I arrived in Mwanza today.
Geographically, Mwanza should be Kenyas Kisumu. But its more like Mombasa in terms of lifestyle and the architecture of the dwellings.
I sought out their nearest stadium since the roads dont seem to have non-tarmacked sections. And I really dont want to kill my knees.
And so I was pointed in a vague direction. I told the receptionist not to worry too much. I will find it.
And I did. After all, changaa drinkers are able to find changaa dens in new territories quickly and efficiently.
So runners must also be able to find running places quickly and efficiently.
It was a nice field. Nyamananga stadium. Stone wall, a dirt pitch, three gates and some grass at the edges.
Exactly what I needed.
But there was no one on the pitch.
It was about 5:30pm but it was still hot. Nobody to even kick a football here? Hmmmm....
Then I noticed a line of several guys, about twenty of them, seated in the shadows, backs leaning against the stone fence. Talking, lounging, sprawled, moving amongst themselves and chatting. In Nairobi, if you spot idle youth in such a large number, that is a danger zone and you should get the fuck out.
The very fact that there was no one in this beautiful field was a sign that I had walked into a den of addicts.
Some were huddled in pairs, about four pairs but the main groups were two and they all stayed away from the sun. Thats why I call them vampires.
I didnt make eye contact with them. I warmed up for two laps. Soaking up every detail, picking up their body language and demeanour. I just wanted to project confidence, and to show them that their presence dint bother me: they were like a fly on the wall for me and I was not there because of them.
I spotted burst condoms, several syringe papers, several strings and general lack of energy from them. These guys were like zombies. There were no spirited, energetic fights that young guys engage in when they are in such groups. No shouting matches. Just a buzz, like guys in the market place. Tired eyes watched me.
After evaluating the material culture of what was dropped on the field while stretching and picking up their body language, I knew I could run here without any problem. If any misguided punkass addict approached me, I would roll with them so fast, they wont know what happened.
So I did 6K in 4:01, 4:08, 4:08, 4:12, 4:03, 4:31. I wanted to do 1000m x 10
But when I did 4:31, I decided to pull the plug. It was just too freakin hot and the heat was taking a rapid toll on me. Plus, I had chosen not to take a decent lunch so I was weak. I took it. Stretched and walked back to my hotel room.
These guys have a serious drug problem. Probably worse than Mombasa because in Mombasa, at least kids still play football. Here, every bugger is just there for the needle.
I will do two tempo runs then wait for Sunday.