Week 16 Run 1 – Running for Team Violet – Beyond C25K

 

It’s a Saturday and it’s a six number on the clock. Ouch for a teenager in sleeping habit, early morning starts are definitely a tough challenge. Maybe not quite as tough as climbing Everest, or circumnavigating the world by pedalo, but on my ‘ I’d rather not’ list.

Today is Part 2 of the Rainbow Relay Challenge with the Facebook Beyonders running group, of which I am a happy, but amateur member. We are divided into teams and each day one team member does a run for 19 minutes and logs their distance, passing on the baton to the next team member. Last time out I managed 2.66km in 19 minutes in a cool, flat London.

This time round, it’s not about the overall distance, but whether you can exceed your last run and by how much. There’s no ‘minus shaming’ , so if you can’t manage to do more, then that’s fine. My plan was to do my warm up walk, and start my run doing at least 10 minutes so that I was nicely warmed up, for my 19 minute stint.

It’s hilly here, and it’s not cool. The challenge to exceed my time and distance marker last time out was not going to be easy.

Plan going swimmingly, on my warm up walk, I was passed by a nice collie dog accompanied by his owner Iron Man

We made our usual ‘buongiornos’ and continued each on our own way. Up via Lovers’ Lane, past the barking beagle house, where I received my usual cacophonous welcome but I saw they were out and about, so no jumping in mid air for me. No-one around just me and no music today, and I decided to run naked,  to aid focus on stopping Map My Run at 19 minutes – which is not easy to do either:-

  1. The app is on my phone
  2. The phone is in an armband – with a handy window for pressing the buttons
  3. The handy window no longer works, so you have to remove the armband and
  4. Remove the phone and enter the security code
  5. Go to the app and see if you’re close to 19 minutes  (it only does time reminders every 5 minutes, therefore giving squeaky bum time during the last 4 minutes when you’re not quite sure how far in you are)
  6. Put the phone back if you haven’t reached the 19 minute mark – and reverse steps 1 and 2
  7. Complete steps 1-6 and repeat as necessary until 19 minutes is reached
  8. Take a screenshot to prove what you did

I started my Team Violet run in The Hill That Kills, and made sure I was running quite fast (well fast for me) to maintain momentum and so I could make sure I didn’t let Team Violet down. Onto the Bendy scary road, and I dart into Lovers’ Layby (the alternative destination for lovers who can’t be arsed driving another couple of kilometres for ‘the love’ in Lovers’ Lane) to avoid the number 73 bus. In fairness he’s quite a nice bus driver, he usually steers a wide berth, but sometimes with oncoming traffic that’s not possible, still I always feel nervous when the bus is around.

There’s another blind bend coming up and a tradesman’s pick up truck whistles past, I can feel the hairs on my arms stand with the draught. Listening to my breathing I’m conscious that I’m pushing it a little too much and should slow down, there’s no point in me blowing up on the challenge. Luckily the shade remains and I spend a happy few minutes trotting along with nothing to do /see. Then in the distance I spy Inappropriate clothing man only thank goodness, he is riding up the hill as I am running down, and hallelujah he is wearing black cycling shorts. 😉

My alarm goes and I’m chuffed to bits – I’ve exceeded my last run – 2.92km in 19 minutes…

Now lets see how Team Violet does overall – we won the challenge last time, so standards need to be maintained!

Stats

Distance 2.91km plus the 1.7km I did on the earlier part

Time – well what difference does it make? – I did do 2.91kms in 19 minutes

Physio

Yup – except for the stuff requiring a yoga mat

Jump Rope

I managed 43 continuous skips… but I did also manage only 21, 10 and 7 in my previous attempts

Music

None – all naked running

 

 

 

Week 15 Run 2 – Running From Brexit

 

 

 

I don’t really care how people voted in the referendum, because we all have different perspectives and reasons for making the decisions we do. There is no such thing as a right or wrong referendum result, it’s just a result. I don’t want to chat to the ‘other side’ about their decision vs. mine, because that way all hell ensues and as I’ve read many times friendships can break over this question.

Unfortunately for us, the referendum now has real, unimagined consequences. Pre -referendum our life plan was to live more or less half and half between Italy and the UK. Being an EU citizen meant we could achieve that with little impact on our lives in either country.

But sadly no more, we have to choose between two countries we love. In the new post B world we can only stay in Italy as part of the Schengen Area for 90 days in any 180, and it’s a rolling period. So we can’t disappear to a non EU country say Switzerland for a couple of days and re-set the clock. This Schengen rule means 90 days here, 90 days there.  Or we could do one month here, one there. Maximum – oh and that uses up all your EU Schengen Area allowance, so no extra trips to France for wine, or Holland to see our friends. Bum. And gardens with cherries, figs, olive trees and vines don’t wait for you to be back in the country before growing. Put it another way, we can choose Spring and Autumn or Summer and Winter, but we can’t bookend the 90 days so that we have a six month ‘block’ here.

I do not ask nor expect any sympathy – we are second home owners who very, very luckily can afford this semi-nomadic lifestyle. But it’s decision time, which country and which lifestyle do we want and can we afford? My initial strategy was of the wait and hope variety. Canvassing friends in similar situations, some like me are waiting and hoping, others are just going to live with the Schengen rules, others are pursuing EU citizenship. Friends in London have researched their heritage and found that due to relatives settling in Portugal many years ago (running away from the Pogroms) they are entitled to a Portugese passport. No such luck on the JCR/Mr JCR front. His exotic lineage as far as we know extends to Wales, mine does have a Russian connection (Pogroms again), but I don’t think a Putin linkage is going to get me a European passport. I’m guessing Russians will be marginally less popular than British folk, when it comes to the EU handing out passports post Brexit conclusion.

Now we are having a meeting with an English commercialista (kind of accountant). We are not so English that he has to be English, but to decide to move here requires us to understand the financial consequences of arriving here, being taxed whilst we live here and the impact of moving back to the UK (which we will do one day).

The commercialista therefore needs to know both Italian and UK taxation, the dual taxation treaty clauses etc etc etc. Once we know the ins and outs, we have to decide to be in or out. And in truth I’d like to be both, to have my proverbial cake and eat it.

This morning’s run started much earlier, thanks to Mr JCR’s rather aggressive alarm setting tactic – it went off at 6am (this was planned and with JCR agreement – it’s just in my mind any alarm setting is aggressive!) Finally after a bit of faff and coffee, I was out just after 7am with the temperature a cool 26 degrees! Being ‘out’ at this time of day is nice and quiet, there’s more shade to be had, but you often get more commuting traffic for a workday start time of 8am. Mill Lane was all in shade and I passed unnoticed into Lovers’ Lane. The barking beagles nowhere to be seen, and my only company was the chirruping of cicadas. That’s also a worrying sign, they usually come to life in the heat of the afternoon, but with temperatures rising, they are out and about early too. On my route back to Mill Lane, Iron Man and his dog came out of the olive fields. We made our customary greetings and I carried on.

The Slope of Hope was very still and then wham, four cars all in a row sped past me – this is LA style freeway traffic levels in our village. I crossed over to make my way to Laundry Lane as usual (yes my run is predictable, but until the temperature eases a little that’s the way it will stay) and leapt out of my skin as a juggernaut passed close by. The road narrows as it approaches the old village and it can only really be considered roomy enough for two way traffic if one is a car and the other a bike, or maybe a three wheeler Ape. The narrowing of the road also channels the sound waves – hence my mini leap into the air.

In Laundry Lane, I passed our friends’ house R and P, who arrive from USA, for a few weeks in their family home. The garden was all pristine and perfect for their return. My thoughts turned back to the in/out question. On days like today it’s clear that here is a lovely place to be, we have space, gorgeous weather, we can get to the sea within minutes, it’s not polluted, we have friends here – all the ingredients for a perfect life.  To be in Italy is like living the Dolce Vita everyday. And so I am running thinking about being in and out.

In my perfect life, the EU and Boris will have a chat (maybe a tad more formal) and agree that they both like the JCR family so much that they are prepared to come to a compromise which means out of all the commercial considerations the JCR clause comes into effect, allowing JCR to have cake and eat it!

In my running mind I am consolidating after C25K and I should be improving my lot. The reality is the heat is killing my progress and I’m actually going backwards on both time and distance measures. This is our Brexit situation to a T. To enjoy all that Italy offers, means a significant detachment to our metropolitan London living lifestyle we’ve enjoyed for 15 + years. If we accept Schengen rules, it will be like when we were working and could only be occasional visitors here, a likeable anomaly, but not locals. If we live here, we will become London visitors – not quite as likeable nor anomalous to those locals.

This dilemma is also encapsulated in my running route – some of it is pleasant shade and some scorching sun, both of which are perfectly lovely in context, and I love being in both places, although sometimes it can be uncomfortable. And in a running sense of having my cake and eat it, I want to run in the heat but not get overheated.

My run ended up with me still wanting to be in and out, in Europe and out of London when we want to be. I think  our plain speaking Yorkshire man commercialista may be telling me the way to go.

I finished my run having done just over 4.5kms – just a tad more than Tuesday and the temperature had risen another couple of degrees, so I decided I’d actually track the walk back home, to see how much I’d have to do if I tried to run it all. It would be another 1.3kms but with an elevation gain of 61 metres on just that bit – see the MMR pic for how horrid it is in full sun! Ouch, maybe that will wait until the Autumn and maybe by then we will know for sure if we are in or out.

On my final trek up the hill, I met a young lady dog walker with a very sociable dog I think she called it Atlanta. Now that’s an inspirational name for a pooch. Atlanta do you have any ideas on whether we stay in the EU and become Italian residents or  stay out and leave Italy with pleasant memories of la dolce vita?

Stats

Distance 4.52km

Time – still too embarrassing to record

Physio

Yes – but still no pelvic thrusting or Bridges as I still haven’t bought a yoga mat

Jump Rope – 2 sets of 17 skips and it just got worse from then on…

Playlist

90’s playlist 

Best track – Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio, because it’s Italy and we do live in a paradise, it’s just that the gangsters are somewhere else…

 

 

 

 

 

 

C25K – Week 14 Run 3 & The A to Z of Running in the Heat

 

As regular suffering readers know, I am starting again and trying to increase my running distance and pace back to the dizzy heights of my 2018 running year.

However, restarting C25K in the UK in a cool Spring doesn’t give you the best foundation for running in the eighties and nineties temperature wise in Italy. So here is my definitive guide to running in the heat:-

Alarm – use it to get up early

Be Prepared – get your kit out the night before

Cold Water – an absolute must – put it in the fridge the night before, see ‘B’

Don’t Stay in Bed – see also ‘A’

Early Departure – see also ‘A’, and ‘D’

FFS – shouting at yourself may help get your sorry arse out of bed

Get a Grip – find your inner grit and use it to go out

Hunt for shade, before you run – do a recce of your route to find the shady areas

Ice cubes in your water bottle help

Jacuzzi – is a great incentive, for post run recovery

Kit yourself correctly – lighter weight clothing, dampen your headband and running vest if you can

Let the heat determine your speed, you can easily increase pace when it’s cooler

Midday/Much higher than 30 degrees and it can be dangerous to run if you’re not acclimatised to it – avoid if at all possible

Note your breathing and drinking habits – if you’re too laboured and really in need of much more water, – it’s simple you’re doing way too much

Opt for shorter distances and slower times – re-set your expectations

Plod if you need to – sometimes a walking break helps

Quitting the race – if it’s not working and you feel uncomfortable, call it quits. There’s no courage or honour in running to dehydration and exhaustion

Rinse your hair in water before you go out – it really helps keep you cool

Sunhat/screen/glasses – wear and use as appropriate

Take your time – the sun has endless patience to burn and overheat you

Under no circumstances run whilst hungover (previous history!)

Vanquish running gremlins by not setting too high a target

Water – take a bottle, take a spare bottle,  or carry cash to buy some more water

Xtra brownie points if you follow all the advice

Yes running in heat is possible, just take it slow, in shade and stay hydrated

Zzzz – a post run snooze is just the ticket

Today’s run – I followed my own advice except for  J and Q… J because it needs cleaning and filling with new water and Q – I didn’t need to quit, because for once I followed my own advice.

In truth it was mega scorchio again, it was just about 8am when I set out on Sunday to run, and the thermometer was already showing 27 degrees – 80 degrees in old money of course. On my warm up walk I passed Lord Kitchener, he was on his way to the cemetery and he barely gave me a glance, I did smile at him, but maybe he didn’t recognise me – it’s been over a year since he last saw  me after all. I had hoped to see Anouska and Albino, as I know they often get up early to walk if it’s very hot, but I didn’t see them either. No people, no dogs, no shade, no mercy.

The sun was beating down and I admit I took shelter in the one shady spot of Laundry Lane and did a few mini circuits between the trees, because it would have been awful otherwise.

At 4.3km I gave up the ghost, because the non-shaded incline was looming and in this heat you just have to be kind to yourself. But I did decide to continue for a walk to see an ‘ex- house’ of friends of ours, just to see what it was looking like now that it has new owners. It was sad really to see it, empty of people and shutters closed, whereas usually at this time of year it would be open and I could perhaps sneak in for a cheeky cup of coffee! It added a couple of 2kms to my efforts, and in truth it was too warm to do much more.

As Mr JCR pointed out I’m going to have to get up earlier and as I’m a born again teenager, lunchtime is a bit early for me to rise. It’s either that or run much later in the day and I just know I won’t do that, I’ll prevaricate, faff and generally find reasons not to.

Okay JCR for Week 15, you’re just going to have to do those big girl pants and get up earlier. We’ve got at least another 8 weeks of scorchio weather until September brings some welcome relief, so I have to woman up…

Stats

Distance – 4.3km

Time – Too embarrassing to record

Physio

Yes – crabby things, flexor things, squats, clams

No – bridge and pelvic thrusting – need a yoga mat

Jump Rope or Skipping Rope as we oldies call it – 23 skips in succession, with about 10 attempts during the day varying from 4 skips to the 23.

Whacked Arse – at least 7 times, when you stop the Jump Rope whips you, and it’s always on your bum.

Playlist

My goddaughter Molly’s Glastonbury Mix

Favourite track – Is this the way to Amarillo by Tony Christie – because I’m a recent convert to Peter Kay’s Car Share and I love his humour, and I loved his silly video for this, which we recreated on a virtual Glasto Pyramid Stage on Saturday night. Thanks Molly and Gabi and Carl for organising it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Couch to 5K, Week 14 Run 2 – Too early for dogs…

IMG_3784
Come on red men…

After Mr JCR promised to get me out of bed early enough to avoid the sun, we had both forgotten one major factor. My team were playing last night, and so we had to watch the match to see four superb goals and then at least an hour’s worth of punditry telling me how brilliant my team were.

Jamie Redknapp using tech to show just how superb TAA’s strike was, Graeme Souness sitting on his smugness cushion of five League Championships, three European Cups and four League Cups. John Barnes, not quite the svelte figure he once was, but with a lovely twinkle in his eye describing Liverpool’s dominance. After match interviews with TAA, Salah and my middle aged crush Jurgen Klopp – see he is almost named after the Kop, his parents just got their surname wrong.

It was another hour of bliss as far as I was concerned, but all of this orgy of self congratulation meant we weren’t exactly in bed at the appointed hour, late to bed doesn’t mean an early start. Nonetheless I was out earlier today, it was a nine number not a ten or eleven, but even so still scorchio.

When it’s 27 degrees at 9am you know you’re in trouble. And so I started my warm up walk outside the house and did a mini loop before starting up Mill Lane, all to get the warm up walking done in sun and be able to start my run in some shade. It was going brilliantly and I was pootling up Lovers’ Lane and who did I see ahead of me but my running inspirational couple – Anouska and Albino. It’s been over a year since I’ve seen them and there they were strolling along enjoying the views. We exchanged ciaos and salves (Roman Italian for good health) – it gave me a real boost. However not enough of a boost to be able to overcome the scorching heat and I think I may have overcooked my start.

On the Slope of Hope, I was early enough to avoid the barking dog balcony and made my way towards Laundry Lane. There I spied my red poppies, here again it’s boiling hot and even an hour or so earlier, it’s in full sun. I traipsed my way to the small shaded area and ran backwards and forwards. Out of the shade, I ran towards the local winery on Laundry Lane, passing another barking dog house, but although they were out I spotted them and didn’t leap when they started barking. But the sight of the unshaded incline really got the better of me, and I stopped running. 5km seems too much of a reach at the moment in 80 degree plus heat.

I managed 4.2km in all, a little better than last time out. The timing is still abysmal, but I think I will ignore that for now and just focus on getting the distance up, oh and getting up earlier. Sunday is my next scheduled run, so if I aim for an eightish departure then hopefully the temperature will be a little lower.

Suzy K – you are consolidating – how is it going? And do you have a classic album track for my latest playlist?

Today was too early for dogs, but not early enough for me. Change is going to have to be made, but if the red men win the Premiership tonight, then I promise to be up and out by 8am on Sunday.

Stats

  • Distance 4.2km
  • Time – Abysmally worrying
  • Leaping in the Air – not once

Physio

Yup and I was reading in the PHD Runner’s blog about her getting a gait analysis as she’s had a chronic injury problem, and one of the recommended exercises was the crab walking squats, and I’ve remembered I’d totally forgotten about doing those, so yes they are on my list too, along with bridges, hip flexors, pelvic thrusts, squatting, touching my toes.

And the skipping rope – now they’re called jump ropes, and they’re not rope, they are wires and they don’t half hurt when you swipe your bum with them. Well my best effort so far is 12 jumps in succession – that tells you how rubbish my coordination is… Still I’m going to have another go and see if I can manage 15 consecutive jumps.

Playlist

Birthday Number Ones

Best Song Metal Guru – By T Rex – just loved Marc Bolan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter Parka P…s Off – Week 9 Run 2

It’s never been known –  JCR is awake, its eight o’clock in the morning, it’s a Sunday, and it’s supposed to be a scorchio day.  All of which are very good reasons to get up and go out for that early morning run. Sets you up for the day, but then again the duvet is nice and warm and I have the newspaper to read. And we are in lockdown, so frankly there’s no hurry for doing a damn thing.

Prevarication and faffing set the tone, meaning I didn’t actually shift my arse until about three hours later. Lou Reed started me off singing Perfect Day, which acted as a nice spur.

Unfortunately Paula is still playing up, thus any plans for longer distance runs are out for the moment, so I limited myself to my local loop of London Wall, Wood Street and Fore Street.  And to mix it up a bit I ran clockwise – I know it’s dead exciting in this running world isn’t it? And it took me past Peter Parka’s Prowling and Scowling Post, which was empty. And what do you know, he is guarding an “Out of Hours Pick Up Point” , so clearly this is the place to go if you want to be picked up, but only when he’s not guarding it.

All my previous thoughts about gold, diamonds or chocolate were clearly wide of the mark. But I needed to focus a little as I had a slightly twingey knee and didn’t want to cause any problems with it. I settled nicely into a pace and started my triangular loops, first five minutes fine, second absolutely fine until Mr Smooth said you’re 10 minutes in and for some unknown reason I felt tired and slowed down, which was ridiculous really. I gave myself a good talking to and started people watching, there’s quite a number of new runners out – you can usually tell by the kit they are wearing, the colour of their faces but usually by the rather battered ‘gardening trainers’ being worn.

I saw one mum running with her young daughter (I guess), they were very seasoned runners and doing interval runs sprinting and slowing down, very encouraging but at this stage of my running, sprinting is something to watch, not to do.

Then I saw a running belly of the male variety, obviously trying to lose some of the corona belly affliction – along with I imagine more than half of the population.

My people watching was interrupted by a plonker on a bike doing a wheelie on the pavement coming towards me. My internal ranting starts – it’s a Sunday, it’s quiet, there’s no traffic on London Wall, but you decide to cycle wheelie towards me on the pavement. I silently hex him and hope he falls off and breaks a body part. Oh and he’s the usual plonker stereotype male, in a hoodie, track pants, big trainers, in his twenties, close-shaven head and his Beats on.

He didn’t fall off.  but I run in hope that one day he does. The good thing about having an internal rant was that I’d totally lost track of time and when Mr Smooth told me I had only sixty seconds to go I felt fine. Job done and a warm down walk to Sunday Morning by the Velvet Underground, perfect material for lowering the blood pressure and taking a stroll home.

Passing the pick up point, I noticed it was now occupied by a new guardsman, not wearing a parka, and he was smoking like a chimney, proper smoking not vaping.  I crossed the road to avoid the fug – Peter Parka won’t be happy when he’s back on shift tomorrow as his little cubbyhole will be very pongy. But then from what I’ve seen he’s never happy anyway.

One more run to go to graduation and then me and Mr Smooth are done on the dating front.

Stats

8km/walk and run combo – best split 6 minutes 15 seconds – which was just prior to seeing the plonker

3 takeaways delivered to Roman House – evidently a Deliveroo hot spot

About 20 people in the queue for Marks and Spencers on Old Street

1 Plonker

Physio

  • Hip Flexor Things
  • Clam
  • Bridge
  • Squats
  • Pelvic Thrusts
  • Toe Touching

Music

Mrs T – Time and Distance

Best Track – Sunday Morning by Velvet Underground

 

 

 

Paula Meets Peter Parka – Week 9 Run 1

 

 

Paula  evidently likes hanging around, I was supposed to do this run yesterday, but she likes lockdown and had hunkered down for the long haul.

I did what you can only do in these circumstances and had a telephone based GP appointment, self isolating not necessarily by choice, but because Paula was calling the shots and I couldn’t really venture out to run.

One week’s prescription for antibiotics later, I was able to run today. As you can see my new natty shopping/trainer bag combo made an appearance, for a run out in Week 9.

It was warm and I was a little bothered that I may not be able to take the distance, so I deliberately slowed down and ran like a snail. In fact I’m overstating the speed, an asthmatic snail could have gone faster, I took a little diversion to Barbie Green and the sunken gardens that have a little slope in them and spotted the arch. It’s not exactly in the most convenient place, But I think that is where I will finish my second ‘graduation’ of C25K. It’s old like me and based in the City like me. It’s also only a 3 or 4 minute dash from home if necessary.

I was running circuits along London Wall, Fore Street and Wood Street, which is a triangular run, except for the zigzagging done in The Salters Garden, where a lady had chosen to sit for a peaceful reading session in the sun. Her silence was shattered every six or seven minutes when yours truly came puffing past. She did at least smile when I went past, unlike the security guy in Wood Street who was very seriously guarding an empty doorway in his parka coat, with the hood up and glowering very time I went past him.

Now I know it’s not exactly tropical but it was about 18/19 degrees or 64 degrees in old money and he was totally wrapped up for Winter. I have a theory he could be a long lost relation to Dame Duvet who walks our hills in Italy in quilted clothing even when it’s in the 80s. Peter Parka as he is now known –  I think may suffer from agoraphobia, because I’ve seen him many times on my route and I’ve never seen him more than a yard away from the empty doorway. Maybe he sees me as a potential security threat and thinks that I could be casing the joint – it’s just a back door as far as I can see. However, when my speed is up and I look a little less like an asthmatic snail, I will look at the door more closely, in case there’s any sign of gold bullion or diamonds or chocolate.

My musings on casing the joint were rudely interrupted by Mr Smooth telling me I had only one minute to go, leaving Peter Parka behind me I continued my run. Then finally Mr Smooth told me my run time was at an end, so I snuck in an extra minute or so, just to make up for my last run in case I’d got the timing wrong. My warm down walk took me past Peter Parka – I did smile but he just did that London thing of ignoring me.

Can I just say Peter, your distant relative Dame Duvet is much friendlier. And that is my first graduation run done and dusted. Two more to come and I’m back as a proper runner once more. Yay.

Oh and yesterday I got a new skipping rope, although you’re not supposed to call it that it’s a jump rope, and it’s not a rope, it’s a wire and you can’t skip slowly with it either. Oh and I can’t even skip with it, as my coordination is rubbish. Mr JCR did loads without blinking – me , well that’s another challenge I am to jump roping what I am to being bendy…

Stats

7km run/walk – I didn’t get as far as the fish shop today

1 new running character found

My new finishing post is established too

Physio

The Usual – but I’ve increased it a bit:-

Squats – 2 sets of 12 reps

Bridge – 1 set of 12 reps

Pelvic Thrusting – 2 sets of 12 reps

Hip Flexors – 5 reps each leg with 1.5kg weight on the resting leg

Clams – 18 reps each side

Toe touching – 10 (it doesn’t seem a lot but for a plank of wood, this is seriously impressive)

Playlist

Transport playlist

Best track – Motorbiking by Chris Spedding, on my last upward slope run in the Salter Gardens – I wasn’t motorbiking at the time, but it made me lift my head and increase my speed a bit

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0KOdiPm4dzwttZzEcwkSyh?si=xGVDhmGWS7y0lbwaZGxiaw

Paula & Jan Go Shopping With Mr Smooth – Week 8 Run 3

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Paula is taking the piss, if you pardon the pun. Her problem is my problem and after two days her problem is lessening, but not gone yet. Tuesday is fish shopping day, and Mr JCR laughed when he saw my novel approach to carrying my shopping bag.

IMG_6047
Weird – me????

This is a prototype solution, carrying it in my bra gives me three boobs, and I don’t like putting shopping in a sweaty bag. I have tried stuffing it in the card pocket of my leggings, but it looks as though I’ve got an unfortunate growth. Similarly stuffing it in my sleeves of my top looks dodgy too – I look like a one armed Popeye style bodybuilder.

Today’s run is the last in Week 8, onto graduation week next. And the attaching of my bag to my shoes, gave me an idea for my run. Paula and I would take Mr Smooth on a virtual shopping trip and see if we could get enough ingredients for dinner and maybe some items for a hobby, now that we are in lockdown and are supposedly focussing on cooking, DIY and crafting, if the tv channels are to be believed.

Yes, I know, I do have some rather bizarre thought processes whilst out running, but it does keep my mind occupied and avoids the how fast/slow, how long to go, questions that pop up when you’re building up stamina.

Now, I am very fortunate in that we live extraordinarily close to Cheapside in the City of London, and Cheapside used to be Chepe meaning market, so it’s not that big of a stretch to find some grocery shopping appropriate routes.

First off, the warm up walk, we are just around the corner from Silk Street – that’s the hobby angle sorted – I can do virtual dress-making. Then aiming towards Cheapside, I run through Milk Street and hot on its heels, Bread Street  – that’s  a virtual breakfast sorted, followed by Bow Lane. Mmm, I suppose it could go into the dressmaking basket, or maybe I could take up violin lessons, for which I’d need a bow. Or maybe try a new sport and take up virtual archery, but as someone who is chronically spatially challenged, that would be quite dangerous for anyone in the vicinity, so I think we’ll leave it at dressmaking, as my musical talent is pretty non existent too.

A bit of a detour takes me to Poultry, which is not specific enough to satisfy today’s menu, we had chicken on Sunday, I’m not over-keen on turkey and whilst we had guinea fowl last week, I’m not sure I want it again tonight. At Poultry I wasn’t quite flying along, but it was a nice comfortable pace and decided to head even further East for some more foodie goodies.

On the way to Monument, passing Fish Street Hill reminded me that I did need to go to Islington for our fish tonight. And then onto the famous Pudding Lane – again a bit too generic to really satisfy the ingredient test, but a good hint for me not to forget the sweet stuff on my shopping list. I came across Lime Street, which I thought would be good with a pre-dinner Gin and Tonic, but I couldn’t find anything alcohol related at all, so we will have to stick with the G & T from home. Considering East London was renowned for its gin distilleries, I was quite disappointed I didn’t find a Juniper Lane, or Genever Street  or similar.

Now after dinner, you should either have mints or coffee or a digestif, I could only find Camomile Street, so I guess that will be a herbal tea for after dinner then. (Thank God, this is virtual shopping, I tried camomile tea once and it’s horrid…)

Still the thorny issue of a pudding to satisfy and I noticed that whilst Paula and I had been merrily traipsing and doing our window shopping, Mr Smooth was suspiciously quiet. I checked him out, sure enough at some point in the run, the app had frozen, so I didn’t really know how long I’d been running for. Curses, the challenge of virtual shopping had made me forget the most important task the list, to complete  a 28 minutes interval. I had been monitoring my run with Map My Run and robotic lady informed me I’d been running for 33 minutes, which is not quite integrated to the C25K app, so I guessed I needed to do another 5 or 6 minutes to complete the interval.

I decided the best thing to do was to head out of the City and towards the fish shop in Islington, glancing down I noticed the shopping bag had stayed perfectly in place. At this point inspiration struck, I knew that in Clerkenwell  there is a street called Berry Street and that it was more or less on the way to Islington High Street. Berries would be a perfectly acceptable pudding.

And so more or less 45 minutes had elapsed after starting my shopping run, I’d got a virtual menu, started a new virtual hobby, and learnt that you can tie a shopping bag to your trainers.

You do get funny looks at the fishmongers when you are grovelling on the floor to untie it from your trainers, but all in all it worked well. Paula made her presence know just as I got home and our concierge was telling me a story. At this stage I wasn’t running, but I was grimacing a bit and holding on for dear life. Paula this is enough,  for next week’s runs I need to be focussed, please p… off.

Stats

About 8km run/walked

I hope I did the 28 minute interval

A breakfast obtained

Dinner menu sorted

A new hobby under my belt

Staved off Paula’s revenge attack

Physio

Usual, squats, crabby stuff, bridge, pelvic thrusting, hip flexors, toe touching, yawn, yawn, yawn.

Music

I should have a food and drink playlist, but I don’t so I played

Country and Places Playlist

And there was one food related track – Boston Tea Party by the Sensational Alex Harvey Band.

 

 

 

 

Paula’s a Problem – Week 8 Run 2

Yesterday was an unplanned rest day, due to raging cystitis calling the shots. Today it’s not quite as bad, but my plan for my run went out of the window, with proximity to home, being the key consideration. (I didn’t want to do a Paula Radcliffe by the side of the road, if Mother Nature called urgently)

Nearby, there is a quiet place called Finsbury Circus which is just off Moorgate and happily circular, so you can do laps. It’s also within sprintable distance, should my bladder start screaming. For the purpose of this post, I’m renaming my bladder Paula.

I always like to give myself a challenge to find something new to look at or do or find, as it helps me to stop being obsessed by the  C25K countdown. Mr Smooth piping up ‘well done, you’ve just completed five minutes running’ is meant to be encouraging, but in the early part of the run and the programme it can be quite depressing, especially if you’re feeling puffed already. But the problem with choosing a small circular route is there’s not much to see, I joined the circus at the 6 o’clock junction and followed a clockwise route. To my left up to about 10 o’clock I saw plenty of plants and window boxes, all very nicely manicured with olive trees featuring a lot. It certainly seems that the 6 to 12 semi circle companies enjoy more money than the 12 to 6 semi circle, as their plants were sparse, the railings scrappy and it all looked a bit neglected.

I managed four loops and then boredom hit me, as did a few pedestrians (metaphorically, not literally – they did socially distance) who decided it was a nice quiet place to walk too. Okay, plan b enacted, I’ll stay in the shade and seek out some quieter roads but still close to home. I meandered in and around the Bank of England, near Cornhill and Lothbury, all beautifully tranquil and then Paula broke her silence.

At about fifteen minutes in to the interval, she was whispering (JCR – you need to go now), but I put her firmly to the back of my mind as I was listening to Ray Stevens – The Streak on one of my playlists. It helped for the two minutes or so it was on.

Then Rick Astley burbled Never Gonna Give You Up, which helped silence Paula for a few more minutes. Unfortunately, Down Under by Men At Work with its increased tempo, made Paula stop whispering and she became a much louder chant in my head.

This was not good at all, so I decided I would continue the run until I’d done the full interval and if I had to bail out of the warm-down walk so be it. Evidently, mind over matter does work, because having made the decision to not try and fight Paula, all of a sudden she logged out of my inner ear.

I continued the interval and then Mr Smooth brought me back to reality with his time check – the twenty eight minutes were done and dusted, but as I was no longer carrying Paula’s voice, I thought I’d try and run just a bit longer and I managed the thirty minutes interval. Great news, I was just a shade under having run/walked 5k in the allowed time. Still about 20% slower than at my best, but then that’s what a year off does.

The warm down walk was fine, I managed about 3kms before turning towards home, at which point, Paula started screaming and it was very loud. I was certain most of the folk around could hear her screaming at me to GO NOW!!!!  If they couldn’t hear her, they most certainly would have spotted a woman doing a cross between John Cleese’s silly walk and Max Wall’s unusual gait, with a muted yelp from between clenched teeth.

Kegel exercises, a fixed grimace and baby steps all combined to prevent Paula from having her moment.

PHEW.

Stats

8km run/walk

Paula Radcliffe failed in her de-railing attempt

No embarrassment

Music

C25K Mentor Playlist

Most appropriate track = Under Pressure by David Bowie and Queen (but it didn’t come on), so that made me Happy by Pharrell Williams, which did

Physio

Bridge

Clams

Squats

Hip Flexor Thing

Constipated Crab

Touching Toes

 

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2aXFgHf3zPg5I1sZn4cAsU?si=Rm5VniTRSrGj3f-y7p_39Q

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seventh Heaven – Week 7 Run 3

Today is Mr JCR’s significant birthday, like mine in March, it’s been somewhat scuppered by COVID 19, but at least we are both still here to have birthdays. Tonight we are ordering a posh meal in. Yippee no cooking for me!

We went for the exercise hour walk last night in and around the City as it’s much quieter and far fewer chances of bumping into people, scooters, cars, vans etc.

On our walk we started following the informal statue trail of Art in the City and came across the first one. What to say other than ‘the City is full of dicks, so we might as well have a statue of them’ and the explanatory plaque said it is an homage to the petrified tree stumps found in lava flows, that stand like statues or phalluses – often worshipped by man.

Okay, enough pseudo art critic crap, I decided to re-trace my steps on today’s run, as this statue counted as a previously unseen sight and I had three sights to bag for my Week 7 run challenge. Just around the corner was the metal jumble of animals all stuck together by wire, that had a similarly impenetrable explanation of its meaning. I decided it was much easier just to focus on the tall buildings, similarly phallic, though they seem to be de-rigueur in the City now, and so I ambled my way to the Gherkin, the daddy of them all.

And sure enough, another statue  – this time of a partially clad male – no idea what he symbolised either as there was a fully clothed hi-vis man sitting on the explanatory plinth. Social distancing prevailed – I may never know what a partially clothed man with a bag on his head means.

These statues got me through the terrible tens – the first ten minutes when running anaerobically, and enabled me to settle into a rhythm. I headed towards St Pauls and Chancery Lane and spotted the first tentative signs of life in the City. A few of the coffee bars and cafes are re-opening on a takeaway basis, and I actually saw some queues of real people, outside something other than a pharmacy or supermarket.

I have to say it’s lovely to see some life stirring, it’s felt somewhat post-apocalyptic recently. In St Paul’s I got my five minute warning from Mr Smooth, telling me I should continue to breathe, and of course I followed those instructions to the letter. I may have been breathing heavily, but I was breathing and then I zoned out.

For whatever reason, I carried on running and managed the full thirty minutes, which is what C25K is actually designed to get you doing. This was by mistake – I was listening to my boy band mix, which has some rather tragic tracks on it, and I was mentally singing along to Shang A Lang by the Bay City Rollers. Because it’s such a fun track, I really didn’t hear Mr Smooth tell me to slow down to a walk, and so in Week 7, I actually ran one of the runs for Week 9. Seventh heaven indeed.

The City may be full of dicks, and I was a bit of one for not listening out to Mr Smooth. Now if you pardon the pun, I have to make sure I don’t get too cocksure for Week 8, when I have to run a 28 minutes interval for the three runs.

Graduation beckons – don’t get cocky JCR and well done Suzy K – breaking into Week 5, you know it makes sense..

Stats

8kms run/walk – although I estimate about 4.3 kms on the running element

Three statues

Two coffee and cafe queues

Music

Boyband

Best track – Shang A Lang by The Bay City Rollers, because it got me running for thirty minutes solid

Physio

Same old routine, but I have managed to touch my toes. I realise that hardly makes me spaghetti legs, but it’s a bend in the right direction.

Taking the rough with Mr Smooth – Wk 7 Run 2

After Friday’s run, I was feeling quite bullish and thought I could perhaps just move straight onto a 30 minute interval run, but it was not to be.

I’d decided to go up West and find three more ‘unknown’ sights (unknown to me) so that for my last Week 7 run, I only have three more to find. I decided that I should take a circuitous route and headed out towards Smithfield. St Bart’s Hospital and the surrounding area has been the subject of much redevelopment over the past few years and a new housing area has sprung up and I found this old insignia, with the name Coade on it from Lambeth in 1800.

It looked to be a coffee pot, so maybe a stone for a coffee shop? –  I wasn’t so sure, and googled Mr Coade, because at that time it was bound to be a Mr Coade and what do you know, it’s actually a woman. Eleanor Coade and she perfected the art of creating artificial stone. Sorry Eleanor, to give credit where it’s due this artificial stone is wearing very well.

At this stage of the run I was wearing fine, it was only the first few minutes and I toddled along Fleet Street, heading towards Trafalgar Square. It was here I was running out of puff, I have no idea why, but looking back at  my Map My Run stats, my second kilometre I improved my time over the first by almost a minute, so maybe I was pushing it a little too much.

On arrival at Trafalgar Square it was quite quiet and The Boss’s  Streets of Philadelphia came on, it’s a lovely song, but quite melancholic and seemed to suit the subdued nature of London today. I headed towards the river and took a left into Great Scotland Yard, where I saw a number of ‘new’ sights for me.

More redevelopment has occurred here, but it’s coupled with some old architecture too, I was spoilt for choice, but the horse in lockdown did appear quite funny. It’s actually a police horse and his handler was exercising in the yard. From this I’m guessing the police still have a presence in Great Scotland Yard even though they moved out from their premises years ago.

Making my way back, Mr Smooth said that I should keep breathing and then I hit the one minute to go mark, I thought I could keep on and do the whole 30 minutes, but no, my breathing was a bit rough and I had a slight pull in my right hamstring, so I decided Mr Smooth better be obeyed, and I didn’t attempt to continue running.

No worries, I am in no hurry far better to keep going than fall over, which I just can’t afford to do. I must keep running otherwise the Coronabelly will increase at a much faster pace, and there is a saying that you can’t outrun your mouth’s capacity for food.

On my warm down walk via the Strand, I was wondering what I could find to take a photo, as I know this area very well and wasn’t sure there was an ‘unknown to me’ sight to be seen. But thanks to lockdown, I found this stock of toilet roll under lock and key, behind two very grand sets of gates. Now you know we are in weird times…

Stats

8km of run and walking

A coupled spots of rain

A locked down horse

Locked down loo rolls

Taking SuzyK’s mojo, for a quick run before she goes out on Monday!

Physio

No excuses today, back to normal

Squats

Clams

Constipated Crab

Bridge

Hip Flexor Things

Toe touching ….mmm I’d forgotten to do these.

Music

Country/Places Playlist

Most memorable track – Streets of Philadelphia by the Boss