Monday, February 24, 2014

More things for you to read!

Brunch date, his and hers edition 
The husband had to ID some trees for work, and he is not a tree expert at all (more of a working-out-what-things-are-from-satellite-images-expert), so we had a nice walk in the park a couple of weeks ago with a tree guidebook.

That's not a ridiculously tiny backpack, it's a ridiculously tiny pack full of extremely high-tech GPS equipment.

Note to self: when on tree-identifying date, it is advisable to have TWO copies of the tree book instead of one person sitting around checking their phone while the other flips frantically through the book to find said tree.

Earlier this year I talked about all the things I'd love to get done for the year. Reading lots more is one of them. My library card has been getting a lot of exercise lately; here are some of the things (both online and off-) that I've been getting stuck into.

Pure comedy gold - 'Awful stock photos of women running' (stock photos tend to be awful in the first place, stock photos of women even worse, stock photos of women running...well let's just say at least they're not stock photos of women running while eating salad and laughing.)

Google Translate for runnerspeak - slightly more relevant only to the 1 per cent, aka people who are actually, competitively looking to get on a podium, rather than the 99 per cent of us, but amusing nonetheless.

Floating City by Sudhir Venkatesh (that's the book you see in the brunch photo up there)
Sudhir Venkatesh is the erstwhile University of Chicago sociologist who became famous when he contributed to 'Why do Drug Dealers Still Live With Their Moms?' in Freakonomics. Floating City is a study of what makes New York City tick, which of course is an enormous question. The result wasn't too surprising or revealing, given what we know of New York as a place for people to invent and reinvent themselves continually. Anyway, if you liked this, I'd recommend Katherine Boo's 'Behind The Beautiful Forevers' or Robert Neuwirth's 'Stealth of Nations'.

Arcadia by Jim Crace
I hadn't really discovered Jim Crace before reading Harvest, which was on last year's Booker shortlist. These things can best be described as fables both timeless and contemporary. (A few people on Goodreads said Harvest was historically inaccurate, but they were missing the point. I will say the characters in Harvest were not as compelling as those in Arcadia, though.) There's something about Crace's prose - it's blank verse, poetry simmering beneath the surface, waiting to burst into flame. Enjoyed this one v. much.

That's a lot of reading. But what about running? 

Well, on Saturday I did an interesting sort of long run: 6km trying not to go too fast (so 6:30-7:00min/km with great effort), 4km of painful tempo run interspersed with 2km of grouchy walk breaks around Pandan Reservoir in full-on sunshine and heat, and 6km very slow (had to get back to where I started ouch ouch ouch).

I think this progression run stuff needs more work.

Oh, and I'm thinking of another winter marathon this year. Winter Down Under, that is. The Gold Coast Airport Marathon is in July, and it's a fan favourite among Singaporeans because it's cold and flat. I mean, cold and flat...what more can you ask for? 


  1. Ok, that Google translate for runners is too funny! It sounds like the chatter you hear before a race - mostly from guys :)

    1. Ha, so true! And sometimes before a group run. From the guys.

  2. Oh yes - do Gold Coast!! I'll be there (only doing the 10k but it'll be my 10th time). And so will my baking so I will save you a cupcake.

    1. A cool, flat marathon AND one of your incredible cupcakes AND the possibility of embarrassing your GaleForce squad by running as a guest under its banner? Suddenly Gold Coast is 1000x more attractive!

  3. And if you do decide to do it check with me before you enter. I'll see if my coach is happy for you to run under the squad banner and you might get a discount on your entry (not sure if it works for overseas competitors but it's worth a try)

  4. Do the marathon!
    And I can't help but ask what the husband does? I am all over geeky GPS stuff and tree identification! It is the geographer/nature lover in me, even though I studied cultural geography and did not get to do that fun stuff.

    1. At this point I'm about 95% sure I'm committing to this marathon :)

      The husband is a research assistant at the local university - what he actually does is all over the place but it involves identifying things using satellite images and then using this info to a) monitor the environment and b) model what happens.

    2. *groan*

      Well, it's literally and physically all over the place too - from the coral reefs of Pulau Hantu to the grassy slopes of Kent Ridge.

  5. I like the sound of 'cold', but I have to admit that Perth was reallllllly nice last year, even WITH the little hills!