The Whirlwind: Thanksgiving, Kenya, and the DR

The Whirlwind: Thanksgiving, Kenya, and the DR

I have been negligent – but with good reason.  I’ll catch you up to speed as to what has gone down the past ~4 weeks.

For starters, the days immediate pre-Thanksgiving marked the end of the quarter, which means lots of writing and reading and stress to put the finishing touches on assignments to help ensure I earn the grades I strive to (good news: with lots of Blood, Sweat, and Tears [not literally!], I earned As in both my grad classes).  Following that, I spent Thanksgiving in Rockford w/C’s family, and the day after, I flew over to Kenya for ~3 weeks for my grad program.  I returned to the states on 12/15, went to Ohio 12/18-12/20, and then C and I will be leaving again for the Dominican Republic for a little Christmas and New Year’s vacation from 12/24-1/1.  It will be awesome!

Where to begin the catch-up?  Well, November was a really relaxed running month for me.  For starters, since November had unseasonably temperate weather, every weekend before I left for Kenya, Jack and I ventured out to Waterfall Glen for a relaxed 10-mile loop on the trails.  We figured as long as the trails weren’t snow-covered (and therefore impassable), we should do ’em.  It was a blast.  In addition to these 10-mile jaunts, I typically ran home from work a couple times each week and ran to/from the gym for my spinning classes in the morning (you’ll recall in an earlier post that I was trying to make a concerted effort to do more cross-training since my marathon ‘season’ was over).  I didn’t wear a watch for the entire month of November on any of my runs, which was both liberating and fun.  I’m usually wed to my watch to monitor my splits, but November was all about play.  It was a nice ‘end’ to the racing year.

Kenya – in a word- was freakin’ amazing (ok, two words).  I didn’t bring any of my running gear to Kenya (with the exception of an old pair of Launches that I wore each day) because I didn’t think our daily schedules would be permissive of daily running.  That, and the fact that Nairobi’s not the safest place in the world, so if I did want to run, I’d have to get a male guard to run with and escort me.  Not exactly too feasible.  Thus, I was ‘forced’ into a ~3 week running absence from my Kenya trip.  Interestingly, I only saw 1 person running the entire time I was in Kenya, so I guess not all Kenyans are born long-distance running lovers 🙂  On our way to safari at Maasai Mara, we drove through the acclaimed Great Rift Valley, which was badass to see (especially after hearing so much about it).

That brings me up to the week of 12/15, when I returned to the states.  During my time in Kenya, I was among the fortunate few who didn’t fall ill to traveler’s diarrhea or nausea, but something happened toward the end of the trip because from about 12/15 through today (12/22), I’ve been sidelined with nasty GI issues.  Nasty, as in I-can’t-get-too-far-away-from-the-bathroom nasty.  Or I’ve-been-eating-nothing-but-the-BRAT-diet nasty out of fear of what my GI will (or will not) do.  Not fun.  I’m not sure if I got a parasite or just some sort of bacterial infection; the lab’s still running tests.  Sucks.

With the lovely GI issues in mind, I haven’t run since Thanksgiving morning- it will be 4 weeks on Thursday, 12/24 (provided I don’t run before then).  I haven’t taken this much time off since I began marathoning and training in 2007, so I think it’s a mixed bag, in terms of the pros and cons of the “forced rest” that I’m experiencing.  If nothing else, I think the worst of the GI issues are over, and I’m planning to bring running clothes w/me to the Dominican Republic to get in some treadmill miles just to get my blood pumping again.  I’m really close to hitting 1,300 miles in 2009, so that’s what I’m aiming to hit.  If I hit it, I’ll celebrate; if not, I’ll just aim for it again in 2010.

I apologize for my spaciness and laziness 🙂  Once I post my Kenya pictures online, I’ll include a link to it so you can peruse them and the assorted videos at your leisure.  It was an amazing experience, and I’d love to return someday, especially with C.  He’d totally dig it.

Safe travels, if you’re on the road, and have a very lovely Christmas and New Year’s.  Boston training will soon begin – I’m going to go with Fleet Feet’s program this year – and I’m pretty excited.

Peace and love and happy trails to you and yours, always!

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