Thursday, April 24, 2008

Plagued by injuries

I was doing just fine. Benedicta fell on our Sunday run a couple of weeks ago and hurt her knee pretty badly, so she hasn't been training at all. Then Ernest seems to be showing up sporadically. He's not injured (thank goodness), just tired because he works as a mechanic which in Cameroon involves a *lot* of heavy lifting. Yesterday Emmanuel was telling me his heel was hurting a lot. I did some research and my amateur opinion from his description is plantar fasciitis. Then this morning on my way to Finance Junction hill, I twisted my ankle bad. I felt it at the time (and swore appropriately), but kept running on it as it seemed okay. But now it is 8 hours later and, oh man, I really hurt it bad. Of course, this happens when I have no power in my house, which means no refrigerator, which means no ice pack. I may stop at the Congelcam (frozen fish store) and see if I can beg some ice off of them.

Now, if you saw the conditions in which I run, not the least of which is the darkness at 5:45am, you would be thinking, "gee, it's pretty amazing that it took you 20 months to sprain your ankle" and you'd be right. But naturally, I thought I was immune by now.

We had just decided that we are going to change our training program to follow the Hanson brother's "moderate, consistent" plan (as Steve Runner calls it, I think maybe I'll just tell everyone to take the next week off and rest up and we'll start the new plan on 1 May.

What's the message here? My teammates may be younger than me but that doesn't make them immune to the hazards of running. And the rainy season has arrived and that makes the road more treacherous not only for motorcycles and cars (I have witnessed 4 accidents yesterday and today), but also for us runners.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Week in Yaoundé

Sorry, I got a bit distracted by a trip to Yaoundé last week for a meeting. Although I had every intention of meditating and doing yoga while I was there, I did not. I did however get two good runs in, including doing 100+m hill repeats up Mt. Febe. I should have done them for 30 minutes, but I only did 20 minutes. It is much more difficult to do a hard workout like that when you are alone! My second run was up and over Mt. Febe which is a nice run. Sunday I went out for a long run on my own, though I only did somewhat less than 12 miles. I felt really good the whole way which was nice, particularly given that I ran a very hilly course out into the farms behind my neighborhood (Ntasen the place is called) and then to the road that connects Mforya and Mile 4 all of that was on dirt and it quite bucolic. At Mile 4 I was back on the tarmac until I was close to home where I discovered the road is completely blocked. So I had to take a detour through the Ntabessi quarter. Ive always wanted to know where that road went because it clearly leads to my quarter. Unfortunately, I made a wrong choice at some turn and ended up not taking the direct route home. I knew I was off-course when I was approaching a killer hill and I looked up to see St. Josephs church in front of me. I can see that in the distance from my porch, so I knew I was headed in the wrong direction! In the end it was good that my detour lengthened the run, and I got to see a little bit of Ntabessi. Now Ill have to do more exploring.

Monday I was up on Station hill and ditched our afternoon workout to go straight home (or straight-ish, they are working on the main road by my house and so I had to walk a couple of kilometers home). Tuesday morning I got up with every intention of going to our hill workout and had some sort of stomach trouble that prevented me from leaving the house until much later. Im still not sure what is going on in my stomach, but it seems to have settled down at least enough to enable me to run Wednesday morning.

Im doing an online course called Awakening Joy ( and one of the exercises Im engaging in is writing to my Buddy each day about what things made me happy (something Ive not historically paid much attention to). I realized Sunday evening that I was actually really happy during my run that morning, although I didnt register or acknowledge it to myself. So this morning, I did notice. At some point, a track from Mike Oldfields new classical album Music of the Spheres came on and I looked up at these tall trees I was running by and just felt really happy to be there in that moment, to be alive, to be running, to be listening to this sweet music, to be noticing these majestic trees. Life is good!