Kenya Trip 2013 – Week #2!

Posted: July 8, 2013 in Robert Brouillette

JULY 1st – JULY 7th, 2013

July 1

Woke up and went for an easy 40 minute run. Breakfast was bread with peanut butter and chai tea. I did some cleaning by sweeping the floors with a branch that had leaves. I went for a 1 hour hill workout which was about 420 meters long with 10 guys. We would run up the hill which took over 2 minutes and then easy jog down and repeat until we hit 1 hour. I managed to get 12 sets while the other boys got just one more done with 13 hill runs. The Kenyans did this workout with long track pants and some with jackets in the mid-morning which I found warm. When ever I wear a t-shirt or shorts, they think I’m crazy even though it is around 20 degrees outside. Lunch was spaghetti noodles, potatoes, and peas. I put on some of my club music so Simon and I could dance around in the tiki hut. While I was in my room, one of the African wasps flew at my head so I made sure someone would take care of those nasty things by the end of the day. I cleaned up my bunk house, found my hand sanitizer which will come in handy, and got some rest. Simon and I went to his other house before the rain started to chat with some of the other boys about Canada versus Kenya topics while drinking tea and eating mandazi (Kenyan version of a plain Timbit). There is so much rain that it started to leak through the roof so we headed back to our place. So far the rain has not affected my training yet as most of our runs are early in the morning, mid-morning, or afternoon, and the rain doesn’t usually hit till the evening. Something I have noticed is that no matter whom you are, or whether you know someone or not, you always shake their hand when meeting them or even entering a room. Since it is Kenya’s rain season, they take advantage of the rain by catch up on some sleep since they do a lot of work each day that is mostly outside. At my place, Simon, Abraham, and I have to dodge so much mud and puddles but by the end of the day my shoes will always be filthy with dirt. It is really hard for me to see my New Balance shoes in this condition because back in Canada I run on the clean paved roads or dry trails allowing all my shoes to stay looking new. After almost a week I got the internet working so I’ll be able to check and update my blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Nike running log. Hopefully I’ll be able to post a status, a picture and maybe a video daily, as well as post my blog and photo album weekly. Anyways, I had some roasted corn maze by the fire while on my computer which I can’t imagine myself doing back in Canada. It was cold enough outside that I could see my breath and it didn’t help that the power went out by 7:00PM so the rest of the day would be lit by a gas lantern. Supper was ugali with shredded cabbage while is one of my favorite meals. The food is always fresh, hot, healthy, and so delicious. Simon then headed to our bunk house to go get the African wasps out of the room. All he used was a plastic bag to grab the nests and quickly get them outside before they tried escaping. He managed to get all 4 nests that we could see while I stood back to video the event while running away once I saw him grab the wasps. Laban has been very helpful with driving me to town, cutting fire wood for us, helping fix the power, and cleaning up around the property. Simon and I headed to our room to drink some tea and chat before falling asleep. It’s funny that he thinks I’m some sort of doctor because I know so much about being healthy whether it’s with me keeping my body fit, taking my vitamins/pills, being careful the food I eat, constantly washing my hands, etc. Overall my place in Kenya is clean and safe, with lots of great people around.

July 2

Woke up and went for a farklet workout just before 7:00AM with about 20-25 runners out on the flat main road. The workout was 2:1 so 2 minutes of sprinting and then 1 minute easy recovery jog for a total of 50 minutes. I stayed with the lead pack for the first set or two before falling off to go at my pace with some of the others. It was honestly a tough workout leaving my lungs and legs tired but I’m looking forward to trying a farklet again next week. The training was tiring so I went and rested outside on a bench in the fresh air before breakfast which was a chapati with peanut butter and a few cups of chai tea. Simon laughs at me because he drinks his tea all formal and proper while I’m at the other end of the table dipping my chapati in my tea. I put on some of the music from my iPhone that Simon recognized and we sang to some of the songs. Milka has also been a great help so far with cooking most of my meals, keeping the property clean, and being good company. I have been given a few nicknames which are: Mzungu (white man), Olenadala, The Lion King, and The Boss. Some wasps have shown up to the roof of my room and have noticed that Simon has taken out their nests and killed all the other wasps. I felt so free yesterday but now I’m more scared to go in my room now that we have disturbed the African wasps. Lunch was simply rice and potatoes with some water. Lots of local Kenyans and friends have asked me if I have any clothes or shoes to give them but I have to keep kindly reminding everyone why I am here in Kenya for these two months. I am a College student here to train in Kenya’s high altitude for my running, so as much as I would love to help every Kenyan I meet, that is not why I’m here and I cannot afford to do this. However, I did bring 50 pounds of donated gifts from people back in Canada in one of my large suitcases, but these items have been requested to be given to certain people. After lunch the sky was still clear and sunny yet it began to rain which was weird to see. The rain just got heavier and heavier so I went inside and listened to music before falling asleep for some rest. It has rained every single day of my time in Kenya so far but it’s at the right times and hasn’t affected my experience, especially my running training. I went for an easy 40 minute run with Simon once the rain went away. The mud always gets stuck to the bottom of my shoes but they cause my feet to be heavier so gives my legs more of a workout. Running on rough bumps Kenyan trails is going to make me faster in Canada when my training is done on flat ground. The air is always calm, usually quiet throughout the day, with local mud huts, farms, schools, forests, and trails around me so it’s always peaceful. I read more from my book “4:00 – The Fastest Mile” about Alan Webb and Canadian Nate Brennan which I am really enjoying even though I’m not a track runner. I showed Simon what PowerBar sports energy nutrition was and he liked it. Supper was ugali and mixed greens with straight milk for a change since I normally get my milk through drinking chai tea. I like to be a silly funny guy sometimes and Simon says I make him laugh until his ribs burn. I made a fire for the first time in a while so Laban, Simon, and I could enjoy the warmth and relax our legs. I went to bed before the long run tomorrow morning.  

July 3

I woke up so Simon and I could go to the main road for our 1:40 minute long run with a group of 6 guys. It was a hilly route with some muddy roads and others were nicely paved but we met up with 2 more guys who ran with me while the rest of the guys were a few meters ahead. For some reason I missed the lead pack make a turn so my pack of guys ended up going further causing me to finishing the workout in 2:06 minutes and almost 27K. This is the longest and furthest I’ve run since my marathon training for my first marathon in May. Breakfast was some kaangmu (donuts) that I bought from a little shop, bread with peanut butter, and chai tea. It got really hot and beautiful out so I relaxed under the sun with my laptop and got a nice tan. I then did a small workout with the lifting machines on my arms and abs, as well as some free weight training. Kenya is normally very peaceful so I have my music always playing to keep things exciting. The African wasps keep coming back so I’ll have to figure something out. I read my “4:00 Mile” book before dancing and singing to the “Karl Wolf – Africa” song with Simon while it rained a little. Lunch was spaghetti noodles and potatoes. Simon and I were looking at the different utensils and pots on the table and he says, “Why is everything made in China? Does Canada not make anything?” and I laughed with no answer. I then drank a whole thermos of chai tea to myself and I can see I’m getting a tea belly. Simon and I walked up to his house so he could give people haircuts while I chased some kids around the yard. On my way back to my place I stopped at Sokkin Academy School and was surprised to have all the students sing Kenyan songs to me. Still on my way back to my place I made another stop at my neighbor’s house, Shadrack, for a cup of chai tea. Supper was rice, potatoes, and chapati. I talked with Simon and Milka by the fire for a while before heading to bed.    

June 4

On my 40 minute morning easy run it was dark so I accidentally slipped and my foot fell into a mud puddle. I read my book while having breakfast which was chapati and chai tea. Simon and I headed to the track for a pyramid workout with about 15 guys. I wore my New Balance trail minimus shoes for the workout and my New Balance 890v3 shoes for warm up and cool down.  The dirt/grass track workout was (2000M, 1600M, 1200M, 1000M, 800M, 600M) x2, with a 1-2 minute or so easy jog in between. Total speed work was 14.4K and I only fell behind by 1 lap or 400M but the last half of the workout I didn’t go as fast as I could because I didn’t want to ‘blow up’ after my first track practice. We all headed to the hospital across the street to weigh ourselves and I weighed in at 125 pounds when I had left Canada just 10 days before at 140 pounds or so.  On the way back to my place through town I saw a man on the balcony of a bar dancing to music in front of the market, so I joined him for fun and everyone came to watch. I bought an orange for some of my track buddies and then Simon and I took a motor bike back to our place. Lunch was ugali with hot shredded cabbage. I then had some time to read my book and listen to music in the tiki hut. Supper was lots of rice, potatoes, and chapati. I saw a giant beetle before I went to bed but Simon just laughed at me because it was harmless.

June 5

I went for an out and back morning 42 minute easy run with Simon and another training friend. This was the only run for the day since Simon and I have a 10K road race tomorrow morning. Breakfast was two chapatis with lots of peanut butter and cups of chai tea. I had an early of spaghetti noodles and potatoes, so that Laban, Simon, Jonathan, and I could get on the road to Kericho for the Ushirika 10K race tomorrow morning. I packed my bags and Laban drove us 3 hours to the town of the race so I just put in my Yurbuds sport earphones and listened to my music. All along the drive kids kept waving and smiling at me and I could tell I was the first mzungu (white man) they had ever seen. From the view in the car all I could see was either flat farm land or big hills with forests or mud huts. Laban found a hotel, that happened to be across from the Kenyan prison but we had no problems. Supper was ugali with a beef and cabbage mix at a restaurant. I went to bed early in my hotel at around 8:00PM and was very excited for my first international race in Kenya of all places.

June 6

I woke up before everyone else to get ready with my Canadian Running Room gear, Conestoga College singlet, Nike SportWatch, and New Balance 1400 racing flats. I met everyone downstairs to go to a restaurant for a cup of chai tea and some plain bread slices. Then we headed to the race event to sign up for the Ushirika Kericho 10K race for only 100 Kenyan shillings ($1.20 Canadian) and I got my race bib which was just a thin square cloth numbered “036” with pins. Simon, Jonathan, and I did a 30 minute warm up jog and some stretches before heading to the start line with about 200 other racers. All were male and female Kenyans, with me being the lone Canadian. The race director made a prayer for all the runners and then the race began with everyone sprinting off while I still went out in a sprint but help back to save some energy for later. The hot weather and high altitude definitely was not in my favor but I managed to run a sub 37 minute race. The race started out in the city on road, switched to trails through a tea plantation which was very hilly, and then finally back on the road again to finish the 10K route. According to my watch I ran just under 37 minutes (still waiting to receive an email from the race director with official results), and when I crossed the finish line full of Kenyans, I received a little square card that said “82” so out of about 200 Kenyan racers I came 82nd. Not too bad to be in the top 50% of a Kenyan race which consisted of some Olympians, World Champions, etc. I am happy with my result as all I wanted to do was finish and not go too hard as this race wasn’t all that important and I need to focus more on the training with 7 weeks left still. Simon and Jonathan finished together in 29th and 30th place in just under 31 minutes. After everyone had finished the race director gathered everyone, made a speech thanking everyone, and then he introduced Olympian Laban Rotich to saw a few words about his running success, who then introduced me to speak. I was surprised but willingly went up and said something like: “Hello everyone. My name is Robert Brouillette. I am from Ontario, Canada. I have come to Kenya for 2 months to do high altitude training for my running. I have run Canada College Nationals (everyone clapped). I am honored to represent my country at this 10K race. Thank you for having me (everyone clapped again even louder)!” and then I sat down with a smile. After that the race director called up the top 10 men and women to get their prizes. I met and talked with the top women of the race named, Caroline Kilel, who came 3rd at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon for women sometime soon in the past few years. Finally we left the race and headed to Laban’s friends house, who is the guy who came 10th overall at Run For Life’s Rift Valley Marathon this year in March. We had a few cups of tea and a lot more bread slices which listening to music and chatting for a bit. We were getting tired so we hit the road for 2.5 hours back to my place in the city of Mosoriot. On the drive home I waved and smiled at a lot of the children and just by seeing the looks of their faces, I knew that something so simple like that could make their day. I have a lot of bug bites on my legs which I think are from ants so I really need to be careful and not sit in the grass. The rain began and it was one of the biggest rain storms I had ever seen with hail, lightning, and thunder too. There was so much rain that it flooded the tiki hut, bathroom, and my bunk house a bit. Earlier it was probably one of the hottest days so far of my trip and I got some serious sun between the race and long drive home. I was starving after a long day with only tea and bread so supper was a lot of ugali, mixed cabbage, and fresh fish that we picked up from a market on the drive back from the race. It was so good that I just kept eating and never talked during supper. It was a long day so I got cleaned up, put on my CEP compression socks to help the legs with recovery, and headed to bed.

June 7

I woke up at 6:00AM so Simon and I could go for a really easy 43 minute morning run after our 10K race yesterday. Breakfast was bread with peanut butter and some cups of chai tea. I did some laundry all by hand and hung my cloths carefully on the barbwire fence to dry. I also washed my New Balance 890v3 shoes for the first time during this trip and they were looking almost brand new again, however with the amount of miles I’ve run in them from marathon training, I’m going to need a new pair of shoes when I return to Canada. It began to rain so I went inside the tiki hut to rest. Lunch was lots of beans and rice. Then I read a bunch from my book “Sub 4:00 – and the fastest mile” until I finished it. I learned a lot from Alan Webb and Nate Brannen about running track and all struggles and gains you receive from running University track. I then had some computer time where I wrote some more for my blog, posted a status and some pictures to Facebook, and best of all got to Skype with my sister Jessica. I began reading a new book called “Pain” which is also about running in College/University. Supper was ugali with mixed cabbage, more beans, and water/milk to drink.

Photo Album =

Facebook =
Twitter =

Me in my room with the Canadian flag hanging on the wall!

Me in my room with a Canada flag on the wall!

Laban, Simon, and I on our road trip to Kericho for a 10K race!

Laban, Simon, and I on our road trip to Kericho for a 10K race!

Me after the Ushirika Kericho 10K race!

Me after the Ushirika Kericho 10K !

– Robert Brouillette


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