The longest 35 minutes

This evening was muggy; it had rained in Chinatown, but Singapore’s incredibly local weather meant that the track by the Botanic Gardens hadn’t seen a spot of rain. It was still oppressively humid. Or perhaps that was all the heat trapped by my burgeoning beard.

Tonight was the last session of our four week cycle: 20 minutes, then a 4 minute rest, then another 5 minutes, a one minute rest and a last five minutes. Every different session is hard for a different reason – the constant stop-go of the 6×5 minutes is a repeating horror – but this is difficult because there’s no respite for those first twenty minutes, no pause to get water or to adjust. Trying to remove my shirt and maintain a steady lap pace wasn’t exactly easy.

Not feeling quite perfect today, what with my skin breaking out (a good indicator of stress) and not being fully recovered from travelling, I aimed for a 1:40 lap pace. This is slower than I’ve done in the past, but I figured it was better to start easy and save something for the end, rather than get gradually worse and worse.

For the first fifteen minutes, I was fairly close to my target. For the last three laps of the first segment, I began to deteriorate, but until then I was reasonably solid:

1:40.1
1:40.8
1:39.8
1:40.7
1:39.8
1:40.4
1:41.1
1:40.2
1:41.0
1:42.5
1:43.9
1:44.3

Interestingly, taking my shirt off after the first ten minutes made no difference to my lap time. So at least I have the skill of getting undressed without slowing down. I don’t know when this would be useful. Perhaps when being chased by a mob who were enraged by my sartorial decisions.

After four minutes I started again, with an inexplicably quick lap, followed by one that was much too slow, and then another that was just right:

1:37.1
1:42.4
1:40.0

Finally, the last segment: showing my fatigue, I had a very slow lap in the middle, sandwiched between two fairly decent ones:

1:40.2
1:45.8
1:41.7

Afterwards, my thighs began to cramp up (they’re not entirely happy now, nearly two hours later) as we jogged around the track. I was fairly happy with tonight, although when I checked back against the last time I ran this session, I did the first nine laps each in well under 1:40. (And then went to pieces on the latter two segments.) I didn’t go out with an unrealistic goal in mind, and I stayed consistent for most of the evening. Now,with my feet and legs both sore, I’m ready for bed.

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