For a number of reasons that I don’t need to go into I just haven’t felt like trying to be funny on the internet. So I missed a few weeks of this running review thing. But I didn’t miss out on actually doing the runs, those kept going. So forgive me for this jumbled up two-week recap.
This week was a big jump. I suppose it had to happen at some point, Alison was going to get bored of this incremental nonsense after a while but after the first run of the week all I wanted was for her to take me back to the start again. Those 45-second runs seem like a sweet, sweet dream.
The routine now has me doing three longer runs rather nine little ones like it used to. Four minutes, six minutes and four minutes again. I was proper impressed with myself for how easily I thought I handled the initial four minutes but that six minute section, man. About four minutes in my legs were rickety and I was breathing more raggedly than Darth Vader suffering an asthma attack. Four minutes, the second run of the first workout of the fourth week. That’s when I thought about stopping.
I didn’t. I didn’t even seriously consider it, but it was the first time since I started this that I thought ‘man, this is getting hard. What if I just stop?’ I hope this is the closest I get to giving up.
This is also the week where I found a new route to run. There’s a tiny little metal runway that leads off from the area of the park I run around. On one of my six minute runs I decided to go up there and see what I could see. What I found was a surprising amount of greenery, some park benches and a big ass, floodlit football field I had no idea existed. The downside is that runway is not wide so sometimes I have to do this awkward jogging thing as I nip around oblivious park go-ers or I get stuck behind a group of boys slowly walking over to the football pitch and smoking. The upside is I have new scenery to look at as I trundle by.
But the football pitch is responsible for my contemplating failure. When I discovered it I thought I would join in with the train of four people slowly jogging their way round the edges. It was my second to last run of the first night and I was halfway round the pitch. I can only assume it was the intense heat of the floodlights beating down on me that made me over-warm and that was why I thought about giving up. That’s my explanation and I shall stick to it.
I took great care to ensure that my new route still included a trip past the entrance to Ko Shan Theatre because there’s a point where the air conditioning blasts out into the open and I get a glorious second of cold air. I usually get around to that point when Alison pipes up with ‘fay-ve minutes left’ which is a new one. She sounds far too pleased about this. Five minutes is still a long time Alison, stop sounding so pleased with yourself.
I wished she’d just stayed being smug because…
… this was the week Alison just started actively fucking with me.
She wouldn’t let me get used to a new routine for this week. In an effort to get me used to shorter walking times, the intervals switched up for every workout in week 5. On the second run I had 4 minute and 6 minute runs with only two 1 minute walking point between them. And I swear she slipped in an extra 4 minute run at the end without telling me. Or else I read the schedule wrong… no I’m sure it was her.
She doesn’t even let me do a walk before the 5 minute cool-down at the end. I know I was complaining that it previously just left me walking around for 7 minutes but I want those 7 minutes back now. Maybe I’ll try Jim next week, that would show her. No, not really. I think I’m institutionalised now.
It isn’t just her, it’s the whole app that has been messing with me this week. It’s decided to just not turn the music off when the workout ends any more, choosing instead to keep blaring out my tunes with seemingly no way to turn it off. I don’t like playing music through the app at the best of times because Alison pauses it to talk to me. If I use the phone’s built in music player it doesn’t get interrupted which is a good thing because when I’m in the zone I can’t have my Andrew WK interrupted (yeah I’m running to Andrew WK’s She is Beautiful, what of it?).
This week got me up to 9 minute runs which a month ago seemed as unbelievable as a science fiction novel or a good movie with Nic Cage in it. To continue the movie star references, by the time I’m done with these 9 minute runs I’m walking like John Wayne and pulling faces like Robert de Niro smelling something particularly bad.
Every week I’m feeling the exact same way. I’m proud of myself for getting through it and I’m terrified of what comes next. I’m always positive I’m not ready for what the next week holds but every time I do it. Is this cautious optimism or total pessimism? No spoilers but I just got finished with the first workout of week 6 that had me doing two 9 minutes runs with a short walk between. Next time is just a straight 20 minute run which is still horrifying and as the temperature keeps on creeping up (we’re in the 30s now) and the humidity keeps on getting more humid this is only going to get more interesting. And more sweaty.
Oh I almost forgot, the backwards-walking, arm-swinging man is back. He still hasn’t smiled at me…
(One of the tracks from Week 5’s runs: Hell is for Heroes – Night Vision.)