Week 21 Run 2 – Why?

Just WHY?????

Sunday Morning – Mr JCR and cycling buddy from Islington A are already out on the road doing the mountain stages of the Giro Di Muscoli.

JCR not doing any mountain stages of anything, but running down the Bitch of a Pitch to get a coffee, and then a planned Jeffing back up the hill.

It’s quite warm but not excessively so, and I start my way out, first of all for the obligatory warm up walk. Turning back on myself a couple of walkers are passing my way – for social distancing I give them a wide berth and start my little trot for my cappuccino.

TBOAP, is about 3km in length and quite steep in places, with nasty cambers in places, so it does take a toll on your knee joints even though it’s a downhill run. That coupled with some nasty bends means you have to be reasonably alert to avoid being taken out by a car. I pass Lord Kitchener’s house, which is as neat and dapper as he is, but no sign of Lord K today.

Taking the famous Costa bend, I see a new sign for the restaurant – exciting life I lead here in Le Marche…, obviously the other signs aren’t considered sexy enough for them. Then I run into quite a bit of traffic, which meant I had to keep stopping and waiting for the cars to pass. Sunday mornings see quite a few folk going to visit their rellies in the cemetery, and/or attend weddings.

Today Sonia and Christian are getting married, as all the posters on the local lamp-posts and walls tell us. What they don’t say is that maybe, just maybe it’s a themed wedding. I say this with absolutely no proof whatsoever, my run was going fine, I’d passed a number of Sonia and Christian’s posters and I was rounding off my descent, through a rat run towards the local supermarket on All Roads Lead to Rome road.

I passed either Sonia or Christian’s family house bedecked with gauze rosettes and lots of folk embracing in the garden. One guy was very nattily dressed in his suit, rose buttonhole and his Nike trainers, all very lovely and then ugh, around the corner I saw the house above. Someone please tell me why you would put a large spider on your house? I’m not sure I even like the butterflies, but who wants an effing spider crawling above their door.

Shuddering and grimacing I entered the supermarket car park, to be met with the sight of a beautiful young girl, about six or seven I guess in a pretty bright yellow dress, she looked as though she might be going to Sonia and Christian’s wedding. Then two seconds later around came (I assume) her dad, tanned and gorgeous wearing a canary yellow linen long sleeved shirt, with canary yellow trousers and blue loafers. He looked stunning but more in a banana man sort of way. I do wonder if Sonia and Christian’s wedding was banana themed. There could be worse themes I suppose.

That was pretty much the end of my run 3.5 kms in total, no local personalities except the cute if rather yellow banana man. One cappuccino and croissant later, I started Jeffing up the hill, but to be honest it was way more effing than Jeffing, I didn’t really have the feeling and so my run intervals were few and far between the walking episodes. But still it’s 3.5km back uphill, with a nasty bend of a thirteen percent gradient, which is calf straining.

Job Done. It’s getting better as it gets cooler.

Stats

Distance – 7.2km combined run/walk

Jump Rope – 43, 15, 8 3 – definitely out of practice

Physio – Nope, couldn’t be bothered

Mosquito Bites 3 – the pesky little buggers are still out in force and during the day

Week 20 Run 3 – Puffa Jackets, Porn, Plonkers and Puffing

Friday lunchtime in Fano at our favourite fish restaurant Yankee. It’s about 27 degrees, which is distinctly cooler than it has been, but it’s still warm. Not a cloud in the sky nor a puff of breeze, but the month has changed and so too has Italian clothing.

On a warm, some would say hot, Friday lunchtime jeans are de rigueur and I espied my first puffa waistcoat. I was wearing a thin cotton dress, Mr JCR was wearing shorts, but we’d forgotten the golden rule that when September arrives so does the Autumn wardrobe for the Italian family. We are underdressed by his standard, but it’s so warm we actually feel overdressed.

Saturday is my usual rest day and another hot day was in course. Saturday night was quite noisy with lots of motorbikes around at night and youthful screams of joy.

Sunday morning; I found out why we had the youthful screams.

Mr JCR was up and out, I’d had a lousy night’s sleep and so I did one of the following and I wonder if you can guess what it was?

  1. Said goodbye to Mr JCR – turned over in bed  and didn’t go for a run
  2. Said goodbye to Mr JCR – decided to have  40 winks and run after
  3. Fell asleep almost immediately and woke up with a guilty start just before 10am

Yup it was number three. Heading out of the door, it seemed a little warmer than it had been for a while oh and yes it was about twenty four degrees and not much shade to be seen. Mmm JCR another epic fail on the getting up front.

I’d decided I’d do a circuit or two of The Hill That Kills and made my way towards Mill Lane, it was hardly encouraging when I realised there was little shade there, on I plodded to Lovers’ Lane. Here we have the evidence of a debauched night out with discarded light green sex aids at the roadside. That was obviously the source of screaming last night.

Not that I have any particular views on the colour of sex aids, but green seems a somewhat bilious choice. Ah yes JCR, lockdown eyesight has struck once more, now that I am closer I see they are discarded or dropped vegetables. But I’m sure somewhere in pornland there’s a fetish site for sex with long green bendy vegetables. Perhaps the bikers were just whooping because they’d found fresh ingredients for a vegetarian feast?

Taking my usual trip around Villa Bali, I make my way back up Lovers’ Lane and I see a topless man running towards me, with his baseball cap on backwards. He’s a bit gangly and if he was setting out to impress the local talent, he looked more to me like an Italian Peter Crouch, which is not that sexy imho. And to be honest the average age of the people who walk run and cycle here is at least double his age. Maybe he likes old’uns?

Back towards the Hill That Kills, I am sauntering downhill and Yoda is coming the other way, we wish each other a good morning and continue on our way. I’m coming up to the pigiama mama house and a car is coming towards me indicating right. I think they are visiting pigiama mama, so I stop by the side of a tree just ahead of the driveway, so they can get clear passage without worrying about me.

But they didn’t turn into the drive, they kept indicating and drove straight towards me, stopping so close, I thought they were going to ask for directions or something. I started to move and then holy moly so did they. As I ran across pigiama mama’s driveway, they reversed into it. What absolutely effing stupid  plonkers. I’d stopped, waited, given them room, they’d overshot, then boxed me in and when I started moving they shadowed me.

Harrumph! I reached the bottom of THTK, and I could hear them behind me. Runner’s revenge ensued I took an age to cross the road ahead of them, turned right up into the Slope of No Hope and then re-crossed it to run back down again, all the while they had to wait for me to finish.  Revenge was sweet, although they had air conditioning – I didn’t and now the temperature was touching twenty six, so I was looking a little puce. I decided to do one more run up THTK to hit just under 4kms. I was a bit puffed and so messed up Map My Run again, and ended up doing a few mini runs to make sure I’d really run the 4km.

My weekend started on Friday with a man in a puffa jacket to keep warm, a pink face realising I hadn’t spotted sex aids after all and a mini episode of red hot rage because of some plonkers. But of course being British I kept it all under a veneer of civilised disdain.

Stats

Distance 4km

Physio – some of it, still need to buy a yoga mat

Jump Rope – 39, 23, 7, 19, 46

Music

First Single Ever Bought

Best track – it’s quite cringeworthy but Mississippi by Pussycat, because my beloved IyeIye (grandmother) thought it was wonderful, and she was a wonderful person too

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 20 Run 1 – Oh I can’t do that…

Barking Beagle House – no barking today thank goodness

The sun is up and so is Mr JCR, using his usual persuasive tones to get me out of bed and into my running gear.

I’d had yet another lousy night of sleep, something to do with incessant dog barking during the night, coupled with boy racers on their whining mini motorbikes at about 3am and it being scorchio during the night. And to cap it all, I’d been bitten to pieces by the dreaded pappatacci. All in all, not great prep for a run.

After having done the Laundry lane curves a couple of times of late, I decided to go to the bendy, scary road instead. 

Up Mill Lane, all is quiet but the cicadas are starting up already. I think this means we are going to have a warm day ahead. Towards Lovers’ Lane and there’s a dog walking lady busily picking up poop, carrying a rather capacious carrier bag for the purpose.

The dog is some kind of terrier, and he’s skittering all over the place sniffing trees, and running rings around his owner, who was picking up more poop. Maybe she is a volunteer poop picker upperer, as I can’t believe one small terrier could poop that much. He came bounding up to me, gave me the once over and went back to his owner, clearly a sweaty middle-aged woman with no treats or doggie toys is of no interest whatsoever.

I looped around Villa Bali and with no shade to be found, I was heating up once more. The terrier and his owner were in the distance, and I began the slow overtaking haul. I managed to get past the barking beagle house, with no barking and evidently no beagles. I’m guessing they may be on holiday.

Aiming for the Hill That Kills, I dodge out of the way for a rather large tractor – my guess was he was going to do me a lot of damage if I stood my ground.  At this time of year with all the harvest work, it’s sensible to let them go past. Running towards Pigiama Mamma’s house, she is revving up her motor to come out and politely lets me cross. I wave and continue on to the Slope of Hope.

I can see Yoda in the distance,  wearing his dayglo and camo outfit. He’s heading up the hill and I’m heading downhill, to the dubious delights of the bendy scary road.

Three trucks in succession are coming towards me and I dip into Lovers’ Layby to avoid them and here things went slightly awry. I could see the barking beagle house and thought it looked rather nice against the blue sky and took a photo. Yup I’d forgotten to restart Map My Run and didn’t realise until a little later on in my run.

All in all it was an uneventful run, I made the Italian soldier memorial in the next village and started on my way back. I was overtaken by a rather ungainly cyclist, who I recognised straightaway.

Yes it’s arse crack man, thankfully since our first unfortunate meeting he has had cyclist etiquette advice and is no longer wearing the see-through cycling shorts. Which today is a good job, because clearly he is suffering as much in the heat as I am and he takes quite a bit of time to pass me on his bike. That would have been a nightmare having to watch his bum do Morse code again as he passes me slowly… Instead he gasps and rocks side to side, in a strange way that’s a comfort knowing I’m not the only one.

I make my way back towards home, I’d had some rather optimistic thoughts of running back up the Slope of No Hope, and so it keeps that name, as my thoughts were ‘Oh no I can’t do that’. 

Funnily enough that strapline is one shared by the Italian Postal Service. We have a saying in English from George Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman ‘ Those who can, do; those who can’t teach’.

From our time in Italy, I have the Italian version ‘ Those who can, do; those who can’t work in the Post Office’.

I got home and was mooching around the house when the intercom buzzed into life. It was Poste Italia with a parcel to drop off. I also had a parcel for them to pick up, suitably ready with all the necessary bar codes attached, having received firm instructions that it was 100% my responsibility to attach the bar codes to the parcel as the driver did not have the technology to do it.

I went to the gate, – social distancing rules mean Poste Italia have a ready made excuse to be worse than usual, and my parcel was balanced on the gate. Now there was nothing breakable in it, but the gate is electronic and was closing, so he was playing Russian roulette with my parcel. Will it stay on the gate or will it drop? I decided I wouldn’t take that chance and took it off its perch. Hmm, I called him back as he was about to shoot off in his turbo charged minivan.

‘What about this other parcel?’ he looked confused. ‘I received a message yesterday saying you’d be picking up this parcel’ 

‘Oh no, I can’t do that- someone else will be doing that’.  He explained he was the drop off man and couldn’t do picking up. That much was obvious with how he had handled my delivery packet – drop it off on our gate, hope it doesn’t fall and let the owner pick it up off the ground. My reason for saying this is not blind bias, as my parcel pick up  was for a candle that had been smashed to smithereens, when I found the parcel ‘left’ on the drive, with the usual social distanced delivery mechanism. 

And so that was my run story too, I dropped off the pace and couldn’t really pick it back up again. My ready made excuse is that with the heat over 80 degrees again, it’s as much as I can do to pick up my trainers and put them on.

I keep kidding myself that it’s getting cooler, maybe Sunday’s run will be cooler, otherwise I’ll be repeating ‘oh, I can’t do that’ and that wouldn’t do at all.

Stats

Distance 4.56km

Physio – Yes, but still haven’t bought a yoga mat

Jump Rope – 36, 23 10, 5 9 – clearly my co-ordination isn’t improving..

Music

Razouski’s 80 playlist

Favourite track ‘Lose Yourself’ by Eminem, because I love the rhythm of it, even though when it came on I was walking.

 

 

 

 

Week 19 Run 1 – The Hills are Alive…

with the sound of an asthmatic, chain smoking, drunk and sweary labrador.

It’s 3am, I’m awake and downloading the newspaper

It’s 4am, I’m awake and reading the newspaper

It’s 5am, I’m awake and finished reading the newspaper

It’s 6am, the alarm finally catches up with me and to his total surprise so does Mr JCR.

My teenage sleeping habits are legendary and there’s never been a day in recent memory when I am awake and more to the point conscious, when Mr JCR  wakes up.

Running kit ready, temperature ready – nice and cloudy and only about 19 degrees, which is positively Arctic for us at this time of year.

Where to go?, well I sort of promised I’d do some hill running and try and break the 4km barrier whilst doing it. So off I trot on a different route. Turning left out onto the Bitch of a Pitch, I decide to take Laundry Lane in reverse and take the windy curvy incline. No time limits you understand, just keep running and if I need a breather, then I’ll take one.

Today is a better day because the email problem is half solved – only half way because I’ve found the emails but just can’t seem to answer them. So I no longer feel totally like the international criminal my nearest and dearest know me to be.

The Bitch of a Pitch is aptly named, steep with lots of blind bends and some of the crazier Italian drivers believing they can see around corners, and then they suddenly see me and realise they can’t and undertake manoeuvres more at home on racing track skid pans.

My descent down the Bitch is incident free and I take a hook left onto Prune Way. This is always a test because descending is so steep and the road is semi gravel, so it’s very easy to lose your footing, except on this occasion I don’t and successfully land at the bottom. I don’t wear trail shoes for running, just standard trainers, but probably I could do with a pair more grippy.

Another hook left onto Laundry Lane, which all of a sudden seems a lot more daunting than when I jauntily decided I’d do some hills. And so I start my slow ascent. Well to be honest it was fast/slow. I started running fast and then taking a breather. But rather like an asthmatic labrador  or a 60 a day smoker, I ended up taking heaving, great gulps of air in an attempt to fool myself that I was fine.

I gave myself the usual milestones – ‘if you can just get to that tree that’s fine’, ‘okay now aim for that road sign’, ‘you’re allowed to stop on that cracked bit of tarmac’.

That last ‘milestone’ in fact could relate to the whole road, smooth well laid tarmac is an art. An art which Italy appears to have forgotten. There was a great meme doing the rounds a few years ago  comparing Roman built roads with the now infamous newly opened motorway in Sicily which collapsed within days of opening. But I don’t think I can ask the local council to lay cobbles and then I’m not sure I could run on them anyway.

The first major bend was in view and a car was coming up behind me and slowed down – I’m sure they couldn’t believe someone was stupid enough to run up the hill. It was embarrassing as he kept behind me for a while, just watching and of course that made me want to try harder, which just mean I ran out of puff quicker. So he witnessed an impressive turn of speed over all of about 10 metres, followed by the asthmatic labrador impersonation.

Thank goodness he didn’t stay long enough to witness me climb the rest of the ruthless staircase that is Laundry Lane. I managed to trip over some invisible objects on the road, looking now like an asthmatic, chain smoking and very drunk labrador.

Third bend in and two cyclists overtook me (not hard of course, they had gears, I just had legs…)

Fourth bend and past another yappy dog house. For the avoidance of doubt, I love dogs, but a lot of Italians keep their dogs outside in the summer, so with their extraordinary hearing they can hear the drunk, asthmatic labrador woman at least a mile off. This gives them time to prepare for the barking shock. Whereas me without laser powered eyesight, I don’t know whether the dogs are there until they bark, hence a lot of my runs are punctuated by the f bomb, the ‘shits’ and the Piss off chorus.

It took a while but I managed  to do the bends and I ran them all, yes I took breathers, actually they were more or less coffee breaks, but minus the coffee. As I ran past our old friends’ house I toyed with the idea of continuing the run to the village, but then I heard from Mechanical Voice Lady that I was at the 4.5km mark.

Enough was enough, I’d climbed 132 metres in the run and most of that within a 2km stretch. Feeling pretty good about my achievement, I’d totally forgotten about another ‘dog house’ this one manned by two dogs or rather dogged by two dogs. Previously I’d thought the Alsatian was quite benign, because he never made a sound when I passed it was just his buddy. Thinking about it he did have a protective cone on his head for a few weeks, so maybe that stopped him from barking.

Of course here am I in my ‘achievement glow’ and I got totally barked off the road, I leapt higher than Bob Beamon. To be honest they got the full JCR swearing treatment.  “You effing dogs…. shit that frightened me, why don’t you just piss off?’ Now I don’t know if Italian dogs are familiar with English swear words, but they will be by the time I’ve finished my hill training.

Having regained my composure, I was doing my warm down walk past those pesky chihuahuas.

Sure enough they started too, they just got a fairly loud ‘Just F off’. Now normally when I’m running it’s later in the morning and the owners are out at work. I’d totally forgotten it was just after 7am, mmm, I wonder what those families feel about their rather ripe language alarm clock.

Summary,  the hills are alive with the sound of a chain smoking, asthmatic, swearing  labrador.

I’m sure Julie Andrews could come up with a suitable musical lyric, if not the hills are alive how about an alternative to supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?

I’m thinking shittyeffingbarkinghoundsareatrocious…:)

Stats

Distance 4.51km

Elevation Gain 132m (in about 2km of running)

Time – horrid

Physio – Nope, but I am regretting it

Jump Rope – oh how 2 weeks off makes a difference – 32 skips, 23, 12 4 and 5, with five slapped arses for my trouble

Playlist

Time and Distance playlist

Best track – 7 years Lukas Graham, just because it didn’t take me 7 years to climb that hill

Week 18 Run 3 – Hacked Off

Another day and another run beckoned after my extended break. Sunday morning, day is dawning, JCR is yawning

It’s about 8am and I’ve left it a little too late for comfort, but decide to go for a shortish loop given the heat.

First of all my route march/warm up 5 minutes, outside the house up to the Bitch of a Pitch and back again, and I start in earnest down Argo’s loop.

Argo has been suspiciously absent from our lives in his role as official dog share, he usually barrels up when Mr JCR is mowing the lawn, but I think he’s gone off us since we fenced our garden and he has to use his very own passenger gate.

He’s a bit hacked off and so am I. For the umpteenth time all my email access has been suspended, supposedly because my id/password has been compromised. We’ve changed it pretty much once a week every week for the past six and it’s beginning to bug me. Originally we were told it was because my email account was sending phishing and spam emails, all without me knowing. What fun, I wonder if I am a Nigerian prince/princess desperately in need of help to release some much needed funds. Or maybe it’s one of those once in a lifetime investment opportunities – suffice it to say, if I had been scamming folk, I was pretty inept at it as I haven’t received a penny from anyone.

I lost two hours of my life on an online help chat which is effectively an oxymoron, because it wasn’t in the least bit helpful and I certainly wasn’t chatty. Apparently I am on a ‘watch list’ or rather my phone’s IP address is, so every time I answered an email on my phone, my mail server said ‘Oops, she’s dodgy let’s stop the account. Mail server folk said get your mobile provider to either remove your IP from the watch list or change your IP. Mobile phone people said, we haven’t done anything, there’s no reason for us to have done anything and we can’t in any event change your IP address. have you tried talking to your mail server people?

Two hours and absolutely nothing has changed. Oh except it has, it totally screwed up my mail accounts, resulting in us (I say us – Mr JCR really) having to delete all my mail accounts and starting afresh. Which if I wasn’t on a management company for our apartment building pursuing a claim for faulty cladding like Grenfell, would be all well and good.

We had to rebuild the mail because about 40 offline folders and their contents spanning two years of effort had disappeared without trace. Yikes. Then luckily the laptop seemed to shake itself back into life and spent the rest of the day rebuilding the 3000+ relevant/vital emails.

At the time of my run, I was still in no email limbo and a little bit preoccupied as to what I should do, as I’m not a criminal and can’t really prove that I haven’t been phishing/spamming anyone. Mulling over the possibilities I made my way to Laundry Lane – turning right and missing Argo’s house, I passed the beagle kennels. A cacophony of barking rang out – that’s all I needed as I was due to run past the horrid yappy dog house, where these two nasty, vicious chihuahuas with their joint inferiority complex, take a running jump at their fence and bark like crazy. Yup they did, and I dropped the f bomb loudly. Unfortunately, my next run past a house has an Alsatian and a Heinz 57 mutt, who similarly decided today was a good day for frightening an English runner. Another round of very aggressive barking and I followed suit with a crisp ‘Piss Off’.

At that point a rather large black grass snake slithered rapidly into its den, this run was turning into the stuff of nightmares. All I needed was someone behind me saying ‘Here’s Johnny’ and the run couldn’t have got much worse. Except it did, It was hot and I wasn’t really feeling the love for running. Oh and did I mention, that Map My Run wasn’t working either? Mechanical Voice Lady decided that today she was in ‘waiting’ mode. Quite what for I never actually found out, as she was out of waiting when I got back home.

So I didn’t really have a clue as to how fast/far, except my feet felt leaden. Some days are like this, but often if I get some company or something happens it jogs me out of the doldrums, but not today. I ran up Laundry Lane to our old friend’s G & B, to see their ex-house, and looped back down Laundry Lane the sun was baking now and there wasn’t much shade to be had. Two speedy cyclists zoomed past and said Brava, which considering my pace was somewhat glacial was quite generous of them really.

With a small smile on my face I continued my run towards the defunct factory on Laundry Lane. I’ve often thought it would be a nice place for a Grand Designs type house, so I curtailed my run, in favour of re-enacting Kevin McCloud.

‘Here in sleepy le Marche, a foolish couple spotted a building with potential’ blah blah blah.

I had a nose around and it’s been trashed by vandals, which considering the average age in our village is about 70, means there are some people around here who are hiding their true natures behind masks of kindly old folks. I was using my Kevin McCloud pause to get some puff back to finish the last bit of my run. And it was done, at the outset I had grand designs on doing a 4km run finishing off by running all the way up the Slope of Hope.

Who exactly was I kidding? I ambled up the Slope of Hope and in front of me saw Yoda. Again in his camo and orange combo, making a good effort up the 10% gradient at the bottom of the Slope. He was doing much better than me today. My laptop had been hacked, I was hacked off and the run was a bit of a hack too. I estimate I did just over 3km. Rubbish effort! And today is the first time using the new blog software – and I don’t like it as I can’t tell how to do some things I used to do, like the tagging. Even more hacked off! ;(

Still it can happen. But the good news is that the Sunday run heralds the start of the weather traditionally cooling down a bit Ferragosto is typically scorchio and then the day and night time temperatures start to abate. It gets cooler and my runs get easier. Amen to that. Week 19 beckons, time to start upping the ante I reckon. My next run target is to do at least 4km and include some hills. Wish me luck please.

By the way, in case you didn’t know I am actually Winnie Mandela and my husband is very ill, and if you could just spare me some cash? 🙂

But for the real Winnie’s story – go here:-

https://www.ted.com/talks/james_veitch_this_is_what_happens_when_you_reply_to_spam_email?language=ug

Stats

Distance – 3km ish

Time – no idea

Lethargy – lots

Physio – Nope see lethargy

Jump Rope – Nope see lethargy too

Music

Truthfully can’t remember ….

Week 11 Run 3 – Flawed Out

IMG_3759
Dusty and hot – so was I

And here we go again, back to normal routine after the Rainbow challenge at the weekend, and having seen everyone else’s efforts I feel slightly ashamed at a pathetic 2.6kms contribution.

Lockdown has meant an improvement in fitness, but evidently not that much and like many other folks we have a  ‘to do’ list of mini improvements to make to mind, body and home.

Number one – no snacks – well it depends what you call snacks. Does cheese count?

Number two – cut down on alcohol – work in progress, we have socially distanced cocktails tonight and tomorrow

Number three – do some much needed re-decorating – another work in progress. Mr JCR commented after my first attempt using a mini roller, that it wasn’t a great idea as you could see paint streaks when looking from certain angles. He was absolutely right, no worries – a second coat would be fine and just make the wall look smarter. Second attempt wasn’t that much better as the bigger brand new roller had a flaw in it, which meant we had a ‘pattern repeat’ of rough spots on the wall that you could still see when the sun shone…. That means buying another roller, the recommended roller can take up to 7-10 days to arrive and it’s not available from general DIY places. Number three is in danger of being constantly deferred, not least because I’m losing the will to get it done.

Number four – get a list of admin tasks done, which includes number three as above, you can see already the flaw in number four!

Having limited myself on the snacking yesterday, and Monday is a no alcohol night anyway, today was all about setting a good routine, and I was aiming to run for 40 minutes solid and going for a greater distance than 5kms. No excuses allowed, not even dodgy rollers…

The sun was shining strongly and I set off seeking shade, my first km was under 7 minutes – not great but faster than a few weeks ago. Then I got my own ‘pattern repeat’ of rough spots, second kilometre really slow, for no apparent reason and then I was back into my stride for km number three, pootling around the City.

The City is still like a graveyard, save for the occasional clatter and bang from some building sites, my right hip giving me some gip, which I think maybe due to going up and down the mini – steps for the unsuccessful decorating. Willing my hip to keep quiet and not mess me about, I made my towards Islington’s Upper Street.

I used to go fish running regularly, but usually in Winter, when I could carry it in my sweatshirt pouch, it’s not quite so convenient to wear a sweatshirt in this heat, so my aim was to get to the fish shop and finish my run there, whatever the distance. But I failed, I was really, really hot, I’d long since run out of water and the last part of the run was in full sun, so instead of doing a 6km run, I managed just about 5.5km. On the up side it’s more than the 5km  and I want to get back up to 10km as my standard run. I’ll never be a  Usain Bolt but if I can go the distance I will be happy.

At the fish shop my NHS Responder Volunteer App went off for the second time today (first time aborted as the ‘client’ didn’t respond to my three attempts to contact them). I accepted the call, thinking I was only about 20 minutes from home anyway and could help out. And another epic fail, this time the client was in Boston, Lincolnshire. I duly phoned the volunteer helpline, to tell them again that for whatever reason my location and the client’s location weren’t being matched correctly.

It’s a known bug in the system apparently and it’s beginning to bug me. I have yet to help anyone, I’ve taken umpteen calls, spanning the UK. I told the woman that whilst I could drive to Boston to help out, the police may take a dim view and I didn’t want a Dominic Cummings press conference to explain myself! She laughed and said they didn’t know why the bug worked this way and a fix is imminent, but that yes, she could see I’d had more than my fair share of ‘failed’ calls. So it feels ‘fishy’ , how come it’s always me?- Mr JCR is on the same app and he has at least had calls in London, albeit not so local, but at least he’s done some.

Me and my fish (monkfish) made our way home, I was hot and a bit peed off that I hadn’t managed the six kilometres, and I hadn’t seen anything of interest to snap. I meandered through Fortune Park, where my fortunes changed – one flowering plant, a bit hot and bothered like me, but it was blooming.

So there you go  a flaw in my paint roller, a flaw in my running plan and a flaw in the Volunteer app. It’s a pattern repeat of rough spots, but the sun was shining, and I did go out, and I did do better on distance, so it’s not totally floored me.

Week 12 will be better!

Stats

Distance 5.57 km (excluding the 3km walk back)

Time – embarrassing

Fish – two types

Physio

Yup, but focussed today just on the right hip

Music

Men’s names

Best song – Is Vic There? He wasn’t and if he was a client of the NHS Volunteer App, I bet he’d have lived in Inverness anyway.

 

C25K – Week 10 Done, and So Was I

The last run of week 10 beckoned and I was faffing. Get ready, add the shopping bag to my running shoes, because today is a fish run. Put the laundry on, take the rubbish out, chat to the concierge, strut on my warm up walk. Flash of panic, I can’t recall locking the apartment door, a run back to the block, check the door, it was fine, start the warm up strut again, slightly pinker in face than when I’d started.

Not so much JCR as Jan Can Panic, after being Jan Can Prevaricate.

On my second attempt, I decided just to run where my legs would take me – minimum 30 minutes or 5km whichever was manageable. It was very muggy and I was being covered in thrips whilst running. Particularly gruesome when they go in your mouth. Ugh.

I decided to head up West a bit via Holborn and the Inns of Court area, it’s usually quiet here and I was listening to my colours playlist, which has a reasonable number of His Purple Highness’ tracks – I’d got through Little Red Corvette, Raspberry Beret and Cream by the time I saw even more lovely flowers near St Pauls.

My favourite track is on this playlist is Purple Rain, but stubbornly His Purple Highness refused to play ball. My running mate Mummycav has the most fantastic pair of new red trainers and I thought of her taking them out for the inaugural run when Elvis Costello came on, singing Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes. I was aiming towards The Strand and took a little diversion and came across my final pic.

I don’t know if it was a lockdown hint, but like most people my ‘standards’ have taken a tumble during these past couple of months. From my hair being immaculately coloured and cut every 4 weeks, to a a badger stripe of roots having to be cunningly disguised with L’Oreal’s magic spray. Maybe I need to also look at the old eyebrows and see if they need sorting too, if so Tweezer’s Alley is the best place to do that work al fresco.

A couple of weeks ago, whilst running around the City I came across Whalebone Court, and I thought then I may need that kind of corseting to get back into pre Corona belly shape. So whilst London’s gardens are ablaze with colour and in their prime, I find my self needing hair colour, an eyebrow shape and looking less than sublime.

Maybe a virtual shopping trip run is necessary for me to improve my wardrobe and grooming, that could be a good theme for next time out maybe. I feel a running plan coming into being.

The 5kms were done but it was a struggle to get going in the warmth of mid-day. Note to self, get up earlier!

Stats

5km run

Another 5km walk

One False Start

Physio

Same old, same old

Playlist

Colours playlist

Best track Purple Rain, even though His Purple Highness waited until I’d got back into the apartment.

 

 

Paula’s a Problem – Week 8 Run 2

Yesterday was an unplanned rest day, due to raging cystitis calling the shots. Today it’s not quite as bad, but my plan for my run went out of the window, with proximity to home, being the key consideration. (I didn’t want to do a Paula Radcliffe by the side of the road, if Mother Nature called urgently)

Nearby, there is a quiet place called Finsbury Circus which is just off Moorgate and happily circular, so you can do laps. It’s also within sprintable distance, should my bladder start screaming. For the purpose of this post, I’m renaming my bladder Paula.

I always like to give myself a challenge to find something new to look at or do or find, as it helps me to stop being obsessed by the  C25K countdown. Mr Smooth piping up ‘well done, you’ve just completed five minutes running’ is meant to be encouraging, but in the early part of the run and the programme it can be quite depressing, especially if you’re feeling puffed already. But the problem with choosing a small circular route is there’s not much to see, I joined the circus at the 6 o’clock junction and followed a clockwise route. To my left up to about 10 o’clock I saw plenty of plants and window boxes, all very nicely manicured with olive trees featuring a lot. It certainly seems that the 6 to 12 semi circle companies enjoy more money than the 12 to 6 semi circle, as their plants were sparse, the railings scrappy and it all looked a bit neglected.

I managed four loops and then boredom hit me, as did a few pedestrians (metaphorically, not literally – they did socially distance) who decided it was a nice quiet place to walk too. Okay, plan b enacted, I’ll stay in the shade and seek out some quieter roads but still close to home. I meandered in and around the Bank of England, near Cornhill and Lothbury, all beautifully tranquil and then Paula broke her silence.

At about fifteen minutes in to the interval, she was whispering (JCR – you need to go now), but I put her firmly to the back of my mind as I was listening to Ray Stevens – The Streak on one of my playlists. It helped for the two minutes or so it was on.

Then Rick Astley burbled Never Gonna Give You Up, which helped silence Paula for a few more minutes. Unfortunately, Down Under by Men At Work with its increased tempo, made Paula stop whispering and she became a much louder chant in my head.

This was not good at all, so I decided I would continue the run until I’d done the full interval and if I had to bail out of the warm-down walk so be it. Evidently, mind over matter does work, because having made the decision to not try and fight Paula, all of a sudden she logged out of my inner ear.

I continued the interval and then Mr Smooth brought me back to reality with his time check – the twenty eight minutes were done and dusted, but as I was no longer carrying Paula’s voice, I thought I’d try and run just a bit longer and I managed the thirty minutes interval. Great news, I was just a shade under having run/walked 5k in the allowed time. Still about 20% slower than at my best, but then that’s what a year off does.

The warm down walk was fine, I managed about 3kms before turning towards home, at which point, Paula started screaming and it was very loud. I was certain most of the folk around could hear her screaming at me to GO NOW!!!!  If they couldn’t hear her, they most certainly would have spotted a woman doing a cross between John Cleese’s silly walk and Max Wall’s unusual gait, with a muted yelp from between clenched teeth.

Kegel exercises, a fixed grimace and baby steps all combined to prevent Paula from having her moment.

PHEW.

Stats

8km run/walk

Paula Radcliffe failed in her de-railing attempt

No embarrassment

Music

C25K Mentor Playlist

Most appropriate track = Under Pressure by David Bowie and Queen (but it didn’t come on), so that made me Happy by Pharrell Williams, which did

Physio

Bridge

Clams

Squats

Hip Flexor Thing

Constipated Crab

Touching Toes

 

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2aXFgHf3zPg5I1sZn4cAsU?si=Rm5VniTRSrGj3f-y7p_39Q

 

 

 

 

 

 

28 Dec – Oops, I Did It Again

Running Forgetfulness

This title is the only thing Britney Spears and I have in common. I did say I’d have a two-week sabbatical from running, but the full-to-busting running kit drawer, seemed to whisper very time I passed it, and so I gave into the inevitable and went for a run.

Before I get complaints from the BBC viewers association or whomever, I did make sure that it couldn’t count towards my Alzheimer’s Challenge.

First off, I ran for 2kms to the doctors had my appointment and then ran home – just on 5kms logged but not in one run, so therefore ineligible for the challenge.

Then I had to go back to the doctors, so that was another 4kms banked. That’s 9kms run in a day and none of it counts towards the Alzheimer’s Challenge, but it did count towards the removal of chocolate and Christmas poundage.

Speaking of pounds – thanks to Alan P, who very kindly donated to my cause. Thanks Alan.

Playlist

I Am Henery The Eighth I Am – Herman’s Hermits

Bela Lugosi’s Dead – Bauhaus

Flash – Queen

Doctorin’ The Tardis – The Flag

I Just Shot John Lennon – The Cranberries

Motorhead – Hawkwind

Angie – Rolling Stones

Delilah – Tom Jones

Elvis Ain’t Dead – Scouting For Girls

Clair – Gilbert O’Sullivan

Genghis Khan – Iron Maiden

Maid Of Orleans – OMD

Oh Yoko – John Lennon

Stan – Eminem and Dido

Stats

Distance 9.35kms

Calories 675 calories supposedly – that equals just over 100grams of chocolate. Just a pity I’ve eaten a lot more than 100g of chocolate!