Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I am SO not a runner...

...but when I saw that Susan G. Komen's Race for the Cure was having their 2nd Annual Race for the Cure at the Giza Pyramids, I thought what an amazing venue! When I learned that the race was only 1.5km, I thought that I could probably handle that.

Just to make sure I could run a mile, I did "train" for a few weeks before, just so I didn't fall down or something.

Dave was nominated to push the kids in the stroller and was determined to be "first stroller" in the race. He was eager to start the race, and ran off without me, and we were separated in this throng. It started at the smallest pyramid and Egypt's first mistake was to let the buses drive people up to the start.

While frantically trying to find my family, I heard what I thought were numbers being counted down (I'm not so good at Arabic). Before the counting was done (I later learned that the countdown started at 25 and the crowd starting running at about 19) I found myself looking at this view -- left in the dust, literally:

Granted, I was not the last to start, there were still about this many people behind me, but I felt like I had totally failed before I started. Just then I heard my name and found a group of people from church who were walking the race. At least I didn't feel totally alone anymore. I was still determined to run the race -- after all I didn't do all that "training" for nothing. I had them snap a photo of me and then I was off.

We sort of. I had to snap a photo of where I began running. You see, in all the chaos of people, there were still buses trying to bring people to the top. Driving right on the only paved road. So this was my starting line, I think falling down is now lower on my things-not-to-do list and GETTING HIT BY A BUS, has just made it to the top.

After a bus left a big puff of black exhaust in my face, I decided that the road was too deadly in more ways than one, so I opted to run in the sand. That didn't last long, because my ankles are not built for that type of terrain.

Back on the road, I was again in harms way, but here I'd like to pause and thank my lucky stars I'm not running (or walking) this race in a full black burkha. I was so proud of the woman for wearing the hat -- you go girl! I'm grateful she got this chance to express herself.

I'm not sure where the race ended, but my ipod was telling me I had run about as far as I would have at home (thanks to P!nk and Daughtery for getting me through this mess). News reports say that 9000 people participated in the race, not including the onlookers and bus drivers :)

About that time, I saw a familiar face. My husband searching the crowd. Reunited again, whew! Here is what I think was the finish line. Hard to tell with all those people STANDING IN THE WAY!

All in all, though this was technically my first race, I don't think it counts. No starting time, no finish time (there was no sort of clock or anything), obstacles...I think I'll just chalk this one up to another "once in a lifetime experience."

A little side story...
We were constantly hounded by people wanting to take a photograph of the kids. Nonstop. People would take pictures of us as we walked or yell at us to stop. If we did, we'd soon be surrounded by cameras. I think that we could easily have pictures of Maya and Ethen posing with 50 or so Egyptians. The kids were good sports through it all, but after awhile I had to start yelling, "la, la, la" NO MORE!

The camel guy singled us out and practically forced us on his camel, and once again we had the scarf on our heads that we didn't want -- but I thought that this really would be an interesting picture, so I obliged. But who is the guy on the right acting like he belongs with us?


Sharla said...

LOL!! I loved hearing your voice while I was reading through this post -- SO FUNNY!! (Now that it's over..) I am so proud of you for 1. signing up in the first place, 2. not panicking before you found your fam and 3. actually getting on the camel for a pic.. again!!

Thanks for the smile this morning! :)

merathon said...

loved your first race story! hopefully not your last! organized races can be a lot of fun too! :)

The Wilson Family said...

how fun! We rode camels at the Dallas Zoo a couple of times this summer when we first moved here. I totally thought of you! how fun for your adventures!

mandi said...

That is funny! Great experience.

Rachel said...

Congrats Shir! Maybe I can convince you to do a 5k when you're here sometime? :)

So, was Dave the first "stroller"?

Cath said...

Oh my gosh Shirlee. I am LAUGHING OUT LOUD! Seriously - this is the funniest thing I've read all week. Thank you. My favorite moments? Not getting hit by a bus as top of your priority list - the woman in the black burkha - and the congested finish line. Ahhh... Egypt. And Dave - what's up with leaving your wife to the sand and bus demons? So glad you found each other in that mass of pink and white humanity. You're awesome Shir!