May 9, 2016

Search Of The Void

I started running east on East Coast park toward the sailing club and the airport. I wasn’t sure how far I was going to go, but I felt good out of the gates and decided not to look at my watch for as long as I could.

The sun was low in the sky and a soft breeze eased the normal humid assault and my run began smooth. All systems were a go. I was no longer worried that my short three week hiatus had done any permanent damage. My legs, lungs, heart and mind were all sound and I was running in search of the “void” as Murakami calls it. My thoughts were light and nimble and didn’t linger too long in my head. I was running light and fresh, and I made it well passed the sailing club, all the way out of East Coast park, near where the craziness starts at the airport. I had run for nearly an hour and 8kms without looking at my watch once. This is rare for me and it felt good.

I did not stop at this point and was able to get to 10km pretty easily. I love that 10km has become my new 5km. It hurts and it is not super easy, but I can run 8-10 pretty comfortably at this point.

I was cruising at a steady clip when the running path ended and I wasn’t sure where to go. There were a few big on-ramps and I figured that I could simply do a loop and run a few kilometers along the side of the ECP freeway and make my way back to the park and get home in around 13km.

I was running along side the ECP when I saw a sign that said Changi Airport. What the hell? I realised I had run in the wrong direction. Too tired and confused to turn around, (I guess I didn't learn that lesson the other day) I just kept going. Until the PIE exit, which brought me back into the Changi Industrial Park and eventually back to Xilin Road and the Expo. Meanwhile for most of that section I had no ideas where I was. I was simply walking and running and making my way forward. It felt tiring but forceful. I was accruing mileage step by step.

I was meant to be home much earlier as it was my turn to make dinner for the kids, but I knew I wanted to get to 15km. I had come all this way and I couldn’t just hop in a cab yet. Eventually, I hit 15.35km averaging about 7:10 minutes a kilometer. At this point, I was so late and the cab was so easy that I hopped in and went home. I could have pushed a nit more, but nonetheless this run felt pretty damn perfect.

This is the farthest I have ever run and there is no major damage; the body and mind are sound. I will play in this 10-15km range for a few runs and then push one out to two hours and 17km. This Half-Marathon is beginning to feel doable.

One easy way to get to know students and brighten their day in a very simple way is to stand outside your classroom before and after classes and greet them as they walk in and say good bye as they walk out. You can also chat kids up as they walk by. A few high-fives, good mornings, what you up to’s or a random piece of ongoing conversation can go a long way. I have many nods and hellos and hallway connections with kids I don’t even teach. It often puts me in a better mood to be out there. Sure I can hunker down in my room and catch up on email or check Facebook, but I have made an effort this year to be out there and visible and it has been fantastic.

This hallway time can be a great time to let kids know that there are people in their daily lives at school who will say hello and smile at them. In a big busy school, sometimes just that little bit of attention can go a long way. It is also a good time to remind kids about things you’ve brought up in the passed or ask about how a rehearsal is going or how a game they played went.

It can be a time to connect student projects and ideas. I have a 7th grade girl in my class who is a very talented singer and after Soul Asylum, where she sang an original song, I asked her to send me an mp4. She did and it is fantastic. I also have a group of kids who have been helping document our work at Off Tangent by recording promo videos and other events we ask them to cover. They are a voluntary, in-house film production crew and they call themselves Zeelo.

Anyway, this morning I saw the singer and mentioned how blown away I was by her song and how I wished there was a video for it, so more people could experience it. I asked if she would be interested in such an idea. She is shy and not very sure, but she shrugged and said that would be cool. I told her about Zeelo and asked if she would mind if I asked Zeelo about maybe making a video for her. She said that would be a cool idea.

Minutes later I ran into the main person in Zeelo and asked if she would be interested in shooting and directing a music video. She said of course. So tomorrow in the hallway, I will tell the singer that the connection has been made, I will connect them via email and hopefully Zeelo will shoot her video. None of this would be possible if I wasn't out in the hall, mingling and chatting up the kids.

I am currently rocking a goatee and weird long side burns look. If you are wondering why I would do this to my face, when it is not even Movember, let me clear the air. The first and most obvious answer is I don’t know. I am bored I guess. I don’t want to see them same face in the mirror everyday.

But if that excuse is not enough, as I am sure it s not for Mairin here are a few other reasons in no particular order:
  • I will be involved in a Big Lewbowski night this Friday and some kind of weird facial hair seems like an obvious pre-requisite. 
  • I am prepping for a healthy beard and giving the slower growing sections a head start. 
  • I can. 
  • I was inspired by the weird facial hair in the film Everybody Wants Some. 
Did I mention I am bored?

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