Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wherein Tracy learns a lesson, the hard way of course

Soooo, this was a "low" week and I was scheduled to run only 6 mi on Sunday, but because I didn't do my 5 mile Tempo run (a whole story I won't bore you with), I decided to do at least 8 miles. The running itself went pretty well. It hadn't rained for a few days, so it wasn't too treacherous getting out of my neighborhood to the paved road and I decided to just run the main road to the other end and back. Wore my Newton Gravity's -- awesome shoes, btw. I like them a lot.

One of the best things about the run is that I ran the whole thing -- all the hills -- which is saying something. The hill that comes out of the "centre ville" is at least 800 metres and pretty steep. But I just plugged on and told my mind to shut up when it wanted to start the whiny "but look at it, it's a BIG hill. And who's gonna care if you don't run the whole thing? and aren't your legs tired, so tired?" rant. It is always my mind rather than my body that gets me on that hill. So yeah for a victory!

But, well, uhm, there was this little incident halfway into the run. . . See, I came to this barrier -- literally a branch across the road held up at each end, about knee height. Behind the barrier were two soldiers and there was a small space to the right where a guy was walking past the barrier. So, in a vain attempt to be cute and have a little fun, I jumped the barrier. In my defense, I must say that 90% of the soldiers I have encountered on my runs have been either indifferent or amused by this white lady running around, so I wasn't quite prepared for the level of offense taken by one of these two soldiers when I "disrespected the Congo" by jumping their barrier. Ooh la la. After trying to say I was just doing it for fun (which did *not* go over well), I resorted to profuse apologizing and admissions of guilt. But I think the guy was, at the very least, tired after a long night and possibly even under the influence.

Finally after about 15 minutes of him saying the exact same thing over and over and over (my first hint that perhaps he was not completely sober) and my apologizing over and over and over, it looked like I was finally being allowed to leave (though, disappointingly, he wouldn't let me cross, but was making me turn back). Then something happened which I didn't really understand and another soldier who was walking towards us stopped me, turned me around and started pushing me, saying "he's calling you." But I was not particularly interested in going back to the crazy guy since I'd heard his speech about a thousand times. So, I resisted, but this soldier was quite insistent. Finally, I realized that someone *else* was calling me. And then someone else said it was the "commandant." Ah, okay, clearly this is not over.

I was escorted to the commandant, but then walked right past him because, this being Sunday morning, he was standing there in sweatpants and a t-shirt. He turned out to be quite nice and kept saying he hoped I wasn't traumatized by the guys at the barrier. He said he wanted to record my identity info, so we waited for another guy to go run and get his register book. I gave him my info -- my name, who I worked for, etc. He wanted the number for the office, and he didn't really believe me when I said we don't actually have a receptionist (that's true). I knew I should probably give him Billy's number -- our Admin/HR Coordinator -- but I didn't know his number off the top of my head. In the end, he let me go and, nicely, let me continue the way I had wanted to go in the first place, which I really appreciated because it meant that I could avoid the guys at that barrier.

So that was all about a 30 minute pause in the middle of my run. And what did I learn -- do NOT jump military barriers! Even if they are only knee height. Even if you think the soldiers are nice enough. Listen and learn children, do not repeat my mistake. . .

Lest you think I might have actually been in any danger -- when I got home, my phone said I had 3 calls from Billy, the first one surely while I was still talking with the soldiers. How on earth did he know? Apparently, a friend of his was going to church, saw me, knew I worked for IRC and called him. Are you kidding? So much for my belief that I am anonymous. Ha! I was on the other side of town and someone knew me. And Bukavu is not a small place.

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