On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A journey of a thousand okay more like 13.1 miles

Is anybody reading this?

That's not some rhetorical device to cutely point out that I've been AWOL forever. That's actually a question - do I still have any readers?

In the past many many months, I basically stopped running. I moved to DC, I sort-of-kind-of-but-not-very-well learned Portuguese, and then I moved to Brazil. Living in a foreign country is awesome and difficult at once, but I know you're less concerned about my exciting expatriate life than you are about my running.

Yeah, that.

To be totally honest, I found life in DC to be different, and by that I mean difficult. Not only was I not accustomed to having to be anywhere 5 days a week (and on someone else's schedule, no less), but I had to be at work by 7:30 every morning. In short, I never really got used to it. Couple that with an intense liminal feeling, like I was always in between (why bother settling down when I know I'm going to be moving soon? why bother making friends? why bother...?), and I was not myself while I was in DC. But it became a cycle: I'd feel upset, so I wouldn't run. I wouldn't run, and then I'd feel upset. Rinse, repeat. Oh yeah also I got (more?) fat.

One thing that surprised me about living in DC, on the other hand, was how little I missed NYC. I missed my friends there like whoa, but the city itself? Not so much. NYC is a busy, expensive, vast, and difficult place to live. And yet it traps you in like an abusive relationship, making you think that there's NO OTHER PLACE IN THE WORLD AS AWESOME. In fact, there are many places. And once you get to one of them, you'll be much happier.

So anyway, I live in Sao Paulo now. And I'm happy. Aside from some lingering loneliness that will abate in time, very happy. My life is still a little disordered - I've been in temporary housing for a month, my stuff (including my car) is unlikely to arrive until November - but overall I feel more calm than I have in a year. Which is probably why I've been able to pick up that there running thing again.

It's slow going, and what I now consider a "run" would make my old self laugh hysterically (4km? hahahahahahaha - but at least reckoning in kms does make it seem slightly less pathetic). It's a little too early to consider goal races, but I'm thinking about a December-ish half if I can get my shit together.

Oh, yeah, also? It's winter here. Wrap your mind around that. #soweird