A Georgian friend and I decided to start running in the mornings. This lasted all of three days, I'm afraid I have to report, but our first run out was so funny from an American viewpoint that I just have to share.
For comparison purposes, here's what I typically do when I go for a jog: I try to run more than I walk, and I give myself time limits on how long I can walk. At my peak, I was running a good 10 or 15 minutes before walking 2-4 minutes, then repeating. The time I spent out rarely exceeded about 45 minutes.
We decided to go running on the Boulevard, a stretch of path running several kilometers along the coast of the Black Sea, which turns into a track in the early hours of the morning (although it's mostly men, and mostly older men, who are running). We met at seven and headed out, our walk to the Boulevard taking about twenty minutes.
My friend has long been off the workout wagon, and I haven't been doing too great myself, so we decided to start slow, alternating three-minute jogs with walking periods. The morning sea air was fresh and invigorating, and it was motivating to see so many other people also out exercising.
About six minutes into our exercise, which means we were already walking after an initial jog, my friend saw someone she knew, and we stopped to talk for about 10 minutes. We kept going, running three minutes at a time, but walking at least 10 minutes in between, aiming to get a total of 20 minutes of running in. We did eventually reach that goal, but it took an hour and a half! This is why even though having a workout partner is a great motivator to get out of bed in the morning, sometimes it's hard to run with a partner - if your goals or abilities are too different, you can be left feeling like you haven't worked at all, or it can take waaaay to long to reach your relatively modest goals.
The biggest kicker? On our way back, we were passing by my friend's godmother's apartment, and she decided we should stop by. The walk up to the sixth floor was a great workout, but when we arrived, we woke up her godmother, which I felt bad about (but is totally normal and acceptable in Georgia - the random stop by is the preferred method of visiting). We ended up staying there, drinking coffee and eventually eating breakfast, until almost noon... when they gave us a ride home in their car! It was nice visiting, her godmother and her husband and daughter are lovely people, but it was definitely not what I was expecting from a morning run. Especially riding home in a car afterwards....
Anyway, this was an interesting insight into Georgian social patterns and their take on fitness culture. I'd still like to go running in the morning with a partner (because I really don't seem to be able to get out of bed otherwise), but I need one who is similarly focused. Reziko has offered to go with me countless times, but this offer has the caveat that I have to wake him up, which defeats the whole point of my workout partner motivating me to get out of bed because I know they're making the effort for me, too. It's so much easier when the alarm goes off to just snuggle back in and doze off than to climb out into the cold air and try to convince a happily sleeping husband that he, too, should brace for the cold and go exercise. Just doesn't happen.
3 days ago