My First In-Site “Run” (and a little Tour de Culture)

It’s unbelievable, right? My first post in a month long absence and I end up talking about exercise. In my defense, this is my freshest experience at the moment seeing as it basically happened a few hours ago. I also must mention as a disclaimer that I am not a runner, hints why run in the title is in quotations. I would like to enjoy the sport, however, and my goal is to one day run a half-marathon, which might happen sooner than I think. Kosovo actually has an annual half-marathon that’s held every year in Prishtina to my dismay (read: elation). At the moment, I’m trying to get myself to the point of running five minutes straight without the desire to pass out, but that’s our secret. People here seem to think I’m a hardcore runner, cause I mention the sport so much.

Now that I’ve gone and done it, I do wonder what took me so long. I’ve been in my quaint little village in the Peja municipality for nearly two months. I suppose it was a mixture of nerves and novelty. I feel very safe in my village, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safe for a foreign female to go on a jog by herself out in near nowhere. When I say that I don’t even mean from other people. I mean from the elements, nature, and bad luck. Today, however, I decided to go for it. After teaching in the morning and hanging around the house for a few hours I got a little restless. Usually after class I come back home to study Albanian, read (can’t even count how many words have passed these eyes over the last almost two months), or prepare for the next day’s lesson. That wasn’t cutting it today and after one of our usual random power outraged forced me off the internet and outside among civilization, I decided to go for it. I doned my running gear, grabbed my music, and headed for the next village over that I’d never seen before.

Needless to say I made it back in one piece. The few noteworthy things to mention were the dog that got territorial and started barking when it saw me jogging closer (wild dogs are one of those safety concerns) – which made me slow my pace when passing by it, having to vacate the road for passing cars, and passing my students on different parts of the road as I jogged by. ¬†All and all it wasn’t bad and I might even add it into my regular schedule as a way to build my endurance and see different parts of my sight that remain unexplored as of yet.

Action Shot!! - See Peace Corps, I'm wearing my helmet.

Action Shot!! – See Peace Corps, I’m wearing my helmet.

That’s one of the things I like most about exercising in Kosovo, the nature. A few weeks ago, a couple of other volunteers and I went on the Tour de Culture, an annual non-competitive bike ride through different cities. This year, the bike ride was 49.5km from Vushtrri to Podjevo. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it all the way. I gave up around the 42km mark and had to take the bus the rest of the way, but it was an awesome experience that I’ll be participating in again next year. Hopefully next year there will be a lot more culturally stops. That’s one thing this tour didn’t have a lot of, because of the area in Kosovo we were biking through. I was banking on the cultural stops to get me through the long distance, but with only two rest stops during the entire tour before the end, it’s a miracle I made it as far as I did. Despite not making it all the way, it’s still one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.