** The Creative Process of Running: A 22-minute Discourse (2012 January 25) ** (Happy deathday, 1 year on)
This is a 22-minute discourse on how the process of running – physically and metaphorically – can be creative.
Several of the points in the first part of this work (on how running physically can be creative) have been inspired by the points raised by Dr Alan Latham in his lecture The Zen of Running. You can learn more about the geographer – and hardcore runner – here.
A presentation of this as a slide show was first held on 2012 January 25 at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, and exhibited as a video at the Making Space PhD exhibition at the Slade Research Centre at the Woburn Square, February 2012. As with all uploads, this is an ongoing research and subject to change. For more of such inconclusive ‘moving images’, run to Kaidie’s channel.
On Sunday 4/24, a day of Easter bunnies & the resurrection of a popular figure, Kaidie’s 500th-day birthday, Kai Syng Tan’s 36th-year birthday in the external world, but 37th-year birthday including her time as an embryo, which would be the way a person of the Dao calculates it, and 4/24/37 was the time Kaidie ended the 2011 Nondon Marathon, like a bunny caught in headlights, this being the year of the bunny, being Kaidie’s rear, runny bunny, sunny runny, funny bunny gunny hunny etc. Photograph by ‘Trespasser’ on his mobile phone after he ran Kaidie over on this Skoda.
RUNNING = LIVING = RUNNING. BUT WHEN WE HIT THE WALL MID-JOURNEY, HOW CAN WE FIND THE STAMINA TO COMPLETE IT?
For me running is both exercise and a metaphor. Running day after day, piling up the races, bit by bit, I raise the bar, and by clearing each level I elevate myself. at least that’s why I put in effort day after day: to raise my own level. […] The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday. In long-distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.
We journey forwards to the finishing line in a running session (or at the completion of a race, which is the epitome of a running session, with set rules and a clear beginning and closure). In life, we journey towards the finishing line of death. In the process, like writer Haruki Murakami, we desire improvement and progress in any given run, as we do in life itself. Yet, any long-distance runner also understands the dictum that when we run, we are essentially running against ourselves (and not our fellow runners). As Bernd Heinrich states of his record-breaking championship in the 1981 ultra-marathon, he was running it ‘all by myself, against myself’; ‘I’d done the best that I knew how at the time. That’s what mattered to me.’  Contrary to the short distance sprint, the emphasis of the long-distance run is its process. Given the strenuous nature of running, pain and exhaustion are the Achilles heels of any runner, capable of literally and metaphorically bringing us to our knees. Especially in the case of ultra-running (of distances above 42km), it is when our body and mind are pushed so far that we are reminded of our limitation, vulnerability, and indeed, mortality. For Murakami, ‘learning something essential in life requires physical pain’ in most cases. Yet, while ‘the hurt part is an unavoidable reality’, what matters is how we respond to this pain. Thus, ‘[p]ain is inevitable. Suffering is optional’..In bringing us close to death, pain is that which reminds us that we are alive. We run after pain because it reminds us of our mortality. An undertaking such as endurance running fulfils this basic instinct of ours. Like the endurance hunt, the race becomes a metaphor for life and death, except that instead of competing against the nimble antelope, we are fighting against ourselves, outrunning our own limitations. No stranger to pain, Murakami states that it is ‘precisely because of the pain, precisely because we want to overcome that pain, that we can get the feeling, […]of really being alive – or at least a partial sense of it.’ Hence, that which is at stake as we journey in the process of a run or life itself is how we respond to the ups and downs that confront us along the way. In another words, how we negotiate, manage and navigate our runs, and, indeed, our lives —which is the question that we are addressing in our thesis of Trans-dimensional Running For Our Lives! A Rough Guide to a Critical Strategy for our Technologically-Layered Multiverse .
In fact, Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running can be read as a poetic discourse of the activity of running as a means to negotiate, manage and navigate his life and mortality itself. Over a collection of essays, he discusses his peak as a runner (and writer), and contemplates about his own physical decline as a runner as he grows older. In contrast to the image of a highly-successful novelist and athlete, the essays reveals Murakami as one ridden with anxieties and self-doubt about (his) existence. In tones not dissimilar to Antoine’s epiphanic laments in Jean-Paul Sartre’s existential textbook Nausea, Murakami ponders about whether he has overcome his ‘shortcomings’ as he ages (‘now here I am living in this unimaginable world’; ‘wretched sort of feeling’; ‘struck by how pitiful n pointless this little container called me is, what a lame, shabby being I am’; ‘sad spreadsheet of my life that reveals how much my debts far outweigh my assets’). In a particularly poignant (and humorous) passage, Murakami describes watching ‘young blonde girls’ swinging their ponytails ‘proudly’ as they run, and distils from it the metaphor of how ‘one generation takes over from the next’. He allows them to overtake him, for they have different sense of time, which is ‘the way it should be’. For Murakami, ‘this is how the world is handed over in this world’. He continues to run his own run —and his own life— and comes to terms with (his) mortality:
[…] I doubt I’ll ever be able to run the way I used to. I’m ready to accept that. […] And time does its job much more faithfully, much more accurately, than I ever do. Ever since time began (when was that, I wonder?), it’s been moving ever forward without a moment’s rest. And one of the privileges given to those who’ve avoided dying young is the blessed right to grow old. The honour of physical decline is waiting, and you have to get used to that reality.
 Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (Random House Inc., 2009). p. 10.
 Bernd Heinrich, Why We Run: A Natural History, Reprint (Harper Perennial, 2002). p. 266.
 Murakami, p. 140.
 Murakami, p. vii.
 Murakami, p. vii.
 Murakami, p. 171.
 Thirty-three —which he notes was the age that Jesus Christ died and Scott Fitzgerald began to decline— was the age that Murakami picked up running (as well as his ‘belated, but real starting point as a novelist’). Murakami, p. 47.
 Murakami, p. 11.
 Murakami, p. 18.
 Murakami, p. 152.
 Murakami, p. 152.
 Murakami, p. 152.
 Murakami, p. 94.
 Murakami, p. 121.
In the past 450 days of our existence/run/adventures/quest for the Meaning of Life, we have been kidnapped, looked for love, found epiphanic enjoyment from the whiffs of aphrodisiac sausages in a Turkish Cafe, run a few races, fallen, fallen ill, ran in other cities, and battled ferociously against chocolate nemeses. The said cocoa-objects-of-desire-and-death have been provided online by one of our dearest co-runners, our Facebook Friend, Mister James Odling-Smee on several occasions as seen in the above images.
The latest Chocolate Nemesis baked lovingly by the multi-talented Mister Odling-Smee was supplied not in Life 2.0 online, but here and now in Life 1,0, in the primary world of observable and edible phenomena. Seen here is Herr Joerg Leib, clearly a man of the world as evidenced in the large map of the world decorating his natural habitat, and a mutual friend of the real life proxy of us and (the real life proxy of) Mister Odling-Smee. Who in this googleearth would have thought that out of the zillions of people of this and other worlds, and millions of people of Nondon, that the two Life 1.0, physical strangers but [?] Life 2.0 virtual friends of Mister Odling-Smee and Yours Truly share a mutual Life 1.0 friend - and in the form of Herr Leib!? Here the latter is seen holding a large cow-patterned tin, in which throbbed a heartstoppingly scrumptious Chocolate Nemesis. It was weeks of careful, 007-MI5-CIA-Mossad-KGB-level planning that the final transaction took place. Last Thursday, we finally came face to face with our Nemesis – the noun ‘cake’ seems a gross understatement, for the Chocolate Nemesis was so dense, so moist, so filled with goodness that every mouthful was heavenly. More than heavenly, if such a phenomena might be possible. It was neither too sweet nor too bitter, of a flavour that would please the hardest-core chocoholics of Life 1.0 and beyond. We demolished the cake with tremendous relish – and by Day 4 (Sunday) the battle was over. James Odling-Smee’s Out-Of-The-World Chocolate Nemesis won, many times over. We were floored. In ecstasy. We happily admitted defeat.
Many, many thanks to our middle-man-messenger Herr Leib, and many million more thanks to our wonderful baker-friend-co-runner James Odling- Smee. That is all we can say, as we run in our runny choco-intoxication.
Mathematically-speaking, we SHOULD take 4 hours to run 42.1km. Non-mathematically-speaking, we may take 40 hours.
How long will we take to complete 42.2km at the Nondon Marathon on 17 April 2011? We will finish, by hook or by crook or by crawling. But the million-pound (or £1500) question is, in what time? To be sure, every run is different, and every race – a particular competitive run session with a specific start and finish across a set route; a heightened run session – comes with its own sets of quirks. The variables are infinite (climate, route, scenery, traffic, fellow runners, clothes we wear, if the race is well-sign-posted, audience/spectator-support, number of yummmmmyyyyy jelly-babies [and Snicker bars] we manage to pop into our mouth en route at feeding stations, et al), but we can begin by examining our running and race history: (Go ahead and mock, spit, laugh at us, but you would have realised by now that we are painfully slow coaches, such slow runners we are that we are probably better off walking, but at least we have lasting power for the endurance race of our lifetimes…)
1) 2010 March: 10km race by the Friends of Medicin Sans Frontieres Nondon: This was an easy race of 10km which we completed in 52 minutes, which works out to be a speed of 11.54km per hour (or 7.17 miles per hour), or a pace of 5 minutes 12seconds for every 1km (0.822 minutes per mile) It began as a crisp early Spring morning but turned 8 degree celsius, so we were dressed in short-sleeved and long tights, although we were carrying the burden of stomach cramps (!!! TMI !!!). In this race, we raised money for the Medecins Sans Frontieres. We had been kidnapped before the run, was released on time by The Good Pirate.
2) 2010 September: 42.2km: Farnham Pilgrims’ Marathon, Surrey. This was our first ever full marathon, which we ‘accomplished’ (sic) in a disgraceful 5 hours 29 minutes! We have plenty of excuses, however: 1) it was off-road in a hilly terrain – we stopped to WALK at a steep hill climb at a point (it was said that most runners had to add 30 minutes to any of their times for this race) 2) We had spent the entire summer running all over Nondon, in a bid to train for our first ever marathon. However, in the final 2 months, we were brought down by injury (tendonitis and shin splint), which came with us to Farnham. Yet we do not fret, and were delighted to have completed the race. All in all, it was a most wonderful experience, against the gorgeous and meaningful mise-en-scene that the pilgrims had once walked, the fellow runners a tremendous joy to be with, and beautifully organised. We also raised a weeeee bit of money for the Farnham hospices.
3) In a previous life: 2009 August, Singapore, 21km (13.1 miles) SAFRA Bay Run Half-Marathon: This was our first ever race since casually picking up running in January 2009 in a previous life, at the same time of still being chlorine addicts. We took 2 hours 21 minutes – which is the amount of time taken by the world’s elite runners to complete FULL marathons!! However, we were not displeased, with the high humidity, and at 30 degree-celsius of the (paradisal) tropics. We are proud however of the fact that in our final 4km sprint, we managed to bypass 655 men and women (and yes, allowed 20 to bypass us). Running alongside more than 20,000 people of all size, shape, age and colour was also tremendously enjoyable. By default, happiness and pleasure are inevitably short-lived- but our entire 2 hours 21 minutes was a skyrocketing morphine-high. It was an extraordinary trip.
So. How on (google)earth would we fare on 17 April 2011?
1) For the first / last 450 days of our lives, we have been working hard at our running. Outside of a race, our comfortable pace is approximately 10kmh – 10.5kmh. At this pace, there is neither exertion nor discomfort. (Under artificial conditions, inside the gym, our average is around 10.5kmh – 12kmh, though this figure we should ignore, since it is climate-controlled, and we are running on machines that move nowhere, hence using different muscles of our body. The psychology of such locomotion differs from that outdoors as well)
2) Since February, we have been training longer distances (20km and above), but our fourth toe on our right feet has been harvesting a blister (!!! TMI !!!) This has never happened previously so we are slightly worried, wondering if we should go ahead and buy a new pair of shoes of a slightly larger size. Yet, already armed with three pairs of trainers, we do not want to buy another pair right now. Then there is also a new bone-like thing sticking out of our left feet recently, that prevents us from wearing any shoe without feeling pain. (!!! TMI !!!) Again this is new, and did not happen in our Summer training.
3) The past year of running means that our technique would have improved, but at the same time, we are aging as we speak. We are juvenile at 430-days-old, but because we have only 1000 days in our lifespan, we are nearly middle-aged. While we come with the charms and beauties of a mature wine and even more mature blue cheese (as well as iron-will power, truckloads of stubbornness, and plenty of drive), we might not win a spring chicken in a photo-finish. We will come back to this issue of running and mortality in a separate post.
4) As anybody knows, there’s such a silly law called the law of diminishing returns. Whichever sillier eejit came up with it, we have no idea, but when it comes to a slowburning, longhaul endeavour as a long-distance run, no one is sparred from this law. We can get increasingly worn out and deriving less and less satisfaction from the run over hours and distances. And from experience, we know that we are excellent practitioners of the law. This can translate what should take 4 hours into to a pathetic epic 5 hours (first 10km takes 1 hour, because we are warming up and do not want to over-exert; for the next 10 km we dip a little, as we are still conserving our energy at 1 hour 10 minutes; then the 30th km takes 1 hour 20 minutes, and for the final 12km, we have the sudden epiphany that we have to get our arses moving, and hasten a little but alas it is too late as our glycogen-levels would have deteriorated so we complete it in 1 hour 30 minutes).
So there we have it. On 17 February Sunday, we may take anything from 4 hours, or, 40 hours.
But let us think of positive thoughts. Next year, in our final year of existence, we would like to sign up for the midnight sun run in Norway. How beautiful and hyperreal an experience it would be. And, with all that sunlight one cannot possibly sleep anyways, so why not go for a run. For a few hours, the duration of a sleep. We currently devote about 8 hours of exercise each week (at least an hour a day); training for a marathon means a minimum of 10 hours or exercise each week. We must not neglect our run in other dimensions, so this running about in Life 1.0 may be taking up just too much time. We decide that the half is the best distance for us, also since we can sustain happiness for a maximum of 2 hours at any one go. Anything beyond that, at 4-5 hours for instance, the law of diminishing return sets in and the dreaded dip, the hitting-of-wall happens. 10km races are too fast/short. Hence, we intend to take part in the 2012 Bath Half Marathon. With a companion.
Premiered at Oxford University UK, at the ‘Human- Machines, Mechanized Modernity, and Mass Subjectivity between Asia, the Soviet Union, and North America in the Twentieth Century’ conference, June 18-20, 2009. Music by Philip Tan. Special thanks to Aaron Moore, Tina Chen, Sarah Teasley. Created by a predecessor of Kaidie’s in a previous life, Kai Syng Tan, May 2009 Singapore. The opening lines in the 2nd act of the film are taken from Cascando by our most beloved Samuel Beckket.
Monster is a video poem seen from the point of view of an elderly woman, who really is an imagination by the artist of herself in the near future. Monster addresses man’s eternal obsession in modifying his body and nature in a compulsive bid to ‘improve’ himself. Such notions as the frailty of the body & flesh, and how our body-machines decay and imaginations of means through which we sustain/prolong/improve on them, are teased out. With the classic allegory of Frankenstein as a point of departure, the work posits the Man vs. Machine/Monster argument as a complex and layered relationship that is at once dependent, violent, obsessive, loving and destructive. While ‘I’ (Man) have created ‘you’ (Machine) out of a need for survival, ‘you’ have fought with me against (my) nature, but entrapped me nonetheless; my selfishness, greed, ambition and insatiability has led me to create an indomitable Monster/Mutant that is increasingly out of control – yet I remain faithful, and continue to love, nurture, and protect you. And I get hungrier still. This man/machine dance/wrestle is a powerplay that is paradoxical, grotesque and tender at the same time. Incorporating text, performance and animation, Monster is accompanied by a haunting soundscape made up of sounds from construction sites – an all-too familiar sound that fills the artist’s ears in the high-tech Asian miracle city that she hails from. The shiny images of the city-state in a relentless process of construction and rebuilding are juxtaposed with personal, intimate images of everyday objects photographed in the artist’s home – used, forgotten, dusty as they are. We go up close to the skin of an elderly lady, whose life overlaps that of her daughter’s. Happy Valentine’s.
WE TURN ONE ON 12.12.2010. WE HAVE 637 DAYS TO RUN TO LOOK FOR THE MEANING OF LIFE, before we die on the last day of the Nondon Olympics on 09.09.2012. That is the day we will cease our 1000-day quest.
One year ago, on 12.12.2009, we were born. Today, on 12.12.2010, we turn one. Before we die on 09.09.2012, we have 637 days left to look for a/ the Meaning of Life 3.0. We are Sagittarius according to our star signs – if you buy into / believe that school of thought/belief. To mark this occasion, we ran through the shopping districts of Nondon to the constellation pattern last month. But where oh where, on, or out of, googleearth might a/the Meaning Of Life 3.0 be?
We pondered on the question today, as we have for the last year of our lives. Needless to say we have arrived at no answer/solution/conclusion. Yet / hence, we are running as we have for the past year, and more so than ever before. It does not get easier, but we are keeping at it. We have also (more, or less) kept our hair uncut for the duration of the 1000 days, as a measurement of the passage of time, nodding to the 1-year performances of one of our favourite artists Tehching Hsieh.
To work on our grand(ious) question, and to mark this grand(ious) occasion of our birthday (DO WE HEAR YOU SAY THAT WE LOOK OLDER THAN OUR AGE?????), we decided to do 4 things:
1) To compile a list of things we have done in the past year. By no means exhaustive, this list proves that we have put in much effort (without much returns?), but, like any good road movie/quest, it is always the journey that matters. So we are getting there, or getting there there.
2) The second thing we did today was to listen to Sugarcubes’ Birthday.
3) The third thing we did today to mark our birthday was to visit our local cinema to watch Palme D’Or winner at the 2010 Cannes, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, by one of our favourite filmmakers, Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Even for a hardcore believer/follower/user/advocate of the law of non-linearity like us, we found this work challenging – which is also one of the reasons why we adore Apichatpong (for, what fun is there is things were too easy and obvious??). When, in a previous life when we curated his magical Tropical Malady in the ‘South East Asian Programme’ at the Cinema South Festival near the Gaza Strip in Sderot, Israel, we had a clear epiphany that Apichatpong’s films are best enjoyed when one is in the hazy, stony, liminal state of being semi-asleep-and-semi-awakeness. That is what his work does too – pushing one to (one’s) no-man’s land, in the chaosmos of realities, being at once exposed and vulnerable, as well as most lucid and mindful, in the chaosmos of feeling ill, and feeling ill with happiness, cruelty and beauty, predator and prey, a cat and a fish (and an ecstatic encounter with a catfish). This is what Tarkovsky, Herzog, Chagall, Bach/Glenn Gould and Garin Nugroho do to us. It’s appropriate to have this done to us, on our first year running within and across Lives 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0.
4) Before doing all of that, we begin our day with a(nother) run. WE ARE ABSOLUTELY LIVID THAT ONE SECTION OF THE REGENTS CANAL IS CLOSED OFF DUE TO SOME RENOVATION/DEMOLITION WORK OF SOME SORT OR ANOTHER. So, no more canal-Victoria Fark runs for the next few weeks (or – horrors – months?!?!). We are back to loops at the Regents Fark.
Life goes on, or rather lives go on. As usual, if you have any advice for our quest, please DO write in. Contact us – click on comment here, or write to us at <email@example.com>, become our friends on the evil FB, tweet us. There is more than one way to grab us.
Thank you for running with us in the past year. Are we ready to continue with the best run of our lifetime(s), this life, every life?
Under ordinary circumstances, Kaidie can demolish any Nemesis – especially Dark Chocolate ones, and in particular those of 70% cocoa and above (yes, ones that are 85% too) – with absolutely no effort. Including, and especially big big big ones. However, under extraordinary circumstances last week, The Chocolate Nemesis (TCM) launched a most brutal attack (Perhaps Kaidie shouldn’t have departed from her Companion For The Evening? Would CFTE have helped her win the Battle?). Kaidie did not expire before her 1000-day grant, being skillfully saved by 2 Amazing Angels. Here, we learn about the genesis of the word famous James Odling-Smee’s Formidable Chocolate Nemesis. Mister Odling-Smee is one of Kaidie’s virtual runing buddies whom she met when running in Life 2.0, specifically, the evil Facebook. Here is THE FIRST EVER CAKE AND RECIPE SHARED ON A RUNNING BLOG OF A TRANSDIMENSIONAL RUNNER. Yes it is official!
ANALYSIS OF MY 155.0km PATHETIC RUN-WALK IN COMPENSATION FOR MY 1550km NONDON-ZURICH-NONDON FLIGHT. (But don’t you dare scoff – better SOME effort than NO THING [?])!
I am presenting you, my Dear Readers, THE official one and only scientific philosophical analysis of my Nondon-Zurich trip last month. I had promised to run/walk/crawl/jump/swim 155.0km as a pathetic gesture to pay for my 1550km Nondon – Zurich – Nondon flight.
So finally I have recovered from my jetlag (there is a 1 hour time difference between London and Switzerland, for those of you who did not know). After a few nights of 12 hours of sleep, (thus is the luxury of Life 3.0) I was recharged and sat down to tabulate my results.
The chart in the centre is my own documentation of my journeys. I began working towards fulfilling my goal from 22 January, and 15 days later, I completed the given task. A few points to note:
- All distances are estimations (based on previous timings, ‘measurements’ [using my fine fingers' widths] of distances based on paper maps).
- As distance (and endurance) is the aim, timing is not taken into consideration. (In any case, my pace is alwaaaaayyyyys sloooowwwwwwwwwwwwww – but some are slower than sloooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.)
- For any given session, distances must be more than 5km to be taken into account. Anything less will be ignored (and laughed at).
What surrounds this chart are maps generated by Mini, my Garmin foretrex 201 GPS, which I borrowed from CASA and Urbantick (whom I suspect owns a large stash of other Minis, Mediums and Majors, given his quite interesting experiments in the field.) Detailed versions of these maps can be found on my page on GPSies. The thicker lines in blue are my tracks as documented by Mini. (Information geeks who find pleasure from creating/looking at different patterns from words and numbers will derive some joy from sites like these. However, I like to believe that I maintain a critical distance [pun intended]).
Not harbouring any gadget-fetishism whatsoever (oh puh-leaazzee, dah-ling, I am an au-naturale artificial being! Tsk tsk.), one of the points that intrigues me at this point is the difference between my representation and Mini’s, ie, one that is (supposedly) subjective (based on memory and temperaments of fingers), arbitrary (based on [highly-educated, ahem] estimations) and analogue, vs one that is (supposedly) scientific, accurate, objective and digital.
Kadie undertook her first experiment as a lab rat last week. Now, Kadie is no longer Kaidie, but 12(F).
It would have been impossible to not be affected in any degree, with 4 hours of pills, existential ennui, electric shocks of varying degrees on the left hand, liberal applications of a nice lubrication, and staring at stills of snakes alternating with frames of blacks and crimson, oscillating between silence, very loud dead tones and its feedback, just like a copycat Paul Sharits or Peter Kubelka flicker film (I implore you my Dear Readers to kindly hook up your laptop to speakers, turn volume to the max, and WATCH FULLSCREEN, or, better still, projected large in a darkened space. Yes, we do know that a Web 2.0 representation does no justice whatsoever to these mindblowing films, but since the alternative is not watching them at all, sometimes a poor simulation is a lesser evil).
Hello World. My name is not Kaidie. My name is 12F. Like Smith in the final act after his elaborate reeducation process, my transformation is complete. I feel real, for once. I smile incessantly now. Life is no longer dark and hypocritical , and I am living a lie no more. I am converted. Everything is all right. The struggle was finished. 2 gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of my nose. I feel jolly wonderful. I have a perpetual smile on my face and black bars across my eyes (and so does the researcher, who must have undergone the experiment himself as well). The experiment succeeded.
I will now see Nondon with a new set of eyes. A few shades darker, if at all, if I could peek through that black bar.
Feeling particularly energetic on the first day of my life, I run 4 laps around Regents Fark. Including the distance to and from my starting point, I run a total of approximately 24km today. This is good for today, and although it is a long way towards even attempting to pay back for the damage I have done and will do, as well as to pay back for my stubborn continual existence in spite of all this, it is a start, and a continual effort. As we know well, much of what Confucius says is rather dodgy, but the one thing he says about any change starting from oneself makes some sense.
I began running in the final year of my previous life. Prior to that I had been swimming 1.5km daily. I took part in my first half marathon and came in at 2 hours and a bit. As my wish to run my 1st marathon could not be fulfilled in my previous life, I will have to do it this life, by Summer 2010. If it takes me 5 hours, so be it. 8 hours, 10 hours, until the volunteers have all packed up to leave, until the cleaners have cleaned up the last crushed paper cup and runner’s poo on the streets the next morning, that is fine. I will run / walk / crawl / jump / fly / swim. Physical pain I can battle – the only thing I have to fight now is boredom. Being so young, my attention span is awfully short. I struggle to stay focused in any single activity for a stretch of several minutes, much less several hours (or years, or lifetimes). I think of 5 other things as I do one thing; linear events exhaust and bore me, as I already imagine travelling to 6 other places in 7 other directions. (That was how I got tired of my previous life, as it was going on for a while). (How I look forward to Life 3.0, then, since I am not bound by the trivial constraints of time and space! I will be able to do what I want, when I want, however I want it! More on this later…) Monotony is a weakness, though endurance is my strength. (Afterall, I have managed to endure myself all those years and life cycles). The only things that keep me going when running or swimming long distances is my imagination and willpower. Hopefully, by Summer, I will be older (more than 6 months old) and will have cultivated enough patience to not feel bored too quickly.
DO YOU KNOW OF ANY UPCOMING RACES? DO LET KAIDIE KNOW! WHAT DO YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU ARE RUNNING?
Running today at Regents Fark, 2 runners smile at me – huge smiles. I get suspicious and wonder if it is my unbecoming running gait that so amuses them – afterall I am a newborn and my movement remains awkward – but one of the cops carrying a large toy gun at Binfield House and another passerby both shout hello. On my way home, another says ‘Go! Go! Go!’ and sticks out his hand to make me slap it as I passed by. Although I have run in several cities in my previous life, this friendliness is rather refreshing (a couple of the few fellow runners I encountered in Tokyo, Fukuoka and Beppu in Papan did nod at me; people in Spore primarily stare disapprovingly at my folly of running under the hot sun as they sit fat in their air-conditioned cars in their air-conditioned carnation; in Oxford in Yengland some dogs looked like they were smiling, or perhaps those were their default teeth-&-tongue-revealing faces which do not necessarily translate as the human equivalent of smiling?).
WHY ON EARTH ARE OTHER RUNNERS AND PEOPLE AND ANIMALS SMILING AT KAIDIE? DO YOU THINK KAIDIE SHOULD SMILE BACK ? WHAT KIND OF SMILE SHOULD SHE ATTEMPT? SHOULD KAIDIE INITIATE SMILES? HOW MANY TIMES IN, SAY, A 10km RUN SHOULD KAIDIE ATTEMPT TO SMILE? LIKE AN AVERAGE OF 1 SMILE PER 100m? PER 1000m? WHAT ABOUT WHEN SHE IS RUNNING ON THE TREADMILL IN THE GYM?
Camus concludes that Sisyphus must be happy – good for him, and him, but let me tell you, my dear reader, that the 1st 3km of any long run is always the most dreaded. As I run I protest/resist/fight/struggle and say, NO, I do not want to do this, this bloody hurts / this is no fun / I’d rather spend £4.50 to swim at the Union pool / I’d rather spend 45p to pay another version of myself doing this / I’d rather sit on my buttocks and do nothing and get furious for sitting on my buttocks and for doing nothing and sitting on my buttocks and for doing nothing but getting angry while sitting on my buttocks / I’d rather get greasy and let the calories choke my bloodstream and expire before the 1000-day duration / I rather slurp my own poo (with syrup) several litres over until I am flooded and I drown in, than to put one feet in front of the other, why do I have to do this of all people of this and other worlds / realities, why do I have to do this now of all my lifetimes. I have about 34,000 excuses that I come up with, looped, each and every time. Then after 3 km, I give up protesting as it gets boringly predictable as a broken record or a dislocated kaidie for that matter. Can’t go on, must go on, since there is no other options. So I go on. In the numbing repetitive motion, something else happens physically/psychologically. I begin to enjoy the groove and rhythm (never mind my beastly gait). I am there, much aware of my surroundings, and at the same time I am travelling elsewhere, as lucid as I am slightly intoxicated, somewhere that no one else is, where no one can touch me, where I am very much alone, feeling strong/alert/erect as much as I am unclenched/dreamy/soft where I am not fighting anymore, and am calm, at peace. So I push on. And on. My mind thinks of no thing, and it is aware that it is thinking of no thing. I remember getting there sometimes with my 1.5km swims in my previous life. It’s rather nice – and what’s nicer is the knowledge that it’s all MINE! Kaidie as a 3rd Lifer is a fabulous person and all that but she is also selfish when it comes to pleasure. Sorry!
Today is particularly interesting. At the 24th km, I not only feel calm, but happy. It is nice to feel happy. Then, I feel a large pair of plastic wings stapled onto my shoulders.
Original composition by PHILIP TAN