What is the flattest country in the world? What does hawaisea road mean? For running in which marathon you’re awarded with worn underwear? Why there aren’t any ropes or buoys in diving centers and how to cook meat pockets in Sri Lanka?
As it happens, we’ve spent a part of January with our friends in the Maldives and Sri Lanka. Taking into consideration that next year promises to be full of competitions, I tried to keep myself in shape, and now I am ready to share some useless information.
I began my training in the Maldives – that small and dirty island state. The specificities of running in Maldives is that you don’t have any place to run :). People say that the Maldives are the flattest country in the world. I confirm: only 3 meters of climb during 8 km. And only because I was running over garbage heaps.
The humidity + a temperature of 30 degrees = runner’s death. Pulse sweeps of scale, there is no tempo, pulse value is mad. I ran 8 km with a feeling as if I made thirty.
The general problem of running near the ocean or sea is the deterioration of the rate. Perhaps this is just my feeling, but I could not run seriously nor in the Maldives, Sri Lanka or in Egypt.
At a training in the Maldives you can run the whole island back and forth, and so did I. But it is awesome to drink coconut milk after a hard training …
Arriving in Lanka, I decided to run 17 kilometres between the towns. Why not? Having learned from the sufferings in the Maldives, I ran at dawn to avoid the heat. Indeed, the first 20 minutes was good, but I finished squeezed, dried and not thinking, although in Chisinau this is an ordinary distance for me. In addition to the physical discomfort the psychological one added – amazing Sri Lanka roads.
I would call them hawaisea road. Firstly, they are terribly narrow, and secondly, the traffic on them is insane, and, in the third, everyone is overtaking anywhere and anytime. Well, imagine: I am running on an opposite, as usual, and yet someone honks behind me to give way to overtaking. In Sri Lanka the traffic lanes are very relative, the cars are around you everywhere plus unaccustomed drive on the left, and you just do not resist all of this. As a result, I was injured by a motorcyclist, but it was without consequences, no taking into consideration the bruises and the cracked tooth.
Tired of the roads, I decided to fulfil my dream and to run barefoot on the beach, like in the movies. At dawn, I went out of the hotel and ran … Breathe was surprisingly easy, the only thing that bothered was the impossibility to run in a straight line. You should always choose a narrow border between the incoming wave and friable sand. The wet solid sand is the only support.
It seems that I figured out everything, I run, enjoy the landscapes and on the 7th km I feel pain in the big toe. I don’t pay attention and run forward. It hurts more. I run. I feel that can no longer step and I stop. I examine my fingers and remain stunned – a corn!
Watery, hurting corns on the thumbs and forefingers of the legs. I always thought that the cause of corns are shoes, but I managed to make corns from sand … It took two days to cure it without punctures. In short, do not repeat everything shown in a movie.
I think that swimming is the most boring sport. Your senses are blocked, and you are all alone with your thoughts for a long time. Only the bottom of the pool (or the blackness of the sea) and the sounds of hitting the water. It has some advantages, because your brain understands that there is no incoming information, and switches to the internal dialogues and monologues. A lot of ideas and solutions to complicated problems came to me while swimming. Thank you, swimming, but, anyway, you are boring …
So, what I mean – the first time I swam as I ran. It happened that I decided to swim along the coast over the reef. It was great – the reef at a depth of 3 meters is amazing.
Colourful fish, strange jellyfish, colourful anemones, I even met a big turtle. In short, I recommend choosing not deep routes in the ocean.
“Pool” is hardly the word :). In Lanka we went on a trip to a waterfall. It was sad enough, until I noticed a company of locals, splashing in a natural pool of 20 meters in diameter.
Without hesitation, I took off my pants and went to get acquainted with them. Word after word, and I got involved to clear up the relations with the Sinhalese hot guys – who swims better?
We swam under water and on surface.
The competition was not easy, and the rivals were strong, but in the end Moldova won a landslide victory! Unfortunately, the participant from Moldova lost his pants in the pool …
But the Sinhalese boys did not panic and gave their pants to the adversary, Sri Lanka’s pants! The honour of the country is saved! Long live sport!
From the beginning I had a plan to improve my performance in freediving in Sri Lanka. So I carried everywhere my ammunition, weighing almost ten kilos. As it turned out, it was not in vain. Local diving centres had never heard about freedivers, and, accordingly, there were no trainers, no buoys with rope…
I agreed to swim with divers and an usual dive-instructor had to insure. In Lanka, the water is muddy, with a visibility of only 5-10 meters.
In the first day I was in the water for 2 hours and the next day I woke up snuffly. Missing 2 days on treatment, I came full of strength, and surprisingly easy dived 30 meters. But the compensation of pressure in the ears did not allow to go deeper. I am at thirty meters, and I understand that there is still oxygen, but I don’t have any air in the mouth for blowing. I could not push it from the lungs to the mouth due to the pressure.
Anyway, 30 m is a good result for me. Buoy with rope – it is force! Speaking of the rope:
There was plenty of time during the trip and just hanging around was not for us. So, I made up an entertainment – to mark the rope, in order to understand at what depth am I while diving. For this purpose, I decided to make dark wooden balls and place them on the rope every 5 meters.
Then, in order to understand the depth, I decided to make two forms: ellipsoid (10 meters) and sphere (5 meters). So, at a depth of 25 meters I will place 2 ellipsoids and a sphere. And so they stayed in the same place. It is simple. Just do it.
I got acquainted with a local woodcutter-carpenter. I presented him the drawing, went with him to the workshop, did a couple of test pieces and 2 days later I had a ready-made set of wooden pieces.
I fixed them and went happily to dive. I threw the rope with the secured cargo, breathed in and flew down. Here was the disappointment – all the marks were offset by 10% lower. The rope got wet, plus it was strained by the cargo, and here we are … I had to fix them again, and this is annoying.
In short, you do worthless things, just to kill the time :)
It is a dream of mine to try surfing. I have tried. I have spent 3 x 1.5 hours on the waves. I understood that it is not mine, as well as skiing – for me both of them are similar.
In Lanka, there is a lot of food. Firstly, a lot of delicious fruits. As for me, I lived on papaya. Juices are only fresh-made, any other types they just don’t understand.
Lots of fresh vegetables, like at home – beets, cabbage, parsley, radish, and others. The meat is less, but it can also be found. I say nothing about the fish – whatever your heart desires.
In short, Sri Lanka provides correct, balanced, sports nutrition!
The truth is that sometimes it is annoying to eat only rice with fish, and then we were preparing our usual dishes – meat pockets and borshch!
In the Maldives, there is no food. What they have is imported, not always fresh and always expensive. No alcohol, no grass, no pork, little fruit.
People in Lanka are responsive, modest and friendly. Served me with coconut milk after running, offered free ride on scooter, bothered with my rope, cooked delicious fish. In short, very nice guys!
In the Maldives, all upside down – people are introverted, wary, they see only the money in you. So we ran out on the third day.
Besides practicing different types of sports, we sunbathed, released turtles, smoked shisha, got acquainted with Buddhism, hung out at the fort, greeted the dawn, repaired the tuk-tuk, humming songs with a guitar, riding on the “sledge”, drinking red rum, dancing and simply fell in trance under the warm rays of the Sri Lanka’s sun and moon!