Kenya Running Trip: Week #1!

Posted: January 5, 2015 in Robert Brouillette

From December 30th to March 26th 2015, I will be living in Iten, Kenya for my high altitude training running around 150K a week, enjoying the Kenyan culture lifestyle, eating delicious fresh healthy home-made meals, and visiting around Rift Valley to discover new things. I’m super excited to see what I can make out of this 13 week journey as I prepare for Hamilton’s Around The Bay 5K and then Toronto’s Yonge Street 10K road races this spring back home in Canada! 🙂

December 29, 2014 – January 4, 2015

On Monday evening my Dad drove me to the Toronto airport to begin my trip which would take a total of 33 hours from the plane leaving group in Canada and the time I arrived to the house in Iten, Kenya. My flight schedule was Toronto, Ontario > Montreal, Quebec > Brussels, Belgium > Kigali, Rwanda > Nairobi, Kenya > Kisumu, Kenya > Eldoret, Kenya, and then went by bus to Iten, Kenya. For my short flight out of Nairobi, the plane experienced pressure issues halfway so we had to turn the plane around so that we would have time to make a safe landing and figure out the problem. Even after the 1 hour wait to board the plane again, I was obviously still worried and so were all the women on the plane so we were all not impressed. They are lucky they offered cookies and tea to take my mind from possibly falling out of the sky if something else goes wrong. My neighbour on the plane was a Kenya girl who lives in London, England and let me tell you they have the coolest accents, so nice to listen to as we talked the flight. When we landed in Eldoret I was met by Jackson Biwott, who was kind enough to host me from my full 3 months here. We took a bus ride to Iten and finally I was back to the city I did all my altitude training at last year seeing many friendly faces along the way. When we arrived to his home I quickly settled in before going to take a shower to get cleaned up and to my surprise I found myself with a nice ice-cold bucket of water and let me tell you how difficult that can be after being spoiled with endless warm water in Canada. I met with my good friend Johana Kariankei, once again after my family hosted him in Canada for almost 2 months this past fall. Now getting straight to business I headed out for a 7.3K in 35 minutes easy run with Jackson and it actually went pretty well considering I could feel the high altitude effects in my lungs and the sun’s heat only a bit but I was so anxious to go fast. My real hard workout training doesn’t begin till Monday to let myself adjust so I must be patient. As soon as I got back to the house I passed straight out and that was much expected after the long travels I faced the past 2 days. I woke up in time for some delicious supper of ugali with a meat/skuma mix before heading to a New Years dance party to celebrate a great 2014 and welcome 2015 to bring good things to us all.

Thursday morning I went for a 12.6K in 60 minutes easy run with Jackson and Edwin before having lots of chai and bread which will be a daily breakfast. I saw an athlete running in his Sunday Church dress socks which were funny to see but if that’s all you have I guess it’s better then nothing. Then I walked to the house of another good friend of mine, Shella Rotich, who I haven’t seen since two Kenya trips ago, so it was great to connect again, I took a picture under the famous “Home Of Champions” sign and then we walked to the View Point looking over the Rift Valley from a high cliff. Walking home was tiring as I must have walked at least a half-marathon but now and that’s on top of my morning training. Visited Johana’s house to refuel after the biggest walk of my life and even met an 18-year-old runner from Sweden who can do 5K in 14-low already. My head, neck, shoulders and feet, are all so sun burnt from all the heat I’ve been getting compared to Canadian winter and its only day two in Kenya so I’m sure I’ll melt before I get to 3 months here. Even though it’s up to 30 degrees each day, I’m forcing myself to wear a hat and long sleeve for now on so I finally understand why Kenyans doing always wear summer appropriate apparel.

Friday I woke up to a still very sore body due to my sun burns but still managed to get my butt outside for a 13.9K in 1:01 easy-moderate run with Edwin chasing down the lead pack until I lost them but that’s ok because I wasn’t going as hard as them anyways. I bought a mirror today because it was weird not seeing myself for 3 days when normally I’m surrounded by them in Canada wherever you go. I met Richard Kiplagat who is an 800M runner in 1:43 and received silver at the 2010 Common Wealth Games. I saw a car whose drive gear doesn’t work so they drive their car in reverse on the road backwards. I have a lot of free time so I ended up hanging out with the local kids for hours where I chased them around; we listened to music, sang, danced, and went for a walk. They are so silly and hyper and always running around they actually made me pretty tired by the evening. I got lots of great pictures throughout the time with them and they even got a couple good shots themselves even at the age of up to 10. I met an athlete named Augustus who paced the Kenyans at the 2014 Toronto Waterfront Marathon which I was at too but for the Half-Marathon. The power was out for most of the day and this is a normal occurrence but it forces me to enjoy the beautiful outdoors, socialite with friends, and not be lame on my computer all the time. I bought a 20L jug of water for $5 as I should be flying through liquids with all the running and heat I’ll be facing. I’m in pain from my sun burns that it’s got to the point where I have to stay inside for some time today because just one step outside and it stings immediately. A hat and sunscreen is a must for now on. One time I was sleeping in my bed and I woke up to a chicken clucking in my face which is funny yet scary at the same time, the little bugger snuck inside the house.

Saturday morning I went for my long run which was 21.5K in 1:30 moderate with Edwin and Jacob with me getting my anticipated annual high altitude nose bleed at 8K while still trying to chase down the lead pack. But like I am known for in Canada, I just handle business by finding a nice big leaf, block the flow, and carry on for the rest of the run. For lunch I ate with 2014 Ottawa Marathon pacer, Boniface Kongin, and we shared some stories about our recent running races. The kids here either love me by following me around giggling or they are scared and cry at the sight of me because they are too young to have ever seen a white looking person before. I look forward to supper at 8pm so I can get to bed by 9pm, this is important because I need all the rest I can get for running training early the next morning. I’m getting used to this schedule as I’m usually up late at night and sleeping in until the afternoon in Canada.

Sunday is the day where most of the Kenyans go to church and there is no running training at all. So I thought I would get to sleep in, well scratch that because everyone gets up by 8am regardless of their plans. I have a lot of free time so I took the opportunity to hand out some of my gifts such as New Balance shoes and sports gear to my close friends as well as to the athletes in need. I walked to the visit Alice Aprot, who is a great cross-country runner and has had much success as a junior even racing over in Moncton. From there I walked again to my friend Shella’s, then Jackson’s, then to Shella’s again, and finally back to Jackson’s one last time. Basically I walked a whole bunch today hitting over 10K. Tomorrow begins the start of my real hard training as this week was just enough to get me a little adjusted to the altitude and heat before all the fun begins for the next 3 months.

Running Training

Monday: Off – travelling from Canada to Kenya

Tuesday: Off – travelling from Canada to Kenya

Wednesday: 7.3K/ 35 minutes/ easy

Thursday: 12.6K/ 60 minutes/ easy

Friday: 13.9K/ 61 minutes/ moderate-easy

Saturday: 21.5K/ 90 minutes/ long run

Sunday: Rest day

Total Distance & Time = 55.3K in 4 hours 6 min.

I’m here to focus on running of course but walking can also be very beneficial to my fitness and trust me I do a lot of it.

You can find a complete list of all my GPS detailed runs from Canada and Kenya on my STRAVA profile here:
http://www.strava.com/athletes/4446950

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Thank you for reading my Kenya adventures, keep on running, and I’ll be back with another update next week. Until then I’ll be posting daily at http://www.facebook.com/RunnerRob4Life & http://www.twitter.com/RunnerRob4Life.

I’m still getting the hang out this blogging thing so if you have any feedback or would like to see something in the next instalment of Runner Rob’s “Kenya Running Trip,” just feel free to give me a shout.

#TYS10K #CantWontStop #TrainHardWinEasy #MenAtWork #CanadianMzungu #YoungWildFree #KenyanWay #MakeExcellentHappen #ItsPossible #Runday #RunForLife #1Sport1Love #LongMayWeRun #HeavyInTheGame #RiseAndGrind #TheShoeMustGoOn #ItsPossible

Robert Brouillette 😀

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Comments
  1. chad says:

    Decent blog. Is nose bleeds a regular occurrence at high altitude? Also, wouldn’t mind reading some of the workouts they’re doing. Also, you need to take care of yourself rob, as if you keep getting burnt its going to end in a hospital visit. There are many plants that you can use to help with sunburn. You might want to research that. Anyways have fun and can’t wait to start reading more when the real work starts.

    • Thanks for taking a read Chad. Nose bleeds is a regular occurrence at least for me, every year I get it but it only happens throughout the first week, so I’m done with that all now. Something to do with the altitude all rushing to my head and thin skin tissue I have. Actually I’m doing the exact same workout’s as the big Kenyan groups here just at different paces and they do longer long runs is all. I’ve heard of Aloe Vera for sun burns so I will see if I can find it. Sun burns are like the nose bleeds, happens in the beginning but after some time it all goes away and I become normal again. All the best to you Chad training in Toronto, see you around in the spring!

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