Kenya Trip 2013 – Week #3!

Posted: July 15, 2013 in Robert Brouillette

JULY 8th – JULY 14th, 2013

July 8

I woke up and went on a 39 minute easy morning run with both Simon’s around the block for a 6.5K loop at 6:00AM. Breakfast was bread sliced with peanut butter and chai tea as usual. At 10:00AM the Simon’s and I went to the hill to do a 1 hour hill workout with a total of 7 guys. I managed to hold on to the pace with the guys throughout most of the sets until the end when I started to fall off. However, for the last set I lead the group to the top of the 430 meter climb in about 2 minutes fast. There was a 12-year-old boy who wanted to run with me, the mzungu (white man), halfway into the workout so I accepted and he actually managed to keep pace with me and make it all the way to the top a few times. I would never see a 12-year-old kid in Canada do what he did, especially in bare feet. It was very hot after the workout and there was no way I was putting my track suit back on but all the other guys did which made me think they were crazy but they though the same about me for not wearing it saying I might get cold. Once I got back to my place with Simon, I set the table and cleaned up, while he made lunch which was lots of rice, potatoes, and beans with tea and water. After that Simon went to the room and headed to bed while I did some stuff on my laptop. Then it began to rain lightly and I thought not much of it but then it turned into the biggest storm I have ever seen in my life. I don’t think it could have gotten any worse with pouring rain, hail, loud thunder, lightning, the tiki hut and kitchen flooding, the yard turning into a river, doors being blown open and shut by the massive strong wind, some things got blown over on the property, and it was freezing cold. Unfortunately the design of bunk house has locks on either side of the door and the door doesn’t stay closed without being locked so it was either I lock Simon in the room while he sleeps or he locks me out from the inside. Anyways, the rain went on for a while and since I was locked out of the room, I had to hide under a blanket on an old couch in the tiki hut which had the rain coming inside due to such hard rain. After the storm was all done, Simon and I had some cleaning to do due to the damage the storm caused. It was very cold at about 8 degrees, everything was soaking wet, so the rest of the day was stuck inside as I’m sure the dirt roads are a mess and I know the grass around the property is a swamp. The solar panel came off the roof during the storm so some of the guys and I fixed that and then we warmed up by the fire and had tea. Supper was ugali with mixed cabbage and since the power went out again, we ate in the dark with just a flashlight. I headed to bed early to rest up for tomorrows farklet workout.

July 9

I woke up, put on my clean shoes, and headed to the meeting spot for the 1:1 farklet workout for 50 minutes. It didn’t take long for me to get my sparkly clean shoes dirty in the mud again due to the rain yesterday. The farklet went well with 26 minutes out and 24 minutes back with me managing to stay with the group for most of the workout and just falling behind by 1 set. After the workout Simon and I did some stretches and then walked back to our place but couldn’t avoid the mud so the back of my legs were dirty. I got cleaned up and had breakfast which was bread with peanut butter and chai tea. I read a lot from my book “Pain” before taking a rest outside in the tiki hut before lunch which was spaghetti noodles and potatoes. I read more from my book under the sun in a lawn chair outside with my shirt off and relaxed. Simon and I went for a 40 minute/ 8K easy afternoon run and then finished at Laban’s house where we had a few cups of tea and then hung out with the kids. The kids came back to my place with little Sandra on my shoulders and they played around the yard, tried using the stationary bike to workout, and then I chased them around the tiki hut. I got a bunch of great photos together with Sandra, Michelle, and Justo. After the kids left with their mom Juliana, I sat by the fire with Milka and we talked before supper which was ugali with mixed green vegetables, water, and tea to drink. There was no power once again unfortunately, so supper was spent in the dark with just the light from the stars which sounds nice but that’s not enough to see very well. I went to bed to get some rest for the long run workout tomorrow morning.

July 10

I woke up and neither Simon nor I were feeling too great since yesterday’s supper but we still went for an easy 1:50 minute long run with a group of about 7 guys in total. It was rough but I got through it and stretched up before heading back to the tiki hut for breakfast which was just a slice of plain bread and some chai tea. I read from my book “Pain” which I really like because I can relate to a lot of the characters and the running experiences they face in the book. Lunch was lots of rice and potatoes, before I headed outside in the hot sunshine to read some more from my book with my shirt off. Then Simon and I met up with some of the guys and we headed to the Teacher’s College to watch the boy’s high school soccer championship game. All four sides of the soccer field were packed thick with so many Kenyan supporting fans that would cheer, sing, and dance. After the game it was a long walk back and I was getting tired from the morning long run, the sun sucking out all my energy, and now the long walk to and from the soccer game. I’ve concluded that I would rather run fast for a long distance than have to walk short distances slowly because I get tired, lazy and bored. I think it is because when I have my running shoes on in Canada I know I’m going for a run but if not then I can simply drive anywhere but in Kenya you run or walk everywhere. Anyways, I ate a roasted corn maze on the walk back to my place to temporarily satisfy my hunger before having a delicious supper of simply hot potatoes and freshly made chapati with milk. I was exhausted from the long day so I headed to bed early to get a good nights rest.

July 11  

I woke up but it was hard to get out of bed this morning and I found out I have a nice sun burn on my back that hurts to move. I went for our easy 40 minute morning run and it was nice for the fact it hasn’t rained in a little while leaving the trails in good shape but it was very cold. Simon and I have made it a tradition to read from our books after our easy run to relax, wait for breakfast, and prepare for the running workout in the mid-morning. Breakfast was chapati and tea of course but I’m sure everyone knows this by now. My Kenyan meals are all very repetitive and predictable but still delicious every time. Simon and I met up with some of the guys and headed to the track for the workout which was 1K (2.5 laps) x10. Things started off alright but as I went through each set I was feeling worse and worse so I had to cut the workout short at just 1K x5. I have never not finished a full workout in my running career so it was hard for me to do but when you’re feeling sick you have no choice. However, since I’m not a quitter I continued to run straight laps around the soccer field at a pace that was comfortable for my stomach. In the end the guys finished their 1K x10 but I still managed to get my 10K distance in by continuing to run those laps around the field. One bad workout so far into my 2.5 weeks here in Kenya isn’t the end of the world. I’m working hard and my body was telling me that today. On the walk back to my place I took the long way just so I could check out the market because Thursday is the big market day where most people meet in a big field and sell their goods. It’s mostly just old clothes and shoes but it was still nice just to walk through and check it out. Simon and I stopped in a little shop and had a kaangmu (scone) before heading home for lunch which was lots of rice, potatoes, and beans. I read some more from my book called “Pain” and almost finished it in less than a week because it’s so interesting. I went for a walk with Simon and Nobert and we passed by Sokkin School where the children were just getting out of classes for the day. There was a bunch of young kids and they each grabbed one of my fingers as we walked along the road. Simon and I went into his little shop where we made mandazi (Kenyan donut) but not all of them in the simple triangle shape and instead I got creative and made a maple leaf, star, and Canadian looking shaped doughnut. A mandazi is just 6 cents Canadian so I helped myself to a few because they are cheap but so good. I headed back to my place for supper which was beans, ugali with mixed cabbage, and milk. Then I was off to bed.

July 12

I woke up and went for a 1:10 minute tempo run with Simon and 6 other guys and by the end of the workout there was just 3 guys including myself left as the others peeled off during the run. Breakfast was just peanut butter and chai tea. I am low of food so I’m going to have to head to town to restock from the grocery store. I ended up being the driver and it was weird driving on the right side of the car and on the left side of the road. Driving in Kenya with unpredictable people, bikers, animals, crazy drivers, and all the pot holes can be interesting. Once I arrived in Eldoret, Simon and Milka showed me around and we looked at different bicycles so I can buy one for easier transportation around my place in Mosoriot. On our walk through town we saw a car hit a motorcycle right in front of us and thankfully no one was hurt. Milka went off with Laban’s wife Juliana to do some girl shopping so Simon and I went to a café for some lunch to have ugali, beef, mixed cabbage, chapati, as well as a delicious chai tea and a soda. The café had all the regular Coca Cola sodas but I wanted to be adventurous and try one I haven’t heard of called “Stoney Tangawizi” and it had to be the worst drink I have ever had as it burned my throat as I drank it to be polite. Then we went inside the grocery store to stock up on some healthy food and I had to resist buying all the dirt cheap cookies, chocolate, and candies I saw. In Kenya I’ve noticed that there is many time that someone is just standing around doing nothing while waiting for others to finish their business and it drives me crazy as I’m an impatient person. I was sitting in the car melting away under the hot sun while everyone else talked in Swahili with each other for over an hour. After that I decided to go exploring the city some more and being the only white person out of hundreds of people, I really stand out. Every shop owner tried getting me to come in their shop to buy their goods and I ended up getting 3 Kenya athletic shirts and a red Kenya cap all for $25 due to my amazing bargaining skills. Back in Mosoriot, Simon and I bought a bunch of fresh fruits and vegetables and then drove the car back to Laban’s house. To save gas I decided to carry my grocery bags 2K to my place but I didn’t realize my bags were going to be double and triple my weight so it was a struggle. For supper I had beans and ugali with mixed cabbage again. It has no been a few days since it’s rained and I’ve really been enjoying the nice hot sunny weather. It began to lightning and thunder and I feared it would rain but so how the rain never came. I stayed up late on my laptop before cleaning up and heading to bed.

July 13

Simon and I woke up for our morning run but today we would go different ways because I found a race in Eldoret on Sunday and Simon just wants to watch, cheer me on, and take pictures/videos with my iPhone. Therefore, I went for an easy 40 minute morning run while Simon went for a 1:10 minute run with hills. I have already finished reading two running books on my trip and now starting one called “The Champion Maker” also about running of course. It is weird that I am reading so much because back home I don’t read any books but with all the free time I get to relax here and with the topic of the books being about my greatest passion, running, I can understand why I’m excited to read. Breakfast was whole grain bread slices with peanut butter and honey, a banana, and chai tea. I went over to my neighbour Shadrack’s house with the boys to watch on TV the Kenya National Trials for the World Championships in Moscow. Their was the field events and then all the track races which featured one of the guys I train with named Kipruto who won the Men’s 3000M Steeplechase. The man who came second in that race named Abel, I got to talk with him on the phone after he’d finished because Shadrack had his number in his phone and must be his friend. Shadrack is a good neighbour and shared some food with me which was ugali and mixed peas with sour milk to drink but I ended up passing the milk over to Simon as I just could not drink it. Back at my place after the Kenya National Trials was over, I had a late lunch which was spaghetti noodles, mixed peas, and an orange that was actually yellow. Simon and I walked over to Sokkin School to watch TV with the children and then we headed over to Laban’s for a cup of tea, chat with his family, and play with the kids. Supper at my place was ugali with mixed greens, and mixed peas again. I felt good for my 10K road race in Eldoret tomorrow so I headed to bed to get some rest for the big race day.

June 14

I woke up and went for an easy 30 minute run to warm up my legs for the 10K race in Eldoret later this morning, while Simon went off to run 1 hour since he won’t be racing with me today. I had 2 slices of bread with peanut butter and a cup of chai tea before Laban drove me, Simon, and some of the other boys I train with into Eldoret. We arrived just 5 minutes before the race started because someone had given us the wrong start time. I am thankful I did that morning run earlier or I wouldn’t have been warmed up and stretched in time for the race. It started out fast and I tried to go with them getting a 3:00 minute first kilometer. From then on I maintained a consistent pace and continued to pass people one by one. In the last kilometer of the race, both sides of the street were lined with many people who all cheered as I went by. The last 100 meters of the race was on grass and I kicked my way hard to the finish passing someone just in time getting a time of 36:50 unofficially. Unfortunately with this race if you’re not in the top 100 finishers, then you aren’t given your time or place overall. According to Simon I finished shortly after the top 100 out of over 300 participants. Once I crossed the finish line, I threw my hands up in excitement and people rushed over to congratulate me, give me water, orange slices, and glucose powder. Once I caught my breath from the high altitude tiring my lungs, I sat down and watch the award ceremony. The last award was a special one that is new this year and that’s when they said, “I’d like to award this certificate of appreciation to Robert Brouillette from Canada!” I went up surprised but excited, shook all the race organizers hands, and then went over to the race director who handed me the certificate, took some pictures, and then thanked me saying, “We are thankful for you coming to our race all the way from Canada, Mr. Robert!” After the race event was over, Laban drove us all back to my place where Simon gave my sore leg muscles a ‘Kenyan massage.’ He dug his fingers into all my different leg muscles to loosen them up, get rid of lactic acid, and let the blood flow. That had to be the most painful experience of my life as I wanted to cry, scream, and swear the entire time. However, I hid the pain inside and by the end I felt better. Lunch was rice, potatoes, and a banana with Simon, Milka, and Laban’s family. I had some milk biscuits for dessert and shared with the little children which they loved. After everyone had left, I had some more of those milk biscuits because they are so addicting and then Simon and I drove into town. We bought some steak from the local butchery shop and then visited at Simon’s friend’s house where we had tea, mini buns, crackers, and real plain potato chips. On the way back to my place we stopped at Sokkin School to drink more tea with the teachers there. Something I’ve noticed throughout my trip is that you will never see a Kenyan wearing shorts unless their running or with their shirt off. They think it is freezing all the time and I try to fit in but ended up dying from the heat. Supper was the steak I picked up from the market and ugali with mixed cabbage and lots of water and chai tea to drink. I was tired ever since the race so I went to bed right away.

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My training partner and friend, Simon, enjoying some morning chai tea with me!

My training partner and friend, Simon, enjoying some morning chai tea with me!

Cute little Michelle, Sandra, and I in the tiki hut!

Cute little Michelle, Sandra, and I in the tiki hut!

My finish at the RVTTI Eldoret 10K race!

Finishing at RVTTI Eldoret 10K race!

– Robert Brouillette


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