13.1 and half-way there

there’s an interesting phenomenon happening in the village of konstaninovka. everyone is telling me about this girl, my sister, they’ve seen running back and forth back and forth. if it wasn’t for my site mate/neighbor/fellow volunteer and american that looks somewhat like me (you know, we’re both ladies, have brown hair, we’re short, and american), i’d be worried that i have an evil twin running around.

while my ‘sister’ is also a sportsmenka, it has in fact been me running around the village training for a marathon. but i’m tempted not to correct them…if they don’t think it’s even me, that means i don’t have to worry about people thinking i’m weird. this could be an awesome power. it feels like i have an ‘invisibility cloak’ that i didn’t even ask for! so when i start dancing while listening to music on my way to school, or if i have to stop for an emergency ‘evacuation’ while running, they won’t think it’s me! i could even pick-up drinking, smoking, and dima squatting with the local men and no one would ever think less of me because they’ll say ‘it can’t be kristen!’ muhahah! just kidding, i wouldn’t do that…maybe…

this isn’t a new problem for me. i was called ‘lauren’ for an entire semester in college because i didn’t have the guts to correct my professor at first and then it just became awkward. every volunteer hopes they leave a legacy behind, but if most people aren’t sure if i’m jessica (the previous volunteer) or sarah (my site mate), i kind of wonder what they’ll remember. i think there was a brief window in time that i was taken for myself…maybe? maybe i should have taken the advice to paint a self-portrait of myself on the world map i made at my school. maybe a giant painting of my face on the school wall, or a name tag, or “honk for kristen!” on the back of a running jacket would help.

that is…if i really want to claim to be the weirdo that runs back and forth back and forth…

training has been going…going. not easily that’s for sure! there’s SO much i didn’t factor or think about when i began. now that my miles are racking up, running is becoming increasing more challenging — fighting off huge angry dogs, lack of safe running routes, no energy bars or energy gels, weather, daylight, fitting it around traveling, etc. etc., blah blah blah.

sure, my training streak has been far from perfect, but i’m still trying! still going at it and hoping i’ll be ready for it. i have really surprised myself though. at first it seemed impossible, like starring at the peak of the mountain from base camp, or the number of days i had left in ukraine when i first arrived here. but i’ve taken it mile by mile, day by day, and i’m almost there.

i am, me, kristen, that is, just in case you forgot who was writing this ; )


i spent my pre-run taking selfies of me and my running/gun belt. time well spent.


running views


the other other end of my village


mr. lenin


third time in my life i’ve ran this distance! woo!


post-run and still smiling. 

4 thoughts on “13.1 and half-way there

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