21 Nov – Superheroes

Maybe a mojo visited here, it’s pretty enough…

Yesterday I was a wimp, I could have gone for a run, but looked at the very wet rain and the very windy wind and decided I was going to be a very wimpy wimp.

Today wimpdom is not on the cards. I have a run to do, not a big one, but I mustn’t get into the habit of wimping out on a run, not when the prize of 2018km is within touching distance.

Mr JCR was off out to his Italian lesson, I was teaching myself duvet management – basically snuggling down and imagining the run will do itself. After an hour of duvet management, it didn’t seem as though the run was happening, so I put on my trainers and got out in the wintery sun of London.

It had to be a shortish run as we were visiting The Alzheimer’s Research facility at UCL London, to get an update on their research programme. I managed a mini-loop of just over 7kms, through the City and up towards Holborn. The challenge was to run some virtual kms for my running mentor Ju-Ju who is still crocked and whilst doing that see if I could find my running mate’s missing mojo. Adding in the fact that I needed to buy some food too, this was an all-singing and all-dancing, multi-tasking run.

The superhero element didn’t occur in my run, in fact today’s was just a run, I clocked up the kms, bought the food, but didn’t find any sign of a mojo. 2 out of 3 ain’t bad though. The superhero bit came later. We assembled at UCL in Gower Street and met with the scientists headed up by Dr Paul Whiting. There we learnt about the progress being made to date and their plans for the future. It was fascinating, encouraging and depressing all at the same time.

In summary, they are ‘copying’ the Cancer Research UK’s model of ‘Centres of Research Excellence’. Given the pharma industry have been pulling back in this area of research, they are focussing on the front end of the research piece, trying to identify suitable areas of focus, including but not limited to synapse messaging protection/mending. (There was lots of other stuff, but frankly my science and memory recall are both far too poor to adequately describe their magic here!) 

Paul mentioned that in his opinion, finding a cure is probably not possible but delaying the onset and effects, probably is. This is where the depressing bit came in, realistically we are looking at maybe 50 years. And that is with all of today’s great supercomputing powers, and the fantastically able students and scientists working on this thorny problem. In the lab tour, we saw some of their kit, 3-D modelling at the nano level as one example. They are focussing on creating new molecules, which will form critical parts of the drugs. These can then be patented and future revenues poured back into the research. They run with a lot of serious equipment that costs many thousands of pounds – and who knew there was an eBay for scientists?

My big takeout is that these scientists are absolute superheroes, they have brains I can’t even imagine and are focussing them on helping to cure one of society’s biggest threats to our ageing population.  But 50 years…., that means for the majority of the lab team working there, that a ‘cure’ probably won’t be around for them, if any are so unlucky as to get Alzheimer’s  or similar related conditions.

I am determined however to end this post on a high –  we met other invitees who have donated to Alzheimer’s, run dementia workshops etc., and there is a great sense of determination from the research teams. I started the day as a wimp under the duvet, avoiding the weather but then met some superheroes, real-life superheroes who are not wimping out on one of life’s toughest challenges. They have the brains, and I can bring the brawn into my running, to help raise as much cash as possible. On that note, a big vote of thanks to our friend M who has very generously added to the sponsorship pot today. It really brings it home, having seen the research.

And to my running mate (mojoless)  – after the tour we made our way back home and these two lovely places were en route pic above and below. I have a feeling the mojo may well have passed this way…

Playlist

Breakfast In America – Supertramp

Belfast Child – Simple Minds

Going Down To Liverpool – The Bangles

Black Eyed Boy – Texas

Grease – Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

Africa – Toto

New York Minute – Don Henley

San Francisco – Scott MacKenzie

Xanadu – Olivia Newton John

Downtown – Petula Clark

Go Wild In The Country – Bow Wow Wow

Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel

Vienna – Ultravox

Romeo and Juliet – Dire Straits

Lost In France – Bonnie Tyler

Stats

Distance7.30km

Time 50:38

Average Pace 6:56

Elevation Gain 27 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1881.07

Kms To Run 136.93

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

14 Nov – Mission Failed

 

A recap,  yesterday’s run fantastic, everything achieved that I wanted to do with a nice pace, great weather and my running mentor joining me virtually even though she’s poorly.  That was a ‘posh bird run’ through many nice parts of London.

Today, a little more prosaic. I have three errands on my ‘to do’ list all of which could happily be done by phone, but I thought it would be more fun to do them by run.

The three were:-

Dentist Appointments – the joys of living between two countries means there’s a constant stream of admin to organise when you return ‘home’

Track down a specific skirt – I know, hardly a task, but still it was on my to do list

Organise haircut and colour  – the badger stripe is appearing, it has to go

The omens were good, the weather even nicer than yesterday, which is a real bonus in the City in Autumn, grey is the de facto colour of the sky and it does tend to ‘grey’ your mood somewhat.

I left home and took a circuitous route to the dentist – job done. Fab, all within 2kms of home, now a run towards Oxford Street and I am aiming towards Marylebone Street – not the High Street, but a smaller street in parallel, this is where Richard my genius hairdresser can be found. It’s about 4kms away, if you wiggle a bit on your route map. I arrived not too sweaty, (having made a respectable 6.5 minutes/km pace) to enter a posh hairdressing salon, but it didn’t matter about my sweatiness or otherwise – no-one was at home. No grey skies here, but if I don’t get that appointment, way too much grey on my head will be appearing.

Oh well, his salon is close to a shop that I need to check out for this mystery skirt. The assistant did look somewhat askance at me in my dayglo top and capris, standing amongst the finery for the Winter party season. I was amidst a sea of sparkling sequins and leopardskin print. Frankly in my more blingy moments, this would be Retail heaven. (I do have to rein in my inner Bet Lynch, from time to time)

I asked and she said no they didn’t have it, was I sure it was them?  For sure, I didn’t look quite like their usual clientele. After some faffing with my phone I was able to prove that I hadn’t imagined this skirt, it did exist – except it was summer stock. Perhaps I could try an outlet store; I am convinced that she was doing her best to be helpfully snooty or snootily helpful.

Okay – that’s errand number three blown out. Maybe I should just concentrate on the running instead, that seems a lot more successful. I made my way home this time via Marylebone Lane and the fantastic VW Rouleaux shop – one of London’s retail secrets. If you want unusual ribbons, trimmings etc for any occasion, this is the place to go. For Christmas they ‘had blinged up’ the outside with gold oak leaves and acorns, as shown on the pics. I often go in there for a mooch around, but figured that in the present running kit, perhaps wouldn’t suggest a woman interested in ribbons ’n’ trimmings.

Okay JCR, head straight, trainers propelling forward, heading for home. I was slower today than yesterday, but that’s not unusual on Day 2 runs. My runnerchondria hip, is aching a touch, but it just has to hold on for 5 more weeks and then it gets a rest.

Errands attempted 3  vs. errands successfully completed 1. But another 12km in the bank which means Mission Failed turned out to be rather successful after all.

Playlist

Second try out of best cover versions

Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’ Connor

Kiss – Art of Noise and Tom Jones

Back to Black – Amy Winehouse

Tainted Love – Mark Almond, and Marilyn Manson versions

I Only Want To Be With You – The Tourists

You Can’t Hurry Love – Phil Collins

Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

Hallelujah – Alexandra Burke

Blue Suede Shoes – Elvis Presley

Motorhead – Motorhead

Sweet Dreams, You’re So Vain – Marilyn Manson

Whiskey In the Jar – Thin Lizzy

Kids In America – Foo Fighters

Stand And Deliver – No Doubt

Feed My Frankenstein – Alice Cooper

Amish Paradise – Weird Al Yankovic

911 Is A Joke – Duran Duran

Faith – Limp Bizkit

War – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Take Me To The River – Talking Heads

Cats In The Cradle – Ugly Kid Joe

Live and Let Die – Guns ’n’ Roses

Stats

Distance 12.08km

Time 1:24:12

Average Pace 6:58

Elevation Gain 35 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1839.45

Kms to Run 178.55

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!)

10 Nov – I want him and now!

img_9680.jpg

There’s a band making a heck of a racket, honking and parping and banging drums on a Saturday morning for crying out loud. Oh yes, it’s the Lord Mayors’ procession or something similar, I can recall seeing the barriers around the City.

Okay JCR haul your sorry arse out and make sure you head away from the crowds. I’m a bit creaky this morning – runnerchondria has struck and I have an aching hip, which rather mysteriously doesn’t ache when I run, but does when I don’t.

I haven’t actually managed to break the 10km mark for a while  and I had planned on doing that this week, but the legs just haven’t had it in them. Today is day 5 of a mini running streak and maybe that’s why they are protesting a bit.

I promise my beleaguered legs to go slower today and aim towards Islington. Fairly uneventful for a run,  I loosened up a bit and pootled in and around the Canonbury conservation area. No ninja action today, no tourists in Islington to dodge, no bad weather, no amusing anecdotes, just a humdrum Saturday run. But there was one showstopper and that was the dog.

He was sitting when I passed him and he looked so woeful – I guess that is just the breed’s characteristic. A bus went past and he strained at his leash to look around. Then the lady above stopped and petted him – he leant back against her legs and looked blissful. He was gorgeous so quiet, and placid –  I almost fell in love there and then. Slight problem with a no pets policy in the apartment, actually he’s bigger than the apartment, oh and dognapping is most definitely a crime. I satisfied the falling in love feelings by giving him a long pet and having a chat with him.

I met him about the 6km mark and with a spring in my step continued home – I still didn’t break the 10km mark, but managed just over nine. Closer to breaking the 200 to go barrier  and that’s good. There will be something magical about seeing a number to run beginning with a 1.

Playlist

New Moon on Monday, Hungry Like The Wolf – Duran Duran

Oliver’s Army – Elvis Costello

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Get Dancin’ – Disco Tex and His Sex-O-Lettes

I Am The Law – Human League

Love’s Unkind  (twice)- Donna Summer

Shake the Disease, People Are People, New Life – Depeche Mode

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Temptation –  Heaven 17

Maid Of Orleans – OMD

House of Fun – Madness

All Stood Still – Ultravox

Beat Crazy, Be My Number Two – Joe Jackson

Stats

Distance 9.21km

Time 1:08:03

Average Pace 7:22

Elevation Gain 44 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1815.08

To Run 202.92

 

 

 

 

9 Nov – To market, to market

IMG_2252

To market, to market to buy a fat pig;
Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.
To market, to market, to buy a fat hog;
Home again, home again, jiggety-jog.

To market, to market, to buy a plum cake;
Home again, home again, market is late.
To market, to market, to buy a plum bun;
Home again, home again, market is done.

To market, to market, a gallop a trot,
To buy some meat to put in the pot;
Three pence a quarter, a groat a side,
If it hadn’t been killed it must have died.

This is an old nursery rhyme, and today I ran from home (on my rest day!!!!) to Borough Market, because yesterday I screwed up on my maths and didn’t quite make the numbers – aka Stupid Tart Syndrome. I neither galloped nor trotted nor jigged, but I did buy a fat pig, I bought two gorgeous, lovely sausage rolls from The Ginger Pig butchers in Borough. Horrendously priced, but a fab treat for later.

Couldn’t find a  plum cake nor bun, but  I did have a pain au raisin with my coffee – dead posh us Southerners.

Didn’t buy any meat for the pot either, but did get some lush mushroom pate and sourdough bread – see I am totally posh, despite my Northern upbringing.

Yesterday I couldn’t count, but today Map My Run lady decided to be stroppy, and she thought she’d count the time I was running, but not give me any credit for the distance. She did this twice…, so I had to guesstimate the metres missed…. Bah humbug

When MMR lady deigned to work properly I found I was running speedily and my little posh legs were motoring quite nicely. From a busy Aldersgate I bombed towards St Pauls dodging the morning commuters. Today I was most definitely a running ninja, I slipstreamed and overtook loads of people in and around the City. I realise that none of them knew they were in a race, nor had any of them dressed for it, but victory is sweet even when you’ve overtaken a lady wearing stiletto heels and carrying a briefcase/backpack thing – a briefpack maybe?

I made my way across the Thames and hit South Bank, the barriers to speed arrived thick and fast, lots and lost of people and lot and lots of tourists too. Commuters are fine when I’m running through the City – they know the rules. Move fast or stand aside, tourists however don’t know the rules at all. They have that happy meandering look on their faces, they stop and take unexpected photos (in fairness totally expected near the Golden Hind replica) and they have conversations in weird places – i.e. right in front of me/my running route.

You have to have lightning reactions or sharp elbows to work your way through a barricade of tourists (my new collective noun). Today my reactions were sharp, so my elbows didn’t need to be. A nice quick (for me) run out, getting me over the 1800km mark – next target getting over the 1818km mark, so I will have fewer than 200kms to run

Finally many thanks to Mike of Mr JCR’s London cycling club who sponsored me yesterday for my challenge. Utterly unexpected and very lovely.

Playlist

(iTunes also played up and stopped once or twice)

Tears You Can’t Hide – Madness

Suspect Device (twice) – Stiff Little Fingers

I Don’t Know (twice) – The Blues Brothers

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty

Just Another Nervous Wreck – Supertramp

Rockferry – Duffy

One Step Beyond – Madness

Stats

Distance 6.08km

Time 37:21

Average Pace 6:08 (ninja like)

Elevation Gain 28 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1805.87

Kms To Run 212.13