As I run through various paths of Karakol, I feel the cool breeze on my face and the non-level surface of the ground under my feet. I breathe in the fresh mountain air, feel the peace of the town, and hear only the rhythmic sound of my own feet crunching on dirt. I have been running a little bit here in Kyrgyzstan and I have run just a few times here in our new town. I have run through hills, the big city of Bishkek, and even a moonlight run up a giant hill not more than a few miles outside of Bishkek. But I have to admit, that my favorite running is where I am right now, in Karakol. I was running a few nights ago when I realized a few similarities between running in Kyrgyzstan and running on the Navajo reservation. Here they are! My top 5 similarities…at least for now.
1. Dogs violently bark/chase you
2. People stare
3. You are the only one wearing “running” clothing in town
4. The terrain is pretty similar (dust, hills, lack of road)
5. People cheer at you
I have experienced these in almost every run I have had in Karakol. There is one thing that I am happy to know I will not experience while running in Karakol, a rattle snake. I would love to tell you the story of how I jumped and yelped like a little Chihuahua dog when I first experienced a rattler while running in New Mexico, but that’s for another day.