Missing out

Staying up late and drinking isn’t part of the training regimen of most successful runners. I was meant to do 26 km this morning with a friend, and we’d arranged to meet at 5:15 so we’d be done before breakfast. I hauled myself out of bed with 4 hours sleep in me, got dressed and went down for my run.

My friend never turned up.

After 15 minutes waiting, I set off on my own, figuring if I didn’t start, I’d never finish. I still didn’t finish.

I did 20 km less than intended, at glacial pace. When you’re aiming for 5:30 kilometres and you’re doing two minutes slower, something is very wrong. I tried to push myself to go faster; I got slightly slower. I planned to run four laps of the Marina rather than do a long out and back; I managed one lap, then packed it in, standing next to a building site that stank like raw sewage and seemed to be a breeding ground for flies.

Broken hearted, I slowly crept back home in the dark.

On the corner of Shenton Way, where a new shopping mall has opened and through the glass I could already see staff, at well before 7, setting up in the cafĂ©, my friend appeared from the gloom, jogging on at reasonable pace. There’d been a missed text: he’d rescheduled our start for 5:30 and so we’d just missed one another. He tried to get me to follow him, but he was doing 4:30 pace; I was broken alright, and doing any more would just break me more.

I walked home, passed out on the sofa, sweating into the cushions. At 8, my daughters came and played around me, but couldn’t wake me. At ten, I woke, inexplicably returned to my bed. The day was just begun, or already over. Who’s to say?

Another early start

I don’t know how I dragged myself from my bed at 5 am, but somehow I managed it, and went off for a 21 km run. This became a never-ending grind; the first 10k or so wasn’t so bad, and then it got worse with every step, my heel injury playing up from about 17k in, and the last couple of kilometres a misery of repetition, running up and down the footpath behind our building. Again, and again, and again. Continue reading “Another early start”

Apresdeluvian run

I went to MacRitchie Reservoir for a run today. It was an easy choice; the Formula One race means any running route near Marina Bay is needlessly complicated, running to Mount Faber would be horrendously boring, and although MacRitchie is hilly and humid, it’s also fun to be running down a rocky path where you’re not entirely in control.

I was too tired to run it this morning, and it would have been impossible at night as they lock a gate at one end, making it really difficult to do a proper loop, and it would be in the dark with a bunch of angry monkeys, and I’d never sneak out after bedtime anyway, so I left at 4.

Just as a huge rainstorm came in. The sort where it gets cold in Singapore, and where you can’t see much further than the windscreen of the car you’re in. So hurtling to MacRitchie was rather fun.

I arrived, the rain stopped, everything was lovely. Perhaps this was a sign that the general shittiness of the weekend to date had now abated.

The run itself was quite tough. I was keeping my pace slow as I can do MacRitchie in an hour, but then I’m ruined, so I did my first lap in just over an hour, then discovered that although it’s a reservoir, water is hard to come by, and either dehydration or tired legs made a mess of the second hour for me. I did have my Camelbak with me, but the water bladder had some suspiciously old water in it, so I’d left that at home.

I did have the My Dad Wrote A Porno podcast to listen to, which is a great solace while running, but maybe not good for overall performance. Still, it kept me going, fnar fnar.

Finishing, I got a taxi home, legs well and truly wrecked (the rough ground plays hell with everything below the knee), but I had been smart enough to pack a change of clothes with me, so I didn’t stink the vehicle up. I looked a state though: tight t-shirt and baggy shorts are something for a Spice Girl twenty years ago, not a middle-aged man today.

Then, as penance, I had to sit on Destroyer’s floor to get her to sleep, when getting up from the floor with knackered legs is a matter of hilarity and idiotic pain. And so to bed.

Not Swimming Lesson #1

Tonight I didn’t go swimming, and I was still so tired that I fell asleep on Destroyer’s bed before she did, which suggests that maybe it’s not swimming that knackers me out, it’s Thursdays. That’s aggravating because I don’t reasonably expect to improve at Thursdays, so all those lessons may be for naught, but it’s consoling insofar as it explains why I’m tired after every single swimming lesson.

I’m not swimming this week (or the next) because I only paid for ten lessons, and this week and next week I’m frantically busy or out of the country, so this pause to take stock makes a lot of sense. But the marathon training schedule marches on, and so only after I’d dragged myself out of Destroyer’s bedroom, and wasted most of the evening watching videos on YouTube or Netflix, did I finally get changed into my running gear and headed out.

It wasn’t a wonderful run; 2km down to the foot of Mount Faber, and 2km back, but it was at an even pace and I wasn’t reduced to terrifying weeping at the end of it, like I was in March. So there’s that to say for it.

It wasn’t a very good day for training though; lots of rushing about (two client meetings, both 500 yards from my house, but interspersed with returns to the office which meant I’d walked 12,000 steps today before I even contemplated ‘proper’ exercise. Then there was the can of Coke I shouldn’t have drunk, the quesadilla for lunch that keep threatening to repeat on me during my run (surely the statute of limitation for lunch shouldn’t allow for gastric distress almost ten hours after you’ve eaten the thing?) the ill-advised ice cream mid afternoon… Once again, I think I’ll put on weight while training for this marathon, which doesn’t suggest the best dietary plans.

Oh, it’s all muscle I’m adding. Honest. Stomach muscle.

Now, though, I smell of rotting apples. So at least my sweat is healthy. I hope.

Off track

I ran to the National Stadium track today to do a run at race pace. I’m only aiming for 3:30 for the Bagan Marathon, which equates to 2 minute laps at the track (except track pace is probably faster than real life pace, especially if Bagan is all sand) but given how out of training I am at the moment, I just wanted to see if I could knock out a reasonably consistent session.

It was a bit of a slog; not too much, mind, apart from people standing in the track and not looking where they were going, and sweating like mad, and feeling slightly sick, and running at 5 minute pace being ever so slightly boring, but after 30 minutes I kicked it up to a harder pace, and realised that doing 1:40 pace (something I’d usually see as dreadfully slow) was actually really quite hard work.

But I did it, and then headed home, just as everyone else was arriving for the main training session, which meant I did the suboptimal double of missing the social cameraderie of training in a group, but still left so late I was neglecting my parental duties at home. Tsk, tsk.

But to punish me, my Garmin decided it wasn’t going to communicate with my phone any more, for no particular reason, and so instead of the data I thrive on looking at, I spent a maddening hour trying to pair Bluetooth devices. Because that’s how I relax after a long day at work.

Karma, it turns out, is quite snide sometimes.

Training, frustrated

On Monday, my marathon training is meant to start, with a 30 minute all-out time trial, to calibrate my current fitness and pace, and allow me to determine my current power output and thus calculate my training zones for the next 4-6 weeks. I usually do these tests on the track, where it’s mortally boring to run about 18 laps at a consistent pace, but I have a work dinner on Monday so I can’t go to the track then. I can’t go before work, because I don’t think I’m capable of getting up, travelling for half an hour to the track, putting in an hour’s session (don’t forget warmup and cooldown time) and travelling back with enough to get La Serpiente to school.

I can’t do it tomorrow, because I was a wreck this morning and have no reason to believe I’ll be better tomorrow, and I can’t do it tomorrow night because I’m drinking beer all afternoon. So I figured I’d do it tonight, before we had dinner.

Then I realised I couldn’t do that, so I’d go after dinner.

Then I realised that would put me in the doghouse, so I gave Destroyer her bath and got her halfway to bed, and then I handed over to my wife and went out to do 30 hard minutes (but round the bay, rather than going out to the track).
Continue reading “Training, frustrated”

A long slow run

La Serpiente came into our bedroom at twenty past six, wanting to hug and lie on me. Instead, I bundled her into the running stroller along with some fruit, some cookies, a litre of water, a hardback book, two soft toys, a change of clothes for me and her booster seat, and headed off to the Parkrun. Which is about 10 km from our flat.
Continue reading “A long slow run”