A loss of a minute

Under the floodlights, the track glittered with hundreds of spots of light, the wings of flying ants, crawling across the ground. Perhaps this was a good night for insects: when I changed trains at Buona Vista, there were swarms of winged things flying around above the platform. Maybe I never notice normally, because I’m concentrating on shoving past commuters. Maybe at the track there are usually enough runners to obliterate all signs of the ants. I have to count myself lucky that I didn’t swallow anything.

There were never more than ten people on the track tonight: a few people running 200 metres at a time, a few middle aged ladies out for a stroll, one or two randoms who appeared for a lap or two then vanished again. I did two laps to warm up, ate half my energy blocks, stood on the start line counting myself down from five, then set off.

This was a harder session than Sunday. Throughout, I was breathing hard through my mouth, concentrating (except for half of one lap, where my mind wandered and my pace instantly worsened) on every 25 second segment. I could probably have run any one of the laps except for the first harder, but I don’t think I’d have been able to sustain a faster pace over the whole session.

From somewhere around the fourth lap until the ninth, my arms and shoulders were heavy, dull, and I had to ignore a strong desire to come off the gas and slow down, give this up as a impossible project. I ignored that. Chopping 5k into 12 and a half laps, and chopping each lap into 4 chunks that must be 25 seconds long each, does wonders for concentrating the mind: 50 easy willpower exercises, rather than one long one.

I even beat my target, although only by a few seconds this time: 20:47.15, when I’d aimed for 20:50. That’s still more than a minute better than when I tried on Sunday, so I’m pretty pleased: this feels like a proper benchmark to improve on, whereas Sunday, although my best time in ages, felt to me like I might have been sandbagging.

Differences from Sunday: I did two warm up laps instead of one; I ate my energy blocks before, rather than after my 5k, and I knew what it felt like to put in 4 consistent laps after you’ve already done 8. Some things are always easier the second time around.

3 responses to “A loss of a minute”

  1. Well done! It does seem to make sense to eat the energy bars before you need the energy although there is the digestion to take into account.

    • Well, mostly. It was always possible that I’d be a chundering mess after ten minutes – but luckily Iron Stomach Foreman is capable of punishing his digestive system (so far…)

  2. […] I tried out my new blue socks properly this evening, by taking a trip to the Bukit Timah Stadium (the technically correct, but slightly overblown name for a running oval and a few tennis and basketball courts. I did a couple of warm up laps, trying to avoid treading on any of the enormous moths that have descended on Singapore, and then put in a 5k. I was aiming for sub 20 minutes, but after a few laps my times began to slip, and I ran a 20:54; not a bad effort, considering I was doing close to a minute slower that that a month or so ago, but still disappointing, given the goal I had set myself, and of course, 7 seconds slower than http://www.cushtie.com/a-loss-of-a-minute/ […]

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