Sunday, August 08, 2010

And now a run back at home

After the biking adventure yesterday, I felt emboldened this morning and decided I would actually get out and run. It took a bit longer than usual because when I woke up, as has been true for the past week and a half that I’ve had this cold, there was lots of sneezing, blowing and coughing to be done to clear things out.


Yesterday, I had thought of biking to this place, Cité des Jeunes (city of youths), which is supposed to be beautiful, but to get there you have to go through one of the busiest areas of town and I wasn’t interested in fighting with cars and matatus on my bike. But I was pretty sure Sunday morning would be relatively calm, so I decided to go out that way, even though I doubted I would far enough to reach the place.


So the run took me downtown, almost to the central market and then a turn south on a road running along the railroad tracks through the quarter called “Kenya” because a lot of Kenyans live (or used to live) there. This took me past the fish markets (where I was glad I wasn’t able to smell very well) and the wholesale veg markets. A train actually passed by moments before I had to cross the tracks, which is a pretty rare sight. Although there is a rather formidable fence along the rail line (made of pieces of the railway) there were spots at rather regular intervals where the fence was broken and people crossed the tracks at will.


It was 9a or so by the time I got to Kenya and even though it was Sunday, there were quite a lot of people out and working. In fact it was quite easy to distinguish between the workers and those on their way to church. Those on their way to church were mostly either groups of women or families and one could smell the Palmolive soap a good 200 meters away. Cleanly scrubbed, wearing their best clothes, fathers walking hand in hand with small daughters in frilly dresses and patent leather shoes – yep, they’re on their way to church.


The run went well. I was tired when I got to the long hill at about 5 miles and even more tired when I turned the corner and there was another hill, but I managed both and in the end did 7 miles. I could feel the congestion in my chest when I finished and I have had no voice all day, but it felt good to actually get out and move.

RevBikes, too, though not without incident

A week and a half ago, I came down with a wicked cold (which I’m not yet recovered from). This is the second one I’ve gotten this year (the last one being right before Christmas). If anyone has any clues or tips how to prevent this, I’m all ears.

Anyway, after lying around for a long holiday weekend and then working through the week, but not running, I finally got the energy to go for a bike ride yesterday afternoon. It was a nice day – sunny but cool – and it was a nice ride up beyond the University of Lubumbashi. I was on a well-graded dirt road for quite awhile until I turned into the wind for the 3rd time and was coming to the entrance of a factory, so I decided to turn around. Something felt funny and looking down, I realized that my rear tire was completely flat. I got off the bike and pumped up the tire (with some help from a couple of small boys). But no sooner had I gotten on the bike than the tire was flat again. Uh oh.

By now several young men were ambling by and offering advice. There was really nothing to do but walk the bike somewhere – home? The nearest market? Somewhere where the tire could be patched. Because, despite the fact that I own two little patch kits, I had neglected to put them in my little underseat pack. Fortunately, though, I did have in my pack my all-purpose multi-tool. Two of the young men offered to walk me to the closest market (or that’s where I thought we were going). As it turned out, we went to the house of one of their brothers and they (Doris and David were their names) said they would fix the tire. I gave 1,000 francs (about $1.10) and David ran off to buy “solution” and some rubber.

It was quite a production, with one guy from the house coming out with a radio to entertain us and Doris applying the first patch, but not covering what turned out to be two holes in the tube and then having to redo the whole process outside a clinic a bit later (when the tire had gone flat again) with a rather obnoxious guy looking on and saying how he should have my bike.

One thing I learned from this was that you don’t have to remove the tire to fix the tube! Also, this multi-tool I have is a beautiful piece of work and has everything I need to do anything on the bike. And I’ve now put my little patches in my underseat pack. I have these pre-glued patched that I can just stick on, as well as the tube of (Indian) innertube solution that David bought and some pieces of rubber we didn’t need. So if anything happens again, I’m all set. And I had an adventure, had the chance to explore a neighborhood up behind the University where real people live and had some amusing conversations with these young men. Doris is studying political science (and wants to be a politician and improve his country), in the striped shirt. David is in the green (didn’t get a good picture of him) and is studying sociology. He was either a bit drunk or just generally a bit more obnoxious, but Doris kept him in line. (While they were walking me to the main road, after the fix, they were having a whole conversation in Swahili that was clear enough that I understood that David kept saying he should ride the bike and Doris kept telling him no. . .)

Kind of a fun Saturday afternoon, actually.
The tube out, awaiting the arrival of rubber & solution to patch it
Doris, one of my heroes
David returns with supplies
The work in progress

Update on US trip with photos

Sorry I haven’t updated the blog. I really should have because I was back in the US mid-June to mid-July with plenty of running adventures. I participated in the Shambala Moutain Center course “Running with the Mind of Meditation and Yoga” (which I found out at the course has recently been written up in Runner’s World, June 2010). Early one morning a bunch of us went for a gorgeous run in the mountains around the center. It was a great run up until I twisted my ankle bad when we were still 2 miles (straight down) away from any sort of road. It was a bad sprain, though I think having to walk two miles on it might not have been such a bad thing. Definitely was a great exercise in being present.

A week later I was in Portland, OR to run the Foot Traffic Flat marathon on Sauvie Island (4 July). I am very pleased to report that, despite the sprained ankle, I finished the marathon in 4:32. The whole race went really well and now that I’ve accomplished this, I’m psyched to train for another, maybe in March or April in France. I also got to meet my coach Tory Klementson, for the first time, which was great.

Also, I got all kitted up while I was back in the US. Got a pair of the new Brooks “Green Silence” which are my favorite, favorite shoes. I think I’m in love. In addition, I have several “minimalist” shoes to try out. Terra Plana Evo’s (which I quite like), Feelmaz Osmas (haven’t run in them yet) and the new VFF Bikila’s which I like and find much more comfortable than my VFF classics. I also got a pair of VFF Treks for the rainy season. Yes, yes, I can be a bit Imelda Marcos-y when it comes to running shoes. . . I also picked up some new running bras, including 2 Champion bras that have hooks at the back. After horror stories in my youth, I swore I would never wear a running bra with hooks  or anything plastic or metal. However, this bra has a padded cover and because I bought it at Title9, I was able to try it with the promise of being able to return it if it didn’t work. Well, I loved it so much I bought a second! Kudos to the manager of the Palo Alto Title9 store who has converted me. One of the most comfortable running bras I’ve ever worn.