2 Dec – Babbo Natale Arrived Early

The loneliness of the long distance runner, was a short story by Alan Sillitoe and also a film –  I’ve just learned courtesy of the inter web. Like many people I had heard the phrase but didn’t really recall what it was about. I am not an ‘angry young man’ in a borstal running and earning privileges. I am a happy middle aged runner, who this year is running long distances – although I have a feeling I may well still be running long distances for years to come.

When I run, although I run on my own, I am never alone, because I have the good wishes and encouragement of my friends and family and in particular a special group of friends. These people I know very well, but in truth I don’t actually know them at all. These are the Health Unlocked and C25K Beyonders Groups. It’s fair to say I could probably walk past most of them in the street and not recognise them. There’s a few I would, but most are running friends hidden from view by user names and avatars. I guess they’d probably say the same about me. Yesterday I updated my HU and Beyonders group on the forums, just to let them know how my Alzheimer’s Challenge was going, and I’ve been blown away, by the support and encouragement given by my running friends. 

When I set out this morning for my run, I wanted to do 10km, because that would get me below the ’90km to go’ mark, but there’s something about receiving a whole load of good luck messages and also three donations to my sponsorship that really spurred me on. I started out in East Central London – Barbican area, and I had promised Mummycav that I’d keep on with my search for her missing mojo.

First off I spotted the Crossrail excavator, surely a mojo wouldn’t be operating heavy machinery on a Sunday morning? Probably not, so I continued my way up West, pausing to get the long awaited refund from a shop, I bounced my way along Holborn, Fleet Street and made a small stop at Somerset House to admire the Fortnum & Mason Christmas tree and the skaters. Surely Mummycav’s mojo would have passed this way. It’s friendly and fun and look at that tree. What’s not to like? I then made a tactical error and made my way on Embankment to Westminster bridge, I would like to say I was running, but it was an occasional spurt when space permitted, as it was chock full of tourists. I was ninja-ing my way through them and had to smile as there was a fellow runner doing exactly the same. Then a decision to make – run along the SouthBank or not?, and I did – mmm – that was a bit stupid JCR, but in fairness I had company with my stupidity – the fellow runner did exactly the same too. 

Now there were two ninjas darting in and out of the tourists, I’m not sure Mummycav’s mojo would have been here, as she would have got squashed. Ordinarily I can get a bit tetchy when there’s too many people around, but this tourist avoidance run, was entirely of my own making and this time it was fun, because sometimes I was smaller/niftier than the other runner and could get ahead, at others he was more aggressive than me and did some parkour type actions to sprint ahead. We managed to stay more or less in synch until we reached Tower Bridge at which point he bombed into the Underground and I carried on into the City, at which point calmness resumed.

I’d done about 12km and the legs felt fine so on I continued, no sign of a mojo in the City, but I certainly didn’t feel any loneliness. 2kms running in and around Fenchurch Street and I made my way home, to sneak in a nifty 15kms. The loneliness of the long distance runner wasn’t an affliction for me at all, in fact I was accompanied by my HU and Beyonders friends.  

Three in particular, who donated yesterday, gave me a real incentive to kick my heels and get out. Babbo Natale arrived early in the shape of these lovely runners – a big, big, big thank you to MimiRossi, Kim Terry and of course her highness Irish Princess – seeing your donations and lovely goodwill messages gave me wings today and I laughed in the face of my 10km target and did 50% more. That is the difference between running on your own, but not alone. Thank you.

Playlist

Trying out the birthday number ones  playlist …

You Got What It Takes – Marv Johnson ( this is mine – it is rubbish)

Cathy’s Clown – Everley Brothers (Mr JCR’s)

Maggie May – Rod Stewart

Keep On Running – Spencer Davis Group

Cum On Feel The Noize – Slade

I’m Into Something Good – Herman’s Hermits

The Loveliest Night Of The Year – Mario Lanza

Hot Love, Metal Guru – T Rex

Cars – Gary Numan

9 to 5 – Dolly Parton

Mambo No 5 – Lou Bega

Mona Lisa – Nat King Cole

Hello Goodbye, Please Please Me – The Beatles

Tigerfeet – Mud

The Wonder Of You and Good Luck Charm – Elvis Presley

Fire – The Crazy World of Arthur Brown

Spirit In The Sky – Norman Greenbaum

January – Pilot

Living Doll – Cliff Richard and The Drifters

I’m A Believer – The Monkees

Come On Eileen – Dexys (Kim Terry – yours came up!!!)

I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye

Have I The Right – The Honeycombs

I’ll Never Find Another You – The Seeker

Heart Of Glass – Blondie

Stats

Distance 15.07km

Time 1:44:35

Average Pace 6:56

Elevation Gain 92 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1933.48

Kms to Run 84.52

30 Nov – Stroppy Salmon, Shoes and a Squirrel

Last run for November and I have to do more than 8kms to get under the 100km to go barrier.

First up, I have to do a mini-stop at a shop to get a refund for an order (the truck got hijacked and my order has gone AWOL along with 20 other orders too). I remember very clearly saying to the woman on the phone ‘The local store will know that this order has been cancelled and they will be able to refund me won’t they?’ I knew I shouldn’t have believed her when 1km into my run, a short pause became a long stop, waiting for a shop assistant to have to phone the same number that had phoned me… 15 minutes later, my pause and patience were both up. I left the shop in a strop, without my refund.

As I stomped along Holborn, I decided the best thing do was to go shopping in a shop where I am known, they usually have the stock, and things are simple. So I run-stomped my way back to the fish shop, obviously my fish carrying pouch top was being washed after its last outing with two crabs and a sea bass, so I was reliant on good old fashioned hands to carry my wares home.  

And it was bliss, a nice run, the weather was quite warm, not many folk around, clear pavements and my new trainers – Hokas – were really bouncy. I bought my salmon, Robbie and Sam at the shop asked how my challenge was going and wished me luck. With more of a spring in my step, I pootled off home,  and in Fortune Park – a great name for not such a great space, I chased a squirrel all along the path. I was holding my salmon, he was clutching on to an acorn, both of us scurrying home with our dinners. 

And now a small sigh of satisfaction escapes my lips – I have now fewer than 100kms to run. Albeit a tiny smidgeon less than 100kms, but job done, and my earlier strop has been run totally out of my system.

Playlist

This was supposed to be the Mummycav mix, but the fruit phone had a fit…

Alison – Elvis Costello

Helena – My Chemical Romance

Poison Ivy – The Lambrettas

Shake It Off – Taylor Swift

Queen of Clubs – KC and The Sunshine Gang

Oh Yoko – John Lennon

Don’t You Want Me – Human League

Is Vic There? – Department S

Night Fever – Bee Gees

All Stood Still – Ultravox

Baggy Trousers – Madness

Stats

Distance 8.68km

Time 58:34

Average Pace 6:44

Elevation Gain 45 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1918.41

Kms To Run 99.59

23 Nov – Here Is The News

Voice Over:-And here we are live from BBC Broadcasting House, Central London with Kamal Ahmed, BBC News.

Kamal Ahmed: I’m standing in the courtyard at Broadcasting House in The West End of London, with my guest Jan CanRun. Tell me Jan, CanRun is an unusual surname, where does it come from?

JCR: My imagination.

KA: Ah, and for our audience not familiar with your imagination what does it signify?

JCR: The fact that I can run…

KA: Yes I see. And why are you here today?

JCR: I’m actually on a running mission.

KA: Would you please explain your mission and tell us why you are here at Broadcasting House, specifically?

JCR: Certainly Kamal, I am running to raise £2018 for Alzheimer’s Research, by running 2018kms in 2018. And as part of my year of running, I give myself or take on mini-challenges to keep it interesting and today’s is to help find a friend’s lost mo-jo.

KA: Pardon? 

JCR: Her mojo to run appears to have gone missing for the past couple of weeks and she is desperate to find it. It can normally be found in Yorkshire, I believe is purple and likes shiny, sparkly things. I am here to raise awareness and ask the public’s help to find it. Research tells us that an unfound mojo can suffer from feelings of low self esteem and poor body image. I’ve run to Broadcasting House to ask you to launch the national campaign to find the mojo.

KA: Where was the mojo last seen?

JCR: Yorkshire for certain, but this mojo does like the bright lights of the City, so it’s possible she is hiding anywhere from Leeds to London.

KA: I see and how do we approach the mojo if seen? What do the professionals recommend?

JCR: Fortunately Kamal, the mojo is friendly and unlikely to cause a scene. The advice we have from the mojo support group ‘Mojos a go-go’ is to take it gently by the hand, offer it a cup of Yorkshire tea with a slice of parkin, and all will be well. Mojos are bred to be homing mojos and always return home, especially if well fed and watered.

KA: Good advice there from the professionals, is there anything else you’d like to add for the benefit of our viewers?

JCR: Just that mojos are frail creatures and can be sent off course by bad weather especially in these cold hard winter months. And whilst today we are looking for one mojo in particular, anybody can lose their mojo and not just for running. But again to all members of the public, if you see a weeping purple mojo, please text Mojo Found to 12345, and we can reunite the mojo with her owner.

KA: Thanks very much JanCanRun, and now back to the news. Theresa May is at a press conference in Downing Street talking about Brexit again…

Summary – a 12km run done, no mojos to be found, but there weren’t many bright lights to be seen on a murky day in London with a fruit based phone that decided to lose all battery power in one hour at the 10km stage. But I am confident the impromptu news appearance at Broadcasting House will pay off.

Playlist

Best Covers Ever….

Kiss – Art of Noise and Tom Jones

Tainted Love –  Soft Cell & Marilyn Manson’s Version

Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart – Almond and Pitney

Good Year For The Roses – Elvis Costello and The Attractions

All Along The Watchtower -Jimi Hendrix and Afterhere Versions

Hurt – Johnny Cash

Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) – Marilyn Manson

Whiskey In The Jar – Thin Lizzy

Kids in America – Foo Fighters and Lawnmower Deth

Twist and Shout – The Beatles

Welcome To The Jungle – Richard Cheese

Amish Paradise – Weird Al Yankovic

911 is a Joke – Duran Duran

Venus – Bananarama

Echo Beach – Toyah

Don’t Leave Me This Way – The Communards

China Girl – David Bowie

Take Me To The River – Talking Heads

Live and Let Die – Guns ’n’ Roses

Mrs Robinson – The Lemonheads

Battleship Chains – Volbeat

Smooth Criminal – Alien Ant Farm

My Prerogative – Britney Spears

Halo – Harper Blynn

Stats

Distance 12.33km

Time 1:32:00

Average Pace 7:27

Elevation Gain 47 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1893.40 – tomorrow I hope to break the 1900km barrier!

Kms To Run 124.60

21 Nov – Superheroes

Maybe a mojo visited here, it’s pretty enough…

Yesterday I was a wimp, I could have gone for a run, but looked at the very wet rain and the very windy wind and decided I was going to be a very wimpy wimp.

Today wimpdom is not on the cards. I have a run to do, not a big one, but I mustn’t get into the habit of wimping out on a run, not when the prize of 2018km is within touching distance.

Mr JCR was off out to his Italian lesson, I was teaching myself duvet management – basically snuggling down and imagining the run will do itself. After an hour of duvet management, it didn’t seem as though the run was happening, so I put on my trainers and got out in the wintery sun of London.

It had to be a shortish run as we were visiting The Alzheimer’s Research facility at UCL London, to get an update on their research programme. I managed a mini-loop of just over 7kms, through the City and up towards Holborn. The challenge was to run some virtual kms for my running mentor Ju-Ju who is still crocked and whilst doing that see if I could find my running mate’s missing mojo. Adding in the fact that I needed to buy some food too, this was an all-singing and all-dancing, multi-tasking run.

The superhero element didn’t occur in my run, in fact today’s was just a run, I clocked up the kms, bought the food, but didn’t find any sign of a mojo. 2 out of 3 ain’t bad though. The superhero bit came later. We assembled at UCL in Gower Street and met with the scientists headed up by Dr Paul Whiting. There we learnt about the progress being made to date and their plans for the future. It was fascinating, encouraging and depressing all at the same time.

In summary, they are ‘copying’ the Cancer Research UK’s model of ‘Centres of Research Excellence’. Given the pharma industry have been pulling back in this area of research, they are focussing on the front end of the research piece, trying to identify suitable areas of focus, including but not limited to synapse messaging protection/mending. (There was lots of other stuff, but frankly my science and memory recall are both far too poor to adequately describe their magic here!) 

Paul mentioned that in his opinion, finding a cure is probably not possible but delaying the onset and effects, probably is. This is where the depressing bit came in, realistically we are looking at maybe 50 years. And that is with all of today’s great supercomputing powers, and the fantastically able students and scientists working on this thorny problem. In the lab tour, we saw some of their kit, 3-D modelling at the nano level as one example. They are focussing on creating new molecules, which will form critical parts of the drugs. These can then be patented and future revenues poured back into the research. They run with a lot of serious equipment that costs many thousands of pounds – and who knew there was an eBay for scientists?

My big takeout is that these scientists are absolute superheroes, they have brains I can’t even imagine and are focussing them on helping to cure one of society’s biggest threats to our ageing population.  But 50 years…., that means for the majority of the lab team working there, that a ‘cure’ probably won’t be around for them, if any are so unlucky as to get Alzheimer’s  or similar related conditions.

I am determined however to end this post on a high –  we met other invitees who have donated to Alzheimer’s, run dementia workshops etc., and there is a great sense of determination from the research teams. I started the day as a wimp under the duvet, avoiding the weather but then met some superheroes, real-life superheroes who are not wimping out on one of life’s toughest challenges. They have the brains, and I can bring the brawn into my running, to help raise as much cash as possible. On that note, a big vote of thanks to our friend M who has very generously added to the sponsorship pot today. It really brings it home, having seen the research.

And to my running mate (mojoless)  – after the tour we made our way back home and these two lovely places were en route pic above and below. I have a feeling the mojo may well have passed this way…

Playlist

Breakfast In America – Supertramp

Belfast Child – Simple Minds

Going Down To Liverpool – The Bangles

Black Eyed Boy – Texas

Grease – Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

Africa – Toto

New York Minute – Don Henley

San Francisco – Scott MacKenzie

Xanadu – Olivia Newton John

Downtown – Petula Clark

Go Wild In The Country – Bow Wow Wow

Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel

Vienna – Ultravox

Romeo and Juliet – Dire Straits

Lost In France – Bonnie Tyler

Stats

Distance7.30km

Time 50:38

Average Pace 6:56

Elevation Gain 27 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1881.07

Kms To Run 136.93

16 Nov – Mojo Safari

 

Today I went mojo hunting for my running mate who has lost hers. I didn’t find it in Islington yesterday, but I’m not sure the fish shop was ever a likely location.  This morning however, the stars were aligned, I was wombling my way towards Trafalgar Square and running along Fleet Street, when I saw Shoe Lane – if ever there was a place for a running mojo to be hiding, I am guessing it could be here. And then of course I was actually on Fleet Street – another hint perhaps as to the whereabouts of the missing mojo.

I continued on to the Strand, where even though it was morning the Christmas lights were twinkling away merrily. This particular mojo is purple I believe and likes sparkly things so of course I had to stay with it and I was only about 3.5kms into my run.

I was convinced the mojo may have visited Trafalgar Square, thinking that a bit of Nelson’s courage may have rubbed off and she would have decided to go back to Yorkshire. Despite some impressive lions, Nelson himself, there was a Yoda, a man sitting on a spade and ‘Death’ with his scythe – the last three were hardly good luck portents, and frankly pretty rubbish frozen statues. No sign of a mojo here, we need something a little more in keeping.

And so it was, I ended up in Covent Garden, a humungous Christmas tree outside, twinkly lights on the inside and the most glorious mistletoe and baubles hanging from the ceiling. This definitely felt like the place a mojo would visit, then I saw some mojo confetti lying around. She’d left a trail obviously. Without further ado I picked up some of the confetti and sent it back to Yorkshire, because I think the mojo might be missing it.

The street artist outside Covent Garden was telling everyone they were having a good time and I was. I enjoy looking for mojos, even though when mine goes awol, it seems a lot harder to find.

Dear running mate, when your parcel of mojo dust arrives, I am sure your mojo won’t be that far behind.

Playlist

The numbers playlist

Lucky Number – Lena Lovich

5705 – City Boy

One Day Like This – Elbow

One More Time – Daft Punk

Five Years – David Bowie

She Will Be Loved – Maroon 5

Nine To Five – Sheena Easton

Perfect 10 – The Beautiful South

10 Lovers – The Black Keys

Swords Of A Thousand Men – Tenpole Tudor

People in Love – 10cc

The Eleven Rap – Dark Punk

21 Seconds – So Solid Crew

Thirteen Sad Farewells – Stu Larsson

Fourteen Rivers Fourteen Floods – Beck

Fifteen – Taylor Swift

Edge of Seventeen (twice) – Stevie Nicks

19 – Paul Hardcastle

21 Guns – Green Day

I’m Gonna Be 500 Miles – The Proclaimers

When I’m 64 – The Beatles

Disco 2000 – Pulp

80s Joint – Kelis

Love Shack – B52s

96 Tears – ? And The Mysterons

Stats

Distance 10.01km

Time 1:15:30

Average Pace 7:32

Elevation Gain 53 metres

Mojo – dust found and sent back home

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1855.26

Kms To Run 162.74

15 Nov – Be Careful What You Wish For…

dandelion macro photography
I can’t blame the dandelions…

Or in my case, what you wrote down one day last year. I had been wondering when I’d decided to do my Alzheimer’s Challenge – I checked out the blog for the first mention – thinking I’d committed to it sometime in November last year.  The reason for checking -well I couldn’t work out why I hadn’t created a plan nor a training regime prior to starting in January, and now I realise why.

It was actually December 14th when I first wrote about my wish to run virtual races throughout the year, to raise some money for research.   This was Plan (a) –  Plan (a) was quickly ditched when I couldn’t find any races to sign up for. Plan (b)  – the running down dementia challenge; run 100km and raise £100, which as I was running about 80kms a month anyway didn’t seem that much of a stretch. The hunt was on for a Plan (c).

A few more days of investigation passed and still no joy, Christmas came and went and it was in that time we call ‘Twixtmas’, that I committed on Plan (c)  to ‘run the year’ , The    slight issue is I’ve just re-read what I wrote back then and I actually committed to  ‘run 2018km as a minimum’.

Oh holy cow Batman – minimum. “Friends, Romans and Countrymen lend me your ears and how about we make a deal?” JCR types with fingers crossed tightly, which does make it hard to type, hoping that you will all support me in my final spurt.

The  ‘m’ word does sound a little emotive as though 2018kms in a year is a lazy-arse effort, and to be honest I’m pooped just thinking about those kms again. Here’s my proposal how about for my last last run of the year, I run 2.018 kms to a pub?

Then I will have run 2020.018kms, and get a gin and tonic or similar for my troubles. Or is this way too easy and you think I should suck up a longer run?

Answers on a postcard or if you’re suggesting something horrid like a marathon, can you please send a geographically challenged carrier pigeon instead. Btw – out again today and another 5.8 kms banked for the challenge.

Big thanks to our friend in London, B, who kindly sponsored me over the weekend. Another boost to the old confidence and knackered legs.

And a big hug to my running mate MummyCav who has lost her mo jo at the mo. I did run to the local fish shop to try and find it, but can confirm it wasn’t there, so it must be lurking in Yorkshire.

Playlist

What else but the MummyCav mix:-

Single Ladies – Beyoncé

Dear Prudence – Siouxsie and The Banshees

Sherry – Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

Alison – Elvis Costello

Kayleigh – Marillion

Maggie May – Rod Stewart

Poison Ivy – The Lambrettas

Respect – Aretha

Ophelia – The Band

Queen Of Clubs – KC And The Sunshine Band

Roxanne – The Police

Uma Thurman – Fall Out Boy

Zoe Jane – Staind

 

Stats

Distance 5.80km

Time 40:33

Average Pace 6:57

Elevation Gain 23 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1845.25

Kms To Run 172.75

14 Nov – Mission Failed

 

A recap,  yesterday’s run fantastic, everything achieved that I wanted to do with a nice pace, great weather and my running mentor joining me virtually even though she’s poorly.  That was a ‘posh bird run’ through many nice parts of London.

Today, a little more prosaic. I have three errands on my ‘to do’ list all of which could happily be done by phone, but I thought it would be more fun to do them by run.

The three were:-

Dentist Appointments – the joys of living between two countries means there’s a constant stream of admin to organise when you return ‘home’

Track down a specific skirt – I know, hardly a task, but still it was on my to do list

Organise haircut and colour  – the badger stripe is appearing, it has to go

The omens were good, the weather even nicer than yesterday, which is a real bonus in the City in Autumn, grey is the de facto colour of the sky and it does tend to ‘grey’ your mood somewhat.

I left home and took a circuitous route to the dentist – job done. Fab, all within 2kms of home, now a run towards Oxford Street and I am aiming towards Marylebone Street – not the High Street, but a smaller street in parallel, this is where Richard my genius hairdresser can be found. It’s about 4kms away, if you wiggle a bit on your route map. I arrived not too sweaty, (having made a respectable 6.5 minutes/km pace) to enter a posh hairdressing salon, but it didn’t matter about my sweatiness or otherwise – no-one was at home. No grey skies here, but if I don’t get that appointment, way too much grey on my head will be appearing.

Oh well, his salon is close to a shop that I need to check out for this mystery skirt. The assistant did look somewhat askance at me in my dayglo top and capris, standing amongst the finery for the Winter party season. I was amidst a sea of sparkling sequins and leopardskin print. Frankly in my more blingy moments, this would be Retail heaven. (I do have to rein in my inner Bet Lynch, from time to time)

I asked and she said no they didn’t have it, was I sure it was them?  For sure, I didn’t look quite like their usual clientele. After some faffing with my phone I was able to prove that I hadn’t imagined this skirt, it did exist – except it was summer stock. Perhaps I could try an outlet store; I am convinced that she was doing her best to be helpfully snooty or snootily helpful.

Okay – that’s errand number three blown out. Maybe I should just concentrate on the running instead, that seems a lot more successful. I made my way home this time via Marylebone Lane and the fantastic VW Rouleaux shop – one of London’s retail secrets. If you want unusual ribbons, trimmings etc for any occasion, this is the place to go. For Christmas they ‘had blinged up’ the outside with gold oak leaves and acorns, as shown on the pics. I often go in there for a mooch around, but figured that in the present running kit, perhaps wouldn’t suggest a woman interested in ribbons ’n’ trimmings.

Okay JCR, head straight, trainers propelling forward, heading for home. I was slower today than yesterday, but that’s not unusual on Day 2 runs. My runnerchondria hip, is aching a touch, but it just has to hold on for 5 more weeks and then it gets a rest.

Errands attempted 3  vs. errands successfully completed 1. But another 12km in the bank which means Mission Failed turned out to be rather successful after all.

Playlist

Second try out of best cover versions

Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’ Connor

Kiss – Art of Noise and Tom Jones

Back to Black – Amy Winehouse

Tainted Love – Mark Almond, and Marilyn Manson versions

I Only Want To Be With You – The Tourists

You Can’t Hurry Love – Phil Collins

Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

Hallelujah – Alexandra Burke

Blue Suede Shoes – Elvis Presley

Motorhead – Motorhead

Sweet Dreams, You’re So Vain – Marilyn Manson

Whiskey In the Jar – Thin Lizzy

Kids In America – Foo Fighters

Stand And Deliver – No Doubt

Feed My Frankenstein – Alice Cooper

Amish Paradise – Weird Al Yankovic

911 Is A Joke – Duran Duran

Faith – Limp Bizkit

War – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Take Me To The River – Talking Heads

Cats In The Cradle – Ugly Kid Joe

Live and Let Die – Guns ’n’ Roses

Stats

Distance 12.08km

Time 1:24:12

Average Pace 6:58

Elevation Gain 35 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1839.45

Kms to Run 178.55