Apparently this slow, grassy river that runs through Khujand, Tajikistan travels to the Ural Sea. Bordering the two northern ‘stans from here, the sea looks a long way away. Cows, gardens, and lodging wheat fields span the banks of the river here.
Ran 19k out and back along the river, dodging German cars and the sun. Beautiful day for it, and I’m so happy to have found a safe and quiet road to stretch the old legs on. Only three weeks until my next race, eeps, don’t know what kind of taper I’m going to manage so I’d better start training! Two more weeks here in Tajik, I see early morning runs in my future.
The arrivals section of the Khujand airport is like a cattle market with the shoving and pushing to get to the agent first. I don’t regret not paying the $100 for the business service which expedites you through customs. This is fun, right?
Lots of men on the flight from Moscow, and I’m taller than everyone but feel the acute lack of a leather jacket, which everyone wears. Tajiks seem to me to either resemble accidental Chinese hipsters, or old school Italian farmers, circa 1920. People are small and thin, and you can tell they live hard. I’ve heard that most of my fellow flyers are coming home from Russia, where they work in construction and send their migrant remittances home. It’s the end of the season, harvests are happening at home, and everyone is carrying goods and boxes for the family. Pressure cookers, big screen tvs, lots of new suitcases.
Sometimes, upon catching my breath between all the running and working I’ve been caught up with lately, I check out my favourite blogs. I have a whole whack of them, and sometimes they ebb and flow on the interest level.
I’ve been skipping over GOOD, a global community of people & organizations who give a damn. With a tagline like that, how could I not be compelled to read?! One of their posts this week was on Why Travel Makes Us Better… of course! But what really was fascinating was a piece on Lessons from the Most Successful Nonprofit (That Nobody’s Talking About). Can you guess which one? The NGO in question is sustainable financially, relies on participants’ desire to be there, has scalable growth, a single focus, and servant leadership. All the ingredients for a health organization!
The organization is Alcoholics Anonymous, and the author propounds that it can serve as a model for other businesses or nonprofits seeking sustainability. What I like most about what she describes is the
Nearly all meetings are open-access, making it possible for anyone to attend with the only requirement for membership being a desire to stop drinking.
Sometimes in development programming there is an expectation that everyone will want to participate in whatever agriculture or water or health project has happened upon their community, which is rather a large assumption. Without that desire for change on the individual level, the critical mass for the community level is hard to achieve. So how do you elicit that desire?
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Latin word, mara, which means bitter, is the first two syllables of my next big race. This week has been bitterly cold and trying to get out and run has been a challenge. This week I managed one outdoor 10k AT NIGHT IN THE SNOW! Even though it was supposed to be a tempo run, the silver lining to the snow is that it’s just too slippery to run that fast. So my run club took it easy, 10k in 1:04min. Not half bad!
New shoes were in order this week to keep me motivated (and to prevent my big toe nail from falling off again, but that’s another story!). Love the Mizuno Waverunners, I’ve a penchant for the brand as my first pair of spikes back in the track and field days were Mizunos. Of course these would help me feel speedy!
I love them, they are nice and roomy in the toe box and I feel the support in the heel, yet it’s a really light and kinda minimal shoe. Mostly I like the colours though. I’m counting on these babies to get me through 16k of LSD this morning! That’s long, slow, distance run for y’all out there that that aren’t familiar with these bitter workouts.
The Snow Man
by Wallace Stevens
One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,
Wish is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
Erh. winter. I don’t even need to hear the misery, I feel it. I feel it.