Week 15 Run 2 – Running From Brexit

 

 

 

I don’t really care how people voted in the referendum, because we all have different perspectives and reasons for making the decisions we do. There is no such thing as a right or wrong referendum result, it’s just a result. I don’t want to chat to the ‘other side’ about their decision vs. mine, because that way all hell ensues and as I’ve read many times friendships can break over this question.

Unfortunately for us, the referendum now has real, unimagined consequences. Pre -referendum our life plan was to live more or less half and half between Italy and the UK. Being an EU citizen meant we could achieve that with little impact on our lives in either country.

But sadly no more, we have to choose between two countries we love. In the new post B world we can only stay in Italy as part of the Schengen Area for 90 days in any 180, and it’s a rolling period. So we can’t disappear to a non EU country say Switzerland for a couple of days and re-set the clock. This Schengen rule means 90 days here, 90 days there.  Or we could do one month here, one there. Maximum – oh and that uses up all your EU Schengen Area allowance, so no extra trips to France for wine, or Holland to see our friends. Bum. And gardens with cherries, figs, olive trees and vines don’t wait for you to be back in the country before growing. Put it another way, we can choose Spring and Autumn or Summer and Winter, but we can’t bookend the 90 days so that we have a six month ‘block’ here.

I do not ask nor expect any sympathy – we are second home owners who very, very luckily can afford this semi-nomadic lifestyle. But it’s decision time, which country and which lifestyle do we want and can we afford? My initial strategy was of the wait and hope variety. Canvassing friends in similar situations, some like me are waiting and hoping, others are just going to live with the Schengen rules, others are pursuing EU citizenship. Friends in London have researched their heritage and found that due to relatives settling in Portugal many years ago (running away from the Pogroms) they are entitled to a Portugese passport. No such luck on the JCR/Mr JCR front. His exotic lineage as far as we know extends to Wales, mine does have a Russian connection (Pogroms again), but I don’t think a Putin linkage is going to get me a European passport. I’m guessing Russians will be marginally less popular than British folk, when it comes to the EU handing out passports post Brexit conclusion.

Now we are having a meeting with an English commercialista (kind of accountant). We are not so English that he has to be English, but to decide to move here requires us to understand the financial consequences of arriving here, being taxed whilst we live here and the impact of moving back to the UK (which we will do one day).

The commercialista therefore needs to know both Italian and UK taxation, the dual taxation treaty clauses etc etc etc. Once we know the ins and outs, we have to decide to be in or out. And in truth I’d like to be both, to have my proverbial cake and eat it.

This morning’s run started much earlier, thanks to Mr JCR’s rather aggressive alarm setting tactic – it went off at 6am (this was planned and with JCR agreement – it’s just in my mind any alarm setting is aggressive!) Finally after a bit of faff and coffee, I was out just after 7am with the temperature a cool 26 degrees! Being ‘out’ at this time of day is nice and quiet, there’s more shade to be had, but you often get more commuting traffic for a workday start time of 8am. Mill Lane was all in shade and I passed unnoticed into Lovers’ Lane. The barking beagles nowhere to be seen, and my only company was the chirruping of cicadas. That’s also a worrying sign, they usually come to life in the heat of the afternoon, but with temperatures rising, they are out and about early too. On my route back to Mill Lane, Iron Man and his dog came out of the olive fields. We made our customary greetings and I carried on.

The Slope of Hope was very still and then wham, four cars all in a row sped past me – this is LA style freeway traffic levels in our village. I crossed over to make my way to Laundry Lane as usual (yes my run is predictable, but until the temperature eases a little that’s the way it will stay) and leapt out of my skin as a juggernaut passed close by. The road narrows as it approaches the old village and it can only really be considered roomy enough for two way traffic if one is a car and the other a bike, or maybe a three wheeler Ape. The narrowing of the road also channels the sound waves – hence my mini leap into the air.

In Laundry Lane, I passed our friends’ house R and P, who arrive from USA, for a few weeks in their family home. The garden was all pristine and perfect for their return. My thoughts turned back to the in/out question. On days like today it’s clear that here is a lovely place to be, we have space, gorgeous weather, we can get to the sea within minutes, it’s not polluted, we have friends here – all the ingredients for a perfect life.  To be in Italy is like living the Dolce Vita everyday. And so I am running thinking about being in and out.

In my perfect life, the EU and Boris will have a chat (maybe a tad more formal) and agree that they both like the JCR family so much that they are prepared to come to a compromise which means out of all the commercial considerations the JCR clause comes into effect, allowing JCR to have cake and eat it!

In my running mind I am consolidating after C25K and I should be improving my lot. The reality is the heat is killing my progress and I’m actually going backwards on both time and distance measures. This is our Brexit situation to a T. To enjoy all that Italy offers, means a significant detachment to our metropolitan London living lifestyle we’ve enjoyed for 15 + years. If we accept Schengen rules, it will be like when we were working and could only be occasional visitors here, a likeable anomaly, but not locals. If we live here, we will become London visitors – not quite as likeable nor anomalous to those locals.

This dilemma is also encapsulated in my running route – some of it is pleasant shade and some scorching sun, both of which are perfectly lovely in context, and I love being in both places, although sometimes it can be uncomfortable. And in a running sense of having my cake and eat it, I want to run in the heat but not get overheated.

My run ended up with me still wanting to be in and out, in Europe and out of London when we want to be. I think  our plain speaking Yorkshire man commercialista may be telling me the way to go.

I finished my run having done just over 4.5kms – just a tad more than Tuesday and the temperature had risen another couple of degrees, so I decided I’d actually track the walk back home, to see how much I’d have to do if I tried to run it all. It would be another 1.3kms but with an elevation gain of 61 metres on just that bit – see the MMR pic for how horrid it is in full sun! Ouch, maybe that will wait until the Autumn and maybe by then we will know for sure if we are in or out.

On my final trek up the hill, I met a young lady dog walker with a very sociable dog I think she called it Atlanta. Now that’s an inspirational name for a pooch. Atlanta do you have any ideas on whether we stay in the EU and become Italian residents or  stay out and leave Italy with pleasant memories of la dolce vita?

Stats

Distance 4.52km

Time – still too embarrassing to record

Physio

Yes – but still no pelvic thrusting or Bridges as I still haven’t bought a yoga mat

Jump Rope – 2 sets of 17 skips and it just got worse from then on…

Playlist

90’s playlist 

Best track – Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio, because it’s Italy and we do live in a paradise, it’s just that the gangsters are somewhere else…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 15 Run 1 – Surreality Bites

It’s Tuesday and I am up before 8am, mainly because Mr JCR nagged me a lot (on my behest I must add), I am also out of the door just after 8am and it’s 27 degrees. In 2018 we had Lucifer’s summer and I think he’s coming back. I add a dash of ‘pootler’s pink’ lipstick to get me on my way and I’m ready for whatever Lucifer decides to throw at me.

First off, Mill Lane, it’s now one way and so pitted and potholey that most locals don’t use it, so I usually have the lane to myself. But not today – two cars passed me, that almost constitutes a traffic jam in these parts. On my way to Lovers’ Lane and all is empty – no Anouska, no Albino save for one car on its way to Villa Bali. I even manage to get past the barking beagle house twice without so much as a murmur. It feels surreally quiet as though Le Marche has been emptied.

I return down Mill Lane and spot a dog walker I recognise from a couple of years back, a middle aged man, with a Collie. Bald and with a white moustache – the man, not the dog, I notice he has thin wiry legs but calves like flat irons. Iron Man I think is his new name, he smiles and says buongiorno. It is nice being in Italy when people acknowledge you rather than London, where it’s a little more distant/aggressive.

Making my way down the Slope of Hope, I get goosed by the barking balcony house, ah things are getting more normal and I make my way towards the village and Laundry Lane. And there to my surprise I see Dame Duvet, rather surreally dressed for what is now 28/82 degrees. She is wearing a baseball cap, a cotton neckerchief, a tee shirt under a sweatshirt and long black tracksuit bottoms. She looks as cool as a cucumber, I on the other hand am wearing the minimum I can get away with, without offending common decency standards and am bright eyeball-scorching red. You wouldn’t actually believe we were in the same climate. The other thing is that she’s miles away from where I normally see her, so now I wonder if she’s real or a walking spectre. Because from knowing her usual roads, I think she’s walking at least 15 -20 kms in the morning. Wow.

We exchange ciaos – and I bite my tongue wanting to ask for more information… and continue onto Laundry Lane, there’s a little more shade than usual and I continue my run until I hit the unshaded incline where I decide to finish.

Walking back up Argo’s Loop, I pass my ultimate barking nemesis. There are two horrid little dogs really  quite aggressive and they live outdoors. As you can see from my first picture there is a mini enclosure. This is where they run and scramble up the fence to bark at me. Over the years, their technique has been fine-tuned and they were getting perilously close to scaling their enclosure; I see the owner has added yet more height to their scrambling wall, I fear it’s just given them more incentive to frighten me even more.

I make my way to the final ascent on Argo’s Loop and there I pass Iron Man once more, he pulls his dog to heel, smiles and we re-buongiorno. Turning the corner I see a sun hazed vision all in black. I squint thinking I recognise our friend Claudia, but she never, ever walks up our hill as it’s brutal. She crosses to the other side of the road, I say ciao and she recognises me at last. We elbow bump which is the new greeting standard and she tells me she is going for a walk. Now I am in utter shock, I’ve only ever seen her in her car this far up and her route means she has more inclines to do. Serious respect to her as I am two minutes from home and at her pace I reckon she has another hour to get home, including some horrid hilly bits.

I walk into the house, and see myself in the mirror – no wonder Claudia didn’t recognise me, the pootler’s pink has slid away from my mouth and I look a little like Robert Smith from The Cure, or one of Dali’s Melting Clocks. A surreal morning’s run, and a very surreal face…

Stats

4.4 km – slowly doing a bit more distance

Time – yup it took me time

Physio – some of it

Jump Rope – maximum 23 skips and at least 10 whipped arse moments

Music

90’s Mix

Best Track – Dizzy by Vic Reeves and The Wonder Stuff, as that was the final track on Argo’s loop and I was definitely feeling dizzy with heat at that time

 

 

 

 

 

C25K – Week 14 Run 3 & The A to Z of Running in the Heat

 

As regular suffering readers know, I am starting again and trying to increase my running distance and pace back to the dizzy heights of my 2018 running year.

However, restarting C25K in the UK in a cool Spring doesn’t give you the best foundation for running in the eighties and nineties temperature wise in Italy. So here is my definitive guide to running in the heat:-

Alarm – use it to get up early

Be Prepared – get your kit out the night before

Cold Water – an absolute must – put it in the fridge the night before, see ‘B’

Don’t Stay in Bed – see also ‘A’

Early Departure – see also ‘A’, and ‘D’

FFS – shouting at yourself may help get your sorry arse out of bed

Get a Grip – find your inner grit and use it to go out

Hunt for shade, before you run – do a recce of your route to find the shady areas

Ice cubes in your water bottle help

Jacuzzi – is a great incentive, for post run recovery

Kit yourself correctly – lighter weight clothing, dampen your headband and running vest if you can

Let the heat determine your speed, you can easily increase pace when it’s cooler

Midday/Much higher than 30 degrees and it can be dangerous to run if you’re not acclimatised to it – avoid if at all possible

Note your breathing and drinking habits – if you’re too laboured and really in need of much more water, – it’s simple you’re doing way too much

Opt for shorter distances and slower times – re-set your expectations

Plod if you need to – sometimes a walking break helps

Quitting the race – if it’s not working and you feel uncomfortable, call it quits. There’s no courage or honour in running to dehydration and exhaustion

Rinse your hair in water before you go out – it really helps keep you cool

Sunhat/screen/glasses – wear and use as appropriate

Take your time – the sun has endless patience to burn and overheat you

Under no circumstances run whilst hungover (previous history!)

Vanquish running gremlins by not setting too high a target

Water – take a bottle, take a spare bottle,  or carry cash to buy some more water

Xtra brownie points if you follow all the advice

Yes running in heat is possible, just take it slow, in shade and stay hydrated

Zzzz – a post run snooze is just the ticket

Today’s run – I followed my own advice except for  J and Q… J because it needs cleaning and filling with new water and Q – I didn’t need to quit, because for once I followed my own advice.

In truth it was mega scorchio again, it was just about 8am when I set out on Sunday to run, and the thermometer was already showing 27 degrees – 80 degrees in old money of course. On my warm up walk I passed Lord Kitchener, he was on his way to the cemetery and he barely gave me a glance, I did smile at him, but maybe he didn’t recognise me – it’s been over a year since he last saw  me after all. I had hoped to see Anouska and Albino, as I know they often get up early to walk if it’s very hot, but I didn’t see them either. No people, no dogs, no shade, no mercy.

The sun was beating down and I admit I took shelter in the one shady spot of Laundry Lane and did a few mini circuits between the trees, because it would have been awful otherwise.

At 4.3km I gave up the ghost, because the non-shaded incline was looming and in this heat you just have to be kind to yourself. But I did decide to continue for a walk to see an ‘ex- house’ of friends of ours, just to see what it was looking like now that it has new owners. It was sad really to see it, empty of people and shutters closed, whereas usually at this time of year it would be open and I could perhaps sneak in for a cheeky cup of coffee! It added a couple of 2kms to my efforts, and in truth it was too warm to do much more.

As Mr JCR pointed out I’m going to have to get up earlier and as I’m a born again teenager, lunchtime is a bit early for me to rise. It’s either that or run much later in the day and I just know I won’t do that, I’ll prevaricate, faff and generally find reasons not to.

Okay JCR for Week 15, you’re just going to have to do those big girl pants and get up earlier. We’ve got at least another 8 weeks of scorchio weather until September brings some welcome relief, so I have to woman up…

Stats

Distance – 4.3km

Time – Too embarrassing to record

Physio

Yes – crabby things, flexor things, squats, clams

No – bridge and pelvic thrusting – need a yoga mat

Jump Rope or Skipping Rope as we oldies call it – 23 skips in succession, with about 10 attempts during the day varying from 4 skips to the 23.

Whacked Arse – at least 7 times, when you stop the Jump Rope whips you, and it’s always on your bum.

Playlist

My goddaughter Molly’s Glastonbury Mix

Favourite track – Is this the way to Amarillo by Tony Christie – because I’m a recent convert to Peter Kay’s Car Share and I love his humour, and I loved his silly video for this, which we recreated on a virtual Glasto Pyramid Stage on Saturday night. Thanks Molly and Gabi and Carl for organising it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Couch to 5K, Week 14 Run 2 – Too early for dogs…

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Come on red men…

After Mr JCR promised to get me out of bed early enough to avoid the sun, we had both forgotten one major factor. My team were playing last night, and so we had to watch the match to see four superb goals and then at least an hour’s worth of punditry telling me how brilliant my team were.

Jamie Redknapp using tech to show just how superb TAA’s strike was, Graeme Souness sitting on his smugness cushion of five League Championships, three European Cups and four League Cups. John Barnes, not quite the svelte figure he once was, but with a lovely twinkle in his eye describing Liverpool’s dominance. After match interviews with TAA, Salah and my middle aged crush Jurgen Klopp – see he is almost named after the Kop, his parents just got their surname wrong.

It was another hour of bliss as far as I was concerned, but all of this orgy of self congratulation meant we weren’t exactly in bed at the appointed hour, late to bed doesn’t mean an early start. Nonetheless I was out earlier today, it was a nine number not a ten or eleven, but even so still scorchio.

When it’s 27 degrees at 9am you know you’re in trouble. And so I started my warm up walk outside the house and did a mini loop before starting up Mill Lane, all to get the warm up walking done in sun and be able to start my run in some shade. It was going brilliantly and I was pootling up Lovers’ Lane and who did I see ahead of me but my running inspirational couple – Anouska and Albino. It’s been over a year since I’ve seen them and there they were strolling along enjoying the views. We exchanged ciaos and salves (Roman Italian for good health) – it gave me a real boost. However not enough of a boost to be able to overcome the scorching heat and I think I may have overcooked my start.

On the Slope of Hope, I was early enough to avoid the barking dog balcony and made my way towards Laundry Lane. There I spied my red poppies, here again it’s boiling hot and even an hour or so earlier, it’s in full sun. I traipsed my way to the small shaded area and ran backwards and forwards. Out of the shade, I ran towards the local winery on Laundry Lane, passing another barking dog house, but although they were out I spotted them and didn’t leap when they started barking. But the sight of the unshaded incline really got the better of me, and I stopped running. 5km seems too much of a reach at the moment in 80 degree plus heat.

I managed 4.2km in all, a little better than last time out. The timing is still abysmal, but I think I will ignore that for now and just focus on getting the distance up, oh and getting up earlier. Sunday is my next scheduled run, so if I aim for an eightish departure then hopefully the temperature will be a little lower.

Suzy K – you are consolidating – how is it going? And do you have a classic album track for my latest playlist?

Today was too early for dogs, but not early enough for me. Change is going to have to be made, but if the red men win the Premiership tonight, then I promise to be up and out by 8am on Sunday.

Stats

  • Distance 4.2km
  • Time – Abysmally worrying
  • Leaping in the Air – not once

Physio

Yup and I was reading in the PHD Runner’s blog about her getting a gait analysis as she’s had a chronic injury problem, and one of the recommended exercises was the crab walking squats, and I’ve remembered I’d totally forgotten about doing those, so yes they are on my list too, along with bridges, hip flexors, pelvic thrusts, squatting, touching my toes.

And the skipping rope – now they’re called jump ropes, and they’re not rope, they are wires and they don’t half hurt when you swipe your bum with them. Well my best effort so far is 12 jumps in succession – that tells you how rubbish my coordination is… Still I’m going to have another go and see if I can manage 15 consecutive jumps.

Playlist

Birthday Number Ones

Best Song Metal Guru – By T Rex – just loved Marc Bolan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 14 Run 1 – There’s A Hole In My Bucket

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Adriatic View From The Top of The Bitch of a Pitch

So goes the nursery rhyme, and actually our buckets were fine, it’s just that the Italian winter blew off our shed roof, our wood store roof and filled our jacuzzi full of rain water, having torn the covering tarpaulin to shreds.

Monday’s job was to try and bring some sense of order to the outdoors, which is looking a little sorry for itself after seven months of neglect, which come to think of it is like my bod after three months of lockdown.

My no-running exercise routine, included going grocery shopping (ugh), emptying said jacuzzi of about 700 litres of water and doing it by bucket to water our very sorry and sad looking oleanders.  Killing a vast number of wasps that had made nice nests under the leaky tarp – my method is to spray, pray and run. I should have been watering the newly planted hydrangeas too, but we lost all of them, due to no watering in Spring and all we have are seven sad straw stumps.

Then I helped Mr JCR recover the shed roof, with the rescued tarpaulin remnants, and now we look like long-term Italian residents. No Italian country garden is complete without a Heath Robinson type covering involving a tarp, dodgy rope and any convenient weights you can find.  We now have a fetching bright green shed roof, with an elastic garter, and three different types of wooden poles weighting the roof down. All we need is rope to hold up our gardening trousers and we’ll become a pair of Compoes from Last of The Summer Wine.

Today’s job is to empty all the previously empty buckets and containers in the shed, which are now chock full of stagnant water. Livin’ the dream! Oh and go for a run, preferably one that lasts longer than Sunday’s and is marginally quicker. That means getting up early, which means going to bed early – neither of which are in my usual routine.

And yes, epic fail, the alarm  was set, JCR not. Three hours later I set off on the same route as last time, only today it’s hotter and there’s less shade available. Stupid tart syndrome entirely of my own making and 29 degrees is about 84 F, so really scorchio.

Needless to say not a soul about, the dog walkers got out earlier on, I wonder if I can get them to bed shame me for a run? Lovers’ Lane was predictably hot and dusty and Villa Bali didn’t give me any shade whatsoever and so I made my weary back to Mill Lane, where even the water pumping station was quiet. All I could hear was the chirruping of cicadas. Now when they get going I find it makes me feel hotter, there must be something auto-suggestive about that particular noise. I could feel my face getting redder and redder and the panting was increasing too. In truth this bit of the run is always hard as it’s the first ten minutes and it takes a while to get in my stroll. I pootled down the Slope of Hope, got ‘goosed’ by the barking balcony house. They seem to have obtained another deeper voiced dog, and both of them conspired to make me jump. Both dogs have the knack of staying quiet until I’m just about past them and then they bark into action.

Having recovered some kind of composure I made my way towards Laundry Lane and it was fairly brutal, I did find a small 50 yard section under mottled shade and ran that backwards and forwards a few times, to get my run to the 4km distance marker. At that point there was no shade to be had at all and Laundry Lane starts rising quite considerably, my bucket of grit and determination was most definitely full of holes. My C25K  is now officially going backwards, I’ve done 1 km in a run less than about a month ago, but a temperature difference of running in the sixties to running in the eighties does cut me a bit of slack.

Upside I ran 4km today

Downside – not getting up and the temperature

Overall Rating – Could do better JCR

Stats

Distance 4km – so it was longer

Time – Awful – no improvement on pace, but see above

Temperature – Brutal

People – None

Leaps in the Air – Two

Physio

Just going to do it…

Oh and btw on Sunday’s run I actually tried my skipping rope afterwards. OMG it’s too embarrassing to contemplate just how little coordination I possess.

Music

Mens’s Names

Best track – Telegram Sam – I loved Marc Bolan, I think he was my first grown up crush, although my first child crush was on Troy Tempest. I actually wanted to be his mute girlfriend Marina, which considering I loathe swimming and the sea, is utterly bizarre  🙂

 

Week 13 Run 3 – All Washed Up On Laundry Lane

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Laundry Lane, before I fell victim to scorchio sun

Well it’s been quite a week, Mr Macron kindly opened the French borders on Sunday, which meant on Monday we were frantically clearing out the apartment and packing up the car to drive to Italy on Tuesday. A late night Chunnel got us to France in the very early hours of Wednesday morning. Cue a 22 hour drive marathon, with me , Mr JCR and Paula making a very untimely reappearance for the journey.

Thursday passed in a blur of sleeping and unloading. Friday similar, but add in doing some food shopping. Saturday, getting the house in order and an absolute mountain of ironing done, plus dealing with the recalcitrant Paula. All of which led me to today’s inaugural run back in Italy. It didn’t get off to a promising start, when I had the most horrendous stomach cramps, but a mug of tea and putting on my big girl pants meant I’d decided to go out.

Aha, JCR you’d forgotten about the summer in Italy, and yes it’s scorchio and leaving at 10am for a run, was perhaps a couple of hours too late as the temperature was showing at 27 degrees. My warm-up walk took me to Mill Lane and I was running in earnest down Lovers’ Lane passing two such lovers walking hand in hand, passed by a very red and panting JCR. A quick lope around Villa Bali grounds and back to Mill Lane. There I had a dilemma take the downward track of the Hill that Kills, or the Slope of Hope.

The Slope of Hope won out, and it’s nice to know that some things never change, the accursed barking dog surprised me and then I met our neighbour’s dog Argo out on a walk with Patrizia. She welcomed me back and expressed surprise at me running in make-up – actually just lipstick – pootler’s pink, one of the encouraging tricks to get me out of the door.

Taking a right turn towards our village and Laundry Lane, I’d forgotten exactly how exposed that road is, with very little shade to be had. I was running from tree to tree in an attempt to keep cool, but this was a very hard effort. And after a while, I could go no further, the heat is really sapping, and I have to acclimatise to it once more. I’d run out of water and with Paula dogging my every step, it would not have been sensible to continue running (even if I could) so at 3.5kms in I stopped running and ambled back home. Just over 5kms done, 2/3 in a run and 1/3 a very slow walk. When I did C25K the first time around I started my running in these temperatures and so acclimatised from day one to running in heat. This time it’s different I’ve done all my running in the much cooler UK and nothing has prepared me for scorchio weather without shade. Clearly more running lessons to be learned. Maybe I will alternate shorter intervals of running with a restful walk until I get used to the temperatures again…

So unfortunately, I did end up all washed out in Laundry Lane. But to continue the analogy, my dirty washing has been aired – I’m a cool weather runner apparently. I just need to get out earlier and take it slower, but sometimes it’s worth taking a step back to move forward (Mr JCR will hate that phrase – especially if I say it’s a journey!!)

No worries, I now know where I had to stop, so I will try and do just that little bit better next time out.

Stats

  • 3.6km run
  • Timing – a shocker
  • 3 leaps in the air due to dogs barking, the Slope of Hope, Laundry Lane and Argo’s loop.

Playlist

Sweetie Mix 

Best Song Deacon Blue and Chocolate Girl, because the lyrics say:

He calls her the chocolate girl
Cause he thinks she melts when he touches her

No-one around to melt me, just the scorchio sun and I was melting

Physio

Yes and I hated it…

 

 

 

 

 

10 Nov – I want him and now!

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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

 

 

 

 

30 Oct – Ciao Italia

IMG_2769
Today is my last day in Italy for 2018

 

Saturday Run – Done and Written Up

Sunday – 25 people for lunch – utter carnage – wonderful!

Monday – clear up the carnage – not so wonderful… 😦

Tuesday – Must Run, as we are leaving Italy tomorrow and travelling to Holland.

It’s warmish and I have timeish to go running, so I do. Okay, planning is all when going for a run. Perhaps it would be helpful to have noted down when your lady cleaner is coming to help you clean up the house before leaving.

I finish my warm-up, run towards Mill Land and a car is coming towards me, the driver waves. So do I, the driver stops and shouts ‘Jan, have you forgotten I am coming at 9am?’ – ah yes I have indeed forgotten.

A run back to the house to get that organised and then a slight panic sets in, I have agreed to meet Mr JCR later on at a specified time and place after my run is finished. Frantic, if confused exchange of messages, leave the lady cleaner behind and restart the run. Onto Mill Lane and Villa Bali, after the confusion at Villa JCR, all is quiet and tranquil. I appear to have my slow legs on today, and in truth it’s a bit of a plod. I do find if I take a couple of days rest, then my pace suffers as a consequence. At the 3km mark, I am wondering if my legs have enough stuffing to do 10km.

I have a 60s inspired soundtrack to help me – although some of the tracks are as slow as I am, which is not good for speeding up. I aim towards the Bendy, Scary Road and it’s still quiet, I see the happy, smiley lady and she nods. This is the sum total of excitement on the run today. My route takes me through Royston Vasey, and no-one is around – it’s difficult to say your goodbyes when everyone has disappeared from view.

At just over 7km, I turn off into War Of The World’s Lane and at last I see a real live human being. Two of them in fact, but one is a young guy helping a much older guy to do a gentle walk. We exchange ‘Salves’ and I move on. I am back in the wilderness again, running on my own, listening to 60s music and the gentle thud of my feet. I’d really hoped to be able to say good bye to a few of the usual folk I see, but I guess I will have to settle for saying ‘hello’ next year. I do hope Anouska and Albino, Babbo Natale and Dame Duvet have a lovely winter. this is my last Italian run for 2018, if I am lucky I will do two(possibly three) runs in Holland before returning home to London, to finish the challenge.

I wanted to reach 1750km by the end of October if I could, and I just about snuck over the line. More work to be done, but the finish line is getting that much closer…

Playlist

Ode To Billie Joe – Bobbie Gentry

White Room – Cream

Runaway – Del Shannon

Poetry In Motion – Johnny Tillotson

My Girl – The Temptations

Oh! Carol – Neil Sedaka

You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling – The Righteous Brothers

Let’s Spend The Nigh Together – the Rolling Stones

The House Of The Rising Sun – The Animals

What Do You Want – Adam Faith

Take Good Care Of My Baby – Bobby Vee

Dream Lover – Bobby Darin

The Locomotion – Little Eva

Walkin’ Back To Happiness – Helen Shapiro

Blue Velvet – Bobby Vinton

Happy Together – The Turtles

Bye Bye Love, Wake Up Little Susie – The Everly Brothers

No Regrets, The Sun Ain’t Going To Shine Anymore – The Walker Brothers

That’s Life – Frank Sinatra

Chain Gang – Sam Cooke

Why Do Fools Fall In Love  – Frankie Lymon

Sherry – Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

Be Bop A Lula – Gene Vincent

He’s So Fine – the Chiffons

Reet Petite – Jackie Wilson

Shout – Lulu

Tell Him – The Exciters

Sweet Little Sixteen – Chuck Berry

Leader Of The Pack – The Shangri Las

You Were Made For Me – Freddie and The Dreamers

Blue Bayou – Roy Orbison

Stats

Distance 10.77km

Time 1:23:42

Average Pace 7:46

Elevation Gain – 14 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1753.17

Kms To Go 264.83

 

 

 

 

 

 

27 Oct – I Never Got The Memo

It must be due to the clocks changing but for the first time in almost a lifetime, I was awake before Mr JCR and I made the routine mug of tea. So far so unusual, I never get up first and almost never make tea at the weekend. The spookiness of Hallowe’en has got to me. Or it could be case of eating pasta late last night and my tum grumbling a bit 😉

Either way I was out of the door earlier than usual taking in the usual long route – Mill Lane to the Cafe stop. Except today, no MR JCR in the car to take me home, I’d have to ascend the Bitch of a Pitch. Ho hum.

I did my usual warm-up and then out towards Villa Bali, where a young dad was playing with his toddler. The toddler was having his tum tickled and squealing with delight, then he moved to play with the gravel. Simple pleasures – his dad said buongiorno and I waved back. It’s nice when people are friendly – it gives you a spring in your step. With his salute ringing in my ears I made my way towards the Bendy, Scary Road and promptly got overtaken by three speedy cyclists, they shouted Salve when they went past. All I could do was wave, as they were so fast and out of sight. On my way into Royston Vasey I saw a lady runner ahead of me – wearing black shorts, American Tan tights (I spotted those when I overtook her), long black socks and a fluoro green running top. I was somewhat perplexed by the American Tan tights, unless she doesn’t have running leggings and it was a way of keeping warm.

I overtook her gradually, and made my way through Royston Vasey and then curses, who did I see ahead of me but American Tan Tights runner. Is this some kind of Hallowe’en witchery going on?  Then I remembered there is a short cut, if you are keen on running uphill. It did give me a kick up the butt and at that point I did my fastest km (in this run) at just over 6 minutes a km, but she was not going my way, so I never did catch her up.

Into War Of The Worlds Lane and I see a gentleman runner wearing black shorts and fluoro green top, is he going to mysteriously appear ahead of me despite being overtaken? The answer was no, as he changed direction and started running towards me. Okay that’s two fluoro green and black combos and I’ve only seen two runners. Further on in WOTW Lane, there are two guys doing sprint training and again in fluoro green and black. That’s 4 runners, wearing almost exactly the same clothes. I have that colour combo in my wardrobe, but today went for fluoro orange and blue. I did feel slightly left out of the clothing club, however they were nice, friendly guys and said Salve as I went past.

Obviously there’s something weird going on, I never see many runners – 4 in one run is almost a record for me; the fact they were wearing the same colours was a weird coincidence. Although, it has to be said when you look in the sports shops here, fluoro green and black is a popular mix – I think it shows off the famed Italian Adonis-like bods.

Suitably buoyed up I carried onto the cafe, hitting the 10km mark – a quick coffee and brioche and I was running back towards home. I couldn’t face the Bitch of a Pitch, so wimped out and went back along to WOTW Lane – all the fluoro runners had gone, and without fellow runners to gee me on, my pace suffered somewhat.

I didn’t get the memo on the clothing colours and my legs didn’t get the memo on only doing 9km today, but I’m not complaining.

Playlist

Disco Divas

Knock On Wood – Amii Stewart

Ring My Bell – Anita Ward

Respect – Aretha

Yes Sir, I Can Boogie – Baccara

Cruel Summer – Bananarama

Gotta Go Home – Boney M

I Feel For You, I’m Every Woman – Chaka Khan

Let’s Hear It For The Boy – Deniece Williams

Upside Down, Chain Reaction – Diana Ross

I Say A Little Prayer – Dionne Warwick

I Feel Love, Love To Love You Baby – Donna Summer

Love Come Down – Evelyn Champagne King

Rescue Me – Fontella Bass

Never Can Say Goodbye – Gloria Gaynor

Pull Up To The Bumper – Grace Jones

Somebody Else’s Guy – Jocelyn Brown

Funkytown – Lipps Inc

Heatwave – Martha Reeves

Forget Me Nots, Stir It Up – Patrice Rushen

Lady Marmalade – Patti LaBelle

Jump, Automatic – The Pointer Sisters

Car Wash –  Rose Royce

He’s The Greatest Dancer, Lost In Music – Sister Sledge

Boogie Oogie Oogie – A Taste Of Honey

Tell It To My Heart – Taylor Dayne

Don’t Leave Me This Way – Thelma Houston

I Wanna Dance With Somebody, How Will I Know – Whitney Houston

Stats

Distance 14.37km

Time 1:42:31

Average Pace 7:08

Elevation Gain 141 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1742.40

Kms To Do 275.60

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25 Oct – There’s No Flies On Me

photography of fly on green leaf
‘Orrible little monster isn’t he?

This is a saying originating in Australia which means you are quick witted and alert. I wish in my case this was true –  when running I regularly attract my own posse of flies looking just like Pig Pen in the Snoopy cartoons. (Although he was carrying the dust and dirt of ancient civilisations)

PigPen_(Peanuts)

Today I needed to do 8km but didn’t necessarily need to be quick, although it would have helped avoid the flies. I hadn’t really planned my day well and was running in the afternoon, after cauliflower and truffle soup and some chapatis. This is not the balanced, light meal you should have before running, but it is very helpful at emptying the cupboards before an imminent departure back to the UK.

Mr JCR pointed out that the house stank of cabbage a bit like an old NHS institution, so maybe that was why the flies were following me around. Eau de brassica, clinging to my clothes…

With the institutional aroma accompanying me, I set off on my run – the usual route beckoned; Mill Lane, Lover’s Lane etc., but this time back to Argo’s Loop to include a there and back run on Laundry Lane. This I reckoned would get me just over the 8km mark. Blimey, well I can confirm that cauliflower and truffle soup sloshing about in your stomach is not conducive to creating record breaking runs.

The olive harvest is in full swing, and the fields are full of folk, nets, tractors, noise, and olive wobblers. I ran past one field and one of the pickers in our neighbour’s field shouted Brava Signora. I continued my run and met up with Argo (our dog share) on Laundry Lane –  he gave me a baleful look and carried on his own way towards home.

I then passed one of the small, local wineries where the owner and his dog were outside, watching the world go by. In truth the dog was peeing rather than people watching, but I did get a ‘Salve’ greeting from the winery owner, I waved and continued on, did a u-turn and came back – the dog was still peeing and that was 3kms later. He was tiny – a small Jack Russell, I don’t where he got the bladder capacity from. At this stage I was about 1km from doing my planned 8km, and was congratulating myself on not giving up, despite the gallons of soup making themselves felt. The light was fading somewhat and the flies were gathering, giving me nasty nips, reminding me that short sleeves are not a good idea at dusk.

I finished my run at just over the 8km and made my way home, where more flies awaited when I opened our bedroom window. At this time of year they seem to have a death wish and 20 or so committed hari-kiri on the bedroom floor.

Oh joy, I’d been stalked by flies on my run and now I had to clean them up too. However, there are no flies on Mr JCR when it comes to action – he swept into the room with his James Dyson mean machine and left no traces of the fly invasion.

It wasn’t a flying run – sorry – but it’s in the bag  and tomorrow I will not:-

  • have cauliflower and truffle soup for lunch
  • run after lunch
  • wear short sleeves

Playlist

Two Tone and Ska

Liquidator – Harry J Allstars

Ghost Town – The Specials

It Mek, 007, Israelites – Desmond Dekker

Police On My Back – Eddie Grant and The Equals

Carry Go Bring Come – Justin Hinds and the Dominoes

54-56 Was My Number, Monkey Man – Toots and The Maytals

Skinhead Moonstomp – Symarip

Housewive’s Choice – Derrick and Patsy

Rudi Got Married – Laurel Aitken

One Step Beyond, Al Capone – Prince Buster

The Tide is High – Blondie

House of Fun – Madness

Monkey Man – Amy Winehouse

My Boy Lollipop – Millie Small

Red Red Wine – Tony Tribe

Lip Up Fatty – Bad Manners

Let’s Do Rock Steady – The Bodysnatchers

Free Nelson Mandela – The Starlite Singers

Stats

Distance 8.41km

Time 1:02:02

Average Pace 7:22

Elevation Gain 78 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1728.03

Kms to Run 289.97