Book – I Contain Multitudes

I have read other books since my last post, just haven’t got round to writing anything about them yet (might also be that they are books one isn’t ready to confess to reading, yet).

I’ve been following Ed Yong for a while on Ed Yong – Twitter but wasn’t aware that he had written a proper book, I had only seen his newspaper and magazine articles/columns.

The full title of his book is Amazon Link: I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life and will change the way you look at anti-microbials.

No more anti-bacterial hand sanitiser for me, thank you.

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A stroll through Government Enclave and Central Business District

Zombie post brought back to life after a few months of abandonment.

This morning I found myself at the bottom end of Main Mall, Gaborone without any wheels (that’s another story) and, since the weather was favourable, decided to walk home.

Gaborone is a relatively young capital city, with almost none of it having been built before the 1960s.  I didn’t take any pictures in Main Mall as it was all a bit grey, in fact everything was a bit grey and a battered phone camera lens gives everything a dodgy soft-focus effect.

Government Enclave was pretty much deserted, except one hawker with a set of scales and an assortment of chest-expanders, I need to go back and see what his unique selling point is.

Parliament Building

Continuing towards the new Central Business District you pass the Ministry of Health and Attorney General’s Chambers.

I then crossed Nelson Mandela Drive and the railway into the New Central Business District, home to more architectural wonders complete and incomplete.  Some of them have been incomplete for years.  I can’t bring myself to comment on the architectural, urban planning and construction achievements… draw your own conclusions.

Eventually you get to the northern end with the High Court and Three Dikgosi (Chiefs) Monument.

Gaborone Central Business District panorama at the eastern end.

There was a wedding group taking pictures at the Three Dikgosi Monument, and having had my eye caught by a BMW in a used car showroom the cars associated with the group caught my eye (mainly for the wrong reasons…).

From CBD I strolled out onto Willie Seboni (a road) and up hill past the Mass Media Complex (Botswana’s equivalent to Broadcasting House), across the Western Bypass and home.

A pleasant stroll through parts of central Gaborone showing that you don’t need to drive everywhere: the slow lane can be just as interesting.

Soweto Marathon 2017

It’s 10 months since my last post (so much for the “I will write more” resolution), and the theme is the same: I ran another marathon (with another one coming up in just over a month).  Yes, I’m the subject of the joke that goes “How do you know whether somebody has run a marathon?” answered by “They’ll tell you about it.”  However, if one person reads the post and thinks “I’ll try that” then it’s worth it.

60% of Knott In Botswana on a balcony.

Thanks to convenient school mid-term holiday Gwyneth was able to join us this time.

The Preparation

Fresh from my relative success at the Diacore Gaborone Marathon I decided to follow a similar training plan mixing up rowing, running, and cycle commuting.

Training record for the months leading up Soweto Marathon 2017.

Both events happened early in the month (May and November, respectively), so the main training load can be seen in the preceding three months.

Diacore        all in km
  Run Ride Row  
Feb-17 160 113 108  
Mar-17 102 110 149  
Apr-17 187 118 54  
 Total 449 341 311 1101
  Run Ride Row  
Aug-17 199 117 119  
Sep-17 145 153 141  
Oct-17 115 217 94  
 Total 459 487 354 1300

I managed to put in an extra 200km of effort: only 10km running, but 140km cycling and 40km rowing.  The difference in rowing is just because of when I completed the rowing plan: for Diacore I started about one week earlier.  Cycling I just managed to put in more commuting distance.  Due to a change in work I missed out most evening bus runs in October, and also got hammered two weeks before the event with an attack of shingles.

The Event

Race gear for Soweto Marathon 2017.

The run itself was good. Lots of hills, which I like, and lots of people to chase down when churning a steady pace up and down hill.  Provision of refreshments was a significant step up from Diacore with well stocked refreshment tables.

My refreshment strategy was a cup of coke and water sachet at pretty much every table: coke for the sugar rush, and water to alternately wash it down or spray over myself for cooling.

It was a pretty good effort overall: I felt comfortable throughout and in hindsight could maybe have pushed harder. I had decided to start gently, not knowing how bad the hills would be.  Certainly the last half was mainly uphill but I felt like I had plenty in reserve: even passing some Gaborone Striders‘ veterans.

Running through the historic parts of Soweto was great, and the crowds supportive throughout.  Definitely one to repeat.

Supporting Acts

We decided to make a long weekend of it, I was on an induction with my new employer during Thursday and Friday, so Prisca and Gwyneth joined me on Friday.

We rented an apartment high up in a Sandton apartment block, with its own private elevator (shame we didn’t have a private car…), and spent the non-running time shopping.

Diacore Gaborone Marathon 2017

Last week I ran my second Diacore Gaborone Marathon, two years after the first.  I was worried that I hadn’t done enough long runs during training to perform well, compared to how I remembered training before my first attempt, but I managed to knock 9 minutes off.

Happy couple after a marathon.
Prisca and me after finishing our 10km and 42.2km runs respectively.

So, for the benefit of anybody who is thinking about running further and outside their comfort zone here are a few notes on my preparation and anecdotal evidence on how to survive.

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