Fatigue is finally setting in as I sit back against the headboard of my bed. The room is plain and simple, clean, almost brand new looking, yet not, like it was built but never stayed in. Bulgaria is exactly what I thought it'd be. Everything has a vibe of being a few decades behind, like construction stopped in the 1980's or so and is just now picking back up. As we road from the Varna Airport to Kavarna I stared out the window as the houses whipped by. Everything has this old crumbling brick for walls, unless its been plastered over, but even those houses I feel beneath their new exterior hide the same crumbling brick frame that the others still bare. Red tile roofs decorate the hillside as we wind along hills and valleys, the Black Sea somewhere to our right, out of sight behind another hill or a thick line of trees, playing hide and seek with us as we cruise along. Our driver is taking risks that a bus driver in the states would get fired for, but its Bulgaria, and so its different. When we're not in the middle of some little town on a hillside we're cruising past empty fields of plowed of earth. The soil looks sterile, more of a flat black then the deep rick black on the midwest back home. Far off in a field you can see a tracker or combine mowing something down, corn I would guess, that's about the only thing I've seen growing. I ask a teammate, "Is it fall here or is everything just dead?" We arrive at the golf resort we are staying at. It seems out of place out in the middle of nowhere. Everything looks new, but something gives it away that it's not as new as it appears, every crack in the sidewalk or concrete has grass or weeds growing out of it. Other than the few golfers we see around the place seems empty, like a ghost town. We check in and our escorted to our rooms. If the outside gave the impression of being empty, the inside screams it. The walls are all painted, but every hallway or common space is empty, no furniture no decorations, the lights aren't on as we step off the elevator onto my floor, like when you tour a new home that's been built before anyone has moved in, it's nice, but it's not lived in yet. There are paintings in the rooms, and everything is working, pluming, showers, tv, I even have internet, but the place is silent, which later on I will probably be grateful for. After tossing my stuff into the room I headed out for a short run. My legs felt heavy after the long flight and as I jogged around the resort I quickly came to the end of the paved street and run up onto a dusty trail along the edge of the golf course. As the trail wrapped around the resort I caught my first sight of something beautiful. The edge of the resort gives way to steep white cliffs that fall several hundred feet before leveling out into a wooded area. This continues on for a while before it appears that it simply falls off again, this time into the Black Sea. This coastal view stretches on for miles in either direction and with the sun low in the afternoon sky it stops me dead in my tracks for a moment so I can just take it all in. A road winds down the hills, sharp switchbacks, until it levels out farther down below. I run down it for a while, taking in the view, thinking to myself that a run along this road makes the whole trip worth it. I wanted to go farther, but decided to save the legs and turned back around. I found myself for the first time in a while actually longing for a long run, just taking that road and seeing where it would lead me. If the race was on Friday I probably would have gone for a long run the next day just to see where it goes. As I crested the hill I stopped again and turned around, soaking in the sight once more before turning and jogging back to my room. Dinner is about 30 minutes away now and I'm interested to see what they've got in store for us. The ham sandwich for breakfast was a new one to me, but it tasted pretty good so I can't complain. So far I've dodged any food or water bullets that might sink this ship, so fingers crossed that dinner goes as smoothly. The rest of the team should be getting in soon as well. I look forward to meeting them and maybe getting in a second run. I'll try to keep everyone posted on how things are going.
Categories: iaaf world half marathon championships