Saturday, February 15, 2014

Running in the Gutter

My poor girls - they don't even ask anymore - just dutifully got out of the car and posed in the gutter.

Street seen on a Saturday. On a week day this would be wall to wall cars, skooters and Jeepneys - but the gutter is traffic free!

The gutter.

According to my mom and dad, I used to play in the gutter. One of the stories in the Duell family that has been told over and over takes place in Malaysia where we lived during my toddler years. I came home one day chomping on some gum and when my mom asked where I got my gum I said "in the gutter". So now I am once again reverting to the gutter as a place to play.

I run. I am not a runner but I do run quite a bit because I can not play soccer, or ultimate frisbee or flag football or squash or tennis or some other fun aerobic type of activity everyday. So I just go out and run for exercise. I don't mind it, especially if the running route is somewhat interesting. I have run in lots of places and many have been pleasant as the sites sounds and such distract from the physical uncomfortableness. Chicago has the lakefront, NY the river front and Central Park, Tokyo - very pedestrian friendly and thus road running friendly, Bangkok - too busy eating to run, Jakarta - lots of space where I lived - new developments being constructed with wide open uncluttered streets, Tegucigalpa - one of the best - super hilly and very little traffic off of the main thoroughfares, Puerto Vaijero - Miami - LA- Myrtle Beach - beach. Unfortunately, Manila has been a challenge to getting in a solid uninterrupted run in an interesting setting.

I like Manila - I do, genuinely like the city. But trying to find a running route where I can go for an hour or so without stopping has been an exercise in frustration. To run for a distance without stopping you need to either select a major thoroughfare or run in a neighborhood - both of which have their challenges. The gated communities are a great option - nice tree lined, wide streets, little traffic, but to get in a long run you will have to do some repeating and soon the scenery loses interest. Also, their is the bizarre moral factor that I for some reason have not been able to overcome. To run in a gated community you need to tell the guards that you are going to visit someone in the community or going to run with someone in the community - neither which are true for me - I know many people in all of the gated communities around where we live- but am not going to visit or run with them ... I tried it once because I was exhausted from a "lost" run (one in which I got lost and thus was really long) and wanted to cut through a gated community near my house which would cut about a mile off my run. I just tried to run through the security guarded gate but of course they stopped me and asked if I lived there. I said "no" and that I simply wanted to run through. They said I could not, and then I said I was visiting - and I rattled off several people I knew in the community and they let me pass. For some reason I struggle with this aspect of life - morphing the truth to enable me to run through a neighborhood in Manila.  More later ... going for a run.

Actually, running in the city streets on the weekend is fine as traffic drops off dramatically - it is the weekdays where the streets and sidewalks get clogged. So the other day as I was weaving in and out of barely moving traffic on a long city thoroughfare I ended up in the gutter and realized that is was all mine - straight, unencumbered running on the streets of Manila. Next, designing a strategy to deal with the Jeepneys spewing deisel exhaust into my gutter space.

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