Faffolino and Forza – 3 October

It’s a beautiful sunny Autumn day, I am safely snuggled under the duvet, with a welcome mug of tea in hand. Putting off my date with Mr Smooth, I swallow my tea and I have an unngghh throat, I am not sure how you spell that first word, but it is when you swallow and inside your head, your throat makes that ‘I have a cold coming’ noise.

Wondering whether this really constitutes a good enough excuse not to run, there’s a beep at the gate, one of our friends coming round to borrow some gardening kit. Mr JCR hot foots it downstairs to open up, and I give myself a kick and get up to go.

So far, Faffolino the faff-mouse has persuaded me to have a mug of tea, instead of getting up to run. Then follows a master-class in faffing, Faffolino is at her best! Kit out and ready, aha no underwear, go to wardrobe to get suitable trussing, put on running socks – the sexy ones with wings on the back, put on the wrong feet, so pull them off and replace. Come downstairs, friend and Mr JCR are having cup of coffee, I then decide for no apparent reason to sort out the bins (faff), put the washing out to dry (faffolino working hard), bleach the bin (why????). Finally get my act together, water, music, phone, keys all ready, I leave the house get to the garden gate and decide I need to use the loo (more faff). About 40 minutes after having decided to run I finally got on my way. My usual routine is a sleek 12 minutes!

Down the Slope of Hope, the Barking Balcony House is quiet, and I start my run, up the Hill that Kills, go past two old ladies out for a morning passegiata, they nod and say buongiorno and so do I. My legs feel heavy this morning and this first pass up the hill is quite hard going, I continue into Lovers’ Lane towards Villa Bali. I run around the lawns and there appears to be some kind of corporate do on, with people looking important and taking calls on the lawn. I run past and back out, and see the rubbish collecting man, tidying up the vestiges of last night’s nocturnal activities. I continue back to the Hill that Kills, on the upward slope – my heart sank as there is a Molto Chic Podista coming my way (she is not the Molto Chic Podista). Wearing a red vest, with long grey running leggings, she is lithe and has the obligatory swooshy ponytail. My face matches her vest and I am only about 1.5km in, my excuse being I am still in the toxic ten phase. We nod, I don’t think I could summon the energy to speak.

I plod on and do my usual Hill that Kills trot, go down to the Slope of Hope and pass Mr Woodpile who has trussed up feet and is in a wheelchair. We exchange greetings as my Italian isn’t good enough to ask questions about his health (besides which we only ever talk about his woodpile). I turn back up the Hill that Kills, and my music is all over the place, so I stop to mess about and then continue (Faffolino followed me out today). Back down Lovers’ Lane, I notice that when I altered my music and put Map My Run on pause, I didn’t resume the run on the app, so I’ve lost some running distance off my stats (Faffolino really is roaring today). I continue but my legs and heart aren’t really in it today, because my breathing is okay but legs feel like lead. In a bloody mindedness moment I decide to loop to the Hill that Kills for a third time, just as punishment for the bad run. On my way towards the Hill that Kills, I hear a car coming up behind me, and he noticeably slows down, comes really close and shouts Forza Forza Signora and then continued on. No idea who he was, I didn’t recognise the car, but he did give me a bit of a boost to continue.

Lessons learned today, first of all allowing Faffolino a toe-hold is bad news, because once you start the faff, it continues. Secondly, I really don’t like the free download of U2 that seems to have inveigled its way on to my phone, therefore I am removing the tracks today, so there’s no musical faffing in future. Thirdly, an unngghh throat is probably a hint that you’re slightly under the weather, and unlikely to perform at your best.

Face Colour – Salsa Red

Anyway, the music thing is a big motivator for me I love my music and there are two or three folk on C25K who share similar tastes and we trade playlist suggestions. One of these is Razouski who has lost hearing in one ear and is now fighting an infection in her other one and so is bereft of 80s music to listen to and struggling with balance. So Razouski in your honour I have created a Retro Runners’ Playlist on my phone – details to be listed elsewhere. Use it as inspiration as you will…. and good luck with that ear.



The pesky app didn’t record a thing – Faffolino well and truly got me.


Distance 6.93km (probably there or thereabouts right, as it excluded part of my run, but included my warm down walk)

Time 52.43

Pace 7.36 kms/min

Elevation Gain 66 Metres

Squat Challenge

3X sets of 11 Reps, must do better…..aim for 15 by end of week!


All Roads Lead to Rome… 1 October

So why am I running in the opposite direction?

Because after my last run using a new 10K training app and having sought the wise counsel of the C25K runners, I came to the conclusion that I was better off following my own plan. This plan is to extend my distance by 0.5km for one run each week and consolidate at the previous distance for two runs. Today’s distance challenge therefore was 7.5km. I decided to give myself a break and run predominantly downhill avoiding the heavy hills for a change.

Today’s route is the three villages challenge (excluding my own) I had to run through three villages en route, finally stopping for a well earned coffee, before tackling the Bitch of a Pitch as warm down walk. The route takes me along the Via Flaminia which goes from Fano to Rome, as the heading, except I would be running along it towards Fano.

Warm up walk down the Slope of Hope, it’s always busier on Sunday mornings when people are going to church. Start my run heading towards the Bendy, Scary Road, which true to its reputation gave me my first fright as I was heading round a right hand bend and the oncoming car despite having oodles of room to move over, thought it would be fun just to stay on line to force me onto the cambered part of the verge…

Mmm not a great start, I decided to play Runners’ I-Spy (this is how tragically narrow my life has become!) to give me something else to focus on and not that plonker of a driver. Today’s I-Spy challenge was; how many people wearing fluoro orange tops would I see on my route, as I am wearing my usual Fluorescent orange top, with fetching blue and orange diamond shorts (They are not diamante, just in case you wondered).

At the 2km mark two cyclists coming towards me one in full club kit, the other in what looks like odds and ends from his mother’s dressing up drawer, but result – he was wearing an orangish top. Tango Score 1.

I get overtaken by a cycling club all wearing red and black, no orange, but one of them put his hand up. So that was nice and friendly. Heading into my first village square I see a lady cyclist and yes she is wearing an orange top. Tango Score 2.

Lone cyclist coming towards me on a sweeping right hand bend, he is black and white all over, but he says Ciao Signora. So again no tango, but I got a Ciao.

Running downhill towards the second village, there is an awful lot of people around and I turn the corner past the bikers’ caff, and remember that today is the Festa di Micrologia, which is to celebrate all things fungal. Perhaps not athlete’s foot, but porcini mushrooms, that kind of thing. It’s a little busy around here as parking restrictions are in place, so I do a ‘Strictly Comes Prancing’ move with a Fiat Punto and its owner who couldn’t decide whether she was going into the car park, reversing out of it or doing a three point turn. My mirroring of her moves would have scored me a perfect 10.

I ran on towards the third and final village, which is not so pretty as it was pretty much destroyed in the war and so is mainly new housing. I am running parallel to the Via Flaminia, (the road is frighteningly fast and there are no pavements) but there’s one small bit I can’t avoid and that’s on the approach to the cafe for my coffee. I turn onto the Flaminia to do my last .5km.

And then I see him in the distance, a cyclist wearing perfect Stabilo Boss marker pen kit, an orange top and black trousers. So my Tango Score for today’s run is 3. All fine and dandy, except that this last Tango Man was an absolute git, he cycled and kept hugging the right hand side so I had nowhere to go and had to stop to avoid colliding with him. He knew he’d done it as he smirked when he cycled past me – yes I told him to eff off (in English) and yes I gave him the finger. Not my nicest of finishes…, but up to the cafe stop I had run 7.8km, and my 5k time was about 32 minutes. So my Last Tango In Le Marche, left a very nasty taste in the mouth. I think next time I’ll do a different ISpy.

p.s. The warmdown walk, takes me about 3km uphill with a 200 metre gain to tackle, so it’s actually a warming up warm down walk, but I did see two lady walkers, one of whom was wearing  an orange and red top and they both nodded. That sort of made up for Orange Git Man. However I messed up on Map My Run again and kept it on pause, so I lost those stats too…

Face Colour : Salsa Red

This Week’s Download Treats recommended by the Retro Runners…



Purple Rain – Prince and the Revolution

Temptation  – Heaven 17

Mr Brightside – The Killers

Beat It – Michael Jackson

Girls and Boys – Blur

Blasphemous Rumours – Depeche Mode

Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough – Michael Jackson

This Girl – Kungs

Reap The Wild Wind – Ultravox

Alison – Elvis Costello

Lose Yourself – Eminem

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

Uptown Funk – Ronson and Mars

When Doves Cry – Prince and the Revolution

Purple Rain – Prince and the Revolution


Distance 8.36km (I stopped for coffee at 7.8km)

Duration 55.25

Average Pace Km/mins 6.37

Elevation Gain (37 metres)

Fastest km 6.18mins


I’ve missed two days of the 7 day squats challenge, so that’s a fail too. Ho hum.

Running with Foxes – 28 September

The alarm has gone, the date invitation from Mr Smooth well and truly received. Mr JCR up and out and JCR still in bed, pondering on the loveliness of duvets. With the sun streaming through the window;  and I think to myself what a wonderful world (thanks Louis) but clearly this laziness can’t continue, no matter how lovely the duvet is, so up I get.

I have chosen a rather fetching (father retching if spoonered) outfit combo of fluoro yellow top and blue orange diamond running shorts. I am now ready to face anything, specifically the first of a structured training plan to get me to 10K in distance again. I have done it before ( a couple of years back) but realised my runs were all downhill…

I didn’t really like the look of the app suggestion on the Couch to 5K site, so decided to go off piste and buy the Ease into 10K App, which is a 10 week plan. I am now 5 weeks post graduation of the C25K plan and on Tuesday ran 7.01km. Using this as a benchmark I thought I could safely start on Week 5 of this new App for 10K. This is  a 5 minute warm up and warm down walk with 9 minutes running and 1 minute walking intervals for a total of 4 times.

Off I pop, warm down walk past the barking balcony house and start my running on the Hill that Kills, into Lovers’ Lane again no Albino or Anouska but I am later this morning, but I do see a silver fox walking towards me – not exactly Richard Gere, in fact he looks like a cross between Only Fools and Horses’ Uncle Albert, with a touch of ZZ Top thrown in. He does however nod and say buongiorno, do my usual loop back to the Hill that Kills, and turn and run up the Slope of Hope. I have to say gasping for breath, which is quite unusual for me, maybe it is the interval training having an effect?

Towards the peak I see another silver fox, this time more reminiscent of David Gower. He too is wearing a fluoro top – clearly he heard the hunters’ gunshots this morning too and like me didn’t want to be a trophy. At this stage I am glorying in runners’ smugness because I am running up-hill and he is running down. Noting I had completely ignored the fact that he must have run up a hill to be running down it…, at that point the halo of smugness slipped and strangled me, as the nasty American prompt on the running app shouted at me to walk.

Anyway having being told to walk, I did and in that instant I did that thing I keep doing when walking as a runner. I briskly upped my pace moved my arms in a business-like manner and arranged my face into a ‘this is a training plan and I am walking because I have to’ expression. I don’t know if he got all of that out of my body language – he just smiled, said ciao and carried on.

What is it about Americans and the use of the imperative tense? * A please would go an awful long way… After Mr Ciao was out of view, the American shouted at me to run again, so I carried on into Mill Lane and back up Lovers’ Lane, to see my third silver fox – well there was a glimpse of white hair from under his backward facing baseball cap, really a backward facing baseball cap in a country lane in Le Marche? Bizarre -not much of a hip-hop scene here, I have to tell you.

I overtook him but he was walking so don’t get carried away by thoughts of me motoring past, I plodded and carried on. This new American man in my life kept on interrupting me with useless information like it has  been 4.39 km now. I am not liking this app at all and frankly returning to intervals is messing up my tempo, it seems to take a long time to rev up after the walking intervals.

I take the usual loop to Lovers’ Lane once more, the Hill that Kills and turn down towards the Bendy Scary Road. I keep going even after the American has told me to stop and ‘WARM DOWN NOW!’, I really don’t like him and besides which on this plan I have only actually wun 6.3km which is .8km less than my total run on Sunday. Being utterly bloody minded I continue until I hit Cavendish Hill and manage a few metres up it and finish on a total of 8.32km, which I think means I probably ran for about 7.5km.

So the usual summary…. hate the app, dislike intensely the imperative tense, could happily murder shouty American prompt, oh and the app doesn’t have a mapping capability, so I don’t have a route map, nor do I have the elevation stats. And to add insult to injury it doesn’t record the playlist either.

So I have a countdown type conundrum, do I do my own thing as previously, or continue with the new shouty app? Or something else?

Oh and I forgot to do my squats yesterday too…

Face Colour Monarch

* Some Americans not all, I can’t damn a whole nation…


I can remember, London Grammar, Depeche Mode, The Killer, The Boss, Landscape, Radiohead, Ultravox….


Distance 8.32km

Time 1.02.04

Average Pace 7.27 mins/km



They say that looks don’t count for much- 24 Sept

It’s a Sunday and I am late out of the door, I do have an excuse we had a late night last night, cheering our friend Peter on in his first (and judging by his reactions, last) Iron Man. Iron Man came to Italy for the first time and was held in the seaside resort of Cervia.  This is what Peter looked like after his well deserved massage and on his way home to bed. Not too bad, you’d have no idea he had finished almost 13 hours of gruelling effort.


In fact, Peter wasn’t the only one he was accompanied by over 2,000 competitors. One in particular, an unknown (by me, but confirmed on Monday as a Swiss  guy Xavier Bruchez) man who was doing the Iron Man with his cousin (Gaeten Daves). According to Peter, this guy swam towing his cousin on a float, did the bike ride on an adapted cycle for the two of them and also ran the marathon pushing Gaeten in an adapted chair. Truly remarkable that’s Iron Man Squared in my book. It didn’t look like the famous USA Hoyt duo, I checked that out later, but there was a gloriously loud ripple of cheering that accompanied them wherever they went. We saw them twice on the marathon loop. Truly uplifting.

Peter – congratulations to you on achieving an amazing Iron Man stunt. Hope you enjoyed a long deserved sleep last night.

I decided to take a new route down the ‘Bitch of a Pitch’ – this is a 5km descent/ascent depending on your direction, I don’t know the elevation gain, that’s a question for Mr JCR.  I was descending down Prune Way, and  whilst it’s downhill, the gradient is quite steep and it is dangerous to sprint down it.  Happily shuffling along, I get hooted at by a large tractor and trailer in tow. The usual road rules apply, it is bigger than me, tougher than me and can squash me. I complied with the toot and stood to one side and I got a wink. No, he didn’t have a fly in his eye, the sun wasn’t shining in his face, I got a wink.



At my age you take anything you can get, so it made me smile and I shuffled on down to Laundry Lane.

Laundry Lane takes me up a series of long winding bends and then back down again, Joe Jackson’s lyrics were in my mind when I saw the laundry below. This was the village laundry for many years, mmm not sure I fancy putting my running kit in there now to freshen it up. But it was very popular in its heyday, we are told.


This is my 3rd run after twingeing my back and it went fine, I ran back up Laundry Lane and heard Catatonia sing those wonderful twisted lyrics ‘I find myself constipated’, just at the point I was running out of puff, so laughed and carried on albeit slowly

Not my fastest, nor my prettiest, but then looks don’t count for much….


Walk Like an Egyptian – The Bangles

Sign of the Times – Harry Styles

Rain on your Parade – Duffy

Common People – Pulp

The Jean Genie – David Bowie

F..k You – Cee Lo Green

Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode

Hungry Heart – The Boss

Back to Black – Amy Winehouse

Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough – Michael Jackson

Modern Way – Kaiser Chiefs

Is She Really Going Out With Him? – Joe Jackson

Dreaming of Me – Depeche Mode

Let’s Spend The Night Together – David Bowie

Mulder and Scully – Catatonia

Everything Must Go – Manic Street Preachers

Help me Rhonda – Beach Boys


Distance 7.34km (but I walked .56km)

Time 58.20

Average pace 7.56 mins/km

Elevation Gain 149 metres

Squats – 1 set of 10 reps before the run and 3 sets of 10 reps after the run…



Groaning, Geese and Greavsie – 21 Sept

After a week on the injury couch coinciding with the twinning weekend of Mr JCR’s cycling clubs, the past few days have all been about recovery – recovery from food, alcohol and housework.

Today I had promised myself a ‘back to normal ‘ run, the weather has been atrocious and very cold, so this morning’s alarm call was rude and unwelcome. I did groan and duvet dive trying to avoid the message from Mr Smooth. Nonetheless I hauled my sorry arse out of bed and got into my running gear. Rather surprisingly the weather has changed and it’s back to warm and sunny again. Yay!

Warm up walk down the Slope of Hope, past the barking dog balcony and I almost get run over by a man on a scooter bearing an uncanny resemblance to Jimmy Greaves (in his Saint and Greavsie days). Not his fault – he was exiting his drive and I was daydreaming! Realise I should be a little more awake, give myself a mental shakedown and off we go into the Hill that Kills, I am very slow this morning, mainly because I am worried about jarring my back. The Italians call it a ‘strappo’ all I know is that it gave me a ‘stroppo’.

I am late, so no sign of Anouska or Albino, complete the usual loop down Lover’s Lane, and back to the Hill that Kills, take a detour onto the Slope of Hope (downwards) and back up again to the Hill That Kills, and I see that the grass around the olive statue has been trimmed, but I am still perplexed – is it a swan, goose, emu,  or ostrich?


Back to Lovers’ Lane, get buzzed by a Fiat Punto, who seemed to aim right at my fluoro yellow top, maybe he was trying to tell me it was a bit loud! It is hunting season here, I don’t want to be mistaken for a wild boar, so if I offended you Sir with my yellow top, I am sorry but I am not changing it…

At the end of Lovers’ Lane, I hook a right further down the Hill that Kills, and decide to give myself a final uphill challenge. It wasn’t speedy, nor was it pretty, but I did do it. I wanted to do a clean 5km after being on the injury couch, and today it was done.

After deliberating over the pic, I think it’s a goose, in fact there are 2 of them, so officially today I groaned, nearly grazed a Greavsie lookalike and ran past a gaggle of geese. Result –  alliteration heaven!

Face Colour = Salsa Red


Glory Days – The Boss

Blasphemous Rumours – Depeche Mode

Hungry Like The Wolf – Duran Duran

Perfect – Lightning Seeds

Creep – Radiohead

True Faith 94 – New Order

Purple Rain – Prince and The Revolution

Love in Itself – Depeche Mode

Mulder and Scully – Catatonia

Glamorous Indie Rock and Roll – The Killers


Distance 5.66km

Time 42.51

Average Pace 7.34 mins/km

Elevation Gain 62m

Fastest Split 7.21



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.


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


Distance: More than 6.6km I think about 7kms

Time : Based on playlist about 62 minutes

Best km split 6.03



7 September – Ignoring the pain barrier- even ‘fook’ I was tired…

Last night we were helping a friend’s son with his B2 Intermediate English exam. He is based at Bologna University and so far we have been Skype helpers, having his test papers on screen. This has not been quite as easy as one might imagine, not least because both Mr JCR and I were products of the ‘let’s not teach grammar’ movement of schooling.

We have had tutorial sessions with R, when he has been explaining to us why he believes a sentence is a complex sentence vs a compound one, and whilst he has been doing that one of us is on the ipad looking up exactly what he means by compound vs. complex. Mmm, we are more than a little embarrassed about this. Last night was harder, because he only had a paper version which he couldn’t share. The exercise was all about linking words and the correct use of though, even though, although, in spite etc, etc.

We had agreed he would  read the text and then say the word ‘something’ followed by the 4 multiple choice options he had. So last night he was reading happily and said the word ‘something’, followed by his 4 multiple choice words which were and I quote “in spite of, despite, however, and fook”. We didn’t quite catch him quickly enough and he said I think the answer is ‘fook’. So after peals of laughter, we said no it can’t be ‘fook’ and asked him to spell the word – and it was T H O U G H. And he then said that he hated the word because it involved a th which Italians find almost impossible to pronounce, as that sound doesn’t exist in Italian. And also he didn’t know how to consistently pronounce ‘ough’ – the difficulties of learning English, highlighted brilliantly by R.

Now when the shoe is on the other foot, I have my issues too. I can’t say the word for waiter, nor organisation in Italian. Damn good job I never have to deal with a waiters’ trade association I guess.

Today’s run, not really feeling the love, but I put on my ‘Jan has been tangoed’ kit and out I went. Down the Slope of Hope, past the barking dogs. Usual swear word exchanged and up to the Hill That Kills, feet felt a bit leaden, I really needed a bit of a boost and usually this is where Anouska and Albino come in. I see them, they smile we exchange greetings and I move on, but I was a little later this morning and so missed them. But in Lovers’ Lane I saw Babbo Natale, in all black running kit with a white cap… maybe I am influencing him? He said buongiorno, so I carried on a bit happier, oh yes got buzzed by a serious looking cyclist – that will be Mr JCR then as he is on a training hill session today.

Fairly humdrum did my double loop of Villa Bali, Lovers’ Lane and the Hill That Kills, then went down towards the Bendy, Scary, Road. And what did I see –  a red and black skinny minny runner. Running with his back to the traffic he was a real loper, all I had in my head at this point was Mr Lover Lover by Shaggy, only change Lover for Loper. I thought for all about a nano second that I could be inspired by him and kick my heels. But actually I wasn’t inspired, ‘fook’ he had a good pace.

Mr JCR passed me again and my leaden legs carried me through to 6.23 clicks. So today’s run hurt, every km in the bank was hurting,  but even ‘fook’ it hurt I was proud because I knuckled down and did it.

Then on my cool down walk, back to my village who did I see in the distance but Mr Loper, Loper. But I never saw him come back – he must have a shortcut I don’t know about – that is next on my to do list to find.


Lucky You – Lightning Seeds

Everything Must Go – The Manics

Modern Love – David Bowie

Girls and Boys – Blur

You Love Us – The Manics

Rehab – Amy Winehouse

Let’s Stick Together – Bryan Ferry

Is Vic There? -Department S

London Calling – The Clash

Blasphemous Rumours – Depeche Mode

I Predict a Riot – Kaiser Chiefs

Strong – London Grammar

Einstein a Go Go – Landscape


Distance 6.23km

Time 46.22

Average Pace 7.26 mins/km

Elevation gain 47 metres



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!


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


Distance 6.2km (Yup did it…)

Time 44.01

Average Pace  7.18 mins/km

Elevation Gain 61 metres







3 September – Faffolino is in the Hills

The hunting season opened officially on 1st September, but on that day it was rainy and misty, so I guess the hunters stayed at home. This morning, wet and very windy and a volley of shots confirmed my date with Mr Smooth, I put my head out of the window, gosh it was cold. It was at this point the faff-mouse appeared, Faffolino as she is known, is very sleepy most of the time but when she wakes up, she creates havoc. So after having put out all my clothes for the run, the vest top and shorts had to go back in the drawer.

Get the step ladder out to climb to the top of the wardrobe, to pull out the Autumn/Winter gear. More faffing ensues, which clothes to wear? Okay longer running capris, but which rain jacket, the pink polythene bag version or the orange and purple tasteful jacket, with bright yellow netted lining. Mr JCR who had decided rather wisely that he was not cycling this morning, made a helpful suggestion. Try walking around the house in both jackets and decide then.

Okay so that’s more faffing to do… Dismount stepladder, get dressed, take stepladder, put it in the ‘universal crap’ cupboard. Unlock doors, try on one jacket, walk around the house like a fluoro security guard. Okay decision – pink polythene bag version. Eventually, out the door, to the gates. Drat, Faffolino has struck again, it’s so windy that the automatic gates keep closing. I play chicken with the gates a couple of times and then get out. First run part up the Hill That Kills. Aha, I see a lady in her pyjamas, rather sassy ones with sun, moons and planets on them oh and gum boots and a parka. This is strange, the mums in pyjamas concept isn’t really seen here.

It seems Mrs Pigiama mamma and Mr P-M, have a problem. About 15 minutes earlier one of their trees lost a significant branch to the wind – about 25cm in diameter and about 4 metres long, it is blocking the road. They are in the road, sawing it into smaller pieces so they can shift it out the way. I wish them ‘Buon Lavoro’ and carry on, looking towards all the trees, wondering if any more are about to fall down.

Head into Lovers’ Lane, get overtaken by a car which makes me jump. Faffolino tells me she hasn’t done yet – so I have to stop to remove a stone from my shoe. Back up Lover’s Lane and up to the Hill That Kills again, Mrs Pigiama mamma is inside, Mr P-M is left fixing his netting fence, and a much smaller branch is neatly at the side of the road. Down to the bottom and back up again, for my last loop into Lovers’ Lane, it’s got a bit warmer and the rain has stopped, so I am sweating like the proverbial pig in my pink polythene jacket. Faffolino has hit me again, so I hop around taking off the pink, revealing my bright yellow top.

I decided to do another change of route and headed towards Cavendish Hill, I call it this because it has been a famous Giro D’Italia stage and also a stage for other Italian races. Mark Cavendish the Isle of Man cyclist has won here and been immortalised in paint on the road. The hill is very steep and years ago the local council decided to commemorate all the previous winners, starting with the earliest years at the bottom of the hill and as you rise, the list is more recent. I set off in September 2017 (no paint here as the stage hasn’t been here for a few years) and decided I would run down the hill to Mark’s name and back up. Great plan JCR, except the paint has faded so much you can no longer see his name, so having run from 2017 down to 1979 and still not found him, I decided to ‘run’ back up.

Progress slightly hindered, by stopping at the faded paintwork every few metres, this is a bitch of a hill. And as you can see from the pics, I never did find him. So Mr Cavendish, if you want to remain immortalised in this corner of Italy, perhaps you could contact the Comune of Saltara and arrange for some new paint? I don’t know if Faffolino had decided to put the idea of Cavendish Hill in my running mind, but yes I was faffing because of taking photos.

I finish at 5.6km of proper running, but Cavendish Hill is a toughy…, and my final paces resembled Mrs Overall of Acorn Antiques, not I think the optimal running style I should be aiming for.

Late Postscript, Mr JCR has informed me that Mr Cavendish actually won a time trial here in the 2008/09 timescale, so I ran all the way down to 1979 and it was actually 29 years further up the hill. AAARRGGHHH. That’s 29 years of unnecessary running!


Sign Your Name – Terence Trent D’Arby

It’s Called A Heart – Depeche Mode

When Doves Cry – Prince And The Revolution

Is Vic There? – Department S

F..k You – Cee Lo Green

Modern Love – David Bowie

Alison – Elvis Costello

Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode

Beat It (twice in succession) – Michael Jackson

Warwick Avenue – Duffy

Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough – Michael Jackson

Billie Jean – Michael Jackson


Distance 5.61km (purely running)

Time 44.31

Average Pace 7.55 min/km

Elevation Gain 90 metres – yes 90 – look at the Cavendish Hill!