Last summer when we first arrived in Amman, Eric and I gamely set out for a run in the 35 degree heat, in a hilly city 1000m more elevated than the place we had recently departed. That adventure lasted about 10 minutes and wasn’t repeated for months.
In Baghdad, though, there wasn’t much else to do besides work and exercise. I was also able to run a flat, traffic-free kilometre loop on the compound, and so started getting up in the mornings for runs – short ones at first, then gradually longer, until I was considered the weird Canadian nursing a single beer at the Thursday night parties so that I could get up at 7 for a long run before it got too hot. But I also ate more pudding than the Brits and never felt guilty, so I’ll let you be the judge of who was weird.
Back in Amman, now, I’ve stuck with it despite the challenges. The sidewalks make every run a bit too much like parkour for my liking, and I could do without the stares, catcalls, and honks I get… although Eric had a firecracker thrown at him, so I guess I’m getting off easily.
But those things are worth putting up for in exchange for faster starting to feel easier, for further seeming more in reach every week. We’re googling destination races for the fall. Every time I hit a particularly steep hill (which is often in Amman), I tell myself how much easier this will make a flat course seem.
Obviously, getting to eat everything in sight is a big perk. I love the fact that I basically need giant brunches, extra cookies, and spoonfuls of peanut butter to function.