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"

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Why didn't anyone tell me this sooner?

I don't want to jinx anything, but my runs lately have been going well. Quite well. My daily runs are up to 4 miles with no difficulty, and further, I'm enjoying running. Like, I'm excited to go out the door. This hasn't happened in ages.

I think it's because I'm going out after dark, no joke. I've spent the past, hm, nearly 20 years being terrified of being raped, and using that to keep myself inside after dark. (And yes, I know how unlikely that is, statistically speaking.) But now! Something about being in a foreign country, and not carrying my cell phone when I run out of fear of being mugged, not having any identification on me, and only partially speaking the language - finally I feel safe and free to run outside!

Okay, fine, I'll buy a Road ID and put the consulate emergency phone number on it.

Anything else about running in Brazil? Well, in Brazil, everyone is responsible for maintaining their own sidewalks. What this effectively means is that everyone's sidewalks are totally different. Some are awesome, some are terrible and broken. Most are these hodge-podgy small cobblestone deals that seem designed to trip you.

And the traffic! I was warned about how bad the traffic was here, and I'll admit, I didn't really listen. I've lived in NYC and Cairo and visited a plethora of other cities, and I've never met traffic I couldn't handle. But oh, boy, Sao Paulo... For one thing, stoplights are widely considered optional after dark, due to safety concerns.

And now that I'm running after dark...

1 comment:

  1. Is it the fun and challenge of the ever changing sidewalks and the thrill of traffic lights optional that are spicing up your runs? Do other people run in the streets? That sounds very much like my experience of running in Barranquilla, where people would pretty much just drive to parks and run around the parks. They were missing out on all the street fun.