Kenya Trip 2013 – Week #7!

Posted: August 12, 2013 in Robert Brouillette

AUGUST 5th – AUGUST 11th, 2013

August 5

I woke up and went to the meeting spot with Johana for the workout which was 1:15 minutes moderate progressive speed. Due to the rain yesterday only half the usual amount of runners was there and the other half decided to wait till the mid-morning. The workout went well with me covering 18.5K but as soon as I finished and was about to start stretching, my nose started to bleed like crazy. It was coming out like a waterfall from my nose so everyone was staring and wondering if I was about to die. I wasn’t worried because I know it was from having a dry nose and blowing it too hard throughout the run. It was very embarrassing at my first Iten workout but I cleaned up the best I could with leaves off bushes and finished my stretches before quickly walking back to Johana’s to clean my bloody face. Once that was all over, I had breakfast which was bread with peanut butter and honey, cups of coffee, and a banana/pineapple protein smoothie. I did some cleaning around the house before heading to Olympics Corner where Johana was working. We then headed to Eldoret town in a van to get some groceries for the week. Back at the house I helped Johana cook supper which was my favorite meal this trip of chapati, potatoes, and meat cooked in a soup with vegetables. I headed to bed and get to sleep in a bit before having to get ready for the workout in the mid-morning.

August 6

I woke up and had breakfast which was bread slices, pineapple slices, and cups of coffee. Then Johana and I headed to the track and when we got there, 100 other runners were there too. It looked very intimidating seeing all these Kenyans running fast around the track together with athletes of all skill levels all the way up to Olympians and Team Kenya preparing for the Moscow World Championships this month. Our workout was 1600M, 1000M, and 800M x3, with 200 metres easy recovery in between. It started out good but as the workout progressed, my legs felt heavier and heavier each set. In the end I was pretty tired but I know I completed a strong workout for myself in the highest altitude and regardless of the times I will be running much faster in Canada. After the workout was over, Johana and I ran 4 easy laps around the inside of the track on the grass to relax out legs. While we were doing this, reporters with cameras showed up to video some of the members of Team Kenya training before World Championships next week. Some of the famous Kenyan runners that were present at the track this morning were Sylvia Kibet, 3000M steeplechase Ezekiel Kimboi, marathoner Wilson Kipsang, along with many others I couldn’t name or recognize. On my walk back to Johana’s place, I realized that I hurt my left foot during the workout and when I checked it out, the pain was coming from a bone so I think I bruised it. It doesn’t hurt to run on but just bothers me when I touch it so I will continue to train normally but keep an eye on it so I don’t hurt it more. Workouts in Kenya are tough enough with the high altitude, rough terrain, and fast competitive training partners, but the warm-ups and cool downs are tough as well with the hills you have to climb just to get to the starting points of each workout. Lunch was a rice and potato mix, before Johana and I took an hour rest from being exhausted from this mornings track workout. In the afternoon we went for an easy 48 minute run, and for the first half of the run my heart was hurting again so I ran cautiously until it went away. This is the 3rd time my heart or chest has bothered me in the past few days so I will just be careful and watch what I do so I don’t have a heart attack but seriously it must be from the new even higher altitude of Iten. After the run I randomly bumped into 2011/2012 Ottawa marathon winner, so being in the half-marathon at the same event myself, we had something to chat about for a few minutes. Back at Johana’s house I had a snack of raisins, cookies, and coffee, before supper which was spaghetti noodles and potatoes in a soup. I headed to bed very late around midnight after catching up on all my internet things on my laptop.

August 7

I woke up and went for my early morning workout of 1:25 minutes for 18.5K which I honestly lead with Johana for a few minutes with 50 runners or so behind me. However, a few kilometers in I got into a more comfortable pace and dropped back to finish off the “easy run.” I was pretty tired after the workout for an easy run due to the pace increasing dramatically, and from the mud sticking to the bottom of my shoes which weighted me down and made my legs heavy. Also, Johana had convinced me to wear at least a t-shirt, long sleeve, and jacket, just like all the other Kenyans, but when I finished the workout I was soaking wet and sweating more than I have ever in my life. It was a 6:30AM workout and still cold so it was pretty crazy how much this run made me sweat but I’m sure it made me lose a pound or two, as well as clean some of the toxins out of my body. Breakfast was a water bottle with a GU Blew tablet dissolved inside, bread slices, and cups of coffee. Johana put on some of his Kenyan music and I started dancing to it with my coffee cup until I spilled some on my pants so one of they guys said, “Be careful so you don’t burn your children” which made me laugh. I then went into cleaning mode with everything being done by hand such as the dishes, clothes, the house, and myself. Things that I would normally do in Canada in just a few minutes, now takes an hour or so which takes up a good chunk of the day. Kenya has really shown me not to take things for granted for sure. For some of the fast runners in the entire world, it sure does not come easy to Kenyans with all the things they have to do each day and most of it being physical. This is why their one hour of rest during the day is so important as well as the constant massages. Anyways, I then took a motorbike into town for lunch at the Hillside Hotel again but this time to have beef stew, ugali, samosa, and chai tea. I took a motorbike again to Johana’s Olympic Corner shop because the walking would be too much and I need to save as much energy as I can for the tough training. At the shop, a woman named Massy taught me how to make the famous Kenyan bead bracelets. She gave me the fish wire and a bowl of red and white Canadian color beads, gave me a step by step lesson and then I was on my own to attempt this bead bracelet making skill. It took me almost an hour to make the letter “R” for Robert, so lets say it will take me 6 hours to finish this one bracelet. It would take Massy only 2 hours to make one bracelet that is even more complicated so she is very good. She told me I am the first mzungu (white person) to attempt to make a bead bracelet from the Olympics Corner so I feel special. Johana was out-of-town and going to be late so I had to head out on my evening run on my own for just less than 40 minutes easy. It got dark so fast and become very scary running on the road so I was excited to finish the run when I did. During the run I had motorbikes flying just beside me and so I have learned not to go on an evening run that late again. Also I sadly saw a dog cry after getting hit by a motorcycle and then that same dog run out in front of a car that thankfully saw it before the dog finally heading to the forest and disappeared. For supper I made ugali with an egg/vegetable mix, a cup of coffee, and some nutritious fruit juice to drink. As soon as I finished eating, I head straight to bed to get as much sleep as I could which was 10 hours being the longest I have slept at one time during my trip.

August 8

I woke up and at 8:00AM had coffee before the mid-morning workout which was supposed to be fartlek doing 1:1 x30. However, Johana and I were running late and with our warm up, we didn’t get to the starting spot in time as the group took off before we could get there. Johana managed to catch the group but I struggled to keep the 1:1 and catch the group so I had to change to running straight consistent pace. My left foot was bothering me again so I struggled some more with that but by the end of the 18.5K I had caught the group in time for the stretch with 50 other guys. It was beautiful how the sun came out just as I finished running and it got nice and warm for once. Back at Johana’s place breakfast was bread slices with the usual peanut butter and honey with more cups of coffee to drink. We then took our 1 hour of rest to just lie down and listen to music. For lunch we took a motorbike ride to the Hillside Hotel for some fried goat, ugali, mixed cabbage, hot pepper vegetable mix, chapati, and chai tea. The hot pepper vegetable mix was a gift from the hotel with our meal and had the peppers hidden inside the other vegetables so when I took a nice big bite, I almost cried by hot spicy it was. As I was eating my lunch I saw a car drive into the market stands and then 20 guys or so pick up the car to put it back on the road. Also during my lunch some Kenyan police officers eating at the table beside me started talking to me to tell me where they live and that I should give them gifts because I am a mzungu (white person), which I was surprised to hear. Finally during lunch, I met with Johana’s running coach named Ken who has coached Johana for about 2 years or so now and is a really nice guy. I then headed to the barbershop to get a buzz cut for only $1.50 and it turned out just the way I wanted it to. The guy wanted to shave my mustache and beard really bad but I told him I’ve been growing it my whole Kenya trip and won’t shave until I’m back in Canada and everyone there can get a good laugh. I had to skip my easy afternoon run because of my foot pain which really upset me and I’m trying to stay positive but with all the good work I’ve put in while in Kenya, I don’t want it to go to waste if it all lead me to injury. Johana and I then relaxed at his shop, Olympics Corner, before having a Skype with University of Guelph runner, Yves. He was the guy who let Johana stay with him until it was time for him to return to Kenya and train here with me. Yves is a really good guy and I’m happy that he connected with Johana in Ontario and allowed him to have a place to stay. It got pretty dark, cold, and ants were biting me so Johana and I headed back to his place where I could get a massage to hopefully make feel better. One of Johana’s physiotherapists named Dan gave me a 1.5 hour massage that at moments felt like hell and others like I was in heaven. In Kenya they don’t go easy on you when giving massages but in the end it sure makes you feel nice and loose. Dan used Vaseline and cooking oil to massage me and when he was finished, Johana said I looked like a chapati and I laughed so hard. Supper was ugali with an egg/vegetable mix and milk to drink, before heading to bed before I attempt to get a good run done tomorrow morning.

August 9

I woke up and was feeling good from last nights massage but sore at the same time in my lower legs and that stupid pain in the top of my left foot. I still went out for the 1:10 minute early morning run with Johana and his friend with my foot only bothering me but getting slightly painful as the run went on. I did 15 minutes of stretching and then headed back to Johana’s house for breakfast which was bread slices and coffee. Then Johana went to work for the day at his shop, Olympics Corner, where he made bead bracelets. I spent about 4 hours of good quality cleaning of everything around the house to surprise Johana for when he came back home. While he was still at work, I took a motorbike ride to Hillside Hotel to have some lunch of chicken, ugali, mixed cabbage, samosa, and lots of water to drink. I took a motorbike ride back to Olympics Corner to visit with Johana and his employees while they made lots of cool bead bracelets and I even helped out too. Before Johana finished work, I went back to his place to prepare coffee for both of us and when he finally came home he was so surprised and happy with how nice I made the room and how well I prepared coffee by myself. We then sat on the couch and chatted about him coming to live me with in Canada some time this year and got excited about all our future running plans. Supper was ugali with a spinach mix and milk to drink, before going to bed as soon as possible to get rest for an early morning wake up tomorrow.

August 10

I woke up very early at 5:30AM to get ready for the long run workout of 25K with Johana and about 50 other guys. When we got to the start point, the other marathon guys decided to change the long run workout to 30K so I agreed and we were off. I started out good running a solid 15K with some of the guys to the halfway point but then I started to feel sick and my foot was acting up so I stopped and made the hard decision to turn back. I ended up making my run 21.1K to run a half-marathon in training. Johana decided to stay to his original plan and run 25K while the others went 30K in 1:50-1:55 minutes (about 3:45-3:50/K). So what some of these guys did in training, I did for my race at Hamilton’s Around the Bay 30K Road Race. Now that I know these workouts are treated like races, I will be more ready and try to get as close to race pace as I can without blowing up. For the run I wore my CEP compression socks and kept them on after the run which really helped my legs feel better. To hydrate I tried three different sport drinks which were a strawberry lemonade GU Brew tablet dissolved in water, PowerBar’s Ironman performance lemon lime mix, and finally PowerBar chocolate protein powder in milk. Breakfast was coffee with a triple-decked peanut butter and honey sandwich. The IAAF World Championships in Moscow had begun so I was getting updates off my Facebook and twitter before being invited into the neighbour’s house to watch the women’s marathon on TV which featured Kenyan winner, Edna Kiplagat, who I met just a week ago at my Iten 10K road race. Also for Team Canada there was my favourite Lanni Marchant and Krista Duchene who struggled in the heat during the race but from all their success leading up to this race, they are still Canada’s marathon champions. After I was done watching the race, I made coffee and for some reason thought it would be a good idea to put it in my water bottle for easy transportation but of course my favourite water bottle started melting. Another not so smart idea that I wanted to do was a cold water Kenyan shower which just about killed me but I got through it painfully. Then because of all the World Championship excitement I ended up having a late lunch at Kenyan Olympic marathoner Wilson Kipsang’s Keelu Resort, where I had chicken breast, spaghetti noodles, slices of chapati, a soup, and chai tea to drink. Best part of all is that the table I sat down at was with Wilson Kipsang himself which I didn’t know at first but was so thrilled once I found out. We talked for a bit about marathons before the Team Kenya men’s marathon coach, Abraham Limo, came over to me and invited me to chat with the guy’s tomorrow afternoon before they leave for World Championships. After they left the restaurant, Johana and I stayed for a few hours watching all the other track events on TV such as men’s 10,000M which featured 2012 London Olympics gold medal winner, Mo Farah of Britain, Galen Rupp of USA, the Robinson brothers who trained here in Iten but are of New Zealand, and most importantly Cam Levins and Mohamed Ahmed of Canada. Mo Farah started the race out in dead last place but ended up just winning the race with Mohamed Ahmed placing top 10 for Canada which was amazing. Back at Johana’s house for also a late supper, we had pancakes which I put peanut butter on and a cup of coffee. I get to sleep in a little tomorrow since there is no run in the morning and I won’t be going to church with Johana tomorrow.

August 11

I woke up at 8:00AM and made breakfast alone so I had cups of coffee, some almonds, and a quadruple-decker peanut butter and honey sandwich. Johana went to church for a few hours so I took that time to do some cleaning again and think I’m getting pretty good at it which everyone is going to like back home. I have learned and grown on so many of my outdoor and hands-on skills like chopping wood, making a fire, cooking real food, making either coffee or chai tea, and then simply all kinds of cleaning. I then took a motorbike into town to have lunch at my usual spot called the Hillside Hotel for a beef stew, ugali, samosa, chapati, and chai tea to drink while watching IAAF World Championships on TV. Then I took a motorbike ride to Keelu Resort for my meeting to chat with Team Kenya’s men’s marathon coach and marathoner Wilson Kipsang, but they were too busy preparing to leave for World Championships in Moscow. So I stayed in the restaurant there for a few hours watching more of IAAF World Championships for events like men’s 20K fast walk (Canada 8th for Gomez and 20th for Thorne), the men’s decathlon (3rd for Warner), and Usain Bolt winning the 100M. Supper back at Johana’s place was spaghetti noodles and lots of rice that I made all by myself for the first time. Today was a relax day so not a lot went on and as you may have noticed I didn’t run at all which breaks my 2 month streak but it’s better that I get rest for my foot to heal. I stayed up late and get to sleep in tomorrow as the workout isn’t till later in the morning.

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Runners at the Iten track!

Runners at the Iten track!

Johana made ugali and a vegetable mix for supper!

Johana made ugali and a vegetable mix for supper which I love!

Just some of Johana and my New Balance shoes!

Just a few pairs of mine and Johana’s New Balance shoes!

– Robert Brouillette


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