Sunday, February 24, 2013

Run out again

Today's run
I got up at 6 this morning, to protest from my body, and went out for a 13 mile run.  I was excited to try out my new shoes on a longer distance, but also slightly perturbed by the thought of running so far - since the marathon in November, I don't think I've run much more than an hour in one go.

It was spotting with rain as I started up the street from our apartment.  I had horrible premonitions that I was going to run into the middle of a torrential downpour and be stuck, shivering and queasy, miles from home, but the storm never materialised.

Instead, as I approached Marina Bay, I started to see more and more people wearing shorts and singlets, ambling along. A friend of mine had mentioned she was racing today, but hadn't said where: it turned out that there were thousands of people lining up for a race.

Well, for a run.  Or maybe for a jog.  Or perhaps a walk.

I think the run had started at 6:30, because there were hundreds of people ahead of me as I went past the start line.  Most of them were shuffling along quite slowly, as if they hadn't been told what a run was.  I'm not used to running in crowds, which is a reason I've suffered at big events like Osaka, but today I was quite prepared to elbow my way past or jump in and out of bushes to make some progress.  I managed to get away from the big mass of people as we reached the Marina Bay Sands, only to find I'd run into an area corralled off by metal barriers, and then had to retrace my route to get going again.

It's strange to see the things people wear for these races.  The sun hadn't come up, but there were people with sunhats on.  Maybe they were very pessimistic about how long it would take to run 15k.  Or 10k.  Or 5k.  There were some loonies wearing tights, because Singapore in February is just so chilly, and some of them were also running with backpacks on (I suppose because of the wild rural environment that they were running through, where a bus stop is never less than 5 minutes' walk and you never know what kind of survival kit you might need).  There were an awful lot of people wearing wraparound Oakleys, the ones with the extra dark lenses, which again, was hopelessly optimistic when the sky was still somewhere between black and navy blue.

I just don't understand it.  What I've come to see is that if I'm wearing anything more than is absolutely necessary for public decency, I overheat.  Hats, or even that silly sun visor everyone was given for the Green Corridor Run last month, are only going to make you sweat more.  I'm not sure if a human can sweat through their eyeballs, but sunglasses make me get hotter than I should be too. Shirts with sleeves? No good.  Tights?  Not unless you're in sub-zero temperatures.  Putting all that gear on means you'll run slower, which means you'll be out there for longer, which I suppose means you might need the sunglasses and the hat after all, but if you didn't have them, you wouldn't need them.

But if there are lots of pessimists getting overdressed, there's also lots of optimists.  I was overtaking a lot of people who were running fairly slowly, because the fast people must have gone off the front long before I got to the start, but I'd keep seeing people walking, even at the seven and eight kilometre mark.  Given they had about a fifteen minute head start on me, they must have sprinted out of the start as quick as they possibly could, and then blown up later on.  Did nobody have it explained to them about running within your means?

Somewhere around the 8 kilometre mark, the race doubled back on itself and I happily took off on my own, away from the endless crowds of people all wearing the same black vests.  I could stop seeing people with legs thinner than my forearms, plodding along wearing unfeasibly large shoes, like an attempt to See How Strange You Can Look.  I could sweat in peace, telling myself again and again that there were only 5 miles, or 4 miles, or 4 kilometres left to go.  Ah, the loneliness of the long distance misanthrope.

Towards the end I was struggling.  I hadn't quite got my distance right on the way out, so instead of being able to go straight home once I hit Clarke Quay, I had to tack on another few hundred yards in the wrong direction to get myself up to 21 k, and then ended up being able to stop a bit early.  Geography has never been my strong point.

I got home and woke my wife from her blissful slumber.  We went out for breakfast and then I came home to fall asleep again.  A cup of coffee made no impression on my fatigue at all: I was out like a light.

Shoes: I didn't have that blissful, bounding along feeling they gave me last night.  But that may have been because I was a bit worn out.  My left heel is a bit sore, so I'm not sure if these are going to be the best choice for lots of distance work, or if I should jsut be reserving them for when I want to go quickly.  Looking at similar distances that I've done recently, I haven't actually dropped my heart rate or my speed very much, but that is comparing to periods with much higher training load - maybe shoes aren't the universal panacea for not training enough that I'd hoped for...


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