipping and flopping all the way home. Of course I kept on losing my grip with Billy, so I did some hand swapping – right hands holding the crabs and left hand holding Billy. In all the faff, I totally failed to look for Bev’s mojo, although I am certain she probably wasn’t anywhere near my pouch…
I got home, de-crabbed my pouch and placed a rather battered Billy Bass in the fridge. The run was short today – just over 5km, but truthfully being a mobile fish runner is quite hard and I’m not sure it was awfully helpful either to my running or to our dinner later on.
A quick lunch and we whizzed to the theatre to see A Very Very Very Dark Matter – a modern dark parable about colonialism and its effects. This has certainly polarised the critics and the line I did love was Catherine Dickens saying to her husband in a posh voice ‘You’re shitting me’. It was a fantasy performance and very odd, I’m still not sure if I liked it or rated it, but I did enjoy parts of it. And that was exactly like my run, I started off enjoying it, and it got very odd when I was fish pouching/crab managing and bass dancing. It was a complete distraction from the norm, so much so I know I listened to a playlist, and I know it was the Best Covers playlist, but I have no recollection of any of the tracks.