Training Difficulties – Traffic Jams

I train after work.  Through trial and error I’ve found that this is the best time for me.  I am most compliant with an ‘after work’ program.

I’ve discovered though that this can be a problem in Bangkok; particularly during the rainy season.  Bangkok is famous for its’ traffic jams, however with a little planning and local knowledge one can get around pretty much ok and avoid the traps.  Usually it takes me around 20 minutes to get to work in the morning, and 30-40 minutes to get to the gym after work.  This to me is very reasonable.  However all bets are off if it starts to rain.  Thailand of course is a tropical country, and when it rains it is a tropical rain (monsoon) storm.  Is this any different from rain in a non-tropical country?  Oh yes it really is!  Since Bangkok is tropical, there is no summer or winter.  Only “hot”.  Instead they have normal and rainy season.  Rainy season is exactly what it implies, it rains a lot.  Now this isn’t the drizzle or steady rain that you may get in the West and which can last for days, instead it is a huge volume of water coming out of the sky in a very short period of time.  Often during rainy season you can set your watch by when the deluge will come.  It is typically late in the afternoon, around 5pm.  The sky will get incredibly dark and the heavens will open.  As the more astute of you will have noticed, this is around the time when everyone finishes work and is heading home.Interestingly enough, when it isn’t rainy season it can go for weeks (or even months) without any rain!

Since I know it is rainy season I’ll try and keep a watch on the sky, and if it looks like it is getting dark then I’ll head off 15 minutes early as it can make all the difference.  I did that on Wednesday and managed to avoid all the traffic, getting to the gym within 40 minutes, by which time it was absolutely pouring down.  However as some of you know I have recently changed office and no longer have a window, so it is harder for me to see the sky getting dark.  Usually the first I know of the rain is when I hear it pounding the roof – by which time it is too late to avoid the traffic jam.  It is hard for someone who has never experienced tropical rain to understand just how heavy the downfall can be.  It is a huge amount of water coming down which the drainage system just cannot hope to cope with.  This results in surface flooding within about 5 minutes.  The pictures I’ve attached here show vehicles driving in what looks like rivers, however the road can go from bone dry to this in just 5 minutes.So yesterday was a planned “upper” training day, and I was really looking forward to it.  Since I’ve increased my calories I have a lot more energy and find I’m really anticipating pushing it hard at the gym.  Unfortunately I missed the start of the rain :(  By the time I got to the car the traffic was already backed up and at a standstill.However I was determined.  I was really looking forward to a work out and the traffic jam wasn’t going to deter me from that.  Ha.  An hour and a half of sitting in that jam without even making it halfway to the gym had melted my resolve.  I threw in the towel, did a u-turn and started the crawl home.  I hate it when that happens.

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