But while I know I WILL finish, I am still, well, nervous. The mileage just isn't happening here in Egypt. The heat. The traffic. Sensory overload when running in the 'hood.
Last week, I was running along a nearby street and a taxi driver drove up right beside me and slowed down to my pace. It was a busy street and there were people nearby. In fact, there were police less than a block away. The taxi driver honked and blew me a kiss. Icky. So I sped up (Dude. Like I could outrun a taxi. ::sigh::), hoping that he'd just stay away. Just as I was starting to relax, I felt a SMACK! The guy drove up right beside me, reached out his window and smacked my butt.
I was SHOCKED. Sure, I've heard these kind of stories. Sexual harassment is common in Egypt and many neighboring Islamic countries. But you never really think it will happen to you, especially while doing something like running. I had honestly always assumed it would happen on the metro where it's crowded and people are sandwiched like sardines. Or maybe even by someone on a motor bike (there's been incidences of men jumping off motor bikes, groping women, and then riding off) -- so I'm always super cautious around motor bikes. But I just wasn't expecting it.
My reaction? As he sped off, I was standing in the middle of the road, screaming, calling him obscene names, shaking my fists in the air. All swearing In English, of course, but I'm fairly certain what I said translates the same in all languages. Oh, I was flaming angry.
But at the same time, honestly, a bit shaken. I was lucky - what if he'd hit me with the car, or swung his door at me? A busy street - and no even noticed, or maybe they pretended not to notice. It's hard enough running the streets of Cairo without worrying about something like this.
I keep hoping that running will get easier here, but it just doesn't.
I've been going out of my mind trying to get the miles in. My best options:
*Early morning runs (but the street dogs have become more prevalent as of late, and heartier as well - who is feeding them??!!, and I'm not really comfortable running solo in the wee morning hours)
*a running group that meets Friday at 6AM (it's just not gonna happen - and I love that running group, but Friday is the first day of the weekend - I'm exhausted, and have 22-month-old toddler who's NOT been sleeping well)
*treadmill (NO NO NO NO NO)
*the Waadi (I like it for 6 miles or less - otherwise, too hot and too dry and too exposed to the sun)
*the kids' school track.
The kids' school track. Six laps to a mile. SIX LAPS TO A MILE. I've become a glorified hamster. But on the flip side, it's safe, it's open late (til 10:00PM!), and the track is soft and squishy and kind to my old[er] knees. Last night I ran 9 miles - that's 54 laps, if you're rusty on your math. And it was actually awesome. At least more awesome than running the streets of Cairo.
I'm exhausted, trying to run in the streets, fighting the traffic, worrying about motor bikes and groping taxi drivers. I just want to zone out, feel the rhythmic pound of my feet on the pavement, and listen to my favorite music. Maybe some hamster time will do me good. And, most importantly, help me to get those miles in!
In any case, I'll take what I can get. Five weeks to go to a stunning run in San Francisco.
Honestly, I'll be running the last 10 miles of the marathon on sheer willpower. But at least I'll be able to say I did it.
Pics this week are of my fabulous running days in July when I was in Colorado Springs for the military. Where I ran Ft. Carson and the beautiful Garden of the Gods --- one of my favoritist spots in the world. I love these because they remind me of how much I love running.
|Running trails. Honest-to-goodness RUNNING TRAILS.|
|Edited this one through Instagram. What a great shot of Garden of the Gods.|
|Watched a storm roll by.|
|Historic Manitou Springs is way way way in the background.|
|I know. Not a running photo. But this is Manitou Springs. Love it here.|