2 Dec – Babbo Natale Arrived Early

The loneliness of the long distance runner, was a short story by Alan Sillitoe and also a film –  I’ve just learned courtesy of the inter web. Like many people I had heard the phrase but didn’t really recall what it was about. I am not an ‘angry young man’ in a borstal running and earning privileges. I am a happy middle aged runner, who this year is running long distances – although I have a feeling I may well still be running long distances for years to come.

When I run, although I run on my own, I am never alone, because I have the good wishes and encouragement of my friends and family and in particular a special group of friends. These people I know very well, but in truth I don’t actually know them at all. These are the Health Unlocked and C25K Beyonders Groups. It’s fair to say I could probably walk past most of them in the street and not recognise them. There’s a few I would, but most are running friends hidden from view by user names and avatars. I guess they’d probably say the same about me. Yesterday I updated my HU and Beyonders group on the forums, just to let them know how my Alzheimer’s Challenge was going, and I’ve been blown away, by the support and encouragement given by my running friends. 

When I set out this morning for my run, I wanted to do 10km, because that would get me below the ’90km to go’ mark, but there’s something about receiving a whole load of good luck messages and also three donations to my sponsorship that really spurred me on. I started out in East Central London – Barbican area, and I had promised Mummycav that I’d keep on with my search for her missing mojo.

First off I spotted the Crossrail excavator, surely a mojo wouldn’t be operating heavy machinery on a Sunday morning? Probably not, so I continued my way up West, pausing to get the long awaited refund from a shop, I bounced my way along Holborn, Fleet Street and made a small stop at Somerset House to admire the Fortnum & Mason Christmas tree and the skaters. Surely Mummycav’s mojo would have passed this way. It’s friendly and fun and look at that tree. What’s not to like? I then made a tactical error and made my way on Embankment to Westminster bridge, I would like to say I was running, but it was an occasional spurt when space permitted, as it was chock full of tourists. I was ninja-ing my way through them and had to smile as there was a fellow runner doing exactly the same. Then a decision to make – run along the SouthBank or not?, and I did – mmm – that was a bit stupid JCR, but in fairness I had company with my stupidity – the fellow runner did exactly the same too. 

Now there were two ninjas darting in and out of the tourists, I’m not sure Mummycav’s mojo would have been here, as she would have got squashed. Ordinarily I can get a bit tetchy when there’s too many people around, but this tourist avoidance run, was entirely of my own making and this time it was fun, because sometimes I was smaller/niftier than the other runner and could get ahead, at others he was more aggressive than me and did some parkour type actions to sprint ahead. We managed to stay more or less in synch until we reached Tower Bridge at which point he bombed into the Underground and I carried on into the City, at which point calmness resumed.

I’d done about 12km and the legs felt fine so on I continued, no sign of a mojo in the City, but I certainly didn’t feel any loneliness. 2kms running in and around Fenchurch Street and I made my way home, to sneak in a nifty 15kms. The loneliness of the long distance runner wasn’t an affliction for me at all, in fact I was accompanied by my HU and Beyonders friends.  

Three in particular, who donated yesterday, gave me a real incentive to kick my heels and get out. Babbo Natale arrived early in the shape of these lovely runners – a big, big, big thank you to MimiRossi, Kim Terry and of course her highness Irish Princess – seeing your donations and lovely goodwill messages gave me wings today and I laughed in the face of my 10km target and did 50% more. That is the difference between running on your own, but not alone. Thank you.

Playlist

Trying out the birthday number ones  playlist …

You Got What It Takes – Marv Johnson ( this is mine – it is rubbish)

Cathy’s Clown – Everley Brothers (Mr JCR’s)

Maggie May – Rod Stewart

Keep On Running – Spencer Davis Group

Cum On Feel The Noize – Slade

I’m Into Something Good – Herman’s Hermits

The Loveliest Night Of The Year – Mario Lanza

Hot Love, Metal Guru – T Rex

Cars – Gary Numan

9 to 5 – Dolly Parton

Mambo No 5 – Lou Bega

Mona Lisa – Nat King Cole

Hello Goodbye, Please Please Me – The Beatles

Tigerfeet – Mud

The Wonder Of You and Good Luck Charm – Elvis Presley

Fire – The Crazy World of Arthur Brown

Spirit In The Sky – Norman Greenbaum

January – Pilot

Living Doll – Cliff Richard and The Drifters

I’m A Believer – The Monkees

Come On Eileen – Dexys (Kim Terry – yours came up!!!)

I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye

Have I The Right – The Honeycombs

I’ll Never Find Another You – The Seeker

Heart Of Glass – Blondie

Stats

Distance 15.07km

Time 1:44:35

Average Pace 6:56

Elevation Gain 92 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1933.48

Kms to Run 84.52

25 Nov – A Tale of Two Drivers

Loving the bling 

Strictly speaking it should be a tale of three drivers. The first driver being my need to make up for yesterday’s laziness and actually get over the 1900km mark on today’s run.

Bad news was a migraine  haze flickering in my right eye, good news was the combination of some nuclear grade tablets, a mug of tea and an hour later, it had gone. And an hour later so had I, out of the door into the City and heading towards Trafalgar Square, which for some reason seems to be a favourite run of mine at the moment. 

Fleet Street was virtually empty and really easy to run down, no breeze today and clear pavements – bliss. I was in a nice stride and heading towards the Strand when driver number two came to my attention.

A guy in front of me was doing the mobile phone zombie walking thing – looking down at his phone and he stepped out into the road without looking. The Tesco delivery driver slammed on his brakes and instead of hurling abuse at the pedestrian, smiled and gestured for the guy to continue crossing. The pedestrian looked a bit embarrassed and put his hand up, then the driver indicated that I should cross too. What a nice chap. A pleasant delivery driver in London, who would have thought that was possible?

I was thinking how nice that was and up I came to the next junction controlled by traffic lights. It was on green – a number of us started to cross, then a Black Mercedes S Class was being driven around the corner over the crossing. I looked at the driver and indicated the lights were green for us and he mouthed back ‘No, they’re red’ and continued driving. What an arse he was. Now I wish I’d had the presence of mind to take a photo of the car.

I admit London is confusing at junctions, but it’s a Sunday, and (even in London prior to Christmas) the traffic was quite light, therefore no excuse. I wish a plague of diarrhoea on him over the festive season, so he gets caught short in that nice Mercedes of his.

Now that my runner’s cursing was complete, I made my way to Trafalgar Square, where the street artists were doing their thing. The two guys who chalk on flags of the world, Yoda again with his faded green tunic, and this time no man sitting on his shovel, but a gold devil masked man sitting casually. I’m not entirely sure how many people would actually pay to have pictures with him, as he looks quite sinister. Bombing past I made my way up the Mall, hooked a right to Northumberland Avenue and made my way home, via the nice blingy Christmas tree at St James.  This was about 6.5kms in, and now the pedestrian numbers were increasing. Spectators were gathering for the Changing of The Guard ceremony, and my pace slowed to a crawl, trying to get past people.

I came the way I started via the Strand, Fleet Street and St Pauls – no sign of Bev’s mojo today, but I do think she may have stopped via St James and taken heart at the blingy tree.

Today it was a nice cool 11kms, and I’ve just ticked over the 1900kms mark. Next milestone is the 1918 mark, so I’m on the 100 and fewer track. Can’t wait and I have a new pair of trainers on the way, so that will give me an even bigger bounce in my step.

Playlist

Tainted Love – Marilyn Manson

Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart – Almond and Pitney

Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

All Along The Watchtower – Afterhere

Hurt – Johnny Cash

I Fought The Law – The Clash

Motorhead – Motorhead

Personal Jesus – Marilyn Manson

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This – ditto

Kids In America – Lawnmower Deth

Feed My Frankenstein – Alice Cooper

Bring Your Daughter… – Iron Maiden

The Lion Sleeps Tonight – Tight Fit

Ever Fallen In Love – FYC

War – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

San Jose – ditto

You’re So Vain – Marilyn Manson

Dear Prudence – Siouxsie and The Banshees

Don’t Leave Me This Way – The Communards

I Drove All Night – Cyndi Lauper

Small-town Boy – Bronski Beat

Cats In The Cradle – Ugly Kid Joe

Live and Let Die – Guns ’n’ Roses

Aint Necessarily So – Bronski Beat

The Sound of Silence – Disturbed

Smooth Criminal – Alien Ant Farm

Come Together – Michael Jackson

Money – The Flying Lizards

Born To Run – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Feeling Good – Muse

I Feel Love – Bronski Beat

Halo – Harper Blynn

Stats

Distance 11.04km

Time 1:13:24

Average Pace 6:38

Elevation Gain 55 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1904.44 – over the 1900 mark!

Kms To Run 113.56

23 Nov – Here Is The News

Voice Over:-And here we are live from BBC Broadcasting House, Central London with Kamal Ahmed, BBC News.

Kamal Ahmed: I’m standing in the courtyard at Broadcasting House in The West End of London, with my guest Jan CanRun. Tell me Jan, CanRun is an unusual surname, where does it come from?

JCR: My imagination.

KA: Ah, and for our audience not familiar with your imagination what does it signify?

JCR: The fact that I can run…

KA: Yes I see. And why are you here today?

JCR: I’m actually on a running mission.

KA: Would you please explain your mission and tell us why you are here at Broadcasting House, specifically?

JCR: Certainly Kamal, I am running to raise £2018 for Alzheimer’s Research, by running 2018kms in 2018. And as part of my year of running, I give myself or take on mini-challenges to keep it interesting and today’s is to help find a friend’s lost mo-jo.

KA: Pardon? 

JCR: Her mojo to run appears to have gone missing for the past couple of weeks and she is desperate to find it. It can normally be found in Yorkshire, I believe is purple and likes shiny, sparkly things. I am here to raise awareness and ask the public’s help to find it. Research tells us that an unfound mojo can suffer from feelings of low self esteem and poor body image. I’ve run to Broadcasting House to ask you to launch the national campaign to find the mojo.

KA: Where was the mojo last seen?

JCR: Yorkshire for certain, but this mojo does like the bright lights of the City, so it’s possible she is hiding anywhere from Leeds to London.

KA: I see and how do we approach the mojo if seen? What do the professionals recommend?

JCR: Fortunately Kamal, the mojo is friendly and unlikely to cause a scene. The advice we have from the mojo support group ‘Mojos a go-go’ is to take it gently by the hand, offer it a cup of Yorkshire tea with a slice of parkin, and all will be well. Mojos are bred to be homing mojos and always return home, especially if well fed and watered.

KA: Good advice there from the professionals, is there anything else you’d like to add for the benefit of our viewers?

JCR: Just that mojos are frail creatures and can be sent off course by bad weather especially in these cold hard winter months. And whilst today we are looking for one mojo in particular, anybody can lose their mojo and not just for running. But again to all members of the public, if you see a weeping purple mojo, please text Mojo Found to 12345, and we can reunite the mojo with her owner.

KA: Thanks very much JanCanRun, and now back to the news. Theresa May is at a press conference in Downing Street talking about Brexit again…

Summary – a 12km run done, no mojos to be found, but there weren’t many bright lights to be seen on a murky day in London with a fruit based phone that decided to lose all battery power in one hour at the 10km stage. But I am confident the impromptu news appearance at Broadcasting House will pay off.

Playlist

Best Covers Ever….

Kiss – Art of Noise and Tom Jones

Tainted Love –  Soft Cell & Marilyn Manson’s Version

Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart – Almond and Pitney

Good Year For The Roses – Elvis Costello and The Attractions

All Along The Watchtower -Jimi Hendrix and Afterhere Versions

Hurt – Johnny Cash

Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) – Marilyn Manson

Whiskey In The Jar – Thin Lizzy

Kids in America – Foo Fighters and Lawnmower Deth

Twist and Shout – The Beatles

Welcome To The Jungle – Richard Cheese

Amish Paradise – Weird Al Yankovic

911 is a Joke – Duran Duran

Venus – Bananarama

Echo Beach – Toyah

Don’t Leave Me This Way – The Communards

China Girl – David Bowie

Take Me To The River – Talking Heads

Live and Let Die – Guns ’n’ Roses

Mrs Robinson – The Lemonheads

Battleship Chains – Volbeat

Smooth Criminal – Alien Ant Farm

My Prerogative – Britney Spears

Halo – Harper Blynn

Stats

Distance 12.33km

Time 1:32:00

Average Pace 7:27

Elevation Gain 47 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1893.40 – tomorrow I hope to break the 1900km barrier!

Kms To Run 124.60

15 June – Stereotype Snap

 

 

For a change, I decided to play a card game when I ran this morning. And I chose stereotype snap. The map shows you exactly where I picked up each stereotype or not. The whole idea is to pick up stereotypes and get points for each one I saw on my run through their respective zones. Now Friday is not a typical day in London, the commuters are noticeably fewer than usual, meaning stereotype snap is not such a point scorer as you may imagine.

I started off at Old Street, looking for Tech Start Up Stereotypes – identified by Apple branded everything and usually a pair of Dr Dre Beats. My score = Nil

Aiming towards Farringdon, I wasn’t aware of seeing any Start Up Stereotypes, but I did see at least two ‘More Media’ stereotypes. Their artwork type briefcases and tight trousers gave them away. My score = 2

On towards Lawyer Wanker territory, – typified by all black clothing and sharp, bright white shirt shirting, regardless of gender. The most monochrome experience you can get in one area – any hint of colour frowned upon. My score = 30+ (I lost count)

Soho,  rather surprisingly isn’t given any stereotypes on the map. But I did pass 20th Century Fox and an interestingly named restaurant…, but Covent Garden wasn’t far away, so onwards to find the Living Statue Wankers.  I’m thinking 8.30 am is too early for them to get up – even Yoda, who thinks we are fooled by his capacious gown, which clearly doesn’t have enough room for an alarm clock. My score = Nil

Then back towards Fleet Street in search of ‘Journalists Used To Be Here’. As the pubs were not yet open, there was no sign of any old soaks reminiscing about the good old days when you smoked 40 John Player Specials for Breakfast with a Johnnie Walker chaser or five. My score = Nil

My final stereotype search was for ‘Nervous Men Buying Rings’ in Hatton Garden, or at a push I’d have settled for ‘Old Men Plotting a Bank Vault Raid’. With me running before 9am,  this clearly meant all the plotters (whether for burglary or marriage) weren’t yet out. My score =Nil

Total Stereotype Score = 32 points.

Running score however was 9kms.

Playlist

Alison – Elvis Costello

Eloise – The Damned

Francine – ZZ Top

Gloria – Laura Branigan

Helena – My Chemical Romance

Poison Ivy – The Lambrettas

Jean Genie – David Bowie

Shake It Off – Taylor Swift

Kayleigh – Marillion

Layla – Derek and the Dominoes

Maggie May – Rod Stewart

Darling Nikki – His Purple Highness

Ophelia – The Band

Queen of Clubs – KC and The Sunshine Band

Roxanne – The Police

Sherry – Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

Teresa – Eddie Cochran

Single Ladies – Beyoncé

Valerie – Ronson and Winehouse

St Xenia – Katina

Zoe Jane – Staind

Stats

Distance 9.06km

Time 57:35

Average Pace 6:21

Elevation Gain 40 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1034.76

To Run 983.24

 

 

 

 

 

8 Feb – Whining and Dining

pexels-photo-391213.jpeg

Yesterday evening we went for a wine tasting in a posh London club. It didn’t start fantastically;  we arrived a few minutes early, and then were told that the tasting had been put back 30 minutes because so many people couldn’t make the advertised start time.

Pity they never thought to tell that information to the 50% of attendees who were able to get there on time… So we hung around and then went to the tasting. The lack of organisation continued, no-one really knew how it was supposed to work, some of us had glasses, some didn’t. Then the bartender came around and gave out glasses, telling us that each measure would be poured by the staff.

Still no welcome or announcements on how the evening would work. The sommelier, (in my opinion) was not great at communicating and in fact lost the audience almost from the outset, when people couldn’t hear him and asked him to speak up, he had to reiterate that he wanted them to stand near him.

The wine descriptions weren’t terribly informative and he wasn’t giving a lot of insight; as he seemed a little reticent, I thought I would help him by asking a question about food matching.  He answered that and the tasting progressed. It’s not his fault that he is not a natural speaker or raconteur, he was a bit like a tech geek. He knew all the stuff, but found it difficult to relay the information.

For a second time, when various groups of the attendees, were talking amongst themselves, I asked another question. It was again based around food and what I thought I’d tasted – then I suggested a dessert to pair with the wine and what did he think? He agreed I could taste butterscotch but that my food choice was totally wrong  “No, no no” and the audience started to laugh.

I have to say I was pissed off, I had been throwing him some lifelines, because he had lost his audience and he repaid me by facilitating a laugh at my expense.  In the interests of balance, I don’t think he had any idea that I’d been helping him, or that he was struggling, or in fact that his riposte was ill-considered. To my surprise the more gallant guy standing next to me said, ‘Well I’d love to eat that dessert and drink that wine with you, it sounds a good choice’. Better humour was restored!

The tasting didn’t get much better, the sommelier continued really as he had before and when describing another wine, I did tap my glass to get people to shut up to listen to him. I can be remarkably stupid at times – why should I offer him a hand at all?

It’s fair to say we won’t be going back. And for me now, he is short-sighted, because we go, not often, but regularly, to wine tastings. Now he and his company are off that list – we will spend our money elsewhere…

What’s this got to do with running I hear you ask. Well my challenge for Alzheimer’s has been described as both brave and to be honest somewhat foolish. But the difference I’ve found with my running buddies and friends, is that everyone is supportive.

The best people have come up with ways of me making the challenge, rather than laughing at my suggestion that I can do it. And for that I thank them all. Whilst I won’t be going to wine tastings with them, I do hope to repay their kindness and support with similar when they need it, whether it is running or something unrelated. And so to this morning, when I woke I had lots of messages of support from fellow C25Kers and one in particular gave me a really cheery breakfast.

I dined on that goodwill first thing and now am going for my run…