Out running again


This evening I went back to the running track near the Botanic Gardens for another training session. Getting there on time from Chinatown is an adrenaline rush of shoving and sprinting, frustrated by people who stand on the wrong side of escalators, squashed against grumpy commuters who will yield no quarter in the train carriage, and generally getting so honked off that it’s a wonder I don’t burst a blood vessel before I get to the track. After that, running a few laps should be no bother at all.

Tonight, we were again split into three groups, and while the frogs in the darkness croaked sardonically at us, we ran 1200 metres in 7 minutes, 5 times.

Once again, that doesn’t sound hard: 6km in 42 minutes is nothing special. But if it was that easy, I’d be able to do arithmetic correctly and know that five sevens is 35.

You’re not running at a constant pace, slightly slower than 5:30 per km. You’re going as hard as you can for three laps of the track, and then recovering for the remainder of seven minutes before going out again. And again. And again. And again.

"Going as hard as you can" might sound simple, but it requires careful pacing to manage that distance and not just blow up after one lap, or one 3-lap repetition. Just as last week, I struggled gamefully through the first few, started to feel the wheels coming off on the penultimate one, and then was ready to fall over and give up on the last one. Seeing this, the guy running the session ran just in front of me for the last two laps of the last 1200 metres, and by matching his strides I somehow managed to keep going, desperate to give up but knowing I’d be too ashamed to do so.

Which was nice, because it meant I finished the last 1200 properly, instead of standing around five minutes later, wondering why I hadn’t pushed myself. Ah, the motivation of your peers.

One of my friends from work came along tonight as well, and he really enjoyed running fast: I think most of his running so far has been plodding along with me on concrete, rather than going hard on a proper running track, so that was nice for him. Despite it raining all day (or because of the extra humidity) it was revoltingly hot and I was running in shorts, socks and heart rate monitor by the fourth rep. At least I managed a shower this time, rather than stinking out the entire train on the way home.

On the way back, a Singaporean asked me if I was related to another British guy on the train: after all, we were both white, had pointy noses and wrinkles around our eyes. I suppose I could have riposted by saying all the Chinese people on the train looked identical to me, except that wouldn’t be true and also because trying to explain the flaws in statements like that is best done when you’re not destroyed from a night at the track.

And so to bed.


2 responses to “Out running again”

  1. I’ve been asked twice since living here whether I’m related to X Chinese looking person who lives somewhere in the next village.

    • Ouch. Being charitable, part of me wants to think people just can’t think of any other conversational topic, but it’s not like there isn’t the weather to talk about. (Whereas in Singapore, with the constant heat and humidity, there isn’t that reliable fallback – but maybe people should stick to noncontroversial topics like religion, sex and politics when talking to strangers…)

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