Up bright and early, around 5:45 Dan and I get ready to go workout. Today, I decided I would run to the gym since I was told I needed to run 6 kilometers every morning. I threw on my sunflower sweatshirt (Dan was worried no one would be able to see me in my black hoodie, so I put on the most obnoxious sweater I have here) and sweatpants I stole from Dan as soon as he bought them. Dan headed off to the gym to start his workout and I flipped on my handy Nike running app. Awesome app. It can tell you how far you are running and halfway points and whatnot. It also provides some motivational speech when you finish and I think you can connect your shoes or something. I don’t really know why you would want to connect your shoes.. if you know feel free to share. Okay, so I start my run, listening to Feeling Good and you know what, I was feeling good. It was still dark out, no one was really around and if they were they were buzzing by on their mopeds, unaware of the farang running on the side of the road. I got, maybe, half way
before the first incident.
I had the opportunity to run away from not one, but three, different dog gangs and I believe one or two stragglers, or spies. (These gangs are highly organized. And terrifying.) For my first encounter, I decided to look start ahead and try the “I can’t see you, you can’t see me” approach. With a nip at my leg, I felt that was not the best way to handle the situation. Luckily, they stopped running (not barking) as I entered an imaginary new dog gang territory. There went my quiet morning run. I think I woke the entire neighborhood, while not making a single noise myself. The second and third encounters happened one after the other.
I arrived at the gym, but was unsure if I had completed 6 kilometers because my phone was acting a fool. I decided to keep on running past the gym and over a bridge I had been curious about. I headed over the small bridge and was greeted by a little girl waving in a shack like house, “Hello!” I waved back at her and saw the road turned to dirt and ended by a river. I was going to run to the river until
They MUST have noticed me coming over the bridge and called out a formation to each other because they as soon as I put my hand down from waving they came at me from all directions. I had no choice, but to turn around and go back the same way I came. The little girl was yelling, “Mai, mai” from her house. I think it means no or come, either way, she was trying to help a farang out.
Sweet girl, dog gangs are not easily swayed.
I approached another imaginary dog gang territory and the dogs stopped chasing me, but kept on barking. The ruckus caused the 5 or 6 dogs lounging down an intersecting street between the gym and the bridge to assemble. I decided that I should really be moving faster. I felt like I was in a movie. Two rival gangs fight over territorial stakes in destroying the intruder. The other dogs over the bridge were still barking and slowly moved over their territory line. Now I had dogs following me and dogs coming at me from my right. It was time for the sprint portion of my morning workout.
I prefer to have Dan and mine’s new friend as our motivator. Every night, this teensy tiny little Thai girl comes to hang out with us and even get a few rounds in on the bag. She can’t be more than 4 or 5 and she rattles off Thai like we’re fluent. I’ve stopped trying to tell her we don’t speak Thai. I just speak to her in English and smile a lot. Her favorite thing to do is copy Dan. Whatever Dan does, she’s right there ready to try, too. I think someone has a crush. I guess he’s not that bad. 😉
But dogs and new Thai friends aside, training has been a lot different here. It’s more on my own and if I want pad work from the trainers for more than 1 or 2 rounds, I have to be training for a fight. Dan and I pretty much work out by ourselves. Run, jump rope, shadow box, bag work, spar. On our 1st trip to Chiang Mai, we were able to snag some Thai pads. Now, if a trainer doesn’t have time for us, we can hold for each other.
When I first got here I complained a lot. I trained, but I felt awkward and out of shape and nervous and frustrated and annoyed and blahblahblah. All of that was (excuse me, Mom) bullshit. Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. I have what I need: a bag, a ring, gloves, arms, and legs. Having weights, a mirror, friends and trainers physically there to motivate you, is great, amazing, but not essential. It’s important I develop self-confidence, self-motivation, self-reliance. This whole experience in Thailand is really about developing those aspects about myself. I love having Dan here to help me through it, but he’s not around all the time. He’s the one with a job. It’s my responsibility to branch out and discover myself (as well as, branch out and get a job, proving difficult at this time.) And I’m not talking about taking trips alone. It’s good to learn how to navigate and arrange plans by myself; more than good… it’s really important for me, personally, to figure alladat out because I am so very directionally challenged. I still hold up my hand and make the L with my fingers for left sometimes. But what I really mean is just working on being alone. Finding my own way, getting myself to write every day because I do enjoy it, cooking every day because it comforts me and I enjoy eating healthy, reading because I love learning, exercising and training because it makes me feel good, it makes me feel strong. I spend an awful amount of time alone and I need to learn to be comfortable with that, make use of that time, because once I (FINALLY) find a job, I won’t have as much time to really delve into what makes me happy, what I am passionate about. In Tampa, I feel like I always found some way to fill my time with useless things, stuff that really didn’t develop me as a person. I love Game of Thrones, but did I need to watch two back to back episodes instead of picking up a book or reading an article? (Okay, eh example because I probably would still do that. I LOVE the throne games.) Did I really not have time in life to cook more for myself? Did I have to go get a smoothie, instead of stocking up on veggies and fruits and make a badass one by myself? I’ve found so any ways to cook all sorts of healthy things that take minutes to make. All it took was a little time learning, to make use of my time instead of just filling it. And here I go; I will circle back to training. It all goes hand in hand, making use of my time, learning to be capable on my own, being confident in my own decisions. I don’t need a lot to train, it’s nice to have all sorts of things, but as long as I have the ability to move… I should be moving. Running, jumping, jabbing, crossing. I am the biggest motivator I have and I am working on realizing that.
The dogs are a close second.