Monday, April 13, 2009

Last Buala long run

Sunday was my last long run here in Buala. Surprisingly (to me), I covered 7.5 mi, although I did a fair amount of walking. In part this was because I was tired. I sort of overdid it, but I was so excited by being able to get past the mud to the flat section, that I went out further than I should have. But in part, I walked and stopped just because I wanted to savor the experience. We had one heckuva tropical storm on Saturday it rained 11 hours straight and the water just poured off the tops of houses like a river. It was pretty amazing and made it clear just who is in charge here (the weather!). This made it even more amazing to me that my path wasnt completely flooded out. Its all about drainage I guess. But Sunday morning, Easter, began bright and sunny (though it did cloud over and rain more later). It was beautiful that fresh, clean after the rain feeling.

Rather than going up and over the killer hill after Kubalota, I decided to go over the rocks on the path I discovered the other end to last week. That was an adventure real scrambling, and trying to be very aware because the rocks were wet and very smooth from all the foot traffic. This is one of those times when I really wish my feet could handle the terrain without shoes, as the locals do. Ive watched them and they walk completely differently than I do, particularly when they are going over rocks. They can use their feet to curl over rock corners and grip things that I just slip off of.

I saw a few pigs along the route. One which was quite big and caused me a bit of pause, but they really are much more afraid of me. Since they expect all humans to be coming after them to turn them to dinner, I dont think they realize the damage they could do if they decided to. Lucky me! I also saw a beautiful flock of red birds fly overhead, but I didnt get my camera out before they settled onto the tops of the trees. I waited for a bit in the hopes that they would take flight again, but no luck.

Ive just read Running: the sacred art by Warren A. Kay and I would highly, highly recommend it to anyone interested in how to encourage more spirituality in their runs. Kay teaches a course called Spirituality and Running at Merrimack College in Massachusetts and the book is really quite good. He is a Christian, but he writes from a broader perspective and the message and exercises in the book are definitely not specific to any particular faith.

Tomorrow I fly to Honiara for a week and I am really, really looking forward to running on the roads!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

New path found

I've been able to get back to running 4-5 times a week, though my mileage
isn't very high. Last Sunday I thought I'd go 7-8 miles (I'd done a little
more than 7 the week before). Although it rained on Saturday, the rainy
season is definitely petering out now. Thus, when I set out, I had great
hopes of being able to cruise on that nice flat section past the river. I
was a bit surprised when I started down the far side of the killer hill past
Kubalota and the mud was very, very sticky. But when I got to the river, it
was lower than I'd ever seen it, so I was anticipating a great run.

But then at 2.5mi out, I was stopped in my tracks. The path was totally
flooded out (see photo). I looked left and right, and there was water as far
as the eye could see (see next photo). Oy.

Now, it could be that it wasn't that deep (it was at least 6 inches and
maybe up to 12) and if it had been a moving river, I would have just crossed
it. However, this filthy standing water on a flooded path is pretty gross.
First, chances are good that I'd just sink into the underlying mud and maybe
even lose my shoes. I've come close many times. And this water makes all
sorts of gunky junk end up in my shoes, causing irritation and blisters. So,
phewy, I turned around.

After re-crossing the river, I noticed a path off to the side and thought
this must be the route that people from Gnulahage take when they walk in to
Buala. I ran past, then ran back and decided to pursue that path and see
where it leads. Coming from the other direction, I've stayed on the beach in
Kubalota (rather than going behind the village and up and over the killer
hill that is part of the "main road") and come to a rocky outcropping. I've
gone up the path, but never followed it all the way to where it meets the
"main road" though I knew they must meet somewhere. So, now I'm thinking
this is the other end.

The path led through the forest and past some sort of storage shed and then
dumped out on the beach. There was a path to the right that ran along the
beach for a bit and then I was standing on the beach looking at what must be
the other side of the rocky outcropping. That was what I would have to climb
over. The path went straight up the rocks and on the top there was a very
narrow muddy path that undulated along the top for awhile. I mostly walked
since any misstep would mean a 20 meter fall into whatever lay at the bottom
of the rocks. But soon, I recognized the path I had come to from the other
side and climbed down to Kubalota beach. A new path found! It always makes
me feel like and "insider" when I discover the paths that the locals take. .