Snooze 5 minutes ,alarm rings again…..dismiss…snooze…dismiss…snooze…wake up!
Species:Human of female gender, 38yrs, 6’5, weight 64kgs, colour of eyes:dark chocolate, mission in moshi – unknown
brain function: sleep mode.Low power. Refresh. Fail. Restart. Loading… Moshi mission: kilimanjaro marathon race day.
I jump out of bed like am alighting from a swing or a double decker bed, use of unnecessarily energy. I almost hurt my heel. Bathroom visit for a critical ritual, back a few grams lighter, say a prayer (give thanks, my boys, the race, a pb, a medal, and…hee…heee a kili podium ﬁnish …i believe in miracles..Amen)
This will mark the beginning of a rough day straight from the soft white starched linened bed to the dusty, hot coveted ﬁnish line at the Moshi stadium.
Quick shower, sunscreen, vaseline in all friction prone zones, kit up, race up, garmin watch on wrist, my charm drink on hand. Out.We gather at the hotel lobby with fellow club mates, a runner is pinning his bib on his tee, another takes a huge sweet potato bite and mashes it down their throat with a gulp of coffee, another is mixing up a concoction of coke with some satchet contents, shakes the bottle, divides it into two bottles and adds a pinch of something, maybe some herbs from his grandma, a good luck charm of some sort. He seems to have mastered this art. The kind who tells you that a pinch of powder is equal to 1.1765 grams. God help him i doubt he will pass the anti-dope tests.
Last time i saw such a concotion was at my “cucus” (grannies) on a cold April evening, when my two brothers and I overindulged in roasted cassavas and all we did was rub our portruding tummies and line up at the latrine. Grannie mixed some herbs, ash and lemon leaves forcing it down our throats while pinching our tiny noses, no wonder we have dented noses to date. She was a mau mau ﬁghter that one, she lives on today at 97. I miss her pinching my nose but with her shaky hands and loss of memory that’s now history. Years later i tried this “nose strategy” to feed our ﬁrst born son and the boy spit on my face not to mention the look i got from my mister. Next, the child welfare ofﬁcer would show up our door. Not recommended. Besides cant be a family of dented noses.
We warm up to the start line. Determined faces intermittently giving way to nervousness, a quick bathroom rush, a selﬁe here, a dance there, but all focused to pound moshi roads the real kenyan style, catch me if you can. The sun is quickly rising, heating up the ground conscious of the few minutes remaining for the start gun to go off. This will be a hot day, the ground is heating up so fast, the tarmac shining back on my face. My vision is blurred by the shining sun and my forehead is getting scorched. Small problems, i got smeared enough sunscreen so am good. The sun is leading on ahead.
I had it all or atleast most of it ﬁgured out. The marathon route. I had trained put in my best and enjoyed my training season. Even the pestering heel pain that has effortlessly tried to ﬁnd residence on my right foot during trainings was mum. I was ready.
Two lean bald headed dudes in tight yellow luminous stripped shorts are yelling to each other that the route has changed. Am diagonally sandwiched between them, conscious i dont get too close lest we stumble on each other. Good place to eaves drop. I have to keep up to follow this conversation. Information critical. They drop the discussion about the route as the shorter one with a feminine looking derrier slows down to pull up his shorts for a comfortable ﬁt. The sun is scorching and every minute it gets hotter like it’s out to melt brains. I realise this route is deﬁnitely not what i had anticipated but am convinced that there are better times ahead.
Steer on and at the 21st am face to face with a hill that looks like peaking to the skies. I know too well how this will go. The second and ﬁnal 21km lap. Tears well my eyes. I see my good girlfriend trying to hand me some water, her imagination of my pain is clear on her face but she seems to say dare you give up. I badly want to stop. Am halfway and my body is feeling pushed to its limit. I cant do this. Why should i? 21kms is good enough. I can’t push. This mark. This 21km mark is my hole. I was here yesterday to say a prayer for Charlie. Now i need a prayer. I try say a hail mary. Even then i cant go on. My mind is crowded. Am loosing hope. But why, I’ve trained i knew this wasnt going to be easy. But i didn’t know the route will change, who puts a 20km climb on a 42km marathon course on the hottest day on earth.Who does that? The runners jury awaits you.
Yes. 3 March was the hottest day on earth but only recorded in Moshi. No wonder my friends running in Tokyo around the same time were drenching wet from the rain. Mr. sun you overstayed your visit you forgot to move over to Asia. You burnt my chocolate skin. You were joined by your siblings to spectate. Yes you shone on beautiful Kili. The beauty glowed, white capped, melting down slowly to a welcoming smile. You made me stop, because you wanted me to notice you. I noticed you the minute you shone but melting my will power, vaporing away my determination, leaving me stripped of all my energy. That was the greatest force on my resolve. You forced me to stop once, twice many times. You forced me to walk. You burnt me. In all the interesting places. I have scars to show. The scars itch. I pray that they heal. As they heal i will forgive you. The scars shall be a constant reminder of the day i reached my limits. Or so i thought. That’s why it was painful. That’s why i teared. That’s why you melted me. To soften me and stretch me. You made me dig deeper into mental tunnels of will power i never knew exist. And that is the best thing that ever happened. The sweetness i feel, the release from the conﬁnement of my ability happened on the earth’s hottest day 3 March 2019 at the ﬁnish line of 2019 Kili marathon after 4 hours 25 minutes.
This was the toughest run i have ever done. It tested my natural positive resolve to the maximum. I wanted to give up, not once not twice, a lot of times. As i pen this, am the happiest soul, it was my hardest of all the 3 marathons i have done, but it “unlocked” my potential to what i can do. My play ﬁeld just became larger. I just graduated to tougher battles. Curse the “suns” in your life, you are only human. Run away from them, Sorry they burn from all angles and on all the “interesting places”. They will leave scars. Painful scars. But you need that tough skin melted away to a newness of you.
I was ready. I had trained well but tough days do come. And the sun shall shine when, how and where it wishes. It shall remain a sphere of hot plasma at the center of the solar system. I can’t neither can you change that like many things.
” sweat dries up, blood clots, bones heal suck it up princess!”
The journey to the next start line….starts here…move on..