Monday, September 13, 2010

Chase Instinct

Dogs have the inherent desire to chase something that is running (or moving fast) away. Run away from a dog or ride a bike past it and it is likely to chase after you either based on its instinct to catch prey or its instinct to play.

Yesterday morning Jakeb and I ran around MacRitchie. Our plan was to take it easy around the lake since we had run an 11 mile long run the day before and should have had tired legs.

On the way out we came up behind three guys running with backpacks on. Neither one of us picked up the pace but we caught them easily. When we did they started running a bit faster and finally on an uphill we had to kick it into gear and pass them.

We made it to the ranger station at about the 4 kilometer mark and we stopped like we always do and got a drink of water. While we were there a guy and girl ran past. We got back on the trail and I could tell by how we were running that the chase instinct had kicked in. Our prey was ahead. By the time we got to the foot bridge behind the golf course we had caught the couple and passed them by. I felt like we were pushing it a little but I am addicted to competition. “Hi my name is Tommy and I am a competeaholic.”

Once we passed the couple we kept on pushing and ran up the technical stuff after the golf course. It is probably the only real technical running on the MacRitchie trails. I told Jakeb “We are like a couple of dogs. We have a chase instinct. When we see someone in front of us we have to pass them. The problem with that is once I pass them I feel like I have to stay in front of them.”

We ran hard most of the rest of the way back to the park. I am getting to old for this.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Christchurch New Zealand Earthquake

I had to come in to work on Saturday morning. When I got here I had an email from a friend and when I responded I told him how much fun Jakeb and I had running the marathon in Christchurch New Zealand. Not only running the marathon but we had fun driving through the mountains and seeing such an incredible place. The food was good, and they had good beer to enjoy with it (Speights). We had such a good time in New Zealand that we wanted to go back and bring Andrea and Anna (and Tori even though she is in college and can’t come) and have more time to explore.

Just after I hit the “send” button on the email to my friend I opened Google News and the headline at the top of the “Top Stories” was about a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch. The pictures that were posted in the next couple of days were amazing to me mostly because they showed the devastation of a place where I just been. I had walked those streets and passed some of those buildings. There was a picture of a girl staring into a hole on Avonside Street where Jakeb and I had run our marathon.

I have never felt even the slightest tremor of an earthquake so I cannot relate. But I have experienced the aftermaths of more than one hurricane and I have to assume it is a bit the same - to have a natural disaster disrupt life and cause one to live in a completely different way than they are accustom.

I feel for the people there and hope their life goes back to normal as soon as possible. I check the news everyday and it seems like they are making progress towards rebuilding.

We will be in Christchurch next month. Our plan has always been to land there, rent a car and leave towards the mountains. I am still excited about going back.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

I like messing with people sometimes

This morning I ran 6th Avenue / Clementi five mile loop. I left the ipod at home and planned on taking it easy. This run has five hills. One is early on 6th Ave and the last four consecutive are at the end of the run on Clementi and Ulu Pandan.

I ran at an easy pace and well within myself. On Bukit Timah about a quarter of a mile before Clementi I saw a runner ahead of me. He was running slow enough that I knew I would catch him. He was in yellow short shorts, a yellow singlet and a white headband. He pranced when he ran and held his forearms vertical while swinging his hands in a circle.

I got within a couple of paces of him at the bottom of the second hill of my run and he sped up. This hill is long. It is slow at ending with the incline stretching out at the top. I felt like I had enough in me to pass him but I didn’t want to be pushed from behind so I just hung out behind his left shoulder. As he sped up I sped up and when he slowed down I slowed down.

Then on the downhill I passed him and just ran easy. He stayed about 5 paces behind me. The third hill is short and not too bad so when we hit the base I hammered it to the top. When I crested I slowed down and could hear him behind me breathing hard. I laughed inside.

I ran the downhill side of this hill easy and when I approached the fourth hill I ran hard again. This hill is not as long as the second but there are some steep sections. I felt good. I pushed hard and my prancing runner friend dropped way behind. At the top I slowed. As I did he started catching back up. On the downhill side there is a bus stop and I zig-zagged through the bus stop barricades just because I wanted to mess around. He caught me on the base of the downhill.

We ran the flat on Ulu Pandan until the base of the fifth and last hill. When we first moved to Singapore I hated this hill. It is long and hurts by the time I get to the top. I pushed as soon as I felt the road rise under my feet. My runner friend pushed with me. I could hear his steps behind me and then as the hill steepens I looked back and he was walking.

Maybe I am too competitive but it feels good to be in good enough shape to run like this. I know there are plenty of people who can leave me in their dust and I am okay with that.