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It’s do-or-die as marathon training hits home stretch

Sunday December 1 2019

MARATHON

After taking part in a race that took forever to end, Pius ruled out anyone running 42km, including himself. ILLUSTRATION | JOHN NYAGAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MWALIMU ANDREW
By MWALIMU ANDREW
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When Pius invited me to run in The Kakamega Forest Marathon, I settled on 42km. There was no question about that.

Look, I am a healthy and energetic man with a fine, tall, athletic body. What will I be doing running 21km, or even 10km?

How can I leave Mwisho wa Lami to go all the way to Kakamega just to run for 21km? Or anything less? Not me.

And the heart remained committed to do 42km in record time. I wanted to run in less than 1hr, 59 minutes. I was keen to prove to the world that no man is limited.

But while my heart and mind were focused on breaking Eliud Kipchoge’s famous record, the body had other ideas. Totally different ideas.

The first conflict between the mind and the body was the distance. Like I told you, I believed the watch that Pius was using to measure distance was erroneous.

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You will remember our very first training session when we ran and ran and ran. I am sure we did over 30km, only for the watch to say we had done 8.8km.

FITNESS SESSION

I know we were slow and walked most of the time, but we could not have taken two hours to cover just 8.8km.

The same happened in subsequent runs but I was not worried because we were training for long distances and I knew the marathon would be shorter.

Three weeks ago, we had a session where Pius wanted to decide how many kilometres each of us could run.

After taking part in a race that took forever to end, he ruled out anyone running 42km, including himself.

“I have run 42km before but right now I am not prepared,” he said. “Such requires thorough preparations. I will just do 21km.”

He said only Rumona (my brother Ford’s beautiful wife) could do 21km. “You will take long but I think you will finish 21km in a decent time,” he told her. “Don’t worry, I will be with you every step of the way.”

He added that Rumona had a habit of starting too fast, and depleting her energy quite early. “I will pace-make for you so you can reserve enough energy to finish the race.”

“As for you four,” he said looking at Nyayo, Kuya, Tito and myself. “I would recommend 10km. I know you will struggle but you will finish.”

SUSPICIOUS AGENDA

I asked him about Fiolina, the laugh of my envious life. “She has only trained once,” he said. “If she trains well, she can easily do 10km, or even 21km. But due to poor preparations, I would recommend 5km.”

As for Bensouda, Pius recommended that she runs 5km, if she must run. “If I were her, I would just walk 1km and go back home. She doesn’t need a marathon to do that; she can just walk at home!”

I did not need a calculator to know that Pius was up to something. How did he decide that he would be running with Rumona every step of the way?

What was he planning? Remember we would be running in a forest. If Pius had other plans with Rumona, he should have looked for other opportunities, and not the marathon.

I told him off as I had prepared well and would not let anyone dismiss my many hours of meticulous training.

Pius reminded me that the distance from Mwisho wa Lami to Kakamega was just 33km. “You would still need to add another 9km after Kakamega if you want to do 42km,” he said.

I reminded him that I had cycled to Kakamega many times to collect my salary. “And how long did you take?” He asked.

About four hours but that is because of the many hills on the way and the fact that I stopped at many places to thank my body for working hard.

TRAINING PROGRAMME

I agreed with him that 42km was quite long, but insisted on running 21km. He accepted reluctantly.

Clearly, he feared that I may disrupt the plans he had with Rumona in the forest! Rural Swaras’s line-up was settled on — Pius, Rumona and I would do 21km; Tito, Nyayo and Kuya would attempt 10km; while Fiolina and Bensouda would run for 5km.

With that settled, we embarked on serious training for the last week before the marathon.

Pius had left a programme to be followed but everybody ignored it except Rumona and yours truly.

Monday — Rumona and I went for a fairly long run. We went past the school, and the market.

By the time we thought about coming back home, we were too far away. So we hired a boda-boda that ferried us back.

Tuesday — It was a day for cross training. Google showed me that, it meant gym work. We have no gym in Mwisho wa Lami.

But Pius taught me that I could improvise cross training using simple furniture in the house.

I went to Rumona’s house. We closed the door and did a number of exercises together — squats, press-ups, push-ups, planking, weights, among others. It was around 11am when I left her place. Very tired.

MOMENTOUS DAY

Wednesday — This was a hill workout day. We went to a steep place in Mwisho wa Lami, where we would walk down and run up at a fast speed.

Thursday — Rest day. I stayed indoors with Fiolina. I planned to go visit Rumona but Fiolina wouldn’t let me leave the house.

Friday — Tito, Nyayo, Kuya, Fiolina, Rumona and I ran for some time. Bensouda had dropped out. At around mid-day, Fiolina, Rumona and I boarded a Kakamega-bound bus — Msamaria Mwema.

Kuya and Tito planned to travel using a motorcycle later on. With my motorcycle — the one Nyayo uses — spoilt, Nyayo planned to ride a bicycle to Kakamega.

We checked into some hotel. Pius arrived at around 5pm. He gave us our running T-shirts and numbers then disappeared with the beautiful Rumona. I have no idea where they went.

I had wanted to take Fiolina out that evening, but Pius warned me that we needed enough rest on the eve of the marathon.

So Fiolina and I retired to bed early. But for obvious reasons, we slept late.

I woke up yesterday feeling energetic and ready to go prove to the world that no man, however limited, is limited.

So how did Rural Swaras perform. Stay here next week for the details.

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