I started jogging. I know, I know, the thought of it makes your mind jog. I started on Monday (after years of procrastination) together with my neighbor (his first jogging session ever since he was born. And he wasn’t born yesterday). We jog in the morning, every day. I never for once pictured myself lacing my shoes, hitting the road and running aimlessly like I was a retarded soul. It never kicked me. It never ran in my mind, that idea. I had the legs, yes. I had the shoes, yes. I had the time, yes, too. But I never had the interest to sweat myself on the road. Jogging is healthy, they preached. Jogging clears your head, they insisted. Jogging can get you laid (he he), they lied. I always associated jogging with people who are trying to attain certain sizes or shapes of their bodies. Or they wanted to hang pictures of their sweaty faces on Instagram with a sunrise in the backdrop and shit. Or they wanted to check whether their iPods can actually work in the wee hours of the morning. Or they were night dancers disguising as ‘joggers’.
But I got interested. Later.
Monday was the hardest day. I woke up at 5:00am, slipped in my shoes, laced them tightly, took a deep breath and, together with my neighbor, we hit the road. It was cold. It was discreet. It was dark. It was scary. And there we were, running in the dark like bats. We ran down the valley, uphill, towards the main road. We puffed and huffed. Skinny leg-after skinny leg, we ran.
We jumped potholes, manholes and broken sewers. We ran past barking dogs, meowing cats and dozing askalis. We ran past hookers walking back home after a long night at work (cough) and drunkards staggering to sobriety. We ran till we couldn’t feel our muscles and joints. Our hearts were pounding in our stomachs and our lungs were tucked in our dry mouths. I stood, my trembling hands patched on my knees, and I regretted why I had left my bed. I was in pain. Pain because my muscles were killing me. Pain because my joints were excruciating. My stomach hurt. In fact, my stomach hurt the most. Was that an ulcer? I don’t know these running things. Maybe first timers get ulcers and hurting stomachs and have to carry oxygen cylinders on their backs.
The following day (yesterday) was fair. The muscles never hurt much. The panting reduced. The dogs barked, yes, but not so loudly. The cats had gone. Luckily, my stomach never hurt this time round. And we ran a longer distance. We met an ageing man jogging as well. He paused, looked at us and chimed a compliment. We thanked him and ran more. This time with more hunger and determination, like we were being chased by an invisible ghost.
However, today was tricky. First, waking up was hard. I slept at about 3:30am in the morning. And by 5:00am, my neighbor was on my window calling my name. Loudly. Like an impatient landlord. I crawled out, still enveloped in sleep, slipped in my shoes, laced them with my eyes closed and run into the early morning still darkness. I wanted to tell my neighbor that we should rest today and jog tomorrow. I wanted to tell him that Thursdays are good days to jog, that let’s rest on Wednesday because Arsenal is playing and there is a petition in court and amicus curiae and it is too dark outside and I have an appointment with my dentist and my eyes are hurting, so I can’t see properly lest I will run into a manhole, or I will accidentally run into a hooker’s arms without seeing. “Let’s run tomorrow, Josh,” I begged. This was ‘sleep’ talking. He said, “Waaah, come and we run.” I begged more, with my eyes closed. He insisted. And we jogged in silence because I was pissed and sleepy.
Look, by the time the session was done, I was wide-awake like a fish. We jogged back home. I took a cold shower, prepared tea and sat behind my laptop to read something on the internet. Also, I have noticed that Africell internet is faster at this time of the day. Speaking of Africell, it has launched the O’fwono Tooti bundle for just UGX500. With only UGX500, you can get 30 voice minutes charged per second to be used in a period of one hour. Apparently, it’s the most affordable bundle on any telecom company in Uganda today. Load and call your friends (and neighbors) to join you for jogging. Anyways, I connected my Africell WiFi and searched about how one can get out of bed and jog without falling asleep along the way. I was an early bird, but I wanted more warmth, not worms.