traveling solo in south east Asia

I am back in Australia, back at work, jetlagged, and missing my husband of just a month intensely. I went for a walk to the beach at 5:30am this morning. Jetlag has its mixed blessings:waking up before dawn is one of the upsides. I ran, or tried to. Running with jetlag is one activity I do not relish.

The first couple of runs while jetlagged are all kinds of uncomfortable. My body cries out. My chest feels like it is going to explode. My feet feel heavy and my throat burns. No matter how in shape I am, those first couple of runs just don’t feel good. But, after two or three days of less than stellar distances and worse times, things improve. It’s like a kind of rite of passage. It’s also a good way of telling how i’m adjusting to a new time zone.

I think sometimes I find running boring – I prefer to walk and take things in – or swim, which ironically I find soothing because of the lack of stimulation. Things go by too fast. I feel guilty about finding running boring. I want to like it more than I do. I find any way I can to motivate me. Running with jetlag makes me wonder if i’ll ever want to run again.

The veteran running coach, Arthur Lydiard, once said:
“If you can walk, you can run. If you can run, you can run 20 miles.
I don’t care how old you are. You can do it if you want to.”

Putting the 20 miles aside, Lydiard’s words inspire me to keep moving. They inspire me to set targets and goals. To enter races, to make plans, and to get there.

Even if you aren’t able to get there are fast as you’d like or want to, even if you need to walk some of it, just keep moving till you reach your goal.

I notice the houses and their modern renovations – with their protuberances of steel and plate glass jutting out of renovated federation homes. I notice the power poles and their powerlines with their tentacles reaching out to the eves of every home. I notice the green of the Australian summer: the bright summer green of the trees, fresh with new shoots and flowers with their happy hues. I notice the early morning fog horn heralding the arrival of another large cruise ship.

I run, and I walk. And I notice things. Running with jetlag might be painful, but it’s also a little surreal.

Franz Stampfl, another legendary running coach, has declared that:

“there’s nothing a (wo)man can’t do if the spirit’s there.”

So much of what takes consistent effort is not difficult in and of itself as much as it wears you down in the expectation of the monotony of effort. Going the distance is still going the distance. So too, day in and day out, I awake with a new day before me.

While I write because I must, I run because I can.

I run because I can. I run to feel the wind on my face and to feel the sun.

I run because for quite a long while there (almost 8 long years) I couldn’t run whenever I wanted. In fact, I couldn’t do anything without pain. I’ve alluded to this before and even earlier.There were months, years even, where walking more than 50m was more than I could handle. When I needed the physical support of a friend to get from the car to the house. Remember when I asserted that I wasn’t a superhero anymore (or at least a little less of a superhero)?

I feel discombobulated right now. It feels strange to be back sleeping alone in my little beachside studio when my sweet man is on the other side of the world – i have the glimpse of what it is like to be single again (which it seems sometimes others wish they had) and I’m not feeling it. I notice how each day I miss him in different ways. I notice that the more days go by, the more surreal it is that I am married.

Being jetlagged doesn’t help emotional stability but after a week back here, I’m seeking to be content. I’m hoping to be more present here. I’m not sure i have the words to articulate how hard this is on my heart but I am a writer and ultimately this is my medium. I know that I understand love, and what it means to love, differently now. I love with a enthusiasm, with the abandon of joy, with a passion, that I wasn’t fully aware of in myself. I am both immensely grateful for technologies like Skype and Facetime, but also frustrated that even when they work perfectly we can only be with each other on the margins of our days. We don’t get each other’s best energies, best time, or best intellect. We get each other fitting the other in. We prioritise, but nothing is ever enough. Nothing beats being in each other’s presence.

There have been many tears shed. Different tears than in the past.

I feel full of reticence. I want to hibernate and hope there is a light at the end of the tunnel appearing. So I journal. I spend time with people. I create. I run. I eat. I spend time with friends. I dream. I hope. I sleep.

I work. I work. I work.

Image: Witches Pool – Anna Blanch Rabe. Do not use without permission

Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing. Photographing. Reflecting.

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Anna Blanch_Gill Gamble_blogAnna Blanch Rabe is an Australian-born writer and photographer. You can follow hers adventures on Not A Pedestrian Life, or Facebook. For more Theology:Naked take a look at Quotidian Home or her previous website, Goannatree.


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3 thoughts on “The things you notice running with jetlag”

  1. Hi Anna, We met in Waco, TX at Redeemer Pres. Thank you so much for your blog, especially your thoughts on persistence. I did not know that you once had trouble walking. I have cerebral palsy and lately it affects my balance more. So how you feel about running, might be similar to how I feel about walking right now. I want to enjoy it. I used to enjoy it more. But I do it because I can. I’m grateful for the ability to walk and I don’t want to lose what I have.

    Maybe the persistence you have in running will be the same persistence with which God will sustain you as you wait for your husband’s return. I definitely want to read more of your blogs. Thank you again for sharing. God bless you, my friend. Lights just don’t come at the end of the tunnel, but sometimes in unexpected places along the way.

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