going the distance

Posted: July 29, 2008 in FHinlife, run
Tags: , ,

“Oh look!” I cry out excitedly as I point to a sign on the road! My brother hits the car brakes a bit too hard and the tailgating taxi honks its horn at us. “Ate!” My brother exclaims as he gives me an exasperated look. ” It’s just a road sign!” “I know,” I tell him. “But its not just like any other road sign. It’s got distance markers too!” He simply shakes his head and keeps driving.

My brother does not run. I do. Somehow in the past year, distance markers have become quite significant to me.

In a country where a 21K half marathon can sometimes turn out to be closer to 23K I consider road signs with distance markers as a sign of progress. The first race I ever needed to sign a waiver for was a 5K run for a cause. There were few civilians and a lot of military running with their full gears on. I was nervous and excited and quite terrified. I did not know what to expect! Which turned out to be a very good thing. Not only were there no water stations. The 5K race also turned out to be a 7K one. I ran, walked and almost felt like crawling my way back to the finish line. But I had my new running tights on and some of those men in uniform who passed me did look kind of cute. So I soldiered on. And when we finally did make it to the finish line, I remember turning around and telling the guy who was right behind me. “I didn’t realize 5K was that long!” And just then we hear the host announce on the microphone”…and by the way, did you guys notice that the race was actually a little longer than 5K! Did everyone have fun? ” Oh well, they did give us boiled bananas and pandesal after. And eggs! Hardboiled eggs. So, yes! I did have fun.

Once, while walking around the piazza in Venice a gorgeous German guy walked up to me to say…”Please, can you take my picture?” (Oh well, I’ll take what I can get!) After I say yes and he hands me his camera he proceeds with these instructions “Please stand 3 meters away from me.” I was the one taking the picture but my grin was bigger than his! I was actually chuckling in my head. I would have pulled out my tape measure if I had it with me.

It is only in the past year that I’ve actually become more in tune with distance measurements. I now have a general idea of what 100 meters is like. I remember my mom once giving me a driver’s handbook. It said, “100 meters away from the corner, you should turn your signal markers on.” Where’s 100 meters,” I asked my mom? My mom, schooled with 16 years of strict German Benedictine Education, looks at me and says, “I don’t know. You are the one driving!” I didn’t really have any idea what 100 meters was like. And at that time, I really didn’t care.

It’s a little different now. I now have these crazy numbers filed away inside my head. A friend asked me to run around village with him. He asked me how long my usual route was. I told him it was 3.32kms. He looked at me and said, “So 3.5KMs?” I said, “No. 3.32kms.” “So 3kms?” He says again. I say, “No. 3.32kms. If we are doing 10km, then we will do 3 full rounds and then we just need to run all the way to the door of my building instead of stopping at the corner. It’s 40 meters from the corner. That will make it 10 Kms. That’s how I worked it out…” He looked at me like I was crazy.

“So where is Le Berry?” I asked my French Algerian concierge. He tells me, “Make a left as you exit the hotel. It’s 2 blocks down. 600 meters. It’s the building with red windows. Four minutes walk. ” I smiled and had to ask, “Your legs or mine?” Four minutes walk to the best steak place in town? I can make that three…


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