anotherlongshot (anotherlongshot) wrote,

The Healing Power of Exercise

It is pretty incredible what 30+ minutes of continuous running can do for your mood. By 'your mood', what I really mean is my mood.

I had a really shitty afternoon. I went to the library at 11, after the CV review with Chris, and being a creature of habit, I sat down at my usual table in my cave. I didn't charge my laptop the night before, so I took out my adapter, bent down to reach for the socket, and just as I was about to plug it in - the second the top prong of the plug made contact with the socket - I saw a little spark of electricity.

I thought, Oh shit. I quickly plugged it in and plugged it into my laptop to see if what I thought had happened, had really happened. I repeated the process two more times at two different sockets.

What I thought had happened, had really happened. My adapter (adaptor?) had suffered a mini explosion and it was dead as a doornail. I was in absolutely no mood to deal with it; I wanted to finish my spiel on freedom of speech. As a result, I sat down, focused for about 2 hours, and finally banged out the points that I wanted to make, which I'd somehow manage to make sense of.

At 1.30pm, I went down to the canteen to get food and there was barely anything left, so I just got some rubbish which I didn't finish. Then, back in my office, I called Lenovo support to ask if I could get a new adaptor (adapter?) from the service centre. I called them twice. I confirmed the second time that I was still covered by my warranty and that I could get a new adaptor from the service centre.

The service centre is in Kaki Bukit or whatever, at some godforsaken corner of Singapore, Eunos somewhere, a place so bloody ulu piang (in proper English, that means remote) that the entire area doesn't even register in my mind. The service centre in Bukit Timah, where I live, has unfortunately closed its doors.

Hence, I took a freaking taxi all the way to that godforsaken corner of Singapore, where I waited 15 minutes, just to be told that I would have to wait 1-2 weeks for a new adaptor. I was so shocked by what I heard that I was stunned into silence for a good 5 seconds; when I recovered my faculty for speech, I went on this huge rant about how it was ridiculous that they really expected people to be without an adaptor for 1-2 weeks, that I was in the middle of work and that I had no time for this, and that I needed the adaptor today.

The woman looked really stunned too; perhaps she wasn't expecting an outburst. In my defence, I was tired, I was stressed out, I was spending an afternoon on a pointless errand when I could have been using it to write my paper, and I took a taxi all the way to the East for absolutely nothing. She told me that I could buy one from Funan, and that there was absolutely nothing she could do for me if I'd really wanted the adaptor the same day.

Just. Incredible. In the end, I asked them to replace the faulty adaptor anyway since I could get it for free, and I booked a taxi even before she was done with the paperwork.

Guess what happened to the taxi? It fucking left. It just left. It LEFT. I was downstairs, waiting, got no call on my phone saying that my taxi had arrived; and when I finally got a call, I was told that my taxi had left. I called the driver's mobile but the fucker didn't pick up. Oh my god, I was so angry. I just wanted to get out of there and get to Funan so that I could fix this as soon as possible, but this driver had to be totally irresponsible.

Okay, whatever. I walked out of the estate and flagged one. At least I didn't have to pay a booking fee.

I went to the first Lenovo shop that I saw at Funan, asked the dude whether he had an adaptor for me, and he said yes. I asked him how much it was...he said it was $169.

How is that humanly possible?! He said that it came with a one-year warranty, that it was an original adaptor and that they only imported a limited number of adaptors. I told him that I'd just been to the service centre and that I didn't want to wait 1-2 weeks for it, and he suddenly offered me a discount - $99.

Um, okay, I'll take it; but not without first cheekily suggesting that he made it $90. He said, 'I just reduced the price from $169 to $99 and you want $90?' Being the terrible bargainer that I am, I gave in and said okay fine.

Later, after I'd signed for it, I checked the receipt and saw that he ended up charging me $90 after all. How fishy is that? What kind of business are they running? It seems like the price is quite arbitrary, so now I'm wondering what the real price of the adaptor is.

Oh well. Desperate times, desperate measures. At least I was done at 4.30 so I took the MRT back; I was going to sit somewhere and work and avoid the rush hour crowd, but it was fine so I got home at a good time.

I was burning for some physical exercise. Tennis with Sicai last night was fun, but I was really tired from focusing so hard in the afternoon and perhaps the counter-effective double shot espresso from the cafe on campus (I suspect it was a downer rather than an upper) that I was absolute crap for the first 30 minutes. Still, I must've picked up my game because this guy on the adjacent court asked me to join the NUS staff team. Alas! I am leaving in two weeks; otherwise, I probably would. I also played a set with Sicai and he must've been really keen to let me win because he'd already won it 6-3, but kept insisting that the score was deuce. Sure... I was pleased to have won 3 games though (and on my own serve), even if he was kind of letting me win. Also, I hit a sick inside-in backhand winner that drew vague applause from this one guy who was sitting by the side, possibly watching. It's actually quite embarrassing to have someone else witness my bad body language and my occasional mouthing of swear words directed at myself.

ANYWAY. As I was saying, I was burning for some physical exercise despite last night's tennis. I was spurred by Chris' random comment halfway through the CV review that I was looking really fit to keep up my hard work. I was deciding between swimming and gym, then decided to go running because I felt like sweating and I didn't feel like doing something monotonous like the cross trainer.

The last time I went running was towards the end of 2012. It was in London. I went out in my Stella McCartney running shorts, the same pair of running shoes that I brought back home, and a white RF t-shirt.

The fact that I remember exactly when was the last time I went running says a lot about how memorable it was - that is, memorably bad. I couldn't last more than five minutes. I jogged for five minutes and I couldn't take it anymore. Since then, and prior to this evening, I haven't tried jogging again.

I wasn't sure what to expect from myself. I was hoping that I would last maybe 10 minutes, considering how I've been exercising/working out like crazy since I got back home in January, and I should have something to show for it in terms of improvement in my stamina. Therefore, I would have been quite sad if I couldn't last more than 5 minutes like that time in London.

I ended up running continuously over the duration of 9 songs. The length of 8 of them combined is exactly 30 minutes and 51 seconds. I forgot the 9th one (some Britney Spears I'm sure) so that hasn't been added in.

I started running around the neighbourhood to avoid the traffic on the main road, so it consisted of a bit of up slope action. I suffered from really bad stitches at the start, maybe the first 5-10 minutes, and it was really tempting to stop - but I forced myself to push past it and keep going. It was almost like I had a point to prove - that I will not let inconveniences like stitches get in the way of my finding out what my limits are and then pushing past them, just because I can.

I ended up jogging along the main road anyway because I found the up slope jogging too difficult and it got in the way of me getting into a regular rhythm. I jogged to just before HillV2, then crossed the road and jogged all the way to the start of the nature reserve, then turned and ran back home. I stopped at the precise moment Britney's Piece of Me ended, right at the bottom of my slope - and I felt dying.

I felt like dying and it felt so good. The whole experience was oddly liberating. In the first place, I wasn't really that tired; if it weren't for the fact that I began to feel a bit cold (which happens quite a lot when I play tennis in the day - after spending too much time in the heat, I will start to feel cold. No idea why) and a little uncomfortable, I could've gone on for another song or two.

More importantly, after settling into a comfortable rhythm, I almost felt like I could fly. I felt like I could do anything. I felt like I had limitless power and I could do anything that I set my mind to. All the frustration and stress that plagued me in the day - my paper, my laptop, G-related issues like do I really want to say goodbye to him/do I really not want to say goodbye to him - rolled off my skin together with my perspiration. My mind was focused on one thing only: putting a foot ahead of the other, widening my strides, keep on going. There was no reason to stop; I wasn't tired enough; I hadn't given enough; I hadn't done enough; I could do more; I could be more; I could do anything I wanted, be anyone I wanted; I could be better.

In the end, I was better - better than my poor showing in 2012, better than what I thought I could accomplish 30 minutes before I started running, better than my own vision of myself. There really is something about exercise that shows you that you're capable of more than you think you are. I thought it would be great if I could run continuously for 10 minutes, but I ended up running non-stop for 30 minutes. The pyschological impact of just a small feat like that is capable of being translated to other areas of my life - namely, I can do this PhD; I can write a research paper on free speech just for fun; I can push past my disdain or fear of public speaking, conquer it, and rock the shit out of my presentation at the Asian Constitutional Law conference in December.

Sports instill a positive mindset in its practitioner. It's too bad that I get all negative when I play tennis, but then, I'm limited by my natural talent, or lack thereof. When it comes to things like swimming and running, it's all me. I do whatever the hell I want, and I do it because I can, and I feel fine as hell at the end of it.


The downside, though, is that my upper right arm really hurts now. I googled this and apparently it's due to my poor posture. Ah well! The pain is totally worth it.
Tags: bad day, personal, playing tennis, positivity, running, stupid people

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