This weekend I…

Tambo went outside for a smoke and has now been Entered
  • saw The Pursuit of Happyness (mini-review: my life ain’t so bad, what an awe-inspiring and humbling film)
  • ran 10k at the Oxygen Deficit
  • went to the Dreadnaught to celebrate Neil’s friend Tambo’s birthday (and had a long conversation with the bloke who thought my URL was
  • slept in
  • did my body no end of damage by going to McDonalds and eating a Quarter Pounder with cheese meal (it was good, but the fries weren’t)
  • did a bit of shopping (buy six tubs of yoghurt and get six tubs free — I have 12 tubs of yoghurt)
  • computered till bedtime


Before the raceHere’s a blow-by-blow. Neil kept to his usual stellar timekeeping and made me stressed because we got there with a grand total of ten minutes to spare for me to register and warm up. However, the 5k was still going on so we were delayed a bit. I was actually feeling a bit nervous because there were people there in running club singlets with the word ‘Olympian’ on them.

When it came time to get in the pack to start the race, Raymond put us in the front. (Raymond had collected donations for the Beatson Oncology Centre, so he was doin’ it for charity.) Not right in front, mind you, but only three or four rows behind. That makes me uncomfortable — I in no way deserve to be in the starting pack, so when the horn went off I dashed over to the start of the actual track and slowed right down to my usual pace. Here’s a reminder of that pace:

me as a tortoise - original image from Wikimedia

Anyway, the number of people passing me was, frankly, quite embarrassing. But there was no way I was going to try and keep up as there was a next-to-interminable distance ahead of me to finish, and my goals are to not be last (I was in serious danger of not achieving this one) and to not ever slow to a walk. There were fluorescent yellow signs every kilometre completed after the 2km mark, and it seemed like 25 miles between each sign. My hip was really bothering me for the first half of the route, so I was trying really hard to keep a steady pace and not aggravate it.

It’s especially bad when two women who look like grannies pass you. And when a bloke who looked like he just decided to sign up for a lark passes you, and stays ahead of you even when he does a walk-jog thing. I caught Raymond coming back when I was close to the halfway mark, and he was about 15 minutes ahead of me at that point (I hate 20 year olds). I was constantly watching for the guy on the bike who follows the last runner, because I so did not want to be the one. (The last runner on the 5k pretty much collapsed at the finish line as his name was read out by the announcer, which was something else I didn’t want to happen, I don’t want anyone pointing me out at all!) At the halfway mark where we turned around, however, he was so close to me! There was only one other bloke and Granny #1 behind me at that point (she’d passed me then couldn’t jog the inclines, of which I’d forced myself to power through).

So there was my motivation at that point. DO NOT SLOW DOWN OR YOU WILL DEFINITELY BE LAST. I guess the runner’s (jogger’s in this case, I guess) high kicked in at about the 7k mark and it started getting a bit easier. There was another female jogger who’d slow to a walk, then run again and pass me whenever there was a race marshal about. Towards the last kilometre I guess she couldn’t do it anymore, so I managed to pass her.

That made me, what, fourth from last? The route was open to the public, so while we were running we had to dodge people walking four abreast who saw you coming but did nothing to give you a little room. It was entertaining to see the dogs being walked though, they loved the lake we were running beside. Anyways, the next person I passed was a middle-aged fellow who was walking, and the finish line was totally in sight, so I said ‘Come on!’ to him and kept going.

Got there! 66:17

When I crossed the finish line, the announcer said my name. Into the microphone. Bastard. At least most of the real runners had already dispersed in the way real runners do. Better things to do than wait for a bunch of snails! Or tortoise with a beanie, in my case.

At the endI got my finisher’s medal and a bottle of water. Raymond’s mum took lots of pictures. I forgot to mention that our other colleague, Richard, had come by to cheer us on (or rather, as I suspect, be the independent third party to confirm to the rest of the office that we had actually shown up and done the run). I didn’t bother get my ‘official’ time as I had my own stopwatch running, and at 66:17, it was 15 minutes faster than I normally managed when I was in Xiamen, definitely faster than when I did it the first time at the 2003 Biathlon in Singapore, and I didn’t stop or slow to a walk at any point. Even when it was muddy or sandy.

And I managed to be faster than a granny, a couple of middle-aged men, and walking woman. So I wasn’t last. Success!

See the full set of photos (as shot by Neil) on Flickr.

You know you’re a geek when you use computing terms to describe physical exercise

So I think I’ve discovered a workaround for my hip problem. When I try to force my right leg to point outward (previously, I wrote about being pigeon-toed and my right leg pointing inward), it adds strain to my left leg for compensating my being off-balance.

Last night was really ‘Try To Figure Out What The Hell Is Wrong Before I Damage Myself Irreparably’ at the gym. It involved a lot of grimacing.

The conclusion I came to is my body WANTS my right leg to point slightly inward when putting my foot down. So I tried pushing outwards as I push off a second later. Result! I enjoyed a more comfortable run and my hip isn’t aching as much.

So I’m feeling pretty confident that I’m not going to be suffering (too much) on the run tomorrow. Unless I have found a workaround that will damage me in some other way. All I know is I’m not joining another run till March (I was mistaken — I thought this run was in May!).

Scottish slang of the day — MESSAGES

I’ve heard, more than once, the story of when Neil got the flu and couldn’t get out of bed for ten days, he was that crook. The first time I was regaled with the story (and every time since), I also heard that he was dragged out of bed to drive his mum to Wishaw to go “get her messages”, an injustice he feels has never been addressed.

I thought his mum had a PO box or something. But she’s not the type. After glimpsing the look of mild confusion on my face, Neil went on to gently explain that ‘messages‘ means ‘shopping’.

WTF? Once again, how did we get from ‘going to buy stuff’ to ‘messages’? Was it once used as a euphemism for buying embarrassing things (condoms, pads, tampons, various medications for yeast infections)? Or was it back in the day when people went to the shops, that was also when they got their mail and gossip?

That would make sense. Not that I’m going to start using it.

This is life as the US knows it

said suspicious objectLED cartoon characters on a board considered suspicious, causes road and bridge closures, traffic chaos. Men responsible for installing the signs face five years in jail.

I take this to mean that any artists hoping to stage controversial street installations are kinda fucked. Guerilla marketing advocates come under 24-hour surveillance. Buskers required to submit to permit application and approval processes. The Naked Cowboy gets daily cavity searches.

I have to say, all this paranoia and false alarms probably give nutjobs more ideas.

Hello, Murphy

Running update. The race participant limit has increased from 80 to 140. Many of the entrants (not competitors! Please! I’m not competing!) are from athletics clubs.

I’m going to the gym three times a week, and my right hip joint is really not happy. I think that it’s not just my going pigeon-toed, I observed that my entire right leg points inwards slightly (I’m sure there’s a specific term for this but I don’t know it) as I lift my leg to take another step while jogging. Last night I had to stop the treadmill and get on the stationary bike to relieve the ache in my hip.

So I think I need to retrain myself when it comes to my gait while running. I don’t believe this is a new problem, but maybe my Reeboks have exacerbated the situation (I got them in early 2006)? I’d appreciate a real doctor telling me what they thought.

Google is not evil

Their suggested route back home from work is probably the one that manages to skip most of the congestion on the M8 in the city centre.

Not that I’m going to link to it.

I tried this third route last night, missed my turn and had to double back, but still got home in about the same time. There is no practical way for me to avoid the M8 altogether (unless it involves driving along dark and lonesome country roads, making me a prime target for machete-wielding serial killers), which explains why the bloody motorway is so bloody slow at rush hour. We have no options. The train and bus services are inconvenient (if I miss my train I have to wait TWO HOURS for the next one) and expensive.

Basically, the now-favourited route involves going along what would normally be a less convenient road, but the lesser convenience and slightly longer distance equals fewer cars and skipping the Kingston Bridge, the bane of my driving existence.

Still, I’m not totally used to this 9 – 5 (well, 5.30) palaver any more. I don’t really have much free time to craft and exercise and watch teevee and computer. I can only pick one to do each day. (Yes. Poor me. What an unfair existence, forcing me to choose.)

The good news is I’m not watching The Jeremy Kyle Show or whatever that breakfast programme is on STV because I want to hit Fern whatshername, she’s so judgemental and annoying.

You want to let me go? I’ll strike!

Making a joke again, but striking to protest job cuts seems counter-intuitive. There will always be civil servants, but what if you’re one of those striking whose boss realises that they can get things done without you?

Neil’s sister is one of those ‘on strike’ (she won’t be losing her job though, I don’t think). She is not going to be one of those marching — for the most part, this is a free day off for her to hang with her boyfriend and sleep in. Neil gets to use her car. Solidarity, that is.

(I know it’s about creating disruptions to inconvenience the public and government to get what they want. Just ’cause Singaporeans don’t have unions with teeth doesn’t mean I’m not down with the proletariat. However, I tend to disapprove of things that hinder the flow of things getting done.)