21 Mar – Happy Idris To Me

It’s my birthday and so far I’ve been gifted Idris Elba, a dog, chocolate, more chocolate, a prison break tag, and a gait analysis.

Idris is by far the best gift of the day, even if only imaginary, although our friends G and J sent me a pic saying he’d see me soon.I wonder if he is in Granada and if his fiancée knows?

I had planned two x 18km runs whilst here – I blew out on the first one, and as a consequence my run plans are somewhat shot. I made up the first 18k yesteday  by doing another 7k, but that meant today  I wouldn’t be rested enough to try an 18km.

So I popped out with Idris to The Proclaimers singing I’m Gonna Be 500 Miles and almost got bundled over by 6 or 7 fellow runners, wearing leggings and carrying very heavy backpacks. They were almost dwarfed by the backpacks and they were all trying to beat a deadline – the 9am bell for infant’s school.

I continued on my way again for the delights of Lidl, roadworks, the post office, a slightly derelict industrial estate type place, the back end of the railway lines and similar. Most people come to Granada for the sights, whereas I have been running the shites.

With slightly aching hips, I managed just over 12km and then to my horror Map My Run lost the internet connection and my run was lost. I was almost in tears of frustration as my efforts had got lost somewhere in the inter web. Luckily it seems to have re-appeared, and I no longer have the dilemma of you all having to trust me when I say  I did actually run more than 12km.

Happy Idris to me, I think his silent company smiled on my run, and persuaded Doctor Google to fix my Map My Run. We are nowhere near 500 Miles but getting close to 500 kms now.

Playlist

I’m Gonna Be 500 Miles – The Proclaimers

Modern Love – David Bowie

Mr Brightside – The Killers

Enola Gay – OMD

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Disco 2000 – Pulp

Every Day I Love You Less And Less – Kaiser Chiefs

Somebody Told Me – The Killers

Let’s Stick Together – Bryan Ferry

She’s Electric – Oasis

Sign Of The Times – Harry Styles

Lucky You – The Lightning Seeds

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

Love In Itself – Dépêche Mode

Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine – The Killers

World In Motion – New Order

Sunny Afternoon – The Kinks

Susannah’s Still Alive – Ditto

See You – Dépêche Mode

Planet Earth – Duran Duran

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

Vienna – Ultravox

Beat Crazy – Joe Jackson

New Life – Dépêche Mode

Rio – Duran Duran

Stats

Distance 12.42

Time 1:31:14

Average Pace 7:20 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 85 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms done 487.1

Kms  to do 1530.9

 

 

20 Mar – Groaning in Granada

 

Alarm goes off early, grunt, groan and finally get up so we can be at the Alhambra early to get in on our timed ticket.

Breakfast early, very nice, stomachs groaning we make our way up the hill to the Alhambra.

Going green and groaning up the hill  via our own feet, we arrive at the imposing gates and enter. This palace/fortress was especially designed to conceal its access points and beauty from marauding hordes.

X hundred years later, it has done the same to us, we are in the wrong effing gate. Signs would have been useful, we thought, as we had to navigate our way out to the real entrance gate which was nowhere near or frankly nowhere near as imposing. Didn’t the internet ticket count? Apparently not, you had to exchange it for one that does. Where is the ticket place? – aha behind the cordoned off area, guarded by heavies. You have to ask the heavies to move to get in to swap your tickets. Aarrgghh, then you’re advised to make your way quickly to the Palace as you haven’t got much time….

The Alhambra is beautiful, but today was really really cold, and after an hour all four of us had lost feeling in our hands, so we duly retired to a nearby hotel lobby for a warming drink.

This was the Fawlty Towers of modern times. On one of the coldest days of the year the front door was wide open to attract Alhambran refugees, like us. The back door was also open to ensure you could enjoy the Moor inspired courtyard. You could also endure, sorry, enjoy the Arctic winds rushing through. We made a beeline for the cosy corner, the one with the radiator in it – plugged in at the wall. This however, like the intricacies of the Moorish design in the Alhambra palace, was just an optical illusion. The radiator was cold, the thermostat didn’t work, and heaven help the staff, who were bundled up against the cold, the whole place was as warm as your average salad crisping drawer in the fridge.

Undeterred, we ordered coffees and hot chocolate. We were told the chocolate had run out so would cocoa be okay. At this stage hypothermia was a distinct danger, so we said yes cocoa would be fine. It was a diy affair, the waiter who I shall refrain from calling Manuel, brought in the coffees and  jug of hot milk with two sachets of cocoa.

At this juncture the four of us were giggling away, as Mr JCR and I tried to froth up our cocoas. And every new order from a guest for a cocoa caused us to giggle more. We needed to use the bathrooms, which were, you’ve guessed it, outside in the Artic courtyard, without heating, hot water or heated hand blowers. After that visit we were back to being as cold as we were when we first arrived. My recommendation, visit the Alhambra in summer, or wear thermals and carry a flask of coffee and a hand towel…

After that interval the visit to the palace continued, pretty much without incident, but we were very cold. So a return visit to the tapas bar called. We took the edge off the day and meandered home merrily, no grunting or groaning this time.

This however, is not exactly pre -running preparation at its best. So a prevaricating snooze later I eventually got out to run, having missed the snow flurries. It was cold and slippy underfoot, I had in mind to run just 5k, in and around the town. My GPS kept falling out, so my tracking wasn’t great, but I did realise I had been running downhill way too much and that an uphill return would be necessary. In the end a sneaky 7km, and whilst I started off groaning at the thought of going out, it was lovely when I was out there.

Playlist

Lost in France – Bonnie Tyler

Une Nuit A Paris – 10cc

Penny Lane – The Beatles

Vienna – Ultravox

Going Down To Liverpool – The Bangles

Massachussetts – Bee Gees

Boston Tea Party – Sensational Alex Harvey Band

Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel

Africa – Toto

Wonderful World – Sam Cooke

San Francisco – Scott Mackenzie

Go Wild In The Country – Bow Wow Wow

Stats

Distance 7.05km

Duration 54:18

Average Pace 7:42 (mins/km)

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms to date 474.7

Kms to run 1543.43

 

 

 

 

 

19 Mar – Planning vs. Reality

In my head I was running 18km today. In my stomach were the dregs of yesterday’s commute from London to Granada. Namely, red wine, gin and tonic, and a late night gin fizz cocktail, from an un-named bar, where collectively Mr JCR, our friends N&A, and me raised the average age from about 25 to around 60.

In this bar, we also reduced the average tattoo and piercing count, and noticed that most of the punters started paying their bills when we arrived. Clearly we were not their normal clientele. But it was very friendly including the wolf dog on a steel and leather lead – a bit like the circus poster…

I was out at 8.30 am to do the 18km, I quickly realised that it wasn’t going to happen when my first km split was over 8 minutes. Maybe the post dinner gin fizz wasn’t the best prep?

In the distance I could see a couple of runners, so I thought it might be a good idea to follow them. I have no idea if they were warming or cooling down or doing some weird shit exercise routine, but every 10/15 paces they stopped to lunge and stretch various body parts. I do my stretching in the privacy of my own home, no one needs to see my lycra groaning, nor me for that matter. I overtook them and continued to see the world famous sights and sites of Granada. Bus station, Repsol petrol station, Lidl, road closure, primary school, tram lanes.

A quick detour back to the Airbnb to divest hat, gloves and running jacket and I was on my way. Tragically, not to the 18km though. I just wasn’t feeling quite right, coupled with the fact that I seemed to have run most of Granada – bar the hill and that famous palace.

Tomorrow is tourist stuff, visiting the Alhambra and so on. The weather is supposed to be turning a little more beastly, so today with fairly mild weather to take advantage of, we enjoyed very nice free tapas which is a thing in Granada, an interesting afternoon lunch/drink and  lovely evening meal. The red wine Munana is delicious and La Tana wine bar particularly grand.

This may not be the best preparation for serious running, but it’s a lot of fun.

Playlist

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

Girls on Film – Duran Duran

Hungry Like The Wolf – Ditto

New Moon On Monday – Ditto

Notorious – Ditto

Planet Earth – Ditto

Go Wild In The Country – Bow Wow Wow

Gold – Spandau Ballet

House Of Fun – Madness

Night Boat To Cairo – Ditto

Our House – Ditto

I Am The Law – Human League

I Can’t Stand Up – Elvis Costello

Oliver’s Army – Ditto

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

Is Vic There? – Department S

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Joan of Arc – OMD

Maid of Orleans – Ditto

The Look Of Love – ABC

Love’s Unkind -Donna Summer

New Life – Dépêche Mode

People are People – Ditto

Personal Jesus – Ditto

Night Fever – Bee Gees

No More I Love Yous – The Lover Speaks

Doesnt Make It Alright – Stiff Little Fingers

Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake

Temptation – Heaven 17

Every Day I Love You Less and Less – Kaiser Chiefs

I Predict A Riot – Ditto

Modern Way – Ditto

Na Na Na Na Naa – Ditto

China Girl – David Bowie

Statistics

Distance 12.71 km

Time 1:38:19

Average Pace 7:44 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 106 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms done 467.6

Kms to do 1550.4

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 Feb – Anyone Got A Spare Core?

pexels-photo-191845.jpeg
This is my ‘core’ shape, notice the distinct lack of any definition…

 

As I think I need one, preferably in good working order, as opposed to mine, which is not so much a core as a doughnut hole.

Part of this running thing is making sure I am in as reasonable shape as possible, mainly to ward off any injuries and illness. But I have a teensy confession, I haven’t really done the post -run stretches much.

Mainly because:-

  1. they are boring
  2. they take time I don’t want to give
  3. I’m not awfully bendy, despite me going on a ‘get more bendy’ course last year

I do squats and on non running days the vampire kettlebells come out for an airing. But even on non-running days I don’t do stretches, for the three reasons given above. And then I found the perfect reason, according to a random article I found c/o Dr Google (who can always be relied upon for any get out clause), which said most people haven’t the foggiest idea on how to stretch properly or even when they do they don’t do it for long enough. Which takes me right back to reason number 2! From time to time I use the torture instrument known as the foam roller, although seriously not enough.

Can’t remember who said ‘I think, therefore I am’, but in my case it changes to  ‘I don’t stretch because I’m not bendy, I’m not bendy because I don’t stretch’.

But I have signed up to do a Lenten challenge which so far includes something called a hollow body – I wish, followed by press-ups. Now I did do the wall press-ups, the hollow body thing – mmm I think I just found out where the core is supposed to be. These are all stretchy things.

Somewhere in the doughy recesses  of my stomach, there is an ache. I think this could be my long lost core calling out to me. In fact she is shouting in pain ‘WTF, do you think you are doing JCR?’

Add to that the humiliation of Mr JCR actually finding me doing wall press-ups. The squatting, hollow body thing and press-ups, have been hitherto an undiscovered secret. And now my secret is out, I am trying to do something about my core.

Me and my core have history. Imagine the excruciatingly embarrassing situation of being measured for a school play outfit at secondary school (I was about 14 at the time) and your bust, waist and hip measurements being exactly the same. That’s right at 14, I was shaped like a toilet roll tube and the teacher commented on the lack of a waist. Since then my lack of a core has been hidden from the public, and now it’s out there.

I have no expectation that my waist will emerge, swan-like after having been an ugly duckling for so long. But if I get this core thing right, apparently it will strengthen my running. And if core stretching works, then maybe, just maybe I will stretch after a run.

But that’s after Mistress Howling Wolf (my new name for the hurting core) has stopped shrieking in protest. It is Tuesday, she started shrieking on Saturday… I do wish she’d shut up, as we may get stopped at Airport Security.

Today is officially a running rest day, so squatting, hollow bodying and wall press-ups will have to wait until we get back to London.

BIG THANKS TO RITA – for the very kind sponsorship donation for my Alzheimer’s Challenge. Thanks so much and see you in April!

 

Feb 19 – So Long Sunshine

It’s been nice seeing you again, I’d quite forgotten what grey skies look like.

Winter training camp well what’s to be said about it…

Upsides

Weather is much nicer, so it feels easier to run

Having an apartment means you can do home laundry for all the sports gear

Eating and drinking locally is fab, I’d forgotten just how much I like tapas

Getting to run by the side of the beach is glorious, there’s always something to look at (even if you don’t want to see what’s there!)

You get to feel the City a little more, rather than just being a tourist doing the sights

Downsides

Weather is much nicer, so it feels easier to run – therefore no excuses not to

Having an apartment means you can do home laundry for all the sports gear, but I do feel like a laundromat assistant doing ‘service washes’

Eating and drinking locally is fab, I’d forgotten just how much I like tapas, and how they are not the ideal ‘training’ food

Suggested running routes don’t always tell you what you will find; once leading to a sharp exit from an alley where I felt decidedly out of place

You don’t get as much time as you imagine to ‘see the sights’

I came out with a mental plan to ‘do’ 40 km in the 5 days I was here and that’s quite a smoking 8km per day; whereas the most I’d done previously was 7. In actual fact, I’ve run just over 45kms in my time here, so a little better than I thought with a daily average of 9kms. The benefit of sunshine therefore comes out at 1km a day  I don’t know whether Mr JCR will consider the cost benefit analysis a strong one… 😉

Oh and a sunny wave to ju-ju who had a crap start to the day.

Playlist

A New England – Billy Bragg

Is This The Way To Amarillo – Tony Christie

London Calling – The Clash

Strong – London Grammar

No Particular Place To Go – Chuck Berry

Maid of Orleans – OMD

Romeo and Juliet – Dire Straits

Penny Lane  – The Beatles

Rio – Duran Duran

Vienna – Ultravox

Belfast Child – Simple Minds

Going Down To Liverpool – The Bangles

Black Eyed Boy – Texas

California Dreaming’ –  The Mamas and The Papas

Avalon – Roxy Music

Grease – Frankie Valli

Japanese Boy – Aneka

Big in Japan – Alphaville

What A Wonderful World – Sam Cooke

Rhythm Is Going To Get You – Gloria Estefan and The Miami Sound Machine

Streets of Philadelphia – The Boss

Downtown – Petula Clark

Barbados – Typically Tropical

Stats

Distance 10.52 kms

Time 1:21:00

Average Pace 7:42 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 28 metres

Running Streak = 5 days (but tomorrow is a rest day as we fly home) (12km, 10km, 6km, 6km, 10km)

Team Rhomboid Torture (or Lenten Challenge)

20 squats

6 Hollow Rocks holding 10 seconds

20 Wall Press Ups

1 knackered body

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run to Date 257.6

Kms to Do 1760.40

(Hopefully I’ll have kicked in to the 1600s by the end of Feb)

 

 

18 Feb – You Can Take The Girl Out of Liverpool

 

But you most definitely can’t take Liverpool out of the girl. Last night’s gourmet feast was in a little restaurant we had seen on Thursday evening and thought it looked good. Had we looked at the menu? – no. Had we looked at the price point? – no. On what did we base our judgement – we liked the decor. Luckily the decor judgement seemed to work for the food and we had a very nice meal. Oh and a fantabulous bottle of Rioja too.

Starters for Mr JCR – some kind of sausage – it sounded chorizo like, so I assumed it would be like a charcuterie plate. No it was a sausage, with fries and a dipping sauce. Mine was dead easy – the menu had me at ‘morcilla’ – which is the Spanish version of black pudding, a rare treat, that I eat about twice a year.When I do this in France or Spain the locals  often wonder if the Englishwoman has gone mad and knows what she has ordered. I have been questioned about it before – in Paris, a colleague asked ‘you do know that is black sausage don’t you?’ Yes I was fully conversant and I expected my morcilla, maybe with some spinach, or apple or a mustard sauce. No, it came with chips. This is all fine, except Mr JCR had ordered his main course of steak and chips and me, well I’d wimped out on the chips and had the ‘healthy’ baked potato option.

Last night’s healthy preparatory meal for today’s run and Mr JCR’s bike ride was basically meat and spuds, twice. I thought the Northern gods would be smiling at my conversion of a namely pamby Southerner.

With what felt like 10 tons of meat and spuds weighing me down, I was wavering whether or not to run. I wavered for at least two hours, whilst reading the newspaper. And then it came to the crunch time – read the rest of the paper and blag to Mr JCR that my hips were too sore to run or be honest and go out for a run. To my surprise, honesty won, and I ran. It wasn’t record beating, certainly it was slow, but it was a run and I did City sights today, having pounded the seafront one too many times for interest.

Malaga is undergoing quite a renaissance, and so it seems in the area I found (well I think the Malaguenans built it a little while ago) I’m not claiming Christopher Columbus rights here. And I was running in a chichi paved and shaded area near the port, with a modern art Rubik’s cube thing. This break is all about the running and riding, so we aren’t spending much time doing cultural stuff, but definitely worth a return visit, when my legs aren’t aching so much that I’d happily go for a walk.

Running lessons learnt today:-

Meat and spuds twice is not the best prep for a morning run

I need to travel with my own pillow; Ikea’s finest just aren’t hacking it

Following Team Rhomboid’s 40 day Lenten Exercise Plan, is bloody hard work – and I am only on Day 2. Wall press-ups anyone?

Playlist

I Don’t Want To Go To Chelsea – Elvis Costello

I Spy – Pulp

Start – The Jam

Minnie The Moocher – The Blues Brothers

In My Bed – Amy Winehouse

When You’re Young – The Jam

Don’t Look Back – Madness

In My Life – The Beatles

Darlin’ – The Beach Boys

Boom Boom – John Lee Hooker

Smokestack Lightnin’ -Howlin’ Wolf

Heroes – David Bowie

I Love To Boogie – T Rex

London Traffic – The Jam

Round & Round – New Order

Stats

Distance 6.22km

Time 48:15

Average Pace 7:45 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 28 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run To Date 247.1km

Kms To Run 1770.9km

 

 

 

 

 

 

17 Feb – Wimp or Wally?

You decide, after a very long night’s sleep and an understanding Mr JCR who knew exactly why I needed to crash, I thought I may just go for a walk today, rather than run.

But then why walk when you can run? (even if it is now ‘glacial pace’*) and furthermore the run counts towards your Alzheimer’s Challenge, whereas walking wouldn’t.

I toddled off, in fact it was like treading on hot coals, but I really slowed down and took the coastal path along the seafront, wearing running shorts for the first time this year. Running shorts without a pocket, so some frantic re-arranging of my shoelaces and I managed to put the Airbnb keys in my trainers.

Today saw a significant number of folk on the beach and the beach barbecues were all in force, giving a very nice aroma en route. These are formed in steel boats and the fish/shellfish are skewered vertically to cook. It was very appetising seeing fresh sea bream and prawns cooking, if a little tempting to just pack in the run and have lunch instead.

I had got used to the jingle of keys accompanying me and then all of a sudden, no jingle. The Airbnb keys had worked out, so a slight retracing of steps and I continued on.

At one stage I was so slow I was overtaken by a pedestrian, but then I’m guessing they haven’t run 20+km in the past two days.

It was warm, my pace was dreadful but I snuck in another 6km. This is day 3 of running a 4 day streak. I am not sure my body can deal with it. Still, we are eating out tonight and I have plenty of time to rest before going out tomorrow.

Must up the water intake, as today I saw a thermometer saying 22 degrees; Southern Spain is hotting up. Upside, I didn’t wimp out – downside, I may have overcooked days 1 and 2, so that probably makes me a Wally.

At the final countdown in December, we will find out.

* gratefully plagiarised from The Devil Wears Prada

Playlist

Please Don’t Go – Madness

Please Please Me – The Beatles

Please Stay – Duffy

Politik – Coldplay

Pop Muzik – ‘M’

Porcelain Gods – Paul Weller

Precious – The Jam

Press Lightly – Paloma Faith

Prettiest Star – David Bowie

Pretty Vacant – Sex Pistols

The Price Of Admission – Stiff Little Fingers

The Price of Love – Bryan Ferry

Pride (In The Name Of Love) – U2

(obviously I didn’t shuffle my playlist…)

Stats

Distance 6.86kms

Time 1:04:59

Average Pace 9:28 (see, it’s getting much worse this is 3mins a km worse than my usual)

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 240.9

Kms To Do 1777.1

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