July 13, 2013
Running with Kangaroos Ethiopian Style
I see kangaroos everyday. It is always a pinch me moment to remind myself that I am somehow living in Australia. I never would have thought I would end up here but here I am.
Today, I saw a dozen kangaroo and 3 emus on the run back from work. Emus are quite exotic to me still. The goofy bird stands about 6 feet tall and runs really fast. I remember seeing my first ones up in Exmouth at the far northwest tip of Australia (pictured below). The terrain is quite desert like up there so I was genuinely surprised when saw my one running around through the Jarrah trees at the edge of the oxide dump next to the mine site.
The daily run I do from work to camp is approximately 7 km along a dirt path that runs along the shoulder of the road. I am quite bored with that road because I drive it everyday to and from work. So I like to spice things up and make a left turn onto and unmarked dirt track which loops back to camp. It is about 11km but much more scenic than that dreaded straight road back to camp.
Lately, I have been spicing things up even more by just running straight through the forest off trail a few hundred meters parallel to the road. A friend of mine in Flagstaff named Fidele from Burundi told me that the Ethiopians run off trail and through the forest on their easy days to "build their strength". I don't know if it is true. No Ethiopian has ever confirmed it for me. But I really like the idea. I like the fun of it and not always being so focused on miles and pace and minutes. So I try to do the full 7km every other day as an easy run. Besides, the races I am interested in running these days have more to do with strength and nimble feet than they do with clicking off 5 minute mile pace.
I always see kangaroos during my Ethiopian style run. There are so many everywhere, much like deer in the Pennsylvania hills. I read somewhere that there are 200 million Kangaroos in Australia and 20 million people. Kangaroos outnumber people 10 to 1. YET I am constantly meeting people in Perth or Sydney or Melbourne who have never see a kangaroo in the wild. Call me crazy, call me maybe?