The antibiotics my wife and I are taking have stopped us tasting anything. Smoothies made with fresh fruit taste no better than wallpaper paste. Pasta is like cardboard in our mouths. The only advantage of this state of affairs is that it’s also borked my wife’s sense of smell, so she can leave a fully loaded nappy on a shelf in Destroyer’s bedroom and not notice the stench. Oh, hang on, was that an advantage? Continue reading “Tastelessness”

Alone in the dark

I’ll often complain, but Singapore does have some beautiful weather. This afternoon I was in meeting after meeting, and just after five, as I looked out of the floor-to-ceiling window towards the west, I saw a patch of vehement orange yellow, growling up from the horizon. Above it, acres of dark grey, and then a little round hole of blue, adorned with cotton wool puffs of white. It was beautiful, and it meant I wasn’t going running tonight.

In the space of ten minutes, the dark grey swallowed up the blue, the orange turned a little redder and then vertical slashes of lightning began to flash. The meeting ground on.

Wednesday is girls’ night out. Tomorrow my wife and I are going to the cinema, and Thursday is too late in the week for me to do a speed session if I want a fast 5k on Saturday. So I looked out the window with the faint but fading hope that the storm would be gone by 6:30 and I could go to the track.

At 6:30, still humming and hawing, the sky had turned black and most of the buildings vanished in mist and darkness. My wife was reporting that La Serpiente was down with a fever again, and I didn’t want to go to a waterlogged track, slip over and drown. I peeled myself away from my computer and went downstairs, intent on going home. And yet…
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Running for the toilet

Tonight I jogged down to the National Stadium to run on the track for half an hour. I did the same last week and that time I went a bit too easy on myself. To be fair, you don’t want to be going all-out the week after a marathon, but given I could run that session and then bomb round the track for another five minutes, almost 10 seconds per lap faster than the main run, I had something left in the tank. [More]
Normally the long interval session is on a Wednesday, but this week my wife gets to go out on a Wednesday night instead of me, so I took myself out on the Monday instead. For better or worse, that meant an almost deserted track; one fast group of four guys, a few joggers and the odd person walking in the inside lane of the track with their headphones on, like that bestowed them invulnerability to the consequences of being run into.

Having nobody else around meant there was no traffic jam on the start line, or jockeying for position when somebody is ever-so-slightly faster or slower than you, but it’s also harder to keep focus. On my penultimate lap I tried running by feel alone, and went almost two seconds slower than intended.

Last week, 1:46 was a little too slow per lap, so this week I tried for 1:42.

Last week, after I’d run as hard as I could for the last five minutes of the session, my guts began to churn and I had to leg it to the gents’ to relieve myself. A stomach of curry and 4 minute kilometre pace don’t mix well.

This week, after 15 minutes at 4:17 pace I again had to head to the toilets. This time, I’d drunk too much water and running in tropical humidity wasn’t helping me sweat it all out. If this theme holds consistent, I guess next week I’ll be throwing up, and then I dread to think what the week after will bring.

Of course, my toilet diversion this week wasn’t at the end of the workout, it was eating into my three minute recovery time. I blame that for being less than stellar for the next ten minutes. That, or being alone while occasionally being buzzed by the four fast men, who managed to catch up with me just before I was going to overtake one of the slow joggers. There must be some excuse I can use.

Still, one way or another tonight took it out of me. I charged the last straight on the last lap to finish with a 1:38, and then tottered to the side of the track, exhausted. This evening I was in no shape to do another five minutes, and I’m happy because that means I did all that I could tonight. All that remained was a three lap warm down, wringing the sweat from my best, and the train home. Never have I been so grateful for air conditioning on trains, and never, I assume, have the people forced to share a train with me either.

Spurious commemorative memorabilia and a sweaty night at the track

After crowing about how well I was eating and sleeping, it was inevitable that last night I wouldn’t be able to sleep until 3 in the morning, and I’d spend half of today hankering after dreadful food of one kind or another. As the evening seeped into the end of the afternoon, again I felt sluggish and really unsure if I should be going out running at the track tonight.

Still, I took a moment between stopping working and going running to write another 800 words of my novel. Random snippets of dialogue flit through my mind –

I’m the least racist person I know!
Yeah, that’s because all your friends are massive racists!

And although I’m not writing it in order, I’ve had a few thoughts about the plot that make that less problematic. Well, let’s get a first draft done first, and then sort out all my problems.
Continue reading “Spurious commemorative memorabilia and a sweaty night at the track”

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. 

Consistently slower

Tonight was the first time that I managed to get to the track for this particular workout since before Destroyer was born, demonstrating once more the perils for your aerobic fitness of having kids. It was one of my not-particularly-favourite threshold sessions: 15 minutes at threshold pace, followed by 3 minutes rest, then 10 minutes, two minutes rest, and five minutes to finish you off.
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Start slow, finish strong

Tonight I left my caterwauling child and went to the track for a threshold session. I didn’t feel great; my nose was running, I’ve had a succession of stressful days at work and the last time I went to the track was two weeks ago, when my lack of fitness was cruelly exposed. Finally, tonight was my least favourite session: 20 minutes, then a four minute rest, then two sets of five minutes with a minute in between. I find that really tough because I build up so much heat in the twenty minute session that I really wilt, whereas on the shorter intervals there’s a chance to get a bit of air in your lungs between sets. So I set off with little hope.
Continue reading “Start slow, finish strong”