The Travelling Trooper Runs A Marathon

After yet another gruelling 8 hour bus ride, I arrived back in Kampala. I arrived at my new host’s place, took a shower, and headed right back out. I was going to see the greatest blues guitarist in all of Kampala, Mr. Matija Kamikovski!

The band was great! And I invited Bryan and Olive along. All in all, not a bad way to spend an evening in Kampala.

EXCEPT that I ended up downing five beers and an entire pizza on my own.

Usually, live music, five beers, and pizza would be a recipe for a fantastic night. However, when you’re participating in a 10 km marathon the following morning, it’s more of a recipe for disaster.

Now in my defence, we were never supposed to run. The plan was that Bryan, his sister, and I would be WALKING the marathon. His sister apparently isn’t one for running, so Bryan was cool with just walking. I was more than cool with just walking. I haven’t run in ages. My knees are allergic to running.

Unfortunately, a friend of Bryan’s sister passed away, and so it would just be Bryan and I at the marathon. I wasn’t sure if this was going to change our approach to the event, but I had a sneaking suspicion that it would. Bryan is pretty athletic. Dude is in shape.

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Before the race started, the crowd got warmed up with a dance workout routine. There were some performers onstage leading the way.

Sure enough, we arrived at the event, and he assures me that we’ll run at an easy pace.

Nope.

Bryan doesn’t do easy pace.

Besides, as soon as the marathon starts, if you don’t haul ass, you will get trampled by the crowd, each trying to be among the first 100 to cross the line and win a medal. So immediately, easy pace goes out the window.

20171119_052145The hilarious thing, though, is that you quickly see who the pretenders are–the men and women who clearly did not do any training to prepare for the run and who use this event as their one day to exercise per year. These people are so pumped to win a medal at the start. They’re gunning it at the word go, and within minutes, they’ve panting and bent over.

I kept pace with Bryan for MAYBE the first third of a kilometre. And if we were taking an easy pace, then Bryan and I have very different definitions of easy. After a while, for the sake of my own health and wellbeing, I just stopped and watched him disappear into the crowd. Then I continued at my own pace, which was probably a third of Bryan’s pace.

I was actually doing pretty well for a while. My mind was clear, my heart felt good, my breathing was fine. Then I stopped at one of the water stations. As soon as I started running again, I got a brutal cramp that wouldn’t go away. I walked for a good fifteen minutes, with small bursts of running here and there.

While I was walking, I saw these guys trying to think outside the box. They were holding on to the police truck to carry themselves further.

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I also saw a line of maybe a dozen people emerging from a bush on my left-hand side. Everybody around me started laughing at them. They’d been caught cheating. They took a shortcut.

At one point, some guy brushed past me and waved his arm forward. He looked back at me and yelled, “C’mon!” He was urging me to keep running. No less than thirty seconds later, I saw this man start walking. Just to be a jerk, I started running again, and I made sure to return the favour when I passed him.

My running didn’t last long, though. I was back to walking in no time. Curse those beers and that delectable diavolo pizza! (Though I’m sure that even if I’d had a completely healthy dinner and gone to bed at a reasonable time, I still would have been doing terribly. But still…curse them!)

It wasn’t until a tall and lanky man in his early 60s passed me that I decided my performance was no longer acceptable. I wasn’t going to let some stupid annoying cramp do me in. There was no way this grandfather was going to leave me in the dust. Eight-year old kids, fine; but not a grandfather.

I picked up my feet and started running again. This time I was very conscious of my pace. In fact, the old man gave me the perfect pace. As long as I could keep up with him, I’d be fine.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to keep pace with him. The gap between us slowly got bigger and bigger until I couldn’t see him anymore. But at least I was still running! And I didn’t stop!

At some point, I noticed a guy running right beside me. I honestly don’t know how long he’d been there for, because I was on autopilot by that point. There wasn’t a single thought in my head. (Kinda like every other day, I suppose.)

When I finally came to my senses and noticed him, I didn’t even bother saying anything. I didn’t want to mess up my mojo and rhythm by doing something stupid like speaking. So we just ran together in silence for a while. It was great. We had hit our stride together.

We ran together until we hit a hill. He stopped first, and I stopped shortly after. I just couldn’t do it.

I let myself walk for another five minutes after the hill, and picked up the pace again. I wanted to stop, but I wouldn’t let myself. Then, either I was going crazy from exhaustion, or I was hearing Despacito off in the distance.

No, I wasn’t crazy! I could hear it! That meant we were close to the airstrip! It was probably the first time I was happy to hear that song. I even picked up my pace a little bit.

I pushed through the aches in my sides.

Within ten minutes, I could see the finish line. I crossed the finish line and looked up. I’d run 10 km in 66 minutes. Considering how much walking I did, that was a bloody miracle.

I found Bryan, who had finished a good twenty minutes earlier, and we found a place to sit down.

My everything hurt.

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After a good rest, we headed back to Carlotte’s, showered, and napped until 2:00. We’d been out until 1:00 the previous night, and got up at 6:00 for the run. Neither one of us got a good night’s sleep. Bryan slept for one hour! I don’t know how he was still standing! We both needed a rest.

I told Bryan that I wanted to take the family out for dinner as a thank you for letting me stay with them, and so after dinner, we went to a really nice hotel called Silver Springs. It had a pool and a sauna. (My first ever sauna experience!) Life was good again.

EXCEPT–I realized I’d forgotten something very important at Charlotte and Peter’s. Or rather, I left SOMEONE very important at Charlotte and Peter’s. I forgot Trevor behind! And I wasn’t going to be back any time soon!

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