Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Back in the saddle, as they say

Ran 16 miles Sunday to Bambui, then Mforya then back via Mile 4. Nice, solid run. Interestingly, I stopped 3 times, each time thinking I was going to walk a bit (uphill), but after blowing my nose I realized I needed to stretch. So I did a forward bend (hamstrings) and a squat (lower back & calves) and each time, got up and just picked up running. So maybe the feeling that I think of as "tired" is really "tight."

41 miles last week. Definitely "back in the saddle" as far as Mezam Stars training goes, although I play the "old lady" card when I need to. For example, our Tuesday morning workout now is to run from Finance Junction up to Up Station (the Customs office) and back four times. I get to do it only 3 times because I am training for the Veteran's route in the Mt. Cameroon race, which is shorter. It is 2.5km up hill, then 2.5km down hill. Last week I only did it twice. I managed 3 times this week, although I walked in a couple of places, one of which was "in the bush" as they call it -- a shortcut that is a trail straight up the cliff. They told me that this path is typical of Mt. Cameroon. Wow, I couldn't run it if I wanted to. I think it's at least as difficult and possibly more so than Pike's Peak in Colorado.

Several team members went up to Fundong and ran a race there on Saturday. It was supposed to be 21km, but it was at least 24km, from Fundong to Njinikom and back. I didn't go because I knew it would kill me. I have been up there and I know that road. Fundong and Njinikom are both quite high (in altitude) and in between them is a very deep valley (for some reason it reminds me of Hanalei on Kauai in Hawaii, but colder). So the route was downhill into the valley then uphill to Njinikom, then downhill into the valley again and then uphill to Fundong. Ack! But, we did very well as a team. Emmanuel came in 2nd and Paul came in 3rd for the men and Benedicta came in 2nd for the women. So they got to take home a bit of cash. They thought the prizes were pretty good -- 30,000 francs for 2nd place ($60 US) and 20,000 for 3rd ($40 US). That wouldn't even cover the registration fee for a lot of races in the US!

One thing I'm learning how to do is run in the dark. This morning it was even darker than usual at 5:15am because the power in our quarter was very low, so the few lights that are sometimes on were either not functioning or were just flickering. From my house, I have about two blocks on a rocky dirt road before I get to pavement and then even the paved road is full of potholes larger than anything you've ever seen in the developed world. I'm amazed that I haven't twisted an ankle yet, but I'm even more amazed that I am not the only person on the roads at that hour. It's really improving my proprioception, though.

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