Today, I opted to run without a plan or a route in mind. Simply go with the flow – sans music and running app. The effect is immediate: I feel a few grams lighter after ditching the ifitness waist pouch. Unencumbered, I was ready to run like the wind.
The first kilometer descended without a hitch as I made my way from home to the main thoroughfare. Plugged with playlist of music, I was normally spared the cacophony of honking and random chattering. Without the trusted earphone, ambient noises are amplified: blaring roadway and aerial sounds converged amid territorial call from a koel perched atop a Yellow Flame tree. Adding to the frantic mix is a siren encroaching from afar and an array of noises from a nearby construction site.
Visualize this: rush hour commuters thronging the bus stop, scuttling to catch the bus to the closest MRT station; dog walkers hogging the narrow pathway without consideration to fellow pedestrians; technology dependent teenagers with eyes affixed to screens of mobile devices; and cars accelerated at the pedestrian crossing with no intention of slowing down.
I felt disoriented despite my heightened senses. Distracted by the discordant surroundings, I struggled to get in the zone. Even my own footfalls and huffing felt strange to the ears. It took another kilometer or so to acclimatize and beyond that, I was cruising.
Running without an agenda can be liberating. There was no external feedback on distance or splits. While it didn’t start off as the most pleasant of runs, it turned out to be a keeper – a chance to soak in the sights, sounds and reignite the sightseer in me. Overall, a priceless experience: I discovered an estate teeming with black and white colonial houses and an obscured park shielded by evergreen trees.
Admittedly, I’m not about to pack up my running playlist. But, I’m pretty certain this will not be my last gadget-free run. Every so often, it’s good to put aside the tried and tested and throw in the unexpected. Crank up your inner music and stay in tune with your body. Put on your exploratory hat. Make it up as you go along. If you never veered off course, how else would you discover a new route?