20 June – Counting the cost

 

On Monday I was given an important job, I was left in charge of making sure our Italian friends enjoyed the last part of their stay in London. My tour of duty left me in a state of dizziness, induced by counting fatigue.

Monday morning was fine –  me and Mr JCR meeting up with them on Moorgate – except my instructions were ‘meet Moorgate Tube North Side’ – was met by a confused ‘the signs say East or West’ – turns out there are different signs depending on which exit you take. Needless to say I’d taken the instructions from the side our friends hadn’t taken. Ho hum,  this is why I was somewhat concerned at becoming the responsible adult on Monday afternoon.

Monday morning had started down East – and then we were heading up West. It was my job to take them from the Thames Clipper, get to Pimlico tube, then Knightsbridge, for a whizz around Harrods before returning to LHR T5. Simple…

In the morning we were 10 people, after lunchtime Mr JCR had dropped out to ferry their bikes back to LHR. Now we were nine. At Pimlico we were down to seven when one couple had a meeting in the West End with a son’s friend. Seven of us in the food hall, which shocked and surprised in equal measure. The shock of £270 for a decorated cake (quite small) was matched by genuine surprise that a jar of Nutella was (a) being sold in Harrods and (b) for a price more or less the same as in a Le Marche supermarket. Out of Harrods into a souvenir shop, well two of us in there, now my counting was down to five. Back up to seven once the shopping was done, then back to the tube to wait for our final two. Except our final two had made a mistake on the tube exit. So leaving seven behind, I went on a mission to find the missing two lambs – they weren’t far away, but my heart was pounding. Mr JCR had managed to get them around London on at least two cycling rides and a Saturday walk, taken them on a 100km + ride, and I’d almost lost two of them right at the death of the trip. Our numbers back up to nine, we went happily on our way to LHR.

I had developed counting fatigue and was talking Italian to English people and English to Italians, so after our friends departed on Tuesday, a day of rest was in order. Wednesday was run day, and I more or less replayed the walking tour we’d done with our Italian friends on the previous Saturday. Only this time no festival of Musicals at Trafalgar Square, no lions covered in protective barriers and no Italians to count. Except I replaced one set of counting for another. I had a slight deficit to make up, I should have run on Tuesday and didn’t, so I wanted to do 12km as a minimum. But a very lovely, fun-packed weekend, had made its mark and I was now counting the cost of three evenings out, and so I just about managed 12km. My pace was okay nothing exceptional, but I did keep going. When I got home, I realised I was going to Ascot on Thursday  and no chance to run, so that meant another run was on the cards for today.

The countdown to run number two had just begun and then I remembered I was a responsible adult, I hadn’t lost any Italians in London, so for sure I could manage another one

Playlist

I Love You Because – Jim Reeves

Poetry In Motion – Johnny Tillotson

My Girl – The Temptations

Oh Carol  – Neil Sedaka

Let’s Spend The Night Together – Rolling Stones

Blue Bayou – Roy Orbison

Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood – The Animals

Help! – The Beatles

What Do You Want – Adam Faith

All I Have To Do Is Dream – The Everly Brothers

Take Good Care Of My Baby – Bobby Vee

Dream Lover – Bobby Darin

The Locomotion – Little Eva

Will You Love Me Tomorrow – The Shirelles

Do Wah Diddy Diddy – Manfred Mann

Walkin’ Back To Happiness – Helen Shapiro

Stupid Cupid – Connie Francis

Blue Velvet – Bobby Vinton

Bye Bye Love – The Everly Brothers

The Great Pretender – The Platters

No Regrets – The Walker Brothers

Make It Easy On Yourself – ditto

Wonderful World – Sam Cooke

Why Do Fools Fall In Love – Frankie Lymon

La Bamba – Ritchie Valans

Blueberry Hill – Fats Domino

Hound Dog – Elvis Presley

Tell Him – The Exciters

Sweet Little Sixteen – Chuck Berry

Then He Kissed Me – The Crystals

Cathy’s Clown – The Everly Brothers

One Fine Day – The Chiffons

Leader Of The Pack – Shangri-Las

Downtown – Petula Clark

Stats

Distance 12.28km

Time 1:26:47

Average Pace 7:04

Elevation Gain 62 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1062.27

To Do 955.73

 

 

18 June – Hope vs Reality

Life has an annoying habit of throwing you some curved balls, some seriously difficult to deal with, others less so. As a child I hated my name and wanted to be called Sophie. Then I fell in love with Troy Tempest and wanted to be a mute mermaid called Marina.

Spending most of my time in Italy, I often have many names given to me, never Sophie or Marina funnily enough. I have been called:-

  • Jam
  • Jane
  • Jean
  • Janna
  • Ian
  • Yan

With my vast number of years under my belt, I am okay with being called Jan. It is very useful when having to spell your name, complete forms etc., and I’m not sure that Sophiecanrun or Marinacanrun has quite the same ring about them as JanCanRun. So whilst I hoped to have a different name, the reality is that I’m happy with Jan.

Today’s curved ball was yet another bloody migraine, which really put paid to my hoped for 15km run today. Taking the nuclear grade tablets and a necessary 4 hours sleep to shift it, I was able to go out and have a run.

Our Italian cyclist friends were on a multi hour ride called appropriately enough The Italian Job – this was giving me loads of time to run. Except the migraine curved ball changed things a bit. With a slight drumming in my head off I set, through the City and West End to Trafalgar Square in which there’s a concert celebrating all things Musical. Yesterday, we heard show tunes from Mamma Mia the Musical, when we passed with our Italian friends, who then gave an impromptu singalong and hand waving in the central roundabout to the amusement and bemusement of passers by, buses and general pedestrians.  I’m not quite as extrovert, so today I just sang along in my head, as I ran past this time.

Heading towards the South Bank, things got a little hectic, load and loads of tourists around and not much space to run. Can’t complain though, as it was entirely my own fault I was running so late in the day. I’d promised one of our Italian friends that I’d drop by a Japanese Design Shop to get hold of some very difficult to find incense sticks. Now when I made this promise, I hadn’t really thought through the logistics of a runner (mid-run), appearing in a neat, pristine, precisely ordered Japanese art and design shop! I hoped I didn’t look too bad, and then I caught a glimpse of the galumphing, red, sweaty runner trying, mostly unsuccessfully it has to be said, to look educated and interested in the various scents of the sticks. Having seen my own face, I ordered two packs hastily, was effusive in my praise for her help and more than apologetic for my physical state. I couldn’t get out quickly enough!

Back out of the Oxo building, (where this lovely little shop can be found) I ran along the South Bank, towards the East, when I was challenged to a run/skate off by what looked like a little Japanese boy on a mini scooter. I didn’t really realise I was being challenged, until he looped past for the third time crowing in delight at having overtaken me. I didn’t stand a chance, as a minimum I’ve done 55 years more living than he has. But he was a gorgeous little boy and chuckling away at his success – who could get peed off at being beaten by a three year old?

Today’s playlist (just to amuse fellow runner Cat) was my country and place name inspired one, and of course I had Tokyo Joe by Bryan Ferry playing during my run.  Three hints of Japan today. So I’d hoped to do 15km and only managed 10km in reality. But the 10km was much better than I’d hoped after getting a migraine.

Playlist

(it has three Japan themed songs n it…)

A New England – Billy Bragg

Une Nuit A Paris – 10cc

Maid Of Orleans – OMD

Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles

Rio – Duran Duran

Belfast Child – Simple Minds

Going Down To Liverpool – The Bangles

Tokyo Joe – Bryan Ferry

Black Eyed Boy – Texas

Massachussetts – Bee Gees

California Dreamin’ – The Mamas and Papas

Grease – Frankie Valli

Africa – Toto

New York Minute – Don Henley

Streets of Philadelphia – The Boss

Downtown – Petula Clark

Pleasant Valley Sunday – The Monkees

Wonderful World – Sam Cooke

Avalon – Roxy Music

Midnight Train To Georgia – Gladys Knight & The Pips

Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel

Strong – London Grammar

Stats

Distance 10.11km

Time 1:12:00 (including bread shopping)

Average Pace 7:07

Elevation Gain 55 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1049.99

Kms To Run 968.01

 

16 June – The Countdown

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8 Italian cyclists arrive in London on Friday morning

7 days worth of sight-seeing and cycling in London to be completed in just 4 days

6 people to drop off at various locations around London

5km run completed amongst the happy bedlam and in record time too

4 days of fun, food and laughter

3 excellent London hosts – Abi, Cliff and David, looking after Leo, Maddi, Sabri, Gio, Rodo, and Patri

2 sets of fish eaten by Gio, who really, really wanted to try English fish and chips – Cod first then the Plaice…

1 batch of scones made to test whether the Devon or Cornwall jam/cream method is better…

Playlist

Ah yes  I had a music malfunction –  Abba were  on constant repeat – Mamma Mia, Money, Money, Money and Dancing Queen

Stats

Distance 5.12km

Time 25:49

Average Pace 5:02 – (I know amazing but I did sprint all the way and the distance was small!)

Elevation Gain 18 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1039.88

Kms To Run 978.12

 

15 June – Stereotype Snap

 

 

For a change, I decided to play a card game when I ran this morning. And I chose stereotype snap. The map shows you exactly where I picked up each stereotype or not. The whole idea is to pick up stereotypes and get points for each one I saw on my run through their respective zones. Now Friday is not a typical day in London, the commuters are noticeably fewer than usual, meaning stereotype snap is not such a point scorer as you may imagine.

I started off at Old Street, looking for Tech Start Up Stereotypes – identified by Apple branded everything and usually a pair of Dr Dre Beats. My score = Nil

Aiming towards Farringdon, I wasn’t aware of seeing any Start Up Stereotypes, but I did see at least two ‘More Media’ stereotypes. Their artwork type briefcases and tight trousers gave them away. My score = 2

On towards Lawyer Wanker territory, – typified by all black clothing and sharp, bright white shirt shirting, regardless of gender. The most monochrome experience you can get in one area – any hint of colour frowned upon. My score = 30+ (I lost count)

Soho,  rather surprisingly isn’t given any stereotypes on the map. But I did pass 20th Century Fox and an interestingly named restaurant…, but Covent Garden wasn’t far away, so onwards to find the Living Statue Wankers.  I’m thinking 8.30 am is too early for them to get up – even Yoda, who thinks we are fooled by his capacious gown, which clearly doesn’t have enough room for an alarm clock. My score = Nil

Then back towards Fleet Street in search of ‘Journalists Used To Be Here’. As the pubs were not yet open, there was no sign of any old soaks reminiscing about the good old days when you smoked 40 John Player Specials for Breakfast with a Johnnie Walker chaser or five. My score = Nil

My final stereotype search was for ‘Nervous Men Buying Rings’ in Hatton Garden, or at a push I’d have settled for ‘Old Men Plotting a Bank Vault Raid’. With me running before 9am,  this clearly meant all the plotters (whether for burglary or marriage) weren’t yet out. My score =Nil

Total Stereotype Score = 32 points.

Running score however was 9kms.

Playlist

Alison – Elvis Costello

Eloise – The Damned

Francine – ZZ Top

Gloria – Laura Branigan

Helena – My Chemical Romance

Poison Ivy – The Lambrettas

Jean Genie – David Bowie

Shake It Off – Taylor Swift

Kayleigh – Marillion

Layla – Derek and the Dominoes

Maggie May – Rod Stewart

Darling Nikki – His Purple Highness

Ophelia – The Band

Queen of Clubs – KC and The Sunshine Band

Roxanne – The Police

Sherry – Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

Teresa – Eddie Cochran

Single Ladies – Beyoncé

Valerie – Ronson and Winehouse

St Xenia – Katina

Zoe Jane – Staind

Stats

Distance 9.06km

Time 57:35

Average Pace 6:21

Elevation Gain 40 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1034.76

To Run 983.24

 

 

 

 

 

13 June – From Jimmy Choos to

 

to a pair of new running shoes. What has happened to me? Old life, Jimmy Choos, Louboutins, Prada and Gucci high heeled shoes. New life of Brooks, Saucony, Adidas but I’m not sure they are any the less expensive, as my latest pair will only have a running life of 3 – 4 months, based on my current mileage. My old faithful Pradas, in comparison are 10 years old and still going strong, although they only come out for Ascot Ladies Day, so maybe the cost per wear equation doesn’t work so well…

Today is the official day I managed to meet the Map My Run Beat the Year Challenge – a target of 1018kms, and I celebrated by running in my new Brooks shoes. I bought 2 new pairs of running shoes last November, before I’d decided on doing the challenge and now they are both looking a little shabby and are getting close to needing changing. Shoe life is about 500 miles and each pair has done about 600kms, but I still have 6 months to go, so time for a new pair. I’m sure I read somewhere that running was a cheap sport…

Today is a lot warmer, but I’m out earlier which is a help. I bomb through the City Streets and back out towards Holborn and the Inns of Court, I have in mind to do just the planned 7k as this is the first outing for my new shoes and I don’t want to shred my feet anymore than they have been already. The shoes feel bouncy and comfortable and I’m soon in my stride. I head towards the Strand, but it is awfully busy, so change tack and head for Aldwych and back towards Bloomsbury. A quiet run today, not a lot happening on the streets of London, not that I could see anyway. Getting close to home I see I am at just on 7k – well it wouldn’t hurt to stretch a bit would it? So I do a slight detour to add another 1km to my running piggy bank.

Run done. New running shoes broken in, and no signs of having broken my feet. That’s a result. But the Map My Run Challenge still bugs me as the ‘lady’ leading the leader board is anonymous and seemingly has run 17.506km over 287 workouts…

You figure it out I think she’s tracking every time she drives her car…

Playlist

My Coo Ca Choo – Alvin Stardust

Blockbuster – Sweet

DISCO – Ottawan

War – Edwin Starr

Waterloo – ABBA

Everybody Dance – Chic

I Feel Love – Donna Summer

So You Win Again – Hot Chocolate

Summer Breeze – The Isley Brothers

Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas

Freeze-Frame – The J Geils Band

All The Young Dudes – Mott The Hoople

Boogie Shoes – KC And The Sunshine Band

Walk On The Wild Side – Lou Reed

Killer Queen – Queen

Boogie Oogie Oogie – A Taste Of Honey

You’re The One That I Want – Newton John and Travolta

Stats

Distance 8:18km

Time 57:22

Average Pace 7:00 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 46 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1025.70

Kms To Run 992.3

 

 

 

 

11 Jun – 9 degrees of separation

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what’s 9 degrees between friends? It’s the difference for me between uncomfortable running and almost impossible running. Our home in Italy is reaching over 90 which is more or less 29 degrees in Celsius. London, however a warm 73 F but 20 in Celsius . It doesn’t matter which scale you use, London is most definitely the easier place to run. And so I must – not least because today I get to beat my half year km target, ahead of the end of the month. All these extra London kilometres will give me some breathing space in the heat of an Italian summer.

My starting tune was Here I Go Again (On My Own) by Whitesnake, which seemed somewhat apt. I was dressed in a sleeveless top and shorts, mmm it’s a bit parky as we say up North. It was really quite cool and City gents all suited and booted, did look at me somewhat askance as I ran past. I knew I had just over 2km to do to reach the halfway point and as is typical of my luck, I didn’t exactly make the milestone at an historic venue.

I have run past the Guildhall, St Paul’s Cathedral, St Bride’s Church even the Old Bailey and any of these would do as the significant milestone marker. However my running history was not to be made in any of these places – I ended up outside a salad bar called Tossed… Somewhat tossed off at the lack of a monumental historic selfie opportunity, I continued on my way knowing I am on the official downward slope on my challenge.

Heading towards the West End again today, retracing in part Saturday’s run, up to Tottenham Court Road and back to the British Museum. It wasn’t getting much warmer, but I was nice and toasty now, despite getting a puzzled look from a lady in a woollen coat crossing the road beside me. I am thinking she may be a distant relative of Dame Duvet – our puffa jacket loving walker in Italy.

My pace was nice and even, but I neither had the legs nor time available to do a long run today and so at just over 10km I called it quits. Rather irritatingly, I called a halt just that little bit too soon, had I continued for 0.5km more I would have had less than 1,000kms to go. So for the second time today, I was tossed off.

However in big shouty capitals  – I HAVE RUN MORE THAN 1009KM in less than six months. If ever I had doubted my ability to do this challenge, now I know it’s a done deal. I may well have some ups and downs, and I may have some more ‘tossed off’ moments. But this challenge is in my sights. To celebrate my achievement I had lunch with Razouski from C25K and two glasses of bubbles at the Barbican. Tomorrow, I will be hitting two celebratory places – the gin distillery to create my own gin and then dinner at Nathan Outlaw’s. But no gain without pain, I have to run again to earn the celebrations.

Playlist

Here I Go Again – Whitesnake

YMCA – The Village People

The Can Can – Bad Manners

Come On Eileen – Dexy’s Midnight Runners

Dizzy – Vic Reeves and The Wonder Stuff

You Can’t Hurry Love – Phil Collins

Money For Nothing – Dire Straits

Eye of The Tiger – Survivor

You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet – BTO

Bat Out Of Hell – Meatloaf

Summer Nights – Travolta and Newton-John

One Step Beyond – Madness

All Over The World – Electric Light Orchestra

The Wonder Of You – Elvis Presley

Dreadlock Holiday – 10cc

Mr Blue Sky – ELO

Sex On Fire – Kings Of Leon

That’s The Way – KC & The Sunshine Band

Relax – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Born To Run – The Boss

Stats

Distance 10.71km

Time 1:10:06

Average Pace 6:32(mins/km)

Elevation Gain 31 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1017.52

Kms to Run 1000.48 (the first time this is a lower number!)

98 kilometres ahead of my cumulative target

 

 

 

 

9 June – Trooping The Colour

 

Today is Trooping The Colour Day, celebrating the Queen’s Official Birthday. And today I went out for a planned mini-run. I had polled my C25K buddies to get some opinions. I’ve got really close to the halfway stage of my challenge and I thought if I managed to do 2 x 12km runs over the weekend, I’d be at halfway, about 3 weeks ahead of my deadline.

The common theme was that there was no hurry and so don’t fret and just do your normal run. Then Ju-ju – my running mentor of note, said well you could have a go, if you take it slowly, rest and hydrate. So it was with some trepidation I left this morning, I’d decided just to see where my legs could take me. Genuinely I had no plan, no minimum kms, I just thought I’d see where I ended up. The temperature was cool and my pace was nice and steady, and I seemed to be ‘run bombing’ all sorts of events. First off in Cheapside, having to swerve to avoid a bunch of runners coming the other way. They were in a charity tee-shirt, some sort of City Foundation. Then around the corner, Cheapside and One New Change were being cordoned off, for the Mr Porter Nocturne Cycle Ride.

I’d decided I would do a game of snakes and ladders – well mainly ladders, taking one road then switching back up at major junctions. London is a bit higgledy piggledy so it looked more of a snake run than a ladder’s one. I laddered my way up West towards Covent Garden and decided to aim for Tottenham Court Road. This was when I did my third ‘run bomb’ I was running against the flow of hundreds of Crohn’s and Colitis walkers. In fact I started recognising some of them, when I passed them for the third or fourth time. I was 9km in and feeling ‘loose’ which in my terms is a good thing. Not so much if it’s relating to bowels.

I stopped for a coffee, and being unable to run with both coffee and water in hand, I paused my run for 10 minutes and rested. My laddering took me to Tottenham Court Road, when I ran past Paperchase who had the superb pizza slice lilo in the window. As I ran past, a man standing in their entrance, said ‘keep it up, you can do it’. That was very nice of him, it made me smile and gave me impetus.

I rounded the corner and continued down Store Street, passed the coffee shop again and decided I’d aim for 12km. 12km came and went, my next milestone was 15.3km, which would get me to 1000kms. At this stage I’d passed the charity walkers, for what seemed to be the 6/7th time and was in/around the British Museum area. I still felt fine and my pace hadn’t dropped overly much.

At this stage, I thought maybe I should call it quits, but then I remembered my longest ever run had been 16.7km, and the JCR competitive gene kicked in and I gave myself a challenge to do 18km, if I could. I was reasonably close to 18km and I still felt fine…, so yes the competitive gene kicked in again and I thought why not aim for 21km? I was not far from the HCA in the City, when we had the most amazing flypast – I looked at Map My Run and saw I’d run 20.8km. Brilliant I got aeroplanes for beating my best ever run. Except of course they weren’t for me, they were for Liz.

So the pics show one of the official photos of the flypast, and the plain blue sky was my attempt to capture them on film! I eventually run-hobbled towards home, having done a touch more than 22km, because I wanted to make sure it was definitely more than half marathon distance.

It wasn’t non-stop, I won’t claim that, but it was a run more than half marathon distance, and I’m proud, although slightly bandy-legged at present, with hips screaming in pain.

Mr JCR was already at home and he asked me how I’d done, I showed him my stats and he was impressed. Then I had a major Map My Run failure – my run disappeared from my screen. Nothing, zilch, zip, eff all, no proof of my longest ever run. Except Mr JCR came to the rescue, his phone had my run, whilst mine didn’t – so he took screenshots to prove my achievement. And then puff, about 2 minutes later it disappeared from his phone too.

Summary, I should actually listen to advice being given, but hell, I feel happy at having run more than 20km in one outing.  Face colour today was Monarch red, but that seems fine seeing as I shared Liz’s flypast. Oh, and I passed the 1000km mark in just over 5 months’ of running. And my final lesson of the day, always make sure Mr JCR is close at hand when record breaking.

Next milestone is to make the halfway point proper of 1009km. That’s tomorrow’s job. A nice little recovery run, I promise – no competitive gene issues raising their heads.

Playlist (this is the Ju-Ju 90’s playlist)

Get Here – Oleta Adams

Say My Name – Destiny’s Child

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Love Is All Around – The Wets

Barbie Girl – Aqua

Believe – Cher

(Everything I Do) I Do It For You – Bryan Adams

Baby One More Time – Britney Spears

I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston

Wannabe – Spice Girls

Killing Me Softly With His Song – The Fugees

Never Ever – All Saints

Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’Connor

Dub Be Good To Me – Beats International

The Power – SNAP

Killer – Adamski, Seal

The Joker – Steve Miller Band

3am Eternal – KLF

The One and Only – Chesney Hawkes

Ebeneezer Goode – The Shamen

End Of The Road – Boyz II Men

Would I Lie To You – Charles and Eddie

Oh Carolina – Shaggy

Dreams – Gabrielle

Cream – His Purple Highness

Gangsta’s Paradise – Coolio

Rhythm Is A Dancer – SNAP

I See You Baby – Groove Armada

Groove Is In The Heart – Deee-Lite

Devotion – Nomad

The Key, The Secret – Urban Cookie Collective

Things Can Only Get Better – D:Ream

Everybody’s Free – Rozalla

Don’t Need The Sunshine – Catatonia

Girls and Boys – Blur

Dizzy – Vic Reeves and The Wonder Stuff

Something Good – Utah Saints

Stats

Distance 22.11km

Time 2:25:40

Average Pace 6:35 (mins/km) – this is understated though, as my pausing time doesn’t show here

Elevation Gain 93 metres

1 Flypast…

2 lives of water

1 cappuccino

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done – 1006.81 (yes over the 1,000 marker)

Kms To Run 1011.19