Running – A Revolution

I’ve past the half-way point of my stay, in fact, that was a couple days ago.

I’m doing another triple today; I’ve missed a few runs this week due to rain. The plan is to race almost as soon as I get back into Canada, so I’ll be loading up next week. I’m sure there are quite a few people out there who will be curious to see what kind of results come out of these ol’legs after training in Kenya for two months. Training full-time has been a real luxury. The first test will be an indoor 5000m in Ottawa. Pretty pumped, every once in a while on easy jogs I get visions of running fast, and I start breathing hard, dreaming of winning, it can get emotional. These are the moments that confirm everything for me. Even my body believes I can do it.

I’ve gotten to a weird point in my training too. Everything is easy now. The routine of getting up at 5:45ish, or going to bed at 9pm is easy. Getting out and running is no big deal, hard-difficult workouts is something I look forward to, in the sense that I treat them as games, and try to ride that red line as close as possible for as long as possible. One of the most satisfying feelings I’ve come to experience is to overtake guys from the training group, and battle with others at the end of a workout. Then go eat some mangos.

One of my good friends here, Willy, who I end up running with in some workouts, has asked me to come to a graduation celebration for Laban’s Elementary School. Apparently they’ll have a whole shindig of a party going down; he said there would be meat for lunch, so I jumped on the idea. Actually, he asked, and I kind of offered, all at the same time, to say a little something to the kids. Parents will be there, probably entire extended families. It’s next Friday, and I’m excited. The young generations here in Kenya are witnessing a critical point in their history. A new constitution was voted in, bringing in a complicated county system and new levels of government. The wider public is also getting tired of hearing about corruption, even though most people still practice one form or another of it. Another reality/constraint that most people are coming around to understanding is that the government and people in power can’t change the economy, improve infrastructure, and affect individual lives overnight. The problem is that they are witnesses to a wider world, where infrastructure, strong and diverse economies and stable democracies continue to lay down a long shadow of ‘under-development’. They get frustrated, and impatient. People in office then become wary of their positions, protective, and secure themselves in one way or another. Less attention gets paid to social, economic and political development.

These things are difficult to talk about with children, and sometimes even adults have trouble tracing cause and effect. There are a lot of reasons. Obviously I can’t really talk about any of this with kids. My goal is to relate. Most of the children I’ve met think of me as some sort of mystical being, like a unicorn, or a Dragon, which is funny.

To them, the Mzungu has everything easy, and is so smart, and so rich. And they assume this with all Mzungus. I think it sort of feeds into the current situation. There are a lot of good things here, and one of them is a very good schooling system. If parents can afford it (most find the money), children can get a very good education. It’s one of the avenues of success all around the world; and it’s here in Kenya too. The hardest working students go the furthest, regardless of background, the same as in Canada (in most cases).

So I think I’ll speak to those students who are about to go off to high-schools around the country, based on their test scores, and encourage them to excel in their studies. They can change their country and their world if they put their minds to it.

Dragon