The lagos MTN half marathon takes place on the 2nd of december, the highlight of my year . I have participated in the last 3, raising thousands of naira for charity in the process .Last year I raised 120,00 naira for my chosen charity 'Sponsor a child' this year I am afraid I am not going to be able to run .
Of course each year so far i have been petrified and still ended up doing it, so what has changed?
First of all lets go back to the first time i ran....Shortly after my thirtieth birthday feeling I was losing the edge to beer in the fitness stakes fresh back from holiday in Ibiza I latched on to running the marathon ....
I had done some marathon running in school i had represented my house and had not disgraced my self, and was reasonably fit from the session of marathon dancing "Ibiza style" and reckon my stamina levels were pretty decent. I got on the net ,found out all i needed to know to train, worked out i had just about enough time to get fit , drew up a time table and started training .
On my first Half marathon i shot out at the start of the race like a hare startled by a whippet, this was not my plan, which was unfortunate...
I was used to running on my own and found it hard running with the crowd , i needed to put some distance between me and the pack , bad idea ... by the time i hit 11km it was all over .
I had over 10 km to go and i was in bits ,the only thing keeping me up was the fear that i may be losing my memory, i knew i had already lost my mind ; and i wanted so badly to get home , there was absolutely no way that was going to happen if i gave up running some where in the middle of lagos island .
There had been a problem between the organisers and the state and we got off to a late start and had to run at the height of the midday sun .All that was missing were some mad dogs and english men , but i may be wrong .
I had lost all senses by now ,and was being carried by FEAR,REVULSION,and a huge dose of ADRENALIN. I made it in to the stadium with slightly more dignity than the stragglers you see on T.V ,those who come in all knock knee'd and vague ,I made it out of the main bowl, into the recovery area, got a load of water, poured it in and on my self and promptly COLLAPSED FLAT OUT ON THE FLOOR .I was brought round by some medics , tried to thank them , couldnt speak so walked of in search of food . I found a snack shop but discovered i still couldnt speak , after making a spectacle of my self ; if you have ever seen an 18 month old baby trying to get a point across you would know what i mean ... i was babbling badly .
I wandered off before they called the cops and tried to find my car , after aimlessly roaming about the stadium for what felt like a life time , i bumped into some friends... we had all started out together, but they had taken the scenic and sedate pace , and looked all healthy and in control, with their speech intact and their water bottles . I on the other hand was drenched from head to toe covered in mud and with pupils so dilated you could see straight in to my soul , my friends saved me . I got home to a hero's welcome raised 70000 naira for 'Sponsor a child',drank some guinness, DIED and went to heaven , I was hooked .
The next year I would fine tune my training (check out my time table and tips sheet ,http://www.lagosstar.com
)take the scenic sedate pace and run the race at a not brilliant 1hr 50mins , but at least I managed to maintain my composure .The worse thing about the race is the last bridge.'Carter bridge' this bridge as more twists and turns than a snake with indigestion .All this is new as you have never noticed it before , cause you zoom past in a car just looking at the view . The bridge links Lagos island with the mainland and skims over iddo island ,most people dont know Iddo was /is an Island, and when you have been running for an hour plus you really dont care .
There is also the view of the stadium to taunt you as you take each curve .It doesnt get better after the bridge, you want to stop ,you can no longer see the stadium and you dont care .
But the crowds wont let : they literally propel you on with their cheering as they form a tunnel which sucks you into the stadium .I managed to raise 90000 naira for 'Sponsor a child'.
Last year was my dream race .Missing out on training in Ibiza , I had taken the healthy option and trained in San Francisco, up and down those hills and in London following the river from kew gardens to Chelsea and beyond . I came back from holidays all refreshed and fit , messed around with training , got the normal last minute nerves but went ahead and ran in 1hr 11mins , was totally in control all the way and loved it .
This was finally me running the race as it should be run . Earlier in the year i had given up smoking and my training involved a lot of carbo-loading without any running , needless to say i was appalled when i saw some pictures with me in them .Runners are generally skinny people ,the fat drops off with the miles , I am not vain (dont ask my wife)but next to the average runner i looked like a wilderbeast to their gazelles . I did manage to raise 120000 naira for 'Sponsor a child' "which was nice"
Now That i was fully in the grove I deceided to keep running albeit haphazardly and may be even try for a full marathon later in the year .... the best made plans of mice and men .
Disaster struck I split my heel bone was laid out for 6-8weeks slap bang in the middle of my schedule, to make matters worse I went on holiday shortly afterwards to L.A and Ibiza stopping of in London and Paris and literally eating my way through four cities .
I managed to get my act together which involved changing how i run to avoid re- injuring my self which meant developing a whole different set of muscles due to the change of style and then getting back into long distance running , so far so good i was on track and enjoying it and then disaster struck a second time .
At the begining of October shortly after my first long run , this is a run over 15km or 1hr when the body needs fluid and sustainance ( i use mars bars and lucozade) I broke training and went out on the town , came back , woke up put some coke in one of those those ruck sacks with a hose in them that allow you to drink while you WALK put on my ipod and tumbled on to the road , with all the distractions i took the wrong route ...Now when you run , one of the most important things is the 10% rule never increase your distance by more than 10% steps , this is the most important rule of all , if you try it the body shuts down and you have to go back to square one . This is not the wall, its mental not physical . Three quarters of the way through my run i realise this, when i notice i have reverted to my old way of running , i have injured myself once again and still have a good 4-5km to go before i get home .SHOCK HORROR SHAME , wellwishers along the route ask if i am okay (this part of the route is my home stretch so i am recognised)as i do the walk of shame back home .
This was 3 weeks ago , the marathon is in 3 weeks time .I shall run this blog to let you know how it goes . I need to rise above my apathy to get off my bed and train ,I need to be able too raise fresh funds for 'Sponsor a child ' I also have a target to beat, its the spirit that counts , or is it?