23 Aug – Swiping Right For Mr Smooth

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About 14 months ago, in fact 1 year 9 weeks ago to be precise, I realised my life quality needed to change. As a woman of a certain age, I needed to take some action; thus was drawn to Tinder. I know the app has a reputation for casual hook ups, but this was going to be different. I’d joined the C25K group and was looking at their dating app, to see who I fancied. Now there was an eclectic mix of dates available to me:-

Sanjeev Kohli – Sorry Sanjeev I had no idea who you were and if I was going to hook up with someone, I had to know something about them and despite looking at your wiki page, I was none the wiser

Sarah Millican – love her accent and jokes, just not sure she and I would have the right chemistry, and to be frank I’m not sure she has ever done what I was about to

Jo Whiley – achingly cool, tall, slender, blonde, fit, sexy voice – I’ve never been/had any of those attributes, so somehow we weren’t destined to date

Michel Johnson – okay, tall, dark, handsome, fit, credible, Olympic gold medallist, world record holder. What’s not to like? Oh and a voice that could coax blood out of a stone – I was sold. Mr Smooth it was.

The Tinder in question was the NHS Couch to 5k app, which takes you from the couch to running for 30 minutes/5km non stop in/around a nine week timeframe. Why so much attention on choosing my running coach? Well to be frank, I can be both bloodyminded and incredibly flaky at the same time, so if I was going to make a commitment to running, it had to be with someone I wanted to be with and that someone had to have credibility. And that was why I chose Mr Smooth, because as much as I love Sarah Millican’s humour, I couldn’t see me training hard alongside a lass who loves her chips and biscuits a little more than she likes exercise.

Thus started a 9 and half weeks affair, with the dashing Mr Smooth. It should have been just nine weeks, but I had to repeat a failed run, so it took just a touch longer, but 9 and a half weeks was the name of a very steamy film I recall, and it seems apt that my affair with Mr Smooth lasted that distance. Especially so, as we got together in one of the hottest summers in Italy’s history – with the Lucifero heatwave being an unwelcome ’three in a bed’ alongside me and Mr Smooth.

A year ago, yesterday my time with Mr Smooth came to an end, as I graduated the programme, having committed to him, that I would continue our affair, even if he wasn’t around. I made a promise to keep running at least 3 times a week, for no less than 30 minutes each time. How on earth was I going to keep that up, without my silken voiced coach egging me on? A combination of psychological kidology, treats, and habit, seemed to do the trick.

I sent myself ‘date invitations’ from Mr Smooth, which appeared 3 times a week, telling me to get out and run. I also got my running kit out the night before, in view of the bed, so there was no excuse not to see it. I take my running kit with me when on holiday.

I bought posh shower gel which I am only allowed to use if I have been running. I treated myself to new music downloads on iTunes, once my week’s running schedule had been met.

A year on, which of these still stick? Well the date invitation is still sent, but now I have the Alzheimer’s Challenge, the 3 x a week, is actually overridden by my new schedule. Similarly the running kit trick is used occasionally, but again the Alzheimer’s Challenge makes me get out anyway. Holiday running – yup that has happened, ask my long-suffering friends N&A who had their ‘cultural’ weekend in Granada, punctuated by the departure and arrival of a middle aged ball of sweat, at the apartment. Oh and they never signed up for the challenge…

The shower gel treat is still working – except now I only use it if I’ve met my target km for the run. The downloads have been superceded because of lack of storage space on my phone and the cost, which I was getting miffed about, so I create playlists on Spotify instead.

Overall I stuck with Mr Smooth through thick and thin, even though he told me a year ago, that our time was at an end and he’d enjoyed partnering me. In week 6 of the programme, Mr Smooth told me I was runner and I hope a year on, he’d agree that I am most definitely a runner, not a fast one, not a record breaking one, but a runner nonetheless, and so today in recognition of all he has done for me, we went running together again. Week 9, Run 3 on a repeat play.

Ooh, I’d forgotten just how delicious his voice is, he guided me through all the usual places, Slope of Hope, Mill Lane, Lovers’ Lane, The Hill That Kills, The Bendy, Scary Road, Fish Shop Corner, Bin Lane and All Roads Lead to Rome road – actually he didn’t manage all of them, because I no longer run just for 30 minutes or 5km, my runs are usually over an hour and over 10km.  I actually outlasted Mr Smooth!

And when he had said his final goodbye, I didn’t shed a tear, which would have been a bit too Hollywood, but I did allow myself a secret smile, because Mr Smooth, I kept at it, just like you knew I would. And yesterday, on my runniversary, the other Mr Smooth in my life (Mr JCR, with his shaved cyclist’s legs) took me out for a lovely lunch to celebrate our first date anniversary from 25 years ago.

There are two Mr Smooths in my life, to one I am a lover, the other I’m a wife. Let’s be honest JCR – Mr Smooth doesn’t even know you exist, and he’s got another 24 years of sticking around to do, to meet Mr JCR’s commitment…

Playlist

Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood – The Animals

I Saw Her Standing There – The Beatles

Stand And Deliver – Adam And The Ants

Money – Flying Lizards

Dirty Harry – Gorillaz

Whatever It Takes – Imagine Dragons

Hippy Hippy Shake – Rockin’ Robin and The Blue Jays

Everybody’s Got To Learn Some Time – The Korgis

Daydream Believer – The Monkees

Crying In the Chapel – Sonny Til and The Orioles

Who Let the Dogs Out – Baha Men

Black Betty – Ram Jam

Crazy – Seal

Can You Dig It – The Mock Turtles

Hungry Like The Wolf – Duran Duran

For Your Love – The Yardbirds

Eye Of The Tiger – Survivor

Papas Got A Brand New Pigbag (twice) – Pigbag

S-S-S single Bed – Fox

Don’t Fear The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult

5 Years Time – Noah And The Whale

I’m Free – The Soup Dragons

Stats

Distance 10.77km

Time 1:13:41

Average Pace 6:50

Elevation gain – 225 metres ( think that is wrong but the GPRS was awry again)

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1409.30 (yes I’ve consigned the terrible 1300s to history)

Kms to Run 608.70

 

 

4 Feb – Taking Mr Smooth To See The Sights

 

It had been quite a while since me and Mr Smooth had hooked up, but as I had his date reminder, telling me to get my trainers on and run, I thought I’d take him for a day out today. I’d forgotten just how blissful Mr Smooth’s voice was, from telling me that I had done well and he was sure I could make it, to him suggesting a warm up walk would be in order. Lovely.

Today’s weather better than yesterday, now me and Mr Smooth were hunting red Monopoly squares:-

  1. Fleet Street
  2. The Strand
  3. Trafalgar Square

All of which are rather conveniently located in a line, from the east of the City to the prime West End. Heading towards south Smithfield Market, the traffic was backed up – this is really unusual on a Sunday morning. I made my way to Farringdon Road and yup all snarled up. Turning off into Fleet Street (yes one red square done and less than a km from home!), I passed the first of a number of Harry Potter afficianados.

Your first one is always the best and he had the hat, scarf, hoodie and bag. I’d seen the bags and hats and scarves previously, but not the hoodie, oh and of course it was in Gryffindor colours, which I’m guessing must out-sell the other houses by about 10 to 1.

Crossing Fleet Street aiming towards the Strand, another Gryffindor hat espied and an awful lot of barriers being erected down the length of the Strand. Took my pics of Simpsons on the Strand and the road sign and on I went.

Hitting Trafalgar Square where even more barriers were being erected and Magic FM were broadcasting. Ah yes, I had forgotten today is The Winter Run in aid of Cancer Research. I couldn’t get in this year when I found out about it, the entry spaces had gone unless you were bringing sponsorship, and with the Alzheimer’s Challenge I  already have on my plate, I decided I’d try and do the Winter Run next year. And behind the newly erected barriers, a street artist had chalked the Monopoly Board.

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Monopoly at Trafalgar

Feeling a bit embarrassed being a non Winter Run runner – it felt like being an unwanted guest at a wedding party,  so I slipped out of the back of Trafalgar Square, to avoid all the folks with their Winter Run bags.

Final Gryffindor clothing seen, a scarf in red and gold – not entirely sure it was official merchandise, but it was definitely house colours. Mr Smooth was telling me I had one minute left to have run solidly for 30 minutes. And although he gave me permission to walk, I hadn’t quite done 5km yet, so I continued.

I headed home towards Lincolns Inn Fields and passed the Sir John Soanes’ Museum, where the lady ticket seller, shouted encouragingly at me to keep going and not give up. I hope to goodness she didn’t think I was one of the Winter Run runners, although I didn’t see any sign of the run nearby.

Just on the 6km mark, I was headed back towards Smithfield and crossing a blocked road, when a little boy of about 6/7 said to his parents (also crossing) – ‘that lady is running very slowly’. Now he wasn’t lying, I was. But it is rather humiliating to have it pointed out so publicly – his mum told him to ssshhh. With my arsey Liverpudlian mood on, I felt sorely tempted to flick him the bird. But then common sense reasserted itself and I decided that running slowly will get me my challenge done. Sprinting like Usain won’t.  I did give him a mental V sign though… 😉

Slow running with Mr Smooth kept me going and we got all three red squares today.

Playlist

Temptation – Heaven 17

Electricity – OMD

Purple Rain – His Purple Highness

Temptation – Heaven 17

New Moon On Monday – Duran Duran

All She Wants Is – Ditto

Hungry Like The Wolf – Ditto

Planet Earth – Ditto

(there was something weird going on, because when I reached Trafalgar Square Magic Fm played Rio by Duran Duran, and this coincided with my ‘shuffled’ Duran Duran episode)

I Can’t Stand Up – Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Somewhere In My Heart – Aztec Camera

Joan of Arc – OMD

Save a Prayer – Duran Duran

Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode

Every Breath You Take – The Police

Stats

Distance 7.5 km

Time 54:08

Average Pace 7:13 (mins/km)

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Completed 153.53

Kms To Do 1864.47

Running Streak – Day 4

 

 

9 January – No-one Expects To Hear Adults Giggling….

especially when all the billboards are talking about dieting, stopping drinking, not spending money and generally making you feel like January is a month to be avoided.

The pics are the latest art installation in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, this was my end of run pitstop.

To start more correctly at the beginning of the day, I received my usual date reminder from Mr Smooth, but today I had planned some faffing first. I can’t blame Faffolino this time, the faffing was all of my own doing. Bins, laundry, sweater mending, posting parcels, shopping this was my morning faff. To the afternoon and I had to go out, mmm, not very warm, in fact quite grotty, but I saddled up. Obviously I didn’t saddle up, but I did put on my kit ready to go.

Me and Map My Run are still having marital problems, these Mr JCR informs me are to do with GPS accuracy rather than the app, so I am still in counselling and not allowed the divorce just yet. I headed down towards the river, through Old Jewry, wondering if this naming was considered to be rather unpleasant or just factual. It seems that this was indeed part of the Jewish Ghetto hundreds of years ago. As I am old and have Jewish ancestry, I am fine with running through there.

To the river and it’s colder there than I imagined – I head East past Borough Market and towards London Bridge, via the Mayor’s Offices, along some very slippy granite steps. As usual there are lots of tourists taking snaps and selfies against the granite grey sky backdrop. London certainly isn’t looking her finest today. As I hit the exit at the bridge and see the new Bridge Theatre, I decide we should make an effort to see a play there before we return to Italy. Not fancying running through traffic, I decide to turn back and run along the South Bank. Oh yes a man playing a tuba from which flames are appearing – all is normal in London. My run is going swimmingly and I reach the London Eye, aha, a detour is necessary it is all blocked off, I am guessing it is closed for annual maintenance or similar.

I wish I could say it was a nippy detour to St Thomas’s Hospital, but I was flagging at this point, so decided to turn back and see if I could still manage a 10km run. Back towards Tate Modern and I thought a quick peek at the Turbine Hall would be a nice way to finish. As I ran through the door,  I was thinking I’d run down the slope then stop and look at the artwork. I’d forgotten that it was the swing playground. ‘You are not allowed to run in here. No running’ , said the security guard. Ouch, I’d been told off for running, it took me back years ago to school and no running in corridors etc.

Here am I trying to keep running and a Security Guard about 30 years my junior was telling me off! He did have a point though, as people were lounging on the carpeted floor looking at the swinging pendulum ball, so no complaints from my side. At this point Creep by Radiohead came on, and so I did – I crept quietly to the back of the hall so he couldn’t see me!  The sights made me giggle, and when I was giggling I realised most of the other adults were too;  people laughing on the swings whilst friends and relatives took pics.

Of course after a 10km run, a runner needs a cool-down five minutes, and this was mine:-

 

Playlist

Modern Way – Kaiser Chiefs

Na Na Na Na Naa – ditto

Ruby – ditto

World In Motion – New Order

(Forever) Live and Die – OMD

Doginabag – The Fratellis

All These Things That I’ve Done – The Killers

Talk Talk – Talk Talk

Back to Black – Amy Winehouse

Warwick Avenue – Duffy

Andy, You’re A Star – The Killers

Rehab – Amy Winehouse

Girls On Film – Duran Duran

Don’t Look Back In Anger – Oasis

Is Vic there – Department S

Ruby – Kaiser Chiefs

Fuck You – Cee Lo Green

Smile Like You Mean It – The Killers

Creep – Radiohead

Stats

Distance 10.61km*

Time 1.06.11

Average Pace 6.14 (mins/km)

Telling Offs – 1

Playing On The Swing – 1

* But I think this may be wrong as the MMR lady said I had done a km in 5.30 minutes and that would be about 30 seconds faster than ever before

Alzheimer’s Challenge 2018

20.96 kms done

1997.04 to go (well I am under the 2,000 so that is something)

17 Dec – Welcome Back Mr Smooth

Sunday morning, alarm goes off  – I groan and am made a welcome cup of tea. Faffolino decides to visit and in her usual fashion, manages to persuade me to faff. We are travelling to Italy tomorrow, so this gives Faffolino many prevarication excuses for me. Pack the overnight bag, unpack the overnight bag, re-pack the overnight bag. Sort out the laundry, get dressed, think about sorting the car…

Yes, yes, yes, I faffed a lot. But then I did go out and welcomed Mr Smooth back into my life. Because of a short break, followed by some interval training, I hadn’t done a longer run for a while. So, charge up the C25K App, go direct to Week 9, where Mr Smooth is waiting for me patiently.

Now I had remember how to synch everything again:-

  • Music – check
  • Map My Run – check
  • Mr Smooth – check

It is blinking cold and I am wearing double layers, runner’s buff, gloves and hat. I decide to avoid the Top Gear tunnel under the Barbican, as it is full of nasty chemicals and so I go ‘over the top’ to avoid the fumes. Mr Smooth tells me I can do the thirty minutes run and not to fear it. I am feeling rather perky and so I actually start my run ahead of Mr Smooth’s instructions (only by a minute), I am skipping merrily to the sound of It’s Raining Men and decide I will just run as far as I feel.

Leaving the concrete beauty behind me, I continue towards Clerkenwell Road and hallelujah the traffic lights are green and I bound across St John’s Street, past the Zetter Hotel (I really should get paid for mentioning them!) and towards the Farringdon Road junction, double hallelujah the lights are on green and I bound merrily across there. towards the Italian church, where I see all the Clerkenwell Italians getting ready to enter church. As ever, they are dressed in their Sunday best, some little old nonnas wearing rather over-sized fur coats, that are the size of small houses. Reading the London Italian newspapers and sipping espresso coffee, the sight of mini Italy on a Sunday makes me smile, because that is where I will be in two days’ time.

At this point, the fur coats had obviously transmitted telepathic heat rays to my clothing, so a quick press of pause to give me time to get my hat, gloves and running buff off, as I was overheating. Needless to say, I forgot to ‘de-pause’ Mr Smooth, I did wonder why he wasn’t his usual encouraging self. Up towards Bloomsbury and the fairly hip Lamb’s Conduit Street, a quick skip towards Coram Park and looping back to Lamb’s Conduit Street again – it was at this point I realised Mr Smooth had gone AWOL, another pause and re-start. By now I was slowing down and decided if I could do six or seven kms, then that would be good enough. I headed back towards home, passing The Bowler pub (another advert!) and the Hidden House recently featured on Grand Designs. On Lever Street I saw a lady wearing the most flashy cobalt blue and net leggings, so needless to say I had to loop back and tell her they were amazing. She did look surprised – I am putting it down to middle aged eccentricity…

Finally, Mr Smooth caught up and told me I’d been running for thirty minutes – he was wrong of course, but it was me who paused him. And tonight, I saw him on SPOTY on the Beeb. Truthfully Mr Smooth is a master of words and running  and he helped me today.

Playlist

All Stood Still – Ultravox

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Love’s Unkind – Donna Summer

Dreaming Of Me – Depeche Mode

Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode

Temptation – Heaven 17

I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me – Nik Kershaw

Electric Barbarella – Duran Duran

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Somewhere In My Heart – Aztec Camera

Stats

Distance 7.62km (but includes warm up so probably about 6km)

Time 43.56 mins

Average Pace 5.46 mins/km (not true Map My Run was weird!)

Elevation Gain 26 m

 

 

 

Bombing To The Barbican Part 2 – 28 November

 

SSSShhhlllpppp was the sound, of my buttocks being peeled reluctantly from a chair, in a warm room, in an apartment in London.

Ordinarily, I run in the mornings, as I find it easier to organise my day once my run is done. But today was a bit different, I’d binge watched some Bosch over some late nights,  so it was a slow sleepy start.

Having decided I would do interval training, Faffolino decided to visit me. Could I find the podcast for ‘speed’ that the C25K team talk about? Yup – I could find the page. Could I find the link? Yup, there it was on the page. Did the link take me through to the relevant place in iTunes? Nope it did not. Cue JCR faffing for an age, trying to find the podcast under ‘AudioFuel’ as they are the organisers for this ‘speed’ interval training. Then inspiration struck, I asked on C25K forum for help and Jonesycat was very helpful and got me there.

All this faffing took me up to coffee/lunch break. And you can’t run immediately after brunch/lunch can you? No I hear you say, you can’t. So I didn’t, I sat my sorry arse down on a chair and faffed some more. Internet shopping post Black Friday and Cyber Monday – yup why not? Organise the laundry – why not?

Eventually, guilt got the better of me, and my buttocks were lifted out of the chair, to take on the interval challenge in the Barbican.

Well I don’t know whether I am quite as grateful now to Jonesycat for helping me find the podcast, blimey oh Riley, this Laura woman is really hardcore. I have little co-ordination, non-existent balance and find it impossible to dance whether in or out of time. What I hadn’t realised was that you actually have to run to a certain beat and count.

Let’s just say I was struggling keeping to the beat of 1,2,3,4 on the walking parts…, so let your imagination run wild at the thought of me then trying to coordinate my ‘slow’ run to 155 bpm and then sprint at 165bpm. I kept doing the counting of 1,2,3,4, in my head – see I can count. What I can’t actually do is co-ordinate any movement to that count. Every time Laura interjected my hoarse counting was totally out of step with hers.

My face – well Nightmare on Elm Street covers the grimace, shoulders hunched – yup, fists clenched – yup. Was this the advice Laura was giving? –  actually no it wasn’t. I’m sure she says to enjoy it too – enjoyment not really a word I was associating with the exercise at all.

Eventually the running torture finished, and I now have great respect for fellow runners, who had way more guts than me and actually tackled this part of the programme immediately after graduating.

To the statistics, despite being in central, central London, Map My Run didn’t synch correctly and had my route all over the place – according to it I walked faster than I ran.

No meaningful information really for me to work on. That means I have to do it again, to get a benchmark just to see how bad my sprinting really is…

Statistics I can record

3 – ‘WTFs’

2 – ‘You’re having a laugh, Laura’

1 -‘I wish Mr Smooth would give me a cuddle’

2- slightly achey buttocks – is that from de-glueing from the chair, or running like a madwoman in the Barbican?

2- Dolphins in the gardens at the Barbican

Actually, I do thank Jonesycat sincerely, if I am going to improve my times, then this ‘speed’ malarkey has to be worked on.

 

Shaking Off Elaine Paige – 7 November

My run invitation from Mr Smooth duly pinged on my phone (funnily enough I haven’t dated him in a long time) and this time I was awake when it arrived. Yesterday was a day of readjustment to London City life, after the slow, lazy and let’s be honest warm days of Italy, coming back to mucky, busy chilly London was always going to be tough.

Nonetheless I was prepared for this feeling and so all of my running kit was put ready and waiting; winking at me from the chest of drawers and coughing loudly each time I walked past it and didn’t stop to get changed. I think I had somewhat overestimated the level of cold though. Fleece lined running tights – check. Padded socks – check. Under layer with optional hood for cold weather – check. Running jacket  with interlining – check. Gloves – check. Neck buff – check. Now how about actually checking the weather? And not just by looking at the sky through the window, thinking ‘wow that looks cold’. Real live weather check revealed it was chilly but not neck buff weather.

Off I trotted, well walked mmm my internal thermometer obviously somewhat awry as the gloves came off before the warm-up walk was finished. Then I started my run – today was to be a cheeky 5km, after Saturday’s 10km. Now I do suffer from a number of syndromes, which make running hard. First of all, we have stupid tart syndrome, which is my ability to self injure through the most ridiculous actions – stepping off a non-slip shower tray anyone? No? – then how about missing a step in a bar, before you’ve actually had a drink? These two put me on the injury couch…doh.

Then there is my uncanny ability to invite faffolino into my life, just 5 minutes prior to doing a run. Faffolino is my prevarication weapon – thinking of cleaning the grout lines in the bathroom – yes why not do it just before a run, because that’s by far the best time to do it!

And finally, audience dahlingitis – this is when I am running and I feel the need to play to the gallery. Think Elaine Paige in all her stage-madame glory – that’s me when running in front of an audience (aka the rest of the world). I don’t sweep around with an entourage, or take endless curtain calls, but I do feel the need to ‘ham it up’ when running. In Italy I am not afflicted by this very often, because there is hardly anyone around to see me. London however, a different beast altogether. The warm up walk has to involve a screwed up intense looking face, combined with robotic jabbing arms, swinging up and down to indicate to the populus that this is serious walking, in fact warming up walking, and not ‘I am having a stroll’ walking.

Then we get onto the run itself, my speed seems to increase in direct proportion to the number of people around me – this is audience dahlingitis in action. Now that is a problem, because really I am a comfort runner not a speedy Gonzales runner. This morning the gloves were off literally and metaphorically, and I was running merrily to Alison By Elvis Costello (well the last bars, as he’d accompanied me on the warm up walk) and then Gloria by Laura Branigan came on. This, if you pardon the naming pun, is not a shrinking violet song and so I ran quite fast to give me my first km 6.05 mins. This is not great really, nor sustainable as I am still running anaerobically and I know I will pay for it later in the run. The second km comes up sub 6mins and the third sub 6 too. Ah yes at this point, the running gods extracted their payment – in the form of cramp in my right calf, and a curious leadweight feeling in my feet.

Any pretensions I now had of doing my very first 5k in 30 minutes, ran out of the door, and no amount of supportive audience numbers on the streets of London were going to bring it back. Not even the delivery driver who smartly sidestepped me and said ‘I’m sorry miss’. At 30 minutes 58 seconds I finished 5k. To make sure my adoring audience knew this was planned, I said (to no-one in particular) -‘oh good that’s nearly 30 minutes’.

Now I know I have to overcome audience dahlingitis, because clearly it’s a bizarre habit and I don’t do it in Italy, but this I think is till one of my fastest 5ks. So do I shake off Elaine Paige or not? And was my choice of running material a help? I’ve just created a new playlist, all based around lady’s names, with a few choice ‘anthemic’ songs too, and maybe the female focus got me to 5k faster.

Playlist

Alison – Elvis Costello

Gloria – Laura Branigan

Jean Genie – David Bowie

Dear Prudence – Siouxsie and the Banshees

Francine – ZZ Top

Kayleigh – Marillion

Oh Yoko – John Lennon

St Xenia – Katina

Valerie – Amy Winehouse

Uma Thurman – Fall Out Boy

Stats

Distance 5.80km (but stopped at 5km)

Time 39.12

Average Pace 6.45 (min/km)

Fastest km 5.49

Trainers – Saucony

Me and Mr Smooth, we’re so over…

…. well at least for today! Yesterday was the rest day, I say rest I can’t actually recall much resting going on, what with cleaning a house waiting for 5 cycling guests to turn up.

The house was clean, so I decided it would be nice if I was too. Getting out of the shower, I had a twinge. That was my back and it hurt a lot. Was I cartwheeling with gay abandon? No. Had I taken up shower-surfing? No. I stepped off a shower onto the floor, no skids, no dramatic Mr Bean falls, I just twinged….

So my date invitation duly arrived this morning and I politely declined Mr Smooth’s invitation to run. I had left out my running gear, more in hope than anticipation, but hey ho.

Am resting today and will see if I  am able to go tomorrow. Thinking of trying out the zombie running app for a laugh, but only any good if I can run, otherwise I think I will be zombiefyed within seconds.

Mr Smooth, how’s your massage technique? Just askin….😜

 

12 Sept – Don’t Mess with Mr Smooth

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day and I’m feeling good, so says Nina and I believe her. Today I leave the hills and go to the pista in Fano, for special interval training. I’ve been reading that it’s not a bad idea to re-start the C25K programme, but replacing the run intervals with sprints and the walk intervals with light jogs. This can help you with speeding up a bit. It’s difficult to do interval training on the hills, mainly because they have a nasty habit of being in precisely the wrong place at the wrong time.

So far so good, the weather has turned sunny again it’s about 23 degrees. I synch Map My Run and Mr Smooth, Week 1 Run 1 and away I go. Only I didn’t quite get the tech right, so no Mr Smooth. No matter, I will run one circuit of the pista at normal pace and then start the sprint/jog plan afterwards.

Mmm it’s getting quite warm, I’ve already passed two topless men, who decided nipple flashing in September is quite the thing. In summer they were young and with beautifully sculpted bodies, and the obligatory heart monitor strap. Today, a little less toned shall we say, but hey if you’ve got it flaunt it and so they were.

The rules of the pista are quite simple, walkers and runners on the inner circle clockwise, and cyclists on the main track anti-clockwise. Mr Banana wearing a rather natty yellow and brown combo, decided that this rule didn’t apply to him, so he’d amble on the cycling area, going the same way as them. Walking the cyclists’ racing line he didn’t seem to consider it dangerous at all! The cyclists can get up to 30-35km an hour on the track, and if one of them hits you, well let’s just say a banana split would ensue. I watched with horror as he ambled around oblivious to the danger.

At this point, getting really hot  – I have done 2.2 km and nip back to the car to take off the top layer tee shirt, remembering of course to pause Map My Run.  Back to the track and I decide to sprint for 60 seconds and then jog for 90 seconds, repeating this as long as I could. I did this more or less for another circuit and realised that the mechanical voice lady from Map My Run had been suspiciously quiet. Stupid, stupid, stupid woman  – not her, me. I had forgotten to de-pause (is that a word?) MMR, so all my times and splits were not being recorded.

Eminem was singing Lose Yourself, – well truly I had. By the time I reinstated her she said I did a 3 minutes 39 seconds kilometer, which makes me close to Mo Farah I reckon! Oh yes and trying to sprint/jog after 2.2km of running, well that was another dumb-ass idea JCR. It was a sprint and walk effort, after all of my planning. I am lying of course, my plan was  of the ‘organic’ let’s just see how I feel variety. And of course I never factored in whether I’d feel tired after 2 clicks of running.

Mr Banana sure left a banana skin behind him today and I slipped on it – so all my work on trying sprints vs. jogs to no avail. My big lesson, don’t get smart with Mr Smooth, either listen to him or Map My Run lady, don’t do both.  Mr Smooth doesn’t like you messing with him.

Frustratingly MMR recorded my playlist perfectly – but not my stats, so here we go. Oh and Mr Banana – he avoided being totalled and was sitting quite happily on a bench watching the world go by.

Playlist

Sign of the Times – Harry Styles

Common People – Pulp

Marvin Gaye – Puth and Trainor

Can You Feel It – Michael Jackson

When Doves Cry – Prince And The Revolution

Sex-O-Matic Venus Freak – Macy Gray

All These Things That I’ve Done – The Killers

Upside Down – Paloma Faith

I Predict A Riot – Kaiser Chiefs

Einstein A Go-Go – Landscape

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Somebody Told Me – The Killers

Maid of Orleans – OMD

Dance Away – Roxie Music

Rain On Your Parade – Duffy

Parklife – Blur

Cake By The Ocean – DNCE

Stats

Distance: More than 6.6km I think about 7kms

Time : Based on playlist about 62 minutes

Best km split 6.03

 

 

10 September – Hammering the Slope of No Hope

Conversation last week between Mr & Mrs JCR (as I remember it…)

Mr JCR – I am planning on going out for a ride next Saturday morning, just to keep my legs in

JCR – We have our friends K&C coming on Friday, it’s not going to happen. We haven’t seen them for a couple of years, you know what will happen…

Mr JCR – Oh yes, fair point, well made. I’ll leave the ride until Sunday

Friday afternoon/night/Saturday morning  pretty much from 4pm to 3.30am Saturday.

K&C arrive, nice weather we chatted, ate, drank, giggled, chatted, ate, drank, giggled. Repeat many times

7 bottles of vino collapso, and a few naughty extras later, we ended up listening to this at about 2am.

 

So it is fair to say that on Friday we got hammered. Saturday morning, 4 of us gingerly emerged and decided that a quiet day was in order. There was never a hope in hell of Mr JCR cycling or me running. So gentle relaxation and a lot of water drunk.

Cue Sunday morning, the alarm goes early Mr JCR has a medio fondo ride somewhere locally, it is dark and raining, I grunt and turn over.

8am Mr Smooth sends me our date invitation, the rain is hammering on the roof, I decide to see if it subsides before going out. After an hour of waiting for this miraculous break in the weather, which didn’t arrive, I give in and get up and put on my trainers.

I haven’t got a running cap, so press-gang one of Mr JCR’s old motorsport’s caps into service and out I go. Warm up walk down the Slope of Hope to Nik Kershaw and ‘I won’t let the sun go down on me’ – no chance of that today, no sun…

Into the Hill that Kills, no-one around, I spot another big branch has fallen off one of the trees – in Autumn you need to be just a little cautious around here. Into Lovers’ Lane around Bali and back again. Not a soul out as it’s bucketing down, even the barking beagles are indoors. Back to the Hill That Kills, and when I get to the end I decide to run the Slope of Hope. This will be the day when I will run all the way back up and conquer it. Now run is probably an exaggeration, my feet are hammering the tarmac and I make heavy weather of it (sorry for the pun). I pass Mr Woodpile (so called because we only ever talk  to him when we comment on his immaculately maintained woodpile). Mr Woodpile is sheltering from the rain and appears to have injured his foot. He nods, so do I – no need to chat as his woodpile hasn’t been built yet!

To the top I turn down Mill Lane and do the Lovers’ Lane usual loop. On the way back I am flagged down by a motorist, he is in a grey car (standard issue around here), and he stops to say hello –  it is our oldest friend in Italy  – F. When we first arrived and looked at our house, we knocked at his door and asked if it would be okay for us to buy the house on the hill, not knowing that his land surrounds our now home and garden. After our pidgin Italian, French and English, he invited us to stay with him and his family for the duration of the house renovation. As much as I’d love to think someone would do that in the UK, I’m not so sure, so F and his wife L are the reason we love Italy so much.

I digress, I explain I have another 2 kms to do and he wishes me luck. It was nice to see him at that point because I was flagging. This was the ‘trocious thirties’ minute mark, so a boost was exactly what was needed.

So enthused or stupid was I that I did another tail to top of the Slope of No Hope. This weekend started on Friday by getting hammered and finishing today by me hammering home up the Slope of No Hope, not once but twice, and still Mr Woodpile and I didn’t speak… But there’s plenty of Autumn left to do that.

Playlist

I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me – Nik Kershaw

Avalon – Roxy Music

Darling Nikki – Prince and the Revolution

Chelsea Dagger and Doginabag – The Fratellis

(Forever) Live and Die – OMD

Smile Like You Mean It – The Killers

Save a Prayer – Duran Duran

Mony Mony – Billy Idol

Can You Feel It – Michael Jackson

Rockferry – Duffy

Marvin Gaye – Puth and Trainor

In The City – The Jam

When Doves Cry – Prince and The Revolution

Stats

Distance 6.33km

Time 48.03

Average Pace 7.35 min/km

Elevation Gain 109 metres – yes 109!!!

 

5 September – MSM or Swerve, Shake Fist, and Swear?

Mr JCR up and about early today as he is on bandit duty. We have some of his cycling club visiting in about 10 days’  time, and he is going out early to recce one of his preferred routes for the visit, so he can get in some sneaky practice, before they arrive… As I say bandit duty.

Before my date invitation from Mr Smooth arrives I am up and about getting ready to run. Weather warmer again thank goodness it was a bit of a shock running in the cold and wet on Sunday.

Out onto the Slope of Hope for the warm up walk, and yes the balcony dogs barked and yes I jumped and swore, somethings never change. No Mr Smooth on the podcast today just Mechanical Voice Lady and me, so she tells me to get my arse in gear for the Hill That Kills, I’m taking a nice pace, but have to dodge some stereotypical Italian driving, I am convinced that whereas in the UK, we were taught Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre for driving, here it is somewhat different. I think their version is Swerve, Shake Fist and Swear (The 3 Esses).

Into Lovers’ Lane, listening to Eminem saying he is like a snail and see my favourite ‘running buddies’  – Anouska is dressed in black, with  a flashy silk scarf adorning her neck, Albino is wearing long trousers and a long sleeved shirt. They both look very elegant, I run past and shout ‘six kilometers’ in English forgetting they don’t speak English a quick Italian correction and on I go. Back down Lovers’ Lane, I meet them on the way back and Anouska says Ciao Bella. That is glorious, I may look like a running tomato but she said bye bye beautiful – that has made my day.

Back down the Hill That Kills, I decide to run back up the Slope of Hope not all of it, but on I trudge and then I take a turn to the right. Clearly I have been in Italy too long and I now have adopted the Italian road rules of not really looking before moving. I did glance but missed the speedy cyclist and he said  ‘Occhio Signora’ and ‘Brava’, after I dodged him. Into a new road for my running life, Mill Lane – this has an old olive oil press and is a little like a mini roller coaster, luckily no traffic, but as I exit left, yup I almost get taken out by an overexcited moped driver. He swerved, but didn’t do the rest of the ‘Esses’.

I am about 4km in and decide that today I will do 6km if I can, and that will be my distance for each run this week. Aiming towards the Bendy, Scary Road as a nice run downhill to make up for earlier exertions. It’s all going swimmingly, although I am a little bit tired and then coming around a bend, the local driving school instructor in his white Punto, what does he do…

Yup he swerves, no he doesn’t signal, yup the car behind him shook his fist, but I didn’t hear either of them swear at me. I take that as a win, but I really thought the Driving School Instructor should have been a little more composed.

Oh and two minutes later the 6 clicks were done. nice and tidy like!

Playlist

Unbelievable – EMF

Somebody Told Me – The Killers

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Uptown Funk – Ronson and Mars

Rumour Has It – Adele

Smile Like You Mean It – The Killers

Oh Woman, Oh Man – London Grammar

Blasphemous Rumours – Depeche Mode

Upside Down – Paloma Faith

Vienna – Ultravox

Can You Feel It – Michael jackson

Is Vic There? – Department S

Stats

Distance 6.2km (Yup did it…)

Time 44.01

Average Pace  7.18 mins/km

Elevation Gain 61 metres