Welcome to the Wandering Drays!

Not all who wander are lost...

Welcome to my blog dedicated to my family and our crazy foreign service life. Never content with staying in one place, we are excited to share our journey. We've survived two unaccompanied tour (Baghdad 2010-2011 and Baghdad again in 2015-2016), multiple TDYs, and enjoyed a two-year family assignment in Cairo, Egypt. The fab hubby is currently learning Turkish for our next assignment...Istanbul, Turkey! We leave for Turkey sometime in summer 2017. I write about what I know. Which is mainly kids, tween drama, gross pets, dealing with lots of government info, our moving adventures, being a nurse, yoga, running, living on too-little sleep, and an addiction to coffee lattes. I hope you'll enjoy this glimpse into our lives.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Five Weeks to San Francisco

As of tomorrow, I will have exactly five weeks until my marathon in San Francisco.  Am I ready?  Definitely not.  Will I be?  I just don't know.  Will I finish?  Definitely.  Will I be fast?  Certainly not.  Will I beat myself up over it?  Absolutely not.  Will I regret running it?  Nope.

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.


  1. You, glorified hamster that you have become, ROCK!!!! LOVED this post. Read it aloud to Matt and we both laughed out loud.

  2. I am beyond impressed of the training you've been able to do in Egypt. AMAZING! It's ironic b/c I've traveled to and lived in various parts of the world and Egypt was, and remains, the one and only place where I was ever physically assaulted. And you guessed it--it was on the Metro! I wasn't even remotely prepared for how crowded the train car would get; and I thought I was a young fearless independent woman and could handle it. It seemed an eternity until the next Metro stop until I could run out of the car and away from the hands of men that came out of nowhere gradually brushing my bum. I ran straight into the women only car and slowly and quietly sobbed to myself I was so humiliated. It's just such a sad reality of life for women in Egypt.

    (BTW...we are stationed and live in the Springs...loads of running to be done for sure!)

    Good luck with the remainder of your training. YOU CAN DO THIS!

  3. Great post. Keep at it, do more at the track and try for the Friday club and just keep thinking of that cool SF fog rolling in over the big red bridge. One of my fav training runs ever in my life was a run to Tiberon, brunch at Sams and we took the ferry back to our apt in the city (SF). Good luck with your last push.

  4. Great post! I feel your running pain here in Manila. We're a better off in a number of ways. No stray dogs or stray hands. (Filipinos are so respectful that way.) But constant heat, bad traffic, no green space, no working traffic lights and heat and humidity wear you down! I trained for a long distance walk this summer by using a trainer in the gym. Good luck with the run! Caroline

  5. Just now looking at the news....hoping and praying that you and your family are well and safe. Update us when you can!

  6. drive by spankings! believe it or not we had these when we lived in paris all the time!
    thinking of you in Cairo!

  7. Digesting the news, thinking about you and your family. Stay safe.

  8. Thinking of you and your family. Take Care.