Kenya Trip 2014 – Week #5!

Posted: February 11, 2014 in Robert Brouillette


Jambo! Thanks for checking out a weekly blog of my 2014 trip to Iten, Kenya for 7 weeks of high altitude running. This is the 3rd year in a row of me coming here to train with a total of 5 months by the end of this trip. I have met lots of new friends, connected with some old ones once again, and have experienced running with many strong Kenyans, international athletes, World Champions, Olympians, and world record holders. Hakuna matata 🙂

Week #5: February 3rd – February 9th, 2014

February 3
Since I did the ½ marathon road race yesterday, I only went for a 12K easy run alone in the morning and then 38 minutes easy at 5PM with my Belgium friend Brhanu. My calves were feeling tight so I will be getting a massage this week for sure.

February 4
Another 12K alone this morning but this time at a moderate pace and did 25 meter x8 hill sprints after. The race on the weekend gave me some good blisters on my toes so that is no fun, plus I stepped on a shard of glass while I was dancing bare foot and now my heel stings. On my way home after lunch there was a legit looking dirt twister and I ran away like it was a big deal, but everyone around laughed like it is a normal occurrence. In the evening I met up once again with Mo Farah for his daily easy 7-miler and I was determined to get closer to him by the finish. A funny thing happened during the run where a kid had his hand out for a high-five but pulled away from Mo Farah, one of the world’s greatest runners now, and the kid slapped my hand as if I’m some better runner just because I am the white guy. In the end I was less than 30 seconds behind Mo and he is realizing my progress each time I run with him and tells me I’m doing very well. For supper at Emosto Hotel, the boss gave me a free meal because I am a loyal customer who is very friendly with them when I visit so that was nice of them to do that for me.

February 5
At 6:20AM I went to the progressive 18K workout with team Run Fast with about 50 guys and very few girls. My legs felt very tired and tight probably due to my race on the weekend and then the Mo Farah run yesterday evening. Halfway into the run I fell off pace not feeling too hot so I jogged the rest of the way in and did a big stretch to loosen up. For lunch the hotel gave me so much food that I felt bad not finishing everything but it was so good of rice, peas, cabbage mix, potatoes, all in a soup, with chapati, ndazi, and cups of chai tea. For the evening easy run I went with some Kenyan friends but their run was just faster than I can walk so I joined up with the mzungu white guys group including Canadian Olympian, Reid Coolsaet, and a nice Netherlands runner that I can’t remember his name. On just one of my feet I now have blisters on three toes in a row so that’s going to make walking and running very uncomfortable for a little while, but that’s the life of a runner. I then went for my much-needed massage with Dan and even he could tell my legs were tight with knots. At Johana’s house we now have a guest staying with us for a while who is the Rwandan brother of my friend Yves from Canada, who is a runner of Guelph University. He’s going to start training with us next week and look for a school to attend in the mean time, while Johana and I help him improve his English. We had a beautiful supper together at the house of ugali, with a spinach and egg mix, and coffee instead of Kenyan chai tea because that’s the way Johana prefers it.

February 6
Just after 8AM I headed out for a fartlek workout but wanted to try a new group this time so I headed in the direction of where someone told me it would be before meeting up with 5 nice women who were going to the same place so I joined them. Once we were at the meeting spot I saw about 10 people max and was getting worried if this was a serious group or not. Within 15 minutes of waiting there was a full group of over 100 Kenyan’s plus some mzungu’s that included Dan the Australian, John Mason of Canada, and a European women. The fartlek workout was 3:1 till we reached the end point so that exactly what I did. I started out in the front but purposely let everyone sprint past me to conserve my energy for the rest of the run, feeling good and increased my speed as the time went on. Once the workout was over, I still felt fresh and wanted more so next week ill try this group again but go with a stronger pack to get the full effect of the fartlek. As soon as I walk out the door after a shower once I’m done my morning workout, the flies attack me because they love my clean smell, so whether you’re a stinky homeless man or a freshly clean mzungu, you can’t win. The evening easy run was with the New Zealand Robertson brothers, Kibe Rutto (holds the course record at the Toronto 10-Mile in August), and Faustin (Yves younger brother) who is join us for his first run in Kenya. Once I got back home, I was using my laptop and getting ready for supper when the power went out and the rain started to pour so that calls for a rough night when you can’t see very well and leaving the house is not an option.

February 7
At 6AM I went to the meeting spot where I would normally be going on a 18.5K progressive run but instead I will do my first fast long run (which I’m embarrassed about because I am now just over 4 weeks in to my trip). The members of this workout were Canadian marathon Olympian Reid Coolsaet, Johana, Faustin, me, and only 10 other Kenyans for our small group as everyone else will do the normal Saturday long run. I was running from the back of the pack right from the start because I knew the skill of this group and stayed with them for about 7K before the car that was with us to give the lead guys water bottles, squeezed between us. From then on I just worked hard to keep an eye on the lead group and this lasted for about 14K forcing me now to run alone until thankfully a 2:28 Boston Marathon runner from Boston, USA, caught up to me. We worked together for the remaining 10K, working together, and finding our way as we run past the million different trails. In the end I finished in exactly 25K with a time of 1:45 and 4:13/K pace. I did this workout in my New Balance 1600’s which is the same model of shoe I’ll be using for my half-marathon in Canada in 3 weeks so it was good practice. I didn’t drink any water the time; mostly because it wasn’t available to me but I know for my ½ marathon it will be important. My next 2 long runs will be in Kenya with me trying 30K next weekend and then race day first weekend of March. In the evening Faustin and I just went for a 42 minute 9K easy run together and it was still hot at 5PM.

February 8
Since I did my long run yesterday, Faustin and I (with Johana away for a few days in Nairobi) did our progressive run in the mid-morning of 11.5K on the “Mo Farah loop.” We reached 4:00/K at fastest and the last kilometer was all out fast and I finished in my best time for the route. On the walk home, the children of my complex found me and started hanging off my arms, wrapping around my legs, and play fighting me, so I picked them up and spun them around by their feet and hands. I am so used to having my fruits in juice form or at least pre-cut for me in Canada, so cutting a mango by me took 10x longer than it should have but is it ever good when it’s fresh off the tree. There was no evening run so that I can get a long rest to start the new week of training on Monday with tomorrow completely off for Sunday.

February 9
Due to me taking the day off with no running just like all the other Kenyans, I found myself stuck with a very boring day. I literally have nothing exciting to say, but what I did was sit around, walk to town and back, go on my laptop, have lunch at a hotel, play with the kids, and make ugali with mixed vegetables/egg for supper. I can’t handle not running for a whole day in Kenya and just waste the hours away so that won’t happen again. Even if it’s just an easy 40 minute run, something is better than nothing. I am not as tired anyways compared to some of the more elite athletes running super fast or more mileage all the time so a rest day can be missed by me with no harm done.

"Welcome To Iten - Home Of Champions!"

“Welcome To Iten – Home Of Champions!”

One of the crazy kids and "banana man!"

One of the crazy kids and “banana man!”

Me cooking supper of vegetables for my ugali!

Me cooking supper of vegetables for my ugali!

– Robert Brouillette


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