The recorded ramblings of an unschooled writer, aspiring biologist, amateur equestrian, ardent bookworm, avid music appreciator, increasingly addicted runner and college student spending the summer in Ely, MN.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tell everybody I'm on my way...

Tell everybody i'm on my way
New friends and new places to see
With blue skies ahead, yes i'm on my way
And theres no where else i'd rather be

- On My Way from "Brother Bear"

As I write this, I am sitting in the San Franciso airport, waiting for two more hours unti my flight to London leaves. (Though you may not see this post until a great deal after the fact, because I am too cheap to pay for the airport’s wireless internet service). Traveling has gone well so far – I’ve already met up with a big group of fellow L+C students. I am very sore and tired from my Hood to Coast running experience. In the past 3 days, I estimate I’ve probably had about eight hours of real in a bed/laying down on a flat surface sleep as opposed to dozing in the car or on the plane sleep, which I don’t seem to find particularly restful.

Even though it was totally crazy to do so right before leaving for my study abroad program, I am so glad I ran the Hood to Coast. My first leg (the 2nd leg in the whole race) started at East Government Camp and worked its way down Hood and was literally the most beautiful run of my entire life. The weather was perfect – bright blue skies and just enough of a breeze to keep me cool. The downhill for so long did make me sore, but it was so fun to run because I was fresh and excited and just cruised along. I loved it when my van passed me cheering and ringing a cowbell!

I also really enjoyed the fact that the person who I handed the wrist band off to at each of my exchanges was my friend Molly. Seeing an familiar and friendly face waiting at the end of a challenging run was extra incentive to pick up the pace and try to sprint the final meters of my legs. My team was also great. Most of the members knew 1 or 2 others on the team, but we all really enjoyed the chance to get to know each other and run together. Between legs one and two we went to Molly’s house and her boyfriend cooked as amazing pesto pasta while we took showers and the whole team proceeded to pass out on the couches, floor and beds for quick naps.

My second leg was along highwaya 30 in downtown Portland in the dark. Honestly, I felt a little uncomfortable during this leg because even though I was wearing a reflective vest and a headlamp, it was very dark and there were a lot of quickly moving vehicles driving close to the shoulder of the road set aside for the runners.

After my van had completed our runs we drove to Saint Helens High School in order to take showers and catch a couple of hours of sleep on the gym floor. Or lt me rephrase that to be more truthful – some members of the team opted for showers first, while others of us (myself included,) were suffering from rather unpleasant stomach aches and decided that being disgusting was ok in favor of the chance to get a bit more sleep!

My final leg occoured just before 7 in the morning in Vernonia. Again, it was an aboslutely lovely run. It was a very misty morning and I was travelling alongside very green fields filled with cows who were amazingly unfazed by the strange hordes of people limping (or in the case of the elite men’s teams passing everyone else by, sprinting) along. I was quite a bit slower than I would have liked on the last run as my stomach had just about had it and I was feeling pretty lousy. But by the 4th mile or so I was able to push through most of that and ended up finishing strong and feeling good about how the whole experience overall had gone. I loved running across the finish line with my team in Seaside. We all felt very accomplished!

It is so strange to be switching gears so suddenly and now be headed off on an entirely different adventure.

I am sad to be leaving so many wonderful things back home. Off the top of my head right now, I think the top ten are:

  1. My boys – Lance the labradog and Spector the “Bad Horse”. I’ll really miss them and feel bad that I have no way to explain to them that I haven’t abandoned them but will be back in just a couple of months.
  2. Horseback riding - I’m not really sure what I will do myself if riding and horses aren’t around to consume every waking moment.
  3. Oregon – Running the Hood to Coast really reminded me that not only am I going to an amazing, interesting and beautiful part of the world, but that I already live in such a place that is all of those things in its own way.
  4. Running anytime at all – I don’t think 1 am runs in Nairobi will be the smartest option.
  5. Going walking and watching terrible (I think so)/excellent (she thinks so) movies with my mom.
  6. My “barn families” at Happy Trails, Arbor Grove and Talisman.
  7. Salad – From what I hear it is virtually non existant in East Africa.
  8. Being able to simply hop in the car and drive off to wherever I need to be or to go accomplish whatever I need to do.
  9. My family.
  10. Crazy Marshall family gatherings (especially Thanksgiving and Grampy’s tree decorating).

But to counter that, ten things off the top of my head that I am looking forward to right now are:

  1. Movies, movies, movies on international flights.
  2. Arriving in Nairobi and spending the first couple of days in a fabulous hotel.
  3. Meeting my host family.
  4. Learning Swahili (or at the very least, giving it a valiant effort).
  5. Snorkeling and learning about the reefs.
  6. Going on safari and seeing all of the animals I think are so fascinating in their natural habitats.
  7. Visiting Zanzibar.
  8. Using my camera and video camera every now and then to try to document some of my experiences.
  9. Really getting to know all of the excellent people in my study abroad group better.
  10. Just being in Africa – I’ve been dreaming about going to Africa since I was a tiny, tiny little girl and I can’t believe it is actually happening.

1 comment:

  1. sounds like you are having the experience of a life time. Great blogs, your writing clearly allows us all to live through this experience as though we were there with you.. miss you heaps. dana