23 April 2012

There Was a Naked Man Walking Down the Street and Other Issues With My Run

Yesterday was one of those runs where a lot of things got me down. Mentally I just wasn't there and it proved to be a difficult morning in India as well. Every day for the last week I'd been waking up naturally at 5:30, but with Mike being out of town I was spending my time enjoying early morning quiet time rather than going running because there was no one to stay with Muffin (and she was miraculously sleeping until nearly 7:00 each morning -- I didn't want to wake her up for a stroller run). Yesterday, though, when the alarm went off at 5:25 I rolled over and fell asleep for half an hour. Not an in-and-out, thinking-of-getting-up sleep, but full-on totally conked out. When I did get out of bed the sun was already up. I quickly pulled on my (stupid) leggings. As I tip-toed past Muffin's room I heard her saying "MOM-ee, MOM-ee," and I ignored it with a twinge of guilt. I had to get out the door before she knew I was awake.

I opened the front door to a wall of heat. It was hot and dry, a bit like a Santa Ana day in Southern California. I looked at my watch. 6:15 am. I had planned on 5 to 6 miles but if it was already this hot and sunny I didn't want to be outside an hour later finishing up that last mile. I decided to test out a new route to see if it was in the 3-to-4-mile range for the easy runs of my upcoming training plan.

At first I was amusing myself pretending I was running in San Diego on a Santa Ana day, not running in India. I ran through the back roads of my neighborhood. There wasn't too much traffic yet. I approached a busy intersection at the main road where the traffic was surprisingly light. I crossed the intersection easily. Then, on the sidewalk of the main road, right out there for all the early morning traffic to see, was a guy walking along with his loincloth pulled up, fully exposed, scratching himself. Not just for a quick second, but several minutes. And I lost it, mentally. No one is yelling and honking it this guy for walking around fully exposed, yet if I'd been wearing shorts I would have been the center of attention. And that is not fair! I was really mad at India for that. I stormed along for awhile, fuming over the sight I'd been forced to see just by trying to enjoy a public road. (As I wrote that, I realized maybe that's how people feel when they see me. Blerg! Twist! I stand my ground in that double standard not being fair though.)

I entered the park and jogged between two parking lots, then exited for a different route home. By my Garmin, it looked like the route was going to be just three miles by the time I got home. Hilly, but not too bad. It's impossible to completely avoid hills here. I turned onto the last road before my street and wondered why everyone was driving so quickly. Then I realized the road had been paved recently, so instead of having to drive slowly to avoid potholes everyone could speed along and lay on the horn to alert everyone else to get the hell out of the way. I was so crabby at this point I did one of the most provocative things I've done on the road here -- I gave the evil eye to an auto-rickshaw full of people who stared at me as they drove by.

And a few minutes later when that auto stopped near my house, I booked it to run past and avoid those people. (It was thankfully only an old woman who got out -- and she gave me the evil eye back.)

My run was only 2.86 miles, which was the last straw of the day. How hard can it be to find a stupid three-mile route? Why are they all either over five miles long or just short of three? Why can't I just open my door and go for an easy three-miler? It's the cornerstone of every stupid training plan and I shouldn't have to spend an hour driving back and forth between treadmills or parks just to run an easy three miles.

When I went inside and heard Mike talking to someone on Skype, I immediately went to my room and cried. Stupid video phone where you have to look as cheerful as you sound if you want to convince the person on the other end that everything's fine. Muffin found me in my room and cheered me up. She brought in her bottle of milk and we laid on the bed together. Mike got off his call and joined us. I told him all about my run and said that I should have continued sleeping and then stayed home to drink coffee with him and Muffin. I didn't feel accomplished to just be out there. He said the distance didn't matter. He said any one of those obstacles, either physical or mental, would have kept a lot of people home but I ignored them all and went out there anyway. It didn't immediately make me feel better but I appreciated the words.

I will not be braving the streets today. I decided to hide out with the treadmill at the gym today rather than hide out at home and not run at all.

6 comments:

Daniela Swider said...

The naked guy would have totally ticked me off too. Maybe he was mentally ill or something, 'cause who would expose himself like that otherwise? I try to shrug off the people stairing. I also feel pretty self-conscious when I see something strange (to us) and want to take a picture - I am doing the same thing they are when they stare at us. It's kinda strange when you are in a different country and so many things are unusual to you and you look different and seem unusual to the local people.

Hope you feel better.

Djibouti Jones said...

Oh the joys of running in countries like India and Djibouti! I have seen a man taking a shower in the middle of the road...here's an article I wrote in fact, about a man we call Underwear Man: http://www.runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=13965

And I have done those evil eye looks too, wishing I could do something worse.

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Some days you just can't win. I can't believe you are running in India. I could barely manage walking on the, well I was going to say sidewalks, but well, you know what I mean. I could barely manage walking in the middle of the road with the cows, motorcycles, cars and the people walking every which way. I don't think I could manage running.

Plus the heat. OH THE HEAT! You are my hero for running at all.

Stephanie said...

@ Kyria, we're lucky we live in a somewhat quiet neighborhood so if I'm up early enough I can beat most of the heat and traffic. But it's oh-so-early that I have to get up!

@ Daniela, you'll notice soon enough that it's perfectly acceptable for men to expose themselves and no one bats an eye.

@ Djibouti Jones, thanks for the article link!

ericajgreen said...

Sounds chaotic for sure, but power to you. I gave up running in Adana, Turkey b/c I couldn't stand the stares, the heat, the clothing required, the wild dogs and who knows what else I encountered the few times I did it. But keep at it. You've got to have your thing. ANd now that we're in Iceland AND it is summer, the running is amazing.
And too as an Angelino, the Santa Ana Winds are always something I try to think of and capture in those moments of too much heat.

ericajgreen said...

Sounds chaotic for sure, but power to you. I gave up running in Adana, Turkey b/c I couldn't stand the stares, the heat, the clothing required, the wild dogs and who knows what else I encountered the few times I did it. But keep at it. You've got to have your thing. ANd now that we're in Iceland AND it is summer, the running is amazing.
And too as an Angelino, the Santa Ana Winds are always something I try to think of and capture in those moments of too much heat.

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