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…

And yet for some reason, Colin McCourt inspired me to go to the track instead. I had my wife’s permission, after all, double checked after fever report. I’d go to the track, it would still be raining, I’d go home.

I went to the track. It wasn’t raining, but all the floodlights were turned off, and I soon discovered the changing rooms and toilets had been locked since 3pm, because it was the groundstaff’s afternoon off. And there were huge puddles everywhere.

I changed, hidden in a bush behind the changing room block, and ventured out, only to be buttonholed by a couple looking for the shotput area. In the dark. In the rain. I suppose my incandescent whiteness makes me easy to see in the dark, but why are there stealth pensioners dicking about with metal balls in inclement weather?

After the last two track sessions, it wasn’t good news that the toilets were locked, but I’d had nothing to eat so I was probably safe from puking, and that’s all orifices covered for this cycle, so I went onto the track and tried to run a 20-5-5 threshold session. In the dark. With massive puddles everywhere.

You don’t realise how helpful the floodlights are until they’re all gone. And you don’t realise how bumpy the track has got until there’s great big ripples everywhere, and you also don’t realise how complicated it is to push the light button on your watch every time you want to check if you’ve run the first 100m of the lap at the right pace or not. After five or six laps I gave up checking my watch more than once per lap, but it seemed at the time like I was running pretty even splits. There was only me and three other people visible on the track, plus two mentalists doing javelin practice in the dark. Even the septuagenarian shotputters had cleared off.

I did 12 laps in 20:05, tried futilely to get in the toilets, ran the next three laps too hard, waited a minute, was all over the shop for the last three, then went home, pretty proud that I’d done the whole set. Good weather after all.

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