We were at the venue on time and found a good parking space with my wife and sister and we were all set. I was well hydrated and I visited the loo to ensure my bladder was empty. I stretched as I met friends and fellow running-mates.
Myself, Ogutu, Kariuki, Gachanja and Sikuku pose for a photo just before the race.
I stretched a little. Planning to warm up in the first 5K. My wife was at hand also to take photos and cheer me on.
Me and my wife before the race.
So at the scheduled time, the gun went off and we were off. The race was on. Sikuku and I decided to pace each other. Hundreds of runners surged forward. I was passing about 30runners per minute for the first 8 minutes.I cleared the first Km in about 4:40 and the second in 4:38 and Sikuku was complaining about his chest not opening up. I assured him it would and was starting to accelerate when a pain started playing around my right calf area.
I have ran through many pains in my running so I wasnt too worried about it but it quickly got worse even as I was getting quietly satisfied at passing Wainaina, a guy who beat me in last year's Ndakaini Marathon. Was this a phantom pain?
It got worse. Several unseen pins were painfully searing my calf muscles. I tried to ignore it. It got worse and unrelenting. I had to stop. I tried massaging and punching my calves to no avail and I had to stop running. I decided to walk for some few minutes to cool down or whatever. It persisted. After walking for 7 minutes, I knew I would return a DNF for the first time. Fuckity fuckity fuck! I muttered as I limped on. The ambulance guys sprayed some stupid liquid on my calf. I was so mad.
As you can see, I could still muster a smile after the DNF.
For the uninitiated, DNF means Did Not Finnish. I watched as I was passed by hundreds of runners. When this was happening, I got to appreciate how far ahead I was and I am sure I could have returned something below 1:32.Anyways, I can handle disappointment and handle it I did. I walked back to the stadium to see Wainaina finnishing in about 1:47. Sikuku went on but also encountered problems and finished in 1:50. Ogutu finished in 2:20 thereabouts and Kariuki dropped out also due to some problems. GK also improved his PB but also encountered some problems. Gachanja also encountered problems and finished in 2:13.
I am glad I have a DNF experience under my belt and for whatever its worth, I hope it makes me stronger and mature as an athlete because as they say, cant see the rainbow if you cant stand the rain. I know I am at a better place than I was last year runningwise and that will be my base as I seek a 1:20 Half Marathon. As SD says, There is no failure, there is only the next race. My focus is my next race and I am seeking to hit 1:20.
So I am not too bothered by the DNF - hey, it happens to the best Tadese, Tergat, Bekele etc - because I love running and what I will do is see a doctor, get some NSAIDs, rest, watch some movies and plan for my wedding as I focus on next year. My right calf is now swollen and I am limping coz its aching like hell.
I have learnt a lot from this year and I want to adopt Haad's marathon training plan more intensely next year and my goals include being able to do over 100Kms per week. I will go ahead and aim for 1:20 because I know its doable.