The Homecoming

Written by: Shail Modi

It was with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that I walked on to the NUS running track on Wednesday, June 21st. I was returning to that track, where I had spent hours training for much of my life, for the first time in close to two years. I was looking forward to meet my friends and teammates after a long time, but the night before, over dinner, Coach Fabian, had informed me that I would be coming up with and leading the workout. He wanted a sample of the training sessions that I had done during my stay in the United States. I spent the hours before training mulling over possible workouts, and was anxious to do a good job leading it.

Warming up with the team was a great way to catch up and learn how they were doing, and the drills (low-hops, power-skips, quick-feet and more) reminded me of all that I had forgotten. I was pleased to know that I was quick to relearn them – perhaps a result of the years of being subject to repeating them. When it came time to do the workout I was ready. The set I decided upon was a speed-workout that I had done while training for the 800m race – a good mix of sprinting and endurance. We were to do two sets of 250 x 4 with 3 minutes of rest between each 250, and eight minutes between the two sets. The younger kids would only do 200m and a reduced number.

It was tough, tiring, work that was extremely gratifying. Running once again with this group was both familiar, and strange because everybody (including me) had improved over time. But, the workout was difficult and after the first few repetitions it began to show. The walks back to the 250 m mark were slower, and the pack, which started off with everybody trying to come out in front, started to string out. Everybody was grateful for the eight-minute break in between. Eventually, we finished the workout, and I particularly relished the final sprint showdown between Timothy and me.

The flush of adrenaline from a final-sprint did not last very long, however. Ten minutes later, I was hunched over a drainage pipe clutching my stomach. I had just vomited up my lunch. As unpleasant as that was, I could not help but feel a bit of joy. It is not often that I could meet a group of peers after two years, and vomit in front of them without being worried about being judged. I was back with my team…