Halloween, harvesting and home – 28 October

We are in the home strait, closing down the house before we return to the UK for a few weeks and we had a list of things to do as long as your arm. From harvesting the olives (thanks Mr JCR – nobly done whilst I was in London a week back), to de-fooding the house and cleaning absolutely everywhere.

Part of the new close down procedure, is setting up the security cameras inside and out after our burglary earlier this year. The cameras (in principle) are designed to make us feel safer whilst here and away. Last night Mr JCR went out to meet his Iron Man buddy for a goodbye meal and I stayed home alone. It is very dark in the countryside here; I was binge watching Catastrophe in front of a roaring fire. Then, all of a sudden my phone told me that both the internal and external cameras had lost their signals. Mmm my heart did pound a bit, as I muted the tv just in case and then sat in silence for about 10 minutes wondering if there was an axe murderer outside who had just cut the power.

I sent a casual text to MR JCR enquiring whether such power loss was normal – his answer an hour later…. ‘No idea, seems strange’

Quite clearly I am somewhat deranged as had said axe-murderer cut the power, neither the lights nor the tv would have been working… such is the power of an over-active imagination all sense of logic is lost. And any hope I may have had at being imminently rescued, was quite clearly dashed by the 1 hour delay in getting Mr JCR’s reassuring reply… Halloween obviously playing on my mind.

This morning, I decided binge-reading The Times was in order, all part of my prevarication strategy to not run this morning. But after having read the paper (can you still call it a paper when it is on-line?), really there was no viable excuse to not getting my butt out there. In daylight there was no sign of any axe-murderers having been near the house, just the hum of lots of olive harvesting going on.

Off I trotted down the Slope of Hope, into the Hill that Kills and coming towards me an unusual sight – a 1950’s or 60’s American Muscle car, driven by a guy who looked like a shorter and short haired version of Lemmy from Motorhead. Now he was truthfully a Halloween sight. Into Lovers’ Lane and I overtook a couple of women on a walk, who then decided to take advantage of the children’s playground nearby and they ran giggling to the swings and were swinging merrily as I looped back. Their giggles reverberated across the fields and back – actually what fun, to be a grown-up and play on the swings and not get tutted or told off!

Back to the Hill That Kills and I dropped down back onto the Slope of Hope and decided I’d run all the way back up. My speedy feet weren’t really on today so it was more of a plod, back up the hill to Mill Lane, where there was a car – now this constitutes pretty much gridlock. A couple of years back Mill Lane changed designation to one-way and the one-way it does go, doesn’t seem to be that popular with the locals. The car was coming away from the olive frantoio and as I passed I could see all the empty crates lined up and the waste from the pressing being churned into a waiting trailer. The air smelt full of fresh olive oil. For the second time I ran up Lovers’ Lane and this time the giggling women had gone to be replaced by the old guy who I think is closing up the piadineria and park for Winter. The swings had been removed and all is quiet, so I plodded slowly onto the 5km mark.

Back towards home having listened to Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Vincent Price’s voiceover – (what an apt day to hear this song) and Mill Lane and the local comune man with his Ape was at work. This weekend will be the All Saints Day celebration in churches and cemeteries – the local cemetery will see hundreds of visitors, the road will be partially closed off and parking wardens in attendance –  All Saints Sunday is a big day here. This also means we have to ride shotgun at our entrance gate, otherwise we can’t get in and out of the house. This is why I am running today and not tomorrow as is usual.

A slow steady 5k, nothing interesting or scary happening. And after last night’s 10 minutes of almost terror, it’s nice for things to be back to quiet, sleepy normal.

Playlist

Mercy – Duffy

By The Way – Red Hot Chilis

Let’s Dance – David Bowie

Blue Monday – New Order

Billie Jean – Michael Jackson

Beat It – ditto

Thriller – ditto

Last Train to Clarksville – The Monkees

I’m a Believer – ditto

Daydream Believer – ditto

Vienna – Ultravox

Everything Must Go – Manics

Billie Jean – Michael Jackson

Alison – Elvis Costello

Stats

Distance 5.58km (only 5.1 ran)

Time 45.10 (slooowww)

Average Pace 8.06 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 68metres

Squatting – 3 x sets of 15 reps

 

Hazard Warning – 24 October

It’s been a busy October as we are preparing to close down the house for Winter. Last week I was in London and Mr JCR harvesting olives. My return to Italy was marked by an impromptu invite to a birthday party (Friday night) involving a volcano, the end of season party for Mr JCRs cycling group on Saturday night and about 30 of his cyclist group coming for snacks and olive oil tasting on Sunday. This is all hazardous to health with vast quantities of food and wine consumed, between trying to clear out the house for our departure.

Amidst all of this activity, there is a small matter of fitting in some running – I had given myself a target to do 10K before leaving Italy for the UK and that seemed to have been stymied by a couple of weeks on the injury couch after two rather stupid slips. So today was my first attempt at getting back to a more usual distance. The morning didn’t start well, I was cold and grumpy and could hear the wind howling around the house. Eventually I gave in and got up, faffed about, prevaricated some more, went outside – jeepers the wind was bracing, so went back indoors to put on another layer and eventually off I went. I didn’t really have a target in mind, but more than 7km would be good. Warm up walk down the Slope of Hope, loads of acorns by the side of the road, so the surface a little hazardous, I kept looking down, which in Italy is dangerous in itself, as the traffic is let’s say haphazard in roadcraft. Up the Hill that Kills and did one of my fastest first km, this is not a good thing as the Hill TK is the first part of my run, if I overshoot here, it has consequences. Down Lovers’ Lane past the barking beagle house, who as per tradition made me leap in the air. The roads are quiet because most activity is in the fields, with the olive harvest in full swing and the mills all busy. I am a bit warm, so return to the house and dump my extra layer and then continue back down the Slope of Hope. In the distance I see a rangy long haired blond runner, a bit like a lanky Bjorn Borg only minus the headband. He is running faster up this damn hill than I am running down it. Curses!

I turn down to the Bendy Scary Road and decide to take the Laundry Lane loop. It’s now gloriously sunny, everywhere I run is accompanied by the snap, crackle and pop of acorns and leaves falling. We had a temporale (storm) on Sunday evening which seems to have caused a lot of debris, so there is rather a lot of twigs and branches around, requiring nifty footwork. As I plod along, I see a collection of the following ‘fruits’ which have fallen from the trees and thank heavens the temporale seems to have stripped the tree bare. If one of these had fallen on my head, that would have been rather hazardous too.

 

IMG_0923

I carry on and decide that if I can make 8k today I will be very happy indeed. Then I am tooted by some Dutch friends as they drive past, and just for once the running gods were smiling and I was running a nice pace, not in my tired Mrs Overall style, but all proper runner-like, so that gave me quite a boost. I arrived at Prune Way at about 7.5km and thought I could just continue so I did until I hit about 9km and turned back along Laundry Lane towards Prune Way again, as I approached I was just on the 10km mark, but remembered I had walked a few metres earlier on (when putting my extra top in the post box), so to make sure I had done the magic 10 clicks, I turned back away from Prune Way for about 200m and then ran back. Job Done. Challenge Done – a 10km run before leaving Italy. Despite Faffolino visiting, despite acorns, leaves and twigs providing low lying hazards, despite me not really wanting to do this, I did and I am a happy bunny!

Playlist

Uptown Funk – Mars and Ronson

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Sign of the Times – Harry Styles

Love’s Unkind – Donna Summer

I Ran – A Flock of Seagulls

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Oh Woman, Oh Man – London Grammar

Tainted Love – Soft Cell

Alive and Kicking – Simple Minds

Cake By The Ocean – DNCE

She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult

Marvin Gaye – Puth and Trainor

Runnin’ Down a Dream – Tom Petty

Talk Talk – Talk Talk

Rasputin – Boney M

Rumour Has It – Adele

It’s Called A Heart – Depeche Mode

Common People – Pulp

Stats

Distance 10.50km (but I reckon 10.2km of running)

Time 1.13.30

Average Pace (mins/km)7.00

Elevation Gain  51 metres

Fastest Split 6.05

Squats 3 X sets of 15 Reps

Warm Down Walk 2km with Elevation gain of 165.9m

Shirking, Shimmying, Sliding and Shade – 21 October

One of the joys of living in Italy is the impromptu nature of your social life. Whilst one of the downsides is not being fluent in the native language meaning you occasionally end up doing something that you hadn’t quite expected or prepared for.

So it turned out last night at a friend’s birthday. There was to be some sort of informal gathering outside their shop and Mr JCR thought their usual outdoor marquee may be involved. There was a birthday party and it was in their shop (no marquee), and the evening was somewhat surreal  as we saw a handmade polenta and fish ragu volcano being set alight.

I have been to all sorts of events in my life, but the lighting of a polenta and ragu volcano is a first. This is where it got awks (my new found social media language dictionary tells me means awkward). There are many many things in Italy we love, food, culture. people, climate etc etc etc., however polenta isn’t on that list. But we are in Le Marche, it is Autumn and polenta comes into its own at this time of year, there are polenta feasts and fairs all over the Region celebrating the gloop. We have over the years tried runny gloop, cheesy gloop, cheesy oven baked gloop, griddled gloop, oniony gloop, garlicky gloop, white gloop, yellow gloop, and ‘even if you don’t like polenta, you’ll love mine’ gloop. In fairness you can’t say we haven’t tried, but love of the gloop evades us.

The polenta and ragu volcano was duly set alight and the shop lights dimmed to many oohs and aahs from the assembled audience. And then came the doling out of the gloop. We tried to keep our plates full of other food, but it was noticed that we had not got our portion. Being British and polite we took a sample, as it would have been rude and frankly impossible to have not had any. We didn’t shirk our responsibility or manners, although we did try sliding the gloop around the plate so it looked as though we’d eaten quite a bit.

This morning the alarm went, my stomach felt a bit gloopy, but that was probably more the Aperol Spritz and prosecco consumed, rather than the polenta. I had decided to see if I could run for about 6 or 7km and not push it, given recent twinges and time spent on the injury couch.   My usual warm up walk towards the Hill that Kills and my run started, a very quick shimmy was necessary in the first seconds as an oncoming car decided to take the bend tightly and would have hit me, had I not heard him approaching. Onwards and plodwards up the hill, a car approaches from behind and toots, it is a friend Lucia, who says it’s nice to see me back from London – in truth I’m a bit miffed as at this stage I am still not running aerobically so the run is more of an upward stagger, I hardly look like a fit runner at all. Down Lovers’ Lane towards Villa Bali, a lady is training two collies on fetch and retrieve routines – unfortunately I am in the way on the retrieve run and one of the collies and I do an awkward shimmy around each other and continue.

There aren’t many people out and about at this time of year as it is slap bang in the middle of olive harvest time, so there are many tractors and nets and harvest crews working in the fields, to get the precious cargo in and pressed on time. I had quite fortuitively timed my visit to London to coincide with our own olive harvest. I slid off without a backward glance, leaving Mr JCR to organise the logistics and I came home to 70+ litres of green-gold. Dodging my way around the tractors and trucks, I take Laundry Lane which is a long mainly down hill route to give me a nice run. Being Autumn the oaks are shedding all their acorns and it is a running hazard as you will either be hit on the head or you have to keep looking at the ground to avoid slipping. Given two recent incidents of Stupid Tart Syndrome, I don’t want to slip and fall on acorns so I take my time. I give myself a target milestone to complete which is  to do 7km or Prune Way, but 7km is my minimum. Prune Way is in view and the turn off is actually at 6.9km, so I continue a little further and then start running up Prune Way. This is a short sharp ascent and frankly my legs aren’t up to it, so I walk and jog to the most apt tune – Culture Club and ‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me’ – but mainly walk to finish. It’s about 650 metres with 50 metre gradient, so quite tough to do at the end of a run. On my way up I hear more olive harvesting going on and I spy a gorgeous old cinquecento shading under the trees, a pretty car on a pretty day.

Pics show, Prune Way, the cinquecento and Mr JCR’s endeavours whilst I shirked my harvesting duties, shimmied around London, slid back into my running routine and finally shaded my very red face as Salsa Red.

PlayList

(This is from memory as Map My Run doesnt synch with Spotify library)

Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

Every Day Hurts – Sad Cafe

Cars – Gary Numan

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty

Talk Talk – Talk Talk

Tainted Love – Soft Cell

Shout – Tears For Fears

Break My Stride – Matthew Wilder

Hold Me Now – Thompson Twins

Doctor, Doctor – ditto

Visage – Visage

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club

I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty

Stats

Distance 7.65km (I reckon 7.1km of true running)

Time 56.15

Average Pace 7.21 (much worse than London – I blame heat and slopes)

Best Km 6.31

Elevation Gain  76 metres

Squats 3 x 15 sets of reps done.

I Don’t Like Sundays … 15 Oct

I do really, but today I still can’t run after having twanged my right leg on Thursday night, when going out.

Worse still I twanged it before having had a drink, so I cannot blame anyone or anything other than myself, for being not fully on the injury couch, but not quite able to run.

I have been amusing myself updating new 80s playlists on Spotify, and have succumbed to a free subscription so I can do some downloads to my phone. Will have to see how the Spotify thing goes… Not usually a fan of these services, but who knows I could become a convert.

In the meantime back to London tomorrow, leaving Mr JCR with the olive harvest to do and organise (cunning timing on my part).

For injuries you are supposed to follow the RICE method to recuperate, but icing and elevating my right leg is not really on the cards, so am adopting purely some rest to get me in better shape. But I am taking my trainers to London, just in case I can get a run or two in. Wish me luck.

A Deck of Ginger Ale Facelift -15 October

Decker, LardofAle, and Ginger Bohemian came up with another great list of songs for me to consider, so the new Retro Runners playlist was called ‘Deck of Ginger Ale’ in their honour.

The first 4 songs to go on it were:-

Running Down a Dream by Tom Petty – – Thanks to Antet

I Ran – Flock of Seagulls – Thanks to Razouski

Talk Talk – Talk Talk – Thanks to Lardofale

Tainted Love – Soft Cell – Thanks to me

Further suggestions have come in, so there’s a few more to add from:-

Razouski – Our Retro leader

Ginger Bohemian – a 70s glam rock man in hiding

Polly 2810 – Sky Diving Music Lover

CT 2017 – breaking strides into music playlists

Antet – the perfect song for the perfect moment person

MrsT82 – all round super woman born when Culture Club were at Number 1..

Lard of Ale – a man whose record collection I want to steal

Decker – a Canadian with a Brit vibe

New Songs this week are:-

Don’t Go – Yazoo

Everybody Wants to Rule The World – Tears for Fears

Every Day Hurts – Sad Cafe

Break My Stride – Matthew Wilder

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club

Hold Me Now – Thompson Twins

Doctor, Doctor – Thompson Twins

I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty

Fade to Grey – Visage

Visage – Visage

Don’t You Want Me – Human League

Cars – Gary Numan

Don’t You Forget About Me – Simple Minds

Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

Pride comes before a fall… 12 Oct

Although in this particular case, prosecco actually came after the fall.

Rewind to yesterday evening, me and Mr JCR going out for dinner to a nice fish restaurant in Fano, Cile’s as it happens. We are a little early, so decide to have aperitivi in Bar Must (yes there’s lots of weird English word combinations).

With my eyes firmly on the prize of a nice table for two, I stride confidently forward down an unseen step. And trip, not a swallow dive, but very Dick Emery and his Mandy character (my how that dates me). I definitely felt a twinge in the groin area, but recovered sufficiently to enjoy the prosecco. Really no big deal at all.

Today’s semi ambitious plan was to crack 8.5km, and I thought the best way of doing that was to do it at the Fano pista, the running track where men dress in a notable manner. This is almost flat and a 2.2km circuit, I thought if I could do more or less 4 circuits I’d be fine. Cue lights, camera and action. I stepped out in my kit, started to get the music, Map My Run and my keys organised, then when my money fell out of my phone holder all on the track, my how the two roller bladers laughed. I adopted the standard London snooty pose and carried on, first km fine, second km am a bit warm so remove extra top and take it back to the car. Entering the pista again I managed to trip over thin air and pulled the self same areas of my right leg. This is known as Stupid Tart Syndrome and I suffer from it quite a bit.

Anyway I carried on, ignoring the twinge, that was becoming an ache, that was becoming a pain and managed to overtake 4/5 wunners. At about 4km mark, it is clear that ‘Houston we have a problem’, the groin pull is mirrored by a pull on the inside of my right knee and my right hamstring. For distraction purposes, I spot that the lampposts seem to be numbered sequentially and thought they were about 100m apart. My new cunning plan is to run 10 lampposts which in JCR land, equates to a km. Except that mechanical voice lady from Map My Run is suspiciously quiet…

Stupid Tart Syndrome strikes again, the lampposts are just numbered and they are not actually 100m apart. This compromises my plan to do 40 lampposts to finish. At this stage my right leg is quite painful, therefore I wait for mechanical voice lady to tell me it has been 5km and the second she did, I stopped running.

Upshot is, when suffering from Stupid Tart Syndrome, do not set ambitious targets, do not change venues and finally never rely on lampposts.

 

Playlist

Blue Monday – New Order

World in Motion – ditto

Rumour Has It – Adele

Everything Must Go – The Manics

Maid of Orleans – OMD

Beat It – Michael Jackson

Let’s Dance – David Bowie

Ruby – Kaiser Chiefs

Rain on Your Parade – Duffy

Rockferry – Duffy

Stats

Distance 5.02km

Time 33.22

Avergage Pace 6.38 min/km

Elevation Gain 10 Metres

Fastest km 6.26

In fact, this has been one of my fastest runs to 5km. Speed and Stupid Tart Syndrome obviously combined today.

No Squats as Muscles too painful!

Face Colour – Sick as a parrot green….

Run’s Unkind – With Apologies to Donna Summer – 10 Oct

My running days follow a well worn routine, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Generally, I try to avoid over indulging the day before and so Mondays are usually meat and alcohol free.

Yesterday’s plans went a little awry when the meat-free mushroom omelette ended up in the kitchen sink, after my unsuccessful attempt at flipping it out of the pan onto the plate. Someone please tell me why I decided to do that over a sink? –  oh and the sink was full of washing up water. Ever tried scooping up a mushroom omelette out of soapy water? Fairy Liquid bubbles on mushrooms – lovely.  As the lunchtime rations had been severely curtailed (I had no more eggs), dinner was a wholemeal pastry cauliflower cheese flan.

Well the wholemeal pastry was certainly filling, but then so is concrete and I don’t think we will be eating either ever. Meat-free Monday, not my best effort. Would alcohol-free fare any better? I am rather partial to Mon Cheri liqueur cherries and so we had 2 with evening coffee – I’d forgotten about the alcohol content. All in all, a pretty useless attempt at healthy living.

Out on today’s run, (my legs were a little stiff yesterday after Sunday’s long run and fastest km time) – warm up walk down the Slope of Hope, past the barking balcony house – yup one dog barks, yup I jump up and yup I tell him to eff off. Into the Hill that Kills, my music is not right so an impromptu stop to get Tom Petty on and then I continue.

On my way towards Lovers’ Lane, I can hear a rumble behind me. I always run towards oncoming traffic, on the basis that I think it is better for me to see who is trying to run me down. The rumble is getting closer and I adopt the Londoner attitude, nose in the air, continue running and ignore it. But I can actually feel the ground quiver so I look over my shoulder and yes I am being followed by a dirty great off-road vehicle, yes they are driving on the wrong side of the road, but they don’t appear to be in any hurry. Aha, that’s because they are going off-road into the field and I am standing pretty much in the middle of their chosen entry point, I put my hand up to thank them and move swiftly on. ( I say swiftly, it wasn’t at all, it was really rather ‘snail’y)

Down Lovers’ Lane towards Villa Bali, usual loop, I pass a lady who is contemplating something, she says buongiorno, so do I and move on, back to do my usual loop  and for the second time I run around and pass her (she is still contemplating whatever it was she was contemplating last time) – on this pass by mutual agreement we don’t say a word.

For whatever reason today my legs feel a little heavy, and whilst in principle I was aiming to do 8.5km, in my head I was thinking 5 or 6km would be fine., so I decided on a gentle downward run to finish. Normally runners suffer from the toxic tens – which is the time when you are running anaerobically. Today I was suffering from the ‘effing’ 4 and 5s. At the 4km stage, I was running like Mrs Overall, so I thought I’d plod onto 6km and finish.

Onto the Bendy, Scary Road and in the distance I see the caramel chic podista – this is the lady that I have seen a couple of times before. Today she is dressed in a black sleeveless crop top, with black capris – usual gleaming caramel skin and swooshy ponytail. Me full-length grey base layer and black/pink shorts accessorised by Monarch Red face and Catweazel hair. I look at her wishing I could swap and have her top because it would be cooler, but knowing my pot-belly won’t permit that. I don’t for one moment think she’d like to swap any of her outfit/look for any of mine!

We say ciao, because now we know each other – the third time of seeing each other on runs must mean the ice is broken. Donna Summer comes on singing Love’s Unkind and at this stage (about 5.5km in), my legs are dying and I am thinking Running is Unkind. But seeing a fellow podista gave me a bit of impetus and so I carried on, past Cavendish Hill and towards the cobbled village. I knew I had done more than 7km but today feeling a bit tired I stopped on the way up the cobbles towards the church. 7.88km done, more than I had expected earlier on.

A 2km walk back to the house as warm down, I round the corner and coming towards me, is the caramel chic podista, we both laughed and said ciao again. I thought about telling her that she was an encouragement for me to carry on today, but she’d probably think I was a bit crazy. So in my head I thanked her for being a fellow podista on a day when my legs were giving up.

Playlist

Tainted Love – Soft Cell

Removables – The Manics

Runnin’ Down a Dream – Tom Petty

She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult

Get Dancin’ – Disco Tex & His Sex-O-Lettes

Marvin Gaye -Puth and Trainor

Oh Woman, Oh Man – London Grammar

Strong – ditto

Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Cake by the Ocean – DNCE

Love’s Unkind – Donna Summer

This Girl – Kungs

Uptown Funk – Ronson and Mars

Talk Talk – Talk Talk

Rasputin – Boney M

Stats

Distance 7.88km

Time 1.00.13

Average Pace 7.38 (mins/Km)

Elevation Gain – 51 metres

Best Km Pace 6.47 mins (thanks to the caramel chic podista)

Toadkill  Count – 3

Squats – 3 sets of 15 reps – yay!