Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Where Does This Trail Go? Oh. Up? Right.

Both of my readers should be happy to know that I am back from Kenya, in one piece, with no visible scars. So I have that going for me, which is nice.

While in Kenya, my official "go ahead and start running again" date, set my Dr. (do-no) Harmon arrived. So, while in Malindi pigging out on fried potatoes and Tusker Lager, I laced up the Brooks and shuffled my feet.

It wasn't much, but it was running. I left our luxurious digs at the Seaview Resort and headed south down the beach. Into a 25 knot headwind. On the soft sand. After a quarter mile or so, I was joined by a couple of beach boys, who were joined by a few of their friends, who invited a couple of their friends. By the time I reached the turnaround point I felt a little like Rocky running through the streets of Philly. Also I felt like a total spectacle for the entire community of Malindi. But I ran. Gotta start somewhere.

In total I made three runs in Africa. All were painful. Who knew it was hot and windy and humid in equatorial Africa? Oh, everyone but me? Right. Even in Touristville, Africa, the locals are apparently not used to seeing an mzungu running on their red dirt roads.

The hernia seems pretty well repaired, I'm happy to say (thanks Doc). Still some soreness during the first half mile or so of a run, and I can definitely feel it after, but if the pain of the actual hernia was an 8/10, we're talking more like a 2/10 now. No worse than a sore muscle. Which I also have...

I write this from the frying pan that is Missoula, Montana. 100 degrees and not a breath of wind. I've been trying to run in the mornings before it gets too hot, and it's been pretty good, I must say.

Missoula is a pretty cool town (but it's a little too proud of itself for my tastes) and in some ways it reminds me of Spokane but without the massive industrial blight. Living in Spokane I used to be able to walk across the street to rock climb, mountain bike, or kayak along the river. Here in Missoula, the wilderness trails come right to the edge of town, so I have been taking advantage of the off-road running opportunities.

The paces are slow, but the distances are adding up, and I'm starting to feel like a runner again. Slowly by slowly. I imagine that training here on a regular basis would make running flat routes at sea level more manageable, but I don't have the constitution to keep forcing myself through runs with elevation profiles like this:

BREAKING NEWS: Cap'n Ron and I will drag our butts around the Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon Course on August 1st. Looks like a hard course, actually, but it will be nice to get another free $90 technical t-shirt...