4 Nov – Slip Slidin’ Away

 

These words are kindly borrowed from Mr Paul Simon. The first verse actually goes:-

Slip slidin’ away
Slip slidin’ away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you’re slip slidin’ away

And that is what is happening to me, – I am getting ever closer to running the year, but the run pace is eluding me. I think too much effort and not enough focussed training, before I started this challenge is now probably starting to bite. I find I can’t run fast even if I want to. For sure, unless you are an elite athlete, there’s a trade off between speed and distance. I’m not beating myself up about it, just observing I can’t have both.

With that in mind I set out this morning, having looked at the weather forecast which said Arnhem was at 1 degree – can’t be true I thought, then I saw the frost – aha looks like the forecast was accurate after all…  I set out on tarmac trails today, having in mind to run to Osterbeek which is about 5kms away, on a slower pace. However the famous JCR satnav kicked in and I was actually running in the opposite direction. I decided therefore to do a run I’d enjoyed last year, which was to go to the Arnhem War Memorial and Cemetery. I wrote about this last year – the Brits are popular in this area because of Operation Market Garden, and the cemetery is in lovely tranquil spot and makes me stop and think.

My trail today was uppy and downy, as was my pace. I was passed and accompanied by many a runner today, all of us in hats and gloves and long running tights. For my first 2km I ran towards the Burgher’s Zoo, where already folk were queuing to get in. I took my photo of the rather cute rhino and continued on. It was at this point I realised my JCR satnav was awry, and I made my way back from whence I came.

By now the sun was a little stronger and the frost was melting, as was my resolve to do 10km. The gremlins had made their way onto my shoulder and a 5km run out seemed tempting, not least because of the thought of an excellent breakfast back at J &G’s.

Nonetheless I set my steelometer to a higher setting than wimp, and continued on my way. So many people out and about on a very cold Autumn morning, some on bikes – the classic Dutch shopping types, then I got passed by at least two groups of MAMIL racers, but very respectful.

At the memorial park and cemetery, a number of folk had started to assemble and were looking at the graves. Somehow it didn’t seem quite right to be there in my dayglo hat and running gear, so I maintained a respectful distance. Then my fruit based technology started giving me a minor heart attack, saying it only had 13% battery left. A frantic closing down of apps ensued and I retraced my steps back home.

At Restaurant Trix my eyes were playing tricks on me, I thought I saw my friend J running towards me, but no, just another tall lady in dayglo.

My run was done, and just a touch over 11km. Slow, but sure, so I may be slip slidin’ away from speed, but I’m slipping inexorably to that target.

Playlist

Famous names list

Michael Caine – Madness

There’s A Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis – Kirsty MacColl

Bette Davis Eyes – Kim Carnes

Geronimo – Sheppard

Grace Kelly – Mika

Joan of Arc (Maid Of Orleans) – OMD

Just Like Jesse James – Cher

Free Nelson Mandela – Soweto Singers

Clint Eastwood – Gorillaz

Prince Charming – Adam And The Ant

Bruce Lee – Robbie Williams

Andy Warhol – David Bowie

Black Man Ray – China Crisis

Electric Barbarella – Duran Duran

Barbie Girl – Aqua

Walks Like Rihanna – The Wanted

Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5

Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin) – Scritti Politti

Axel F – Harold Faltermeyer

Jackie Wilson Said – Dexy’s Midnight Runners

Frank Sinatra – Cake

The Ballad of Tom Jones – Space and Cerys Matthews

Michaela Strachan – Scouting For Girls

Marilyn Monroe – Pharrell

Al Capone – Prince Buster

Victoria – The Kinks

Stats

Distance 11.69km

Time 1:31:25

Average Pace 7:49

Elevation Gain 96 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1774.91

Kms To Run 243.09

 

 

 

2 Nov – Sausages & Pancakes

 

It’s 9 degrees people. Last time I ran it was about 19, my little legs are a tad cold and my fingers are wondering what’s happened. This is my first run in Arnhem as we are here for a few days with our very dear friends J & G.

J is the super fast runner (in my dreams I run as fast as her…) and G is a world renowned Project Manager, full of helpful hints and tips. G’s tips however are probably more useful for his wife, as she possesses common-sense and a sense of direction, whilst I possess neither… This morning’s run was a planned 10km if I could, in the local woods on the rather lovely forest trails. This is the same place where J once saw a naked man running. With my nudeometer finely tuned, I set out.

I am of course a tarmac runner usually and the leafy, squidgy trails with hidden tree roots provided me with a bit of a challenge, as I’m not always surefooted. Add to the fact that I got out of bed on the wrong side, as we say in England. I was fine mood-wise but after all my running this year, I seemed to struggle to lace up my trainers correctly. Four attempts to do this and I was like Bambi on ice trying to get my shoes not too tight nor too loose.

Clearly the trainer gremlins were out to get me this morning, as I was also suffering from the well known runners’ ailment ‘Sausage Sock’. One of my socks had lost its elasticity and kept on travelling down my foot to form a sock sausage under the arch. This is not comfortable or runnable either. In the first km I stopped at least 3 times to de-sausage my sock. This is not an easy thing to do in a squidgy forest trail, as you have to find non -damp and raised areas to rest your foot.

Km 2 came and went – another 2 de-sausaging efforts and by now I was getting seriously irritated. At 3kms in I made a life-changing decision (for the sock that is) the sock was committing sock suicide, and therefore today it would be its last run. You know how it is, if someone or something is letting you down, you have to have the conversation..

The one that begins with ‘As a person/sock/trainer/sweatshirt, I love you very much and you have so much to offer, just not to me. It’s time to say our goodbyes’. I had this conversation with my sock in the forest – obviously I had the chat in my head, I didn’t want the locals thinking I was some kind of weirdo. Having said my goodbyes to the sausaging sock, I settled into a nice running routine. Arnhem is one of the few places in Holland with hills as my middle photo proves it. It also has to be said that at this point the sausaging sock had calmed down a bit and wasn’t sausaging quite so much.

G had been very helpful on where I could run, but my inbuilt sat nav is somewhat dodgy. As I was running I felt I knew exactly where their house was and then I checked MapMyRun to find that their house was nowhere near where I thought I was. Oops…

At 5km I came across a Dutch Pancake house, which to be honest looked awfully tempting and had I actually gone out carrying money, then I’m pretty certain I’d have popped in for a pancake rather than continuing running. I continued with my run, being passed and occasionally overtaken by various Dutch giants. I’m just a bit under 5 foot 4 inches, which is a little less than the UK female average. However in Holland I am most definitely a munchkin. What was worse at one point I was a lost munchkin. Forest trails can be a bit disorientating – well okay for most people they’re not, but for me they are. It was with some relief I saw a main road and I followed it towards home. I could see a landmark I knew and decided I’d take a well known short cut back to J&G’s house. Only I could take a well known short cut, turn it into a long cut and get lost in the grounds of a sports club…, necessitating a 180 degree turn to go back exactly where I’d come from.

Truthfully JCR you are useless.

But I got the 10km done, it wasn’t fast and for that my excuses are:-

  1. Trail running – just not used to it
  2. Getting lost – necessitating frequent checkpoints
  3. De-sausaging my sock

Playlist

He Won’t Go – Adele

He’ll Have To Go – Bryan Ferry

Heartbreak Hotel – Elvis

Heat Wave – The Jam

Heathen – David Bowie

Hello – Oasis

Hello Goodbye – The Beatles

Help Me – Bryan Ferry

Help Me Rhonda – The Beach Boys

Help Yourself – Amy Winehouse

Blood Brothers – The Boss

Shell Shock – New Order

Babies – Pulp

He Won’t Go – Adele

My Life – Dido

It Must Be Love – Madness

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m looking For – U2

The Supermen – David Bowie

Statistics

Distance 10.05km

Time 1:20:54

Average Pace 8:02

Elevation Gain – 75 metres (yes I know in Holland!!!!)

De-Sausaging Sock – 12 times, maybe more

Nudeometer Reading – no naked men, just my naked foot from time to time

Pancakes – none eaten

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1763.22

Kms To Run 254.78

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Munchkin amongst the Giants – 4 November

 

Saturday morning in a cool (effing freezing really) morning in Arnhem, I am feeling smug and perky. Smug because despite the temptation to drink Friday night with our friends, I didn’t and was a goody two shoes. Perky, because I didn’t have a hangover…

Shod in my new Brooks trainers and fluoro running tights, I was as wrapped up as I could be. Ouch the cold hurt, so I began my warm up walk towards the parkland. I ran towards the scene of Friday’s night 6 course meal, pre dinner gin and tonics pictured…, with me sporting twangy hair due to the humid conditions. I started my run and passed two people walking, totally forgetting I was in Holland, I said thank you when they let me past. Oh well my “danke je”, could wait until the next overtakee….

At the next turn I was in the parkland proper, the sunlight streaming behind me and I could hear a very loud pounding behind me, and a rather large shadow loomed over me. Fact: The Dutch are the tallest people in the world with a male average of 1.838m – that is a smidgeon over 6ft and female of 1.699m that is about 5ft 7inches. I am 5ft 4, that’s 1.635. I was a little trepidatious to say the least, my heart was pounding more than a little… then I was overtaken by a man who I reckon was just under 2 metres tall. The BFG overtook me and said Hey, so I acted cool and said hey back. Not an axe murderer then…

A fairly gentle run ensued, I passed two women walking who looked very much alike, and yes they were taller than me. In truth I was partially lost, in that where I thought I was going wasn’t actually where I was, so I continued on and found a memorial near the Arnhem cemetery. It’s nice being a Brit in Holland and especially in Arnhem, due to Operation Market Garden. I took a minute to pay my respects and ran back to the parkland; coming towards me one man, fair hair, tall and glasses and  his twin running behind him. First twin was Mr Grumpy or maybe he didn’t see me through his misted up glasses, second twin was Mr Happy and smiled and said Hey, so I did too… At this point the Isley Brothers were singing Summer Breeze, and I was feeling a bit of a breeze as my new running tights were slipping a little lower than wanted! An inelegant adjustment later, I was trucking along nicely to Boogie Shoes, and came across the horse stables, were the horses were chowing down, stopped to take a pic and carried on.

At this point I realised I might just be able to manage the 10k, I was quite slow and plodding, but continued on, oh and uphill too. Arnhem I think must have the majority of the hills in Holland. On the home strait, and coming the other way were the slim, tall, bespectacled twins. This time I got grins and hands up from both, a final push down the central runway and back again, and I hit 10.4km. Brilliant, a really happy runner am I. So to the warm down walk and as I crossed the road, I saw another set of twins this time on bikes.

Today was the day I set out as a single, dark haired munchkin runner and was overtaken by many tall blond giants. Oh and I kept on seeing double… is Arnhem the Dutch capital for twins?

This was also my inaugural run with the retro runners Glam Polly 2810 playlist, on Spotify.

Playlist

My Coo Ca Choo – Alvin Stardust

Devil Gate Drive – Suzi Quatro

Metal Guru – T Rex

Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas

Tiger Feet – Mud

D.I.S.C.O. – Ottawan

War – Edwin Starr

Lady Marmalade – Patti Labelle

Gonna Make You A Star – David Essex

See My Baby Jive – Wizzard

Band On The Run – Wings

Boogie Oogie Oogie – A Taste Of Honey

Waterloo – Abba

All The Young Dudes – Mott The Hoople

Sylvia’s Mother – Doctor Hook

Amarillo – Tony Christie

I Feel Love – Donna Summer

Roll Over Beethoven – ELO

December 1963 – Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty

So You Win Again – Hot Chocolate

Summer Breeze – The Isley Brothers

Boogie Shoes – KC And The Sunshine Band

Walk On The Wild Side – Lou Reed

Silver Lady – David Soul

You Won’t Find Another Fool Like Me – The New Seekers

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Stats 

Distance 10.46km

Time 1:21:04

Average Pace 7:44 mins km

Elevation Gain 108 metres (who knew that was even possible!)

Twins – 3 sets

 

Polly coming at you… new playlist available

A Saturday in Arnhem with friends, preceded by a lovely Friday in Arnhem with the same friends. We ate and drank well but not necessarily wisely.

I had promised myself that Saturday I’d run and try my new sexy Brooks silver and pink trainers, so regretfully I decided against the late night drinking session around the table. I had no such regrets on Saturday morning when I was actually able and willing to run. New Fluoro tights on and I was away.

Short version, I did 10k. Yes 10k and what spurred me on? – my brand new all singing and dancing 70s playlist. Full playlist details can be found here 

The Glam Polly 2810 playlist is now up and running on Spotify. I hope you enjoy it,

Running Naked In The Forest – 2nd November

 

It was Halloween and we arrived at our friends’ house in Arnhem, we placed the two eyeballs on the front porch and rang the doorbell…. may I remind you that we are in fact slightly older than the normal 8 year old trick and treater.

We hid around the corner, heard the door open and I am sure our friend J called us wankers… Undeterred Mr JCR rang the bell again and we had to explain that there were two eyeballs on the ground. Epic fail on trick or treating – I think now we need to grow up a little. Then followed a very nice evening, food eaten, drinks drunk, and plans made for the next few days.

Next morning, I am not so quite bright and beautiful, nor early, but that was normal, we had travelled many miles and had a late night. Up and out to Arnhem, to do some runner shopping. In fact two pairs of trainers, two running tops, socks and pair of thermal running tights later, we returned to our friends for lunch and another glorious dinner with wine and cheese and wine and cake and so on. Also a small matter of meeting the PR lady from the ALS association in Holland to discuss our 2020 fund raising plan. More of that on a dedicated post another time…, as it warrants a lot of explanation and its own airtime.

So this morning, after having asked the Health Unlocked crew which trainers I should try for my run, it was a unanimous vote for the marine blue and citron Saucony.

Our friend G very kindly showed me where to run, as I am notorious for having little/no sense of direction. It all looked fine, I wanted to run for about 5k to run in the new trainers and be careful because of recent stupid tart syndrome injuries. The marine blue flashed in the sunlight and I ran down the tree lined avenue into a glorious parkland, met by many dog walkers, some walkers and  couple of cyclists. I did have a small flash of worry when I saw a lone man walking towards me with his dog, but when he got closer I reckoned I could outrun him anyway. Poor man, he had no idea that when he was out walking his pooch, a random English runner was looking at him sizing him up to see if she could outrun him in the case of him attacking her. The run was slow, getting used to new trainers and  trail terrain meant I didn’t feel very confident to belt along, but it was a lovely day, my trainers were fine and as you see the view of the trail was fantastic. The Boss chimed up “ I took a wrong turn and I just kept going” which was what I did next. My scheduled run route was supposed to be at a close but I was nowhere near my target 5k so I kept going until I hit 6, in my sexy Sauconys.

I got home and relayed my run to our friend G who said it was a great place to run especially for single females as it’s  very safe. So I felt really happy, then G follows it up with “ but there was one time when J (his wife) was running and thought she saw a naked man in the forest. It was summer, she blinked and looked again and sure enough it was a naked man. So she turned and ran away as fast as she could”. That surely is a way of getting a PB!

I had always read a lot about naked running, but I thought it meant running without music or any distractions, now I know it means (in Holland) that you truly run butt-naked…

Playlist

Map My Run didn’t record, but definitely

Thriller – Michael Jackson

Hungry Heart – The Boss

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Stats

Distance 6.87km but only 6 running

Time 54.27

Average Pace 7.55 mins/km

Naked Men – none.