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.

Back to Palo Alto

The flight to San Francisco only took 14 hours (I guess prevailing winds are a wonderful thing) and I was through Customs and picking up my bag before 9am. It was touch and go for a bit; they have automated machines at SFO to collect your information before you hand your passport to a person in a bulletproof vest, but for some reason the camera and the flash on the machine weren’t playing nice. It kept taking a picture of me so over-exposed you could almost make out my pupils and jawline, and nothing else, and then complained that the picture wasn’t clear and would have to be taken again. Technology, I love you.
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Late checkin to the Beatles Room


After spending the day with friends in San Francisco and a pleasant meal at a French restaurant, I got dropped off at the hotel in Menlo Park where I had my booking for the next week. My friends drove off, back on the road to San Francisco and I went to check in. Unfortunately, I didn’t exist. Continue reading “Late checkin to the Beatles Room”

What I did this Saturday

Today I discovered, (in line with previous expectations) far too late to do anything about it, that the battery on my Garmin was flat, despite having plugged it into the charger overnight. Nothing I tried persuaded it to take a charge, so I had to go off to Parkrun and attempt a run without any guidance from my GPS. I did it about 15 seconds faster than last week when I was hoping for a more serious improvement, but then I’ve been failing to sleep enough as well this week (even before you factor in La Serpiente coming to wake me up in the middle of the night).
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Don’t shine on, you crazy diamond

I bought my wife a Misfit Shine, a fitness tracker, when they were first launched via Kickstarter. The unique thing about the Shine is that instead of looking like an appalling gadget, all plastic and rubber and such, it’s a wonderfully minimal metal disc, more akin to jewellery than a glorified pedometer. Also, it runs on a hearing aid battery rather than something rechargeable, which means you can wear it for six months without worrying about having to charge it.

But of course, there are downsides.
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What I learned this week

My phone is trying to tell me something. Or get me into trouble. Look at what happens if I try to tell my wife that I’m having a shitstorm at work:
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I’m not sure if this means my phone is making racist generalisations, or trying to provoke rage in my wife at apparent confessions of infidelity. I’m also tempted to try to write an entire post always accepting every auto-correct suggestion from my phone, but I’m not sure if anyone would notice.

Running with a stroller is hard. Last week we bought a third-hand jogging stroller for fifty dollars, back when it appeared the haze would probably last forever. With clear air this morning and La Serpiente awake at 7, I strapped her in and took her downstairs for a preliminary shakedown. Now, I’m not sure if it was the extra challenge of pushing the stroller, or the aftereffects of overdoing it yesterday, but I went through hell this morning. It took me about 7 minutes to do less than one kilometre, which is horrendous pace. The only mitigation I can see is that I was just as wrecked until about 3pm today, which indicates it may have been exhaustion that was the driving factor, but what if I was just exhausted from pushing the stroller all that way?

We’re mostly wimps these days. I read Al Murray’s Watching War Films With My Dad, and he makes the point that whereas in WW2, people would be decorated for the feats of valour they performed after already having their elbow broken, these days a broken bone is enough to consign us to bed rest for a week. Not going out and storming a machine gun nest. I remember retelling the story of my grandfather (injured while fighting in the British Expeditionary Force in France, then returning to the fray (and ending up in a POW camp for the rest of the war)) and this account being met with disbelief by my classmates – wasn’t this something out of Rambo? Were people just tougher then? Or should we just stop complaining when the hardest life gets is when a spreadsheet doesn’t work right?

I’m not getting enough sleep. I know I need about eight hours a night, and instead books and Township (and regrettably, mostly Township) is really getting in the way of this.

Of all the vomit, mozzarella-based vomit is amongst the worst. La Serpiente started being sick about nine this evening, including once throwing up all over my feet, and for dinner she’d had a couple of slices of a posh margarita pizza. So in between rinsing out a plastic bucket for her to be sick into, I’ve been trying to launder the two sheets, two towels and two sleep sacks she vomited over before we started getting prepared for the constant waves of chunder. That means trying to wash this foul-smelling creamy, sticky gunk off everything, along with chunks of tomato, part digested raspberries, and everything else she ate today. At least this provided a firm stop to my conference call tonight.

Hopefully unrelated to that, I learned about how to use a jogging stroller today. Or rather, this afternoon after her music class, I strapped La Serpiente back into the stroller and jogged up and down for a couple of kilometres. This was still hard hard work, but I now understand a few things, in particular keeping your elbows close to your torso, so you run upright rather than leaning into the stroller, and the importance of running holding the stroller with one hand where possible, to give yourself more natural running form, and accepting you’ll be slower than when unencumbered by child. Although I still remember being beaten at Parkrun by somebody with a stroller once. I’m now much more impressed by that feat.

A long day, a short run

How clever we felt when we got La Serpiente Aquatica Negra down swiftly last night, and how stupid we felt when she kept charging into our room through the night, demanding milk or cuddles or both, until we acquiesced and then we all woke up wrecked about 9 this morning, which meant we didn’t get breakfast until about 11, which meant the whole avalanche/ever increasing shitshow of the day ended up with Her Majesty going down for a nap three hours late, leaving us no hope of ever getting her to bed this side of midnight. But otherwise, a good day.
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