Posts tagged running
Posts tagged running
I went for a run this morning: my first since arriving at site. I actually hate running for running’s sake, but this morning’s jaunt wasn’t bad. The streets are pretty quiet at 6 a.m. (that’s 12 in the morning Ethiopian time, for those of you keeping track at home), which is why that’s the best/only appropriate time to go out for a little “sport.”
You may be asking yourself: why are you doing something you dislike at an ungodly hour of the morning, Joanna? I’m ashamed to admit it, but I was motivated to hit the streets by a comment my neighbor made while I was enjoying buna with her. Roughly: “You must be getting comfortable here, because you’re getting fat. In your face.”
Now chew on that for a second, then take a deep breath and let me drop a little cultural knowledge. In Ethiopia, big is beautiful. Fat = healthy looking = enough food = you don’t look sickly. So, really, Mukreet was complimenting me.
I know that. Now you know that. But it still made me get up at the buttcrack of dawn, put on my running clothes, and get a little cardio in first thing in the morning.
I know it’s good for me. I know there’s a big 10k coming up in Addis in November that I can sign up for. I know that I’m not biking every day like I did in DC, and that I’d like to be able to run fast if the opportunity — say, a soccer game with some kids — arises. But mostly, I heard this well-meaning woman who’s becoming my friend say I look fat and took it the wrong way, fully aware that I was doing so.
Running in my town is a mixed bag. On the plus side, most of the roads aren’t paved, so it’s not putting the same kind of strain on your knees that asphalt does. On the flip side of that, the roads aren’t paved, so they’re full of rocky, bumpy hazards. If you look away for a minute, you could easily trip on a rock or step in a hole. (Don’t worry, mom and dad and everyone else who knows the full extent of my clumsiness: I bring my phone with me in case of emergency.)
Another negative is that I get weird looks. Honestly, though, I get weird looks no matter what I do, so I’m getting used to it. And when I’m running, the weird looks are interspersed with the occasional “Jabadhu!” - be strong. Who doesn’t like a little encouragement from time to time?
Finally, the whole “you can’t show your scandalous shoulders and knees” rule applies even when exercising — at least, I can’t imagine being comfortable with revealing such intimate parts of my body in public. I didn’t bring running clothes that cover my knees. So I make do: a t-shirt, calf-length spandex, and a knee-length skirt made of jersey material. Whatever, I’m sure I look fabulous.
We’ll see how long this whole “regular exercise” thing lasts…but I have to say, the sight of the morning sky transforming from cobalt to purple-pink, touching orange, then blooming back into a full expanse of blue is enough to get me out of bed at least a few more times this week.