11 Feb – No Pain, No Gain

Today was supposed to be day 2 of the new ‘4 days on, 1 day off’ regime, that I am trying. However, Friday was a legitimate rest day, Saturday was not. Saturday was instead migraine day. Oh joy, and it is impossible to run when I have one. This is another of those things nobody ever, ever tells you about getting old. You become victim to WMAS syndrome. Stupid health things that stop you doing what you want to.

Saturday was therefore a right-off, and today I had to go Monopoly yellow square hunting. That is, Leicester Square, Coventry Street and Piccadilly, all conveniently in an easy line for me to run through. The downside, none of them sufficiently far enough away for me to make up yesterday’s missed kilometres.

As usual I made my way to the Top Gear tunnel under the Barbican and my attention was drawn to a lady who appeared to be smiling rather flirtatiously at a Barbican pillar. Now the Barbican is definitely a love it or loathe it piece of architecture, personally, I am a fan, although I concede it needs a clean up. Even allowing for this lady to potentially be a lover of the Barbican, it is a weird thing to do, to smile at a concrete pillar.

What I couldn’t quite see from my angle, was that her boyfriend/husband/cameraman was taking a picture of her and he was kneeling on the ground. Mystery solved – she was smiling at hubby/boyf/cameraman – not the pillar then…

Sunday is a nice day for running in London, generally the marauding hordes are lessened and it’s easier to get around. Except that I was heading West and Leicester Square was very busy with some street entertainers garnering rather large crowds. Queues again at the Lego store and lots of people with M&M carrier bags. I must admit that is something I don’t understand, M&M’s are American and yet people come to London to buy American sweets. If it was a Smarties store, I could understand it.

I carried on along Piccadilly, as ever Fortnums doorways clogged up and their new tea based window installation (neon teapots) was causing a bit of pavement blocking for all those  authentic ‘I went to London’ photos to be taken. At this stage I had only done about 4kms which was way below the target kms, so I continued on Piccadilly into Green Park, which although bare, was rather nice to run around, the sun was shining, people strolling and it’s a nice place to be. I headed out towards the Mall and then towards home.

On the return I ‘re-got’ Trafalgar Square, Strand and Fleet Street, and then headed to the City, where I re-bagged Liverpool St Station. With a bit of jiggery pokery around the City, I ended up having done just over 13kms. Not bad JCR, but not enough to make up Saturday’s deficit… So tomorrow and Tuesday, the well trodden routes beckon and I have to get in at least 15kms on the next two runs, just to keep pace. Because Wednesday we fly to Winter Camp.

The good news was today I had no pain or migraine, but I didn’t gain the missing day’s worth of running. This tells me there really is little margin for error, illness or laziness on this challenge. If tomorrow goes to plan, I should be able to hit the 10% distance marker for the year’s challenge. And that would make me 10% of the distance with 12% of the year having gone.

Playlist

Be My Number Two – Jo Jackson

Beat Crazy – Ditto

Breaking Us In Two – Ditto

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club

Dreaming – OMD

Dreaming Of Me – Depeche Mode

Electric Barbarella – Duran Duran

Embarrassment – Madness

Every Breath You Take – The Police

Girls on Film – Duran Duran

Gold – Spandau Ballet

House of Fun – Madness

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Mamma Mia – Abba

Notorious – Duran Duran

Purple Rain – His Purple Highness

Rasputin – Boney M

The Reflex – Duran Duran

She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult

Somewhere in My Heart – Aztec Camera

Thriller – Michael Jackson

A View To A Kill – Michael Jackson

Stats

Distance – 13.49km

Time 1:27:22

Average Pace 6:28 (mins/Km)

Elevation Gain 72 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 194.21

Kms to Do 1883.79

Sponsor me on BT MyDonate

8 Feb – Running Like An Octopus

IMG_1497
The Final Community Chest for Monopoly

Today is the last day of my running streak.

It started well with loads of messages of support from the C25K gang and in particular ju-ju, who instagrammed name checked me. I am middle aged I don’t really know what that means, but it is a nice gesture!

With the chillier weather, I gave myself some time to faff, before going out. And so on my run, it was near Packington Street where stupid tart syndrome hit me. Why not try blowing your nose (middle aged permanent affliction it seems), whilst taking off your hat, hairband and phone in armband, whilst redistributing your keys into the running tights front pocket?

Why not? – because you need eight arms, that’s why not. I spent a fruitless age trying to get myself organised. Had I just deployed basic common sense I could have been done in a couple of minutes. As it was, I reckon I spent 5 or 6 minutes struggling to do five teeny, tiny tasks, when if I’d just thought for a moment, the time could have been spent running.

This is the problem with cold weather and being a woman of a certain age. I start off freezing cold and within 2 kms of starting, everything heats up. At the point of extreme heat, clearly my brain goes awol and stupid tart syndrome then takes me over.

Having re-arranged my hat, gloves, headband and money into the hoodie pouch, I started off again, looking like a pregnant kangaroo. Next stop the fishmonger’s – aargh there is someone ahead of me, so I have to pause the mechanical voice lady on Map My Run, and then with my fish, I add that to the octopus’s activity pocket and out I run. Now I look like a very heavily pregnant kangaroo.

After all this streak running I feel quite tired, even though I’ve only done just over 3.5kms at this point, but on I plod remembering my minimum 5km commitment. Amazingly a lorry stopped to let me cross a road, which was quite a pleasant surprise. I still hex all courier drivers, as routinely they are some of the most ill-tempered drivers I ever see. I hold particular contempt for DPD, who never, ever, stop to let you cross and when you give way to them, never, ever acknowledge the courtesy.

The 5km prompt comes up and I really want to give up, but decide I will plod just that bit further if I can. And I did not quite 6km today, but tomorrow I get a rest. I am looking forward to a day off.

Playlist

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty

I Ran – A Flock of Seagulls

Talk Talk – Talk Talk

Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Tears For Fears

Hold Me Now – Thompson Twins

I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty

Fade To Grey – Visage

Don’t You Want Me – The Human League

Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds

Eighties – Killing Joke

I Want Your Love – Transmission Vamp

Liberator – Spear of Destiny

Trapped – Colonel Abrams

Cuddly Toy – Roachford

A New England – Billy Bragg

There Must Be An Angel – Eurythmics

I Only Want To Be With You – The Tourists

Stats

Distance 5.90 km

Time 46:57

Average Pace 7:57 (including stupid tart syndrome and fish shop queue)

Elevation Gain 27 metres

Running Streak – 8 days

Alzheimers Challenge

Kms run to date 180.72

Kms to run 1827.28

According to Map My Run I am 8037th out of 113,415* participants on their 2018 challenge.

*But there are definitely some dodgy stats on there… How many people can have fitted in 40 workouts of over 100km a time do you reckon? Oh  and since the 1st January… Apparently this is an internet thing, people create false ids and cheat the system by posting stupid stats…

 

 

 

 

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.

IMG_4942
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

 

 

2 Feb – Doms Hanging Around And An Early Reality Check

Hmm, best laid plans and all that, I am now convinced that by running 21km on Tuesday, I may have overshot things somewhat. I still have DOMS today, albeit nowhere near as bad as Wednesday and Thursday. Add to the fact that according to all sensible advice, I should have targeted to run only 1000 km this year (based on last year’s kilometrage +10% uplift), I must admit to feeling a little apprehensive.

January’s bullish mood is now a little more tempered with February’s reality check and it’s only the 2nd of the month.  Nonetheless, there are things I can do, such as lose a bit of weight – that will help with not carrying so much of a load, cut down on the alcohol and increase the water consumption. I may need to look at the diet too, increase protein, fruit and veg but cut down  on carbs, seems to be the mantra.

One of the excellent C25K Administrators and long time runner, has said she targeted 2000 km+ one year and didn’t manage it. She said that it’s a stretch, what with injuries, illness, life and other things conspiring to get in the way. It’s also been suggested that by giving myself a minimum targeted run distance of 5km, I am not permitting short runs, which are an easier way to rack up mileage, without doing a lot of stress and joint damage.

Okay, that’s all the negative stuff out of the way. It’s blindingly obvious then that I have to be careful,  my plan is to do shorter runs. It may be a bit tedious, but my body can get used to the shorter distances becoming a daily norm. Slow but sure I think is the best way of minimising all these risks, and that means making a concerted effort to reduce my pace too. Whilst I am not exactly fast, my pace varies between 6 and 8 minutes a km depending on tiredness. I think I should focus on running closer to the 8 minutes rather than 6, and that too will help reduce wear and tear. Prevention in this case is definitely better than a cure.

That’s the plan, today’s warm up is cleaning the kitchen, then I’m off out. It’s a glam life.

About 3 hours later, I am back having completed another run. Again, I decided to stay close to home, in the event of any unforeseen incident. Running at lunchtime in and around the City is not such a bright idea, as there’s just too many folk intent on getting sushi/sandwich/snacks/shopping.

I decided on running around some of the more residential streets of Islington. Whilst I wasn’t hunting for Monopoly squares, as I am doing that over the weekend, I did come across a water reservoir, and as far as I am concerned that counts as ‘Waterworks’ on the board. Then I started finding little residential squares so I ran around a few of those, not collecting Monopoly squares this time, but running around actual ones.

Charterhouse Square (pictured) isn’t that far from us and has recently been renovated and re-opened to the public. I did the obligatory loop at the end of my run, and was delighted to find out I was around the 7km mark. That’s enough for a pair of legs that are still aching.

Copying the phd runner’s niggleometer, this is how my bod stands – high numbers are a problem!

Head – 7/10 (banging headache again)

Butt – 4/10 (aching but not awfully bad)

Calves – 6/10

Hamstrings 5/10

Feet 0/10 (Thank goodness, something feels alright)

Playlist

Lost In France – Bonnie Tyler

Breakfast in America – Supertramp

Une Nuit A Paris – 10cc

No Particular Place To Go – Chuck Berry

Maid of Orleans – OMD

Penny Lane – The Beatles

Massachussetts – Bee Gees

Boston Tea Party – SAHB

Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel

Big In Japan – Alphaville

Africa – Toto

Midnight Train To Georgia – Gladys Knight & The Pips

New York Minute – Don Henley

San Francisco – Scott McKenzie

Go Wild In The Country – Bow Wow Wow

Avalon – Roxy Music

Stats

Distance 7.43km

Time 55:13

Average Pace 7:25 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 31 metres

Running Streak = 2 days (only the second time ever)

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 139.40

Kms To Do 1878.56

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 Jan – Oranges and Lemons…

As part of my rather disorganised preparation for this run I ate a couple of satsumas, in homage to today’s orange theme. I also changed my Lululemon ‘fish carrying’ top for a black and orange lined running jacket, hoping that wearing orange would help in hunting down those pesky orange squares on the Monopoly board.

Km 1 – Barbican to Fetter Lane. All was fine, nicely warmed up and Gold by Spandau Ballet was playing, and that’s how my legs felt.

Km 2 – Fetter Lane to The Strand. Actually I ran past St Clements in the Dane Church (just spotted that) so my nursery rhyme title is very appropriate. Also ‘I Am The Law’ by Human League came on shortly after going past the Royal Courts of Justice. So far, so apt.

Km 3 – The Strand to Bow Street and beyond. First orange square done, but Dr Google Maps was a little behind me again, so I did go around the houses to get there. Not a lot to see.

Km 4 – Floral Street to Leicester Square – Nothing to see, nothing to report, but my it was busy with people and lots of Primark carrier bags.

Km 5 – Leicester Square to Piccadilly. This time I got the Community Chest (of grit, as recommended by MickJGof the Couch 25K community) and also did a quick step up to Vine Street, which was decidedly underwhelming. Two orange squares down

Km 6 – Piccadilly to Hyde Park. Totally nothing to see, except horrid traffic.

Km 7 – Knightsbridge to Sloane Street. Cars, cars, cars, cars, buses, buses, buses, shoppers, shoppers, shoppers. ABSOLUTELY NO SPACE TO RUN EASILY AARRGGHH.

Km 8 – Sloane Street Back to Brompton Road. Dr Google Maps was a little behind me, and I wasn’t entirely sure which was the best route to take to get that final elusive orange.

Km 9 – Brompton Road and back to Sloane Street. Yay, finally got that third orange square – Marlborough Street  and a very nice Chelsea residential street it is too.

Km 10 – Sloane Street to Pont Street. On the way home and this is where the bloody-minded gene kicks in. I think I could just do a little bit more, maybe stopping at Piccadilly, as very km counts when making up this deficit.

Km 11 – Pont Street to Grosvenor Crescent. Very well heeled and chi-chi here, I can’t tell you how many chihuahuas and similar dog rats were being walked by maids/dog walkers. I however was not well heeled and my face definitely not chi-chi…

Km 12 – Grosvenor Crescent  to Green Park. This was getting really tough my Mrs Overall running style hit me, and it was only the intervention of Purple Rain by His Purple Highness in Green Park that got me through.

Km 13 – Green Park to Shaftesbury Avenue. Way too many people for me to work around, Mrs Overall had not only made an appearance, but was asking for a piggy back, and my back was screaming at me to stop. But bloody mindedness kicked in and I decided to continue…

Km 14 – Shaftesbury Avenue to Grape Street. This was really a case of mind over matter, my legs were just shuffling and I was breathing hard, with shin splints and a stitch. No matter, I knew I could reach the magic 15km, and that was becoming a prize, devoutly wanted.

Km 15 – Grape Street to Chancery Lane. I had to dodge quite a number of folk here and elbow barged one lady – not deliberately but I was running, she wasn’t and then she moved into me. At least that is my version of events and with no soccer VAR to confirm otherwise that is the version I am sticking with.

Km 16 – Chancery Lane to Charterhouse Street. This was just hurting beyond belief, everything ached, feet, sides, glutes, calves, head, everything.  She Sells Sanctuary came on, and I did need sanctuary, I needed an ambulance in fact. But then I thought if I could just do 16 km then I’d make the half marathon distance for a whole day, and so to;

Km 16.21 – Charterhouse Street – Carthusian Street. I just had to beat the 16km mark, to prove I could. And I did.

From oranges to lemons, I feel like all the pips have been squeezed. There is no more juice to give and I hobbled home. So sore I can’t even stretch out my muscles; a hot shower, a nap and a meal beckons. I will never, ever run in the morning and then do a long one in the afternoon. Ever.

Playlist

Girls On Film  –  Duran Duran

Go Wild In The Country – Ditto

Gold – Spandau Ballet

House Of Fun – Madness

Hungry Like The Wolf – Duran Duran

I Am The Law – Human League

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

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

Is Vic There? – Department S

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Joan Of Arc – OMD

The Look Of Love – ABC

Love’s Unkind – Donna Summer

Maid Of Orleans – OMD

New Life – Depeche Mode

New Moon On Monday – Duran Duran

Night Boat To Cairo – Madness

Night Fever – Bee Gees

No More I Love You’s – The Lover Speaks

Notorious – Duran Duran

Oliver’s Army – Elvis Costello

Our House – Madness

People Are People – Depeche Mode

Personal Jesus – Ditto

Planet Earth – Duran Duran

Purple Rain – His Purple Highness and The Revolution

The Reflex – Duran Duran

Rio – Ditto

Save A Prayer – Ditto

See You – Depeche Mode

Shake The Disease – Ditto

She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult

Somewhere In My Heart – Aztec Camera

Stats

Distance 16.21 km

Duration 2:07:14

Average Pace 7:50

Elevation Gain 72 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done To Date 125.37

Kms To Do 1,892.63 – well at least I am under the 1900!

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

Km Deficit as of now = 46.06Km

Sponsor me on BT MyDonate

 

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.

Sponsor me on BT MyDonate