This evening I went to the track, after eating possibly one too many potato samosas. It was hot out, and I’m not fully recovered from Sunday’s beasting, so I was planning on running 1:40s, but it was clear pretty quickly that 1:45s would be a much more realistic goal.
Even that was hard to maintain; aesthetically, I don’t like running for 5 minutes and not completing three full laps of the track, and it also makes it a bit harder to figure out whether you’re putting in consistent lap times, as the GPS log is never exactly what you did on the track, so if you know you ran most of a lap in 1:38, it’s never entirely clear what ratio you should apply to see what the full lap would have been like at that pace.
And my feet are sore.
Continue reading Track night
Predictably, after yesterday I was a complete wreck. My legs weren’t that sore (hooray for compression socks) but the rest of me was devoid of energy. Somehow I managed to transport La Serpiente to school on the bus, laden down with all her paraphernalia, and then caught another bus to the office, just avoiding getting soaked in a sudden downpour.
Continue reading Half asleep in Singapore
This afternoon I went for a two hour run. I felt justified in slipping away from the bosom of my family, because we’d kept La Serpiente awake until 2:30 this afternoon, delaying her nap until she had a dead-eyed, empty stare, so she napped until 4, which meant she wasn’t going to go to bed until super late tonight, and also because I’ve hardly run in weeks and the best way to compensate for lassitude is to run as much as you possibly can. Which is what I attempted.
I was assisted in this endeavour by one of my friends, who’s training for the Osaka marathon in October, and is currently running 60-80 km every week. Going out for a 24 km run this afternoon wasn’t such a big stretch for him, whereas it soon turned out to be for me.
Continue reading Another hard run on the Corridor
I got home about 1:30 local time, having had about three hours sleep in the previous 24 hours. That made for a painful day today, ministering to La Serpiente’s demands, but probably easier for jet lag than if I’d slept more on the plane. I slept until about seven, when La Serpiente came into our room and clambered all over me in a state of total glee.
Continue reading Early to rise, not early to bed
As well as Sarong Party Girls, I bought Underground Airlines last week, and what better place to read it than on a plane, while growing peevish that the in-flight entertainment system was crashing every ten minutes?
Underground Airlines is a pun on the Underground Railway, which is something I’d never heard of until a few years ago: the system that smuggled escaped slaves from the US into Canada. Underground Airlines updates that metaphor into an alternate reality, where slavery was never abolished in the southern states of the US, and everything has shifted slightly from where we are today.
Continue reading Underground Airlines
I woke up this morning feeling rotten, and schlepped to the office for a meeting, before going back to the hotel to grab my bags and head to the airport. I resolved that I would eat as much as I possibly could before I boarded the plane; due to some screwup, I couldn’t request a vegetarian meal on the flight home, despite it going through fine on the way here three weeks ago. Between that and my disappearing hotel reservation I have to conclude I have bad travel karma from all my years at Expedia, and so I have to put up with a series of minor punishments as a result.
Continue reading Awaiting takeoff
Tonight I was meant to go to a dinner at a Mexican restaurant, but instead we ended up at a Vietnamese bar serving American microbrews. This was a bit strange; in Singapore I can get better Vietnamese food than Mexican food, and the opposite holds true in Palo Alto, but perhaps we’re not focussed on maximising the utility of my dinner enough.
Continue reading Vietnamese confusion
After work tonight I got on the wrong shuttle home, and then had to walk a mile to get to the hotel. I was booking it home as fast as I could because I had a class booked at the Soul Cycle in the Stanford Shopping Centre, just down the street from the hotel. (Soul Cycle is one of the big names in spinning classes, and has pretty much perfected the whole utterly-mental-totally-enthusiastic-embrace-the-pain ethic that all modern spin studios seem to adhere to.) Although there were lots of press ups and strange movements, it didn’t bring me quite to tears like 7Cycle used to be able to, with its valedictory speeches on how you need to improve your life and its terrible dance music. (Soul Cycle has other terrible music, but that’s by the by.)
I got to Soul Cycle (note that they have soul-cycle.com, whereas soulcycle.com is owned by some sweaty BMX punks that are most likely far removed from skinny Californians in bright yellow Lululemon pants. But never mind.
I left Soul Cycle, fairly exhausted, ate a burrito from Chipotle, and went back to the hotel to shower and pack my bags for Thursday. And at some point, I began to wonder about power.
Continue reading We need more power
This evening I took a Lyft down to Mountain View from Menlo Park. Sat in the back of a car, idly reading through my RSS feed, I grew more and more nauseous as we negotiated the rush hour traffic. In retrospect, what I should have done is taken the bus from the campus down to the Caltrain station, and then taken the train from Palo Alto to Mountain View – it would have not taken any longer, and cost about a fifth of the price. But I’m sometimes a slow learner.
I was meeting Miranda, a friend from our Hong Kong days who now lives in California; we caught up over felafels and I jabbered at her for the best part of two hours, tamping down my desire to vomit by chugging ginger beer. Again, a missed opportunity. If I was drinking fizzy drinks, it should have been a Mountain Dew in Mountain View. Again, I’m a really slow learner. If I was hopped up on high-caffeine HFCS-laced soda, would I be that much better? Some things you can only be sure if you expose them to empirical verification.*
Continue reading Mountain Dew in Mountain View
Leaving Seattle this evening, I strayed into the Hudson News and was distracted by the bright red cover of Sarong Party Girls, along with the 40% off sticker. Regretfully, it was in hardback but I had my Kindle with me and downloaded a copy to read on the plane. (Sorry, Hudson News, but my back can’t bear too many more heavy books.)
I then devoured most of it on the flight from SEA to SFO. I read much of the rest in a noisy sports bar in Palo Alto, waiting for a bad pizza to arrive. If the thought of a louche middle-aged Englishman reading a book about Singaporean party animals in a mediocre bar in California isn’t some kind of cultural inappropriateness, I don’t know what is.
Continue reading Sarong Party Girls