Thursday, October 23, 2008

Trail of dead frogs

I apologize for not writing for ages. But Im close to getting settled, so I hope to submit updates regularly again at least weekly. Its 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 havent 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 arent acclimated to cars because every morning, I see several newly dead frog bodies on the road. Which strikes me as quite odd because there arent 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? Its 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 Ive actually been visiting Buala, my soon to be new home. It is beautiful. Bucolic. And small. Really small. Ive 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 dont 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 Ive 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 doesnt particularly help either. Ive 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 hadnt seen in years. Now Im eating way too much food I should not eat (wheat, peanuts) and too much sugar. So, for the time being, Ive 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 Im 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 dont 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 dont have to learn this lesson again. The older I get, the longer it takes to recover. . .

Enough moaning. Heres a photo from my run here in Buala to share, there are more on my Flickr site (



Stacey Grossman said...

RevRuns, great post and pictures. I travel around the world vicariously with you as I stay in DioCal and try to faithfully do the work of the church, and ROW! Is it not amazing how the practices that sustain us (run, row, yoga, pray) are so easily forgotten, then picked up again. I take the picking up again as a gentle divine reminder...get back to the practice!! hope you're well! RevRows

Rev. Tracy said...

Yea. The older I get the more I "get" that life is just about practice. Practice, practice, practice. Maybe that means heaven is Carnegie Hall? :-)