One of my pre-race rituals needs to take place at least 2 days before the morning of a big race. On races where I’ll be running as a team, I prefer to dig into my laptop’s hard drive to look at past photos of my teammates. Having only owned a personal camera recently, digital photos (especially those of where I’m running) are still a novelty.
Prior to Standard Chartered 2010, it makes sense to upload this particular ancient pic on the blog:
Apart from my pre-race pose that can be interpreted as FAIL, this pic is the oldest cross-country photo I have in my photo album. This was before Benedict took over as the official photographer, so I believe either Wee Lee or Angela took this photo before the SAA Cross-Country at Bedok sometime in February 2009.
It’s ironic that I don’t have any photo memories of my time in cross-country during my first year. All my blog posts and stock of team memorabilia begins in 2009. It’s as if I have nothing to show for my first year in the CCA. When I want to remember the races I ran with Aaron (my first year captain) or the intervals I did with Jay (vice-captain), Pamela, Elijah or Gerard, I unfortunately have to rely on some hazy sweat-induced memory.
It speaks a lot of what happened during that freshman year. This is not to diminish the efforts both Aaron and Jay put into keeping the team together (Kelvin, Alan, Yati, Michelle & I are proof that that freshman year didn’t end fruitlessly) But collective memory is like running: the further you go, the more you discover something different. Sometimes you discover something unpleasant, like not being able to run, or a coach telling you after dying during an interval, “it’s all in your head, boy.”
I believe that the year ones who come in every year are the life and blood of the team. So I have to feel a bit disappointed that this year I won’t be running a Standard Chartered Team 10k with any of them. It’s always an honour to be a teammate with someone who’s running his first race for NUS. Like Ke Wen in that pic. Or like with Yi Qun last year.
But I’m not worried, because hopefully next year there’ll be more chances. This year for Standard Chartered, the biggest race in Singapore, most of us we’ll be running alone. But, I suppose, symbolically we’ll all be meeting again somewhere at the end. Not so much for photos (although that would be nice too). But to reaffirm why we’re running together.