Crazy meets Stupid
Trip Start Sep 27, 2011
13Trip End Aug 31, 2012
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Where I stayed
From Dar es Salaam to Morogoro
How I got myself into this one...I can't tell you. All I know is that in less than 8hrs I will be competing in a 21km race aka half a marathon in Dar Es Salaam amongst pros who have been training for months for this day. Need I say more? And if that didn't shock you enough, why am I running in another 5k run on the same day in another part of town? And just to completely add the word insane beside my name, I will be running the very next day in a 5km run!!!
I know I love challenges, but man, this will have to be the craziest thing I have ever done. Period.
On your mark, get set, insane is about to take off. Stay tuned for the results.
The first 10km I completed no problem and beat my old time ...at least that is what I think as there were no signage and a runner beside me claimed "10km down". I looked at my watch and it read 45mins give or take 2-3 minutes as I didn't start the official time. The next 5km was tough as my legs were starting to feel heavy and there was a bit of slight up hill. By time I hit about 16.5 km, my legs gave out and my run looked more like a turtle walk. So I gave in and walked for 4km which really ate into my time and then ran the last km which really killed my legs. Or at least I thought it was the last km as their was no real way of knowing. In fact, I wasn't even sure of the finish line, I just kept running until a man ran after me to hand me a number - 37. There was no way I was the 37th person to finish, maybe the last 37th? Who knew?
As I caught my breath and wobbled to a table where the only laptop was in sight, I handed in my number and the woman recorded my name. I then asked for my time and she responded "I don't know". LMAO. I asked her how I could find out and she said soon. I asked what my name being recorded was for and she said I would be receiving a certificate. I nodded in agreement and collapsed on the ground to catch my breath and perform the best stretching I could do without any re-hydration. That is when I was really paying attention to their process. The laptop lady would then write on a piece of paper my name and hand it to another woman. That woman would then get a certificate and print it with marker. Then that certificate went into a pile with the others in anticipation of all the times to be collected. Every 5 mins or so, a man with a timer around his neck would appear with another paper with numbers scribbled on it with associated numbers. So I sneaked by the tent to have a look, saw number 37 and looked at the time - it read 1 hr and 55 mins. There was no way that was my time, so I asked the lady for clarity and she said it wasn't my time.
I didn't stick around long enough to find out my time or retrieve my certificate. I had to get real food and water into my system. The hydration and food station presented to the runners after the race compromised of every flavour of pop you can think of and cookies. Not exactly the re-hydration pick-me up I was looking for. Besides, we had a 5hr drive ahead of us to run another 5km. So I found my friend who completed the run ahead of me by a few minutes, took our "we did it" insanity half marathon picture and waddled to the car. Everything item of clothing was soaked on me. I literally wrung out my shirt, shorts, and undergarments. All sweat. Nice! Had the best shower of my life and drank some semblance of chocolate milk - really powder and shelf milk, threw down some homemade spaghetti and shuffled back into the car where over the 5hrs of a drive turned my mobile legs into old age cane legs.
Hash sounds like a drug - at least that's what I thought of it at first and it really mine as well be just that. Because the things they do, ahem, we do - you would have to be on drugs. The true name is called "Hash House Harriers (H3)". Apparently, I am told they operate all over the world and that for every country I visit, I should join their Hash. I was participating in the Dar Es Salaam Hash. Basically, it's a running club/hiking club that drinks a lot after a run/hike. Everyone gets in a big circle and the Leader begins by basically roasting people. And every time you are roasted you have to drink. But before you drink, you have to chant a song. And guess what that song is about? Beer! It is highly entertaining - and that is the point of the Hash. I was told of the history of how Hash's came to being. Basically, there were no clubs or television or formal entertainment you could attend to, so the Hash was a weekend ritual where members (anyone) would meet in random places and run/hike.During this run or hike because it is really a test to your will power, someone would fall or have something happen to them and once the run/hike was over,a circle would form and everyone's flaws during the run/hike would be highlighted and made fun of, thus the entertainment.
In some ways, all this drinking and making fun of each other reminded me of the gang at OCS where at social events Dopey would be the drunk guy everyone made fun of. And the hashing part is like the roasting OCS would do when a staff member was leaving the school. I guess home is never really far away? After the rip show or "Hashing" rather was finished we would eat a big feast - basically to sober up. Eating just sent me to bed right away, only to wake up to another run - though I opted to walk. I was told by Old Mother Mary that this walk would be very easy and flat. She just failed to tell me that this so called flat surface of a walk was really hiking in the mountains without using a trail and crossing over not 1 or 2 but 3 knee high deep rivers on foot. I never felt so unprepared and pushed to my limit as I did that day. I was already super sore from the marathon the night before.
I have to say that in the moment, I was a bit freaked out and in the end, I was ever so glad I had the experience. It is something I will absolutely never will forget and I survived with minor scrapes and dirty shoes. No bites and no poison - unless you count the hashing that took place after the hike where Katherine and I had to go on our knees and be fed beer through our hats, as one of the rules of the Hash is to not have a hat on when in the circle. Who knew? As it turns out, there are no rules to the Hash. If people want you to drink, they will make an excuse for you to be in the middle and if you can't beat em' - you join them.
Who would have thought that running would turn into an adventure of a lifetime. From Dar to Morogoro, I am a fan of the Hash. All I know is I beat up my own body and payed for it for 2 days. What was I thinking? Who does that? Who decides after doing nothing but vacationing for over a month, gets up and says I am going to run a half marathon? I will tell you who decides that - my friend Katherine! In her non-chalant voice she made the half marathon seem like walking down to front street from King Street - easy. Don't get me wrong, the race was for a great cause, one that I am happy to have contributed - to raise enough money to build a child cancer wing in Dar Es Salaam's hospital. I am a sucker for good causes - that's how my sister got me to do the 10km run in Toronto in the first place. Did I mention I hate running?
I'll tell you this much. Not even all the ice cream in the world will get me to do a half marathon never mind a full marathon ever again. It's nice to say "did that", but I think I will just stick to my sports from hereon in.