30 Minutes

Thursday, 17 February 2011  |  Bullish Insights

On most mornings, after dropping off the kids in school, I make my way to my favorite coffee shop at the nearby town center. I almost always arrive at 7:30 a.m. even if it doesn’t open until 8:00 a.m. There’s a full 30 minutes when I can do nothing but let time pass.  But, I don’t. I take the hands of time, clasp it into mine, and I almost don’t want to let it go.


This morning, I sit in the outdoor chairs by the soon-to-open coffee shop in the middle of the center embracing the half hour I am blessed with.  A cool breeze gingerly brushes upon my cheeks while the gentle sun keeps me warm enough to rest comfortably.  It is not completely silent; I hear the janitors sweeping the dry leaves, watering the grass, and chatting with the guards. I hear the birds chirping, the planes zooming by, and the gush of water from the koi pond behind me.  It is morning music to my ears, the rhythm from the day that’s starting to arise. I take everything in—every single detail—from the guard’s name tag to the ants carrying the heavy load on their backs. Do ants even sleep?  I wonder.  And, my mind wanders.  I think about everything—and also nothing.

These 30 slow minutes make a huge difference in my cluttered, chaotic, and taxing day. There is an endless to-do list to tick off, a parent-teacher meeting to attend, and homework to supervise.  There’s a tempo run this evening following a 1.5 hour bike ride yesterday and a lung-busting speed session at the track the night before.  With the heavy load I put on my body—pushing it to go beyond exhaustion so it can work even harder on the days that count—it is these 30 long, slow, and sublime minutes that provide a sense of balance, sanity and serenity.

30 minutes with a non-fat chai tea latte, three times a week.  Consider adding it to your training program.

The Wisdom of the Tooth

Wednesday, 9 December 2009  |  Bullish Insights

I can almost hear my Wise Tooth speak this Chinese proverb below:

The runner who runs 26 miles must rest his weary legs.

Okay, no such proverb exists. But, pretty much every serious runner will agree with what my Wise Tooth said.  After a brutal marathon, one should rest and recover.  The type of recovery varies depending on the runners’ experience and preference: some run easy, others cross train, others do nothing at all for weeks, but the key is to take it easy and listen to your body the week after the marathon.

This Wise Tooth of mine has been speaking proverbs since he got yanked out of my mouth yesterday.  You see, two months ago my dentist delivered awful news: I had an impacted wisdom tooth that had to be pulled out.  I cringed in fear as I could still vividly recall the pain from the last time they removed another wisdom tooth seven years ago.  Then, she dropped an even bigger bomb: After the procedure, no strenuous activity would be allowed for a full week.

No way.  I could not skip running for over two days!  To make matters worse,  I was in the middle of Singapore Marathon training and nothing—not even all my teeth falling out—could stop me from messing up my program. (Of course, I’d have to shut my mouth lest I scare people with my toothless grin.)

Suddenly, I had a brilliant idea. I could schedule it the week AFTER the marathon when rest from running would actually be good for me.

And so, yesterday, after two months of stalling, I finally went forward with the procedure.  I went through three injections and several minutes of twisting and tugging before the dentist proudly showed me the wisdom tooth: my Wise Tooth.  I nonchalantly dropped old Wise Tooth into my pocket and asked the most important question there was for me (in case the answer changed): “So, no strenuous activity for 7 days?”  Sadly, the dentist nodded.


Today is the second day of my exercise ban and, surprisingly, I am loving every minute of it.  I thought I would get antsy and I would spend half the day quelling urges to run or cross train.  But, nope, it’s quite the opposite.  I’m enjoying this time when I have no concrete goals yet no injuries to worry about.  I feel like I’m just…floating.  Yes, seven full days of peace, enlightenment, and relaxation thanks to the Old Wise Tooth.