We had one heck of a rainstorm on Saturday. It rained in the night for awhile and when I awoke to go running, I was feeling unmotivated because I knew the route would be a muddy mess. So, I was dawdling and thinking of rescheduling for Sunday am when whoosh! came the downpour. And it continued for hours and hours. I hunkered down in comfy clothes with my computer and decided to write some papers I needed to write instead. Had a nice cup of coffee (thank you Peet’s) and some peanut butter on a banana and was happy that I didn’t push myself to do my long run. Although the rain did stop at some point, and then started again later, in the end, I didn’t leave the house all day. Every now and again, you need a cozy day like that.
So Sunday morning I thought I’d really better get out and run. This would only be the third run of the week and I knew if I went more than 2 days without a run I start to get depressed. In my mind (and on the schedule) I wanted to run 9 miles, but since I’ve been so unmotivated recently I told myself I could just do 7 and see how I was feeling. (In truth, this is a decision I have to make at 3.5 mi since it’s out and back, but I knew that.)
I strapped on my handy dandy Amphipod water bottle belt (brought to me by my friend Linda when she came to visit after Christmas). I like this belt because the bottles are small and stay out of my way. I have a Camelback for longer runs (10 mi or more) but for shorter runs, that’s overkill. However, it’s hot enough here that I can’t get away with bringing nothing (which I usually did in Bamenda – I could easily run 1.5-2 hours there without carrying water – oh, but that’s also because there are public water taps in town, so in the last 30 minutes I could get water). But, I have to say it annoys the heck out of me because no matter what I do (at least what I’ve figured out to do so far), it rides up on me and then starts moving around. For some reason, it mostly does this when the bottles are full and the more I drink, the less of a problem it is. Seems like it should work the other way around, but there you go.
Anyway, my butt was dragging and it took forever for my Garmin 405 to pick up the satellite signals, so it was a darn good thing it was heavily overcast (probably what was blocking the satellites). I didn’t actually get going until nearly 8am. I usually run around 6 or 6:30am.
It was a muddy mess, particularly up the first hill (before Kubalota) and on the downside of the second hill (after Kubolota). And after I crossed the first river, there were two very muddy patches, one of which I took the wrong route through and nearly lost my shoes. Uggh. I was feeling okay after the 3rd river crossing which was the farthest I’d gone in the past and decided to go ahead to 4.5 miles (making it 9 mi roundtrip). As I went further along, I saw what looked like a village up ahead – thatched roofs in the distance. As I approached the village, however, I thought to myself “hmm, that doesn’t look much like a village. It looks like a school.” And I was right. This was Guguha Community High School, which I’d heard about and knew I must have gotten close to, but this was the first time I reached it. Why did I think it looked like a school and not a village? Because all the huts were the same size and every hut, and both the long buildings were covered in drying clothes. People in a village get into patterns, but at least around here, they don’t ALL wash their clothes on the same day. And they wouldn’t hang their clothes on a school or church (a long building is always a school or church).
The other interesting, and quite beautiful, thing, was that right across from the school was this grove of enormously tall coconut trees. They were all lined up in rows and there was only short undergrowth below them, so they really stood out. Quite lovely.
As I was running home, I stopped at the top of the last hill to rest a bit and catch the view. While standing there, someone came up behind me – it was a young man running. In his bare feet. And he was really sweaty – like I get – so I had the definite impression that he was running seriously. I started to run again and we ran together, so we talked. I told him I was from America, but living in Buala now and working with the Provincial Government. He told me his name was Joseph and he was coming from Guguha (same as me!) and he was going to his village, which is Tiratanga. Wow! Tiratanga is, as they say, in the “highlands” – it’s an hour walk from Jejevo, straight uphill. He left me when I turned off to go to my house and he still had quite a way to go. Good for him!
That’s the first real runner I’ve seen here. And it only took 4 months.