The Beast from the East has returned, hurrah, I had one of my best runs last year when he came to visit.
However, said Beast from the East, is a little smaller this time around. Not so much snow as a scattering of slush on the pavements.
Today is the day, I go for my rehab run – yes I am officially allowed back on the pavements of London.
Runderwear – ready
Socks – ready
Running Tights – ready
Base Layer – ready
Running Top – ready
Gloves – ready
Bobble Hat – ready
Spotify – ready (my new Blue Monday Remedy playlist)
Runner – ready
Out I venture and my warm up walk takes me to the delights of Silicon roundabout. Then I start the running to J Geils and Freeze-frame – what an appropriate tune for my first time out in 3 weeks. My hip and thigh are twingeing a bit, so I am as slow as a snail. Good job really as the pavements have a lovely mix of London Road detritus mixed in with the slush – think liquorice coloured rather than dayglo. It’s a bit slippy underfoot, and as I can famously fall over a twig, I gingerly run to the fish shop – more or less a 2km run as the physio ordered.
Not much to report really, plenty of slush, a couple of mini-slides, and a few twinges but it was wonderful to get out again. Not entirely sure how much good or damage I may have done to my leg, but no doubt the Physio will tell me on Tuesday. Jancanrun has just done a run, it’s not big, long, fast or clever, but it is a run, and there’s about another 60 tracks on the Blue Monday playlist to get through, at this rate that’s about another 10 runs.
Strictly speaking, this is not exactly true, but the Physio has confirmed I can try a little run, no more than 25% of my usual distance and I must rest for 24 hours minimum afterwards.
This coupled with Mr JCR acting as a muscly stretching person on my unwilling legs and an introductory course of Pilates, is supposedly going to get me back to normal. Hurrah. (I’m trying to forget the squats instructions…)
As to the dodgy shoulder, that’s a longer game, Mert and Victor and Raffaella are going to continue to see me weekly for at least a couple of months to come. As I don’t run with my shoulder, that’s a little less of an issue, although the injury is more severe, but it is going to curtail any thoughts of boxing for a while.
A little ray of sunshine pierced through the injury gloom, and the blooming flowers in the park on the way home, made me feel quite optimistic.
From a Couch to 5K member, to a 2000km runner, I am now back to doing just 2kms, but it’s 2kms more than I’ve been able to do for almost four weeks now.
If the Beast from the East is returning for me, I’m ready and waiting – trainers are on standby.
and finding only grey skies today. Second run of the year, just going where the legs took me.
London is slowly returning to its pre-Christmas normal. The fake German market huts have gone, the lights are down, but the tourists are still around and an awful lot of post-Christmas runners are skipping around the City.
I made my way through the City and towards the Strand, the pavement traffic was light and I was nicely light on my feet, turning south, I wanted to run by the river. Ooh it’s a bit windy and I am ‘joined’ by a running group. They are four and on my heels, but I have solo ninja power to aid me and I keep them at bay. But like wolves circling their prey, slowly, relentlessly they hunt me down and overtake in a swoosh near Tate Modern. I try to pick up the pace but have a slightly dodgy right hamstring, which having read up on Dr Google is another runner’s ailment beginning with ‘p’. I take a chance to have a breather and read up on this new ‘p’ ailment – it apparently can be due to overrunning (mmm I wonder how that happened), or lack of flexibility (okay hands up).
A bit of random stretching is in order, and I do have a right real pain in the bum – literally. Oh that’s another sign of this ‘p’ ailment. I decide to slow the pace and do a jogette back to base. The only light blue I saw was on the Tower Bridge railings, but my mood is not blue, it was a lovely run and an appointment has been made to see a physio on Thursday.
First singles ever being tested.
Ride A White Swan – TRex
How Long – Ace
Living For The City – Stevie Wonder
Living Doll – Cliff Richard
Maggie May – Rod Stewart
Baby, Stop Crying – Bob Dylan
It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me – Billy Joel
Bedsitter – Soft Cell
As Long As You Love Me – Backstreet Boys
The Things We Do For Love – 10cc
Babe – Take That
I’m Not In Love – 10cc
Mississippi – Pussycat
mmmBop – Hanson
Take A Chance On Me – ABBA
Hello This is Joanie – Gary Brown
Changes – David Bowie
The Bump – Kenny
Killer Queen – Queen
Cool for Cats – Squeeze
Keep On Running – Spencer David Group
Life On Mars – David Bowie
Creeping Death – Metallica
Transmission – Joy Division
Hippy Hippy Shake – Swinging Blue Jeans
Take My Breath Away – Berlin
Average Pace 6:25
Elevation Gain 85 metres
Cumulative 16.5 kms (this is 16.5km more than I managed this time last year, so it’s not exactly bad news)
This title is the only thing Britney Spears and I have in common. I did say I’d have a two-week sabbatical from running, but the full-to-busting running kit drawer, seemed to whisper very time I passed it, and so I gave into the inevitable and went for a run.
Before I get complaints from the BBC viewers association or whomever, I did make sure that it couldn’t count towards my Alzheimer’s Challenge.
First off, I ran for 2kms to the doctors had my appointment and then ran home – just on 5kms logged but not in one run, so therefore ineligible for the challenge.
Then I had to go back to the doctors, so that was another 4kms banked. That’s 9kms run in a day and none of it counts towards the Alzheimer’s Challenge, but it did count towards the removal of chocolate and Christmas poundage.
Speaking of pounds – thanks to Alan P, who very kindly donated to my cause. Thanks Alan.
I Am Henery The Eighth I Am – Herman’s Hermits
Bela Lugosi’s Dead – Bauhaus
Flash – Queen
Doctorin’ The Tardis – The Flag
I Just Shot John Lennon – The Cranberries
Motorhead – Hawkwind
Angie – Rolling Stones
Delilah – Tom Jones
Elvis Ain’t Dead – Scouting For Girls
Clair – Gilbert O’Sullivan
Genghis Khan – Iron Maiden
Maid Of Orleans – OMD
Oh Yoko – John Lennon
Stan – Eminem and Dido
Calories 675 calories supposedly – that equals just over 100grams of chocolate. Just a pity I’ve eaten a lot more than 100g of chocolate!
Mr JCR’s mate Mike – and a supporter of mine, to witness the grand finale
Not only did we get soldiers with fluffy hats, we got a Horseguard’s Parade too..
It is 7am, (I know- I never, ever see that time of day). The alarm has gone and I have butterflies, my stomach is grumbling and rumbling. I feel nervous – and why?
Because, today is my final ‘2018kms in 2018’ day. When I decided on the challenge over a year ago now, I hadn’t really worked out what doing all this running would mean and now I am in touching distance. Just a gentle 5kms to do today, and I am so lucky that one of my C25K friends is leaving home, hearth and husband to run with me on my final run. We’ve bonded over 80s music, and Portugese Custard Tarts and Gill is joining me today for the last leg. With us in spirit and running around the UK are:-
Mr JCR and I walk to the park, the Strand is quiet and arriving at the park we see in the distance a woman stripping off. And who might that be? Well of course it’s Gill – only stripping down to running tights I hasten to add. We virtually met on the C25K forum and in real life met in the Barbican and I’m chuffed to call her my friend.
There’s a vague possibility of a fellow runner from the C25K Beyonders Group turning up, so we loiter around looking slightly suspicious. Then we see group of three runners hanging around nearby – I don’t recognise any of them. Wondering on the protocol for randomly accosting strangers in a park, I am very relieved when they start running on their own. I don’t think I’d be very good at blind dates…
We start off running, naked, so I can hear my own huffing and puffing, clearly running with Gill has set my speedier button as we manage one km in 5:45 pace – unheard of for me, but not for Gill who is a right speedy Gonzales. Realising I’m going too fast, I turn down the dial a little, and we make our way around the park, dodging the occasional wayward tourist, but it’s reasonably quiet – the geese, pigeons, ducks and squirrels are attracting way more attention than us two. At the halfway stage, a quick pitstop to dump more clothing and to meet Mike – one of my supporters and a friend of Mr JCR, he’s come to see us do the 5km. And we’re off onto the second lap, I quite like running with company – I didn’t know that before. And we have a gentle pootle around the park, we’re on to the home straight, I check my phone and yes the magic 5kms has been done, with a C25Ker who was a supporter for me in the good old Mr Smooth (Michael Johnson) days and has stayed the course over the year.
Mr JCR takes celebratory pics and opens the bubbles, we all toast a job well done. Gill in the meantime has been bottling up the desire to tell the world what I’ve just done… When a cycling policeman comes past, looking at 4 of us necking champagne, she tells him about the challenge. He offers me congratulations and takes a chocolate (we decided against offering some bubbles!). It was only after he’d gone when we thought that drinking alcohol may well be prohibited in a Royal Park – oops.
What a brilliant Christmas Eve run, making my distance, running with C25K friends in real life and virtually. It doesn’t get much better – oh yes it does, Mr JCR treated me to cooked breakfast on the way home.
And to all my C25K buddies who ran with me virtually today, I loved the fact that from Yorkshire to Berkshire and beyond my friends were out there, even when mojos have been very difficult to find. Thank you all.
A proper rollcall of honour will follow, as I’ve had even more donations and have really nicely exceeded the target set and now for some more bubbles.
It may not have snowed in London literally, but it has snowed donations since my last run. First off the mark, one of my fellow C25Kers jayval70 made my day, by donating and wishing me well.
Then our very good friends B&H in Warwickshire, with a lovely message to keep me going, then M from sunny Buckinghamshire, followed in a blink of an eye by our dear friends J&G in Arnhem – who came back with a second donation. Going for the more international theme, came my brother and sister in-law, in sunny but blinking cold Hingham, USA but with the greatest warm message, and their donation got me over the line on the sponsorship target.
Not to be outdone, our friends K&C, who are partially international living as they do between Italy and Nottingham, added a second donation. Followed by a very dear Italian friend M, who works in Brussels. And last but not least my running, netballing friend J.
So after the snowing down of donations, I find I have hit one target (the money), without actually having hit the other (the running). Obviously that situation can’t continue; and this morning’s run was designed to get me ready for the last leg on Christmas Eve.
With the very pleasant weight of all that money and expectation on my shoulders, I headed up West to do a ‘dummy run’ of my route around St James’s park. It’s a cold, bright and clear morning, I have got to do just under 12kms today, leaving me 5km for Christmas Eve. My route is vaguely worked out – wiggle through Hatton Garden, saunter through the Inns of Court and the Strand, nod at Buckingham Palace, and then do a lap or so of the park.
It’s surprisingly quiet in London, considering this is the last Saturday before Christmas, and before long I find myself at the Birdcage Walk entrance to the park. Now I know where all the people went, they are taking a stroll around the park, feeding the ducks, geese and marvelling at the antics of the squirrels. I am following my Strava route roughly and decide to pause just to make sure I am doing the right course and then see Mr JCR who has come to check up on progress, and my geographic tracking capabilities…
A loop of St James’s Park is done, with a small backward facing diversion and we reckon with a little bit of jiggery pokery, I can make these two loops become my 5km run on Christmas Eve. I have to continue on to make sure I reach today’s target and more or less on the roundabout near Admiralty Arch, the job is done.
I had hoped we might have snow for Christmas, but the snowfall of donations, really helped me to slip and slide my way around the park today – thanks everyone!
Job done, now to stay injury free for just one more day.
Last Christmas (twice) – Wham
Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid
Step Into Christmas – Elton John
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – The Supremes
Driving Home For Christmas – Chris Rea
Fairytale of New York – The Pogues
All I Want For Christmas is You – Mariah Carey (twice)
It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas – Buble
Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt and The Pussycat Dolls Version
Stay Another Day – East 17
Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
Have Yourself A Merry Christmas – Sam Smith
Frosty The Snowman – The Ronettes
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – The Jackson Five
Yesterday I met up with Kat from Alzheimer’s Research at Regent’s Park to run with me for one of my final runs, to close out the challenge and give AR some footage to use for fund-raising and encouragement to other people thinking of their own challenges.
We agreed to meet up at Great Portland Street tube, so we could run together. Cue two people wearing orange on a cold but blueish sky day in London. One of the last times I ran around Regent’s Park was when we had the Beast from the East, this time no beasts in evidence.
We started the run and to be honest I set off a little bit too ‘gung ho’ and just after a kilometre with Kat shadowing me and being videoed, we settled down to a more normal pace. Kat was a star, because she carried my extra warm running top on her back in a rucksack. And this is probably only the second time I’ve run with company (park runs don’t count imho, as there’s loads of folk, but you run on your own).
We talked about Alzheimer’s and one thing Kat told me was that one of their most requested pieces of information, was their leaflet telling you what you can do to minimise the risk of getting the disease. And I must admit I’d never thought of their role in that way, but of course education and prevention is as much a part of the cure, that we all want.
It was a lovely run and we managed around 7km in the park and then convened for a very welcome cup of coffee. The talk turned to my final run on Christmas Eve and I’ve more or less decided that I’ll run in St James’s Park and I’m thinking of asking people to join me and to donate to my fundraising for the privilege. This is me letting the Kat out of the bag. You heard it here first, if you’d like to join me on Christmas Eve (precise details, times etc., to be worked out probably tomorrow) and run with me on my final run and would be happy to make a small donation to Alzheimer’s Research for the somewhat dubious privilege of my company, then I’d love to see you. Mr JCR will be in attendance, although not running, and he’ll take pics for us to share with Alzheimer’s UK.
Last Christmas – Wham
Step Into Christmas – Elton John
Let It Snow – Ella Fitzgerald
Driving Home For Christmas – Chris Rea
All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
Sleigh Ride – The Ronettes
It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Andy Williams
Stay Another Day – East 17
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Sam Smith