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 13 – What the F..

Figgy Heaven for Breakfast.

I’ve joined Mr JCR in getting up early. The bathroom thermometer shows an internal temperature of 29.3 degrees C.

It’s before 7am. Now I could have got up even earlier, but then it was darker and the dratted mozzies are still out. One of my arms resembles an aubergine in shape, following a co-ordinated attack by either a horde of mozzies, or one very hungry female who had a large family to feed.

After a not so great run last time out, I decided that a re-run of Laundry Lane up the bends was a good idea.  Regular readers will now know that this was decidedly flawed thinking as the ‘leaving home’ temperature was 24 degrees, albeit there is a little more shade at that time of the morning.

I turned left onto the Bitch of a Pitch and started my warm-up walk backwards and forwards before starting the descent. Clearly I was up early, as for the first time I discovered where Lord Kitchener lives, he lives on the B of a P, and was coming out of his house, saw me and said Good Morning. I replied and carried on towards Prune Lane.

Clodhopping – Autumn is coming

Turning down the lane, I came across a mini white road I’d not taken before, so I thought I’d go for an amble and check it out. Aha it’s a dead end, and quite agricultural here, as you can see above. Definitely clod-hopping territory. Making my way back to Prune Lane, which as it’s so steep is quite difficult to run down as you have to dig your heels in to prevent you from tipping forwards. Just as I saw Laundry Lane in the distance, I saw a day-glo green flash. Well a flash is over-egging it, as he wasn’t in the least bit fast, it was a cyclist on a mountain bike, making his way up Prune Lane. Well we exchanged smiles and I wished him good luck, because it’s bad enough coming down Prune Lane, but I get out of puff walking up it. His ascent was very slow and laboured.

After my last attempt on the Laundry Lane curves, I’d decided that this time I wouldn’t sprint, but I’d take it regularly and walk if I needed to. This method is called Jeffing as it was created by a guy called Jeff Galloway, an Olympian and running coach. The idea is that the walking breaks allow for recovery and permit you to run further. It’s also entirely allowable in events such as marathons.

So I’d decided I was Jeffing up this bends, well as the mercury was rising so was I , not only did I Jeff but I was Effing too, not least because I’d forgotten to restart Map My Run after my photo stop. Damn and blast. 

I think the benefit of Jeffing may well have been compromised by the effing heat, as halfway up those bends, the temperature was now at 26 degrees. It has to be said I wasn’t really Jeffing at all at this stage, the ‘sprint/run’ section were getting shorter and shorter and the need for shade becoming more important. I was almost out of water when two cyclists passed and waved. At this point, I’d decided I’d do most of my running in whatever shade I could find, and walk in the sun. I continued the for the rest of the run, and on one of my walking intervals, green flash man came cycling the other way. 

I wasn’t totally run-shamed, because he was cycling downhill and I was walking up a steep curve. Passing G & B’s old house, I managed a final run once more to finish in Argo’s loop, where I was met by a clowder of kittens, all miaowing at me.

Another cyclist was getting on his bike and my face matched his kit. Still I had jeffed and effed up that hill, and he had yet to start. 

At that point my run was done and so was I. I passed the barking dog house (Alsatian and Mutt) who were a tad aggressive in their welcome for me, and I made a slow walk back to the house – one of the Argo loop roads is very steep and now covered in rotting figs, one of which I slipped on. 

Figging hell, I’d also remembered I had some figs to collect back in the garden, as we were causing a wasp frenzy with the amount of fruit which had tumbled to the ground. Ahead of me I saw the loop’s namesake, Argo, being walked by our friend R. She saw me and asked where I’d been, when I told her she grimaced and said ‘I’m sweating for you’. The mercury had risen to 28 degrees/82 in old money. I needed a cool place and some water.

R and Argo continued their walk. Entering our garden I passed our fig tree, and thought a fresh fig breakfast would be rather nice, and prevent two more of them dropping on the ground.

Tragically 2 figs out of approximately 500 isn’t going to make much of a dent in the supply, but it’s a start, as was my second attempt at the Laundry Lane ascent. Who knows by the time the figs are back in harvest again, I may be able to get up that hill without the Jeffing or effing.

I do hope so.

Stats

Somewhat dubious as I forgot to restart Map My Run

Distance – 5.3km

Time – awful

Physio – yes

Jump Rope – 32, 31, 5, 7, 14.

Steps – 10 minutes cool down.

Music

Razouski’s Playlist – mainly 80s 

Best song – Every Breath You Take – by The Police. Because I more or less counted every breath up that damned hill

Week 16 Run 3 – Operator Error

Screenshot 2020-07-19 at 10.32.32
Bet he would know how to use Map My Run

I had a few days off – Wednesday = rest day, Thursday – Hairdresser’s, Friday – peeing down with rain, Saturday – other stuff to do.

So back to the ‘normal’ routine of running on a Sunday. And another go at running the hills, to try and get my hill legs back. There is a method to improve hill stamina called back stitching. You set a small distance run up the hill to it and back down, next time you run up the hill, you go a bit further and so on. My version of this is to try and do the Hill That Kills all in one go and to be frank it isn’t working, to be honest it’s killing me, as even though it’s cooler, it’s not England cooler.

Last time out me and the technology didn’t get on awfully well, I paused the app and forgot to re-start it, so lost some of the distance and have no idea how much of an elevation gain I’d run.

This time, I was determined it wasn’t going to happen again. I was focussed and had my plan. This time out my usual route and then four circuits of the Hill That Kills, with as few stops as I could manage.

As Helmuth Von Moltke (The Elder) said, “No plan of operations extends with certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy’s main strength”. In this particular case – no plan of running extends with certainty beyond JCR’s first pausing of the app. And yes, I managed it again, whilst pausing physically and Map My Run wise to allow a wide load of cut wood go past me, I forgot to restart the app. Running back down the hill, it suddenly occurred to me that Mechanical Voice lady had been suspiciously quiet. And yes I’d had stupid tart syndrome once more… Okay I thought, not a big deal I’ll just carry on and record the rest of the run, and guess what, I promptly forgot to press resume.

I resumed and ran up that hill another three times, Map My Run however didn’t, so I guesstimated the amount of times I’d run and walked them instead this time recording it on MMR. The stats are utterly wrong, and I am utterly stupid, instead of pausing the app when I am stopping I should just let it run on, as I’m not really trying to improve my speed on the hills, just my stamina.

On my final run up that cursed hill, I was stopping to wipe my brow and a much older cyclist wearing a rather natty dayglo top, said ‘menomale finita’ – a kind of ‘Thank God it’s done’ comment. And he was right, I was a bit too tired to think of having another go and aiming for five runs, but maybe that’s next time out.

So what can I say? – taking advice from Moltke and learning from my mistakes, I’ll just leave the app running and then I can find out how far/how high I am running, and how many pauses I need to do that.

I’m going to do one more try of this hill running, this time aiming to do 5 run-ups and then see if a week of hill runs, help me on the Slope of Hope, Laundry Lane incline. Because so far I’ve not been inclined to try doing it, and that probably makes me a coward in Moltke’s eyes. He had many sayings including:-

Strategy is a system of expedients; it is more than a mere scholarly discipline. It is the translation of knowledge to practical life, the improvement of the original leading thought in accordance with continually changing situations.

I think therefore, my new Map My Run strategy, has translated the realities of my stupidity to practical life, by just letting the application run, even when I’m not.

 

Stats

Who really knows?

I think it was just on 5km, based on the JCR guessometer

4 runs up the hill with 8 pauses

Physio

Just on my way

Jump Rope

49 skips, followed by 20, 10, 16, 23, 12 and 22

My target is to get to 100 skips in one go, without whipping my bum

Playlist

Ska and Two Tone

Best track – Skinhead Moonstomp by Symarip, because on my final ascent I was stomping,