Trying to write everything down before I forget this.
Three things happened today. First, Singapore's two-month long drought was finally broken by a tropical storm of epic proportions. So after weeks of browning grass, wilting trees and record low levels at McRitchie reservoir, we get an hour on non-stop rain. It seemed like the perfect answer to Saturday's passing drizzle. When the thunder came and the heavens opened, I was having brunch at Changi Village, thinking the beating of raindrops was someone playing very loud club music.
Then, because of this rain, I ended up getting stranded in a hut along Changi beach for almost 45 minutes as I watched nature unleash wind and rain on this drought-parched landscape. The palm tree beside the hut was getting bent sideways. Later when the rain died down, I walked along the rain-lashed beach to the final bus-stop along Changi Coast Road. Everything had turned a wet, soppy grey. The water bullied the seawall. In the fog, Ubin and Tekong looked like reclining monsters with green backs. Watching the rain is serene. It cleared my head, washed away a squatting dread.
Last, before the rain and thunder, I was at the Passion North East Run at Pasir Ris park. Ke Wen and I ran two rounds around the park in what I felt was the most chilled out race ever. In total, there were probably less than 800 people, and the organisers seemed to think that men are more important than women (a men's veteran category, but no women veterans; prizes for the men were more than for the women). As usual, there was a mad rush at the start and I lost Ke Wen.
But then a god-send: two runners came by and I hung on with them for almost 10km. We played surged, traded leaders, kept so close sometimes I nearly stumbled over their feet. I paced behind and they kept me from the headwind by the open beach. Together we chased down at least 6 others who started ahead and all the women elite runners (save the top two) who started one round later. In photographs, the three of us are everywhere, a blue pack stuck so tightly together we obscure each other's faces. It's funny how when you're competing so hard you have a sort of unspoken understanding with people who are both your competitors and friends.
(Only later, reviewing photographs posted on Facebook by race organisers, did I realise I was actually pacing Kek Hong Ling, one of the masters of local distance running).
I lost the blue pack just right at the end. And so, for the last two kilometres, I was in that special place: still moving but tired as hell, trying to enjoy the scenery but knowing there was someone chasing me, just cruising along. In short: in a state of near bliss, in prayerful mediation to my Creator for being able to reach such a state of being a well-crafted machine.