Friday, 27 June 2008

The best laid plans just got unlaid

I knew I would start excavating next week, but I had somehow gotten it into my head that the work week would be Monday through Saturday. Nope. It’s Sunday through Friday.

Well, shit.

That means my long run now ends up being on the first day of my work week instead of my day off. This is not the end of the world, since the excavation only lasts four weeks but the dig itself makes things a bit difficult scheduling-wise. The park I usually run in doesn’t unlock its gates until about 7:15 am. I have to be at the corner of Nerd and Geekdom at 8 am to catch the bus to site. Needless to say that doesn’t give me enough time on any work day to get my normal morning run in.

I could run after getting back from site, though the copious amounts of sweat would then mix with the dirt that will have covered my skin by then and make it look like I’m sweating rivers of mud. I don’t think that would be an attractive look really. Not to mention I’m going to be worn out from digging in the dirt and yelling at undergrads for eight straight hours.

This leaves me with Plan B—run even earlier in the morning but find an alternate location. I’m just going to have to resign myself to waking up at the insane hour of 5 am (at least on Sundays) and having to take two showers most days. I refuse to arrive on site stinking of B.O. and sporting a humidity-induced curly afro. I know that’s what I’ll end up looking (and smelling) like by the end of the workday regardless, but I will at least have one hour of my day where I don’t look like the before picture on a makeover show.

As for location, there’s another park on the northwestern edge of town that I have yet to explore but which is available 24/7. I’m going to try to head out there Saturday to take a look around and then map out a course on to make sure I get my planned mileage in.

I know some of you may be wondering, “Jeez, Xenia, why not just run on the roads, you pansy? My response to your impertinence would be, “Well if I had a death wish, then sure, that would be a swell idea.”

It’s not the cars I’m worried about. After living here for three years, I am quite accustomed to looking right then left before crossing a street. I’ve also driven around here a bit, so that helps my directional sense as well. (Though it now makes me a disaster as a pedestrian and driver in the states.)

Nope, it’s not the cars, it’s the cyclists. There seems to be an on-going yet unspoken battle between pedestrians and cyclists in this town. It’s like the Jets versus the Sharks, only with less dancing and more stiff British upper lips.

Basically, the problem stems from the old adage, ‘you give them an inch and they take a mile’. No one follows their respective rules which results in general chaos, confusion and oftentimes injury. Cyclists are supposed to follow the same rules as cars and stay on their designated paths which 99% of the time are on the edge of the roads, not the sidewalks (or pavements as they say here). This rule totally gets violated every other second. I can’t even count how many times I’ve had to jump out of the way of some stupid cyclist rocketing down the middle of the sidewalk when there’s a perfectly accessible and designated cycling path mere feet away.

But pedestrians are not innocent either. It’s our job to stay on the pavements and cross at crosswalks and generally not mill about the road. Yeah, not so much. Often people will just step off the curb and not even check what’s heading towards them. This almost always results in the screeching of tires, shaking of fists, exchanging of words and, if it’s a severe enough offense, someone gets slapped with a white glove and a duel commences at dawn with a choice of pistols. Okay not really, but that’d be kind of fun to see.

The problem is then exacerbated by the legions of tourists who overrun this place year round. Most don’t speak any English which just adds more fuel to the fire, though I have to say American tourists are some of the most flagrant rule abusers so I guess the language barrier isn’t the primary cause.

Anyway, to make a long story short (too late!), I am not yet brave enough to run on the streets of this town without fearing for my life. The same goes for cycling. Maybe within my next (and hopefully last) two years of self-imposed exile here, I’ll actually grow some (metaphorical) cojones and take a crack at it. Anything can happen, I guess.

On that note, let me wish you all a buon weekend. When next I post, I will have had the pleasure of instructing undergraduates in proper troweling technique, the identification of pottery and, more generally, how to be my bitches. God, I love summer.

Ciao tutti!


RazZDoodle said...

At 5am, how much traffic could there be? Ya big sissy.

chia said...

The pavement isn't exactly all that great on the knees either. I don't miss that at all.

I do remember a cyclist antagonizing another runner - swinging fist in air, etc. - just as he really started to get heated he ran right into the the back of a milk truck.

That'll teach him.

Crabby McSlacker said...

Why am I not surprised that we Americans are the rudest?

I hate running on roads, not only 'cause they shred my knees but I don't like traffic. I spend a ridiculous amount of time finding off-road places to run.

Marcy said...

You just need to start packing a gun in a Fuel Belt. Let off a few warning shots and you're good to go. And plus, like Nitmos says (not vb): the cops, they like that :P

Viv said...

I am still laughing at the curly afro. I totally sport those after sweating for 10 seconds.

Hopefully at 5AM you will even beat the cyclist out. I love that gun in the fuel belt. Good luck with it.

Nitmos said...

This post makes me dream of days when I get to boss people around. So far, I'm stuck being the bossy. I do not dream of the days when I'll get a curly Fro. You can keep that.

MizFit said...

jets versus the sharks

too funny.
I LOVE me some westside story.


Non-Runner Nancy said...

Clearly, I need me some undergrads. :D

I love that cross section where you catch the bus!

Viper said...

Ah, toughen up! Go run in the pavements.

P.S., please send me undergrads to boss around. If digging is a necessity I have some things that I can make them bury.

Lily on the Road said...

Yikes I remember what it is like to try to travel the pavement over there....gah, stick with the parks.

Glad you are making revisions to you plan, you'll find a way...

Now get "them bitches, diggin"!

Theresa said...

At least it's light out at 5am this time of year!

Yep, that's me, the optimist. :+)

The Laminator said...

I don't get it. Can't you get your undergrads to chaperone you on your early morning runs? Just tell them it'll help them with their digging stamina.

On second thought, they don't need no stinkin' reason. They're your bitches. End of discussion.