Overcooked before Christmas

I had about three hours of sleep this morning, and so I felt pretty dingy at 6 am. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to sleep, and I also knew that my willpower wasn’t going to be so great tonight, so I forced myself to get up and put on my running clothes. There was hardly anything to eat in the house, so I breakfasted on a microwaved vegetarian burger and a punnet of blueberries that had been hiding at the back of the freezer. I looked at the yoghurt and realised it was only good for pouring down the sink, and resigned myself to an inappropriately unhealthy start to the day. I didn’t think I was going to get another run in this year in Singapore, so even though I hadn’t slept or eaten, at least I was happy to be beating expectations.

I ran my usual route: down the Green Corridor until I reached the apartment block shaped like a stack of coffins. I ran up towards Horticultural Park, then up the metal bridge towards Mount Fraser.

Singapore is not famous for its mountains, but with my body tired from all this travel and so little sleep, I was really struggling. Even on the pancake-flat Green Corridor, my heart rate was around 170 beats per minute, the same as if I was sprinting flat out around the track, rather than jogging slowly along a muddy trail. On I slogged, up to the top of the hill. There’s not just one summit though – after an eternity of climbing through the trees, watching out for a monkey to leap out and claw off your face at any point, you jog down the other side and then straight back up to the top of Henderson Waves, a steep wooden bridge high in the sky that I ran as down as fast as I could, trying not to collide with any early moring walkers, and then it’s back up another hill to the Mount Faber visitor centre, before a last long fast run to the bottom of the hill.

And then there’s the long run of shame, or more like a waddle, alongside a busy road taking you all the way back to Tanjong Pagar. There’s two more hills left, or rather there’s a slight incline or two, up over the Green Corridor and then one last stagger up the road to home.

This was the worst I’d ever felt running this route. My legs were cramping and I felt like at any moment I would fall over and not be able to get up. That must have been all those endorphins washing around my body and making me feel better. I walked the last half mile home, then figured I hadn’t done enough to hurt myself, so I went down to the community exercise area and did some pull-ups and a few squats, while the aged pensioners did tai chi very slowly around me.

Now intensely wobbly, I went back to my apartment and took a look at my watch. It has a function built in to tell you how long you need to recuperate before training again – based on how long you’ve exercised for and what heart rate you had. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it as high as this – that’s what an hour at 170 bpm does for you. I suppose this leaves me set up nicely for a run on Christmas Eve…

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