I do not know which is better, to title this article ” I almost didn’t run or to title it ” headache is an illusion”.
So, here’s the entire story. I got a wind of the Lagos Access bank Marathon 2019 from a friend, his name is Mike. Mike came into my room around 8pm that night and said (in his usual slow, unnecessarily optimistic way) “Kene, I’m running that Access bank Marathon” . And I was like “okay” . He wasn’t telling me because he needed my permission, he was telling me because he needed a partner in crime (so to say). I knew.
So, I didn’t say more than “Okay”. I had never ran a Marathon before, I have only witnessed it on T.V.
But the next morning, I found myself wriggling into my soccer Jersey and shorts and getting kitted up. In 10 minutes, I was at the road, running, training for a race I was yet to register for. I ran a few poles and my brain woke up and started doing what it knew how to do best (conniving with the rest of my body organs to thwart my plans)…. hey, what are you doing, you are not a runner, you’re a thinker, go back home, you have never ran before, look you chest is contracting, it’s becoming difficult to breathe, they are cooking Ogbono inside your knee, hey, you could faint here, stop…… Of course everything my brain said was the truth, I could feel my heart contracting and then breathing seemed to be tougher, and yes, I was not a runner but, I was ready to be, at least for that day and for that moment. So, I ran, regardless of everything. I was practically going through the motions, one leg up and forward then down (and the upper body follows) then, the next leg up and forward and down and then repeat in quick succession and repeat again and again and never stop repeating. I was battling my brain and my heart. So, I think there’s a part of the brain that you can always convince to stick to your side. So yeah, I convinced it and it started telling me (or maybe I started telling myself) things like … You can do this, you have the strongest heart and the best brain in the world, we can pull through this.
We pulled through, I came home and tried unsuccessfully to drown my entire abdominal organs with water. Then I got around to dragging myself to the bathroom, pulled the lever and water was running down on me. At that point, I forgot I had run. All I could feel was the water washing my “sorrows” away. So, it appeared my brain lied and my heart connived with it. I didn’t faint, I didn’t die, I ran.
I checked the distance (Google maps), it was about 5.6km in all, and this was my first day. I googled up Lagos Access Bank Marathon and registered for the 10km race.
I had to intensify the training (hello, Kia Rio was more than enough motivation). By the way, I think it’s quite thought-provoking to get a car as a reward for winning a race (and it’s not even a car race), you know it’s like saying that the reward for running excellently is to not have to run again. It was interesting.
So days and weeks passed and it was a day to the race. I already knew this day was going to be stressful hence I woke up early enough (actually, Mike woke me up). We had to go and get cleared at the Local Government (yes, I am a corper). Then I had to go for the INEC training, which basically lasted for too long with he high point the training being “the signing the attendance sheet.🙄 By the time I got home, I was thoroughly tired, and with a terrible migraine. I was praying deep down that I’d be okay by morning but when morning came, I still felt the headache lingering in my mind.
nd did I tell you that I couldn’t get my bib for the race because I wasn’t around to get it and that all those who were supposed to have helped me “couldn’t”. So this morning, I knew I needed to be at the race venue early enough if I ever stood a chance at running.
Well, I was there early enough and my fear was confirmed. I was not going to get the bib there. Meanwhile, the headache still lingered.
I decided to go home. I had given up on the race. As I climbed the pedestrian’s bridge, that part of my brain that told me my heart was going to thump out of my chest got furious…..wait, you mean you’re walking home with your two left chicken legs? You mean the whole sweat and running up and down was for nothing? So, what are you going to tell everyone? And who would believe your headache story?.
I went back and ran that race. The funny thing was that once I started running, the headache disappeared. It was a really surprising thing. And by the time I was done, I was so happy with myself.
So the race ended, I got a medal, made some friends and had loads of fun! The headache, just like the chest that seemed to contract, the breathing that became difficult and the knee they were cooking Ogbono in were all illusions.