Monday, December 22, 2008

Dirt in shoes and wild cockatoos

Friday was mostly dry, so I awoke Saturday morning filled with hope that Id be able to run past the first river. I think we had a light shower when I first woke up, but it stopped pretty quickly. Although overcast, I didnt take any chances and filled a small water bottle with electrolyte water (Camelback Elixir quite nice, actually). The mud was worse than I was hoping it would be, forcing me to stop and wipe a few times, but I met a woman carrying potatoes to market and asked them if the path was still flooded on the other side of the river. no theres nothing” she said. Well. . .

Ran through the river and was feeling good on the other side. There was one really bad patch where I went up a bank and did okay for a few steps until I sunk into the mud up to MID-CALF. Lovely. I saw a few more people coming toward me and knew this was a very good sign, since all the villages are on the other side of the area that had been flooded out last week. So I was feeling good and confident. I heard a lot of noise overhead and looked up to see 6 or so white birds. I couldnt identify them they had a pretty wide wingspan which reminded me of egrets, but no long thin legs and their heads were quite thick. Hmm. As I approached the flood zone, I saw that yes, indeed, the water had abated considerably. But not totally. So not exactly the nothing the woman I met said. Everyone was just walking through it, including some small children, so I decided to just go for it. It was okay. It was a few meters on either side of the bridge and only went up to my thighs at one point. But. . . the yucky thing was that all sort of grit got into my shoes.

I made it out four miles, which included running through two more rivers, then turned around. Going through the rivers cleaned the biggest gunk out, but I could still feel all the pebbles or whatever underfoot. I didnt want to stop and clean my feet yet because I still had to go back through the swampy area. As Im running along, I notice something. This part of the path is bordered by wild groves of coconut palms. Interestingly, all the trees on the ocean side of the path are bare, but all the trees on the inland side are completely covered in vines and other plants. I wonder why that is.

As Im gazing up at the trees and pondering this, I see one of those white birds again. This time I try to concentrate and see if I can figure out what it is. While its flying, nothing comes to mind. But then it lands up in one of those coconut trees and lifts its head up and I realize, whoa, its a cockatoo! A wild cockatoo. Wow. Ive seen one or two in the village that people keep as pets. Now I see where they get them from. This whole area has many of them just flying around. Big, white cockatoos with very impressive pompadours (or whatever the correct name is for their feathers that come up from the top of their heads). Cool.

Slosh, slosh, slosh. I pass quite a few people mostly one or two adults with one or two children walking toward Buala. When I get back to the first river I stop and do the cleaning ritual. Get the shoes as clean as possible while still on my feet. Then remove the shoes and socks and wash the grit and gunk off my feet and out of the socks. Remove the orthotics and wash them and the inside of the shoes. Then put it all back together again. Much better!

As Im climbing the hill after the river (killer hill), it occurs to me that I only rarely ever see anyone else on this hill. But Ive seen people on the beach coming from those far out villages. Hmmm, so I wonder if there is some way *around* the hill that leads down to the beach. I bet there probably is. Thats something to go hunting for some day.

Got my 8 miles in. Drank my electrolytes. Felt okay. 26 plus miles for the week. Wouldve been more but I didnt feel like running Friday so I didnt and earlier in the week I wasnt able to do the 6 miles I had on the schedule.

Im thinking, re-thinking, wondering. I feel fine in my day to day life, but not so inspired in the running. Some days I feel beat at about 4 miles. Stale. Im not sure whats going on and Im wondering if I should take a break? Or just run however I feel like for awhile? For mostly spiritual reasons, Im considering doing a 7-10 day fast sometime soon. When I do that, I wont be able to maintain my current running schedule. Maybe I need a coach? Im feeling discouraged just by how difficult running feels here.

Something to pray about.


Stacey Grossman said...

RevRuns, I am SO impressed and amazed at your stamina and determination to simply accomplish your daily run!. I will pray for you as you figure all this out. I have been pondering that you need a group of compatriots like you had in Cameroon...where are the local runners or how can you entice some people to join you. Donald Schell and I have been in an incredible conversation about spirituality and community and athletics, and it strikes me as I read along with you that there is something profoundly important about this running struggle...much love to you from the ol' Bay Area, Stacey

Rev. Tracy said...

Thanks for the encouragement. I've gotten so discouraged that I haven't run in 3 days now. . . There's no one else around here who runs. There's one guy who walks a few times a week. It's a really tiny place where I'm living.

I'd love to hear more about your conversation with Don -- any insights? conclusions?

BTW, is your profile photo from the Chihuly exhibit? Wasn't that awesome?

bong said...

For you to still be running under these conditions say a lot about how passionate you are about running. Here, we tend to complain about the most trivial thing while on a training run, like rain or a liitle bit of snow.