Sunday, June 10, 2007

Upstation and beyond -- a road run

This morning's long run was up to Upstation and beyond. I got all the way to Santa sub-division (like the next county) past a village called Akum. It was all on the road, which is unusual for me (most runs, particularly long runs are primarily on dirt roads or trails), but it was a nice run. I didn't get out until 7am. I was about to head out at around 6:30a, but noticed that my iPod nano had almost no juice left and that would simply *not* do! So I went back in to charge it up.

The effect of leaving so "late" (by Cameroonian standards) is that there weren't too many people still out running and most were coming down the hill. But it was nice to be out with other people nonetheless. And I learned something. The way you greet other runners here, to cheer them on, is to clap. That's different for me and took a bit more coordination than I was expecting. Later in the run I noticed that young men who want to cheer me on make a gesture that in my culture is considered vulgar -- it involved a closed fist moving up and down. After about the fifth guy did it, I got that this is just one of those cultural differences and I could just remind myself that they did not mean by it what it meant to me!

After the Customs station at the top of the hill, I didn't see any other runners (although on my way back I saw 3 serious cyclist -- on road bikes, with bug like sunglasses, advertising filled spandex bike outfits and, extremely unusually, bike helmets!). Biking up that mountain seems way more daunting to me than running it. Good for them! I ran past several trading centers and I don't think many people run out past Upstation because people definitely looked at me like I was an alien species. But maybe that's just the "white man" thing. It was a nice run, 12 miles and really beautiful. It is green and luscious up there and, after Upstation, totally rural. And it was cold. I didn't realize that I had a breeze at my back on the way out until I turned around. It was just a breeze, but the air was really quite chilly, even in the sun. That was a surprise. There were only two more major hills after getting to the top of Upstation, which was nice. It wasn't much more hilly than the road from Bafoussam to Foumban (but that one goes down from Bafoussam, so the big uphill is at the end, not as nice).

Maybe someday I'll actually go off the pavement and explore some of the side roads up there. When I get a replacement for my little camera, I'll do another run and take photos so you all can see how stunningly beautiful it is. It really makes running a sweet, sweet experience to have so much eye candy.

1 comment:

abiscotti said...

Hey there. my ipod battery died and i found these guys and now it works great. take ccare - love the blog!