I haven’t died yet! Today was the first day of the running club at work. I feel great, but the run was really hard. I had figured I’d show up where everyone assembles before the run and then pick the weakest ones… but my colleagues swang by and picked me up just before lunch, took me to the changing room, and then off we went! “It’s not far” took us through a rural villagy area near my work, and into a terraced corn farm (big hills, up and down), then around oh my god and down and up up up up up oh my god. After a while I told my partners to leave me and I had to walk up this hill.

I walked for a few minutes and then started to run, then got tired. Several times! My buddies said that was probably around eight kilometers, of which probably three was up a mountain — not to mention the altitude of running in Nairobi/Uthiru. That’s why Kenyan runners dominate when they go to international marathons! They’re trying to convince me to run in the Nairobi marathon in a few months. I told them I’d do ten kilometers and they were unimpressed, pushing me to do the twenty one. I guess the marathon is all flat, so by then I won’t even feel it.

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Tomorrow is my first day in the running club at my new job. I joined the coffee club last month, but this month I stepped it up a notch and joined the running club. There’s no formal membership (other than an inter-ILRI mailing list), but I did buy some shoes from the back of a woman’s car in the parking lot during the morning tea break. It kinda felt like I was buying something illegal, like drugs or guns. I had heard through a few people that there was a lady around who could get nearly new second-hand shoes. We communicated through email and she called me this morning, I don’t know how she got my number, but she told me to meet her in the parking lot. She opened the back of her SUV and there they were, a line of running shoes. I tried on a few pairs, found one I liked, and handed her a wad of cash — 2,500 Kenyan shillings, or about thirty USD. New ones go for 5 or 6,000 shillings.

There are some guys in my building who are pretty stoked on running, and I heard one of them plans his international travel schedule around marathons (Boston Marathon, etc). Tomorrow I have committed to running with those guys, let’s hope I don’t faint. There are a few groups who meet at the front gate just before lunch, so I’ll just show up and get a feel for who I can hang with. Probably the chicks. I’ve been running at the gym for almost two weeks now, but I’ve only been able to go five kilometers so far. I gave my trusty Nikes away when I was moving last month because I didn’t have room for them, so I’ve been running in a pair of knock-off Converse. Those blisters on my feet mean I’m working harder than I need to be, right? So I’ll be fine! … but running on a treadmill is easier than outside.

Oh dear, I hope I don’t faint.