It will be two years ago tomorrow that I moved to Kenya with Sara. After a few months living in Tala we were evacuated due to the post-election violence after Kenya’s 2007 Presidential election, but I came back soon after. In that period I’ve taught computer classes as a VSO volunteer, traveled all over East Africa, learned Swahili, forgotten English, and gotten a non-volunteer job in Nairobi. Who knows where the hell I’ll be in two more years!
Tomorrow is also the annual Nairobi Marathon, in which I’ll be running ten kilometers. I’ve never been a runner, per se, but I’ve always been into sports. I want to do the run more for fun than anything else (besides, ten kilometers isn’t really that far — a whole marathon is forty-two). For the past two months or so I have been training (if you can call it that) with some buddies at work. We run at lunch time, anywhere from five to ten kilometers, through dirt roads, corn fields, etc. It’s a great way to get out of the office if nothing else. Not to mention the countryside is very beautiful, especially when you’re running in the rain. Also, I don’t feel so guilty when I go out and eat a pastry at the coffee shop afterwords.
The Nairobi Marathon is only ten days away. ILRI is sponsoring us, and I think we’ll represent them well — I saw a list go around work today and there are fifty five names on it! It’s pretty evenly divided between men and women, but there are only two men running the ten kilometer race, me and some other guy. I caught a lot of flak from my running buddies at work for not doing twenty one, but I don’t care! I think they’re in it to win it, but I just want the cool t-shirt.
I’ve been running at work for the past month or so, hopefully that’s enough training to make sure I don’t faint during the real deal on October 25th. We usually run through the countryside around ILRI, something like seven kilometers three days per week. Keep in mind this is high altitude and we’re running on hilly dirt roads, sometimes through terraced corn fields. I’ve really got to take my phone one day so I can get some pictures. Yesterday I was running with a Kenyan colleague and we were keeping a pretty good pace. looked around and realized we were in a beautiful, green part of Kenya, with people yelling at cows, planting corn, speaking all kinds of languages, etc… it was pretty surreal. I’m sure I’ll look back fondly at this time in ten years.
Today was day three of the running club and I am still alive (but not completely well). All this running has made the bottoms of my feet hurt; I think that is the “pad” of your foot. Or is that the “ball” everyone’s always talking about? If I walk barefoot in my house it’s really noticeable. I’m not sure if it’s the rocky terrain or just the amount of running… my running shoes are really nice, though. In fact, it’s only when put my shiny leather shoes back on when I notice the tenderness. I’ve had those shoes for almost two years now so maybe I need to upgrade.
I’ve been running with a group of guys who run too fast, but today I ran with a guy who was a bit too slow. I noticed that the pace is everything! I was able to run longer without getting tired when I was with this guy. The hills are still big, and at this rate I’m wondering if running/walking eight kilometers up and down a mountain is helping me to run in the Nairobi marathon in October. Speaking of that, I told my buddies I would do ten kilometers and they laughed at me. HAHAHAHA. I will do ten kilometers and if they don’t like that then TOUGH LUCK!