Kenya Trip 2013 – Week #4!

Posted: July 24, 2013 in Robert Brouillette

JULY 15th – JULY 21st, 2013

July 15

I woke up thankfully not feeling sore at all from the 10K road race yesterday so I went to the hill workout with both Simon’s. Since the Simon that lives with me didn’t race yesterday, he ran 1 hour hard getting 13 sets while I got 11 and the other Simon got 8. We ran back to our places easy and by the end I had run 18.3K and still have an easy 40 minute afternoon run later. Breakfast was a couple of slices of whole grain bread with peanut butter/honey and chai tea to drink. I relaxed in the tiki hut with my tea and read from my book, “The Champion Maker” and won solitaire on my laptop for the first time. While I was in the bathroom a bee came inside while I was in the middle of my shower and chased me because it liked the smell of my shampoo but I hid because I wasn’t going to get stung again. Lunch was two plates full of rice and potatoes covered in tomato sauce. I tried reading from my book outside on a lawn chair under the sun but the flies wouldn’t leave me alone so annoyed I went inside the tiki hut. Simon took me on a new trail for our easy run of 45 minutes and the air was so hot, humid, and thick, that by the end I was begging for water because my lungs/throat was dry. When I got back to my place there were a bunch of children from around the neighborhood so I played with them by chasing them around the yard until I slipped on the grass and wiped out. Supper was ugali with mixed cabbage and tea/water to drink. Then Simon and I were on my laptop before heading to bed for the fartlek workout early in the morning.

July 16

I woke up, put on my short Running Room tights, and headed to the meeting spot for the fartlek workout with Simon. The workout would be 2:1 (2 minutes run hard and 1 minute rest jog) for 1 hour. I started out with the group of about 8 guys, but as the workout progressed they gaped me more and more. My legs felt fine but my lungs were tired and burning from the thick heavy air so I completed the workout but just not at the speed I had wanted to. I have worked hard these past 3 weeks here in Kenya and it was a matter of time before I started feeling the effects. I will rest up and be ready for the easy 40 minute afternoon run later. Breakfast was a couple of slices of whole grain bread with peanut butter/honey and lots and lots of chai tea. By the end of my 2 month trip I’m sure I will have drunk a couple hundred cups of chai tea and I hope to be able to make it myself once I’m back in Canada. I read my book, “The Champion Maker” inside the tiki hut until I decided to go outside in the lawn chair to read under the sun. I finished off the book and that makes three books read in the 3 weeks here in Kenya and you wouldn’t catch me reading books back home in Canada so it shows how relaxing it is here. Lunch was rice and peas, before going outside to my law chair to rest. I had my music on and eyes closed but when I woke up I was burnt all over. Due to the beautiful weather, Simon and I decided to extend our easy afternoon run and some of the local kids joined in for as long as they could. Supper was rice and potatoes before doing some research on my laptop to find out that my neighbor, Shadrack Korir, is actually a former Kenya World Champion runner in the 1500 meter in 3:31 minute. I then headed straight to bed to rest up for the long run in the early morning that I want to rock.

July 17

I woke up then Simon and I headed to the meeting spot for the long run workout with 8 other guys. I was really determined to make up for yesterdays poor performance doing the fartlek, so I took initiative to take the lead today and everyone agreed. I did quite well for the first 17K but that was when we hit a huge rocky hill that threw off my pace causing the others to take the lead and eventually gap me for the last 5K. I’ve discovered that the only thing that affects me when I’m running in Kenya is the rocky, bumpy, uneven ground or in this case hills. My lungs can’t take the thick air and altitude but my legs always feel fine. When we finished we had gone just over 23K in 1:45 at about a moderate 4:30 pace. Simon led me through his Kenyan stretches that I’ve never seen before but they really worked the muscles to recovering. Back at my place breakfast was 2 English muffins with peanut butter and chai tea. I listened to a lot of my music with Simon who has a similar taste in music as me. I asked Simon and some of his friends if they knew who the artists The Beatles or Justin Beiber are and he said no so it shows how isolated some of the Kenyans are from our music. I went to my room to sleep for a few hours and they crawled out of bed again to have a snack of strawberry filled biscuits and some trail mix. The other Simon came to visit and the three of us had lunch together which was spaghetti noodles, potatoes, and peas with tomato sauce and chai tea to drink. Simon was tired from the morning long run and didn’t feel like going for an easy afternoon run so I went by myself. It started out slow like I was supposed to do but when I’m running I can never ‘just go slow’ so I eventually picked up to a faster comfortable pace. Half way into the run I made a wrong turn and ended up lost on some trail in a corn field. I thankfully found my way out of that maze and headed home for a moderate intensity afternoon run for 10K in 45 minutes. For the day I had a total of 33K between the two runs and I haven’t done that kind of mileage since I was marathon training. Right now in Kenya I’m just training for 8K College cross-country but after the season is over in November, I’ll start marathon training again for the Boston Marathon in April. Anyways, Simon showed me some Kenyan dance moves while danced to my club music and then I took a rest on the couch in the tiki hut. Simon told me that the place where Barack Obama grew up is only one hour away from my place here in Mosoriot, Kenya. Supper was ugali with mixed greens and then we waiting for our visitors to arrive. Some children from a school out-of-town came to visit my place because they had a music festival tomorrow morning. They all had costumes with swords and shields, some had drums or horns, and then they performed folk dance, sang Kenyan songs, and recited poems for me. It was very unique like nothing I have seen in Canada because their music represents their Kenyan culture of course. I shook all 100 school children’s hands, cleaned up, and headed to bed.

July 18

I woke up and went for an easy early morning run with Simon and Jonathan for 7.5K in 45 minutes. Breakfast was extra sweet whole bread with peanut butter/honey and chai tea. I went to the track with about 10 guys to do 600 meters x15 with 200 meter easy jog in between. The guys let me lead one of the sets in 1:54 minutes and from then on I went my pace of anywhere from 1:55-2:15 minutes on the rough grass/dirt track. I wore my Saucony spikes that I’ve had since high school but they are still good because I only use them maybe 6 times a year for cross-country races. I felt good throughout most of the workout until near the end when I got a blister and foot muscle cramp from my feet getting used to spikes in training. We then all headed over to the hospital to weigh ourselves and I was 57Kg for the third week in a row. I went to the market field with some of the boys to look around and I ended up getting a pineapple Fanta, Kenya scarf, and Kenya belt. I bought some fresh fruits and vegetables and then walked home for lunch which was rice and beans with tomato sauce and chai tea to drink. I went on a wonderful moderate speed afternoon run with Simon and when we finished I went straight into playing street volleyball with some local kids which was very fun. Simon and Milka weren’t at my place so I had to make chai tea by myself which I did ok at but Simon came along and fixed it afterwards. Supper was ugali from the corn flour that Simon picked up fresh from the mill and that was with mixed greens/cabbage. Then I headed to bed for my second long run workout of the week in the early morning.

July 19

I woke up and met 6 guys at the main road for our 1:20 minute long run as far as I was told. I led most of the workout until we hit a huge hill which is my weakness so the others took over and I could never make up the speed from the momentum the hill caused me to lose. They also increased the pace much without warning, took me to another long upward slope after they said the rest of the run would be flat, and then by the time I got home it was a 1:50 minute run. I talked to Simon and hopefully there will be better communication next time. I don’t mind doing bigger workouts but I need the information to mentally prepare my body physically for changes along the route. Breakfast was an English muffin, some bread slices with peanut butter, and chai tea. I went to Laban’s house to visit, see baby Glennys, and I even caught a chicken so that I could hold it. Back at my place lunch was simply rice and beans, before I drove with Simon into Eldoret to do some shopping. I ended up buying a nice blue bike with gears for my traveling from my place to the market. I also bought a simple Samsung cell phone for cheap that I can use to text/call my friends in Kenya and the occasional call home to Canada. I drove back to my place in Mosoriot from Eldoret on a Friday at rush hour which felt a hundred times worse than it is in Toronto. By the time I finally got home I was stressed out and exhausted from the crazy driving so I had some supper which was ugali with mixed cabbage and steak, before heading straight to bed as the rain started.

July 20

Since it rained pretty hard last night, Simon and I decided to not bother with going on our 40 minute early morning easy run. This is the first time on the trip where I got to sleep in but it wasn’t for long as breakfast was at 8:00AM with bread slices and chai tea. I then headed to the track with 3 other guys to do 1200 meters x8 with 200 meters of easy jogging in between. In the end I only fell behind by 400 meters or so with my times ranging from 4:15-4:25 minutes for 3 laps of the track. On my way home Simon took me to where World Champion 3000M steeplechase runner, Kipruto, lives but I just missed him as he had already left for training in Moscow, Russia where the World Championships will be held this year. Instead I met Abraham Chirchir who is a World Junior 800M runner of 1:43 minutes (3 seconds off world record of 1:40 minutes by Kenyan David Rudisha). After that I did a cool down run back to my place for some chai tea before lunch which was rice and beans. The school children came back again to do their dance and poems in their costumes of spears, shields, horns, drums, and feather hats. At the end of the ceremony I presented one girl who is a young successful runner with one of the shoes I brought to give away. After the 100 students left, three little girls showed up saying they were hungry and thirst so I gave them a cup of water and some of my snacks to munch on and they left with a huge smile on their face. I then set up my new Kenyan Samsung cell phone (0702358081) so I can text/call all my friends around Kenya. I can now finally call Canada to speak with my family for cheap (0.25-0.30 cents per minute). Supper was beans, potatoes, and chapati which I was starting to miss. I headed to bed to see how I feel in the morning for a Sunday morning run since Kenyan’s don’t run at all usually and just go to church.

July 21

I woke up and decided to go for a 1 hour early morning run and Simon even joined me before his church started. Breakfast was sweet bread slices with fresh peanut butter and a 2L bottle of coke; just kidding it was chai tea of course. Not a lot happened with me while I waited for Simon to come back from his Maasai church. Lunch was chapati, rice, and beans, before I walked my new bike into town to be serviced. The man who was performing the service took the bike apart and went through each part making sure it is correct and safe. He took about 2 hours and it only cost 300 shillings ($3.5), however once I left I kept finding problems with the brakes, loose nuts and handle bars so I had to go back to him 5 times till I was satisfied. After all that my hands were a filthy black because I was getting impatient so I hopped in and starting fixing things myself with bike grease everywhere. Simon and I went to the hotel restaurant across the street to wash our hands real good and then enjoy a cup of chai tea and samosa (spicy beef snack). It was getting late so I walked my bike with Simon back to my place and along the way I saw the grass lit up and at first I thought it was a small fire but it turned out to be glowing bugs that looked cool. Supper was ugali and mixed greens with a full thermos of chai tea to myself. I headed to bed late before my hardest workout in the early morning tomorrow.

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Some of my Kenyan training partners at our track workout!

My Kenyan training partners at our track workout!

I caught a chicken at Laban Rotich's house!

I caught a chicken at Laban’s house!

Presenting this girl with a pair of running shoes!

I’m giving a school girl a pair of running shoes!

– Robert Brouillette


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