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.

The W, Bangkok

I got back from a day at the office at about 930 this evening, and instead of going to bed hung around the lobby of the hotel far too long, vacillating over which particular elephant toys to buy for my daughters. There’s a bit too much choice: small elephants to go on keyrings, large gold elephants, or glossy black ones, or sequin encrusted ones. Then there’s the teddy bears dressed up in boxer’s robes like they’re warming up for a championship bout, and of course the glorious enormous boxing glove cushions. Eventually I saw sense, gave up and went to my room to have a bath.
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More toilet conundrums

In the toilet on the ground floor of the office building where I work, there’s this sign. It’s worrying that such a sign is necessary; do people really need to be told not to stick paper towels into urinals? And what sort of education provides somebody with the literacy to read this sign, but fails to inculcate basic principles of plumbing?
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Going down the toilet once again

After the first twelve hours or so in the air, a certain sense of unreality descends on you. It begins to feel as though you’re forever traveling around Narita, leaving the plane for security checks, reboarding, eating the same meals you had a week ago, ad infinitum. Things begin to smear together into a mess.

Speaking of mess, I never fail to be disgusted by the state of the toilets on board planes. The only way to prevent that would be to reprogram your bladder to ensure you’re always (and only) the first person in, to avoid seeing what everyone else has done.
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Down in the depths of Downe

This afternoon we drove out to Down House, where Charles Darwin used to live. Down House is in Downe, a small village in Kent that sometimes includes an ‘E’ in its name, and sometimes does not. There doesn’t seem to be any particular pattern to this: it’s not like it always had an E at the end, until three hundred years ago, and then lost it; the E keeps appearing and disappearing down through the passage of time. It’s not much of a problem until you assume that Down House, because it’s in Downe, is Downe House, and if you search for Downe House on the internet, you end up with details for a boarding school in Berkshire when all you wanted was to know about men with big beards experimenting on earthworms. Continue reading “Down in the depths of Downe”


For lunch today I went to Renn Thai in Clark Quay, to celebrate a co-worker’s thirtieth birthday. Conversation moved to discussing how she’d spent her twentieth birthday, and I almost blurted out that I’d spent mine in Oxford, wearing a not-particularly flattering blue dress at a party on Cowley Road. I’m glad I didn’t say that, because on reflection that can’t have been true; I’m pretty sure that was a weekend where I got drunk with my future best man and another friend from college, and ended up reenacting video games in front of my bemused flatmate, before getting hit over the head with a bag of apples and shouting "oh my apricots!" for no reason that could be satisfactorily explained afterwards. It is to my eternal regret that I didn’t use to keep a regular diary, as then I’d be able to tell if the drunken weekend was the same as the apple-bashing weekend, or totally unrelated.
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