I have been longing for some adventure for a while now but no opportunity seems to crop up. At least every two months, the wanderlust in me experiences the urge to get out of my cocoon and do something out of the norm. Just like a possessive lover, I find routine so stifling. It is out of the desire to embrace novelty in as many aspects of my life as I can, that I find myself wanting to do things differently.
Earlier in the year, after running a distance of 10 kilometres every Saturday in Karura Forest for roughly three months, the run begun to get boring. I suddenly stopped waking up early on Saturdays and kept off the forest for about a month. Back then, I was a lone ranger. But later on, I made some friends on the trail and the aspect of running in a group or just with one more person reignited the fire. The icing on the cake, however, was the prospect of breakfast with the team after the run, each person having rightfully earned whatever it is their palates desired.
Then came the issue of the distance and route becoming too familiar to the point I started imagining that I could run with my eyes closed. Thankfully, one of my running mates introduced us to a diversion within the forest. A scenic stretch of steep hills, dramatic descents, narrow pathways along the river, a gushing waterfall and finally, just when you think you have conquered it, you are faced with about twenty stairs uphill before you emerge out of the diversion. If you’ve ever had a problem understanding the word oxymoron, think of that diversion in Karura. It is brutally enthralling.
Speaking of comprehending the meaning of words, do any of you find vocabulary.com as useful as I do? That platform is up there with sliced bread and WIFI! For someone with goldfish memory, I love the fact that it uses memorable and witty examples to reinforce the meaning of a word which makes it almost impossible to forget. Check this out:
The word sequester describes being kept away from others. If your sister tells you to stay out of the way so she can cook dinner for her new boyfriend, you might sequester yourself in your room.
Awesome, right? How would that possibly escape anyone’s mind?
I also think that the word play on its app is what gives the platform more cowbell. How better to pass time than to test your understanding of words when your mind is tired and you don’t have the energy to engage in erudite reads?
Back to my runs. So, during the week, I try to run at least twice or thrice (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) around my hood. I target a minimum of 40 kilometers per week (including the Saturday Karura run) and on a good week, I will clock in 50 kilometers. It wasn’t always this way. In the past, I would only run twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays. My constant need to spice things up led me to challenge myself and intersperse my 10 kilometre runs with much longer ones to break the monotony. The route would always be the same but I would extend it as far as I needed to cover the mileage that I had set for the day.
My search for adventure led me to changing my Kileleshwa running route yesterday morning. As expected, I was beginning to get bored with the usual. At 5.15am, just after I had strapped my phone onto the arm band and plugged in my ear buds, an ingenious idea crossed my mind.
“Why not go the opposite way?” I thought to myself. Usually, I will run down Oloitoktok Road all the way to the Shell petrol station at The Arboretum then up State House road, Dennis Prit and back to Oloitoktok Road. This time round, I decided to tackle Dennis Prit first and finish with Oloitoktok.
It dawned on me that the difference between Kileleshwa and Ngong Hills is that the former is a colony of aspirational (and mostly pretentious) middle class wannabes and the later has stunning wind mills. Otherwise, people might as well stop going all the way to Ngong to climb hills and just explore the hills in Kileleshwa.
The stretch from Shell Arboretum all the way to the bypass roundabout is a monstrous two kilometre ascent that left me cursing my adventurousness with every step. My calves ached so badly and when I refused to stop, my legs went numb which left me feeling like I was running on prosthetics! I finally understood why the apartment my husband (then boyfriend) used to live in when he wooed me with homemade popcorn (it was so easy to get into the heart of this girl from Njoro) was named Slopeside.
Needless to say, I finished stronger than I started after tackling one more hill (from the bypass roundabout on Oloitoktok Road to Lavington). In total, I covered 16.06 kilometres in 1 hour 45 minutes at an average pace of 6 minutes and 36 seconds.
The point of this ramble is simple. If you feel your runs are getting a little too prosaic, find ways to spice them up by mapping new routes, embracing new company or even setting new goals. A wardrobe overhaul will also go a long way in reigniting the fire.
Whilst I have found a way (a painful one nonetheless) to keep the running fire alive, I am still desperately yearning to jump into a plane and head somewhere. I am seriously considering going for an international marathon in November.