17 Feb – Wimp or Wally?

You decide, after a very long night’s sleep and an understanding Mr JCR who knew exactly why I needed to crash, I thought I may just go for a walk today, rather than run.

But then why walk when you can run? (even if it is now ‘glacial pace’*) and furthermore the run counts towards your Alzheimer’s Challenge, whereas walking wouldn’t.

I toddled off, in fact it was like treading on hot coals, but I really slowed down and took the coastal path along the seafront, wearing running shorts for the first time this year. Running shorts without a pocket, so some frantic re-arranging of my shoelaces and I managed to put the Airbnb keys in my trainers.

Today saw a significant number of folk on the beach and the beach barbecues were all in force, giving a very nice aroma en route. These are formed in steel boats and the fish/shellfish are skewered vertically to cook. It was very appetising seeing fresh sea bream and prawns cooking, if a little tempting to just pack in the run and have lunch instead.

I had got used to the jingle of keys accompanying me and then all of a sudden, no jingle. The Airbnb keys had worked out, so a slight retracing of steps and I continued on.

At one stage I was so slow I was overtaken by a pedestrian, but then I’m guessing they haven’t run 20+km in the past two days.

It was warm, my pace was dreadful but I snuck in another 6km. This is day 3 of running a 4 day streak. I am not sure my body can deal with it. Still, we are eating out tonight and I have plenty of time to rest before going out tomorrow.

Must up the water intake, as today I saw a thermometer saying 22 degrees; Southern Spain is hotting up. Upside, I didn’t wimp out – downside, I may have overcooked days 1 and 2, so that probably makes me a Wally.

At the final countdown in December, we will find out.

* gratefully plagiarised from The Devil Wears Prada


Please Don’t Go – Madness

Please Please Me – The Beatles

Please Stay – Duffy

Politik – Coldplay

Pop Muzik – ‘M’

Porcelain Gods – Paul Weller

Precious – The Jam

Press Lightly – Paloma Faith

Prettiest Star – David Bowie

Pretty Vacant – Sex Pistols

The Price Of Admission – Stiff Little Fingers

The Price of Love – Bryan Ferry

Pride (In The Name Of Love) – U2

(obviously I didn’t shuffle my playlist…)


Distance 6.86kms

Time 1:04:59

Average Pace 9:28 (see, it’s getting much worse this is 3mins a km worse than my usual)

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 240.9

Kms To Do 1777.1

Sponsor me on BT MyDonate

12 Feb – I’m at 10%, Just a Shame


we are approximately at 12% of the year through, when I have just run 10% of my 2018km target distance.

However, with the Under Armour Year challenge, I remain in the top 7% – I feel a slightly competitive streak coming on, which will help keep me running.

Today’s run report  is short and sweet. I was in Stratford (East End, not Upon Avon) for a scan to ascertain the reason for a bout of WMAS. I then decided I could run home, which in principle I could, just not today after yesterday’s serious run.

The Stratford regeneration is amazing, but Google Maps doesn’t necessarily take you through the most salubrious areas, when directing you home. To be honest as soon as I spotted a path down to the Regents Canal, I was off and away. Besides which Google Maps requires a reasonably good GPS signal and I kept losing it.

The canalside was chocker with runners, coming at you, overtaking you, undertaking you and I suddenly realised it’s half term. There were canoeists on the water and a slightly sweaty middle aged runner on the bank. This SSMAR was swearing quietly as her fleece lined baggy trousers were chafing her legs, and at the point of my greatest discomfort  I was overtaken by a handy, bendy, twiglet runner. You know the sort, cellulite is a word they know from the dictionary, but have never experienced.

As she ran past, this SSMAR looked in utter disbelief, as twiglet runner was wearing a yoga strappy bra let top, with a bare midriff and knee length capris. It’s 5 degrees people… and she is running semi naked. Needless to say being overtaken by a semi naked runner in 5 degrees, was a tad off-putting, so I spluttered to a halt. Still it was over 8kms.


  1. I surpassed my 10% target today – fantastic
  2. I have chafed legs – uughh
  3. I have to run another 8km tomorrow – mmm


How Soon Is Now – The Smiths

Hymn – Ultravox

Batman – The Jam

Gold – Spandau Ballet

Running Bear – Stiff Little Fingers

Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine – The Killer

Wasted Life – Stiff Little Fingers

Get Up and Jump – Red Hot Chilis

Bitter Sweet Symphony – The Verve

Country – Paul Weller

Everything Cunts – Depeche Mode

On Top – The Killers

I’m Not Like Everybody Else – The Kinks

Dancing With Myself – Billy Idol

Smithers-Jones – The Jam

The Girl Who Wanted To Be – The Manics

Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake

Don’t You Remember – Adele

North Country Boy – Charlatans


Distance 8.46 kms

Time 1:10:06

Average Pace 8:16 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 27 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done – 202.67 km

Kms to Do 1815.33






19 Jan – Vampires Out

of the cupboard that is. Today is a running rest day but the pesky Vampire Kettlebells saw the light of day today. In truth, only one saw the light of day, but as vampires die in sunlight, I had to be careful.

I am a lightweight on weightlifting and Razouski my C25K running buddy, donated her ‘Kettlercise’ routine to me. I’d like to say a sincere thank you, however I don’t think I can… OMG she swings these things for an hour. An hour! Is she mental? Rhetorical question obviously.

Out of the umpteen hellish exercises, (kindly donated) I settled on 10 reps of the dead lift, after having done my squats. The dead lift could also be called a Figure One Exercise, as the Figure Eight Exercise, looks way too hard at my pathetic level. And besides which we live in a small apartment, and there’s no room to do a figure of eight.

So that’s my amazing effort, but it is a start and I have made progress, not an excuse. And for that I am pleased. And if ever any of you are approached by a fit, singing runner, with penchant for 80s music and she suggests she could donate her Kettlercise routine to you, I’d suggest you run as fast as you can…

Yippee – With Apologies to Luke Friend – 3 December

Having met up with super Speedy Razouski yesterday, some of her straight-line speed, must have transferred over to me through the famous energy transferral medium of Portuguese Custard Tarts, because I was raring to go out running this morning.

This morning I checked the weather, yup it was bleurgh, grey, wet and a bit breezy. So I dressed accordingly, very grey top, black fleece lined running tights, mugger’s hat and burglar’s black gloves.

I wasn’t really sure what running mood I was in, so started my warm up walk to Downtown and decided to head towards Smithfield Market. First km, not too bad but ouch there’s something in my shoe. It’s a little stone – I will ignore it and carry on and hopefully it will jiggle to the side and I’ll be okay.

Second km, I am running up Farringdon Lane to Take My Breath Away, I was puffing a bit – it is mildly uphill, but I felt a bit speedier today, ouch that stone is still in my shoe, okay I can’t be bothered faffing about to take it off, I will lose my stride and pace.

Continue on through the 3rd and 4th kms, a slight niggling soreness underfoot, so I think I will curtail the run at 5km, en route towards Silicon Roundabout and I’m boiling hot, so jacket comes off, mugger’s hat removed, gloves taken off and I continue on. Finally I hit the 5km mark and hallelujah for the very first time, I have beaten the 30 minutes for 5k and managed 29 minutes 33 seconds.

For sure Razouski’s virtual presence gave me a boost and a thought to see what I could manage, and yes the route was mainly flat, with only a slight incline to deal with, but still it is my first 5k under the magic 30 minutes!

The only slight rain on my parade today, was the discovery that the stone has done it’s best in my trainer. My 2 week old running socks are irrevocably damaged. With apologies to Luke Friend who wrote the song ‘There’s a Hole in My Heart” – this is my version.

Since you arrived, my feet became a mess

Cos running without you was the thing I did best

Now that today is over what else have I left?

Cos I hate you so much I can’t lose you, I need you to go

You should have gone but I’ll never know

Why on this day you got stuck in my sole

On my heel,  but not on my toe

There’s a hole in my sock, can you fix it?

There’s a hole in my sock, since you’ve been around

Is this P-A-I-N?

Somebody tell me what’s happening to me?

Is this P-A-I-N?

Somebody tell me, just what’s happening to me?

Since you haven’t gone

I hate you so much that it makes me think

The pain you caused just shredded my feet

Cos those socks were new, for every runner’s need

And I hate you so!

There’s a hole in my sock can you fix it?

There’s a hole in my sock can you fix it?


Downtown – Petula Clark

Midnight Train to Georgia – Gladys Knight and The Pips

Take My Breath Away – Berlin

Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel

Big In Japan – Alphaville

Une Nuit a Paris – 10cc

Lost in France – Bonnie Tyler

Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles

Avalon – Roxy Music


Distance 5.03km

Time 29 minutes 33 seconds

Average Pace 5 minutes 52 (mins/km)

Hole in Sock – 1

Socks in Bin – 2

Yippees – at least 3!


Halloween, harvesting and home – 28 October

We are in the home strait, closing down the house before we return to the UK for a few weeks and we had a list of things to do as long as your arm. From harvesting the olives (thanks Mr JCR – nobly done whilst I was in London a week back), to de-fooding the house and cleaning absolutely everywhere.

Part of the new close down procedure, is setting up the security cameras inside and out after our burglary earlier this year. The cameras (in principle) are designed to make us feel safer whilst here and away. Last night Mr JCR went out to meet his Iron Man buddy for a goodbye meal and I stayed home alone. It is very dark in the countryside here; I was binge watching Catastrophe in front of a roaring fire. Then, all of a sudden my phone told me that both the internal and external cameras had lost their signals. Mmm my heart did pound a bit, as I muted the tv just in case and then sat in silence for about 10 minutes wondering if there was an axe murderer outside who had just cut the power.

I sent a casual text to MR JCR enquiring whether such power loss was normal – his answer an hour later…. ‘No idea, seems strange’

Quite clearly I am somewhat deranged as had said axe-murderer cut the power, neither the lights nor the tv would have been working… such is the power of an over-active imagination all sense of logic is lost. And any hope I may have had at being imminently rescued, was quite clearly dashed by the 1 hour delay in getting Mr JCR’s reassuring reply… Halloween obviously playing on my mind.

This morning, I decided binge-reading The Times was in order, all part of my prevarication strategy to not run this morning. But after having read the paper (can you still call it a paper when it is on-line?), really there was no viable excuse to not getting my butt out there. In daylight there was no sign of any axe-murderers having been near the house, just the hum of lots of olive harvesting going on.

Off I trotted down the Slope of Hope, into the Hill that Kills and coming towards me an unusual sight – a 1950’s or 60’s American Muscle car, driven by a guy who looked like a shorter and short haired version of Lemmy from Motorhead. Now he was truthfully a Halloween sight. Into Lovers’ Lane and I overtook a couple of women on a walk, who then decided to take advantage of the children’s playground nearby and they ran giggling to the swings and were swinging merrily as I looped back. Their giggles reverberated across the fields and back – actually what fun, to be a grown-up and play on the swings and not get tutted or told off!

Back to the Hill That Kills and I dropped down back onto the Slope of Hope and decided I’d run all the way back up. My speedy feet weren’t really on today so it was more of a plod, back up the hill to Mill Lane, where there was a car – now this constitutes pretty much gridlock. A couple of years back Mill Lane changed designation to one-way and the one-way it does go, doesn’t seem to be that popular with the locals. The car was coming away from the olive frantoio and as I passed I could see all the empty crates lined up and the waste from the pressing being churned into a waiting trailer. The air smelt full of fresh olive oil. For the second time I ran up Lovers’ Lane and this time the giggling women had gone to be replaced by the old guy who I think is closing up the piadineria and park for Winter. The swings had been removed and all is quiet, so I plodded slowly onto the 5km mark.

Back towards home having listened to Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Vincent Price’s voiceover – (what an apt day to hear this song) and Mill Lane and the local comune man with his Ape was at work. This weekend will be the All Saints Day celebration in churches and cemeteries – the local cemetery will see hundreds of visitors, the road will be partially closed off and parking wardens in attendance –  All Saints Sunday is a big day here. This also means we have to ride shotgun at our entrance gate, otherwise we can’t get in and out of the house. This is why I am running today and not tomorrow as is usual.

A slow steady 5k, nothing interesting or scary happening. And after last night’s 10 minutes of almost terror, it’s nice for things to be back to quiet, sleepy normal.


Mercy – Duffy

By The Way – Red Hot Chilis

Let’s Dance – David Bowie

Blue Monday – New Order

Billie Jean – Michael Jackson

Beat It – ditto

Thriller – ditto

Last Train to Clarksville – The Monkees

I’m a Believer – ditto

Daydream Believer – ditto

Vienna – Ultravox

Everything Must Go – Manics

Billie Jean – Michael Jackson

Alison – Elvis Costello


Distance 5.58km (only 5.1 ran)

Time 45.10 (slooowww)

Average Pace 8.06 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 68metres

Squatting – 3 x sets of 15 reps


Hazard Warning – 24 October

It’s been a busy October as we are preparing to close down the house for Winter. Last week I was in London and Mr JCR harvesting olives. My return to Italy was marked by an impromptu invite to a birthday party (Friday night) involving a volcano, the end of season party for Mr JCRs cycling group on Saturday night and about 30 of his cyclist group coming for snacks and olive oil tasting on Sunday. This is all hazardous to health with vast quantities of food and wine consumed, between trying to clear out the house for our departure.

Amidst all of this activity, there is a small matter of fitting in some running – I had given myself a target to do 10K before leaving Italy for the UK and that seemed to have been stymied by a couple of weeks on the injury couch after two rather stupid slips. So today was my first attempt at getting back to a more usual distance. The morning didn’t start well, I was cold and grumpy and could hear the wind howling around the house. Eventually I gave in and got up, faffed about, prevaricated some more, went outside – jeepers the wind was bracing, so went back indoors to put on another layer and eventually off I went. I didn’t really have a target in mind, but more than 7km would be good. Warm up walk down the Slope of Hope, loads of acorns by the side of the road, so the surface a little hazardous, I kept looking down, which in Italy is dangerous in itself, as the traffic is let’s say haphazard in roadcraft. Up the Hill that Kills and did one of my fastest first km, this is not a good thing as the Hill TK is the first part of my run, if I overshoot here, it has consequences. Down Lovers’ Lane past the barking beagle house, who as per tradition made me leap in the air. The roads are quiet because most activity is in the fields, with the olive harvest in full swing and the mills all busy. I am a bit warm, so return to the house and dump my extra layer and then continue back down the Slope of Hope. In the distance I see a rangy long haired blond runner, a bit like a lanky Bjorn Borg only minus the headband. He is running faster up this damn hill than I am running down it. Curses!

I turn down to the Bendy Scary Road and decide to take the Laundry Lane loop. It’s now gloriously sunny, everywhere I run is accompanied by the snap, crackle and pop of acorns and leaves falling. We had a temporale (storm) on Sunday evening which seems to have caused a lot of debris, so there is rather a lot of twigs and branches around, requiring nifty footwork. As I plod along, I see a collection of the following ‘fruits’ which have fallen from the trees and thank heavens the temporale seems to have stripped the tree bare. If one of these had fallen on my head, that would have been rather hazardous too.



I carry on and decide that if I can make 8k today I will be very happy indeed. Then I am tooted by some Dutch friends as they drive past, and just for once the running gods were smiling and I was running a nice pace, not in my tired Mrs Overall style, but all proper runner-like, so that gave me quite a boost. I arrived at Prune Way at about 7.5km and thought I could just continue so I did until I hit about 9km and turned back along Laundry Lane towards Prune Way again, as I approached I was just on the 10km mark, but remembered I had walked a few metres earlier on (when putting my extra top in the post box), so to make sure I had done the magic 10 clicks, I turned back away from Prune Way for about 200m and then ran back. Job Done. Challenge Done – a 10km run before leaving Italy. Despite Faffolino visiting, despite acorns, leaves and twigs providing low lying hazards, despite me not really wanting to do this, I did and I am a happy bunny!


Uptown Funk – Mars and Ronson

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Sign of the Times – Harry Styles

Love’s Unkind – Donna Summer

I Ran – A Flock of Seagulls

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Oh Woman, Oh Man – London Grammar

Tainted Love – Soft Cell

Alive and Kicking – Simple Minds

Cake By The Ocean – DNCE

She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult

Marvin Gaye – Puth and Trainor

Runnin’ Down a Dream – Tom Petty

Talk Talk – Talk Talk

Rasputin – Boney M

Rumour Has It – Adele

It’s Called A Heart – Depeche Mode

Common People – Pulp


Distance 10.50km (but I reckon 10.2km of running)

Time 1.13.30

Average Pace (mins/km)7.00

Elevation Gain  51 metres

Fastest Split 6.05

Squats 3 X sets of 15 Reps

Warm Down Walk 2km with Elevation gain of 165.9m

Shirking, Shimmying, Sliding and Shade – 21 October

One of the joys of living in Italy is the impromptu nature of your social life. Whilst one of the downsides is not being fluent in the native language meaning you occasionally end up doing something that you hadn’t quite expected or prepared for.

So it turned out last night at a friend’s birthday. There was to be some sort of informal gathering outside their shop and Mr JCR thought their usual outdoor marquee may be involved. There was a birthday party and it was in their shop (no marquee), and the evening was somewhat surreal  as we saw a handmade polenta and fish ragu volcano being set alight.

I have been to all sorts of events in my life, but the lighting of a polenta and ragu volcano is a first. This is where it got awks (my new found social media language dictionary tells me means awkward). There are many many things in Italy we love, food, culture. people, climate etc etc etc., however polenta isn’t on that list. But we are in Le Marche, it is Autumn and polenta comes into its own at this time of year, there are polenta feasts and fairs all over the Region celebrating the gloop. We have over the years tried runny gloop, cheesy gloop, cheesy oven baked gloop, griddled gloop, oniony gloop, garlicky gloop, white gloop, yellow gloop, and ‘even if you don’t like polenta, you’ll love mine’ gloop. In fairness you can’t say we haven’t tried, but love of the gloop evades us.

The polenta and ragu volcano was duly set alight and the shop lights dimmed to many oohs and aahs from the assembled audience. And then came the doling out of the gloop. We tried to keep our plates full of other food, but it was noticed that we had not got our portion. Being British and polite we took a sample, as it would have been rude and frankly impossible to have not had any. We didn’t shirk our responsibility or manners, although we did try sliding the gloop around the plate so it looked as though we’d eaten quite a bit.

This morning the alarm went, my stomach felt a bit gloopy, but that was probably more the Aperol Spritz and prosecco consumed, rather than the polenta. I had decided to see if I could run for about 6 or 7km and not push it, given recent twinges and time spent on the injury couch.   My usual warm up walk towards the Hill that Kills and my run started, a very quick shimmy was necessary in the first seconds as an oncoming car decided to take the bend tightly and would have hit me, had I not heard him approaching. Onwards and plodwards up the hill, a car approaches from behind and toots, it is a friend Lucia, who says it’s nice to see me back from London – in truth I’m a bit miffed as at this stage I am still not running aerobically so the run is more of an upward stagger, I hardly look like a fit runner at all. Down Lovers’ Lane towards Villa Bali, a lady is training two collies on fetch and retrieve routines – unfortunately I am in the way on the retrieve run and one of the collies and I do an awkward shimmy around each other and continue.

There aren’t many people out and about at this time of year as it is slap bang in the middle of olive harvest time, so there are many tractors and nets and harvest crews working in the fields, to get the precious cargo in and pressed on time. I had quite fortuitively timed my visit to London to coincide with our own olive harvest. I slid off without a backward glance, leaving Mr JCR to organise the logistics and I came home to 70+ litres of green-gold. Dodging my way around the tractors and trucks, I take Laundry Lane which is a long mainly down hill route to give me a nice run. Being Autumn the oaks are shedding all their acorns and it is a running hazard as you will either be hit on the head or you have to keep looking at the ground to avoid slipping. Given two recent incidents of Stupid Tart Syndrome, I don’t want to slip and fall on acorns so I take my time. I give myself a target milestone to complete which is  to do 7km or Prune Way, but 7km is my minimum. Prune Way is in view and the turn off is actually at 6.9km, so I continue a little further and then start running up Prune Way. This is a short sharp ascent and frankly my legs aren’t up to it, so I walk and jog to the most apt tune – Culture Club and ‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me’ – but mainly walk to finish. It’s about 650 metres with 50 metre gradient, so quite tough to do at the end of a run. On my way up I hear more olive harvesting going on and I spy a gorgeous old cinquecento shading under the trees, a pretty car on a pretty day.

Pics show, Prune Way, the cinquecento and Mr JCR’s endeavours whilst I shirked my harvesting duties, shimmied around London, slid back into my running routine and finally shaded my very red face as Salsa Red.


(This is from memory as Map My Run doesnt synch with Spotify library)

Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

Every Day Hurts – Sad Cafe

Cars – Gary Numan

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty

Talk Talk – Talk Talk

Tainted Love – Soft Cell

Shout – Tears For Fears

Break My Stride – Matthew Wilder

Hold Me Now – Thompson Twins

Doctor, Doctor – ditto

Visage – Visage

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club

I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty


Distance 7.65km (I reckon 7.1km of true running)

Time 56.15

Average Pace 7.21 (much worse than London – I blame heat and slopes)

Best Km 6.31

Elevation Gain  76 metres

Squats 3 x 15 sets of reps done.