20 Feb – Anyone Got A Spare Core?

This is my ‘core’ shape, notice the distinct lack of any definition…


As I think I need one, preferably in good working order, as opposed to mine, which is not so much a core as a doughnut hole.

Part of this running thing is making sure I am in as reasonable shape as possible, mainly to ward off any injuries and illness. But I have a teensy confession, I haven’t really done the post -run stretches much.

Mainly because:-

  1. they are boring
  2. they take time I don’t want to give
  3. I’m not awfully bendy, despite me going on a ‘get more bendy’ course last year

I do squats and on non running days the vampire kettlebells come out for an airing. But even on non-running days I don’t do stretches, for the three reasons given above. And then I found the perfect reason, according to a random article I found c/o Dr Google (who can always be relied upon for any get out clause), which said most people haven’t the foggiest idea on how to stretch properly or even when they do they don’t do it for long enough. Which takes me right back to reason number 2! From time to time I use the torture instrument known as the foam roller, although seriously not enough.

Can’t remember who said ‘I think, therefore I am’, but in my case it changes to  ‘I don’t stretch because I’m not bendy, I’m not bendy because I don’t stretch’.

But I have signed up to do a Lenten challenge which so far includes something called a hollow body – I wish, followed by press-ups. Now I did do the wall press-ups, the hollow body thing – mmm I think I just found out where the core is supposed to be. These are all stretchy things.

Somewhere in the doughy recesses  of my stomach, there is an ache. I think this could be my long lost core calling out to me. In fact she is shouting in pain ‘WTF, do you think you are doing JCR?’

Add to that the humiliation of Mr JCR actually finding me doing wall press-ups. The squatting, hollow body thing and press-ups, have been hitherto an undiscovered secret. And now my secret is out, I am trying to do something about my core.

Me and my core have history. Imagine the excruciatingly embarrassing situation of being measured for a school play outfit at secondary school (I was about 14 at the time) and your bust, waist and hip measurements being exactly the same. That’s right at 14, I was shaped like a toilet roll tube and the teacher commented on the lack of a waist. Since then my lack of a core has been hidden from the public, and now it’s out there.

I have no expectation that my waist will emerge, swan-like after having been an ugly duckling for so long. But if I get this core thing right, apparently it will strengthen my running. And if core stretching works, then maybe, just maybe I will stretch after a run.

But that’s after Mistress Howling Wolf (my new name for the hurting core) has stopped shrieking in protest. It is Tuesday, she started shrieking on Saturday… I do wish she’d shut up, as we may get stopped at Airport Security.

Today is officially a running rest day, so squatting, hollow bodying and wall press-ups will have to wait until we get back to London.

BIG THANKS TO RITA – for the very kind sponsorship donation for my Alzheimer’s Challenge. Thanks so much and see you in April!


1 Feb – Doms come to visit

Not Dominic, but DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) which according to all the fitness articles means one of two things:-

  • I either overdid Tuesday’s exercise or,
  • I gave myself a very good workout.

Either way, me and John Wayne are walking twins.

The accepted wisdom is that DOMS peaks at up to 48 hours post exercise, and can be alleviated by any number of things:-

  1. An Epsom Salt Bath
  2. An Ice Bath
  3. Alternating Between an Ice Bath and a Hot Shower
  4. Using a Foam Roller
  5. Eating Spinach, Sweet Potatoes and Red Pepper
  6. Any Combination/All Of The Above

Never have I been so relieved that we removed our bath from the apartment! So that takes out options 1-3. I do have a foam roller, I also have red pepper and spinach, but no sweet potatoes and frankly my legs are very sore and I can’t face going out to buy some.

Therefore, my cure for today’s DOMS is braised lamb shanks in red wine, with cous-cous, spinach and red peppers. Plus some of the nasty foam rolling. I reckon through judicious bending of the options I’m covered by cures numbered 4-6.

The Alzheimer’s Challenge is proving to be a game changer on my year, as I can’t just drop a day here and there. I have to commit regularly to a serious level of kilometres. Having sought advice from my C25K forum buddies, the overwhelming conclusion is that I am better to run shorter distances every day, rather than alternate 3 very long runs with a day’s rest between. So new month, new plan; well at least for the first week. I am going to run every day for a week and see how I get on. If I aim to do between 6 and 7 kms each day, my body should get used to that distance and if for whatever reason I have to drop a day, I should be able to make it up with one longer run a week. That’s the theory anyway.

Today’s run was all about slow and recovery pacing – I hadn’t set a route and it wasn’t going to be a Monopoly run as my next squares are red and that route is about 8km, which is probably a bit too far, considering Tuesday’s efforts.

I wish I could say today’s slower pace was a deliberate action on my part, it wasn’t – I just couldn’t summon up any energy to run faster, with both legs aching everywhere. Nonetheless with a. cold breezy run ahead of me I got out and ran in and around Clerkenwell, Hatton Garden and Smithfield.

Hatton Garden is gearing up for the Valentine’s Day bonanza – all the jewellers had glinting diamond ring displays and notices about engagement rings. Also all of their ‘heavies’ were standing outside the shops, which does require a bit of a runner’s detour around them. My ears were frozen and the thought passed through my mind that if my ears dropped off, Hatton Garden wouldn’t be able to sell me any earrings, even the clip-on variety. Clearly tiredness and DOMS affects me mentally!

Not a fantastic run really. But it is the first of the new method, so we will see how that works out. I am hoping DOMS will have decided to visit someone else tomorrow, and a more normal running service can be resumed


Beat Crazy – Joe Jackson

(Forever) Live and Die – OMD

Our House – Madness

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

Love’s Unkind – Donna Summer

Somewhere In My Heart – Aztec Camera

Dreaming – OMD

Rio – Duran Duran

She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult

All She Wants Is – Duran Duran

People Are People – Depeche Mode

Personal Jesus – Ditto


Distance 6.60km

Time 46:56

Average Pace 7:06 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 58 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 131.96

To Do 1886.04 (I will see if I can do more than 6.04kms tomorrow)

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