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This one, I write only because my will is bent to the power of popular demand. Let me explain. When one really awesome girl demands that I write it, it is popular demand. I see you scoffing Popular demand? Really? Yes, really! It’s not always about the numbers. Sometimes, it’s about that one awesome person who pings you in the dead of night Hey, I’m still waiting on that story.

Do I want to tell this story? Nope. Nobody wants a story that splays their soft bellies on the table. We all want Spider-Man and upside-down kisses. We all want her royal sexiness, Catwoman. But I’m not Catwoman. Well…I have my moments. Blips of ultra-sexy. Blips.

In this story though, Terry is Catwoman. That would explain why she wants the story told.

Oh well here goes…

Every January, I do that thing that most people do. I write a list. A list of all the things I must do within the 3-6-5. Before the list, comes the speech. Feel free to read it the way you would, a love pledge:

Dear List,

On this 2nd day of January 20 blah blah blah, I commit to you. I shall put no other lists before you (especially not those irritatingly demanding bitches called to-do lists!) I shall live life, and not let life get in the way of our covenant. I shall obliterate every challenge. Cross off the items until there remains only a list of achievements. This is our dance.

After the solemn speech, comes the not so solemn list. A list that taunts me for all of 6 days before it gets buried under piles and piles of those irritatingly demanding bitches called to-do lists. Between the 7th and the 9th of January, my mind keeps wandering back to the speech. With every second that ticks by, the guilt gets easier to handle. By the 10th, the list is not forgotten, it is merely relegated to the near future. You know how crazy January is. We’ll pick this up soon.

Next thing I know, it’s July and Nairobi ladies are walking around in blankets. I steal a glance at the list. It stares back. It looks warm under all the layers of dust. There’s this smug, unperturbed look in all the items, clearly unchecked. In an effort to save face, I quickly scan the half page. Every item brings with it, a reason why not.

  1. It’s too cold to go whitewater rafting.
  2. No freaking way I’m jumping out of an airplane in this weather!
  3. Bungee jumping? I hear the safety bands pull really hard at your ankles and the cold could really mess up your chest.
  4. Three months to the Standard Chartered Marathon? I’m extremely unfit.
  5. Me, climb a mountain? Please refer to reasons 1, 2, 3, and 4 above!

The rest of the list is pretty much a wash. What was I thinking, writing this stuff? I mean, in what alternate universe did I think I could quit smoking weed? Hehehe…kidding. But seriously, what the heck was I smoking when I wrote this stuff?

I lie on my back and stare at the ceiling. I hate white ceilings. I should have a mural painted up there. Great, I’ll add it to the list. Not right this minute, though. Right now, I need to wallow in my failure.

My phone pings. I ignore it. It pings again. Stupid, insolent phone.  How smart is it if it can’t tell when I absolutely need to be left alone? I pick it up. Of course, it’s that hyperactive reading group. You’d think a reading group would be…I don’t know… less hyperactive? It’s like falling for a crooner like Jamal Lyon, falling for him because he croons so beautifully…you land the guy and then the whole time you’re together, he just talks to you. Dude, I came for the crooning. Croon already!

Is there a self-help group called Manage Your Expectations? I want in!

Anyway, back to the pinging phone. The words jump out at me.

Who wants to climb Longonot?

The words do not just speak to me. They take me in their embrace and croon to me. How could I resist?

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I ended up heaving and plodding up and around the Longonot  Crater. Longonot did not just bully me. It turned out the lights, hurled me in a slimy corner and kicked me in the shin. I trudged. I fell. I panted. I gave up many times. Except, there was no giving up because there was only one way down the mountain and I had to go round the whole freaking crater to get to it. I’d love to say that my sheer will got me through that hike. But my sheer will wanted to curl up in a fetal position and go to sleep.

This is where Terry comes in. Remember her? That awesome Catwoman girl I mentioned in the beginning? Terry came through for me. She walked with me. She stopped when I did. She motivated me – first, with little challenges like let’s just get to that rock, then with scary soundbites like this dung is fresh, the Buffalos must be close! (You laugh now. It was not funny then!)

She had this really annoying way of taking the hottest mountain poses and making me take pictures. She really was Halle Berry up there…notice how their names rhyme? I barely had the energy to breathe, let alone take good pictures! But Terry would hear none of it. She made me pose too. My poses were surprisingly good. Although there’s one or two…let’s just say I can’t tell if I was smiling or gagging.

So I got off the mountain in one piece. Then I started jogging. Not the very same day, obviously! But the very next day, I ran (limped) for just under 2km. I haven’t stopped since. I run. I meet lots of jerks on my training course. Random strangers have told me to:

  1. Sexercise at night.
  2. Run for food, not to shed the food I’ve already eaten.
  3. Take him for a husband, if that’s what I’m looking for.
  4. Sit on his lap because I look ready to collapse.

I say nothing in return. It has nothing to do with my lady-like graces. Oh no! The comments usually come when I can barely breathe, let alone yell at the nitwits in my path. They don’t know this, but their snide remarks actually motivate me. Sometimes, I run another lap, just so I can find them still standing there, sharing a cigarette, and feeling stupid because their remarks didn’t stop me. “Anajikaza!” they often mumble.

But this one guy I met…this one deserves a mention.  6.30, Sunday morning, he zoomed past me in his Prado TX. I wondered where he was going in such a hurry. I bounded the corner, and there he was, peeing on the tire of his car! I averted my eyes and kept going because…well, what else was I going to do? When I reached him, the bugger did the unthinkable. He started running alongside me! His willy was just there running along with us. I swear the things I have seen in this life! He was drunk and drunk. He gave up after a few strides and went back to his car. True story.

Then there’s this girl. I meet her when I run in the evenings. I don’t know what she looks like because it’s usually too dark to see faces. I just know her voice.

Strong! Strong! She always says.

No matter how exhausted I feel, I always say Poa! Poa!

We’ve even had an entire conversation. Something about her joining me on my runs ‘someday’

To Terry, to Voice girl, to the guy who asks about my runs, analyses my stats, gives me some tips…you guys are awesome. You make my stickability, all the more stickable. Thank you.

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  1. You never cease to amaze me with how well you write and with the kind of things that happen around you.

    So who’s this chap who joins your exercise session willy-nilly?

  2. I always have this fear of Mt. Longonot …that one day ..just that very one day I decide to go climbing it… being a volcano, it will erupt…and this unending horror of running with hot ashes and molten red stone behind my back …will i outrun it?!..thats how my mornings begin and nightmares end. Too much Nat Geo I guess.

  3. You have definitely arrived… a bucket full of achievements already! even with the weirdos popping up…am so blue with Jealousy I want all those things you have done and I have to climb that mountain with you someday!😊

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