Jazz: delicious hot, disgusting cold

It’s the Singapore International Jazz Festival this weekend, and although the tickets are extortionately expensive and I’ve never been that big a fan of some old geezer parping on a saxophone or playing all the wrong notes on a piano or some sho-wop-a-booby-bop whatever or shooting up heroin in grainy black and white photos, my wife was super keen to go. So it was super fortunate that a friend got six free tickets from work, and so we were off to the races. Well, off to the jazz. 
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Very early to rise, early to bed

La Serpiente woke up at four this morning, screaming the house down because she didn’t have her big white bunny rabbit. Eventually, my exasperated wife located this cuddly toy, but by then Destroyer had been woken up. Or rather, we heard weeping from her room. We opened the door to check: silence. We closed the door: weeping. We opened the door: silence. This idiocy carried on for an hour, after which everyone fell asleep and didn’t wake up until 7:30, well after we should have been up and ready for the day ahead. 

I had a early morning call, so I broke one of my resolutions, to take La Serpiente to school every day that I’m in Singapore. Clearly the lustre of Daddy had worn off, because she’d already been demanding her mother took her to school instead, but when the time came both children were a chaotic yelling mess that my wife had tó manoeuvre out the door, while I sat on my call and remembered not to leave the video camera on while I fell back to sleep. (I’ve learnt that, if nothing else, from my last early morning call.)

Then I rushed off out to the office at 9, for another call that was cancelled just before I got to the office, and then I spent the day thinking hard about things and solving problems until it was time to go home. So that was nice. 

The children spent the evening going boggle-eyed mental, culminating in Destroyer screaming for half an hour for her mother while La Serpiente demanded to be carried around like a rugby ball. Then they both passed out, leaving the two of us broken and wishing only for the warm embrace of sleep. So that was today. 

Glutton for punishment

I went to the track for the Wednesday night session; I don’t think I’d been once during my marathon training, which means it’s the first time I’ve been this year. And as my wife is starting an exercise class on Wednesday evenings from next week, it could also be the last time I’ll go this year. There’s always Monday nights…

I wasn’t feeling too bad after the marathon. Or rather, I think i have more problems with my head than my legs. I hadn’t really noticed until somebody pointed out I’ve been very quiet today, rather than my usual garrulous self. I hope people will tell me when I’m getting stupider as well as when I’m getting gloomier. 

Anyway, I knew going to the track could have been a big mistake, so I had no illusions about being able to sustain a stupendous pace for half an hour, and the 30 minute tests I’ve done over the last few months have taught me that even 1:40s are over ambitious, so I was content to be trying to run consistent 1:44 laps tonight. Ostensibly we were doing 1:46s, but that’s not divisible by 4, so what kind of madman would attempt that?

There were three of us running together; tonight’s session was 4 lots of 7 minutes and 30 seconds, with a 90 second recovery in between. This was a lot less horrible than the usual 6×5 minutes with a one minute break: that extra 30 seconds really helped me to recover. 

That said, the final 7 and a half minutes were a strange kind of hell. Going into it I figured I’d drop out in shame after a lap or two, so managing to grind out 4 and a quarter laps at basically the same pace I started with was some sort of victory. 

Afterwards, exhausted, I took the train home. I didn’t quite have the glow of adrenaline I get from running fast laps at the track, but at least I’d got out and run. There’s only 6 weeks until an 800m race – I guess I need to speed up. 

A fistful of frequent flyer points

La Serpiente woke me up at 4 this morning, after 4 blissful nights of uninterrupted sleep, and I’d struggled to get to sleep last night anyway, so I was once again shambling through today, not quite sure where the world was or what my place was in it. Perhaps this was the wrong day to stop drinking coffee.

Still, this evening after we put the kids down, I could be productive by starting to book things for our week in Australia. (We’re off to Perth at the end of May, partly because it’s only five hours away and it’s somewhere nobody has been to before – and for 75% of the family it will be a completely new country. I didn’t enjoy the other side of the country nine years ago though…) Having not spent a single reward point that I’ve accumulated on my credit card in the last six years turns out to be a wonderful thing, as I’m now getting my car rental, my hotel, and possibly any random electronic crap I care to think of, for free: this might actually be the cheapest holiday I’ve taken in a decade.
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The Invisible Runner

It’s strange; I remember very little of the marathon, even a short time after finishing it. The very start, where i went far too fast. Running behind Marina Bay Sands is something I think I remember, although that may just be baseless conjecture. The last few hundred metres, jogging as hard as I could through darkness. But one thing stands clear. The photographers who seemed to refuse to record me. 

All around the course there were photographers stationed. I’d see them from a hundred yards away, flashguns firing as runners got close and waved at them. Except for me. I’d look at them, they’d seem to look at me, but never would there be the flash of a light. Was I wearing camouflage? Were they offended by the blue and red stripes of my best? Did they assume I wasn’t part of the event, and was just tooling around with a number pinned to my shirt for shits and giggles?

Whatever it was, I felt it was stranger and stranger that everyone else was getting photographed apart from me. But it wasn’t the sort of thing worth stopping to remonstrate with them. Ok, I wasn’t going that fast on Sunday .Orning, but what would the point have been? Worse, think of the embarassment if it turned out they had taken a photo of me? Best to avoid being a diva, I assumed. 

But it was odd that even when I ran through the finishing arch, arms held high in celebration, there was no flash. I saw plenty of other official photos of people who had finished. Not just the first person back, but people completing it in 6 or 7 hours. But not me. 

Had I daubed myself with magical invisible paint? Was my smile at the end not genuine enough? Had the staff photographer wandered off for a dump at 4 in the morning and never came back?

We may never know, just as the main record of my run may turn out to be a selfie I took at the top of a motorway flyover, looking aghast at it all. 

Well, those are the memories you savour, right?

Sundown Marathon 2017

This morning I ran the Sundown Marathon. It didn’t go quite the way I was hoping, but I think I did better than expected, in that I did at least finish. And I got the highest score I’ve ever had in a marathon – never got over 4 hours before!

Ahem. I guess personal bests don’t quite work like that.
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The Liberation

Today I finished reading The Liberation, which I started about 9pm on Friday night when I realised the third part of Ian Tregillis’ Alchemy Wars trilogy had been released. I don’t think I wrote about The Mechanical, whereas I wrote about The Rising, the second part, and didn’t enjoy it that much. So I was sad that the third part was even less enjoyable than the first two. Spoilers ahead if you haven’t read the first two books…
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