Kenya Trip 2013 – Week #6!

Posted: August 6, 2013 in Robert Brouillette

JULY 29th – AUGUST 4th, 2013

July 29

I woke up but unfortunately due to the crazy heavy rain all through the night, it made everything wet and muddy so Simon and I slept in for another hour and will do our easy run later in the afternoon. Breakfast was a bit of chai tea, a banana, and bread slices with peanut butter before heading out for my morning workout. The workout with both Simon’s and their friend was 1 hour straight on a hill with me going hard up and jog down. The hill is over 400M and I got about 12 or 13 sets done in that 60 minute period. For the cool down we jogged for a few minutes back to our places but for the last kilometer or so we did 30 second sprints and I finished just behind my roommate Simon while the others fell behind. Back at my place I had a cup of chai tea while Simon was making Kenyan porridge which I have missed since I last had it a year ago when I was in Kenya. I had 2 tea cups filled with porridge that is full of nutritional ingredients and lots of energy which I love so much. Lunch was rice and potatoes, before I listened to some music and read my sports psychology book. Simon and I went out for a 45 minute afternoon easy run and then I rode the bike to town and back to pick up some vegetables from the market. Supper was ugali with a new Kenyan vegetable called saaga which is like a mixed green like spinach. After supper I was on my laptop drinking my chai tea when a big, flying, scary, ugly, bug flew at me so I freaked right out and ran laps around the tiki hut while Simon stayed still and just laughed at me. It got cold so Simon and I went into our room and fell asleep with my music still playing.

July 30

I woke up and met the other boys at the main road for our 2:1 fartlek workout for 50 minutes. This workout has been the one that I’ve struggled with the most because it’s all about speed and I see myself as more of an endurance runner but I’m working on strengthening this. I started off with the pack but after a few sets I dropped back and went at my pace which there is nothing wrong with but I really wish I was at their level so I must be patient. The problem when I finish a workout is that I’m not breathing hard and feel like I can keep going further but my legs disagree and can’t turn over fast when I want them to. The altitude is really a huge cause of course and I’m hoping it all pays off once I’m home in Canada running College 8K cross-country. After my cool down and I was walking on the trail back to my place I was a pile of like a million ants and for some reason I thought it would be cool to poke them with a stick. Before I could blink I was being attack by these biting ants on my hands and all over my shoes so I freaked out, screamed, and ran away (probably faster than I actually ran in the workout). Breakfast was two English muffins with lots of peanut butter and chai tea to drink. I read my book while having a snack of a banana, apple, almonds, and mango cookies. I fell asleep on the couch in the tiki hut for a bit before supper which was two big plates of spaghetti noodles and beans. It rained hard for a while with the sky looking dark and then it quickly turning into sun shine right away. I went to my room to rest before my afternoon run with Simon, Jonathan, and Gem for 50 minutes easy with me in the lead the entire time. When I got back to my place I read some more from my book and listened to my music until supper while was ugali with a spinach mix and chai tea to drink. Then I went on my laptop, cleaned up, and headed to bed for tomorrows early morning long run.

July 31

I woke up and headed to the meeting spot for the about 1:30 minute long run with Simon, Peter, Jonathan, Gem, and the other boys. Like all the other long runs, I start easy with the group but as the pace gets progressively faster I just have to try to hold on for as long as I can till this get a good enough gap on me. At first this bothered me but now I’m realizing that this is Kenya trials, altitude, and most importantly sub 3:00/K or so in competition Kenyan runners I’m training with here. I was not that fast in Canada and certainly wont be any faster over here but just you wait until I get back home and running in September. Anyways, about 12K into the workout they lost me and I was running purely on my little memory of the route and a little help from people along the way. However, this time I was not luck with finding my way through the course even with some help. Not only did I take a wrong turn somewhere that would cause me a few extra minutes but I managed to get so off course and lost that I was in a whole new city and had no idea where I was, which direction to head in, or how long it would now take me to find the way back to my place. Long story short, I ran through mud, puddles, forests, over bridges, through markets, corn fields, tall grassy areas, and up unbelievably big hills, before I finally found something I recognized. The mud on the bottom of my New Balance 890v3 shoes felt like bricks and every turn led to another long boring trail with me thinking I would never find my way out of this mess. The crazy part is that by the time I got back to my place, my Nike GPS SportWatch said I had run 43.1K in 3:35 minutes which means I managed to run my second marathon ever in Kenya, in training, on one of the hardest routes I’ve ever done. When I finally reached the tiki hut, Simon was wondering what the hell happened to me as the group finished their long run in 1:35 minutes which was 2 hours earlier than me. Overall I’m not angry that I got lost and actually find it exciting that I ran a marathon in Kenya. I don’t know how many mzungu (white person’s) have ever run that distance in the high altitude of Kenya but I’m sure it’s not too many. The guys were so surprised by my performance but now they can finally see what kind of runner I am with endurance being my strength. Another benefit of the run is that it happened on my mother’s birthday so I certainly will dedicate this marathon fully to her as I was thinking about her today during my workout. At my place I put on my CEP compression socks to help with the recovery, blood flow, and injury prevention of my legs. I put two GU Brew electrolyte tables into my 1L water bottle and headed to the tiki hut for breakfast which was two English muffins with peanut butter, a banana, and lots of chai tea. My legs surprisingly still felt fine and I wasn’t all that tired but still went to my room to listen to music and relax for a bit. I feel like I could go out and do another run as I’m so pumped up from my morning run, my body feels great with no pains, soreness, or tight muscles, but I will make sure I wait 24 hours till the track workout tomorrow which I will do at a comfortable pace with no worries. I’m drinking about 2L of water a day plus lots of chai tea so I’m staying well hydrated. Lunch was rice and potatoes with tomato sauce and covered in a soup. It rained lots so I was inside the tiki hut or my room for most of the day reading my book, having a snack, or resting. The solar panel is now fixed with a strong battery so I am now able to get access to the internet during the day and charge all my electronics when I need to. At night I was in the tiki hut with Simon when a cat jumped up on a ledge and scared me so much that I fell out of my chair which made Simon laugh so hard. Supper was ugali with a cabbage mix and lots of chai tea while I was on my laptop talking with friends and wishing my mom a happy birthday through Facebook video chat. I headed to bed knowing ill be able to ‘sleep in’ until 8:00AM tomorrow since I’m not doing an early morning run.

August 1

I woke up and got out of bed even before 8:00AM even though I was allowed to sleep in. Breakfast was slices of bread with honey and peanut butter and chai tea to drink. I then headed to the track for my mid-morning workout at 10:00AM which was 600 meters x15. It went pretty well with me hitting 1:59-2:09 minutes per set and considering I ran a marathon in training yesterday, it is a slippery grass track, and I was pacing myself. At the 13th 600 meter, the blister on my left foot heel came back causing me to struggle a little with the pain but I finished the full workout regardless. The Saucony XC spikes I have are great but they aren’t working for me because they may be a half-size to big and my heel is slipping around. That just adds another thing to the list of gifts I can present a lucky deserving Kenyan runner since I will be buying a new cross-country spike in the fall before the College season starts. In between each set I would have a 200 meter recovery and ended up chatting with a very successful Kenyan marathon runner named James Kirwa who says he’s won all six of his marathon races in around 2:13-2:18 minutes. He was a really nice guy and even though he’s training for a marathon and I am for 8K cross-country, I hope our training will cross again so we can continue to talk more about our running successes. After the track workout I headed to the hospital across the street to get my weekly weight and it was 57kg/127.5lbs, so I am now loosing weight again in a healthy way so I will be even lighter and faster for racing in the fall, that’s if I keep an honest diet back in Canada. Simon and I went to the hotel/restaurant in the Mosoriot center and I had chai tea, a beef kebab, banana cake, and chapati mayai (egg wrap) for a snack. As we were walking to my place, our neighbour and World Champion runner, Shadrack Korir, passed us in his tractor so we hoped on and he took us to his farm where he gave me a little tour before I walked home. Lunch was spaghetti noodles and beans with chai tea before it startedto rain which caused us to miss our afternoon easy run. It rained all afternoon so I was inside the tiki hut on my laptop, listening to music, and reading my book. Supper was lots of chapati and beans with a full thermos of chai tea. I stayed up late on my computer talking with friends from Canada before going to bed where I won’t have to do an early morning run tomorrow.

August 2

I woke up before my alarm again to have a banana, chapati with peanut butter, and chai tea to drink for breakfast. Yesterday I talked with my training partners and some of us decided to go to Iten tomorrow morning for a 10K road race so I will just run easy and relax my legs today. Also, I received an email from the High Altitude Training Camp and a Facebook message from my friend Johana, both in Iten to live there for August. The HATC is where many international runners including Olympians and World Champions train from and Johana is my friend that I met in Ontario where he trained/raced for 3 months before heading back to Kenya. But for now I am just focusing on the Iten 10K race and will make my decision about where to live and train within the week. At 9:30AM I was supposed to go for an easy 40 minute run before my 10K race tomorrow but Simon and the other boys took me on an hour-long run. It was all easy so I’m not too worried but once again what I was informed and expecting at the beginning of the run was not the result by the end. Plus that run was way too soon to when I finished breakfast which was just before 9:00AM. Once I got back to my place I did some stretches and exercise before packing up my suitcase for the 1 hour road trip to Iten tomorrow for my 3rd international race in Kenya. Basically I don’t know how to say “no” to a race but luckily a 10K race fits into my current training plan nicely. Lunch was chapati and potatoes, and then I headed over to Laban’s to play with little Sandra and Michelle while it was pouring rain. I got a phone call from Johana in Iten who said he would be at the race tomorrow to watch me and then offered me a place to stay afterwards so I accepted and was very excited to finally see him again. I then drove into town with Simon and Milka to buy some food and pick up a guy named Somoire who will be staying at the property for a while. Due to the rain, the roads were ugly and I was slipping all over the place and may have accidentally splashed a few people from the last second puddles I saw and had to drive through. When I got back to my place I had ugali with a spinach mix and chai tea for supper. I headed to bed early to get rest for the drive to Iten, my 10K race, visiting with Johana, and a tour of the High Altitude Camp tomorrow.

August 3

I woke up at 6:00AM, had chai tea with bread slice for breakfast, and then Laban drove Simon, Jonathan, and I to Iten for the 10K road race. We just made it to the start line area in time for the scheduled start but unfortunately registration was at the finish line so we had to drive fast to the registration spot. Thankfully they didn’t start the race for another hour to give everyone time to register due to the hundreds of participants in line to get their race bib. When the last bus pulled up to take the runners from the finish line to the start line, there was a big rush to get on and about 20+ racers including me and my training partners didn’t fit. So they ended up piling everyone in the back of two trucks and driving us the 10K to the start area just a few minutes before the start of the race. I was pretty sore from being squished in the trunk of a truck, with little stretch or warm up so wasn’t feeling too confident about how I felt going into the race. When the whistle blew, about 350 participants sprinted off leaving me in the dust as I just tried to keep a consistent comfortable pace over 10K since this race wasn’t serious and I just wanted to simply enjoy the experience. As the race progressed I passed Kenyans one by one and in the end I came through the finish line in 38:20 minutes and was told by a race organizer that I was “315th place” and I have no exact idea of how many were officially entered. The race course was all roads except the last 1K or so which was a trail leading to the finish line out in a field. I felt like I was going to have a real heart attack in the last 500 metres and was thankful to strong and sprint to the finish. I was asked by the race director to stick around as they wanted me to be present for the awards ceremony as they had a little gift for me. When the awards ceremony came around they put me along with 10 participants from France, 2 from the USA, 1 from the UK, and some from Australia in the VIP section under the big tent. We sat there for almost 2 hours before they finally got around to recognizing us last when they had us introduce ourselves and then presented us with a sponsor t-shirt and Kenya bead bracelet. After that I went searching for Johana and when I saw him across the field, we sprinted at each other, shook hands and hugged because we missed each other from last seeing each other over a month ago. He invited Laban, Simon, my training partners, and I to his house for a smoothie made of milk, PowerBar chocolate protein powder, bananas, and half an avocado. We also went to Johana’s shop called Olympics Corner which is where we makes crafts, jewellery, pictures, etc. It looks very nice with the decorations on the outside of the shop and well-organized inside with all the colourful and creative items. I then had to sadly say goodbye to everyone and it was especially hard with Simon as he has been a great friend, roommate, and training partner to me for the past 40 days and I might not see him again till next year. I then unpacked my things and relaxed in Johana’s house till we had a late lunch of spaghetti noodles and potatoes with avocado mixed in which was nice, as well as for dessert we cut up slices from a fresh pineapple. I went to the High Altitude Training Camp for a tour but it was getting late so I will have to wait till tomorrow, so instead we got a corn maze to snack on and went to the house of successful Kenyan runner, Andrew Lesuuda. We visited for a bit while chatting about his past running experiences, took some pictures together, and were drinking chai tea of course. Back at Johana’s house for supper we had ugali with an egg/vegetable mix and a cup of milk, before heading to bed before my first Iten run in the morning.

August 4

I woke up and went for a 40 minute easy run with Johana and met a cute Australian girl along the way who arrived in Iten the same day as me. Breakfast was slices of bread with tea, before Johana and I got ready for his church. We took a motorbike to the church but we were not aware that the mass was at another place today. Instead we went to St. Patrick’s camp and met with Brother Colm O’Connell who is the coach of 800 meter World Record holder and 2012 London Olympics champion, David Rudisha. He also coaches other Kenyan men, women, and youth who are very talented and will excel in the future as international competitors. He invited me into his house to chat while watching the 2012 London Olympics for the 1500 and 800 meter races which was exciting to watch. Johana then took me to Hillside Hotel for lunch which was a plate of meat, rice, peas, vegetable mix, some spaghetti noodles, a soup, and chapati with chai tea. Next we went to the Iten public view spot and saw the rift valley from up high and took pictures. Then I finally got my tour of the High Altitude Training Center and saw their swimming pool, gym, restaurant, relaxing areas, and rooms. The last place we went to was Kerio View which is a beautiful place with a restaurant, rooms, and an outstanding view of Iten. Johana and I first took advantage of taking pictures on the property and by the edge of the cliff before the rain came. When it did start raining we went inside the restaurant for tea and a desert and then tried to make it home in time for an evening run but it was still raining, getting late and dark too. Back at Johana’s house, I fetched water from the well, washed dishes and assisted in cooking supper which was ugali with a vegetable mix and milk. Finally I went to bed to get rest for my first workout with Johana here in Iten.

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Johana's shop called Olympics Corner!

Johana’s shop called Olympics Corner!

Me and Johana at the Iten view spot!

Me and Johana at the Iten public view spot!

In front of Kerio View resturant!

Me in front of the Kerio View restaurant!

– Robert Brouillette


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