Sunday, September 20, 2009

Back In The Saddle Again

I left Singapore a week ago after one last night/morning on the town, carrying a Japan Airlines barf bag (still unused, for the family units reading this) in one pocket and some leftover Singapore dollars in another. I worked hard, played hard, didn't run as much, but when I did, that was hard too. My last run took me around MacRitchie Resevoir, and that kicked my butt. Built in 1868, the 8 mile trail run pulled me deep into a tropical jungle, which was hot, humid, steamy, and sucked the energy out of me as I sweated bullets.

In a little under 24 hours, I was back in Dallas on Sunday afternoon. I slept most of the way and recharged what I could. Monday morning I was back at work. Major bummer.

Tuesday morning I resumed my training with an early morning run around the neighborhood. It was surreal in reverse, going from the raw jungle to well manicured lawns and lush flower beds.

By Wednesday I was in St Louis, but I missed my run due to a late night at work. Maybe next time. We have a new client there and I expect to be dropping in more frequently over time. Combined with lots of rain this past week in Dallas, my training schedule took a hit before it even started.

I made up for it this weekend by running my 3rd consecutive Tour de Fleurs 20K, this time sans Susan, who I ran with last year but was holed up in Oklahoma this year. I finished in 1:52 for an 8:57/mile pace. Good enough for a training run. This morning I did another 13.5 miles to make up for missed runs in the week. That's almost back-to-back halfs, and I'm tired tonight.

One more pic from my reunion below. That gnarly bunch I mentioned in the last post - who was I kidding? You couldn't get cleaner cut than that in squeaky clean Singapore. Even back in 1978 we didn't look so menacing in 9th grade.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Marathon Training Update From Singapore

10 weeks and 255 miles have passed since my last post. I'm mostly on plan give or take a few runs.

Last Thursday I ran 6 miles in Plano, flew 13 hours to Narita then 6 hours to Singapore. Landed Sat morning past midnight, woke up and ran 9 more. I'm here for a week to drop in on my folks. I'm also here for my 30th and first high school reunion, last Saturday night. We had about 150 of 500 show up, and I hadn't seen just about all of them since leaving for the States in 1980. It was surreal, emotional at times, and overall a much more rewarding experience than I expected. Most had done very well for themselves, and it was good to see success develop from the group of misfits we were.

I've been catching up with old friends since then, sharing some good local food and a few beers along the way. I've known this gnarly bunch below since 1st grade! When I get back to Dallas, I'm going to dig out my 6th grade picture and scare the crap out of their wives and kids.

This morning I woke up at 3:45 am local time and the night was over. I missed my long run (17 miles) last Sunday due to circumstances beyond my control, similar to the diagram above. I packed 2 GUs, $5, and headed out to see how long I could run. I've been running shirtless since I started training and today and here was no different, almost a necessity. It was dark of course at 4:15 am, 78F, 89% humidity. You start sweating buckets immediately.

I plowed a path to the main Orchard Road shopping district 4 miles away, now deserted but usually packed:

I like running in large cities through areas that are normally bustling, but wide open when I get there in the early hours of the morning.
I ran south, eventually reaching the Padang, which is Singapore's version of the National Mall in DC. I stood in the middle, stared at the stars above, and marveled at how in this crowded city of 4.6 million, there wasn't a soul within a mile radius of where I stood. I've felt this way in an early winter morning run through a freshly snow covered and mostly deserted Central Park in NYC, looking back at the Chicago skyline from the shore of Lake Michigan as the city wakes up, and standing alone at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial looking at the Washington Monument across the darkness. These are the simple moments I enjoy and we can experience only because we run.

From the Padang, I made a quick trip to the Merlion, mythical half lion half fish, and then turned around to head back. Total trip, 12.5 miles, 9:05 pace.

I'll try to get a few more runs in this week. I start work tonight, working US hours from the local office here, i.e. I'll be "in" from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am SST or 8:00 am to 5:00 pm CST. Sad but true.