July 10, 2011, 8:15pm, Basse
Day 3 of running complete! We’ve conquered 75km so far and it feels pretty good!
I love a good list so Ashley and I have prepared 2 lists for you tonight- written quickly before I melt in front of my laptop. We present to you: the things we’ve learned during the first 3 days of this running expedition as well as a list of things that are funny (to us anyway!). We’ve been laughing a lot. Pa Modou loves to laugh and is always ready for a joke. Kebba’s happy face just looks like laughter.
Things we’ve learned:
1. The road across an African country is run 20 minutes at a time. I can’t think of 20km of road ahead, or 10 days of road ahead. I’m running 20 minutes at a time. I stop to be watered at the truck. Then I run another 20 minutes
2. If you wave persistently and long enough at Gambian women, children and men, they will wave back
3. If Ashley shows kids to clap from the truck, kids will clap for me as I run by
4. The motorbikes remind of Will Ferrell in “Elf.” Remember when he goes to NYC for the first time and gets hit by a cab and says “Wow, they are really fast!” That’s what I felt like when the first one road by me. “Wow, they are really fast!” And they don’t move for me. I move for them.
5. Gambians thinks that my mission is just as crazy as Canadians but they go a step further and say “HER?!” Eyebrows raised at me, expression incredulous. And the best, “a woman can do that?!” Heck yea!
6. Roosters are bastards (I knew this already so this is more of a confirmation).
7. We’ve learned lots about distance running support
a. I need to drink my first litre of Gatorade by 1:20 so I can drink the second by end of 20km
b. I need a lot of water on top at truck stops
c. I need to change my socks at 10km
d. I need to eat my gels at 40min, 60 minutes, 1:20
e. Sometimes it’s ok to listen to the same song for 20 minutes (if it’s a good one)
f. I love the 90 minute rest under a tree. It might be the best part of the day
g. The worst part of the day is shoving food into my unwilling stomach during the 90 minute rest
h. I need 750ml of Gatorade and not water for the second 5km
8. A vast and beautiful farmland is a lovely place for a 90 minute rest but leaves little place for a girl to pee.
9. My shoulders ache after running just like my legs
10. Basse is incredibly dusty. It covers me in so much dust that the dust could pretty much substitute for sunscreen
11. I am fighting a losing battle with sunscreen
12. Believe it or not, I think the run is the part of the day when I am the coolest. I’m not minding the heat. The heat just is. I need to run whether or not it’s hot so I’m not thinking about it. The rest of the day in our little house is very very hot. So the moral of the story is, if a white girl comes to Africa and she wants to stay cool, all she has to do is run across a country
13. In a fight between Africa and Kinesio tape, Africa wins every time
14. A girl must not forget to use her anti-chafing Sport Shield
15. When we get home, there’s a mad rush to charge all of our electronics before the generator is shut off
16. The Fenis is best used when bladder is not full to point of exploding
17. Your Gambian radio interview may be cut into 2 segments when the generator/power go out
1. Pa set a new Personal Best for his horn honking on Day 3. PB = 5km of horn honking. That’s right, 5 full km. We are thinking about what we tell the boss when we return the truck with a silent horn (hope you aren’t reading, boss!)
2. Kebba is wearing my fuel belt and is calling it his armour. When he puts it on, he says he’s a solider armed with grenades. The hot pink bottles, er, grenades are the most deadly
3. Everyone is encouraging/taunting Ashley to run more with me. Today Kebba told her that he would disqualify her if she stopped running before he said she could. It did not work. But she did run 5.8km today (in 2 runs).
4. On the way back to Basse today, through the rural countryside, I was passed out across the back seat with my feet and legs out of the window. When we got to more urban Basse, we were laughing at driver Pa: “Pa, people want to know why you are dragging around a toubab (white person) and a dead toubab.”
5. In Pa’s world, there’s no such thing as too much Akon
6. Team is calling me a horse and when I leave the truck for my next 20 minutes, they say “Giddy-up, horsey
7. When it’s been silent for awhile and Pa beeps the horn a few times, Kebba (running with me) always says “Banjul calling!”
8. The “I’ll run to Banjul” jokes are versatile. Ashley had coffee this morning and felt good. Pa says, “Erin, you’ll have coffee tomorrow.” I say, “Can’t, I’d just take off and run all the way to Banjul before you catch me.”
9. We spent an hour laughing at/with Almamo who claimed that a Land Rover could drive right through the Gambia River
10. If I keep running through these dusty roads, I’m going to turn color. Then I’ll be Gambian.
11. Kids love to yell, “Toubab, how are you!” at us. Pa always answers, “The black man is fine!” and then he laughs at himself and then we laugh.
12. It’s totally ok to be introduced to the Chief of Police and the Governor of Upper River Region (like a province) whilst covered in dust and sweat and wearing your short shorts having just run 25km.
We really love your messages and thank you for taking the time to write us. We don’t have enough internet time (pay as you go on cell phone credits) to answer you but please know we are thinking of you on the road ans so appreciate you are thinking of us.
Love Erin + Ashley