Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dog Runs

No, I've not acquired a dog that runs with me nor am I doing my runs in a dog run. I'm in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Where I'm currently running in the mornings there are just a lot of dogs. This morning, I must have seen 15-20. The dog in the picture under the pot looks just like the dogs I saw -- they seem to be Basenji-Schensi. (OK, for some reason, I can't get pictures to load into the blog -- I'll try later.)

Frankly, seeing dogs when I run makes me a little nervous. About 11 years ago, I was running in a small town in Tanzania. I heard dogs barking but didn't think too much about it until I looked around and saw 6 round the corner of a building heading for me -- same general type as the Basenji-Schensi. I stopped and tried to run them off by pretending to toss a rock at them. The barely broke stride but came up to me and started circling. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous but didn't want to excite them -- not with 6 of them circling. There was nobody close around at 6AM except an old man who was sitting down a block or so away. One of them apparently decided he wanted to see what white meat tasted like and I watched him clamp down on my calf.

Fortunately, he seemed to decide that white meat wasn't for him and the dogs turned and ran off. It was the strangest thing. Frankly, it was as if an angel that I couldn't see had stepped between me and the dogs and they weren't sticking around to see what might happen. I was a couple of miles from where I needed to be -- no cell phones and no one knew where I was. So, there was nothing to do but run back with pretty nice holes on both the front and back of my leg and blood dripping down my leg. I had never had a rabies vaccine and there was no vaccine or globulin in this little town and none in Nairobi. So, the meds were flown from Johannesburg, S Africa to Nairobi and one of our mission pilots flew it down to Tanzania -- he was coming anyway, so just came a couple of days early. The missionary doctor who gave me the shots said that if someone is bit by a rabid dog, the symptoms could show up anytime in the succeeding 3 years. That made me feel really good and, frankly, I did have some concern for the next 3 years. Fortunately, either the dog wasn't rabid or the vaccine/globulin combo worked.

I still have the scars on my leg. It was hard to start running again because of trepidation about dogs and I did carry a rungu for a while whenever I ran. (Well, I was going to post a picture of a rungu but I still can't upload pictures.)

At any rate, I still have some concern about dogs when I run, especially in Africa. I'm grateful that the ones around here don't seem to care that I'm around. Most haven't even looked my way.

This morning's run was 3.7 miles at a pace of 8:52 mpm. Slower than I wished but still pretty decent.

Run well, y'all,
Bob

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Where Am I?

A couple of days ago, I posted about my run in a new place and asked if anybody had any guesses. No surprises for me, only a few people looked at the blog and nobody guessed. Not really a fair question — you would have to know the streets to know that I'm in Ouagadougou, Bukina Faso. Well, OK, you would also have to actually care! :-D

We're here helping out with field orientation for new personnel. One of the things that I love about running is that I can do it anywhere I go. Except for the fact that my feet are so big (12D) and my shoes take up a lot of luggage space, it's nothing to carry running gear.

The first couple of days here, I was in downtown Ouaga. Night before last, I moved to a different guest house in a different part of town. Yesterday, since I didn't really know where I was in Ouaga, I decided to run up the major road (limiting my turns) for about 15 minutes and then come back -- about 3.5 miles. Easy enough -- no chance of getting lost or turned around, right? Wrong!

Coming back, I realized that there was nothing that identified my turn back to the guest house. And, as it turns out, I was already past the turn when I started looking. So, I kept thinking that it would be the next light. Finally, I knew I had missed badly, so I turned around and headed back -- uphill, of course. I found the turn and got back. When I finally got to an internet connection to check the route, I had run 6.1 miles rather than 3 and change.

That's also one of the great things about running -- sometimes I get to explore!! ... whether I intended to do so or not. I was bushed -- that's the longest I've gone in a year and in the heat and humidity of Ouaga to boot.

This morning -- I carefully noted my turn and managed to get directly back with a planned 4.2 mile run. One challenge of running in Ouaga, even at 5:45AM, is that there are thousands of people riding bicycles and motor bikes -- far more of those than cars. So, it turns out to be safer to run in the middle of a 4-lane major road in the city than on the edge of the road!! That's a first.

Running -- rarely a dull moment.

A shout out to Ryan and Sara Hall. They have resigned from the Mammoth Track Club and are striking out in a different direction to try to move to the next step in their running. Both are great runners and really, really fine people of faith.

Run well, y'all,
Bob

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Run on 20102010

Today's another of those unique number days. In places where the international date format is used, it's 20-10-2010 -- twenty-ten-twenty-10. I notice that while running this morning and for a second, couldn't figure out what that number was.

It was 25° and the humidity must have been around 92%. Oh, yes, that is 25°C -- about 78°F. So, coming from Nairobi where morning temperatures have been closer to 60°, I was pretty warm. Fairly short run -- 2.9753 miles at a pace of 8:49 mpm -- slower than I hoped given the low altitude.

The picture on the left was my route. Any guesses as to where I am?

One really great thing about running is that I can explore a new place at ground level.

Run well, y'all,
Bob

Friday, October 1, 2010

Turn the Corner

At least in my experience, the phrase turn the corner is used when one has been through difficult circumstances but has come to the end of the difficulties and things have improved. Well, turning the corner was a good thing during my run this morning.

I did the same run in Colorado Springs that I had done on Sunday -- a relatively easy 0.8 mile start, then 1.8 miles that went up 300 feet (starting at 6453' above sea level). The uphill ended at a corner (Chapel Hills and Research) and when I literally turned the corner, the next 1.8 miles was all downhill and the last 0.2 miles was only a very slight upward incline. Turning the corner today was actually fun!

Stats for the day:

  • 41° F
  • 65% humidity
  • 4.65 miles
  • 9:36 mpm pace
Have you had a turn the corner running experience?

Run well, y'all,
Bob