‘I can start training and get in shape for a quarter marathon with you guys,’ i excitedly said to my sisters in May 2013. I knew i could do it but it didn’t dawn on me then that the journey would be this amazing, inspiring and that i would eventually outdo myself. I especially anticipated an uphill task.
Its unbelievable how even after living in my neighborhood for close to 4 years, 5 months was all it took to really discover the beauty beyond my front and back yards, that familiar walking track i tread every morning and evening, the mundane driveway * I honestly believe i can maneuver it eyes shut* The only real variation occurs when the trees acquire the alluring autumn colors that i fall for repeatedly. Then comes the first snow, that white carpet morning. Magnificent.*That is before the minuses hit* And just when am thinking, i can’t last another jacket or winter shoe or frozen fingers or….i hear a bird chirp, or so i think. Two days later, i spot a tiny impeccable bud, the trees are coming back to life. Spring time. Time to wear less, have my jeans sag from the weight of street puddles *winter meltdown* the numerous under dress incidents, occasional smiles and eye locking on the streets serves as a reminder that summer’s knocking. I just added one more reason to yearn for the season of the lights.
So, my countdown *right side of my blogs timeline* caught my attention in my last week of training. It begun sinking that my run was indeed here. This time round, it was not for 10km but my very 1st half marathon. Quite chaotic i must say, not knowing how long my pre-run should be, the fear of wearing myself out, what to eat and not eat, when to eat, how much water to drink, if my running shoes were perfect……and then my thoughts would shift to the running track. Porvoo is naturally a beautiful summer town so i knew it was not going to be a let down.
So, team mims and i started off from Turku 01.09 at
8am 9am *frowns* the drive on the E18 was nothing close to ordinary, characterized by fickle weather conditions and a lingering jittery feeling that we would ran late *we should really do better* the ambience in the car however impelled a feeling of positivity for the day. In no time, we were in Espoo then familiar signs like Koivula and after one or two wrong turns Porvoo welcomed us with its summer splendor.
The time 11:45, my ran 12:00 *panic* i had to register, change *was dressed more for the summer than the run* pee, yes badly needed to pee, warm up and self hypnotize. All this in 15 minutes. Well, you guessed right, not possible. So there was no time for warm up. I was in a frenzy but still managed to be at the start line at 12.
As a result of no warm up my first 3kms were hell, no amount of self hypnosis was working. My body and mind were revolting against me but i knew i was going to conquer them. Calmness checked in when the track opened up to this beautiful array of boats docked on the river *did i mention i looove boats* in that moment of calmness and daydream my body and mind broke even and i was in the game. At this point my tracker updated my distance at 4kms. My first water point was in vicinity. I grabbed a power drink and soldiered on, all this while expecting a cramp on my side or knee discomfort or… nothing *was accustomed to this during training* Smiled and reminded myself not to get too excited i still had 18kms to cover.
The track then led me into an expanse of brick red wooden houses, an interconnectedness that would make one conclude that the inhabitants knew each other on first name basis. The tapping of other runners feet on the asphalt jilted me back just in time to gear up for an uphill climb. There was no room for drifting off. My time was quite good *for a first timer* at 6kms in 33mins, well energized and no physical complains my medal was beckoning. A right turn, murram road through a forest, the smell of water and sand; we open up to the most amazing view of a lake on one side and a row of beach houses on the other *tempted to stop and take pictures* this stretch ended my 9th km. I revitalized my energy level at the second water stop and celebrated my almost half way there.
My mind shifted back to my run, i started wondering where team mims was, and what they were upto; i was empathetic for their having to drive 230km just to hang around for 2.15hrs *my target time* as a sign of team mims solidarity. I had a lump in my throat and it had nothing to do with dehydration. I was going to finnish this ran *extra mojo* So when my tracker indicated 10km in 58mins i was utterly proud of myself, simple calculations pointed out that i would easily hit my target *all things constant* the clouds were beginning to well up and there was a very suggestive wind and i knew any rain wouldn’t aid my run because i considerably rely on bifocals. So i crossed my fingers, said a prayer and wandered back to……only to be jolted by cheering and screaming by team mims. That feeling will remain with me eternally, as i ran past them *they even ran alongside me* I had a Kemboi moment. I now know the burden of carrying your country’s flag *team mims became my flag* With renewed energy and valor, my remaining 11kms felt awe-inspiring short.
To complete the half marathon and claim my medal i had to circle the track a second time. This time i was well acquainted and therefore expected to improve my ran substantially.
Remember the fickle weather? the swift wind? well, it made good its promise. On my 15th km, the clouds gave way, it wasn’t hard and harsh it was gentle and steady. Perfect! I started battling rain drops aimed directly at my eyes *as if to taunt me* straining my visibility. It ultimately subsided but had its toll on my time. I was at 19kms in 2.05hrs i knew my 2.15hrs target was slowly dwindling. I set a new target and pushed on. As i winded my last 3kms i celebrated this milestone with great pleasure and concealed emotion *there were no tears* i did it and i had my team *best friends* to witness, nudge and share it with me.
As i crossed the finnish line, i was full of energy and when the cramping and lethargy i had anticipated failed to strike i knew i had prepared well. I embraced my medal and as i put it in my purse, i was admonished ‘that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither bread to the wise, or riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all‘