Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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Two Deserts, Two Views

The ferry to the Sudan

We’ve left the high ground of Santa Fe and are back in Phoenix. I’m hoping the lower altitude will help me shake the nasty cold that became full-blown after a tough 5 miles at 7000 feet in Santa Fe leaving me grounded at altitude for two days. It seemed wise to reserve my oxygen intake, lessened by over 20% for getting well. My plan to race today was quashed and I will be thrilled if I can run 3 miles today comfortably as the run of barely two miles yesterday was a run-walk effort. This was partly due to running on trails with my ankle is feeling nearly 100% it is hard to stay away from the Sonora desert trails of South Mountain Park which is right in our backyard. My husband saw a coyote hanging out back yesterday while later in the day a coyote was spotted on the street in front of our nephew’s house. Although we are told that the critter to watch out for is the javelina a type of wild pig.

Room in Aswan with view of the Nile

Hotel Andaluz Albuquerque, view of the freeway

I was excited to check Twitter and find that Bev Coburn @activeage posted a number of photos from the Sudan on Twitter. I also received this email:

We will be arriving in Addis late afternoon on February 20th and will have a full rest day on the 21st.  The Communications Director for the tour is going to try to join me on the visit to the orphanage. I will make sure we get lots of pictures. I will let you know in the next couple of weeks all the details of our campsite where we will be in Addis.

The tour so far has been a lot of fun and full of adrenaline rushes – many surprises along the way including kids ambushing us in a small town in Egypt.

Every day gets better.  We are now in northern Sudan – the ancient city of Dongola. The Nubian people are so friendly.

Talk soon,
Bev

I wonder if Bev might be able to meet the nine year old girl we sponsor when she visits the orphanage. One of the unique things about this sponsorship program is that the parameters of the relationship between sponsor and child are more flexible than other programs. Reasons for this may be the relatively small size of the program along with the strong relationships between Ethiopians in Canada and those in Ethiopia. The People to People AID Organization Canada program coordinator will be in Addis when Bev passes through. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at about 7500 feet above sea level is a few hundred feet higher than Santa Fe so it will be a hard ride to get there.

Trail running in South Mountain Park

Meanwhile after a ferry ride to the Sudan, Bev seems to have spent a night in a hotel where she was looking forward to washing the sand out of her hair. Their average pace per day is 120K. While cycling the length of Africa seems astonishing I should mention that Bev’s past as an elite Ironman triathlete and posting national best age-group times as a triathlete and runner is a good starting point for taking on this challenge. Here’s a quote from a talk that Bev gave a few years ago.

What is a good GOAL? A good GOAL is one that you are 85% sure you can accomplish. Personally, I love a GOOD, LOFTY GOAL!

 

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Land of grapefruit & trail running

Running in South Mountain Park

Yes, I have escaped for a warmer weather getaway. Not without a bit of guilt for leaving behind two hard-working students at home. Hopefully, they will have a bit of time while parent-free to host some social gatherings in our absence. Thankfully, our two young men are very responsible and sometimes when we return the house is in better shape than when we departed. They are very thorough with their tidying up which we really appreciate.

Breakfast time

We are staying in Atawatukee a neighbourhood of Phoenix at our nephew’s home which backs on to  South Mountain Park the largest urban park in North America with 51 miles of primary trails for horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking. My first run in the park was an add-on to three miles run on the road with my husband. The path surfaces are variable particularly the less trodden paths close to our backyard entry and while turning this way and that to find the sign post cactus named Mrs. Boobs (by our grand-nephew and niece) I took a slight turn on my ankle. Not much harm done.

The following day around mile five of my planned twelve mile run I went flying to the ground, scraping knee, hands and elbows. Ouch! I had to call it a day and headed to Target for an ankle brace. For $10 I bought a very streamlined brace by 3M designed for a woman’s ankle in two sizes.

Mrs. Boobs

This morning I realized that it was not realistic to squeeze in a 12 miler in order to get my 40 miles this week. Easy running was the order of the day and I was satisfied with a 5.5 miles run at a very slow place. I felt okay but there was not much propulsion in my right ankle. I iced my ankle after the run and feel that I may be able to run ten miles or more tomorrow. I’m anxious about getting a longish run in for three reasons; 1) I made the commitment to join the masters group at U of T and have started to do track work. 2) We are flying to Albuquerque tomorrow for four days and I’m guessing that running this distance at 1,619.1 meters above sea level might feel fairly difficult. 3) I was planning to run a 5K next Sunday but given the latest development, we shall see.

Before the fall

In addition to having a park in his backyard, my nephew also has a massage chair. Yes, a massage chair and this one is a breed apart from the type you may have seen in malls.  It has options for Swedish, Shiatsu, stretch mode and a quickie massage among others and massages the legs and arms. As I write this my back is remembering how good it feels. I really should go!