Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ndakaini 2013 Race Report

Tomorrow I wont be running so, as my friend Rob would say, lets blog this sucker.

I didn't sleep much last night. But this is normal and does not affect performance so I just lingered in the wakeful dreamworld waiting for the God of sleep to lull me to sleep. He took his time but eventually got to work.
I fell asleep (real sleep) at about 3am and woke up at 5:17 am. I had set the alarm to wake me up at 5:25 am but I am glad I woke up at 5:17 am. Two and a half cups of Uji and three slices of bread and some water and that was it. Nothing too crazy.
I had got my running crew some bananas, oranges, Yogurt (vanilla), sodas, fruit buns, 1 litre sparkling Dasani, some bread and scones. Fuel and hydration after the Ndakaini run.
I steered clear from my weighing scale because I have been in Naivasha the whole week eating five star hotel food and I suspected myself of having misbehaved so I didn't want to go to the race having confirmed to myself that I had added weight.
Finally beginning to look like a runner, not a (kick)boxer

All my guys confirmed they would be coming and so I knew it would be fun. Mark, Jemmo and myself were nursing various injuries. With mine being the least painful. Some groin crap. Damn annoying. But I digress... I also needed to go attend a funeral of my wife's auntie and so on but first, the run. We got to meet Kay, Abo's beautiful wife, who told us to make sure Abo clinches the 2500/= and we promised we would and accepted her well wishes.
After everyone had settled in the car, with Mark sharing some Ponstan Forte with Jemmo, the question arose: Where in the hell is Ogutu?
The men in the car dialled his line and waited. Mteja, mteja, mteja. Had he been kidnapped? I realized that I didn't have his wifes number. How come? Yu Line? Mteja. Orange Line? Mteja. Safcom? mtejarest.
Sheeeit! I smsd him that we were leaving. Time? 6:40am.
Imagine that. 6:40am and the guy is mteja?!! He had some excuse later. Sijui he slept at three, Oooh, this, ooh that. Bla bla bla. The usual stuff. He should have read this poster:
Ogutu lost that race. A tragedy. Again.

So, Thika road was smooth as velcro. While swapping stories, we flew and found ourselves there at about 7:50am. Changed. Toilet thingy. Sipped some water and warmed up.
Mark, Abo and Jemmo proceeded to the start while I insisted my bowels had to be empty. Not taking no damn chances.
And I did exactly that.
Then I warmed up by jogging to the beginning, almost a kilometre away. I stood at the front with the freaking leaders and eyeballed some askaris with sticks hollering at us to step back and we stood there and stared at him. After some senseless delay, with the sun coming up and baking us, some shoving, a false start, more shouting and shoving, the gun went off and we were off.
I started my garmin after all the strangers had stopped clutching at my arms to steady themselves and to push open paths for themselves. Okey dokey. Lets hammer this sucker.

Mark was good enough to spot me before the gun went off and had tried spotting GK without success. After running for about a kilometer, I looked around and did not see Mark but I felt confident I would see him at some point. I hope the painkillers work for him, I noted.

So I settled into a fast pace. I knew the first 4K would be fast so I wasn't worried when my times were fast. I even thought I could break my 5K PB at some point. Of course the hill at 4K crushed that fantasy but I still insist it can be a reality next year.

I passed the old man who always wears black and has some funny shuffling running style. As if he is undecided or running on hot coals. And then there was this guy with muscular legs who ran with his arms scattered at his sides, like a chicken trying to fly. We ran for a while before I dropped him at around the 6K mark. I kept looking back. No sign of Mark. Maybe he was up ahead. I need to work harder! I kept my head down and hammered the sucker.

My strategy for the hills was simple: hammer them. If they hammer back, as in, if they get steep, stop hammering and use short quick steps until they come to an end. And the downhills? Accelerate down them suckers bro. You are strong enough to recover. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I rolled.

Compared to 2012, I was faster in all splits except for the 4th, 8th Km and the 18th Km.

At about 8K, a mzungu lady with a guy passed me. This is new, I thought. They had some nice, sober, non-threatening pace you see with seasoned runners. Good form though the guy seemed to be hunching his shoulders. And playing mother hen to the mzungu. They chatted on and off. Showing the rest of us mortals that they were just on a casual stroll. Maybe they were talking about why Putin didn't want Obama touching Syria or why a man should get married at the age of 42 and not 25. I tried to hang on with them but they opened a gap. Buggers. I kept them within 80 metres range and just ran behind them. Watching them like a hawk. I couldn't quite close the gap at first. Try as I did.

Wait, even before the mzungu, some guy with shaggy hair who I had seen at the start passed me at about 6k. I had no respect for him and thought he was some Yoyo fellow. Yes, you should not judge a book by its cover unless you dont mind ending up with the egg on your face. For the un-initiated, a yoyo fellow is basically a hip hop junkie who goes around saying yo, yo in greeting to every Tom Dick and Harry. Typically, a yo yo fellow is lazy, lame, weak and half assed as in sagging their pants to cut their asses in half.  I made a mental note to pass him later coz the speed he passed me with was off my pace. I never saw him till the race was over. In fact, within 400 metres of passing me, he was gone. Back to him later. Sonofa beech!

At the 11th Km, there was an extended downhill and I decided to let my shins go to hell. I passed the mzungu and her compatriot and at the flat section at the bottom of the hill, I even opened a gap. Who is the chicken now bro? Do Sumn'! When I looked back at them on an uphill, I saw Mark. Good, he was alright after all. I clocked the fastest time at that split: 3:44.

In a short while, the mzungu came back and passed me. Her and her running partner. Yes they did. Crowds cheered and giggled every time they saw her and she took it in stride. They were cheering her for kicking our butts - all the gasping and grunting niggers struggling behind her as she strode gracefully in black shorts and golden red hair. Poetry in motion and shit. But I was gonna pass them, poetry in motion or no poetry in motion. Let me shift gears...

I caught up with them after about two minutes and I told them I love their pace. The guy with her told me I ran too fast downhill, as if to explain why they were now passing me. Were they passing me? Yes. And they did pass me.
I hung back and kept them within eyesight. Who the hell was the guy to tell me whats too fast for me? Does he know my training? I was confident of passing them.

I did not.

At the 15.5K first killer hill, I lost sight of them. And that was that.
After the 16K hill, I accelerated towards the finish and my finish was strong. But I never saw the mzungu again until after the race was done. Anyways, didn't I say that was that?

She was interviewed by Wahiga Mwaura of Citizen and she looked very happy during the interview. She ran well. We agreed with Mark that she did well and she is one person to (attempt to) beat next year, if she will be there. She cleared about 1:38-1:40. I think. We cleared in 1:42. She acknowledged my compliments and waved when she saw us.
Next year, we are targeting Sub 1:35. You casual strollers with wazungu companions better take note.

After the race, while standing at the sidelines watching guys finish as I waited to see if Abo would clear in Sub 2:25 to collect the cash Kay talked about, the guy with shaggy hair approached me and told me we have met at Public service and he is a squash coach. I vaguely remembered. Oh yeah.
Squash coach? I asked him, feeling dizzy. I put my hand out and sat on the nearest hard object before a catastrophy could unfold.
You started very fast, he told me. Yeah, I said. Duh.
I told him I needed to sit down coz I was feeling dizzy. And I did. He appeared amused by my dizzy state. He should have. If I was him, I would be amused at seeing this grown-ass man dealing with dizziness like a punk.

So I asked him about his training and he said he goes here and there in his coaching and runs the 15K Parklands Marathon once every two months and he runs during weekends and he said he sees me at public service and likes my pace. Here and there? I repeated. And he also spoke about the Mr. Chicken run guy and his powerful legs and how he liked the entertainment caused by Mr Chicken's running style.
You finished in what time? I asked him.
1:35 he said. 1:35? Wow. I said.
I told him I did in 1:42. I sized him up. No garmin, no watch, no nothing, just a body suit and some cheesy shorts.
1:35, huh? Off some scattered, undefined training just like that? Amazing shit. How does this kind of stuff happen? There is something he is not telling me.
Anyway, he is a cool and solid guy. No yoyo crap. He just has that cheesy hairstyle. That's a guy to watch and chase after in Stanchart. He said he will be there.
So him and the mzungu lady were inspiring figures today. They challenged and inspired me. And kicked my butt. Royally.
Back to me. I ran well. Despite the sun, I used the wet sponges well and sipped water at every opportunity and poured the rest on my body. So the sun was not a factor in my performance as far as I am concerned. This is just where I am at, fitnesswise.
We took some photos after the run: GK is in the middle, mark in the cap and Jemmo on the extreme right. The guy in a white TShirt is a guy we rescued from a dizzy spell. We gave him food and somewhere to lie and he eventually had enough energy to stand and take a photo with us.

My shorts chafed my thighs but it was not such a big problem but thats something I need to figure out.
I absolutely gave my very best. And I was glad when I was dizzy after the run because it meant to me that I had cleaned my clock. And that is all every serious runner needs to do in a race: leave everything on the road. I cleared in 1:42:12 and Mark also finished shortly thereafter. We tried to go Sub 1:40 but we got what we got. I will take it. Thank you very much.

My weight is not bad, I am around 73Kgs so we are cool. Let me rest tomorrow and plan for Stanchart now. I rushed home, changed and rushed back to town to carch a shuttle to Kisumu. I got one by 3pm but my sweetheart felt it was too late plus, they wanted to leave for Nairobi at dawn tomorrow so really, it was pointless for me to travel that late. The upshot of it is that I missed the funeral and my wife is mad at me. She should see this guy:

Below is a comparison between my 2012 and 2013 run. I would say the improvement is huge and I am glad for that.
Km  2012       2013
1    04:36.7    04:00.7
2    04:23.3    03:54.1
3    04:12.3    03:58.5
4    04:23.4    04:31.3
5    06:07.8    05:33.8
6    05:28.9    05:08.2
7    05:10.7    04:45.3
8    05:06.1    05:14.9
9    04:32.5    04:12.8
10    06:45.0    05:55.6
11    04:20.8    03:44.0
12    06:06.4    05:33.6
13    05:27.2    04:58.8
14    05:03.7    04:48.9
15    05:02.1    04:50.5
16    06:35.1    05:57.3
17    07:08.8    06:40.6
18    04:07.5    04:11.2
19    05:03.3    04:52.1
20    04:42.1    04:32.8
21    05:15.6    04:39.0
Time 1:49:45  1:42:12 
Avg pace    5:13min/km 4:52min/km


mista maQ said...

That's quite an improvement...Iam sure if we ran side by side we cldve posted a better time and actually crushed the sub 100 mins plus the white chick. It's all good, all is not lost its an experience that will use in our quest to set new targets. Let's set a new record on the group run route and another for 30k. Congrats, u did well with the hills.

Running Writer said...

Thanks. At about 8k, we were about 5 seconds apart so at least, we still pushed each other even as I was chasing my rabbits. We didn't know how your injury would react when put under pressure but its good it responded well and you broke your Ndakaini PR too by several minutes. The fact that we beat even the guy who used to show us dust means your run was not shambolic at all. You are just good and maybe expect too much from yourself. Regroup. Refocus. Lets set our sights on new PRS and course records.

Anonymous said...

Great job! Do you have a watch???? that is posting your splits? or what are you using to time your splits? your report was interesting. Grace (Abo's sis)

Running Writer said...

Thanks Grace. I have a Garmin - thats a GPS-enabled watch that can measure, well, everything. You can also join Abo in his fitness journey.

Running Writer said...

Is that Grace the celeb?

Anonymous said...

Me and my families love to run and love the sorce of this page we do. Thank you for keeping us trying.