I stayed up late watching a disappointing film last night, and then with only five hours sleep in the bank had to get up and ride to the race. The thought crossed my mind of bailing out and going back to bed, but I was already awake and I knew if I did that, the weekend would be off to a bad start. Still, I faffed and faffed and only got on my bike at 6:30, which meant I had to go much harder than planned to make the start of the run in time. On the way there I had to avoid riding my bike straight through a community tribute to the recently deceased founding father of Singapore – imagine the trouble I’d have got in if I’d steamrollered through a floral tribute, even at sparrowfart o’clock when you wouldn’t expect many witnesses. There’s always be witnesses to that sort of socially offensive slapstick.
As luck would have it, the race started a few minutes late, which gave me time to guzzle water and retie my shoelaces. The pace we started off at was at least as quick as two weeks ago: the front two guys vanished into the distance and although I kept up with the next few people for a while, they dropped me.
After two kilometres I was struggling. I’d done the first too quick and the second, though under four minutes, had been a marked deterioration. I slogged on: now that I’ve broken twenty minutes it feels like it would be a disappointment not to do so again. At least in the sprint to the line I overtook somebody who had overtaken me a few hundred yards before. It’s never a good feeling when you lead somebody for almost the entire race, then they snatch it from you at the end.
So I came in eighth today, twelve seconds off my personal best. That wasn’t a bad time, especially given the lack of training this week. I go to Tokyo tomorrow hoping I can hit the hotel gym every morning; not quite sure how realistic an ambition that is.
The rest of today was typically busy for a Saturday; a swimming lesson for La Serpiente Aquatica Negra, where I bashed my shins on a step in the pool and limped thereafter, and all afternoon carrying my daughter around, so when it comes to now, close to midnight, my arms are like limp noodles. This evening we went to see Birdman, which meant two hours sat in a freezing cold cinema. My head liked this; I think my tired legs are less impressed.