Sunday, January 20, 2013

Caught with your pants down - running and Boeing

After a week of early starts (6am every day) and late finishes (midnight with a depressing regularity) it was wonderful to be able to get up at 8. However, that was a precursor to driving to Magnuson Sports Field in Seattle, to go for a run.

It was cold. Idiotically cold. There were one or two ludicrous people wearing shorts, and perhaps I'm too used to Singapore's tropical heat, but there's something wrong when you can't fill in the race entry form because you're shivering too much. We went back to my friend's car to hide from the cold and for me to rant about how nothing is original any more. (Facebook, telephone calls, photosharing, running, eating, having a roof and walls for your house, and so on. I'm sure there's something in it.)

The race itself was quite hard, but enjoyable. At the start I went far too quickly, but since they started everyone together, some of the people I was competing with were running the 5k. (Some of them, including a guy who overtook me on my second lap, were doing a 15k, but never mind.) That meant I probably went off too fast, and the first 5k was over in about twenty minutes, so the second half was a bit slower. I spotted the next person behind me gaining on me after 6k and struggled to put any distance in the way, but the gap shrank and shrank until the 9.2k turnaround, when I was face to face with the woman on my heels.

I think I beat her by ten seconds, and we both had faces covered in beads of frost. She was capable of telling me I'd done a good run, whereas I couldn't speak and spent the next half hour coughing. I wish I could have said something equally encouraging, rather than looking like a demented and exhausted male chauvinist.

In tights.

Which kept slipping down.

Still, that was a good way to wake up. In the afternoon we went to Boeing Field and took the grand tour, which was full of superlatives as we went to look at the biggest building in the world, full of the bestest planes. I avoided taunting them by saying at least Airbuses aren't all grounded by the FAA, but that wouldn't have been very nice. (It would at least be in keeping with the leitmotif of my day: first your tights attempt to approach your ankles, and then your planes turn out to be more problematic than you were hoping for.) In summary, Boeing's factory is enormous; photography is prohibited; there are a lot of people doing overtime this weekend. Trivia: there's an enormous mural painted on the outside doors that is actually of a German lady who was appearing in a commercial for biscuits. No, it's not really clear how that's synonymous with Boeing's corporate values.

The tour goes past surprisingly fast. So does spending the evening drinking strong beer. I hope I make it back through the fog to Seattle airport tomorrow: it feels like a lifetime since I arrived here and it's only been a week.


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