This race was not perfect. But it was good. And the weather and organization were perfect to the T.
I went out the previous night and had only four hours of fitful sleep. That was not a big worry.
I had some pain at the back of my left knee. So I popped two tablets of painkillers. It turned out later that that pain was never a factor in the race.
I drank water and took some bread - three slices - and strungi (black tea).
I wore the tights Mark gave me and the caps. Everything fitted perfectly.
I parked my car near Mvuli house or hotel - Nairobi west and walked into the stadium which was a beehive of activity.
I looked for my friends, Ogutu, Sikuku, Mark, nobody. I stretched and walked around and looked again.
Nobody. Time: 6:35. I used the portaloos.
Came out. Looked around nobody.
Took some photos.
So changed and I went and deposited my luggage and used the toilets and came to the start. Four minutes to go.
I saw Mark a few feet from me some minutes to the start time and then we were off!
I did not see Mark again as much as I kept looking for him throughout the race. Neither did I see 'our guy'.
The race was alright. The weather was perfect. My legs were fine. My splits were fine even up to the 12th K when I saw GK standing at the roadside.
I shouted at him and he cheered me on.
Then a cramp started on my right side.
I slowed down and employed heavy breathing. It subsided.
I slammed on the gas pedal.
I crossed 15K in 1:08. Two mins slower than my target time.
That was fine with me because I was still strong. I sped up. I passed the old man in black vest and shorts at 18K. i was surprised - he had improved! No sight of our guy.
Then a stitch. I slowed down and it disappeared. I sped up. Cramps on my left swarmed in.
I slowed down. It subsided but never left me for the rest of the race. So I just breathed deeply, clenched my jaws and avoided speeding up. I finished while I was still strong and it was clear I had a lot left in the tank.
The results: My total time was 1:37:45 and below are my 1K splits. From the 16th K, the cramps had me cornered and I just hang in there and gritted my teeth to the finnish line.
But the cramps are not really a big factor as far as my performance. This performance reflects my current fitness level. I doubt that I could have gone sub 1:35 even without the cramps so I am fine with this - I had about four bad kilometres. So I am happy about it. Its my PB.
Last year, I did the same route in 1:48:55 so I have met my goal, which was to slash 10mins from that time.
I know I could have been faster but that is fine because this is not the last race, or my last race. I will build up on whatever speed I have. I just need to learn from it, adjust my training accordingly and move on. The most important thing right now is to note that my years target next year is to slash 10 mins from this years time.