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