Kenya Trip 2013 – Week #5!

Posted: July 29, 2013 in Robert Brouillette

JULY 22nd – JULY 28th, 2013

July 22

I woke up and went to the road still feeling half asleep while I waited for my training group as well as the sprinters to run along and pick me and Simon up for the 1 hour hard workout. When I saw the pack coming my way I got myself all ready and excited for the workout. I hopped into the group but before I could blink they had already gaped me right away and where disappearing into the distance. I couldn’t believe the speed they were moving at with 1 hour to go. Simon later told me after the workout that they were going at maybe about 3:20/K (around race pace or just slower) which I’ve never even done in training, especially for 1 hour or about 19K. Anyways, when I realized I still had a full workout ahead of me and no one in sight, I decided to stick to it and attempt to remember as much of the route as I could and this worked out for a bit but I eventually took some wrong turns and I was lost in the middle of no where. Using my best sense of direction and help from school children who were walking to school and shop owners, I finally made it back to my place in just under 1:20 minutes and 16K. I lost a lot of my speed making wrong turns and slowing down to ask for directions but I was just thankful to be back in the right town. Breakfast was bread and chapati with peanut butter and chai tea to drink, before shortly going out for an easy 40 minute mid-morning run with Simon. When I got back to my place, I took the bike outside so I could wash off all the greasy and dirt so it would look acceptable to ride it in the afternoon for the first time. Lunch was chapati, spaghetti noodles, and beans with chai tea to drink, before going out on an easy afternoon run by myself but on my usual route where I can’t get lost. That made 3 runs for the day but I wasn’t done with the exercise yet as I immediately went back out on an hour-long bike ride with my music playing from a speaker I put on the bike. It was fun at first but with the rough bumpy dirt roads, there is a lot of bouncing around and it made me sore by the end. When I got back to my place, Simon was in the kitchen about to make some tea so I joined him and learned step by step how to make Kenyan chai tea. Supper was spaghetti noodles, beans, and ugali with mixed greens. Simon and I headed over to Laban’s house to visit with a Canadian girl named Glennys who is researching in Nairobi and is in Kenya until the end of August just like me. Glennys is a good friend to everyone here and it was nice seeing and talking with a mzungu (white person) again since it’s been almost a month since I left Canada. I walked back to my place in the black night and hopped into bed for the workout tomorrow.

July 23

I woke up and headed to the main road for the 1:1 (1 minute easy then 1 minute hard) fartlek workout for 55 minutes. The leader decided that since last weeks workout was too dusty from all the cars passing by on the dirt road that we would run on the trails. So that’s exactly what we did and I held on as long as I could for the workout until the last few where they pulled away from me. We all jogged back to the main road together and then Simon and I did our cool down run back to our place. When we got back we saw Milka and Glennys in the tiki hut so we all had breakfast of bread, chapati, and chai tea together. Then we all sat in the grass together and talked about everything while some workers were constructing and repairing things around the property. I then drove Laban’s car into Eldoret to stock up on food and drinks from the grocery store that will last us for the next week or two. In about 2 weeks I should be going to Iten to see my Kenyan friend Johana who will just be returning from 3 months of training and racing Canada, as well as visit the High Altitude Training Camp. Whether I stay for a day, a week, or the rest of my trip to experience the culture and training in Iten, I’ll just have to wait and see. On the way home Laban was driving in the pouring rain and decided to pull over until it died down a bit but unfortunately he pulled over into a mud pit where we were stuck for a while. Eventually both Simon’s and I were able to push the car out of the mud with Laban hammering the gas but when the tires did break free of the mud, the car shot all this mud in our faces and all over our clothes. When we were home from a long day, we finally got the generator back from being fixed since it didn’t work for almost a week. I was able to use power again for lighting and charging my laptop, iPhone, Kenyan Samsung phone, music speaker, and Nike GPS SportWatch. Supper was a very good ugali with mixed cabbage and both chai tea and milk to drink. I went to bed later than usual so I hoped I would have enough energy for the workout in the early morning.

July 24

I woke up and met the group at the main road for our long run. I was supposed to be a 1:30 minute easy long run but once again what they told me is not what actually happened. It started out easy and I was feeling good as my legs were warming up at 6:30AM. However, as the workout went on the pace increased dramatically which is not what I was informed about and we were on pace for one of our faster long runs. I stuck with the pack as long as I could but eventually fell off around 17K or so and ran solo for the rest of the long run back to my place. I finished in 1:56 minutes for just over 25K which is almost half an hour longer than what the set time was when we started. I know I’m not as fast as all of them and can deal with a few minutes under or over the set time but they were way over the time too. It doesn’t bother them because they know the area and can physically and mentally adjust themselves for another 10, 20, or 30 minute extra. But me not knowing anything about the trails I’m running on or how far I am from my place, I just have to trust their word. I love training with Kenyans but the communication can be not so great sometimes. In the end I finished the workout and feel strong even thought I don’t understand why we are running so far and long while training for 8K and 12K cross-country races but they are Kenyan champions so they know what they are doing. Breakfast was whole grain bread with peanut butter and chai tea, before driving into town to get fruits and vegetables for the next week. Simon and I picked out potatoes, tomatoes, onions, cabbage, spinach, carrots, beans, peas, bananas, apples, and yellow oranges. I went for a walk and along the way I passed a young child and he began to cry at the top of his lungs, run away, and hid behind his mother like I was an enemy. This is an example of a Kenyan kid seeing a white person for the first time and unsure of why I’m white and not black like the other Kenya people and therefore react in this way. Lunch was rice and potatoes, before relaxing with Simon and Glennys while it rained. Glennys and I made chai tea together all by ourselves and it turned out very strong from too much tea leaves, very milky, and sweet from all the sugar, but in the end it was pretty good.  After tea time we all went into the tiki hut to dance to Kenyan music while we waited for supper which was ugali with mixed greens and a cup of milk. Then Simon and I walked over to Laban’s to dance some more with the Glennys, Laban’s family, and the children but this time with my finger lights in the dark which looked cool. Sandra loves my finger lights so much and has become a great dancer herself for someone so young. I headed back home and stayed up late again talking to friends back home from my laptop before heading to bed.

July 25

I woke up and went for my 6:00AM early morning 40 minute easy run with Simon but this time we did the route backwards to change things up. When we got back to the tiki hut, we found out that we wouldn’t have any milk for our tea because Juliana’s cows were given medicine to prevent them from getting sick so just to be safe they didn’t take milk from them. Instead I had a glass of apple/grape juice and whole wheat bread with peanut butter on it. At 10:00AM Simon and I were at the track with the other boys for our pyramid workout of (2000M, 1600M, 1200M, 1000M, 1000M, 1200M, 1600M, 2000M). I ran it in my New Balance Minimus trail shoes so that my feet wouldn’t hurt again from the spikes and that helped a lot. I held onto the guys as long as I could for the 11.6K workout but by the end I fell behind by only 600 meters. It was so sunny and hot out that I just laid in the grass, flat-out, with my eyes closed as soon as I crossed the line of my last set to take it all in. After that I headed to the hospital to take my weekly weight and I was 59kg or 130 pounds which is not too bad but still 5 pounds heavier than the past 3 weeks but I think it’s due to all the good food I’m eating and muscle I’m building. We then walked through the Thursday market to look at all the different things people were selling and ended up getting some vegetables real cheap. Before we went home we stopped at a restaurant to get a cup of chai tea for 20 cents or so since we couldn’t have any this morning. Lunch was potatoes, carrots, and spaghetti noodles, before heading to bed as I was exhausted from the tough track workout earlier, plus it began raining heavy. When I awoke 4 hours or so later, I had a snack of apple/grape juice, a banana, and some almond cookies. It was so beautiful out earlier this morning but then it got so cold and rainy all of a sudden which was no fun. It gets dark outside fast and early so the evening was spent in the tiki hut relaxing with my music. Supper was ugali with mixed greens and soup made from the leftovers of potatoes/carrots from lunch. I headed to bed early to get a good nights rest before the workout in the early morning.

July 26

I woke up and headed to the road to wait for the others to pick us up for the 1:30 minute long run. One of my training partner’s brothers joined us and is a very successful runner in Kenya so he pushed the pace and I started out with the pack but slowly fell back. Last year in Kenya I didn’t realize how much the altitude affected me but now that I am running more competitively and much harder, I can really feel it. Every hill is my worst nightmare and my legs either feel a hard heavy rock solid or like jelly causing my recovery after the hill to be longer than usual and this is when I began to fade. I can’t explain the altitude difference on the lungs from Canada to Kenya but I can definitely feel it and it sucks some times. It makes me look a lot slower in Kenya than what I can do in Canada but I know my body is working hard so my training will all show once I’m back home racing in low altitude Canada. I finished the workout in 1:20 minutes for 19K which was short but I was thankful because my legs had enough. I did my stretch routine and headed back to my place for breakfast which was muffins that I put peanut butter on and chai tea to drink. Simon, Milka, and I decided we might go to a club in Eldoret tonight so I can enjoy a night out dancing with all the Kenyan girls but staying sober of course. That reminds me that I have now gone 6 months or half a year without drinking any alcohol and staying completely sober. I didn’t drink very much in the first place but all I know is that getting drunk can’t be any good for my body and is a waste of money to me so I eliminated it from my life. In the mid-morning Simon and I did a 45 minute weight lifting workout with the gym equipment in the tiki hut. We would do 10 repetitions of each piece of equipment with a jog around the tiki hut in between each set. Then we took a short break before doing 8 drills I learned from Canadian marathoners Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis. 30 seconds or 10 repetitions of each drill, with 3 sets, and a jog around the tiki hut in between. The drills were high knees, butt kicks, quick hops, box jumps, squat jumps, hop jumps, lunges, and tuck jumps which are all done in 15 minutes. Simon got through the drill workout but my legs always hurt during the lunges for some reason so I stopped and saved my legs for tomorrows running workout. I then relaxed with a cup of chai tea while construction was going on around the property. Lunch was rice and potatoes, before dancing around the tiki hut with Simon to Kenyan music as we get ready for the club tonight. I had some almond and coconut cookies with chai tea for a snack and then an early supper was ugali with mixed cabbage. Then I drove Simon, Milka, John, and Peter into Eldoret so we could check out the new nightclub. It was 200 shillings ($2) to get in and everyone was shy at first but after some time the place was getting good and a bunch of people were out on the dance floor. The music was a mix of hip hop songs from Kenya and ‘Top 40’ that I hear in Canada. By the time we left it was after 1:00AM and I have never stayed up this late for my whole trip so I was tired and my legs were tired from 4 hours of straight dancing. As soon as I dropped everyone off, I headed straight to my room and hit the bed.

July 27

I woke up early even though I was out till 2:00AM this morning because in Kenya breakfast will always be at 8:00AM. Sleeping till this time is considered ‘sleeping in’ as I normally would do an early morning 6:00AM run but instead will do a long run later in the mid-morning. Breakfast was just a few cups of chai tea so I wouldn’t be to full for the workout soon. Simon and I walked to the main road to start our 1:20 minute long run but were surprised to see that our neighbor, Shadrack Korir, the 2007 bronze medalist at the World Championships in Japan for the 1500M, would be joining us. The run started out slow but progressively got faster as it went on, with many big hills that I didn’t struggle too bad with like I normally would, and then finished with a sprint again Simon to the finish spot. I spent a good 15 minutes stretching out all my muscles as I was so sore from all the training, walking around town, and dancing a lot last night. Back at my place I had almonds, glucose biscuits, and a banana for a snack before relaxing in the tiki hut with chai tea. Lunch was rice and a pea’s mix before I headed outside to start reading a sports psychology book for athletes and coaches which I’m sure has a lot of information that could help with my running now and my coaching in the future after school. Then I went for an easy 35 minute afternoon run on the dusty dirt trails with Simon. After the run I saw some children that wanted to meet me so I went over to them but they were so excited that when I was shaking their hands they grabbed me and tried pulling me through the fence. When they finally set me free, I went to Shadrack’s house for some chai tea while watching Kenyan music videos on TV. Simon and I walked to his shop where some fresh mandazi (Kenyan doughnut) were just made so I could help myself but eat a few before we kept walking into town and I got some more of this addicting snack. My legs were so tired from the day that I decided to pay less than $1 for a motorbike ride back to my place. Supper was a big chunk of ugali with mixed cabbage before spending some time on my laptop talking with family and then finally heading to bed to catch up on some sleep.

July 28

I woke up late because my alarm didn’t go off for some reason so while Simon is at church I will go for my 1:10 ‘comfortable pace’ run. Breakfast was one of the mandazi’s I bought yesterday, some pieces of bread with peanut butter, and chai tea. I sat in the tiki hut with my laptop, music, and book while I waited to start my mid-morning workout. I went for my workout in 1:10 minutes but at a moderate pace because I don’t know how to go easy when I run alone so I ended up covering over 15K. After my run I was joined by 3 girls in princess dresses who came out of church and did my 15 minute stretches with me. They followed me back to my place so I have them some water, a mandazi to share, and a book to read on the tiki hut. Lunch was spaghetti noodles and peas, before relaxing on the couch that I brought outside while reading my sports psychology book. I had a snack of a banana, apple, coconut cookies, and bread slices with my chai tea. I listened to my music and danced around the tiki hut, before I decided to go for a late bike ride for fun. However, it was far from fun because it got dark very early and fast, I couldn’t see anything, the roads were bumpy, the noises of the night were scary, and I lost my flashlight at some point during the ride because of the rough roads. Once I got home, I had supper which was ugali with a peas mix and then chai tea while on my laptop talking on Facebook. I headed to bed while the rain was just starting hoping that it wouldn’t affect my run in the early morning.

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My house under construction!

My Kenyan house under construction!

Drinking chai tea with the sun shinning so brightly!

Drinking chai tea with sun shinning bright!

Tea time outside while reading a sports psychology book!

Tea time outside on the couch while reading a sports psychology book!

– Robert Brouillette


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