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 2 – Being an Iguana

Hardly a Galapagos Racing Snake, not even a harmless grass snake…

Saturday – Rest day, scorchio, who the hell runs in 90+ degrees of heat?An iguana maybe?

Sunday – Peeing down buckets, so devote day to ‘admin’ and F1 Grand Prix – well done Lewis

Monday – Peeing down buckets, so devote more of day to admin

Tuesday – Mr Blue Sky returns – and so does JCR

Three days on and off of rain and the temperature has dropped from Saturday’s high of 37 degrees that’s 98 in old money to a balmier 23 degrees.

The alarm has gone, but because the temperature is cooler it’s a much more tolerable 7am alarm call, with a gentle waking up, cup of coffee and altogether more civilised exit from the house.

Mr JCR going his own way to the Panoramica in Pesaro, me to reacquaint myself with the Hill That Kills loop.

My warm up walk takes me towards the Slope of Hope, and I espy a snake in the road. Ugh, we get lots of bischi here – grass snakes who when small are a pale grey colour, but turn much darker when old with a yellow/cream collar. Quite scary when you see them, especially if you’re a toad or a lizard I guess.

Clearly I’ve ended up with lockdown myopia, because it’s not a snake, it’s a bit of bungee cord. Oh well so much for my version of David Attenborough’s Galapagos Racer Snakes commentary;)

Moving on towards Mill Lane, it’s nice and cool and in the distance one of my neighbours is getting his tractor ready for more harvesting, I wave hello. I think he has lockdown myopia, as he didn’t respond.

Crossing towards Lovers’ Lane I see our friend F in his Land Rover and I wave at him too. Okay that’s the third case of lockdown myopia – I didn’t get an acknowledgment at all.

Mmm, I have showered so it’s not a bad case of body odour keeping him away, I’m wearing dayglo running gear, hard to ignore really, unlike iguanas who have in-built camouflage, I’m obviously there. Maybe he just didn’t recognise me? I get on up Lovers’ Lane and pass a fellow runner, she looks a lot better than I do, as though she was really in the groove. But I’ve yet to find my running mojo this year. Maybe retrying in the heat of summer was a bad idea, as I can’t truly recall having a ‘lovely’ run so far this year.

Today is much better though, as it’s cooler and already I’ve dropped one minute from my previous kilometre’s time, managing 1 km in six minutes something as opposed to 8/9/10/11  minutes at the worst of the heat in Summer. This is encouraging and I feel emboldened to try and run up the Slope of No Hope. I prep myself by a nice easy downward run on the Hill That Kills and turn to my right up the slope. I do another loop of Lovers’ Lane and THTK and turn right for the final Slope of No Hope attempt.

Hurtling towards me are two racing cyclists, which is both a good and bad thing. Good because this means I won’t give up running up the hill, as it would be wimping out. Bad because I’m not sure that I can actually run up that hill.

As it was I managed to run for most of it and then fate intervened, a large pick up lorry, and two cars were coming down the hill followed by our friend P and our dog share Argo. Not enough room for all of us so I stood aside gallantly (more truthfully because I needed to regain the puff).

Thank goodness someone actually recognised me, P said it was nice to see me and she hoped I got a good welcome when I got back home – a nice sentiment even if actually I got bitten five times on the legs by some unknown bitey creature upon entering the garden. Not the kind of welcome you want really.

But then watching those iguanas entering the world to a welcome of Galapagos Racing Snakes, I reckon I got a better deal, I got bitten but at least I’m alive to tell the tale!

Stats

Distance 5.25 kms

Time – better but still nowhere near my best

Physio

Yes – all the leggy stuff, although I didn’t do squats

Jump Rope

23, 43, 19, 1, 22

Still a way off my target of 100 consecutive jumps, but for someone possessed of no co-ordination I didn’t think it was too bad.

Music

It was a Spotify ‘compiled for you’ list for a change in which Duran Duran featured a lot, but funnily enough no sign of ‘The Union Of The Snake’, which as it was a bungee cord, is appropriate I guess.

 

 

 

 

 

Week 19 Run 1 – The Hills are Alive…

with the sound of an asthmatic, chain smoking, drunk and sweary labrador.

It’s 3am, I’m awake and downloading the newspaper

It’s 4am, I’m awake and reading the newspaper

It’s 5am, I’m awake and finished reading the newspaper

It’s 6am, the alarm finally catches up with me and to his total surprise so does Mr JCR.

My teenage sleeping habits are legendary and there’s never been a day in recent memory when I am awake and more to the point conscious, when Mr JCR  wakes up.

Running kit ready, temperature ready – nice and cloudy and only about 19 degrees, which is positively Arctic for us at this time of year.

Where to go?, well I sort of promised I’d do some hill running and try and break the 4km barrier whilst doing it. So off I trot on a different route. Turning left out onto the Bitch of a Pitch, I decide to take Laundry Lane in reverse and take the windy curvy incline. No time limits you understand, just keep running and if I need a breather, then I’ll take one.

Today is a better day because the email problem is half solved – only half way because I’ve found the emails but just can’t seem to answer them. So I no longer feel totally like the international criminal my nearest and dearest know me to be.

The Bitch of a Pitch is aptly named, steep with lots of blind bends and some of the crazier Italian drivers believing they can see around corners, and then they suddenly see me and realise they can’t and undertake manoeuvres more at home on racing track skid pans.

My descent down the Bitch is incident free and I take a hook left onto Prune Way. This is always a test because descending is so steep and the road is semi gravel, so it’s very easy to lose your footing, except on this occasion I don’t and successfully land at the bottom. I don’t wear trail shoes for running, just standard trainers, but probably I could do with a pair more grippy.

Another hook left onto Laundry Lane, which all of a sudden seems a lot more daunting than when I jauntily decided I’d do some hills. And so I start my slow ascent. Well to be honest it was fast/slow. I started running fast and then taking a breather. But rather like an asthmatic labrador  or a 60 a day smoker, I ended up taking heaving, great gulps of air in an attempt to fool myself that I was fine.

I gave myself the usual milestones – ‘if you can just get to that tree that’s fine’, ‘okay now aim for that road sign’, ‘you’re allowed to stop on that cracked bit of tarmac’.

That last ‘milestone’ in fact could relate to the whole road, smooth well laid tarmac is an art. An art which Italy appears to have forgotten. There was a great meme doing the rounds a few years ago  comparing Roman built roads with the now infamous newly opened motorway in Sicily which collapsed within days of opening. But I don’t think I can ask the local council to lay cobbles and then I’m not sure I could run on them anyway.

The first major bend was in view and a car was coming up behind me and slowed down – I’m sure they couldn’t believe someone was stupid enough to run up the hill. It was embarrassing as he kept behind me for a while, just watching and of course that made me want to try harder, which just mean I ran out of puff quicker. So he witnessed an impressive turn of speed over all of about 10 metres, followed by the asthmatic labrador impersonation.

Thank goodness he didn’t stay long enough to witness me climb the rest of the ruthless staircase that is Laundry Lane. I managed to trip over some invisible objects on the road, looking now like an asthmatic, chain smoking and very drunk labrador.

Third bend in and two cyclists overtook me (not hard of course, they had gears, I just had legs…)

Fourth bend and past another yappy dog house. For the avoidance of doubt, I love dogs, but a lot of Italians keep their dogs outside in the summer, so with their extraordinary hearing they can hear the drunk, asthmatic labrador woman at least a mile off. This gives them time to prepare for the barking shock. Whereas me without laser powered eyesight, I don’t know whether the dogs are there until they bark, hence a lot of my runs are punctuated by the f bomb, the ‘shits’ and the Piss off chorus.

It took a while but I managed  to do the bends and I ran them all, yes I took breathers, actually they were more or less coffee breaks, but minus the coffee. As I ran past our old friends’ house I toyed with the idea of continuing the run to the village, but then I heard from Mechanical Voice Lady that I was at the 4.5km mark.

Enough was enough, I’d climbed 132 metres in the run and most of that within a 2km stretch. Feeling pretty good about my achievement, I’d totally forgotten about another ‘dog house’ this one manned by two dogs or rather dogged by two dogs. Previously I’d thought the Alsatian was quite benign, because he never made a sound when I passed it was just his buddy. Thinking about it he did have a protective cone on his head for a few weeks, so maybe that stopped him from barking.

Of course here am I in my ‘achievement glow’ and I got totally barked off the road, I leapt higher than Bob Beamon. To be honest they got the full JCR swearing treatment.  “You effing dogs…. shit that frightened me, why don’t you just piss off?’ Now I don’t know if Italian dogs are familiar with English swear words, but they will be by the time I’ve finished my hill training.

Having regained my composure, I was doing my warm down walk past those pesky chihuahuas.

Sure enough they started too, they just got a fairly loud ‘Just F off’. Now normally when I’m running it’s later in the morning and the owners are out at work. I’d totally forgotten it was just after 7am, mmm, I wonder what those families feel about their rather ripe language alarm clock.

Summary,  the hills are alive with the sound of a chain smoking, asthmatic, swearing  labrador.

I’m sure Julie Andrews could come up with a suitable musical lyric, if not the hills are alive how about an alternative to supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?

I’m thinking shittyeffingbarkinghoundsareatrocious…:)

Stats

Distance 4.51km

Elevation Gain 132m (in about 2km of running)

Time – horrid

Physio – Nope, but I am regretting it

Jump Rope – oh how 2 weeks off makes a difference – 32 skips, 23, 12 4 and 5, with five slapped arses for my trouble

Playlist

Time and Distance playlist

Best track – 7 years Lukas Graham, just because it didn’t take me 7 years to climb that hill

Week 18 Run 3 – Hacked Off

Another day and another run beckoned after my extended break. Sunday morning, day is dawning, JCR is yawning

It’s about 8am and I’ve left it a little too late for comfort, but decide to go for a shortish loop given the heat.

First of all my route march/warm up 5 minutes, outside the house up to the Bitch of a Pitch and back again, and I start in earnest down Argo’s loop.

Argo has been suspiciously absent from our lives in his role as official dog share, he usually barrels up when Mr JCR is mowing the lawn, but I think he’s gone off us since we fenced our garden and he has to use his very own passenger gate.

He’s a bit hacked off and so am I. For the umpteenth time all my email access has been suspended, supposedly because my id/password has been compromised. We’ve changed it pretty much once a week every week for the past six and it’s beginning to bug me. Originally we were told it was because my email account was sending phishing and spam emails, all without me knowing. What fun, I wonder if I am a Nigerian prince/princess desperately in need of help to release some much needed funds. Or maybe it’s one of those once in a lifetime investment opportunities – suffice it to say, if I had been scamming folk, I was pretty inept at it as I haven’t received a penny from anyone.

I lost two hours of my life on an online help chat which is effectively an oxymoron, because it wasn’t in the least bit helpful and I certainly wasn’t chatty. Apparently I am on a ‘watch list’ or rather my phone’s IP address is, so every time I answered an email on my phone, my mail server said ‘Oops, she’s dodgy let’s stop the account. Mail server folk said get your mobile provider to either remove your IP from the watch list or change your IP. Mobile phone people said, we haven’t done anything, there’s no reason for us to have done anything and we can’t in any event change your IP address. have you tried talking to your mail server people?

Two hours and absolutely nothing has changed. Oh except it has, it totally screwed up my mail accounts, resulting in us (I say us – Mr JCR really) having to delete all my mail accounts and starting afresh. Which if I wasn’t on a management company for our apartment building pursuing a claim for faulty cladding like Grenfell, would be all well and good.

We had to rebuild the mail because about 40 offline folders and their contents spanning two years of effort had disappeared without trace. Yikes. Then luckily the laptop seemed to shake itself back into life and spent the rest of the day rebuilding the 3000+ relevant/vital emails.

At the time of my run, I was still in no email limbo and a little bit preoccupied as to what I should do, as I’m not a criminal and can’t really prove that I haven’t been phishing/spamming anyone. Mulling over the possibilities I made my way to Laundry Lane – turning right and missing Argo’s house, I passed the beagle kennels. A cacophony of barking rang out – that’s all I needed as I was due to run past the horrid yappy dog house, where these two nasty, vicious chihuahuas with their joint inferiority complex, take a running jump at their fence and bark like crazy. Yup they did, and I dropped the f bomb loudly. Unfortunately, my next run past a house has an Alsatian and a Heinz 57 mutt, who similarly decided today was a good day for frightening an English runner. Another round of very aggressive barking and I followed suit with a crisp ‘Piss Off’.

At that point a rather large black grass snake slithered rapidly into its den, this run was turning into the stuff of nightmares. All I needed was someone behind me saying ‘Here’s Johnny’ and the run couldn’t have got much worse. Except it did, It was hot and I wasn’t really feeling the love for running. Oh and did I mention, that Map My Run wasn’t working either? Mechanical Voice Lady decided that today she was in ‘waiting’ mode. Quite what for I never actually found out, as she was out of waiting when I got back home.

So I didn’t really have a clue as to how fast/far, except my feet felt leaden. Some days are like this, but often if I get some company or something happens it jogs me out of the doldrums, but not today. I ran up Laundry Lane to our old friend’s G & B, to see their ex-house, and looped back down Laundry Lane the sun was baking now and there wasn’t much shade to be had. Two speedy cyclists zoomed past and said Brava, which considering my pace was somewhat glacial was quite generous of them really.

With a small smile on my face I continued my run towards the defunct factory on Laundry Lane. I’ve often thought it would be a nice place for a Grand Designs type house, so I curtailed my run, in favour of re-enacting Kevin McCloud.

‘Here in sleepy le Marche, a foolish couple spotted a building with potential’ blah blah blah.

I had a nose around and it’s been trashed by vandals, which considering the average age in our village is about 70, means there are some people around here who are hiding their true natures behind masks of kindly old folks. I was using my Kevin McCloud pause to get some puff back to finish the last bit of my run. And it was done, at the outset I had grand designs on doing a 4km run finishing off by running all the way up the Slope of Hope.

Who exactly was I kidding? I ambled up the Slope of Hope and in front of me saw Yoda. Again in his camo and orange combo, making a good effort up the 10% gradient at the bottom of the Slope. He was doing much better than me today. My laptop had been hacked, I was hacked off and the run was a bit of a hack too. I estimate I did just over 3km. Rubbish effort! And today is the first time using the new blog software – and I don’t like it as I can’t tell how to do some things I used to do, like the tagging. Even more hacked off! ;(

Still it can happen. But the good news is that the Sunday run heralds the start of the weather traditionally cooling down a bit Ferragosto is typically scorchio and then the day and night time temperatures start to abate. It gets cooler and my runs get easier. Amen to that. Week 19 beckons, time to start upping the ante I reckon. My next run target is to do at least 4km and include some hills. Wish me luck please.

By the way, in case you didn’t know I am actually Winnie Mandela and my husband is very ill, and if you could just spare me some cash? 🙂

But for the real Winnie’s story – go here:-

https://www.ted.com/talks/james_veitch_this_is_what_happens_when_you_reply_to_spam_email?language=ug

Stats

Distance – 3km ish

Time – no idea

Lethargy – lots

Physio – Nope see lethargy

Jump Rope – Nope see lethargy too

Music

Truthfully can’t remember ….

Week 18 Run 2 – Outrunning a six year-old

brown animal on brown rock pathway

Sorry it’s been a while.

We’ve had visitors, J E and their son A, my new BFF or rather BFFTH (Best Friend For This Holiday)

A is 6, I am not, although we share the number when it comes to birthdays.

The family were escaping the UK quarantine situation and enjoying a much quieter Italy, and I had my work cut out, as CEO (Chief Entertainment Officer)

First off A is a little City boy, born and bred in London and he has enjoyed a very varied life in holiday terms – Sweden, Japan, Australia to name but three, but  A is not awfully keen on bugs.

It’s Italy, it’s August and we have, in no particular order of nastiness:-

Mosquitoes

Wasps

Bees

Hornets

Biting ants of all sizes, from one centimetre to barely one millimetre

Pappatacci – miniscule biting machines, which suck your blood and are smaller than the net holes in the mosquito nets we have on all the windows.

Snakes -of the grass variety, but rather large and black/grey in colour.

Add in the non-biting varieties of grass-hoppers, crickets, cicadas, butterflies, moths, APCs (armoured personnel carrier bugs – bright green in colour, and they let out a smell when you capture them) and for a little boy with an allergic reaction problem, the holiday could have been one miserable round of calamine lotion, anti-histamine and hysteria.

Luckily for us, A was a delightful bundle of energy, unluckily for me A was a delightful bundle of energy. Blimey, I may not have run (although I did) but he kept me on my toes.

Each day started with the walk around the house and garden to see where the ants had set up home today – favourite spot the movable light cube next to the jacuzzi.

Then followed the lizard hunt, A was a little scared at first, but then took to them like a fish to water and loved spotting them.

Then a walk through the grapevines, a favourite spot for the barely visible (to my eyes, and his parents too) grasshoppers. he was particularly smart at finding the green ones which match the grass so much so that they even have tufted dry straw coloured bits –  they look exactly like cut blades of grass. Also some surreptitious eating of the wine grapes, which astonished me because they are particularly lip-puckering at this time of year.

Next the favourite bit of the walk to the compost heap to switch on the well pump, so we could water the plants. Being in charge of the pistol water hose, was a little boy’s dream. Very diligently he sprayed all the plants and filled each little moat with water. He did get slightly distracted one morning and wanted to spray some pedestrians walking on the other side of the hedge, but we avoided an international incident. This was followed by one more circuit of the garden just to see whether any new ant hotels had been set up and  if the twig booby traps had worked to stop the ants entering the house.

His booby traps worked a treat, I think it was the constant grinding motion when the unfortunate ant found itself under the ‘booby trap’. Those ants went to ant heaven.

We checked out the figs for freshness and he felt the ‘fig glue’ which was emitted when you pulled them from the trees. he thought that was fascinating, but rather annoying when you couldn’t get it off your fingers.

The morning routine was completed when he was ‘allowed’ to clean the jacuzzi of dead bugs using the jacuzzi net. He and I were the nitty Noras of the pool cleaning world. A diving in, carrying the net which was twice the size of his body, and picking up bugs and clearing up what we decided was ‘calcium’. I’ve no real idea what it was, but A wants to be young man with a portfolio career. Mondays as I recall a scientist, Tuesdays a sewage expert – he liked the idea of cleaning pipes!, and the rest of the week an engineer of the general variety. Discovering calcium was considered to be very interesting to a scientist. I did feel I was using child labour, but honestly he loved it.

We’d have lunch at home sometimes and what a joy he was to feed. Pretty much anything goes – a six year old who ate black olives like other children eat Smarties. More child labour followed with A being the house’s official salad spinner operator. Afterwards we may have discussed the merits of Lego and the death ray machine, and he corrected our Swedish pronunciations and taught us new words and the merits of his ‘kick you out’ strategy for anyone who broke his house rules.

All of this was very lovely, but I didn’t do any running, except for the day we went to a local vineyard with wide open spaces and the opportunity to play chase. I started chasing him casually at first, just so that he was occupied whilst the grown ups did the wine tasting and buying. Then he came up after I’d stopped and said something along the lines of ‘well do something then!’

So the chasing began in earnest, up the mini escarpment to where the vines where – now known as homey. Apparently he couldn’t be caught on homey, so I continued to chase until one panting heap cried ‘enough’. And it wasn’t me – A had given up the ghost, I outran a 6 year old.

On his last day we did our final run around the garden, I think he had successfully overcome his bug fear. We’d found a porcupine spine and that was going back for show and tell at school. We were walking along the vines him picking grapes and then I saw the empty snakeskin (thank goodness). Mmm about a metre in length and too late I couldn’t stop him from seeing it.

Quick thinking was required and I told him that we had eagles in the area, and that maybe the eagle had dropped the snake when flying over. He seemed sure the snake would have died from that height and so we moved on, although he asked me if I could pick it up. I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to, but having spent 10 days telling him that the insects wouldn’t bother him if he didn’t bother them, it seemed churlish to refuse to pick up some dead skin. It crumbled in my fingers, but ugh I still shudder when thinking about it.

A slight fib for the purpose of not freaking him out, and then luckily a little later on he found a large feather in the garden – I’m thinking wood pigeon, but to A it was proof positive that an eagle had indeed been flying over the garden. Phew! Another trophy for show and tell.

All of this doesn’t really tell the whole story, but we had a ball of a time, even though clearly I’m not used to entertaining a 6 year old, who was either full on or totally wiped.

Two days off, after their departure and I started my running again. It was hot, 26 degrees and about 7.40am when I finally got out. All was quiet, I pootled along Mill Lane and met an old guy with a walking stick, we exchanged buongiornos and I moved on. Next up Lovers’ Lane where a lot of cleaning up was going on, I am thinking the shooting star shower spectacular had encouraged ‘the love’.

Turning back I got a wave from an unknown person on a moped, and made my way to the Slope of Hope. The cicadas were out in force, the temperature rising and on the day before the big August holiday, very few people to be seen.

Laundry Lane beckoned, past R&P’s house – R you’re fine the garden looked fab! And onto the rest of the run, it was a bit too warm for my liking and I really slowed down. No-one around to witness my shame at taking a breather and a drink. I continued until I hit Argo’s loop – just over 3.5kms run. Not great but okay for a warm up run.

I’m hoping the weather warms down a bit, as I think A could have outrun me on the last section of Laundry Lane and that would never do, as I am enjoying the bliss of tiring out a 6 year old, on just one day. (he was way more successful at tiring me out, on every other day). You have to enjoy the successes when you can.

Stats

Distance 3.59km

Time – not saying

Physio – Nope

Jump Rope – still exhausted from A, so no

Playlist

Time and Distance

Best track – Wake Me Up When September Ends – Green Day

Because I probably need to sleep that long

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