Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A rather dramatic weekend

A week ago today, right after my last track session of this marathon cycle, there was a minor catastrophe: my trusty little Timex watch gave up the ghost. Right before the marathon, no less.  (Too many sweaty track workouts, clearly.)
It was at least six years old and had had several body parts replaced - the strap, the battery and so on - so I can't say I was altogether surprised. BUT REALLY, WHY DO THIS TO ME? After all the thinking I'd been doing about setting a pace and sticking to it, vs running watch-free and easy...

So I spent Tuesday and Wednesday mourning for my lost love. I wanted to have a moment of silence for Tim II (my second Timex since JC. I'm a serial timepiece monogamist.) but...you know...someone else would have to time it.

Not one to believe in omens, I decided to 1) try getting it fixed and when that didn't work 2) look for a new watch.

Hunting for a new watch forced me to set foot inside TWO shopping malls on Sunday afternoon. I had a minor shopping meltdown at the second one after visiting five shops and discovering that none had any Timexes. Apparently Timexes are out of style - not that they were ever in style in the first place. Finally I managed to find a shop with one solitary watch of the old model - I can't be fiddling around trying to work out how to stop and start my watch on race day.

(I really, really don't like shopping; even less so when there are crowds. In fact, to give you an idea of my relationship to people - one of my friends once suggested having a birthday party on a private island with a group of friends. What? Spend an entire weekend on an island surrounded by a bunch of other people, even ones I like very very much? That sounds like a surefire way to be overwhelmed and eventually have a meltdown.)

Fortunately my efforts paid off and I went home with Tim III, isn't he cute?

Speaking of too many people, I also saw everybody and their brother on the Macritchie trail on Sunday morning, while I was chugging along. Singapore's trails (actually, there are perhaps two that might be considered proper trails, and I think of them as two segments of what's actually the same trail) are EXTREMELY crowded. It's a very small island. It doesn't help that first of all, trail running is a growing pastime around here.

Perhaps to the point that new trail runners have no clue (what to expect). Some simple sample principles:

1. Please don't run with headphones.  (Especially not when I go 'excuse me! Excuse me! EXCUSE ME!' and finally have to bellow SIAM, LAH* at the top of my voice.)
2. If it's crowded, please run on the left and give way to people coming from behind you (and also oncoming runners). I don't care what side you drive on at home. That's the way traffic flows here.
3. Please DON'T walk four abreast.

Yes, the trails are so crowded that traffic control is desperately needed in places. So, not the most peaceful or quiet on the weekend, but it's the best you're going to get around here.

*SIAM LAH - said in loud, derisive voice, most often used by coffeeshop aunties carrying large trays of hot drinks = "get out of my way, you dodo". I draw the line at shoving though, so you're safe from that.

And tonight I'm off to Perth to write read chill out cook eat good food drink coffee and finally run a marathon. Wish me luck...


  1. All the best! I hope the weather is perfect! And enjoy the coffee while you're at it... it was delicious the last time I went :)

    I can't imagine you saying "SIAM LAH!" on a trail; I always imagine you as very genteel and civilised! Hahaha...

    Do you generally not run with music?

    1. Haha, the more you know...

      I generally don't run with music, but I'm fine with others running with it except on crowded trails where it can be a safety issue!

  2. So, the left is the correct side? We pretend to be traffic, except when running on the road, where we run against traffic? I'm never quite sure here, to be honest.

    And as much as the traffic annoys me, I also feel bad blowing past hikers, and/or suggesting (even in my head) that they hike single file. They're just out for an adventure with their friends/families. Single-file = less interaction with each other. I'm so torn about the crowded trail situation...

    But don't worry. I think the race course in Perth will be plenty full - but hopefully we're all going in the same direction. Ummm....except for the out-and-backs....

    1. Ahh! I also feel bad blowing past hikers bit I feel bad blocking runners while I'm hiking.

      Yeah, I think the left is the correct side on the trail, where we ARE traffic. :)

  3. This post hits close to home-I'm a Timex lifer and although my current watch is on its, like, sixth year or so (I've never had to change the batteries or anything!), I remember how lost I felt without it after my last one broke and I was waiting for the new one to be delivered. I love these watches. I also remember the first time I switched from the cloth band to the plastic band. It was a big moment for me.

    Malls are the worst!!!!! I haven't set foot in one in ages, although my clothes all seem to be falling apart so I might have to suck it up in the very near future. The thought makes me shudder.

    GOOD LUCK AT PERTH! I hope you're able to relax (well, besides that whole marathon thing)-it sounds like you deserve a break!

    1. Jean, you just reminded me that I actually had a cloth-strap Timex before the one I think of as Tim I. Or rather it was this synthetic plasticky fabric stuff with a Velcro closure that got really, really nasty because of all the sweating.

      I just get all my clothes from Uniqlo and that way they're guaranteed to match :)

      Thanks!!! The weather is lovely but it's expected to rain this weekend...