31 Jan- Shame on You, Under Armour

Yesterday I was delighted to see that I had managed to be placed in the top 9% of the 104,000 worldwide runners, undertaking the Under Armour ‘ You Versus the Year’ challenge.

I had entered as another means of keeping my motivation high for my own Alzheimer’s Challenge of running the year.

Seeing my position in the leaderboard, such as it is, I looked up what was happening with this challenge. There are various monthly prize draws, where you may win Under Armour gear if you’ve achieved certain milestones. Great, I thought that’s another little fillip to my efforts.

Except it’s not, you can be accepted to the challenge, no matter where you are in the world. But you only get to win the gear if you are in the USA.

Bah humbug, I have no issue with Under Armour limiting the prizes geographically, just don’t open up the challenge to all the world. Under Armour – this is a rubbish thing to do, I didn’t want the prizes necessarily, it’s just the principle of the thing.

Are you just doing a Donald and trying to make America great again? This doesn’t work for me – it makes you look closed to the world. I will continue with the challenge, because I am motivated so to do. But seriously, is this the way you encourage people to try your gear?

Let’s just compare tactics shall we? Lululemon encourage people to set goals and recognise them locally. UA have a worldwide challenge, where only folk in the USA can win…

So UA, have a guess whose running gear I am likely to be buying.

 

30 Jan – A Fishy 5km

IMG_0533
Orange Rectangles Gained, Now For The Orange Squares

 

Today is orange hunting day – I am due to run the orange squares of the Monopoly board, but it is still quite cold out, so I thought I’d go for a warm up run of 5km and see if I can clock a few more kms, by doing two runs in a day.

It is Tuesday and the fishmongers are open today, and so I am going to run to buy fish. Unlike last time’s jaunt  I have learnt my lesson well and worked out a mini-route which will mean I can limit the return journey (carrying fish) to a manageable 2km.

Even better news is that my new dead posh Lululemon top comes with a very useful kangaroo pouch pocket. I haven’t actually read that Lululemon recommend wearing it for shopping/running trips. I am sure they will appreciate that needs must, when you’re targeting over 2000km in a year.

I could suggest it to them as a potential new marketing gimmick maybe?

So off I trotted on a circuitous route to Islington Upper Street, it truly is a glorious day, with a fantastic if rare, blue sky and the even rarer sight of the sun. Fish duly bought and stowed in my kangaroo pouch – with me hoping that we have no leakage issues, as I am not sure the raw fish smell would come out of my new running top. A trot back via Duncan Terrace Gardens – sound posh but they are very tiny, but are a small oasis of green amongst the concrete.

Two kilometres back towards home, and rather worryingly my legs feel tired – this does not bode well for this afternoon’s run. But I am close to home and manage to clock 5.19km, which if I can do more than 10km this afternoon, will help me keep my deficit from growing too much.

This morning I was running for two ‘orangeish’ rectangles of salmon, but this afternoon the orange squares of the Monopoly Board await. At least I won’t need the kangaroo pouch pocket to collect them.

And as a p.s. I am allowed to count Chancery Lane as the ‘Chance square on Monopoly – my friends all said so.

Playlist 

Beat Crazy – Joe Jackson

Blasphemous Rumours – Depeche Mode

Breaking Us In Two – Joe Jackson

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club

Don’t You Want Me – Human League

Dreaming – OMD

Dreaming Of Me – Depeche Mode

Einstein A Go-Go – Landscape

Electric Barbarella – Duran Duran

Stats

Distance 5.19km

Time 35:21

Average Pace 6:48 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 23 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run To Date 109.16km

Kms Still To Do 1908.84 km

January Km Target = 171.43 (based on straight-lining 2018km/365)

Km Deficit as of now = 62.27km

 
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29 Jan – Saying Thanks To Erin

Today is a rest day. But I do have some ‘running’ duties to perform. First off, the squats and secondly the Vampire Kettlebells. For these two penances I have to thank Rignold and Razouski from the C25K Forums.

Third running duty is to go to Lululemon in Marylebone High Street and say thank you to Erin for giving me the base layer as an encouragement to do my first 15km run. I say first, because to be frank, keeping up the kilometrage is a tough challenge, and so inevitably I will have to do more 15k runs and fewer 5ks. Especially as I didn’t start the challenge until the end of the first week of January.

The Lulelemon store is also a ‘treat’, not just a duty, as I promised myself some nice new matching kit if I did the 15km. And as I did, I am going shopping, I have my eyes on a rather natty mesh lined running hoody. This is all part of my plan to make me look just a little more ‘pro’ and a lot less ‘slow’ when I run.

Bum, bum, bum, Erin wasn’t in the store for me to say thanks and the staff didn’t know what days she would be working this week. Nonetheless I still spent some dosh on leggings, hat, trousers and that hoody. All of which, I hope will make me look like a pro, although my running style leaves a lot to be desired.

I have just had a horrid thought, I could be one of those folks ‘All the gear, no idea’.

 

25 Jan – Tickled Pink, Finding Blue

Part Three of my Monopoly Board challenge. Today I was to do the final pale blue square of Euston Road and then the three pinks of Whitehall, Pall Mall, and Northumberland Avenue, but I spotted an opportunity to get Marylebone Station too. Then by donning my smart arse hat, looked up on Dr Google to see if I could find an Electric Company – he reliably informed me that I could find a certain Electricity Supplier at 333 Euston Road.

‘Jolly Good’ and off I went in search of my pale blue Euston Road, wearing my new glorious Lululemon dark blue base layer. From Barbican to Euston Road isn’t the most edifying of sights, so I spent time in the back streets, trying to keep away from traffic and my plan was to take a photo of the Electric Company at 333 Euston Road. Except that 333 Euston Road, is no longer an Electric Company it appears to be a kebab shop. Except even the kebab shop is now closed. Obviously not an auspicious site for businesses… but it did get me my last of the pale blue squares. I will have to look for an Electric Company on another day. Then a quick detour up beyond Great Portland Street, Warren Street and Baker Street, to snap Marylebone Station. Great, that is all 4 stations done.

Now onto Pall Mall and the rest of the pinks. Aiming towards Oxford Street and New Bond Street heading off towards Piccadilly it was rather congested and the Dr Google’s famous maps app, wasn’t keeping up very well. This was a bit frustrating, because I’d specifically mapped out a route to make sure I did my first 15km run, so whilst I didn’t need the directions to know where to go, I did need the directions to take me through various ‘longcuts’ (routes which take a longer way to my destination). Cue lots of swearing and intermittent stopping to check out the damned app, to see where I was supposed to head even though he (Dr Google) was about 5 minutes behind me. Crossing Horseguards, I eventually swore out loud at Dr Google ‘FFS’ unfortunately I was quite close to a well dressed man who turned and looked; I did grimace and move away somewhat embarrassed.

Cue a whole set of pics, as once I’d snapped the Nell Gwynne connection on Pall Mall, Whitehall and Northumberland Avenue came up in quick succession. Fantastic  – I’d done what I set out to do Monopoly Board wise, but was still adrift of my 15km target, so couldn’t rest on my laurels. I was aiming for 15km today because as part of my Alzheimer’s challenge to run 2018kms in 2018, I also wanted to 15km done prior to the end of January.  As we are away for a couple of days, it really had to be this week or not at all. Secondly, after Erin at Lululemon had given me my new base layer as an encouragement to get the 15km completed, it had been winking at me for a couple of days, nagging me to get out there.

I headed off down the Strand, past the Royal Courts of Justice, lots and lots of lawyers around the place, then up Fetter Lane towards home. By now my little legs had got somewhat slower and my Mrs Overall running style had made an appearance. Whenever Mrs Overall appears, I need to stop, so I did. And that was 16.64km in the bag. Thanks Erin, your freebie encouragement worked! So I am very much tickled pink to have done the pinks and the blue and 15km+ too.

Playlist

Chocolate Girl – Deacon Blue – 3 times

So You Win Again – Hot Chocolate – twice

Push The Button – The Sugababes – twice

Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles

Raspberry Beret – His Purple Highness

Girl From Mars – Ash – 3 times

Sweet Dreams (are made of this ) – Eurythmics

Sad Sweet Dreamer – Sweet Sensation

I Can’t Help Myself – Four Tops – twice

Boogie Oogie Oogie – A Taste of Honey – 3 times

Cake By The Ocean – DNCE – twice

I’m The Fat Man – King Pleasure and The Biscuit Boys

Cream – His Purple Highness – twice

Marathon – Junkie XL and Glennis-Smith – twice

Salt Peanuts – Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie – twice

Ice Cream Man – Blur

I Want Candy – Bow Wow Wow – twice

You Got The Love – The Source and Candi Staton – 3 times

Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice – 3 times

(this was from my Retro Runners, Sweetie Playlist on Spotify, in hindsight not enough tracks for a 2 hour run!)

Stats

Distance 16.64 km

Time 2:06:25

Average Pace 7:35 km/min

Elevation Gain 84 m

FFS – 1

Sorries – 3 ( I kept bumping into people)

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Done 93.88kms

To Do 1924.12 kms (ugh)

Monopoly Challenge

Browns – Done

Pale Blues – Done

Railway Stations – Done

Pinks – Done

Jail and Bank – Done

Couldn’t Find Electricity Board

Next time – the Oranges.

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23 Jan – Searching for Three Pale Blues…

and actually only finding two! But a late dark blue entry gave the day a touch of magic.

What on earth are you on about JCR? As some of you may know my Dad has a combination of Alzheimer’s and also Vascular Dementia, and to raise much needed funds for research I am targeting myself to run 2018 km in 2018. The year didn’t exactly start well, with no running in the first week of January and last week’s efforts took a downer, after a four day migraine stopped me from running.

Last week I took my first challenge which was to start running around the original London Monopoly board. The browns, the jail, and two train stations were completed in an epic (by my standards) run.

To today, when I had an appointment which meant time was short, I had decided that the pale blue squares were next on my list. This encompasses The Angel, Islington, Euston Road, Pentonville Road and I was going to sneak in Kings Cross Station too. With limited time available, I decided to drop Euston Road for another run, but aimed to get the two pale blue squares done.

Out I popped and decided to take a circuitous route via the fish shop in Islington, so I could get shopping done at the same time. The downside of choosing to run and ‘fish’ shop, is carrying the fish, which seemed not a big deal at first, but I bought just under a kilo in weight. In a carrier bag, and I was only 2km into my run.

It is not easy carrying a carrier bag whilst running, especially as I had to stop to take photos of my milestones, to prove I’d done the run. First stop The Angel Islington, which is actually a pub, and not as many people think the tube station. 15 seconds later, snap I am in Pentonville Road, so that’s two pale blues done. Pentonville Road is being gentrified, but I can remember a pub, which had rather fetching metal grilles on all windows that I used to frequent (well frequent is overstating it, whenever I went to my old Publications’ Unit in Kings Cross, we used to eat there. However it is still somewhat scuzzy; I ran past crack towers, towards Kings Cross. I then had a slight panic, there are three train stations at Kings Cross:-

  • The tube
  • The Kings Cross Station
  • St Pancras International

So, what to do? I decided photo evidence of all three would prove I’d been there. And whilst I was in Kings Cross Square, I saw and snapped a Swiss Air promo stand, where people could pose for photos in a simulated ski-top backdrop, with fake snow on the ground. Bizarre…

I took my snaps and then ran towards home, with the fish carrier bag being jammed under right and left armpits, to balance me out.

One major lesson – do not go shopping for fish, or in fact, anything else on a run. Especially not when the fish shop is within 2kms from home, but you’ve still got 5kms to run. Another case of stupid tart syndrome. Running towards Clerkenwell, I did toy with the idea of going to the baker to buy a loaf of bread, but thought that would be altogether too religious in symbolism. Let’s be honest it would add to the already stupid running style, that I’d adopted due to carrying fish. Actually the extra weight and imbalance did make a difference, and whilst today’s run was planned to be shorter, I was quite tatered, by the time I had finished.

My Monopoly stats were quite reasonable I thought:-

2 pale blues – leaving Euston Road for another day

3 versions of Kings Cross Station

And I was carrying fish!

My 12 noon hair appointment beckoned, and I needed shzuzzing, and to ensure that Rich my hairdresser, didn’t faint at the sight and smell of me, a shower and tarting up was necessary. After being shzuzzed by Richard, I popped along Marylebone High Street and was browsing in Lululemon, having planned to get some new sexier running kit, once I’ve run my first 15kms (which I hope to do over the weekend).

I was browsing for ideas for my ‘treat’ when along came Erin, tall young, blonde, beautiful, lithe and she asked me if she could help me. I explained this was a pre-shopping browse and depended on me running my first 15km run. And she asked me why 15km, was it a race? Was I running with others etc etc etc. I explained my 2018 kms in 2018 challenge (in brief), and she said she was seriously impressed by my commitment. She went on to explain that Lululemon really like it when their customers commit to a challenge, as having a challenge means you are more likely to stay fit. Then she totally floored me by asking what I wore to run. I explained it was weather dependent and I tend to layer up and down accordingly. She then said Lululemon like to reward and acknowledge customers for having challenges and targets, oh and by the way, she’d like to  offer me a base layer vest as a gift to encourage me to continue with my challenge.

It’s not often I am lost for words, but I said yes and am now the proud owner of a ‘dark blue’ long sleeved Lululemon base layer. So whilst my initial quest was for three Monopoly pale blue squares and I only did two today, I did ‘obtain’ three blue things. That was why my day had a touch of magic. Thank You Erin and thank you Lululemon. What a fab company and brilliant idea, I have promised to go back in store next week when I’ve done my 15k run, to prove the incentive works.

Playlist 

One More Time – Daft Punk

One Day Like This – Elbow

I Can’t Help Myself – The Four Tops

Five Years – David Bowie

People in Love – 10cc

Love Shack – B52s

21 Seconds – So Solid Crew

Thirteen Sad Farewells – Stu Larsen

18 Til’ I Die – Bryan Adams

20th Century Boy – T Rex

21 Guns – Green Day

30 Minute Love Affair – Paloma Faith

10 Lovers – The Black Keys

24K Magic – Bruno Mars

Two Tribes – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Stats

Distance 7.22km

Time 59:13 (includes the stop at the fish shop, and the photos!)

Average Pace 8:11

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Completed YTD 77.24km

Kms To Do 1940.76 (yikes)

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