Part of me likes exploring a new town and part of me gets annoyed that I don’t already know where to go to cover a certain distance. So, we are in that beginning phase now where I’m getting to know Bukavu as a runner. I have heard that Sunday early mornings are when all the weekend warriors are out – running from the border (w/Rwanda) to the Governor’s office – about 14km round trip that includes no less than 3 killer hills each direction. This habit of going out for a hard run once a week seems to be an African pastime (at least in Bukavu and Bamenda). Interesting. I’d be afraid of getting injured or sure that I wouldn’t have the stamina, but that doesn’t seem to faze them. Anyway, I didn’t get up this morning to partake in the festivities, but maybe next weekend. The problem is that there is a sort of standing date every Saturday night among the ex-pats that work with me at IRC and their friends which rarely ends early and the English-language church service on Sundays is at 7:30am. So that leaves little time to get a run in.
But my explorations have uncovered some good routes. There is the route within my neighborhood which can be configured several ways to make about 5k or a bit more. If I extend that and run up to our office, I can get a 5-miler in and I’ve found a nice path that curves around the bay that sits between the peninsula on which I live and the peninsula on which the office is situated. Yesterday morning, I ran down to the border and decided to take the paved road up past the office, which led to the discovery that the hill from the border up to the office is long and steep! I was feeling all good about getting back into shape and getting my times down under 10 min/mi and then I couldn’t even make it up the hill without walking. Hmmph. We still have a ways to go.
Since I get regular R&R breaks as well as vacation days, I was thinking about the possibility of training for a marathon. There are now quite a few marathons around Africa, some of which actually sound fun and interesting (though some just sound grueling and lonely). Thinking, thinking, thinking.
At any rate, Bukavu is a nice place to run. It is cool enough now that I usually wear a long-sleeve shirt to run, though I don’t need gloves or anything that severe, thank goodness (at least at the moment). There’s really only one paved road, so most of my running is “off road” which is good for my joints I’m sure. And I’m not the only person who runs, though I’ve definitely discovered neighborhoods that, judging from the responses of those I pass, are not frequented by expats.
More adventures to come!