It’s Sunday evening and I am feeling quite settled. It took about three nights to get used to the time change. The first night I slept because I was tired from the travel. The second night I didn’t get to sleep until about 4 a.m. And then I slept through until 4:00 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. the third and fourth nights. Like hundreds of other runners in and around Iten, I enjoy starting my morning runs at 6:30. It’s cool and the sun is just up. I’ve seen a few stunning sunrises already.
There is so much to write about and I’ve already taken countless pictures so I thought I would recap each day, then post pictures about one of a few topics: the facility, food, training and people.
Friday, March 10. I met Neasa at 6:30 a.m. for an easy 15 km. It has been wonderful to get to know her and she has been such a great help, taking me on various trails and showing me around. John did the same for her and I’m sure Reid did the same for John a few years ago on his first trip. After breakfast we said goodbye to John who was sad to leave, but happy to be departing with an order of 10 fresh chapatis. I did some stretching and rolling, rested, had lunch, went for a massage with Dan, bought a mango and some water, then did a second session of training. It included a short bike ride at the gym, some strength exercises, an easy 10km run that included the company of about 6 local girls on their way home from school, time in the sauna and pool, dinner, chatting with Neasa and Kristina, and in bed just after 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 11.
I had a good sleep, but was up early so made the best of it by FaceTiming my family at home. It was still early so I did an easy 5 km in the dark with my headlamp. Within a few minutes I had already seen over a dozen runners as Saturday is long run day. I then met Neasa at 6:30 a.m. Bekele was there because he was going to pace Neasa in the second half of her last long run. Bekele has paced a few Canadians lately, starting with Lindsay in December then Katherine, Neasa and Kristina. It is a good income for him as he is saving for his children’s schooling. Today was perfect for me to join them in their first part before the pace picked up. I totalled 23 km but had to drop back from the two of them in order to listen to my body. I’ve been running about 20 seconds slower than my easy pace at home and was happy to stay at that pace, knowing that it is very important to take the first 5 days as easy when adapting to altitude. I’ll write more about this later as one of my topics.
One of the many things I already love about being here is that everyone is so much alike; after a run the first thing we want is food! After another delicious breakfast I rested, had lunch, then went for a walk with Kristina and Neasa to see the beautiful Rift Valley. Rest and recover is extremely important when adjusting to altitude so I had another short nap before heading to the track to do 10 x 100 m strides. On my way to the track, hundreds of people were walking back into Iten after watching a track meet that had just finished. Everyone walks around here! Dinner was a delicious meal of fish. Again, more about this topic later. Before calling it a day, I walked up to the club to visit with Kristina and Neasa again.
Sunday, March 12.
Neasa and I met for our last run together. I took my phone this time so that I could capture some of the scenery and get myself in a few action shots. We did an easy 15km then had breakfast together before saying goodbye. Thank you, Neasa. I will truly miss you! It was wonderful getting to know you. Shortly after 9 a.m., McKayla and Jayden Korir (with their driver) picked me up so that I could go to church with them in Eldoret. Tarah had done a tempo at the beginning of Wesley’s 35km long run so was showered and ready when I arrived. Wesley would be going to church in Cherangany where he grew up, and had commitments as Member of Parliament. After the service in Eldoret we went for lunch with one of Tarah’s friends, the pastor and his family. We stopped at the supermarket then had a nice visit on the way back to the camp while the kids napped in the back of the car. I rested then sorted through some of my many pictures before heading to dinner. Some FaceTiming with Leah was enjoyed before heading back to my room for 9:00 pm.