2009 Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon. I finished in a time of 2:57:29, one minute slower than 2008…..a rather disappointing race.
I travelled from Embu to Nairobi on Saturday. When I arrived in the city I realised I had forgotten my racing short back home and I had to buy a new short. Luckily I had arrived early and I had time to go shopping and buy a new Reebok short.
A friend of mine was working at the marathon secretariat and he invited me to the offices. The lifts at the building were not working and I was forced to walk up nine floors.(what a waste of my energy)
Instead of staying in a hotel I stayed at the home of my childhood friend Alex who lives a walking distance from Nyayo Stadium, the start and finish area of the marathon. Alex and his girlfriend Miriam were running the half marathon.
The first kilometres were fast. I had trained to run at a pace of 4 minutes a Kilometre. I had hoped to see a 5K mark and calculate whether I was within my pace but I never saw any markings of distance. In the runners guide it was indicated there would be markings every 5K but this was lacking on the course. SHAME ON THE ORGANISERS! Without markings I just followed the fast moving crowd and made my own mental estimates.
As usual my breathing was hard at the start but I knew things would get better and easier the longer I kept running. After 1 hour of running my breathing never got easier, I guese I was running faster than my planned pace. After 1 hour 15 minutes we hooked up with the half marathon crowd and the course now got more crowded. I found myself weaving from side to side trying to overtake the half marathon runners.
I got back at Nyayo stadium at 1 hour 35 minutes, at this point the half marathon runners headed towards the finish line while the full marathon runners were supposed to repeat the circuit. After parting with the half marathon crowd, I looked ahead of me and shocked to see an almost empty road, it was clear many of full marathon runners had decided to drop out of the race at that point. The idea of repeating the circuit was too bitter to swallow for many runners!
Doing the second circuit was hard because I was running alone. It is at this point when it started raining and I remember at one time I thought………this sucks am done with marathons!……… Although my legs were feeling fine my chest was having a harder time. Make no mistake, I wanted to go faster…I would look at my watch and say ok legs, lets speeeeedup! and I would think I was going faster, but then I would check the watch a little while later and, nope, no faster!
After 2 hours and 10 minutes of running I got at the final turning point and I was now on the home stretch. At this point I could feel the smell of fresh bread from a bakery on the route. The smell of bread induced a feeling of hunger. I started having this imagination of eat a post race meat pie. I guese I was getting delusional!
As the clock hit 2.40, the finish line was out of sight and it was clear my goal of 2.45 finish was way way out of reach. My target now was to atleast match my PB.At this point I met up with Miriam, my friend’s Girlfriend. The half marathon was proving too hard for her to handle. As I overtook her she tried to run after me begging me to wait for her……….I just couldn’t…nothing personal!
Luckily for me a determined young lady who had an elite badge on her chest caught up with me at this point. I chased her tooth and nail. Although it was physically hard on me she kept me on my toes. She was my white knight, she pulled me to the end. We crossed the finish line together at 2 hours 57 minutes 26 seconds. Uh! what a relief. At least I stayed under 3 hours.
After The race
My recovery has astonished me. Two days after the race and am feeling like I can run another marathon next weekend.
With the 2009 Marathon gone I can’t wait for next year. 2010 I will have another opportunity to get a crack at it. 2.45 is my target.