Raych’s Running Diaries: My five Shadows

A hard training week-Raych running diaries
December 24, 2018
Raych running diaries: The runners traffic code
April 8, 2019

Day: Wednesday
Date: 6 February 2018
Time: 5.14am
Mood: pensive
Location: Kayahwe road – Dennis Pritt
Company: Night-Runners inc.
Event: Speed training
Mission: Run till your ears flap and your heart
rate is out of radar.
Intervals: 1km x 7 (7 times), with 2 min rest
after every lap

The sound of foot steps, in unison like soldiers at a parade drill. The party crosses the road, some remain on the road avoiding the uneven walkway, a few step up to the cabro paved pedestrian walkway. The story teller in the group, quite a narrator i must say, keeps a story going to ease the mood. This guy can give you stories about butterflies to the latest trends on Artificial Intelligence. I just don’t like when he conducts a Q&A session on the trail. I just like to listen when i run, not talk. I can’t quite hear the story as i lag behind my legs trying to get off ground (Still working on that little actually big problem i let you in on about lifting my legs.

The coach has prescribed more urgent drills with an upcoming race.) I get a little frustrated with the slow pace during warm. Patience. Usually, I warm up slowly sometimes very slowly getting pushed behind the pack. It doesnt bother me (unless on race day) because when the legs lighten, I zoom out and do my thing. 3km warm up done, lap press to start the 7 laps of 1km each sprints..1/7, 2min rest. 2/7, 2 min rest, 3/7, 2 min rest, 4/7….my heart is pounding so hard, my mind is flagile, i feel the push, i feel blood rush in the right places to deliver oxygen to the
muscles, i feel the pain on my quads, i want to stop but i can’t am on a good momentum stopping is not an option….it’s tough, it’s supposed be tough. Train hard race easy right?. A yellow school bus coincidentally belonging to my sons’s school drives past me and for a second i think i saw the little dudes. But i left them snoring… besides they don’t use the bus..atleast not today…i want to be those tots dozing off their seats holding on to their colourful ben 10 and winnie-thepooh school bags. Am sprinting on the 5/7 and i see two shadows behind me. One must be mine, the second an unwelcome stranger ” please pass”. I mean no one should be that close behind you…especially not on a speed training day.

The rear faculty apparatus after this kind of strain could let loose, your tights could give way along the seam, you may need to bend over for some air or to direct oxygenated blood to your head ( my natural reaction at the highest peak on hillwork days) or a slay trail queen habit – to check if your fake toe nail is in place, (Check Chapter 5 on how i lost my big toe nails – “Memoirs from my marathon races”). Worse you dont want someone taking a hike on your back at this point. I hear no foot steps and realise I have two shadows of myself. I get a false pride and smile. I see another and another and another 5 shadows of myself. How is this possible? Am convinced my head is going nuts. The speed work. The two trim lads run towards me and am now very convinced that am loosing my sanity. Were we not all running one direction- clockwise. How come they were now running towards me, anti-clockwise? Did i spin and loose direction? I keep going and at 7/7, i feel like my world is ending. Not today. Not before Valentine day. It’s my last lap and am going to give it my best kick. I can do this.

The 5 shadows are domineering, growing in height, changing in form and intensity as the headlights from coming cars light up,dim and the street lights loose their glow. They seem to be cheering me on. I run fast, away from them. Quickly i loose them, nothing is blinding me, am off giving my all of what’s left…the road is Clear, the finish line in sight .It reminds me of the 2018 London marathon Finish by the Legendary Eliud Kipchoge, he takes the last turn in view of a cheerful crowd, the finish line in full view, the sun scorching but holding it’s heat for this man, too fast for the pacers, they drop off one by one, the resolve on his face, unstoppable, it’s his all now not tommorrow not the next minute ,now, it matters now because the seconds are ticking , seconds count in breaking the world record. Back to me, on Kayahwe road tough lap..but no am tougher, am the master of it,..slowly, the count down on the last lap and i smile…4,3,2,1…DONE! 2 min rest…average speed of 4.39 min/km for lap7/7. It’s my best lap today. It’s my best lap in all my 1km laps speed sessions. Later in the week i shall need to hang on to this achievement when things turn out grim on track, when the legs refuse to lift off the ground. I shall learn the lesson of giving my best now, yes now not the next minute, next week, next year, but now. I shall learn the lessons on running away from your shadows, the things that blind you, that disorient you, that make you doubt your sanity. Go….go…fly away….let go….the finish line in sight….your best self now, this second, no shadows, no inhibitions….FINISH!. The feeling exhilarating! I want that feeling again and again, feels like i just landed in the galaxy. I want. I will. Let go, the shadows.

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