I had made sacrifices, taken some risks. Several risks, especially skiving work, and made adjustments in my diet that saw me shed 10Kgs.
So I had some great expectations.
I had changed my training and basically borrowed ideas from Mark's training. I mainly increased both the distance and intensity of my long runs and killed doubles and reduced speed runs.
Having Mark as a training partner to compare notes with and motivate myself helped a great deal and helped me through the low moments when I felt like slacking or giving up or just becoming one with the masses. That helped a lot. Thanks Mark. Running, distance running in particular, is a very solitary sport and every other day, one is confronted with the question, Why am I doing this again? And one will always want to quit. Or take an undeserved or unscheduled rest. But one needs eternal vigilance in order not to quit. A running partner can help in this. The reason I will not quit is because in running I have found myself. I have found strength. I have discovered who I am made of and it has enriched my life beyond my expectations. It has made me so strong and increased my self esteem and confidence and my happiness index has soared because of running so no way, no how, I am gonna hang my boots.
Besides runs where I have totally bombed to the extent of almost not being able to make it home by myself, I have dealt with injuries this year bro. Wa! Calf injuries (early in the year), shin splints (to a lesser degree - thanks to heel-toe walks), psoas injuries gave me total hell, my adductors literally killed me and made me pee in pain and cry like a baby. Well, almost. Then my hip flexor injuries made me feel like I was cut in half at the waist and I could feel like any moment, this body of flesh and bones could collapse into a senseless un-coordinated hip anytime and then early this week, a hamstring injury which I managed with RICE and painkillers - taking Ponstan Forte even became as common as taking lunch. We were on the brink of becoming junkies!
We even started peddling it: I told Mark about it - Mark had a psoas injury. Mark gave it to Jemmo (hip flexor injury) and Ochibo (twisted ankle) so it was passing around like cocaine.
Man, this sport!
So its been a tough year. I ran through the injuries. Several times, I alighted from a motorbike walking like a bugger with a grenade up his ass. Many times, I limped in the office - careful not to attract attention - and there is plenty of attention lying idle waiting to be attracted in the office. Often times, I alighted from the car and had to start by walking slowly lest I stretch something already stretched.
Let me not bore you with that. Lets get to the race, shall we?
One thing I have learnt this year is that carbo loading is crap. I don't know where people get that idea from.
Okay, lets get to the race.
I was up at 5:30am. Black coffee and two slices of white bread. Three cups of coffee. Took plenty of water when I started entertaining the fear that coffee may be a diuretic.
I left my car @ Boruras place and we walked to the venue. No signs of Ogutu, Mark or Abo. We took some photos with Borura then I left my stuff @ left Luggage area - most disorganized fellows ever!
So anyway, I pee and head to the startline.
Then I leave the startline and pee again in the Portaloos and I see Mark going to the start like and I shout three times calling him. He doesn't hear. I don't get to a good position. I get to see Ogutu and wish each other luck just before the gun goes off and we are off!
The start is crowded. Very crowded. So its all about elbowing for space, ignoring the irritated looks of strangers and rushing to every open space.
The first Km is very slow: 4:26. But I am not too worried. I feel great.
Okay. So whats the gameplan?
Game plan is to first mentally divide race into three segments.
Each 7K should be done in under 30mins coz we are aiming at sub 1:30.
I find the yoyo guy who kicked my butt in Ndakaini at the end of the 1st K and give him a thumbs up. He acknowledges. He has a lean guy jumping up and down next to him. This lean guy seems to be using him as a rabbit. I watch that leaping style of running and I note that this guy cant go far coz that style is simply unsustainable. Too much wasted energy.
I settle in next to him and we go for another 800m.
My presence seems to challenge him. He paces up. I glance at my garmin. I am within pace so I let him go. I stick about 50mins behind him.
I look around. I cant see Mark, Ogutu, Borura, Abo, etc. There is plenty of energy around and in all shapes, sizes, genders and presentations. Some Gor Mahia junkies behind us are singing praise songs for Gor. I pass some lean lady. Several ladies. Several guys. Lean ones, fat ones. Some also pass me. The air is crisp. The weather is perfect. Perfect.
Now, I am also well hydrated. Well, rested and I have energy and I have trained and I have dressed well, I have got shoes to die for, my garmin is working like a state-of-the art garmin and I have room and the tarmacs grip is glorious. And I have settled into some decent pace. So all I have to do is stick to my target pace, dont fall asleep and dont do anything crazy either. Just go by feel and maintain the required speed. If by 16K you still feel strong, hammer the sucker!
The first 7K I am well under 30 mins so I am cool.
At about 8K, I see Mark ahead. This guy must have started fast! I ask him if he is ok and he says he is not doing too well and he tells me to roll on. I pass him and the yoyo guy at University way. Now my focus is on doing 14K in sub 1 hour.
The museum hill hill is challenging as expected but I recover and manage the 14K in under 60 mins.
Now I need to focus on the last 7k. I am impressed on forest road at how the local Indian community have come out to support the marathon.
The yoyo guy and some guy with a No pain No Gain TShirt pass me at the 16th Km. I keep them 50m ahead.
After Uhuru park, its kinda hilly but I give my very best and I push as hard as I can to keep up and to meet my target. I give everything I have. My garmin registers 21K just before we enter the stadium and I complete in 1:30:02. So I miss my target by about three seconds. I know Stanchart will probably give me a 1:32 but I am ok with that. Average pace, 4:17 min/Km.
I will take it coz this is a PR. The distance the organizers use is probably 21.4 from what it seems. We shall see. Here are my Splits:
At any rate, I am happy with my performance. I had no stitch, no injury, no fall or anything that stopped me from giving 100%. I didn't hold back and so I don't have any "what ifs" and I am glad that I have finally reached 90mins. Now I have to go below it. That is next years goal when I will be targeting 1:25. My average pace in 2012 Stanchart was 4:39 (time was 1:37:49). This year its 4:17, an improvement of 22 seconds. I am aiming at 3:58 next year, an improvement of 19 seconds.
Onwards to 2014 Fellas! Keep rolling!