Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Running Down a Dream

With one look at Kathmandu's congested and chaotic streets, it's easy to see why this is not considered a great city for running. Perhaps all of Nepal's runners are out on trails at the rim of the Valley (and good for them) or perhaps they are cloistered inside on treadmills. Either way, they are not out on the typical city streets taking a jog. Today, we decided to change that.

We didn't find many runners out on the streets with us. On the other hand, the snickers and comments the locals made as we passed by were not in short supply. Nor were the hills. On my last run in Chicago (the largest city in America's "Prairie State"), I had an elevation gain of 27 feet and topped out at an altitude of 598 feet, according to my nifty GPS watch. On today's run, our elevation gain was 311 feet and our altitude maxed out at 4,393 feet. By the end of our run, we were happy to take the "low road" when the opportunity presented itself.

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Overall, we enjoyed the bit of hill work, but we realized not everyone in Nepal is a big fan of it. We hesitate to record here what this guy must have been muttering as he pushed his mobile shop up to higher ground in the heat.

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Elevation is not the only difference to take into account when transferring your running habit from Midwest to mountaintop. Beware uneven surfaces and pathway obstacles ranging from stray animals to their waste products. If you're not careful, you may end up like this guy, who tripped and fell head-over-heels in a blaze of glory.

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Hey, at least now the snickers are justified.

Now that we've (barely) survived our first run in Kathmandu, we are emboldened to keep trying. We hear there is a group of Hash House Harriers that combines beer and running on Saturdays in the hills surrounding the city. These men and women are either crazy, genius, or both. If we're lucky enough to survive the run, we will report back with a verdict.

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