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Training Log Archive: blairtrewin

In the 7 days ending Nov 17:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Run4 2:15:00 13.48(10:01) 21.7(6:13)
  Cycling1 40:00 9.32(4:17) 15.0(2:40)
  Swimming1 37:00 0.62(59:33) 1.0(37:00)
  Total6 3:32:00 23.43(9:03) 37.7(5:37)

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Sunday Nov 17 #

(rest day)

Flew overnight from Singapore to Geneva via Istanbul. First time I've flown Turkish Airlines; the flights were fine, it was just the preparation which was a bit challenging. (They'd changed the time of the connecting flight by 5 minutes; most airlines would just switch you to the rescheduled flight, especially for such a trivial change, but Turkish wanted you to reconfirm it, and because my booking was through an agent I couldn't do it online - I had to call the call centre in Turkey and do it through them).

Istanbul Airport is very big and very new, and dedicated to a cause dear to the heart of any modern airport - separating people passing through it from as much of their money as possible (although it wasn't quite as overpriced as I thought, providing you got your Turkish currency somewhere under the airport, because the exchange rates being quoted at the airport were about 25% below the market rate). I wasn't playing ball there, which didn't help with lingering dehydration from yesterday.

Not much danger of dehydration in Geneva, but the body wasn't otherwise playing ball for an attempt at a run in the late afternoon. Hopefully tomorrow after a night's sleep.

Historical wanderings of the flight: Easter 1983. One thing I noticed was how well-populated B and C classes (the equivalents of today's AS and B) were - with no elite class, W21A only made up about 30% of the total W21 field (there were 21 or them, 39 21Bs and 33 21Cs), whilst M21B also had more people than M21A. Some of the W21Bs were there for particular reasons - Carolyn Jackson (1st) and Alison Radford (4th) were both at the time in the process of producing future national representatives - but the overall balance of the fields was very different to what we see now. (The absolute numbers were different, too - the demographic bulge was still in 21s/35s in 1983). 11B was a decent-sized class too, but that was partly because Easter 1983 was the first major event to offer 10s, and I think people were still used to 11B as a de facto 10s class.

Saturday Nov 16 #

8 AM

Run 47:00 [3] 7.4 km (6:21 / km)

Unlike my last three countries, I have been to Singapore before, but not since I was a teenager (other than airport transits), so didn't have a lot of steps to retrace. (I do recall going for a run - I'd just started training regularly then - through the Botanic Gardens). This time I headed up to MacRitchie Reservoir, partly to see some of the local forest, partly because it hosts Singapore's longest rainfall record (although I didn't see the site) - it's interesting to note that the three driest July-September periods on record there (2019, 1902, 1965) are also probably the three most severe drought years on record in northern NSW. (The Indian Ocean is the likely common thread, although we don't have much in the way of Indian Ocean observations in 1902).

I wasn't exactly the only person who had the idea of going for a run here - it must be school cross-country season because I saw quite a few school groups training. Nice setting and OK in the injuries department once warmed up, but the humidity caught up with me from about 35 minutes onwards; I'd originally had thoughts of trying to do the full circuit (about 11km) but settled for three-quarters of it. (This being Singapore, I knew I wouldn't have to wait too long for a bus along the road outside the park, even oin a Saturday morning). Slow, but I suspect the GPS was missing a bit in the rainforest sections.

Spent the rest of the day looking around Singapore, periodically going inside when the heat caught up with me, but still must have done a fair bit of walking because my phone registered 26km for the day (including the run). Now on the next stage, flying out to Geneva.

Friday Nov 15 #

7 AM

Run 40:00 [3] 6.5 km (6:09 / km)

A fairly slow morning session exploring Melaka - Achilles sore early but definitely improved on Wednesday, and seem to be getting a bit more used to the humidity, too (although it still took me a while to settle down after finishing). Initially headed down the river towards the coast expecting that the waterfront would be worth going along, but in fact there isn't really a usable waterfront at all, just a few hundred metres of weedy vacant land - my initial thoughts were that this area might have taken a beating from the 2004 tsunami, but it had little impact this far south, so not sure why the real estate developers haven't jumped in there yet? Came back into town and did an extra loop around where I was staying, in the process identifying the location of the local mosque which had provided an early-morning wake-up call (I guess it is Friday).

The trip to Singapore was a bit more drawn-out than I was expecting - the bus schedules claimed 4 hours but it actually ended up being more like 6.5 (including 90 minutes either at the border or in traffic waiting to reach it). We stopped early on and I thought that 11 was too early to get something to eat; I shouldn't have thought that, because the next opportunity was 4.30...Was probably a bit too much of a glutton for punishment walking 2km with my gear at the other end, too (especially as Singapore is a country where I'd expect taxi drivers to be honest, or at least well-regulated).

Made a confirmed sighting of someone crossing the road against a red light.

Thursday Nov 14 #

(rest day)

Very early start today - getting a 7.30 train out of Butterworth so needed to leave the hotel at 6.15 to get the boat across to the mainland. Breakfast was somewhat improvised - I'd hoped to pick up something at the station but no-one seems to have yet worked out that if one of the main train departures of the day is at 7.30 then there's money to be made by selling food and drink before 7.30 (a bit of a surprise in what's a fairly entrepreneurial part of the world).

The day's sequence was train to Kuala Lumpur Sentral, then a local train to the bus station, then bus to Melaka. Those parts all went reasonably smoothly, and the bus even slowed down when we hit a downpour. (Malaysia seems to have an incredible number of long-distance buses - considerably more than it has passengers to fill them by the look of it). Saw a lot of palm oil plantations - at least in peninsular Malaysia they're no longer clearing rainforests to plant them (the Malaysian companies are clearing Indonesian rainforests instead). These are mostly quite clear underneath and I imagine form the basis of most Malaysian orienteering maps, although of the ones I saw, many were dead flat (and often swampy) and the non-flat ones were covered with contour ditches.

The most awkward bit of the trip was the last - from the Melaka bus station to the centre of town (about 5km). Since I was disinclined to do business with the taxi touts (who are reputedly the worst in Malaysia and would have charged 2-3 times what I'd paid for my ticket from Kuala Lumpur), I got the local bus instead and thus spent as much time as I did travelling from Kuala Lumpur - it took over an hour for one to turn up.

Melaka's an old port city - at various times, Portuguese, Dutch and British (it ended up becoming British in a swap with a British port in what's now Indonesia). Some interesting buildings as you'd expect with that history, but perhaps the most striking sight was the lavishly decorated trishaws (Hello Kitty seemed to be a fairly common theme).

Eventually got my fix of Penang laksa (a bit more sour than the version you get in Australia) in the food court at KL Sentral station.

Wednesday Nov 13 #

7 AM

Run 8:00 [3] 1.3 km (6:09 / km)

Something which happens a bit to me on longer trips (with a long period without regular calf massages) is that my Achilles gradually goes backwards. On Monday it warmed up. Today it didn't - hopefully this won't be the start of a pattern. (Bangkok may have been a good place to get a massage, but I wasn't especially confident that in a foreign language that I could get across that I wanted a massage and not a "massage").

Penang wakes up a bit earlier than some of the other places I've been to, which is a little surprising when it doesn't get light until after 7 (Malaysia is a time zone ahead of where it should be).
4 PM

Swimming 37:00 [2] 1.0 km (37:00 / km)

Took advantage of the hotel's pool for plan B. Not quite as good a view as it was in Bangkok, but still not bad (over the straits to Butterworth), watching clouds build over the mainland but show no sign of moving onto the island. (The forecast had been for rain most of the day, so I was quite happy for it to be wrong).

Spent quite a bit of the day going to Penang Hill - an 800m hill in the centre of the island with good views and a reasonable amount of rainforest (probably not pristine but still looking pretty good). There's a funicular railway to go up. Decided to walk down to the Botanical Gardens, which I'll file in the "it seemed like a good idea at the time" department - I'd envisaged a walking track but it was in fact a paved road with some (if limited) traffic, and extremely steep in places - walking down a 30% gradient on pavement isn't a lot of fun. (Driving a truck up it would be even less fun). Getting public transport out of there was also a bit of a seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time item - after waiting 40 minutes for a bus, the driver helpfully informed me that I was standing on the wrong side of the road, bus number two's driver waited around for a few minutes on his phone and smoking a cigarette and then drove off without acknowledging my existence (perhaps he thought that white people should be using taxis?), and I eventually got on bus number three.

(At this point I was reminded of an episode in my school years when, during an industrial dispute, our school bus was cancelled and the leader of the union involved said something about all of the Grammar students getting chauffeured. We had a good laugh about this a few years later when he was chasing my vote in an ACT Assembly preselection ballot).

The food continues to be excellent; just a bit disappointed that none of the places I've been to offered laksa, one of the local specialties. Laksa, served by one of the few establishments in those days near our office open in the evenings, fuelled many a spell of late-night number crunching for the original version of the Australian long-term temperature data set (perhaps they knew this because the place closed down two weeks after the data set was released).

Tuesday Nov 12 #

6 PM

Cycling 40:00 [3] 15.0 km (2:40 / km)

The train was a bit more basic than the last one but I think I probably slept better this time, notwithstanding that I was traversing a bit of Thailand that DFAT thinks Australians shouldn't be going to (the British Foreign Office advice, which tends to be more specific, explicitly excludes the railway line - the actual trouble, in the form of a long-running and rather nasty separatist conflict, is further east towards the other end of the border). Woke up to a greener setting, mist and the odd rice paddy - definitely more equatorial than what I've been through. Crossed into Malaysia mid-morning, discovering in the process that, although quite a lot of countries these days make you give them fingerprints on the way in the Thais make you do it on the way out too (authoritarian regimes everywhere seem to be enthusiastic consumers of the latest in security technology), and continued on to Butterworth to get the ferry across to Penang in the afternoon.

Today's session was on the stationary bike in the hotel gym, not too exciting but allowed me to turn the legs over. I'll take to the streets (as a run) tomorrow, having already done a couple of bits of wandering through what looks like an interesting city. The food here also has a particularly good reputation (especially the various hawker markets) and so far I haven't been disappointed.

One familiar name which popped up en route in northern Malaysia was Alor Setar (previously known as Alor Star). A staple of mid-high school geography exams was a set of questions based around interpreting a topographic map - as you can imagine, I tended to do quite well on this section - and one year Alor Star was the map (not quite sure why - perhaps Australians mapped it because it's fairly close to the old RAAF base at Butterworth?). Presumably not there in the mid-1980s were the Malaysian McMansion equivalents on the northern edge of town, or the 165-metre high tower.

Monday Nov 11 #

7 AM

Run intervals 20:00 [4] 3.0 km (6:40 / km)

I was staying opposite the National Stadium complex (which I don't think is the real national stadium these days - the main stadium looks like it would have a capacity of maybe 20,000 and there must be something bigger than that), so thought that would be a good place for an intervals session - at least there was a reasonable prospect of finding a sufficient traffic-free distance. Took a couple of reps to (a) find somewhere good to do it and (b) get up to a reasonable pace, but once that was achieved it went quite well - ended up getting through what I consider a full set (10x1 minute) for the first time since mid-year.

Didn't do a great deal else in the morning other than deal with a few practicalities (like getting my watch battery fixed) at one of the nearby enormous multi-storey malls, then headed out of town in early afternoon, on the overnight train towards Malaysia.

Run 20:00 [3] 3.5 km (5:43 / km)

Warm-up and down. Achilles a bit sore early on but warmed up OK - was no longer a problem by the time it came to the start of the sprints.

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