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Musings from a first time half marathoner

3rd November 2014

I begin my greatest lesson this week from a half Marathon. There are several and don’t want to bore anyone stiff on Sunday.

Last year at a time around this time I fiddled around with the idea of racing the Nairobi Marathon. I was at the peak of my fitness routine.Good Lawd my status updates at the time used to read five laps done, ten laps today. But I realized that though I was mentally prepared my body was not up to par. Determined I was if not this year, then next year it would be.

Lesson 1. Always begin with the end in mind. Where do you hope to see yourself in the next few months, one year, five years, a decade?

Lesson 2. Empower yourself and plan. I have gone through so much material on running  and fitness, I had to sacrifice my early Sunday mornings. I put it on my fb page so that everyone would hold me accountable and so it is with life whatever you dream of there is so much material under the sun to help you realize your goals. Search for it and use it.Tell a close friend of yours who will help you keep in check when off tangent.Plan, plan,plan.

So I got the best running shoes as advised by one M. Ndenga, got rid of the old pair. Got me some sexy tights and nice tshirts, away with frumpy running gear and began dressing and thinking like a marathoner.

Lesson 3. In life we have to get rid of baggage that bogs us down and not be afraid of trying new ways of doing things for optimum performance.Sometimes you need to fake it until you make it.

Every single Sunday morning I ran. Some times  just five laps but I kept on running. And I realized I kept on getting better with time. Ten laps were not enough any more. Laps were getting too many to count, I now gauged myself in kms.

Lesson 4. Consistency, keep on keeping on, every day we should be better than yesterday.

On average I ran 8km, on a really good day 13km. Once I did  15 km and I was like ‘wow!’ My average performance was somewhere around 11km, I had never run for 21km but I registered for 21km anyway, 10km would not be challenging enough. I remember smiling to myself at the Nakumatt and asking myself ‘Liz,you you gotta be kidding, remember you really hated crosso in Bush,right?’

Lesson 5. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone.
Notice that the effort of several days, months,years culminates in one day of sweet victory.

Then I asked my friends to support me for every kilometre I run they would support my mum’s project of needy children in Kibra.

Lesson 6. It’s not just about you,your actions impact other people too. Positively or negatively is really up to you.

Then Marathon day was finally here.

They came in all colours, ages, shapes and sizes…the marathoners that is. I picked out a few familiar faces. Some clustered in groups to say a prayer..alone I was, but I took a moment too to say a prayer. And the race began; I got first hand on the ground encounter of our lovely Nairobi. I took some photos and selfies too along the way. The toughest part was the overpass ascent and the route to and from the Pangani turnoff. After the 14 km mark I knew I was gonna make it.

Water was in plenty and I indulged in some choc stick along the way…I could not give up..Amazingly, I was not last neither was I first..but this was my timing…my finish..Sadly, some crossed the demarcation barriers took shortcuts but I kept at it. If I got the medal..I would hang it with pride for the full 21km done . At the 20 km mark one happy tear dropped; overwhelmed with joy, a photo for posterity I took. How else would my grandchildren know I ran a race? lol.

Finally, the finish line my treasured medal.An anticlimax of sorts…all the Sunday morning runs gone just like that!

So to set a higher goal,if the good Lord wills I plan to hit below 2hrs and 45 minutes next year or race a full marathon….run other marathons explore other courses.

Hence the following lessons:

Lesson 7.  Always put God first in your plans however mundane they may seem.

Lesson 8.  Get motivation from others..I believe I went further by being psyched up by all those other runners.

Lesson 9.  It is your race,your life, pace yourself, set your goals,go on accomplish them.

Lesson 10. It is never that serious..stop and take that photo, indulge in that choc stick, enjoy the scenery if your heart so wishes. You will never pass through this road again, so enjoy.

Yesterday’s success is irrelevant today,set new goals. Yesterday’s beauty queen, whiz kid, bonus etc is yesterday’s. Don’t be stuck in the past, don’t stay fixated on your past failures too I beg to add, keep on moving..raising the bar or removing it altogether.
The last Sunday of my biological year . A blessed new week to all!