last weekend i ran a 10k in an area called Bromo. Mount Bromo is a volcanic mountain about 3 hours outside of surabaya. we didn't actually make it to the top of the mountain but we ran through the mountains and stayed in a village there. it was incredibly beautiful!!!
here is a little look into the morning of the race, via the beloved phone. we live in surabaya, which has been referred to as a concrete jungle (though thankfully we do have green in our neighborhood)... so the sight of villages, beautiful skies and lush mountains was so refreshing!
i've previously run two races in indonesia and both were, well very indonesian! the traffic wasn't stopped, there were tons of people walking (like in flip flops), there was no water handed out and if you wanted it after you finished running you had to buy it! this race was not that way! it was very professional and very well run. a peace corp guy speared headed everything, it was a charity run to benefit the local schools. there was a program the night before, we got nice shirts, there were timing chips, online registration, water stations, transportation... all the works. it was very nice.
but, it was SO weird to see hundreds of westerners and indonesian city people invade these tiny villages.... with their very unique running culture. the running culture is weird if you think about it from a farmers perspective. pay a lot of money to travel all over asia to run... with fancy gear and bright colored everything. it was as if this big, western running world was dropped into the middle of the village. i know the villagers enjoyed it... i mean, we brought in a lot of money to their area but also i'm sure they were entertained by just watching us.
us with our new air asia friend, pre-race
below carolyn is taking pictures and showing them to some school kids. we loved interacting with the people there! the night before the race it was really cold out... we bought some water from this little shop in a woman's home and sat down on her little benches by the fire and just chatted. then she asked how much we paid to run... and then it was awkward because we had just refused her "tourist priced" water bottles, which were about 50 cents. :)
the run was so tough!!! like running straight up hills for miles, or walking really. i don't think anyone ran the whole thing (except carolyn). the hills were killer and my legs are still soar to the touch 3 days later. but it was beautiful! the air was so clean and it was cool outside. really, just amazing!
leslie, carolyn and i split up within the first mile, me lagging behind. so, i decided to just enjoy the scenery and take pictures as i ran. i had just bought some new worship music for the first time in 2 years and i had a great time of worshipping the Creator of all i was seeing and praying for indonesia. (i know many people often have spiritual experiences while running... i rarely do. if i'm honest i'm usually thinking about when i can stop running or how much sweat everyone can see on my shirt)
i think this woman may have beat me had she entered the race. check out that daily workout!
then i started seeing guys run towards me... the turn around (kilometer 6) was approaching! suddenly i saw carolyn and realized she was the first woman runner. a minute later i saw leslie running down the hill i was still climbing. i was thinking, that is amazing, they're going to be the first and second women runners. i turned the corner and saw the turn around point. there were only two girls in between me and leslie... i was on a mission to pass them! (even though 3 minutes before that i was stopping to take pictures...) i passed one right away and the other i passed in the last kilometer. i was about to DIE as i WALKED up the last hill... there was no running up those hills anymore. i didn't care about my time (which was about 25 minutes longer than a usual 10k), i just wanted to come in third. i laugh at myself now... because this was a fun race, i was high-fiving kids along the way and taking pictures and suddenly my competitive nature came out in such a lame way. :)
but, here we are... 1, 2, and 3. certainly the only time in my life this will happen. we think it's because all of the real runners ran the half marathon... and because i'm a really fast power walker up hill because of my 2 years of pushing the double stroller uphill in malang. :)
after the race the "indonesia-ness" started to peer through. because this was a tiny village and about 800 people came from all over it was a little chaotic. they don't have "alternative routes" in villages, there is one road.... which happened to be the finish line also. the mountain tourists and workers were coming into town about the same time the half marathoners started coming in. below is a picture of the finishing stretch. see where the guy in the green tank top is... that is the space for runners to get to the finish line on the right (the opposite direction of the man who had already finished). the truck to the left was one in the line of many trying to get into town. it was chaos! no one knew where to go as they ran up the hill and i saw multiple people almost get hit by motorcycles trying to dodge around the crowds.
another indonesian detail... here are the women cooking the after race food on their little gas burners. the food was mainly "gorengan", which means fried stuff. all things fried. just like in america. :)
and lastly, the post race transportation. we couldn't find the minibus back to our village stay after the race so there were guys on motorcycles making an extra buck by transporting foreigners from village to village. our village stay was a few kilometers from the finish line... the same few that we had just run up. and then i had to go down the very steep hill with a man on a motorcycle. he was going SO fast!!! my arms were sore from holding onto the back handle, trying to keep my body from sliding onto his. at one point i did a scream/grunt out of fear... he laughed.
all in all, i loved the bromo race! experiences like this make me love indonesia even more. i love the village life, i love the people we met, i love being out of the city, i love the new culture i got to see. i definitely want to do this run again... and bring my family out to the village sometime. i feel thankful that God gives me little gifts like this to make me love this country even more.
**i also took photos with my camera before the run... more to come of bromo soon.