2006 was the year when I ran my first 42K marathon. I had never run such a long distance before but I had all the qualification for a runner, desire, determination and willingness to learn.
How to train
I started my training mid August, that is 2 and a half months to the Nairobi marathon. Just like every novice runner I didn’t know how to train, for running advice I turned to reliable internet sources here, here and here.
Nairobi marathon has 10K, the half marathon and the full marathon. In my marathon training I did a 10K run, and I felt it was too easy for my body, I then did a half marathon which I finished comfortably and my feeling was “not challenging enough!” So I registered for the full marathon.
My training was to clock as many kilometres my body could handle. I never tried any special diet, just eating a balanced diet.
One week to the marathon my left knee was aching and I was worried I would not be physically fit for the marathon. I did everything I could to heal it, massage, jogging on grass and even praying. The pain miraculously disappeared during the week.
Organizers offered free transport from Nairobi City to the starting point 500 meters away on the outskirts of Nairobi City. The transport was slow and unreliable so I jogged to the start point.
I just arrived when the announcer on Public Address system announced all marathon runners to assemble at starting points. I quickly changed into my running gear and put on my electronic chip.
Me Versus Opposition
At the starting point I compared myself against the opposition and the fear I had of finishing last were wiped out after I saw many pot bellies against my lean body. The only doubt in my mind was if I was capable of finishing. The runners were flushing smiles, waving at cheering friends
Marathon 2006: Here we come
Once the starting gun was shot every runner burst cheering and surged forward. I was behind and among the last to cross the starting line.
I started running slowly and gradually raised my speed. Along the away I saw a guy wearing an interesting T-Shirt written NO MONEY NO HONEY. At the 10K mark I was feeling strong and stepped speed even faster.
The Nairobi marathon is a loop and you have to run it twice. The 21K mark was back at the starting point, I saw many runners drop at this point, and the idea of repeating the circuit was too painful for some.
My first mistake
I persevered for the second leg. At around the 25K mark, a white female runner I had seen at the starting point caught up with me and I decided to run with her. This was a big mistake, She kept going and going and I pushed hard and hard to keep up. She had a well toned body and looked pro. At the 30K mark I gave up chasing her and I watched her disappear ahead
I hit the Wall
After the 30K mark it was all down hill for me. I felt the effects of overworking my body chasing the female athlete. My legs ached and I felt tired. At this stage I saw a runner falling off and being carried away for first aid.
At the 37K mark my legs were down and out and I broke my first promise, not to walk. I Walked a few meters then started running, then walked again. This time a runner caught up with me and joined me in the walk. We encouraged each other how the finish line was just around the corner.
My Final Time
Eventually I started running again, this time I jogged all the way to the finish line. My time 3hrs 26mins. That was the day realized “I have met my hero, and he is me.”