last week i was in kampala (again) and indulged myself by working out at the garden city gym. i even took a few photos to share what this little oasis of fitness looks like…but am not entirely ready to post them yet (this will probably happen next week after another trip to said gym, so stand by for that!).
that run was on friday afternoon partially because it was time to run, and partially because i was getting on (another) bus that evening to travel to kenya (eldoret) to visit katie. (yay! katie!) having traveled from kotido (boarding the bus at 1:30 a.m.) to lira, changed busses and rode to kampala (after a odd obstacle at the river nile–a lorry had gone down the hill and into the nile…a crane was there to pull it out. intense) arriving in the evening i figured that a good run would help my body to adjust and realign.
then! after being in kenya for oh, maybe a day and half i was itching to get out on the road and discover the magical qualities of running in this region of kenya… the high altitude training centre is here, and some of katie’s neighbors are medal-winning-800 runners. rather than be intimidated i was excited to breathe in some fresh kenya air and enjoy the cooler climate than i typically endure.
it was beautiful.
i left katie’s gate, took a right and just ran along a out-skirts-of-eldoret-road (old nairobi, for those keeping track at home) letting my timed play list tell me when to turn around.
my plan was to just run straight up the road (and it was up. uphill. the entire way. yowza.) until my first play list was over than turn around and return the same way. that almost was what happened.
there was this really inviting foot-path off the main road that seemed to weave through a field…there were cows and trees…and i couldn’t resist! i found myself making a quick left turn onto this path as beyonce reminded me that “if [he] liked it then [he] should have put a ring on it!” i was smiling and enjoying myself–applauding my spontaneity and bravery when i realized that there was a dog following me.
and not a nice “i’m trotting after you because i’m curious” following me, but the “i’m growing and barking and maybe going to bite you” kind of following me. i pulled my earbuds out, turned around and stopped moving entirely… i bent toward the dog (he was still maybe 10 feet away) with my the backs of my hands out–non threatening…and speaking in a soft voice: “its okay…it’s alright…i’m not here for your cows…”
he stopped growing but still looked pretty intense. i stayed bowed down with my hands out, saying nice things in a nice voice and started backing away. he didn’t move–and, thankfully, his owner materialized from somewhere near by and called the dog who quickly jogged to his side. whew!
the owner and i shared a little interchange in my fake swahili and his much better english about the day, and “yes its okay to run here” and “sorry about the dog!” (that last phrase was uttered by both of us…)
feeling confident i turned back toward the foot-path and continued into the field, no more dog followers. however, when i reached the end of the path i concluded that i didn’t necessarily want a repeat of this canine encounter and decided to go along the edge of the field and then turn back, giving the pooch a wide berth. this meant running off path through tall grasses…delightful! the grass in this particular field isn’t the veld grass or any sharp cut-throat type that was going to rip at my skin, but what looked like 4 foot tall stalks of clover–delicate little poofs on the ends. hurray!
so, i ran along the edge of the field, making my own path and having a delightful time–and i spotted a swath of field back towards the road that looked to have been cleared, so i aimed for that.
this is where the real hilarity ensues: this part of the field was cleared because it seems to be where the cows graze…the grass here, while short, is a vibrant green–this is clearly where the cows enjoy their lunch. this in and of itself would have just been a nice observation, however, it rains frequently enough here that this bit of land trod my many a cattle hoof is basically a marsh. a calf-deep marsh.
i went from solid ground, trucking along nicely, to calf. deep. marsh. it took all of my core strength to not pitch forward onto my face–but i did manage to stay upright and moving in a forward direction. once i righted myself and decided that this is still FUN, began laughing and high-stepping the 1/4 of a mile back to the road. the rest of this little marsh-field was only about ankle deep, so i wasn’t as filthy as i could have been, but i was still a muddy-mess by the time i reached the road–i even had splashes of mud on my arms!
even after all these events, and having to move at a slower pace than before, my first play list still hadn’t ended so i braved more of the up-hill-battle and trudged onward, getting funny looks (even a laugh!) out of the people i was meeting on the road.
when my first play list did end and i was thrust into silence for a few minutes i noticed how loudly my shoes were squashing with every step and started to giggle again as a group of upper primary school girls walked past me…they also got a good laugh out of the whole incident–how hilarious i must have looked: mzungu woman, wearing weird clothes, covered in mud, loud shoes AND she’s laughing at nothing… i suspect i was the top of discussion at more than one home that evening!
i got my act/self together and started running DOWN the hill back toward’s katie’s place–getting confused looks and smiles from the people i had passed on the way up. “you are dirty!” one of the mamas shouted after me. i made a big deal of shrugging and we both laughed.
upon arrival back at katie’s place i asked her to document my muddy self, photos of which you can find below!