Thoughts On The Run

In the process of trial and error, our failed attempts are meant to destroy arrogance and provoke humility.
Master Jin Kwon, South Korean martial arts master.

In what was a personal record for me, I rolled off the bed at 9:38am Monday morning, thinking it was only 7am. My ears perked up at the voices of C2 downstairs which served to confirm how much off my sense of timing was. A packed morning meant that there was no time to put in a morning run. The day turned out to be a scorcher but when evening came the heat had been turned down several notches.

Almost immediately I knew that the run will turn out to be a “Murakami Run”. You know, he of the book fame (Amazon | RW interview | NY’s The Sun interview). I’ve never read the book but I know that it was about what ran through his mind on many of his runs. I’m not sure if what I do constitutes thinking or daydreaming but there are periods when my mind doesn’t zone out nor think about running when I run. In any case I doubt that, unlike Murakami, the result of the mindgame is unlikely to result in any elegant prose.

Not 300 meters into the run, and I was already breathing heavily. I wondered if I should have taken the day off from running after Sunday’s outing on the Newton route. The outer shins were pretty tight. The first loop wasn’t easy – perhaps an indication of ageing when the “engine” needed more time to warm up.

A Toyota Vios roared into life as it left the traffic lights, its driver obviously wanted to prove something on these backroads. A 1.5L 4-gear automatic compact sedan against a pair of legs was no contest. I’d take the legs anytime.

My thoughts shifted again, this time to the marathon. A friend recently mentioned that breakthroughs happen when one least expects it. The key is to keep putting in the mileage and progressive runs. A stray dog wandered into my path all the while eyeing me cautiously. I sensed no danger in this one and continued down my path without so much as giving the mutt a wider berth. It was probably just as apprehensive of me, if not more.

The 3rd loop around the route proved to be the most dangerous when, not a Mitsubishi Triton or Storm, but a tiny Ford Fiesta was a couple of feet away from flattening me. Coming from behind, it veered into the next lane to pass 3 cars. I was utterly convinced that other than the act of overtaking on a single lane road, the driver fully intended to intimidate me. My loud holler achieved nothing than to let off steam. Angered, my focus quickly changed to the desperate state of humanity. How much arrogance we see in the world today and how puny and powerless I was to be at the mercy of that driver. Had I died that day, I wouldn’t have known what hit me. While I remain a believer in the immutable laws of cause and effect, I truly wish that a person knows for what deeds if he rewarded or punished for when the time of reckoning comes.

Scott Bourne posted about his photography predictions for 2012 and as morbid as this may sound, I think it won’t be too shocking if we see an accident involving a car and a runner next year. It’s really not hard to fathom this since it’s already happening in other parts of the world – read this and this. We have more than our share of crazed motorists here and it’s time we pull ourselves out of self denial that we’re immune to such threats and really pay attention to our surroundings when we head outdoors. Now, won’t it be truly ironical if the offending driver is himself a runner?

My anger returned me a quick 4th lap and I needed a ridiculous comedy like The Three Amigos that evening to take the edge off the close shave.

Note: I wanted to write this post in a different style but that ended up somewhat not as I’ve intended!

Published: December 13th, 2011