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

15 Dec – What A Huw and Cry

After the Huw and before the cry…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Playlist

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

Stats

Distance 11.04

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

Average Pace 9:08

Elevation Gain 21 metres???

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1989.33

Kms To Run 28.67

10 Dec – Hitching A Lift

Loving the bling…

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).

Playlist

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.

Temptation – Heaven 17

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty

Reap The Wild Wind – Ultravox

Master and Servant – Depeche Mode

Sign Your Name – Terence Trent D’Arby

Every Breath You Take – Police

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Go Wild In the Country – Bow Wow Wow

She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult

Don’t You Want Me – Human League

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

Shake The Disease – Depeche Mode

No More I Love Yous – The Lover Speaks

Be My Number Two – Joe Jackson

From Me To You – The Beatles

Hunter – Dido

Stats

Distance 9.11km

Time 1:00:00

Average Pace 6:35

Elevation Gain 42 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1969.71

Kms To Run 48.29

3 Dec – Shame and Salvation

Cherry Blossom at Christmastime

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;)

Playlist

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

Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode

Planet Earth – Duran Duran

Purple Rain – His Purple Highness

Rasputin – Boney M

She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult

Somewhere In My Heart – Aztec Camera

Vienna, All Stood Still- Ultravox

Stats

Distance 9.27km

Time 1:08:48

Average Pace 7:23

Elevation Gain 39 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1942.75

Kms To Run 75.25