About a month ago, I got an email from a friend back at home asking me to run a leg in the marathon back at home in Burlington, Vermont. After a short 2 minute g-chat (instant messaging) conversation I said yes. So with my goal set, I started running.
You don’t see very many people exercising in Vietnam. The only time they do is at night and there is a designated area where everyone goes. I've never been a rule follower and I don’t plan on starting here in Hoi An. Needless to say I don’t run at night or in the designated area.
I usually run early in the morning or as the sun is setting but being careful not to catch myself in the middle of my run when it's dark. I know I said I'm not a rule follower, but there are some precautions I like to take. I always tell someone I'm going running, today it was Ha. I told her if I don’t come back in an hour call the police. I always carry my phone with me, more for the stop watch then anything else, but I'm hoping this will make my mother not have the millionth heart attack I know she's been having while I'm over here.
Yesterday was my "day off" from running. With high hopes today I headed out for a longer morning run than usual. John and Jennifer are both fantastic runners and have showed me their usual path's where the dust and traffic are at bay. Today I chose the "Rice Paddy Run" I started it a few weeks back but it was just a little too far to finish it. However, John told me that to finish it, I'd come to a T and all I needed to do what take a right.
I should have taken all that happened this morning as "signs" not to run. I opened my door and the heat just smacked me in the face. It was only 8am but it was so humid. All the praying to the sun gods finally paid off. I headed downstairs and realized I forgot my phone. Back up the stairs I went. Just about to head out again, I realized my shoe was falling apart, which is an every day occurrence here. I have invested in super glue for my Vietnam running sneakers that are constantly falling apart. So back up the stairs I went to get the super glue. Finally I was ready.
I'm running along, getting my usual stares and hello's from little children when I come to this T. I take a right and find myself smack dab in the middle of a rice paddy. Usually I run through the rice paddy, but I've been keeping to the paved roads line with houses. This was a dirt path, lined with water buffalo and their poop. (Sorry to be so gross but it was everywhere.) So I got out my cell phone and woke John up and said, "Are you sure I'm going the right way"? He assured me I was and I kept on trucking along.
Up ahead I saw the biggest water buffalo I've ever seen. It took up the entire path. Chuckling to myself, I thought this is where I'm going to die. This stupid animal is going to charge at me and throw me into either the water on my left or on my right. Quick thinking on my feet, I took a right and went on a very narrow path where I decided it would be better to walk. I could see up ahead that the path would drop me back on my original route but past the buffalo. What I didn’t see was that I had to walk through the middle of someone’s house. Luckily, no one was home. No harm, No foul.
So I continued on, one foot in front of the other and finally found myself back at home where I was greeted by Ha who said, "1 hour, I almost call police!" I'm just glad she understood what I told her in the first place!
So rest assure ladies back in VT, the running is going great. Now if I can only stay away from these water buffalo and make it home in one piece!!