Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
My first full day and just like Thursday, it dawned sunny and, as my flight’s pilot had put it “a little bit windy”. Windy for an equatorial country where it’s 20 degrees all year round and mostly clement, rather than windy like it wants to huff and puff and blow your life down, that is. Breakfast was small; I’m still easily confused by the menus, and not always managing to communicate *exactly* what I want, though I have always received something which has been fine. The owner here used to run for, and spent a long time in, Canada, so there’s less chance of comical English, though if I liked it I would have ordered the “pore age” just so I could make something of it here. At least we’ve avoided that kind of low rent entertainment, eh?
The other guests have been fairly tucked away, and I didn’t spot anyone until around 10, when Tatt man (he has a name, my fault for not knowing it) appeared from his early morning run. So far as I can make out there’s him and two others sharing a room who are staying here, though Tatt man had company yesterday, and there were several other people eating in the restaurant yesterday. Coach to several Olympians, Jama Aden, is also here-as reported, he “lives here”, but i think that may have been a charming bit of mistranslation. I went for my run a bit later, and rather than running round the camp as I did yesterday, headed out onto the main road. Immediately I felt better than I had all week, and so went off far too quickly. The first mile slipped by in 7:25, and thank goodness for that – the first mile comfortably under 8 for a good few days. Obviously cheered up, I was even more excited when the second mile popped up as just under 7 minutes. Hello old friend, I thought. At this point I was feeling fairly confident, so rather than turning round, put in a third mile, slowing but still a smidge quicker than the first. Then I turned and immediately had a small uphill section, which reduced me to a plod. No problem, I was prepared for that. I wasn’t prepared, though, for the realisation that the second mile had been mostly downhill. Ah, well old friend, however you return I’m still grateful. It was seriously tiring, though, and my miles on the way back averaged 8:30, or a bit more if you include time taken to snap a photo of a building. Interesting enough to allow me to walk, and boy was that welcome. Plenty of people were around, ranging from allowing me to go about it, to asking me a question-I think, not that I could understand.
There’s a school opposite, which is mentioned on the camp’s website. No pressure, but school supplies always gratefully received, it says, and I have some to drop off when I can find a good time. A good time for them, that is, as I am settling in to the idea of being as free as a bird. I’ve gone from trying to fit running around work etc to being able to run whenever I feel like, with plenty of resting time. The temptation is to do too much, in order to justify sitting in the sun with a book, and I will have to be careful. I was out around 11.30 and there was a stream of youngsters heading to school, though others were driving their asses along the dirt track on which I was running. Them being busy while the others make their way to lessons suggests they perhaps don’t get to go. They do get to be the subjects of various ass jokes in my world, but I can’t see how that will help them or any of the others. All of which timing may mean that school starts very early and then has a break, or that some people just start later; I’ll try to find out at some point and stop speculating. Commentary-wise, the kids nearer the school seemed to just come out with “maani”, which I choose to interpret as “are you a famous and talented athlete, then?” rather than the perhaps more likely “do you have any money?”. But even if it is the latter, it’s offered in good spirit and I felt no sense of annoyance or of being hassled.
I also hit the track this evening, with the vague idea that a timed mile would be a useful marker for future weeks. In fact this is a very specific idea, but I was only vaguely committed, and it was hard, so I warmed up for a half, ran a half and cooled down for a final half. Half mile markers it is, then. Today’s stats: 49:15, 10.01km; 12:01, 2.49km, inc hm 3:15.