27 Mar – London Fashion Week Arrives

Nicolas Ghesquiere is the new Designer in Chief at Louis Vuitton and he is heralding his new collection in the latest British Vogue issue. His ‘woman’ is in motion, and she is on the go, according to his interview with the mag.

This ‘on the go’ look involves gorgeous brocade coats, waistcoats and ruffled blouses, over ruffled trousers mixed with bulbous trainers. A mere snip at more or less £15,000. In truth I love the clothes – the trainers not quite so much.

I, as you know, am also on the go, however my running budget doesn’t quite match the aesthete of Vuitton. Think bag lady mixed with Max Wall.

Today’s run down the catwalk of Islington and what is wistfully known as East Clerkenwell, saw me sporting the following adornment.

Hair – scraped back a la Max Wall, complete with Sweaty Betty Black headband

Face Colour – Dulux’s Salsa Red

Running Base Layer – neon purple and orange ‘athleisure’ base top – brand unknown

Running Sleeveless Jacket – black and neon orange netting lining – brand Pro Touch – no I’ve never heard of them either

Running tights – Black – by Pro Touch – still no idea where or when I picked these up

Running socks – Falke – yes I’m worth Falke socks, they protect my tootsies…

Running Trainers – Sexy Saucony Echelons

Fish – by Moxons of Islington (the brill, crab and clams only accompanied me for half the run)

Total expense for this running outfit unknown, but am happy to run in one of Mr Ghesquiere’s outfits, if he donates some dosh to Alzheimer’s Research. I am guessing I don’t really match his idea of his woman on the go though.

In summary my look today – I  love the Saucony trainers – the rest of the outfit not so much!

But despite the fashion embarrassment, I went out and on the go managed just over 9km.

Playlist

Strong – London Grammar

True Faith 94 – New Order

Smile Like You Mean It – The Killers

Tokyo Joe – Bryan Ferry

Change – Lightning Seeds

Sign Of The Times  – Harry Styles

Let’s Spend The Night Together – David Bowie

Dance Away – Roxy Music

Doginabag – The Fratellis

Just Can’t Get Enough – Depeche Mode

Dreaming Of Me (twice) – Ditto

Avalon – Roxy Music

Born To Run – The Boss

Rumour Has It – Adele

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

Is Vic There – Department S

Don’t Look Back In Anger – Oasis

Stats

Distance 9.49km

Time 1:01:55

Average Pace 6:31 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 53 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms To Date 529.03

Kms to Do 1488.97

 

 

 

 

16 Jan – Running Within Two Tribes

Shiny hair, tanned, lithe, young - OMG

 

 

Although I am a fan of Frankie Goes To Hollywood – my era, my City of birth, the title relates to me running through two entirely different parts of London today.

I had a routine hospital appointment at Hampstead and decided after the appointment that I would run home, but a quick check on Dr Google’s Maps App made me realise it wasn’t a sufficient number of kms, for me to keep on track with my Alzheimer’s Challenge.

What to do?, well I thought I’d run to Marylebone to my hairdressers and book in a much-needed shzuzz (I don’t how you spell this word….) and then run home and that hopefully would get me to 10 or 11kms today.

Hampstead Hospital is more or less at the top of a hill and so my run back was mainly downhill, which was very helpful for a middle aged wheezing wreck, with a very runny nose accompanying her today. Hampstead is full of yummy mummies, pushing Bug a Boos, the mums wearing Nike Roshe trainers, Sweaty Betty yoga leggings and lush parkas. I was running down Haverstock Hill, near the Belsize Park tube station and I counted six Yummys before I hit the bottom of the hill.

Hampstead then morphs into Camden, and here the vibe changes, it’s a little more edgy, multi-cultural, and a hell of a lot younger than this middle aged wheezing lady. I ran past the Roundhouse – there the one and only gig I’ve been to was seeing Erasure a few years ago. I made a mental note to see who and what is on again, for the next time I’m feeling ‘edgy’. Past Regents Canal and the shops are definitely more youthful and I am making the average age soar as I run through. Next on the cards Euston Station, hmmm, what can you say about a railway station? Nothing much except as ever any side of a rail station is always the wrong side of the tracks, I schlep quickly along here and am just about hitting the 5km mark. The Euston Road is notoriously bad for traffic and pollution so I skip across towards Gordon Square and make my way uptown to Marylebone High Street.

Aaah, we are amongst the Yummys once more, only even more well heeled here than in Hampstead. I drop off into see Richard the man who does the shzuzzing, and he does a double take at my appearance. At best, I think I may look like a pink faced ninja, in my all black ensemble (I ditched the fluoro today in favour of City neutrals). At worst, well judge for yourselves…

He uttered those words I never want to hear again ‘mmm Jan, an interesting look’. Interesting is definitely ‘Richard code’ for ‘wtf do you look like?’, which to be honest is similar to my Italian friend Gessica’s statement of ‘particolare’ which means particular. Two different tribes entirely; an English hairdresser and an Italian molto chic, working mum, but both in their own ways, use words to devastating effect. And I thought today, Gessica would probably have looked at me and said ‘particolare’.

Today, I started off in Yummy Mummy territory, where I sort of matched with my leggings and Sweaty Betty top, but this was all early on in the run – no-one gave me a second glance in Camden, anonymous middle-aged lady wearing sweaty running kit ‘nothing to see here folks’. And then my image took a huge tumble in the Really Yummy Mummy territory of Marylebone, where I stood out for all the wrong reasons.

It certainly gave me impetus to run out of there towards home, where thankfully there aren’t quite so many Yummys in residence. Today I was part of the running, sweaty, edgy tribe. Next week when I return to Marylebone, I think I need to up my game, and go for Yummy status, if indeed that is possible at my age and wear and tear.

Playlist

Jean Genie – David Bowie

Scooby Snacks – Fun Loving’ Criminals

Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode

Oh Woman Oh Man – London Grammar

Maid of Orleans – OMD

Jenny Was A Friend of Mine – The Killers

Dreaming Of Me – Depeche Mode

Let’s Spend The Night Together – David Bowie

Cant Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake

Mulder and Scully – Catatonia

Fuck You – Cee Lo Green

Locomotion – OMD

Just Can’t Get Enough – Depeche Mode

Love In Itself – Depeche Mode

Get Back – The Beatles

Let’s Spend The Night Together – David Bowie

5:15 The Angels Have Gone  – ditto

By The Way – Red Hot Chilis

Tired of Waiting For You – The Kinks

Geno – Dexy’s Midnight Runners

David Watts – The Jam

Ghost Town – The Specials

Just Another Nervous Wreck – Supertramp

The Only Living Boy In New York – Everything But The Girl

Don’t Need The Sunshine – Catatonia

Animal Farm – Madness

Stats

Distance 12.38km

Time 91.21 mins

Average Pace 7:35 (mins km)

Elevation Gain 28 m

Yummy Mummies Hampstead 6

Yummy Mummies Marylebone  – way too many to count

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Km’s To Date = 55.66

Kms to Do 1962.34 (hey ho, it’s not getting any easier!)

 

 

 

 

New Banksy in Town – 12 November

IMG_0956.jpg

It is Armistice Sunday and about 8amish, Mr JCR is in a tailspin, this time he was re-enacting the opening scene in Four Weddings and a Funeral, he had set his alarm to get up and out for a ride, meeting his fellow cyclists at a park in North London. It seems there was a technical failure between his head and the phone, and thus no alarm. Lots of frantic running around ensued, by a swift espresso (him) a kiss good bye (him to me) then a nice snuggle under the duvet (me). The great thing about being a runner is unless you’re on an organised gig, then you can just go out when you choose. So I chose not to get up, but snuggle down and read the C25K Forum posts, because lots of plucky folk are doing the poppy runs today.

One mug of tea later, I finally surfaced and started getting out the running layers, we’d been warned today was going to be colder, so I tiptoed onto the balcony (please don’t get any ideas of grandeur here, it’s all of about 2 feet wide…) in my jammies, and yup it’s brass monkey weather.

I had set myself a goal of doing my third 10K run today, but yesterday whilst walking I could feel my right hamstring pulling a bit, so was unsure if I’d be okay. Still nothing ventured…

Appropriately dressed like a ninja, all black with just a hint of fluoro today, I donned my sexy Saucony’s and gasped as the air cut through. I was glad of my hat and gloves, started my warm off walk towards the City. I love running through the City at the weekend, because it’s usually so quiet compared to during the week and it’s like a secret place, where not many folk venture. But of course today is different, I passed many roadblocks and policemen with sub-machine guns, but far more encouragingly loads and loads of folk wearing their poppies with pride, some formally dressed in overcoats, shirts and ties, some with medals, some not. It wasn’t quite the sea of poppies that the Tower of London had a couple of years back, but still a lovely sight.

I ran towards the Tower and it was very very busy, so I hightailed it back to the City, after needing to strip off the jacket, hat and gloves as I was getting a bit warm. Running along Tower Hill, ‘fag ash Lil’ as she shall be known,  turned around from admiring the Trinity Square Gardens and tipped her fag ash over my leg, as I was running past. She did look somewhat sheepish afterwards and on a positive note at least she didn’t try to stub it out on me.

I continued back to the City, along Eastcheap – even more policemen, more road blocks and more sub-machine guns. Did a quick whizz along Cannon Street and headed towards the Guildhall – from a distance it had many flags hanging in the courtyard and barriers around. So I asked  a very nice young policeman if it was okay to run there, and he said yes there was no activity there today. It certainly is true when policemen all look young, you know you’re old….

At this point, it suddenly occurred to me that actually rather than just do the 10k today, I should try and do 11K, before 11am. My own mini tribute. I continued on into the City, past my old office no problem at all, past the Modern Pantry restaurant – much harder! – they do mean cocktails for Sunday mornings, and I have to say a cocktail would have been very welcome at that point. Continued up and past Moorfields Eye Hospital and up the City Road, coming in the opposite direction a sassy dude. We ‘met’ at a road junction and just as The Supremes were starting Nathan Jones, he crossed the road by doing a pirouette in the middle – obviously a Strictly fan!

Up to Angel Islington, and back down St John Street – I passed a few fellow runners here, some nods and smiles and I continued on towards Smithfield Market, overtaking a Liam Gallagher lookalike. Running through the ‘Top Gear’ tunnel, I noticed that loads of folk were taking selfies in front of the newest Banksy – it appeared I think on Friday night. This one is painted on acetate, so maybe he’s making them portable now? Just after hitting the 10k mark, I did  a wider loop to finish at our local coffee shop ‘Fix’ in Whitecross Street and at about 10.50am on Armistice Sunday, I clocked 11.11km – spooky!

Well done to all the poppy runners today, I promise to be in your number next year.

Playlist

Andy, You’re A Star – The Killers

Ben – Michael Jackson

Clint Eastwood – Gorillaz

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Denis – Blondie

Goodbye Earl – Dixie Chicks

Frankie –  Sister Sledge

Geno – Dexys Midnight Runners

Diary of Horace Wimp – ELO

Ivan Meets GI Joe – The Clash

Jackie Wilson Said – Dexys Midnight Runners

Song for Keith – Mike Strickland

Louie Louie – The Kingsmen

Mickey – Toni Basil

Nathan Jones – The Supremes

Oliver’s Army – Elvis Costello

Peter Gunn Theme – The Blues Brothers

The Mighty Quinn – Manfred Mann

Rudy – Supertramp

Girls and Boys – Blur

Telegram Sam – T Rex

Sharp Dressed Man – ZZ Top

Stats

Time 1.12.55

Distance 11.11km

Average Pace 6.33 (min/km)

Fastest Split 6.04

Squats – 3 x 15 sets of reps

Poppies – too many to count, but enough to appreciate

 

With Apologies To Gloria

Gaynor,  that is. I recently created the MummyCav playlist, On spotify

This is an A-Z of women’s names in song titles, with a few selected anthems in celebration of a fab C25Ker.

There is one notable omission, the karaoke fave, hen-night special ‘ I Will Survive’. Don’t get me wrong,  I love a bit of Gloria, ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’ love it, ‘Reach Out, I’ll Be There’ absolutely glorious.

But IWS, is one of my most hated songs ever, it’s a close run thing but that and ‘Once In A Lifetime’ by Talking Heads, make me both retch and reach for the off button, if they come on the radio.

Talking Heads, most folk agree, tend to be a Marmite Band, you either love or hate them… But disliking IWS is almost akin to saying you don’t believe in the sisterhood. In fact it’s not a dislike, I actually detest the song, I don’t like the lyrics, I don’t like the tune and sorry Gloria, I don’t like your voice on it either.

I dislike it so much that my very good  friends MandG actually tracked down an original single a couple of years back. Traded hard cash for the vinyl, on an Italian Motorway Service Station and gave it to me as part of our traditional Shit Christmas Present Swap. Inspired thinking on their part.

So Gloria, I am sorry and to paraphrase that awful song

And you see me, somebody new

I’ve never been that person, so in love with you

And when that song is played on Radio 2, I really do dislike you

So I’m afraid on my Spotify, I’m having to de-list you

Okay, it doesn’t scan, but please, I am no lyricist – mind you I don’t think the original lyrics are much better. And this was my playlist tribute to MummyCav on C25K and what tribute could include a song I loathe?

I am running on Sunday, and will be listening to the MummyCav playlist, secure in the knowledge that IWS will never appear on it!

p.s. Mr JCR loathes it too!

 

 

 

 

 

Shaking Off Elaine Paige – 7 November

My run invitation from Mr Smooth duly pinged on my phone (funnily enough I haven’t dated him in a long time) and this time I was awake when it arrived. Yesterday was a day of readjustment to London City life, after the slow, lazy and let’s be honest warm days of Italy, coming back to mucky, busy chilly London was always going to be tough.

Nonetheless I was prepared for this feeling and so all of my running kit was put ready and waiting; winking at me from the chest of drawers and coughing loudly each time I walked past it and didn’t stop to get changed. I think I had somewhat overestimated the level of cold though. Fleece lined running tights – check. Padded socks – check. Under layer with optional hood for cold weather – check. Running jacket  with interlining – check. Gloves – check. Neck buff – check. Now how about actually checking the weather? And not just by looking at the sky through the window, thinking ‘wow that looks cold’. Real live weather check revealed it was chilly but not neck buff weather.

Off I trotted, well walked mmm my internal thermometer obviously somewhat awry as the gloves came off before the warm-up walk was finished. Then I started my run – today was to be a cheeky 5km, after Saturday’s 10km. Now I do suffer from a number of syndromes, which make running hard. First of all, we have stupid tart syndrome, which is my ability to self injure through the most ridiculous actions – stepping off a non-slip shower tray anyone? No? – then how about missing a step in a bar, before you’ve actually had a drink? These two put me on the injury couch…doh.

Then there is my uncanny ability to invite faffolino into my life, just 5 minutes prior to doing a run. Faffolino is my prevarication weapon – thinking of cleaning the grout lines in the bathroom – yes why not do it just before a run, because that’s by far the best time to do it!

And finally, audience dahlingitis – this is when I am running and I feel the need to play to the gallery. Think Elaine Paige in all her stage-madame glory – that’s me when running in front of an audience (aka the rest of the world). I don’t sweep around with an entourage, or take endless curtain calls, but I do feel the need to ‘ham it up’ when running. In Italy I am not afflicted by this very often, because there is hardly anyone around to see me. London however, a different beast altogether. The warm up walk has to involve a screwed up intense looking face, combined with robotic jabbing arms, swinging up and down to indicate to the populus that this is serious walking, in fact warming up walking, and not ‘I am having a stroll’ walking.

Then we get onto the run itself, my speed seems to increase in direct proportion to the number of people around me – this is audience dahlingitis in action. Now that is a problem, because really I am a comfort runner not a speedy Gonzales runner. This morning the gloves were off literally and metaphorically, and I was running merrily to Alison By Elvis Costello (well the last bars, as he’d accompanied me on the warm up walk) and then Gloria by Laura Branigan came on. This, if you pardon the naming pun, is not a shrinking violet song and so I ran quite fast to give me my first km 6.05 mins. This is not great really, nor sustainable as I am still running anaerobically and I know I will pay for it later in the run. The second km comes up sub 6mins and the third sub 6 too. Ah yes at this point, the running gods extracted their payment – in the form of cramp in my right calf, and a curious leadweight feeling in my feet.

Any pretensions I now had of doing my very first 5k in 30 minutes, ran out of the door, and no amount of supportive audience numbers on the streets of London were going to bring it back. Not even the delivery driver who smartly sidestepped me and said ‘I’m sorry miss’. At 30 minutes 58 seconds I finished 5k. To make sure my adoring audience knew this was planned, I said (to no-one in particular) -‘oh good that’s nearly 30 minutes’.

Now I know I have to overcome audience dahlingitis, because clearly it’s a bizarre habit and I don’t do it in Italy, but this I think is till one of my fastest 5ks. So do I shake off Elaine Paige or not? And was my choice of running material a help? I’ve just created a new playlist, all based around lady’s names, with a few choice ‘anthemic’ songs too, and maybe the female focus got me to 5k faster.

Playlist

Alison – Elvis Costello

Gloria – Laura Branigan

Jean Genie – David Bowie

Dear Prudence – Siouxsie and the Banshees

Francine – ZZ Top

Kayleigh – Marillion

Oh Yoko – John Lennon

St Xenia – Katina

Valerie – Amy Winehouse

Uma Thurman – Fall Out Boy

Stats

Distance 5.80km (but stopped at 5km)

Time 39.12

Average Pace 6.45 (min/km)

Fastest km 5.49

Trainers – Saucony

Running Naked In The Forest – 2nd November

 

It was Halloween and we arrived at our friends’ house in Arnhem, we placed the two eyeballs on the front porch and rang the doorbell…. may I remind you that we are in fact slightly older than the normal 8 year old trick and treater.

We hid around the corner, heard the door open and I am sure our friend J called us wankers… Undeterred Mr JCR rang the bell again and we had to explain that there were two eyeballs on the ground. Epic fail on trick or treating – I think now we need to grow up a little. Then followed a very nice evening, food eaten, drinks drunk, and plans made for the next few days.

Next morning, I am not so quite bright and beautiful, nor early, but that was normal, we had travelled many miles and had a late night. Up and out to Arnhem, to do some runner shopping. In fact two pairs of trainers, two running tops, socks and pair of thermal running tights later, we returned to our friends for lunch and another glorious dinner with wine and cheese and wine and cake and so on. Also a small matter of meeting the PR lady from the ALS association in Holland to discuss our 2020 fund raising plan. More of that on a dedicated post another time…, as it warrants a lot of explanation and its own airtime.

So this morning, after having asked the Health Unlocked crew which trainers I should try for my run, it was a unanimous vote for the marine blue and citron Saucony.

Our friend G very kindly showed me where to run, as I am notorious for having little/no sense of direction. It all looked fine, I wanted to run for about 5k to run in the new trainers and be careful because of recent stupid tart syndrome injuries. The marine blue flashed in the sunlight and I ran down the tree lined avenue into a glorious parkland, met by many dog walkers, some walkers and  couple of cyclists. I did have a small flash of worry when I saw a lone man walking towards me with his dog, but when he got closer I reckoned I could outrun him anyway. Poor man, he had no idea that when he was out walking his pooch, a random English runner was looking at him sizing him up to see if she could outrun him in the case of him attacking her. The run was slow, getting used to new trainers and  trail terrain meant I didn’t feel very confident to belt along, but it was a lovely day, my trainers were fine and as you see the view of the trail was fantastic. The Boss chimed up “ I took a wrong turn and I just kept going” which was what I did next. My scheduled run route was supposed to be at a close but I was nowhere near my target 5k so I kept going until I hit 6, in my sexy Sauconys.

I got home and relayed my run to our friend G who said it was a great place to run especially for single females as it’s  very safe. So I felt really happy, then G follows it up with “ but there was one time when J (his wife) was running and thought she saw a naked man in the forest. It was summer, she blinked and looked again and sure enough it was a naked man. So she turned and ran away as fast as she could”. That surely is a way of getting a PB!

I had always read a lot about naked running, but I thought it meant running without music or any distractions, now I know it means (in Holland) that you truly run butt-naked…

Playlist

Map My Run didn’t record, but definitely

Thriller – Michael Jackson

Hungry Heart – The Boss

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Stats

Distance 6.87km but only 6 running

Time 54.27

Average Pace 7.55 mins/km

Naked Men – none.