11 Dec – Fabulous Forty

If you look closely, you can see Islington’s Christmas lights…, I realised in all my glamorous running for Bev’s mojo, that I had not highlighted the amazing Islington Christmas spectacle. 

A basic local run today, and not a lot to say. It was cold, but we had blue skies and I saw just one fellow runner, he was wearing shorts and a tee shirt, with a grimace. I’m not surprised at the look on his face, it was a bit cooler than perhaps he’d imagined when he first set out. I on the other hand was sporting  a matching blue running jacket, non-droopy running tights, sexy new Hokas and a stupid grin, because I’m just about a week away from doing my challenge.

Pride or smugness may well come before a fall, and whilst I don’t want to hex it, I do think this challenge is in the bag. At the fish shop, Robbie asked me how I was doing and he whistled when I told him – he said I was looking well on it  (maybe that’s because he wants me to keep buying my fish from him)

Not entirely sure Bev’s mojo will have been Islington way though, I think she’d look at the three stars and shake her head sadly at the lack of bling. 8kms done, listening to a mix of covers and Christmas songs. Not fast, not slow, but a lovely pootle on a lovely day. 

Playlist

Good Year For The Roses – Elvis Costello and The Attractions

Personal Jesus – Marilyn Manson

Kids in America – Lawnmower Deth

All The Young Dudes – Mott The Hoople

Welcome To The Jungle – Richard Cheese

Faith – Limp Bizkit

Venus – Bananarama

Hanging On The Telephone – Blondie

Take Me To The River – Talking Heads

Cats In The Cradle – Ugly Kid Joe

The Passenger – Siouxsie and The Banshees

Smooth Criminal – Alien Ant Farm

Seasons In The Sun – Westlife

Step Into Christmas – Elton John

I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day – Wizzard

Stay Another Day – East 17

Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt

A Spaceman Came Travelling – Chris de Burgh

Stats

Distance 8.58km

Time 58:52

Average Pace 6:51

Elevation Gain 30 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1978.29

Kms To Run 39.71

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

8 Dec – Can’t See The Wood

Thanks Norway…, the tree is looking good

for the trees. The old idiom of not being able to see a situation clearly because you are too involved in the details, and I must admit I am in grave danger of being that person.

I keep looking at the kms to go and am frantically re-working my excel spreadsheet to see how I can manage my runs. And I’ve suddenly realised it’s a pointless exercise. Other than one of the three Ds  occurring (death, disaster or disease), I am going to get the challenge done, so there’s no point in sweating over the details. Most days when I run I take a peek at my plan, then promptly ignore it when I’m out and about. I take my cue from how I feel when I’m out and about. Therefore no more excel jockeying for me. Saturday morning the weather was uncommonly beautiful, a gorgeous crisp blue sky day in London, in December. Who could resist the invitation to run? For sure not me. 

Bev’s mo jo is being remarkably stubborn – nowhere to be seen in London and apparently not to be found in Yorkshire either. But Bev has been running on her own mojo hunt, and after my rubbish Thursday run, I took the opportunity to re-think my mojo hunting strategy. It’s Christmas almost and Trafalgar Square has its traditional Norwegian Christmas Tree up. Now most years I don’t ever really focus on it – it’s part of the scenery. But it is a lovely enduring tradition. If the Norwegians can keep sending us trees year  after year, then the least I can do is run there and see if the mojo is hiding amongst its branches. It seems a great place to hide. Lots of folk around for company, most people smiling because it’s Christmas, twinkly sparkly lights too, oh and lions to guard you in case you are feeling scared. 

I set off through the City, the Inns of Court and made my way towards the Strand, it was all nice and quiet, save for the quiet sound of my natty new running leggings sliding down my legs… Now this was a classic case of they look good and I want them, so I’ll buy them. I did recognise that they were actually yoga tights, and didn’t have a runner’s drawstring around the waist. A rather unladylike hoist to pull them back up so I don’t look like a young teenage boy with my knickers showing…, and I continue down the Strand and arrive at Trafalgar Square – already getting quite busy, with plenty of tourists taking selfies and me taking a few minutes out to look for Bev’s mojo amongst the branches of the tree. To be honest no sign of it, so I’m guessing the mojo may have passed here a while ago…

I turn towards home and run along the Embankment Gardens and take a left hook past the Savoy – Bev’s mojo is a classy bird I understand, maybe she dropped in for afternoon tea? Back along Fleet Street, the crowds are building up and near St Pauls required all of my ninja running skills. It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t add some Christmas spice to my running… I’ve done my famous bread running, fish running, crab running and now I can add Christmas gift wrap running to the mix. We need some gift wrap, I am passing a glittery, blinged up display – in a previous life I must have been a magpie, I am always attracted to glitter. Not being able to resist the glitz, I pause my run, buy some bling, and re-start. Even in this palace of glitter and bling no sign of a mojo – I do hope she’s closer to Yorkshire now. My final 1km towards home, another unladylike hoist of the sliding leggings and I arrive home.

Success – 9kms done, giftwrap bought, and modesty maintained.

Downside – where is this pesky mojo?

Major encouragement – a donation from our Italian friends M&L, – they’ve made me determined to get under the 50km to go mark, next time out. £50 donated is a really big spur to get me under the magic 50km – grazie, grazie, grazie.

Playlist

Rumour Has It – Adele

Sign Of The Times – Harry Styles

Cabron – Red Hot Chilis

Girl From Mars – Ash

Einstein A Go-Go – Landscape

Purple Rain, When Doves Cry – His Purple Highness

Glamorous Indie Rock and Roll – Killers

Breaking Us In Two – Joe Jackson

Barbara Ann – The Beach Boys

London Calling – The Clash

Modern Way – The Kaiser Chiefs

Personal Jesus, It’s Called A Heart – Depeche Mode

Every Day I Love You Less and Less – Kaiser Chiefs

Joan of Arc – OMD

Stats

Distance 9.25km

Time 59:24

Average Pace 6:25

Elevation Gain 46 metres

Alzheimers Challenge

Kms Run 1960.6

Kms to Run 57.4

6 Dec – Having A Wobble

Yesterday a migraine stopped play and today I had the migraine hangover – muzzy head, light sensitivity, and a mild thump. I took some ibuprofen and a nice mug of tea and got on my way.

Only needed to do 8km to stay on my plan, and I didn’t really have anywhere in mind to go. Bev’s mojo appears to have had enough of London’s bright lights and may be headed back to the calming countryside of Yorkshire and who can blame her? So without a mojo hunt in mind, I was curiously adrift on where to go. I headed towards the City and looped up to Islington. Gosh today I am slow, and lethargic and I don’t really know why. 2kms in and I take a pause. 3kms in near Islington’s Upper Street and I take another pause. I don’t feel bad, just not quite right, it’s as though my legs aren’t my own, they feel curiously disconnected, a bit like running with cotton wool for legs, rather than ‘leg-feeling’ legs.

I continue on and to be honest it’s a plod, neither my heart nor legs are in today’s run. Mr JCR occasionally complaints of energy depletion, when all of a sudden he feels like one of those cartoonishly characters when the blood drains from their faces, and they look ghost-like. I think that is what I’ve got – cartoon blood draining syndrome. You heard it here first! Normally I feel quite bouncy and happily tired after a run. Today is just not one off those days. Still despite my cotton wool legs and ghost like face, it is :-

You can’t always have a perfect run, I’m glad I did it and just writing this one off as a bad day at the office. As the dictionary definition says, I’m moving unsteadily in a particular direction – and that direction is the 2018kms marker.

Playlist

I genuinely can’t remember which playlist it was at all…

Stats

Distance 8.60km

Time 1:01:52

Average Pace 7:11

Elevation Gain 39 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1951.35

Kms To Run 66.65

16 Nov – Mojo Safari

 

Today I went mojo hunting for my running mate who has lost hers. I didn’t find it in Islington yesterday, but I’m not sure the fish shop was ever a likely location.  This morning however, the stars were aligned, I was wombling my way towards Trafalgar Square and running along Fleet Street, when I saw Shoe Lane – if ever there was a place for a running mojo to be hiding, I am guessing it could be here. And then of course I was actually on Fleet Street – another hint perhaps as to the whereabouts of the missing mojo.

I continued on to the Strand, where even though it was morning the Christmas lights were twinkling away merrily. This particular mojo is purple I believe and likes sparkly things so of course I had to stay with it and I was only about 3.5kms into my run.

I was convinced the mojo may have visited Trafalgar Square, thinking that a bit of Nelson’s courage may have rubbed off and she would have decided to go back to Yorkshire. Despite some impressive lions, Nelson himself, there was a Yoda, a man sitting on a spade and ‘Death’ with his scythe – the last three were hardly good luck portents, and frankly pretty rubbish frozen statues. No sign of a mojo here, we need something a little more in keeping.

And so it was, I ended up in Covent Garden, a humungous Christmas tree outside, twinkly lights on the inside and the most glorious mistletoe and baubles hanging from the ceiling. This definitely felt like the place a mojo would visit, then I saw some mojo confetti lying around. She’d left a trail obviously. Without further ado I picked up some of the confetti and sent it back to Yorkshire, because I think the mojo might be missing it.

The street artist outside Covent Garden was telling everyone they were having a good time and I was. I enjoy looking for mojos, even though when mine goes awol, it seems a lot harder to find.

Dear running mate, when your parcel of mojo dust arrives, I am sure your mojo won’t be that far behind.

Playlist

The numbers playlist

Lucky Number – Lena Lovich

5705 – City Boy

One Day Like This – Elbow

One More Time – Daft Punk

Five Years – David Bowie

She Will Be Loved – Maroon 5

Nine To Five – Sheena Easton

Perfect 10 – The Beautiful South

10 Lovers – The Black Keys

Swords Of A Thousand Men – Tenpole Tudor

People in Love – 10cc

The Eleven Rap – Dark Punk

21 Seconds – So Solid Crew

Thirteen Sad Farewells – Stu Larsson

Fourteen Rivers Fourteen Floods – Beck

Fifteen – Taylor Swift

Edge of Seventeen (twice) – Stevie Nicks

19 – Paul Hardcastle

21 Guns – Green Day

I’m Gonna Be 500 Miles – The Proclaimers

When I’m 64 – The Beatles

Disco 2000 – Pulp

80s Joint – Kelis

Love Shack – B52s

96 Tears – ? And The Mysterons

Stats

Distance 10.01km

Time 1:15:30

Average Pace 7:32

Elevation Gain 53 metres

Mojo – dust found and sent back home

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1855.26

Kms To Run 162.74

15 Nov – Be Careful What You Wish For…

dandelion macro photography
I can’t blame the dandelions…

Or in my case, what you wrote down one day last year. I had been wondering when I’d decided to do my Alzheimer’s Challenge – I checked out the blog for the first mention – thinking I’d committed to it sometime in November last year.  The reason for checking -well I couldn’t work out why I hadn’t created a plan nor a training regime prior to starting in January, and now I realise why.

It was actually December 14th when I first wrote about my wish to run virtual races throughout the year, to raise some money for research.   This was Plan (a) –  Plan (a) was quickly ditched when I couldn’t find any races to sign up for. Plan (b)  – the running down dementia challenge; run 100km and raise £100, which as I was running about 80kms a month anyway didn’t seem that much of a stretch. The hunt was on for a Plan (c).

A few more days of investigation passed and still no joy, Christmas came and went and it was in that time we call ‘Twixtmas’, that I committed on Plan (c)  to ‘run the year’ , The    slight issue is I’ve just re-read what I wrote back then and I actually committed to  ‘run 2018km as a minimum’.

Oh holy cow Batman – minimum. “Friends, Romans and Countrymen lend me your ears and how about we make a deal?” JCR types with fingers crossed tightly, which does make it hard to type, hoping that you will all support me in my final spurt.

The  ‘m’ word does sound a little emotive as though 2018kms in a year is a lazy-arse effort, and to be honest I’m pooped just thinking about those kms again. Here’s my proposal how about for my last last run of the year, I run 2.018 kms to a pub?

Then I will have run 2020.018kms, and get a gin and tonic or similar for my troubles. Or is this way too easy and you think I should suck up a longer run?

Answers on a postcard or if you’re suggesting something horrid like a marathon, can you please send a geographically challenged carrier pigeon instead. Btw – out again today and another 5.8 kms banked for the challenge.

Big thanks to our friend in London, B, who kindly sponsored me over the weekend. Another boost to the old confidence and knackered legs.

And a big hug to my running mate MummyCav who has lost her mo jo at the mo. I did run to the local fish shop to try and find it, but can confirm it wasn’t there, so it must be lurking in Yorkshire.

Playlist

What else but the MummyCav mix:-

Single Ladies – Beyoncé

Dear Prudence – Siouxsie and The Banshees

Sherry – Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

Alison – Elvis Costello

Kayleigh – Marillion

Maggie May – Rod Stewart

Poison Ivy – The Lambrettas

Respect – Aretha

Ophelia – The Band

Queen Of Clubs – KC And The Sunshine Band

Roxanne – The Police

Uma Thurman – Fall Out Boy

Zoe Jane – Staind

 

Stats

Distance 5.80km

Time 40:33

Average Pace 6:57

Elevation Gain 23 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1845.25

Kms To Run 172.75

13 Nov – Ju-Junopoly

This run is dedicated to my running mentor Ju-Ju, who has unfortunately got somewhat crocked with a very serious asthma attack. Along with fellow runners from the C25K crew, we are dedicating our runs to her this week.

Ju-Ju and I share three things :-

  • Nice running kit, although I still envy her gold ‘lamé’ type shorts
  • Lipstick for running, fave colours are runner’s ruby, pootler’s pink, and flaming flamenco
  • Run the Year challenges – slight difference, Ju-ju has achieved it, whereas I am still in course

I decided to do 12km today if I could, and took the scenic route up west.

As this was Ju-junopoly running, I decided just to focus on the ‘posher’ parts of town, so she could enjoy the views virtually. And I got:-

Trafalgar Square – with a snoozy lion, to the tune of The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Fleet Street – ye olde London pub – which I am guessing is probably not that ‘ye olde’

Strand – passing the Queen’s Bankers – Coutts

Pall Mall – The Institute of Directors

Turning around in St James’s Park, I passed the Canadian War Memorial, getting a spruce up from one of the park wardens, with the Autumn falling leaves obliterating the carved leaves in the memorial.

An absolutely fabulous run out, the 12kms passed quite quickly. I felt as though I was gliding – it must be Ju-Ju passing on her panthering method through the power of mindwaves. I was also testing out my new ‘Best Covers Ever’ playlist, when entering St James’s Park to ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ that was a moment in itself, as the sun was shining, people were smiling and it was an utterly glorious London day.

Playlist

Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’ Connor

Kiss – Art of Noise and Tom Jones

Valerie – Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse

Back To Black – Amy Winehouse

Tainted Love – Soft Cell

Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

Hurt – Johnny Cash

I Fought The Law – The Clash

Delilah – Tom Jones

Blue Suede Shoes – Elvis Presley

Stand and Deliver – No Doubt

911 Is a Joke – Duran Duran

The Lion Sleeps Tonight – Tight Fit

Ever Fallen In Love – Fine Young Cannibals

China Girl – David Bowie

I Only Want To Be with You – The Tourists

You Can’t Hurry Love – Phil Collins

Hallelujah – Alexandra Burke

All Along The Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix

Respect – Aretha Franklin

Sweet Dreams – Marilyn Manson

Whiskey In the Jar – Thin Lizzy

Twist and Shout – The Beatles

I Second That Emotion – Japan

Faith – Limp Bizkit

Stats

Distance 12.29km

Time 1:22:07

Average Pace 6:41

Elevation Gain 54 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1827.37

Kms to Do 190.63 (fewer than 200km now!)