26 May – Squeaky Bum Time

Today is Champions League Final Day and my team are in the final. To quote Alex Ferguson, today is squeaky bum time (I don’t like him much, but this is a great quote).

I hope and pray that Liverpool will win, but they are the underdogs in this fight for glory.  My little challenge is also at its squeaky bum time, I’m getting searingly close to the halfway kilometrage mark, but things are occurring outside of my control.

The heat – Summer has arrived and today’s temperature is up on yesterday’s,  I went out in 24 degrees this morning and got back at 26 degrees. This will continue, so I need to have a game plan for dealing with the heat. I do actually have one, chock full of useful hints and tips, the most important of which is getting up early enough to avoid the heat. With my now infamous sleeping habits, as a teenager when it comes to sleep, this is not going to be easy.

The opposition – Real Madrid are a tour de force and have some of the best footballing talent in their team. I run in the lanes of Real Marche and my opposition is the combination of inclines and traffic, both of which can end up as a near lethal cocktail. As the countryside verges grow ever taller, I become increasingly less visible, even when wearing my high-vis running kit. Safe running is a necessity, I may need to change my running venues.

The fitness – Real Madrid have some of the finest and most experienced footballing athletes in Europe, Liverpool are building theirs and I dearly wish they can teach the ‘show pony’ Ronaldo, a lesson. My lessons are that I really need to improve my core and overall fitness, as this will help carry me through the challenge, although the big toe issue is not helping one little bit. And to mix metaphors, this toe is becoming my Achilles heel. I saw a documentary on fitness that was talking about using your own body as a counterweight and that may be the route to better fitness that I have to take. Wall sitting anyone?

Managing the game. Liverpool’s big problem this season has been a leaky defence and an inability to shut the game down when it matters. For me, this is all about focussing on the task in hand – I want to do the 2018km challenge – anything else frankly is of secondary consideration. For example, I had toyed with the idea of running a half marathon during this year, but now that I’ve looked at various training plans, they all require me to be doing less weekly kilometrage than my challenge would permit. Somewhat reluctantly, I’ve kicked this idea in to touch. So my slow slog will continue, without the sexy addition of a half marathon as spice.

Finding the magic. Liverpool ‘found’ (although ‘bought’ seems more truthful) the magic when Mo Salah joined the team, he gave a different dimension and possibilities. For me in the running, this is a difficult thing to uncover. What is the magic of this challenge?  – I suppose it has uncovered my sheer bloody-mindedness at wanting to do it, despite being ill-prepared, the wrong age, not a natural athlete, an inexperienced runner etc., etc., etc.,

How did these factors coalesce on my run today?

Heat – I was not up early enough to avoid the sun, but I can blame lack of sleep these past few days, but I have to get a grip on getting up earlier. JCR – you can do much better here.

The Opposition – I ran one of my usual routes, including the very fast and dangerous ‘all roads lead to Rome’ road. But I stopped my run early so I could walk the last part in safety. If I get up earlier, there’s not so much traffic – back to point 1 JCR!

The Fitness – well I did do some squats last night before going to bed and tried the wall sitting, but didn’t want to do it in jeans. Let’s just say an attempt was made. Good news though, the toe wasn’t playing up nearly as much, so that is a good result.

Managing the Game – I tried fartlek during the run to improve tempo, not sure it was a resounding success, as I ended up running much slower at the end of the run. My times now have to allow for shade seeking and shelter, but I am okay with that. It always was going to be a marathon challenge and not one to be sprinted through.

Finding The Magic – the nearest I got to Mo Salah’s standard was reading about him in an Italian sports supplement, (which helpfully captioned the photo in case you didn’t know who he was!). The bloody-mindedness kicked in, as today is officially my rest day and I managed to run just over 8kms. And then managed the 4km walk back up the Bitch of a Pitch. so a small sprinkle of magic occurred today.

Playlist

Ode To Billie Joe – Bobbie Gentry

Soul Man – Sam & Dave

Help Me Rhonda – Beach Boys

Stand By Me – Ben E King

Let’s Dance – Chris Montez

Bad Moon Rising  – Creedence Clearwater Revival

You Never Can Tell – Chuck Berry

The Israelites – Desmond Dekker

I Only Want To Be With You – Dusty Springfield

It’s My Party – Lesley Gore

Wonderful World – Herman’s Hermits

Jumping’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones

Aint Got No – I Got Life – Nina Simone

Paint It Black – The Rolling Stones

Born To Be Wild – Steppenwolf

Under The Boardwalk – The Drifters

Build Me Up Buttercup – The Foundations

Be My Baby – The Ronettes

Keep On Running – The Spencer Davis Group

Mrs Robinson – Simon and Garfunkel

Californian Dreaming’ – The Mamas and The Papas

Stats

Distance 8.33km

Time 1:02:11

Average Pace 7:27 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain – 36 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 908.47

Kms to do 1109.53

 

 

 

 

 

24 May – Busy Doing Nothing

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Mr JCR is in the Alps, either on/in his bike depending on whether you are English or Italian, or he could be watching the Giro D’Italia.

I am at home, alone, busy doing absolutely nothing. This morning’s packed agenda – get up, run, shower, and go out for coffee.

All done with the minimum of fuss or effort. This afternoon’s packed agenda – yet to be decided, but I am thinking lunch and maybe wine, oh and launder the sweaty sports gear.

At coffee my friend C was telling me how she keeps fit – she does a sports called hydro-bike, which is an exercise bike submerged in a swimming pool. Yes you pedal and you also do upper body exercises too. I’ve never heard of this but the course is fully subscribed and closes next month – oh well maybe something to try another time then. But it sounds quite good fun.

Todays’ run, hot, sweaty, quiet and short. Done. No people, lots of dogs barking – I just typed that in a Spoonerism way and it came out bogs darking… Not much shade actually,  as the temperature has risen after the recent cold snap. Didn’t enjoy it much, but that’s the way it goes from time to time.  Am hoping I can pull together enough fitness and enthusiasm to get me over the 900km mark tomorrow.

Playlist

Sugar Baby Love – The Rubettes

Bye Bye Baby – Bay City Rollers

Shang A Lang – ditto

A Little Bit More – 911

When You Say Nothing At All – Boyzone

Mandy – Westlife

Boxerbeat – Jo Boxers

Everybody – Backstreet Boys

Bye Bye Bye – NSYNC

Shine – Take That

It Only Takes A Minute – ditto

The Chauffeur – Duran Duran

Rockin’ Robin – Michael Jackson

Fun, Fun, Fun – The Beach Boys

Mama Do The Hump – Rizzle Kicks

Everybody In Love – JLS

Stats

Distance 5.67km

Time 40:03

Average Pace 7:03 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 42 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 889.77

Kms to Run 1128.23

 

9 May – Ch Ch Changes Afoot

 

We have a routine here, if Mr JCR is cycling he goes out early, leaving me to wallow in peace under the duvet, and we don’t bother with breakfast. If we are together in the morning (that sounds slightly suspect doesn’t it?), then invariably we go to our local cafe.

Here, you always get service with a smile, our pastries are put to one side for when we arrive, and no words are spoken as our order is brought directly to the table. All of which is glorious, except for one thing. Just occasionally, we may fancy a change. Nothing drastic you understand, maybe not the same pastry or perhaps a single macchiato not a double. Not mind-blowingly different, but we’ve reached that stage where it is almost impossible for us to change the order, because they’d be upset if we did. They pride themselves on doing this little courtesy not just for us, but for many of their clients – including the 4 ladies that our friend G has dubbed ‘Sex and The City’ – they are about 75+!

And we’ve changed our routine a lot these past few days. With our good friends G&J staying with us, we have been dining and wining well but not wisely,  and as a consequence, breakfast has been a more relaxed, much later and an at-home affair. Yesterday, we were at the cafe saying goodbye – the four of us were joined by another 2 mutual friends. the whole concept of the saved orders went out of the window, as we all did slightly different things than they were used to seeing. Today, we had an appointment at home so didn’t go. You see we are messing the cafe staff around, but they remain courteous and helpful and as friendly as ever, evidenced by my ‘smiley’ cappuccino. And that’s a change too, there’s a new young Hoxton Hipsterish barista on duty – coffee art is obviously his thing, as I’ve never had that before.

A change is as good as a rest they say, and I decided I’d run this afternoon for a change. The weather was warm and sultry this morning, so I waited until after lunch, mmm we have a very grey sky and I can hear rolls of thunder. This isn’t looking good. Okay at 4.30 I decide the weather is sounding threatening, but probably unlikely to do much, so I pop out for a quick run.

Hadn’t really thought much about my route, but for a short run, there aren’t too many changes I can make. I trot up Mill Lane, growl at the water pumping station and make my way to Lovers’ Lane and towards Villa Bali. As usual, there’s a a school trip there, which means I have to endure the inevitable cat-calls, or kids copying me run, or racing me. But today is the day of change – the teachers are out on the lawn too. Not one cat-call, mickey take or fake running occurs. Down the hill that kills and I run into the slope of hope, no-one’s about, it is very quiet and I feel the pitter patter of rain on my face. That’s fine, a small shower I can cope with and make my way to Laundry Lane. It is like running in an old Western movie, no-one is around, no noise, save for a few birds tweeting. I half expected to see tumbleweed careering down the road in front of me. I had in mind a quick 5k, but then realised if I did that, I’d be a little short of my 800km mark, and so I continued on to a point where the run back would get me over the line.  On my way back I spotted the changed Citroen 2CV. To be frank this is more a car I’d expect to see in Hoxton than sleepy Le Marche. But maybe times are a changing and Le Marche is getting hip?

I ever so slightly miscalculated my route distance –  I saw a road warning for the junction at the end of Laundry Lane (my planned finish point) saying it was 150m away, and I thought that would be enough – a quick check on Map My Run and it wasn’t. Hence a change of direction, I turned full 180 degrees and started running back where I came from, alongside a set of garages. Because I didn’t want to go back a long way I ended up scooting up and down the same bit of road a few times.  Luckily, the unusually quiet afternoon meant no-one saw the batty Englishwoman running up and down the same 10 metre stretch.

And it’s all change tomorrow, we are back in London for a few days, me to pound the streets of our fair Capital City and Mr JCR to do an M25 inspired ride around London.

I changed my playlist today too…, this is my Spotify list for MummyCav on C25K, as she had a crap run yesterday. MummyCav this run was for you…

Playlist

Helena -My Chemical Romance

Poison Ivy – The Lambrettas

Respect – Aretha

Shake It Off – Taylor Swift

Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

Kayleigh – Marillion

Layla – Derek & The Dominoes

Ophelia – The Band

Dear Prudence – Siouxsie and The Banshees

Queen of Clubs – KC And The Sunshine Band

Roxanne – The Police

Teresa – Eddie Cochran

Uma Thurman – Fall Out Boy

St Xenia – Katina

Oh Yoko – John Lennon

Zoe Jane – Staind

Stats

Distance 7.33km

Time 50:34

Average Pace 6:53

Elevation Gain 74 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms run 800.89

Kms to do 1217.11

 

 

2 May – Bunnies & Breakdowns

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A Furry Distraction

The First of May is a National Holiday in Italy, and so yesterday we found ourselves in the civilised wilds of Umbria, with a bunch of friends (16 of us in total). The plan was to go for a mountain/hilly walk and then lunch. The crappy cool, wet weather really put paid to that, and Plan B was enacted – a gentle passeggiata around a hilly walled City, a stop for aperitivi – the Italians certainly know how to organise a country walk. Then we go onto lunch at a friend of a friend’s trattoria. There we ate well, with particular highlights being the fresh ricotta served with walnuts and honey and the cantucci (we’d call them biscotti) dunked in Vin Santo. An English lesson ensued,  how to pronounce and spell dunk. After lunch another passeggiata, admiring wild primulas, and other flowers that I just didn’t recognise. In the mountains, Spring is even later in arriving and there we also found cherry and apple blossom.

It was a glorious day even allowing for the rubbish weather, but it is quite tiring keeping up in your second language, especially when your friends dip in and out of dialect too. Eventually, after a return stop to the trattoria to have some more vino and a fill up of the gorgeous ricotta, we returned home.

Oh we are so lightweight compared to these friends, they stayed on, then went to a music festival thing in Piobbico, on the way home to Fano, found a pub, then found another, we got a text saying they were nearby and did we fancy a beer? We declined, one of us was running this morning, and a late beery night, even though I don’t drink beer, wasn’t going to be that conducive to a good run.

This morning the alarm went off, and up I got. It’s much cooler today, and so I was layered up. Out onto Mill Lane, growling at the water pumping station – we’ve missed the bloody engineer again – he has an uncanny knack of calling us on the one occasion when we aren’t around. So that means yet another flaming visit to the local office, to queue again for 30 minutes, to arrange an appointment, that they won’t tell us when it is. We just have to hang around in the vague hope that we might be near when the engineer calls.

I made my way up to Lovers’ Lane, no sign of Anouska or Albino today, even though I am up there suitably early. I enter Villa Bali’s grounds and see the little bunny sitting calmly on the grass, I didn’t dare get too close in case he snuck off. As it was I ran right past him and he didn’t stir. He may be ill, as usually the wild rabbits around here are very jumpy when humans are close – and rightly so, as rabbit is a much loved dish here.

Although the mercury had dropped, I was getting warm so did a quick pitstop and dropped my jacket off into our postbox. Continuing on my run, I was on the Bendy, Scary Road, all was quiet and cool, making it easy for me to keep going, I even managed a couple of kms at under 5 minutes 30 seconds. I continued on, prior to Royston Vasey’s cafe, I saw a lorry stopped in front of me – on a blind bend. The driver was out of his cab on the opposite side of the road, I asked him if he was okay and needed any help and he said he was fine. But he hadn’t coned off the road or left his warning triangle out behind him, so I was perplexed if it was just a stop it was certainly a very dangerous place to leave his lorry. Then about 15 minutes later into my run, he happily drove past me…

It was post-lorry time, I realised the mechanical voice lady from Map My Run had been suspiciously quiet, ah yes JCR you’ve done it again, you paused the app at the bunny stop and didn’t re-start it. Ho hum, a good job I knew which route I was using and the kms. This time a proper breakdown, except it was mine again! As Mr JCR says, I ought to take more care with the tech.

A quick pitstop into the fish shop to order my fish and I was on my way. It’s market day and so a lady sprinting through the market stalls wasn’t exactly the most welcome of visitors. But I bombed through and up to Bin Lane, on the home straight and I arrived at the cafe 10 minutes before the agreed pick up time, so I did a few mini circuits near the cafe, just to keep the kms up. Job done – just over 11kms in all.

On the way home, we saw Puffa Woman again, this time wearing a dark grey full length coat, with a matching coloured woollen hat. It was about 16 degrees – maybe she is a middle aged woman, suffering from a faulty thermostat? I too am a middle aged woman with a faulty thermostat but I was wearing just a base layer and running tights and boy was I hot. This lady has, to our knowledge, 3 separate puffa coats. I wait with interest, to see what she wears next week when the temperatures are due to rise again.

Playlist

Rumour Has It – Adele

Back To Black – Amy Winehouse

Rehab – ditto

Walk Like An Egyptian – The Bangles

Help Me Rhonda – The Beach Boys

Barbara Ann – ditto

Crazy In Love – Beyonce

Hot In The City – Billy Idol

Mony Mony – ditto

Girls and Boys – Blur

Tracy Jacks – ditto

Parklife – ditto

Born To Run – The Boss

Hungry Heart – The Boss

Dancing In The Dark – The Boss

Born In The USA – The Boss

Glory Days – The Boss

Let’s Stick Together – Bryan Ferry

Tokyo Joe – ditto

Mulder and Scully – Catatonia

Fuck You – CeeLo Green

London Calling – The Clash

Rock The Casbah – ditto

Let’s Spend The Night Together – David Bowie

Stats

Distance 11:59 kms

Time 1:19:47

Average Pace 6:53

Elevation Gain 8 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 768.11

Kms to Do 1249.89

Thanks to Razouski of Health Unlocked C25k for her sponsorship for my challenge. Much appreciated and a PCT is booked for June. 

3 April – Nuff Said

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Actually, this was a particularly shit run. Everything was aching and my legs felt heavy, I managed just over 6km, but this made up for it…

Top 2% – I’ve never been in the top 2% of anything – even of women called Jan, born on the same date as me, and there can’t be many of those, can there?

Bye-bye London, it’s been fun – see you in May. Buongiorno Italia – vedro giovedi.

Playlist

Cold Cold Man – Saint Motel

Fog On The Tyne – Lindisfarne

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Sunny – Boney M

Ain’t No Sunshine – Lighthouse Family

Purple Rain – His Purple Highness

Sunshine on Leith – The Proclaimers

On The Road Again – Canned Heat

Lightning Bolt – Jake Bugg

Bridge Over Troubled Water – Artists For Grenfell

The Real Slim Shady – Eminem

Cold – Stormzy

Hot Stuff – Donna Summer

Sunshine On A Rainy Day – Galimar

Statistics

Map My Run not working so no idea but I did run 6.58km, that much has been recorded

2 Apr – London’s Streets Are Paved With

well, yesterday evening, almost true to the Dick Whittington story, they were paved in money. Real folding stuff, from a lady on a bicycle who was either a money launderer or had just taken cash out of a cashpoint. She was cycling through the Top Gear tunnel aka Beech Street and notes fluttered out from her bag suspended from her bike. She emitted a lady like ‘oh’, and braked quickly whilst her cash fluttered merrily around her.

Six people descended upon her and the road to scoop up the cash, including Mr JCR and me, and the nice thing was she got all her money back. Despite Londoners’ reputation for being miserable and rude, we were all honest and not in the least bit grumpy.

Today the streets were paved with paving slabs, water and that indescribable London mucky gunge. I set out this afternoon, having found lots of prevaricating activities to perform earlier in the day.

A scoot through the City and towards Holborn, The Royal Courts of Justice and the bottom end of Bloomsbury. I cut up some young guy, (not deliberately – I didn’t see him) but he just laughed when I said I was sorry, and then he continued giggling after I ran away. So I don’t know if he was just a jolly sort or did I look so hilarious he couldn’t stop laughing?

Back towards home and my London run had been paved with good intentions to do 10km if I could, but I felt a bit tired so only managed 8km.

Tomorrow is packing up day and we return to Bella Italia – I am hoping the weather is kinder and warmer and I know the streets are cleaner, but maybe not paved with gold.

Playlist

2468 Motorway – Tom Robinson Band

Temptation – Heaven 17

Lucky Number – Lene Lovich

5705 – City Boy

Three Little Birds – Bob Marley & The Wailers

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Swords Of A Thousand Men – Tenpole Tudor

Is Vic There – Department S

21 Seconds – So Solid Crew

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club

Fourteen Rivers, Fourteen Floods – Beck

I Can’t Stand Up – Elvis Costello & The Attractions

When I’m Sixty Four – The Beatles

A View To A Kill – Duran Duran

12 – The 1975

Electricity – OMD

Joan Of Arc – Ditto

Stats

Distance 8.12km

Time 50:31

Average Pace 6:13

Elevation Gain 39 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 568.23

Kms To Do 1449.77

 

 

24 Mar – Sniffing, Stopping & Snapping

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One of the ‘difficulties’ in doing the Run the Year Challenge, is finding a purpose to the run. Sometimes I am happy meandering like a toddler, not really knowing where I will end up, just being happy getting there. Sometimes it’s nice to have structure like my Monopoly Board runs or even my errand running.

On others like today, I started running and then wondered what could I do to give me a focus. After due consideration – well about 10 seconds worth I decided within today’s run that I’d stop and take a photo of every statue I saw.

As I started running in the City, it became apparent I’d be dong more stopping and snapping than running; as the reclining couple, the glass feature and William Shakespeare were all within feet of each other. This made me change my route – the Square Mile is one of the richest places in the UK, therefore it would also be likely to have more statues than elsewhere. I headed out to Holborn and whilst the water fountain doesn’t count as a statue, I loved the fact it asked you to replace the water cups after use. The cups still work if it wasn’t for the fact that there is no running water there.  I continued on and over the Holborn Viaduct passed Science and Art on the bridge and aimed towards Hatton Garden and Bloomsbury.

Needless to say there were no more statues on my route – which half scuppered my run plan. Then I got to Bedford Square in Bloomsbury and came across this figure of Charles James Fox. Given he is depicted classically in robes, my first thought was another pompous twit with pretentions of grandeur and too much money. Appearances can however be deceptive, as I found out when I googled him

Charles James Fox

This is an extract of the entry about his commemorative statue:

Fox had been a consistent opponent of the slave trade, ‘a practice so enormous, so savage, and so repugnant to all laws human and divine’, that he said he ‘should prefer the abolition of it to any political good that can be gained or even wished, for the Party or the country’. One of his last political acts was to move a resolution for the general abolition of the slave trade, asserting on 10 June 1806 that, ‘this House, conceiving the African slave trade to be contrary to the principles of justice, humanity, and sound policy, will, with all practicable expedition, proceed to take effectual measures for abolishing the said trade’. The House of Commons voted overwhelmingly in favour of the resolution, and the Lords assented on 25 June. For his political supporters, the abolition of the slave trade came to be emblematic of the liberty so dear to Fox. Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford, built a temple of liberty at Woburn Abbey dedicated to Fox; the first pediment proposed for the unfinished temple after Russell’s death in 1802 showed a slave being crowned with the cap of liberty. Fox’s memorial in Westminster Abbey, erected in 1822, shows the politician on his deathbed, supported by Liberty, to whom he appeals on behalf of the slave kneeling at his feet.

Just shows  how first impressions can often be wrong. So Mr Fox, I apologise for my unkind thoughts – evidently you were a man of principles and action.

I continued my run towards home and had errands to do – the library and the deli. The first one was a quick pit stop, the second took a little longer, not helped by a permanently running nose – the joys of being middle-aged. The assistant at the deli asked if I’d been running – I am guessing the red face, sniffing, and runner’s kit gave it away. When I answered yes, she asked was I in training  – I explained the challenge and she was saying that she is running half marathons for charity too and is not far away now from completing her first HM of the year at Hackney. She was very nice and helpful and added in lots of paper napkins in case my nose was running too much. Lovely but how embarrassing.

My Saturday run was a series of statues, stops, snaps and sniffs. Oh and one stereotypical thought changed – I must not assume that classical statues are of dilettante rich plonkers. I was the plonker for assuming it, whereas he fully deserves his classical pose and robes.

Playlist

Champagne SuperNova – Oasis

Have A Nice Day – Stereophonics

Bitter Sweet Symphony – The Verve

So Why So Sad – The Manics

Crazy – Seal

Freedom!90 – George Michael

Let Me Entertain You – Robbie Williams

Gett Off – His Purple Highness

Stay Away – Nirvana

Sleepy Maggie – Ashley MacIsaac

U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer

What Time Is Love? – People of ‘K’

Listen To Your Heart – Roxette

Common People – Pulp

If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next – The Manics

Millennium – Robbie Williams

Creep – Radiohead

Stats

Distance 9.72km

Time 1:08:07

Average Pace  (mins/km) 7:00

Elevation Gain  27 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms done 511.98

Kms to do 1506.02 (hopefully, down to the 1400s tomorrow)

Team Rhomboid Torture

He isn’t actually posting any more challenges, but today I will do some squats, wall press-ups and try the pesky body rocking again!