Haruki Murakami's 2005 New York Marathon Time: 4:10:17
I'm slightly obsessed with celebrities marathon time lately.
I earned this Finisher Medal for this year's Great Eastern Women's Run Half Marathon. 21.1 km, or 13.1 miles.
I started my journey as a runner last November. I went out one morning, ran for a while, and was defeated after less than 15 mins. I ended up walking home breathless, with the full awareness of how out of shape I was.
One year later, I find myself finishing my first half marathon. It was a humbling journey. Running is painful, and there were a few injuries along the way. I learnt so much, and yet there's still so much more to learn.
I am still limping a little from my shin splint and IT band sprain (suspected). When I showed up for my half marathon last Sunday, I just told myself to try my best - and finish. I asked myself, what can I do, if surrender is not an option?
I did think about not showing up. Sleep in and rest, I told myself. Rest.
I showed up anyway. I am glad I did.
I am not fast, but I managed to run and walk my way through a half marathon.
What am I capable of, if surrender is not an option?
"A sense of history is what provides the links to hold together a people who came from the four corners of the earth. Because our history is short and because what is worth preserving from the past are not all that plentiful, we should try to save what is worthwhile from the past from the vandalism of the speculator and the developer, from a government and a bureaucracy which believes that anything that cannot be translated into cold cash is not worth investing in.”
- S. Rajaratnam, “The Uses and the Abuses of the Past”, Seminar on Adaptive Re-use: Integrating Traditional Areas into the Modern | Urban Fabric, (Singapore, April 1984)
S. Rajaratnam was the man who wrote our National Pledge. I wonder what he would say, to how blatantly we are destroying Bukit Brown.
Time and again, I am reminded of this poem, and what it has to say about our notion of failures. In particular, the heart-aching closing lines: "I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,/but just coming to the end of his triumph." Nothing lasts forever. Just because something ended, does not mean it was a failure or a mistake. Dare to try, and dare to risk falling. Or else, you risk failing by default, for never trying.
Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It's the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.
2. Consistency creates habit.
8. If you wait for the right conditions, you’ll never get anything done.
Really - just do it. Quit waiting for yourself to get fitter, or to lose weight before you do it.
Just Do It.
Yeah, I'm a big Nike fan.
I started the beginning of this year with the intention to write more on this blog. Well, it started off well, then I stopped for a while. This has been a pattern with me lately - getting sidetracked from where I had intended to go, intended to do.
The last few months have been busy. I have been running more this year, but not as much as I had wanted. My health took a toll this year. Been to the doctor's a few times, but nothing major.
Highlight of this year should be the trip to Seattle and later to New York. In Seattle I met up with some friends I met online, and have been chatting with for the last couple of years. It was fun, and I am glad for this chance. The internet is a great social space where we get to meet other people who we might never have come into contact within our usual social circles. Some of them are creepy, yes - and you should always take precautions when meeting the people you connect with online. But I was glad this one panned out.
After Seattle I made a trip to New York - alone. I was supposed to go with a friend last year, but it soon became obvious that my friend and I had different ideas about budget and what constitute as "essentials".
I am traveling again, and it feels like a sudden cool breeze in a hot summer. It reminds me how much I wandered away from myself the last few years. I didn't need anyone else to make me happy. Whatever I needed to be happy, I had to do for myself. I thought I was so full of wisdom and insight from the books I have read, from my practice. The last year or so have been uncomfortable - I am as capable of deception and self-deception as anyone else.
I am not sure how things will go from here. But it's time to start looking ahead. Someone asked me what's on my bucket list. I haven't really thought about the things I wanted to do. Maybe it's time to update the list again. The places I wanted to see, the things I want to do. In some places, they have started putting up the Christmas decorations. 2013 is ending soon.