15 Mar – The Deluded Conundrum

 

Having basked in the tired glory of having done 22km over two days, I thought today I would do a nifty 5km.

That was the plan, in my head I was going to semi-sprint (I know – it isn’t a word) around the City and get back home with warm up and cool-down done in about 40 minutes. The principle being, the quicker I get the less time it will take me to do the challenge and leave me some spare ‘non-running oriented’ time.

In my head I was semi-sprinting, in my legs I wasn’t – as became apparent at the end of the run. I came across Fruiterers Passage on the North Bank – I’ve never been in there before and managed a quick pic looking back at the Shard. There were quite a few couples walking and in hand on a nice sunny day in London on the North Bank, all being buzzed by a middle-aged sweaty runner.

Running back home, I passed Polpo – one of the few Italian restaurants in London I’d  actually eat in. They have a festive menu celebrating women’s achievements. I thought it may be worth a visit, then I saw the menu – Broccoli – yuck, Gnocchi – yuck, yuck and Wet Polenta – yuck, yuck, yuck. No conundrum there, I’ll wait until we are back in Italy to eat Italian food.

But my actual conundrum is this – if I can run faster I can get the challenge done without it taking all my spare time and energy. But to move from arthritic semi-sprinting to proper fast running , means I need to do interval training. Interval training is short, sharp sprinting, interspersed with less-fast running. But when I’ve tried this before I can only manage 35 minutes and cover about 3km – and that is far short of my stated 5km minimum run for the challenge. I haven’t got enough energy to be able to do the interval training as well as the challenge, nor would it be healthy, as I wouldn’t be giving my bod any rest time.

The challenge will have to stay as it is, and I will put the idea of semi-sprinting/sprinting into the area of brain for middle aged delusions.

Playlist

I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Culture Club

Cars – Gary Numan

The Tears Of A Clown – The Beat

Trapped – Colonel Abrams

Enola Gay – OMD

I Am The Law – Human League

The Reflex – Duran Duran

Electricity – OMD

Temptation – Heaven 17

All She Wants Is – Duran Duran

Vienna – Ultravox

Two Tribes – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Planet Earth – Duran Duran

Stats

Distance 5.58km

Time 35:19

Average Pace 6:19 (mins/km) – absolutely rubbish not sprinting at all

Elevation Gain 40 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 435.6

Kms To Do 1582.4

Team Rhomboid Torture

No instructions there, so I’ll do some squats and something interesting with a kettle bell… (who thought that could even be a phrase?)

 

1 Mar – Mad As A March Hare

When I was checking out my blog yesterday –  the statistics information told me that someone had got to my pages by searching for

‘nude man walking in forest’.

Now as it happens there is a post way back in October that mentions just this thing, thank goodness it didn’t happen to me, but it did happen to my dear friend J, when she was running near her home in Arnhem.

This got me to wondering, which male or female was it that was searching for that phrase and why? I wonder whether they were upset when they read my blog post, because they were hoping for something meatier?

We’ve all heard how you have to be somewhat careful on your search arguments in Dr Google, and of all the things one might look for, this seems somewhat odd. There has to be easier ways of finding pictures or stories of naked men…

Today I went running in Regents Park again, colder than yesterday, slippier than yesterday and more mad runners out than yesterday. All of us as mad as a March hare – and please excuse the pics, but in one of them two runners had bare legs and one had a short sleeved tee-shirt on. He was almost naked for crying out loud (this gratuitous nude reference included so that the random searcher from yesterday may just find two things on here they want to read)

Much more arctic in feel and the run at times was very hard – Mr Fluoro lapped me at least twice… I am consoling myself with the thought that I didn’t see him yesterday, so I may have run more than him over the two days.

Run done, tomorrow is a rest day, where I will be channelling my inner Marie Antoinette. Sleeping in late, eating cake and drinking hot chocolate…

Playlist

Alison – Elvis Costello

Caroline – Status Quo

Dirty Diana – Michael Jackson

Eloise – The Damned

Francine – ZZ Top

Helena – My Chemical Romance

Poison Ivy – The Lambrettas

The Jean Genie – David Bowie

Shake It Off – Taylor Swift

Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

Kayleigh – Marillion

Layla – Derek And The Dominoes

Maggie May – Rod Stewart

Darling Nikki – His Purple Highness

Ophelia – The Band

Dear Prudence – Siouxsie And The Banshees

Queen of Clubs – KC And The Sunshine Band

Roxanne – The Police

Teresa – Eddie Cochran

Single Ladies – Beyonce

Uma Thurman – Fall Out Boy

Valerie – Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson

Wendy – The Beach Boys

St Xenia – Katina

Oh Yoko – John Lennon

Stats

Distance 8.75km

Time 1:21:22

Average Pace 9:17 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 33 metres

Alzheimers Challenge

Kms Done 331.7

Kms to Do 1686.30

Team Rhomboid Torture

2 x sets of 10 reps of squats

(couldn’t do anything else was shattered – will revisit tomorrow)

BIG SHOUT OUT TO JU-JU & SLOW LORIS FOR MY CHALLENGE SPONSORSHIP – THANKS A BUNCH. 

 

27 Feb – The Toxic Tens

 

In running there is a well known affliction called the Toxic Tens. This is all about how long it takes your body to realise you’re being serious about exercise and oxygenating your bloodstream accordingly to manage the demands of the exercise. Typically it takes 10 minutes for your body to be running aerobically.

In fairness, most runners suffer from the Toxic Tens,  but here are the other afflictions, that trip me up from time to time, or if I’m unlucky – on every bloody run.

The ‘Orrible Ones – this is the first km you are doing, having left the warmth and comfort of the sofa. It’s ‘horrible and frankly you wonder why you bothered, as you feel sluggish and are actually running like a slug.

The ‘Trocious Twos – this is when the Toxic Tens are at their worst, you’ve done the first kilometre and now you’re thinking things will get better. But they don’t and the beginning of the second kilometre is atrocious. In fact I run like an asthmatic badger at this point.

The Throbbing or Twingeing Threes – at this stage your body realises you’re out for a run and starts those irritating little niggles, just to put you off your stride. Throbbing knee anyone? Yup, why not throw in an aching hamstring for good measure? Cramp in the arch of your foot? These are all typical of the Throbbing or Twingeing Threes.

The Effing Fours and Fives. According to all running advice, this is when you are hitting your stride nicely, it is all settling down. Except the effing fours and fives all too often coincide with the ‘where the effing hell is the nearest loo?’ None of us want to do a Paula Radcliffe, so you end up buying an unwanted cup of coffee to use the loo. Repeat every 5 kms. It’s effing annoying and expensive in equal measure.

The Shitty Sixes. Too close to the 5km for you to think you’ve cracked the run, but not far enough to be close enough to the elusive 10km. This is when mentally I become Marvin the Paranoid Android. Obsessive recalculating of my running totals vs. the plan and wondering if anyone would really notice if I walked for a km or two. Random phrases and curses pop out of my mouth at this phase, startling passers-by.

The Sodding Awful Sevens – aha this is when your running kit starts playing up. I have a pair of Dutch running tights. Why is it important that the tights are Dutch? Because the Dutch are the tallest people in the world, and I am not. This means at 7km I can guarantee my Dutch leggings will be working their way down my legs. Giving me a bare arse and wrinkled ankles at exactly the same time. A sort of granny gangsta look and not in a good way.

The Endurance Eights – at this stage of a run at eight kms and more, my running times start slipping and my running pace starts looking remarkably similar to my walking pace. This is the point when you will be overtaken by all/any of the following;-

  • Mum/Dad with BugaBoo pram
  • 2, 3, 4, 5 year olds
  • Dog walker
  • Moody ‘emo’ teenager
  • Man walking whilst looking at mobile phone
  • Fast walker
  • Pensioner with a limp
  • Skateboarder
  • Plonker on a scooter
  • Asthmatic badgers

The Naff Nines – when the body is weak and the spirit is weaker. This is often my ‘give up’ kilometrage point.

And so we return to the Toxic Tens. And today on my run I was afflicted by:-

The Throbbing or Twingeing Threes – weird ache in right arm and shoulder

The Shitty Sixes – near the MI6 building – suddenly realising it was at least 6 kms home and I didn’t fancy it much, not helped by a passing guy saying hup, hup, hup as I ran past.

Also anyone got any idea why a busker thought singing ‘Driving Home For Christmas’ by Chris Rea was appropriate 2 days before March? I know it was snowing a bit, but even so. He was la la la-ing on the giveaway lyric, but it was still evidently recognisable.

Playlist

Stray Cat Strut – Stray Cats

Keep on Running – Spencer Davis Group

Happy – Pharrell

Smile – Lily Allen

Pink Panther Theme – Henry Mancini

Smile – Gregory Porter

Under Pressure – Queen and David Bowie

Easy – Commodores

Nowhere Fast – Eminem feat Kehlani

Compression – Francesco Digilio

One Step Beyond – Prince Buster

Rest – Charlotte Gainsbourg

To Jan – Leonard Anderson

Miami Vice Theme – Jan Hammer

Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty

Running Up That Hill – Kate Bush

Ju Ju Man – Dave Edmunds

The Streak – Ray Stevens

Question – The Moody Blues

Advice For The Young At Heart – Tears for Fears

There Are More Questions Than Answers – Johnny Nash

Fools Rush In – Ricky Nelson

Down Under – Men At Work

Stats

Distance 14.75km

Time 1:39:31

Average Pace 6.44 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 108 metres

Alzheimers Challenge

Kms Done 314.9

Kms to do 1703.10 (next time out I’ll be under the 1700s)

Team Rhomboid Torture

Yesterday’s instructions were to do burpees – I can burp and I can pee, I just can’t do burpees. So I didn’t do a thing, nothing, nada, zip.

Waiting for today’s instructions, so am guessing  I will squat, wall press and hollow rock again.

 

 

 

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!

 

20 Jan – Pain, Rain, and Train

malaga

Today is supposed to be a running day, but I wimped out. A combination of cold and the wet, coupled with a two day old migraine, means I can’t pound the pavements today. This bloody migraine better go by tomorrow, otherwise my deficit will increase, rather than decrease, which is not my plan at all.

And so, somewhat reluctantly I have to make a doctor’s appointment to discuss these migraines, which are new to me but coming with increasing regularity. As my diet seems biased towards the inclusion of trigger foods such as coffee, chocolate, dairy and wine (all of which I love), it seems sensible to find out what I should be doing (from a proper Doctor and not Dr Google), especially as I’ve read from the latter that running can be a trigger.

However, on a positive front, Mr JCR has just booked our very first Winter Training Camp, him for cycling and me for running. For a St Valentine’s Day treat (not really), we are going to Malaga for 5 days, specifically to do some training in the warmer climes of Southern Spain, and if it works out okay, then we are going to make it a regular event. It seems rather self indulgent deciding to evade the gloom and doom of February, which always seems to be the worst month of the year, but it is a nice and healthy indulgence, although Tapas and Rioja may prove to be our undoing.

Tomorrow is another day, and so provided I have no pain, regardless of any rain, I will train and run the pale blue squares of the Monopoly board.

Today, because of no running I have to do the cursed Vampire Kettlebell exercises, maybe I will do lunges as well as the Number One dead lift. Squats already done!

 

 

19 Jan – Vampires Out

of the cupboard that is. Today is a running rest day but the pesky Vampire Kettlebells saw the light of day today. In truth, only one saw the light of day, but as vampires die in sunlight, I had to be careful.

I am a lightweight on weightlifting and Razouski my C25K running buddy, donated her ‘Kettlercise’ routine to me. I’d like to say a sincere thank you, however I don’t think I can… OMG she swings these things for an hour. An hour! Is she mental? Rhetorical question obviously.

Out of the umpteen hellish exercises, (kindly donated) I settled on 10 reps of the dead lift, after having done my squats. The dead lift could also be called a Figure One Exercise, as the Figure Eight Exercise, looks way too hard at my pathetic level. And besides which we live in a small apartment, and there’s no room to do a figure of eight.

So that’s my amazing effort, but it is a start and I have made progress, not an excuse. And for that I am pleased. And if ever any of you are approached by a fit, singing runner, with penchant for 80s music and she suggests she could donate her Kettlercise routine to you, I’d suggest you run as fast as you can…

12 December – Up Speed or Deeps Pu?

I had committed to run today, to make up for a lovely indulgent week with friends N&A.  Of course, I made that commitment before having checked the weather.

We didn’t have two feet of snow in London, but we did have a considerable amount of frost and ice. As a street pounder when I am in London, it’s not awfully convenient to get to a park for a nice run. And to be honest, the thought of getting a tube to Regents Park for a run didn’t appeal, given I’d get really cold on the cool-down.

So bright spark that I was, I thought I’d do the Couch To 5K Speed Programme today instead and do it on the Barbican Highwalk. This is an interval training programme designed to help you work faster and harder at your running, increasing your speed and calorie consumption.

After a morning/lunch time/early afternoon of Faffolino visiting at my behest, which went pretty much like this:-

Cup of tea to wake up properly – of course Faffolino, why hadn’t I thought of that?

Sort out the laundry – oh it definitely needs doing, before I can run.

Cup of coffee and breakfast – sure can’t run on an empty stomach (in fact I can and do and prefer to)

Walk up to the fish shop – definitely necessary – a good protein source for today’s run

Grocery shopping – woman cannot live on salmon alone…

Do the ironing – well we have a visitor coming, so it’s better to get it done

Sew on a press-stud onto a summer shirt – self evidently a critical task

I was just about to eye up another ‘must do’ task, of wrapping up two last minute Christmas presents, when Mr JCR interjected ‘I thought you were going for a run, after you’d done the ironing?’. BUGGER, my prevarication had been sussed, so I somewhat reluctantly got changed into my kit. And as ever, my resolve always comes back when I am in kit.

A stroll to the Barbican Highwalk, with my runners buff up by my nose, hat on, double layer of gloves, including the amazing LED finger gloves above. Then Laura started all friendly…. but I know she’s a mean son of a gun. I’m all for girl power, but daughter of a gun, doesn’t sound the same.

Walk for 5 minutes on the 1,2,3,4 beat, which is fine whilst she’s counting, but when it comes to me and my counting, well I go a little awry and I use the 5 minutes to check out my running route – around the mini duck pond. No ducks but rather a lot of duck poo. There are some little patches of ice, so I note their whereabouts and carry on. 5 minutes warm up walk done – by this stage according to Laura my muscles should be nicely warm …mmm, I’m not so sure. It’s flipping freezing and my legs feel a bit leaden, but here we go.

Number One interval – 5 minutes of warm up running to a 150 bpm pace, apparently you can still count it on 1,2,3,4 they are just faster 1,2,3,4s. Well done JCR, you did that one – ah yes I’d forgotten, that’s just the warm up run. Ho hum, okay now Laura ups the ante, still the 1,2,3,4 count; only a heck of a lot faster at 165bpm. My little legs are going like pistons, but I am pleased I get it done…

Then my ‘comfortable’ pace run (according to Laura) but she can’t see my face or hear my breathing…, at which point I come up with a better pacing mechanism than the boring 1,2,3,4 count. I find I can run at the right pace whilst rasping ‘I hate Lau -Ra’ – it isn’t anything personal you understand, but these interval runs are crappy, necessary but crappy. Followed up by the sprint, it is too fast for me to curse at Laura, I content myself with wheezing a generic ‘F..k,  F..k, F..kety, F..k’

Comfortable Pace Run 3 to 6 –  four x sixty seconds of I hate Lau-Ra, which frankly on   the last one, was bloody uncomfortable, with a knee twingeing away.

Sprints 3 to 6 –  it has to be said the pace dropped somewhat, from my initial enthusiastic F..k, F..k, F..kety, F..k, to a more sedate F..k, F..kety, F..k, – I dropped a F..k, as my speed slowed.

What did I learn today?

  1. I have to do interval training to up my speed, so these training runs have to be done
  2. I really need to use Laura for something else other than speed training, as I am not sure she deserves the abuse
  3. My timing and coordination is shocking
  4. Prevarication serves no useful purpose whatsoever, and it’s much better just to go and run
  5. I had hoped to Up Speed, but it was really hard work and at the end I was in the reverse ‘deep spu’ and ended up with a slightly twangy knee and a stitch

In summary, Laura and I are probably going to have to keep dating, but Mr Smooth please, please can you come up with a programme that I like, or is that impossible?

Face Colour -Monarch Red

Playlist

Nothing – just the bizarre running beat that Laura and Audiofuel recommend – I hate it!

Stats

Distance – 3.75km including the warm up and down walks

Time 26.32 mins

Pace 7.04 mins/km (including walk elements)

Squats 3 X 15 sets of reps.