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 13 – What the F..

Figgy Heaven for Breakfast.

I’ve joined Mr JCR in getting up early. The bathroom thermometer shows an internal temperature of 29.3 degrees C.

It’s before 7am. Now I could have got up even earlier, but then it was darker and the dratted mozzies are still out. One of my arms resembles an aubergine in shape, following a co-ordinated attack by either a horde of mozzies, or one very hungry female who had a large family to feed.

After a not so great run last time out, I decided that a re-run of Laundry Lane up the bends was a good idea.  Regular readers will now know that this was decidedly flawed thinking as the ‘leaving home’ temperature was 24 degrees, albeit there is a little more shade at that time of the morning.

I turned left onto the Bitch of a Pitch and started my warm-up walk backwards and forwards before starting the descent. Clearly I was up early, as for the first time I discovered where Lord Kitchener lives, he lives on the B of a P, and was coming out of his house, saw me and said Good Morning. I replied and carried on towards Prune Lane.

Clodhopping – Autumn is coming

Turning down the lane, I came across a mini white road I’d not taken before, so I thought I’d go for an amble and check it out. Aha it’s a dead end, and quite agricultural here, as you can see above. Definitely clod-hopping territory. Making my way back to Prune Lane, which as it’s so steep is quite difficult to run down as you have to dig your heels in to prevent you from tipping forwards. Just as I saw Laundry Lane in the distance, I saw a day-glo green flash. Well a flash is over-egging it, as he wasn’t in the least bit fast, it was a cyclist on a mountain bike, making his way up Prune Lane. Well we exchanged smiles and I wished him good luck, because it’s bad enough coming down Prune Lane, but I get out of puff walking up it. His ascent was very slow and laboured.

After my last attempt on the Laundry Lane curves, I’d decided that this time I wouldn’t sprint, but I’d take it regularly and walk if I needed to. This method is called Jeffing as it was created by a guy called Jeff Galloway, an Olympian and running coach. The idea is that the walking breaks allow for recovery and permit you to run further. It’s also entirely allowable in events such as marathons.

So I’d decided I was Jeffing up this bends, well as the mercury was rising so was I , not only did I Jeff but I was Effing too, not least because I’d forgotten to restart Map My Run after my photo stop. Damn and blast. 

I think the benefit of Jeffing may well have been compromised by the effing heat, as halfway up those bends, the temperature was now at 26 degrees. It has to be said I wasn’t really Jeffing at all at this stage, the ‘sprint/run’ section were getting shorter and shorter and the need for shade becoming more important. I was almost out of water when two cyclists passed and waved. At this point, I’d decided I’d do most of my running in whatever shade I could find, and walk in the sun. I continued the for the rest of the run, and on one of my walking intervals, green flash man came cycling the other way. 

I wasn’t totally run-shamed, because he was cycling downhill and I was walking up a steep curve. Passing G & B’s old house, I managed a final run once more to finish in Argo’s loop, where I was met by a clowder of kittens, all miaowing at me.

Another cyclist was getting on his bike and my face matched his kit. Still I had jeffed and effed up that hill, and he had yet to start. 

At that point my run was done and so was I. I passed the barking dog house (Alsatian and Mutt) who were a tad aggressive in their welcome for me, and I made a slow walk back to the house – one of the Argo loop roads is very steep and now covered in rotting figs, one of which I slipped on. 

Figging hell, I’d also remembered I had some figs to collect back in the garden, as we were causing a wasp frenzy with the amount of fruit which had tumbled to the ground. Ahead of me I saw the loop’s namesake, Argo, being walked by our friend R. She saw me and asked where I’d been, when I told her she grimaced and said ‘I’m sweating for you’. The mercury had risen to 28 degrees/82 in old money. I needed a cool place and some water.

R and Argo continued their walk. Entering our garden I passed our fig tree, and thought a fresh fig breakfast would be rather nice, and prevent two more of them dropping on the ground.

Tragically 2 figs out of approximately 500 isn’t going to make much of a dent in the supply, but it’s a start, as was my second attempt at the Laundry Lane ascent. Who knows by the time the figs are back in harvest again, I may be able to get up that hill without the Jeffing or effing.

I do hope so.

Stats

Somewhat dubious as I forgot to restart Map My Run

Distance – 5.3km

Time – awful

Physio – yes

Jump Rope – 32, 31, 5, 7, 14.

Steps – 10 minutes cool down.

Music

Razouski’s Playlist – mainly 80s 

Best song – Every Breath You Take – by The Police. Because I more or less counted every breath up that damned hill

Week 19 Run 2 – BDWO

Years ago, in another life entirely, I worked in a bank. It was a little old-fashioned and then it got taken over by a company known as The Right Bunch of Shysters, who modernised it beyond belief, aggressively pursued acquisitions and trampled all over the previous history and culture, oh and almost caused a global banking collapse to boot. If you’re going to kick over the coals, you may as well do it with style I suppose.

For many of my friends and ex-colleagues, coming from the old-fashioned bank and not being an original Shyster, meant they felt unwanted and seemed to be last in line when it came to promotions and pay rises. I’m not sure to this day that the two sides of the new megalith ever worked together well. Cultural cohesiveness is not easy to achieve.

Fred the Shred eventually got his comeuppance, and ironically during this 2020 of utter surreality, the Right Bunch of Shysters decided that the brand name of that rather old fashioned bank they’d trashed actually had some values that hadn’t been tainted by Fred and his buddies. Thus the remnants of the Right Bunch of Shysters returned to the name of NatWest. Sometimes, something bright and shiny can be too good to be true.

This was the story of my run. Having pursued somewhat vigorously the idea that a brand new hill running strategy of belting up the bits you can and then resting would pay dividends, it apparently didn’t work that way at all.

First of all, I was suffering from DOMS – which is very aching leg muscles to normal folk and more worryingly deep nagging ache in both hips. And it was this hip issue that stopped me running early last year. I decided against running on Thursday to give the hips a little longer to recover and I planned for a Friday run.

After Tuesday’s cool weather, I was greeted by an alarm call and Mr JCR asking me if I was running. The reply was some thing along the lines of ‘gnnhh, unnhhgghg, mmmm’ – I’m not at my most vocal early in the morning. Even less vocal than normal because it is me getting up early and not Mr JCR, that totally upsets my chemical balance. In the order of the JCR/CCR world – Mr JCR gets up first. Full stop, end of.

Mr JCR’s insistence upon me meeting my pledge to run, meant I eventually got out at about 7.20am. Ah already it was too late, the scorchio weather had returned and it was 24 degrees and hotting up. I decided against a replay of my last run and thought I’d give my usual Mill Lane – Lovers’ Lane, Mill Lane, Slope of Hope and Hill That Kills loop a new try and see if I could do the Hill That Kills in one go.

But I was boiling hot, had drunk my water within about the first five minutes and my hips were a bit niggly. Mill Lane was quiet as we are still in Ferragosto (which is the Italian version of our old Factory Fortnight), and I didn’t see a soul. In to Lovers’ Lane and I was slow but sure and overtook a hiking couple, we exchanged Salves and I carried on around Villa Bali. On my return loop I nodded to the hikers and continued on. I could see a young guy in the distance and decided I’d try and overtake him without any stops/pauses.

This I managed, but not quite all the way, just as I was drawing near to Mill Lane, I ran out of puff. A quick return to the Slope of Hope, which by now had lost all shade and I made my way back again towards the Hill That Kills. Pigiama Mamma’s house beckoned and I thought I could go all the way. But I couldn’t I was just too puffed out and so in defeat, I rested awhile before finishing my run.

Just over 3 kms in all. What a shambles. What’s the significance of BDWO – aha an old-fashioned acronym from an old-fashioned bank, meaning Bad Debt Written Off. I use it today to describe what I should have done with my new fangled hill running strategy. If I hadn’t Been Dumb Whilst Out, I wouldn’t have been speeding along up hills and causing my hips to get gip again.

Another lesson learnt in the comeback trail.

BTW Shyster comes from the German word Scheisser meaning worthless person and whilst I was on the old-fashioned side of the bank, after this run I joined Fred and his merry crew.

Stats

Distance 3.34kms

Elevation Gain 32 metres

Time – embarrassing

Physio – yes because of the gip my hip was giving

Jump Rope = 39 skips, followed by 13, 6 and 5.

Playlist

First Single Ever Bought

Best song ‘ The Israelites’ by Desmond Dekker – because it’s the perfect tempo for me to run to

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