Cast and some background:
Jack – The Running Writer
This guy runs! He had promised George and I KShs. 2,000 to each one that beats the time of 2:25 and 500/= to whoever beats the other (between the two of us).
George – the guy I beat at Stanchart 2012 and was keen on beating again (and again)
Jack was also to drive us to Ndakaini.
Maq – Another runner of Jack’s calibre.
I had gone to bed around 11:00 p.m. I had intended to go to bed around 9:00 so that I would get a full 8 hours of sleep by 5:00 a.m.
I woke up. Stayed in bed a bit. Reached for my phone and checked the time 01:46 a.m. Only? Back to sleep. Woke up again. A few minutes past 4:00a.m. Ok. I must have been anxious. Slept again. Finally woke up to the alarm at 5:00 a.m.
I got up, took a cold shower, since I had not showered after a journey on Friday. Woke my wife up and she made for me oats. I carried two bananas to eat after the run. We told the nanny we were leaving and went to the car. Someone had parked in such a way that his car was blocking our way out. I told my wife she could squeeze the car through. We tried, but no. She said I should run to the gate and ask whose car that was. I did. I sent text to Jack, saying our exit was blocked. He exclaimed. we went to the car owner’s house and knocked. The guy came and moved his car and off we went. I called Jack and he said George was yet to show up. I felt a bit better. We reached Jack’s car around 6:25. Tried calling George, and just like last year, he was unreachable. We set off at around 6:40. George sent text a few minutes later, saying he had gone to bed at 3:00 and had woken up at 6:45, but he was still coming.
I was mostly quiet during the drive to Ndakaini Jack, Maq and James were discussing various running-related things.
“The good thing about this sport, is that you only need shoes.”
“Another good thing is that you put in (the training) and you get out (the results).”
It was interesting. I asked to see Maq’s Garmin and he showed me the features briefly. It gives a report of the time taken and speed with every kilometre, can be set to help you run at a certain pace, stores best times, distances covered and so on. And you wear it on your wrist like a watch. Neat. Jack and Maq said that it can be disadvantageous as it may not allow you to speed up or slow down depending on how you feel as you run and may result you in straining or under-performing.
I thought Jack was driving a bit slowly and that we were going to arrive after the 21km run starts, but I was afraid of saying anything since I had kept them waiting. I thought the 21km was to start at 7:30 but when we finally reached the venue, I saw that it was to start at 8:30. Phew!
We changed, went to the loo, took some photos etc. Jack had said he was not going to leave early as he had intended, so I did not need to run with my bag with my stuff in it. Phew again!
The starting point was quite a walk away, thought it later turned out that we had arrived early and parked comparatively near the start. Other vehicles were parked easily 3km away!
The gun went off and the run started. I looked at my phone 8:33 I followed Jack’s advice and ran slowly. I saw James running with a limp ahead and caught up with him and ran with him for a while. I heard someone calling me and saw Eve. We chatted a bit as we ran then I left her. I ran for 20 min non-stop and started walking when I reached an incline. The race was going well. I had been warmed on two hills in particular: at 5km and ay 16km. I barely noticed the 5km one.
There was a guy who had a device in his pocket. I heard a female machine voice say something like”…you are below your target pace by 1 minute 26 seconds per kilometre…” I don’t know if such reminders are good or bad, especially when you are feeling spent and battling your way uphill.
I asked some lady if were past the 10km mark and she said she had no idea. Shortly after we passed the 12km mark. Good. I was still feeling quite okay. The training actually paid off. We passed the 15km mark and began a descent. This must be the much talked about hill at 16km coming up. The descent steepened, meaning the ascent was going to be serious! And indeed it was. I remembered Jack’s blog posts where he said that Ndakaini has wall masquerading as hills. I walked up, as did everyone else I could see. The hill was quite long. There were other hills after that as well, but this was probably the steepest and the longest.
Throughout, as much as I could, I ran downhill and on the flat stretches and walked uphill.
Upon passing the 20km mark, I started thinking about beating the 2:25 time and collecting 2,000/= from Jack. I took a turn, saw the length of road still ahead and gave up on that particular quest. My hear sank a bit, but I still had a chance to better my Stanchart time. I approached the place we had started and saw people milling about it. I think it was the 5km about to start.
I wondered How come the finish is so unceremonious?
I passed the start point around 11:09 and started walking towards the parking. But I could see guys still running on the road. I went under the ribbon and asked a policeman where the finish for 21km was. Up ahead, he said, and I started running again.
I was a bit annoyed that it was not clear where we were supposed to go. I crossed the official Finish line at 11:13. My time, 2 hrs 40 minutes. 10 minutes better than my Stanchart time.
I saw Eve and she asked if she had beat me.
I don’t know, what was your time?
2:35, she said.
Neither of us could remember her passing me.
There was a queue and I joined it, thinking there was Lucozade being given at the end. Turned out we were only having our names written. Sigh!
Making my way to the parking lot was another task, but I reached.
I ate my bananas. There was a guy taking photos of guys and printing them on the spot for 100/-. I contemplated taking one, but did not. Jack paid me the 500/= I earned by George’s no-show, minus my contribution for transport.
Off we went to Nairobi.
Lessons and Achievements
Training pays off. I felt much better than I did during and after the run than I did at Stanchart.
I achieved my goals: I felt better, and I technically beat Ogutu. (I am pretty certain I would have beaten him, since I did better than I did at Stanchart last year, which is a bonus achievement. I did better at this tougher race than at Stanchart 2012.
Njenva’s report 10km (I follow her blog)