Monday, April 24, 2017

April 21, 2017 - For Dr. A!

Today's run was sponsored by Dr. A! Thanks so much for continuing to help fund the Ty Taylor Memorial Campship Endowment. We're getting so close to fully funding the endowment, I appreciate your help! Soon, YMCA Camp Miller will be able to send a deserving camper to camp for free every year in honor of an amazing man.

There was a request for a specific run from Dr. A after her generous donation to the Ty Taylor Memorial Campship - a run in the heat, or a run in the rain. Well, Dr. A, you get heat. You also get an international destination run, given the fact that you're the most well-traveled person I know!

Although I abandoned my running group in Delhi, and was away in Bangkok for the weekend, you can see that our temps were about the same. Of course, I had the luxury of almost two extra hours of sleep, but c'est la vie. So, Dr. A, here's your hot one.

As I write this year's posts, I'm ruminating on the fact that not only do I want to capture the experience of a run, but I'm also looking back on 8 years in India and 15 in Asia. On the first day of June, we'll say goodbye to #thisplace and head onward to Ghana. Surely new adventures await, but the awesome task of saying goodbye to what has become home looms.

In Bangkok for the weekend, knowing I had to dedicate a run, all other considerations (laziness, the pool, breakfast) were outweighed as I laced up, filled my Camelbak and headed out the door for a longish run. The route was easy. In 2015, Bangkok become something of a second (third?) home to our family as Kate moved into an apartment waiting for our son Amos to be born. I grew to know the streets. In reality, Bangkok has been a destination for us for years. Thailand is a go-to vacation spot, Bangkok, the closest spot for "big city-therapy." It's comfortable. It's predictable. It's always interesting.

So, Saturday morning, I took off from my hotel on Soi 11 and plied the early morning streets of Bangkok.

Up and over a pedestrian bridge across the lifeline of Bangkok, the Sukhimvit. Even at 7:45am, the famous Bangkok traffic was beginning. Today's route would take me across the busiest parts of town to the back alleys, the vast parks and the canals that make the city famous.

Skirting the edge of Chuvit Garden, I headed toward Benjakitti Park. The trip from Soi 10 alley takes you across this charming bridge to the park. No traffic, no noise, the city slipped away.

In all of my city running, I've always been amazed by just how quickly cities can dissolve to quietude and peaceful back alleys. I appreciate the opportunity to get to know this about them. I also was thinking about how confident I felt about today's route. It was known to me. I've done it before and I was able to just run. It got me thinking about how much I'll miss Bangkok after we leave. Benjakitti is a cool park in the center of the city. A large lake and running/biking paths all around.

It's an oasis of sorts, of course in the full sun, it was brutally hot. I tried my best to run in the shady spots.

Even at 8am, the sidewalks and streets of the city were busy.

Bangkok is a city that lives and breathes on its streets and as I ran past the various ice cream, chicken on a stick, pad thai vendors and other shops that were busy setting up, I was saddened to think about an article I had just read forecasting the demise of its street culture. It would seem that Bangkok is "cleaning up" its sidewalks and sidewalk woks in an attempt to "improve hygiene."

Pondering, I head to Lumphini Park. As I've written before, Lumphini Park was the  temporary home of anti-government protesters. Today though, all reminders of the conflict were gone as the park was replaced with joggers, tai-chi practitioners and a lovely man playing "When I'm Gone" on a harmonica connected to an amp as hids companion on the bench laughed and an old lady danced away.

When I'm Gone, indeed. The universe has a way of connecting to you when you're on a run. Luckily, I know that I have one more Bangkok trip in me before I head off and away to a new continent. For now, I'll keep my baht, I'll pack my shoes and I'll have at least one more run in my favorite urban playground. Pictures.

The thing about getting too nostalgic, of course, is the fact that one never knows what's going to happen in the future. Although it was 14 years ago that I left Northern Virginia for my around-the-world adventures, it wasn't long ago that Dr. A was sitting in my living room in New Delhi. The world works in mysterious ways.

Distance - 6.86 miles
Time - Around 70 minutes?

No comments:

Post a Comment