Giving up on your spirit is not easy to a warrior
I have come 3points in my life where I was one sunset away to give up running. First time I was very young when I was given an opportunity to go to Europe to race only to get chopped off the team at the last minute. Week before that I gave away all my cloths and shoes to runners who didn’t have much to train with,all I remained with was one last pair of shoes that I had on my feet. I was stuck in Nairobi (Capitol city of Kenya), ashamed to go back home for everyone knew I’ve gone to Europe, to return empty handed was something I wasn’t ready to do. That weekend in Nairobi there was a race going on called Standard Charted Marathon, which they also had a 10k and a half marathon, I was broke like a carcass and didn’t have money to register, good thing I had friends from Langata Barracks who run for the 4th brigade in the Kenyan Army who were willing to host me and pay for my 10k race entry.
Japheth -3rd from left
Race day came on and I and swam of other guys went out at a very suicidal pace through the first 5k, being an 800meter runner reality began to dawn on me, I was still way up in the throat of the race where breathing burns through like lava, I looked back a lot and no one was closing the gap so I felt safe while hanging on with my dear life to the pace I was in.
On my surprise I began to see some runners from the opposite side of the road skipping the road to cheat in the race which was out and back course, the chance for me to get the top 10 money was fading away. I summoned the warrior spirit to push to the depths of hell one last time and I was able to pass 18runners who cheated, I ran out of distance and finished agonizingly 11th, just off the prize money spot. Still the ghost of going home was still hating my conscience, and all I could think of was to give up running, out of nowhere I found myself talking to someone who ended up giving me hope and a new lease on my running career, his name is Japheth Amimo. He gave me a pair of Saucony shoes which changed my life. I am forever grateful to this kind warrior.
The second rising
Second time I was a thousand breaths away to give up running, was after the 2007 Kenyan elections, where all I build was burned down to the ground because of the skirmishes and tribal wars that was caused by the elections, it was one 5 darkest times of my life, I had no choice but to give up the desire of living in the city and move back to the village where my farm is. There I had to begin life anew not as a runner but a warrior monk, often for a month I found myself running without planning for it, I didn’t understand why but the spirit blindly took me into the forest for a run without me wanting to. One day I was training my sister Chebet and my cousin Chepkemoi/Memoi, who were both 12, I gave them a 4min headstart for a 3mile loop around our village, I chased them down and Chepkemoi beat me by 5meters, but my sister Chebet was 2meters behind me. What happened next compel me to start running seriously again. When we stopped at the pole where we started, my sister came passing through and ran an extra 5meters straight into the ditch. Kenyans we have a habit of laying down anywhere after a dash/long sprint workout, I and Memoi were laying down in the road gasping for air and laughing at each other, 3min passed my sister has sat or came out of the ditch it worried me because I thought she fainted, something that has being happening to her since she was young, which I was right, had to get into the ditch and carry her out.
One of the scariest moments of my life
She wasn’t breathing, I tried doing CPR on her, I was crying and panicking, Memoi was screaming thinking Chebet is dead, few minutes passed Chebet was still unconscious, but this time she was trying to breathe, I opened her mouth and all along it was her tongue that was blocking her breathing, I put my index finger and pulled it and she started to breathe normally, people were already coming and my mom was sprinting towards us like a charging mama elephant, screaming her lungs out, by the time she got to where we were Chebet was already sitting down, someone brought milk, I don’t know where it came from but milk was there being shoved down my sisters throat and someone was pouring more milk in her head. I know milk in my tribe is sacred, but this was something else.
We took my sister to the district hospital, but all they could say is she had an headache, my spirit and conscience wouldn’t believe that, I got her in the bus and took her to the city Hospital where they said she had Rheumatic Heart Disease, which was going to cost a lot of money, that meant selling the 86acre land or find a way to go to Europe or come to US to make money through running to pay for her hospital bill, a week didn’t even passed an opportunity found me to come to America to compete, adjusting to the life here was hard, everything and everyone moves fast. I ran almost every weekend in small 5ks, some gave money and some didn’t. My secret was go in the front and if no one is chasing slow down so you can race again tomorrow and next week. To save money I survived by tea and bread for almost a year, it became a habit thats difficult to cease it. 5years passed and I was able to help my sister pass the ages the doctors said she will never live to see, which was 13, 16 and 22. Now she has a baby girl and they’re both healthy and stronger.
The last time was a life changing and a gift, for it gave me a new purpose.
Third time I almost gave up running was when I got injured, had a hip fracture and scoliosis both at the same time, one from lifting too much heavy stuff and running too many marathons, and another from sleeping in a bad position after a long travel. This time I tried to give up but I couldn’t, the one day while meditating I realized running has always been my saviour, everything grim I have ever been through, running has been the path that helped me escape hell.
What I have learned in my journey
There are moments when troubles enter our lives and we can do nothing to avoid them. But they are there for a reason. Only when we have overcome them will we understand why they were there. Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. Turn your wounds into wisdom, the simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them. We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us. You do not write your life with words…You write it with actions. What you think is not so important. The real important thing is what you do. ALWAYS remember, we learn from failure, not from success… There comes a point when you either embrace who and what you are, or you condemn yourself to be miserable every DAY and NIGHT. Other people will try to make you miserable; don’t help them by doing the job yourself. As far as I know we only live once, but if you do it right and enjoy life, once is definitely enough. Make sure you smile today, try to keep in mind work hard play hard, there are no guarantees. Tomorrow is not promised, life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.
Fun or whatever others may call of me doing, I will keep on running
Don’t be so focused on what you’ve lost till what you’ve gained doesn’t bring you joy. Life is doing its best to give you more to honor your efforts and passion that you show it. Don’t let what comes to you seem like a passing thing or a punishment, enjoy it as it comes, create memories, change lives, harvest energy, inspiration and wisdom from them, and your future self will be very proud of you.