I apologize for not writing for ages. But I’m close to getting settled, so I hope to submit updates regularly again – at least weekly. It’s interesting to note how much being “in transition” messes with my normal routine. I am pleased to say that I have been running regularly throughout this time, although lower mileage and slower pace, which I find frustrating.
Anway, I have arrived in the Solomon Islands. Initially, I thought I’d spend a week in Honiara and then head out to Buala on the island of Isabel where I’ll be living and working, but for various reasons, we (all the volunteer Provincial Advisors) need to stay in Honiara until the end of October. I spent the first week at a hotel on the east side of town, but didn’t really like hotel living. So, for the last two weeks, I’ve been staying at a house up in the hills on the west side of town. The nice thing about the hotel was that I could choose to run a flat course – along the one main road – or go up a hill which was quieter and cooler, but it was a hill. Now I am up one of those hills and it’s not very flat up here! I’ve run down to and along the waterfront a couple of times, but the hill up to where I am staying is quite a challenge. I haven’t been able to run up it yet. An odd part of the landscape is the dead frogs. There are a lot of frogs here and they are quite large – with bodies the size of my fist. But apparently they aren’t acclimated to cars because every morning, I see several newly dead frog bodies on the road. Which strikes me as quite odd because there aren’t that many cars, maybe 4-10 in the course of a night. Can they really not sense a huge hunk of steel moving toward them? Or is there some rare case of froggy mental illness that has them all be suicidal? It’s a mystery.
As you might imagine, a tropical island is hotter and more humid than either San Francisco (by a LONG shot) or Bamenda, although it is nicely cool in the mornings and up on the hill there is a refreshing ocean breeze. I’m starting to get a bit acclimated, which means that I generally only sweat like a pig when I’m actually exerting myself rather than just sitting at my desk. But man oh man, do I sweat. It’s amazing. Enough so that I wonder whether I should be replacing electrolytes and how I could make my own electrolyte drink from local ingredients. . .
This week I’ve actually been visiting Buala, my soon to be new home. It is beautiful. Bucolic. And small. Really small. I’ve run from one end to another. It doesn’t take an hour even at my current slow pace, even going past the road onto footpaths that are barely walkable in places. Oh my. About the only other option to explore is going up. Buala (or actually, Buala village, Buala station, Jejevo village and another couple of villages whose names I don’t know) sits on the beach on the south east side of Santa Isabel island up against a mountain. The entire island is essentially a mountain ringed by beaches. A heavily forested mountain. This is going to take some adjustment.
I haven’t been for a long run in weeks and weeks and weeks. Nothing much longer than an hour. Partly because I’ve had scheduling issues, partly because I’m tired, which I guess means I’ve gotten out of shape. I started to gain weight in the last month I was in Cameroon and that continued until now I’ve got an extra 15 lbs or so on me (7-8 kg). That’s probably slowing me down as well. I hate that. I hate running slower. I hate feeling tired. I hate, hate, hate being overweight. I hate not feeling good about my body. Blech, blech, blech. And hating it doesn’t particularly help either. I’ve sort of tried a few things to lose the weight, but it is very difficult in a transition time, especially when I was in San Francisco and surrounded by so much food I hadn’t seen in years. Now I’m eating way too much food I should not eat (wheat, peanuts) and too much sugar. So, for the time being, I’ve decided to just let it be until I am settled and have more control over my diet. A couple of weeks.
So, I continue to run, which is good. And I’m starting to do yoga again, after quite a long layoff. That was not good either. I discovered again what I discovered a couple of years ago – the only way I can run the way I want to at my age is to also do yoga regularly. If I don’t practice yoga, my hamstrings, piriformis and IT band tighten which pulls my sacrum out of whack and causes sciatica and lower back pain. I do hope I don’t have to learn this lesson again. The older I get, the longer it takes to recover. . .
Enough moaning. Here’s a photo from my run here in Buala to share, there are more on my Flickr site (http://www.flickr.com/photos/tlongacre/)