Friday, 31 December 2010

Welcome to Kenya...

Tuesday 28th December and this is where the journey begins, started the day with 5 x 1mile threshold in Tiptree, my last run in the UK for quite a while. Checked I had everything packed then double checked. My parents took me to Heathrow stopping off along the way in St-Albans to meet Rebecca who also came to the airport to send me on my way. After spending pretty much every day over the last 6.5 years with Rebecca it's going to be really strange not seeing her for so long and I know I'm going to miss her (even though we have split up). So at just after 9p.m. I flew out of Heathrow for my running adventure in Kenya.

Arrived at Nairobi airport at 9a.m., my flight to Eldoret wasn't until the afternoon so I had some time to kill, I could have gone to Nairobi but didn't due to my tight budget, instead I got myself a SIM card and read my book. Arrived at Eldoret at about 4.30p.m. And after a little confusion with timing I finally got picked up by my new room mate Edwin Kipyego. Edwin had borrowed a friends car so we had to pick him up along with some girls who had a fascination with stroking my hair!! Kenyan driving is something to behold as apart from roughly driving on the left hand side of the road there doesn't seem to be many rules and it's every man for himself. We arrived at Camp in Iten where I met a few of the other guys and Ken Kibet the camp manager/coach, everyone so far has been really friendly and all welcome me to Kenya. After dinner of Ugali and stew I was shattered so went to bed (bottom bunk) and straight to sleep.

I wish someone had told me how hard it is to run at altitude before you acclimatise as my first run in Iten nearly killed me!!! Edwin took me out for an easy hour but after about 10mins I was breathing heavily, after 20 my legs started to go and I dragged myself around the last 40. My only consolation (apart from getting back to camp) was that we overtook Asbel Kiprop the Olympic 1500m champion, and I guess the first one was always going to be the hardest...

Breakfast of bread, jam and banana plus lots of Kenyan tea, which is basically half tea, half milk and a tonne full of sugar (good for energy, bad for teeth). Into Eldoret for lunch with Edwin where we did a bit of shopping and ate at a random restaurant for more Ugali and stew. Back to camp after lunch where I helped Edwin update his facebook account, we also found a random photo of the Bristol half this year where me and Edwin were standing next to each other on the start line.

Run-Fast Camp, Iten Kenya

47min easy run in the afternoon, luckily for me an easy run in Kenya is just that, pretty much jogging. Lots of stares from the locals, probably as I am the only mazungu training in a group of kenyans. After training we had a massive plate of Ugali and stew watched a random Nigerian film then an early night. So far so good....

Monday, 20 December 2010

The Hard Work Starts Here

Just finished two easy weeks, so I'm nice and refreshed and ready to start some hard training. Thinking about it, I guess this is the start of my marathon training. It's been over a year now since I ran my last marathon and I can't wait to get back to the training and racing.

Not very inspiring weather today for training, I like running in the snow but when it's icy or deep slush it can be very miserable, but managed to knock out a good 12 miles this morning and another 10 this evening.

My replacement at work started a week ago, so I'm trying to pass on as much of my knowledge that I've gained over the last 6+ years to him, not an easy thing to do in 8.5 days but I'm trying my best! I let Mark (my replacement) sit in the "hot seat" today and answer the phone, reply to emails etc, I guess the best way to learn is to actually do the job, this means that I get to sit in the background and catch up on some sleep, offering advise when needed.

It's quiet at home tonight, Rebecca finished work last Friday so travelled up to Nottingham today to spend Christmas with here parents. She took our cat Missy with her so no-one to greet me when I got back from work :-( I was never a "cat person" until we got Missy but it's surprising how much personality they can have, I even think she was quite fond of me, probably as I was the breakfast giver, if I ever slept beyond 7a.m. she was quick to wake me with a quick whack to the head.

Off to see Mr Toby Lambert for a run around Alton and some food tomorrow night, should be good.


Saturday, 18 December 2010

10 days to go...

Well, in ten days time I'll be on the plane flying off to Kenya, can't wait.

Had a good night out last night with my work buddies, I was driving but it was highly amusing seeing everyone else get slowly more and more drunk as the night went on. I'm definitely going to miss the people at Pall, especially Steve, Chownser, Matt, Andy and Jack. You never know maybe one day I'll be back at Pall. Just three and a half days left at work and I'm officially unemployed! I guess a lot of people would think it a bit crazy giving up a decent job but money isn't everything and this is the chance of a lifetime and I know I won't regret it for a minute.

Off running with my old mate Rob Ward tomorrow at Queen Elizebeth Country park, I think its going to be a muddy one but all good fun. Rob was my morning training partner when I was living in Pompey, he is someone that has a lot of potential but doesn't believe in himself enough, but he does enjoy his running and I guess that is the main thing.

Elepahants on my last visit to Kenya

Sunday, 5 December 2010


I can't believe that it was a year ago that I raced in the Fukuoka marathon.

Fukuoka Marathon 2009
Fukuoka is most definitely the top event I have ever competed in, the organisers looked after us so well and for a race with only a few hundred runners the crowd on the course was awesome. The after party was brilliant with every food you could ever want. The Japanese are such nice people, they all have such respect for each other and their environment. If anyone ever gets the opportunity to race in Fukuoka or Japan I would highly recommend it. If I get the chance again I will jump at it.

Shame to see Andrew Lemoncello drop out of this years edition, he was obviously going for it as he went through in 64.28. Definite respect for him on that one and I'm sure when he gets it right we will see a sub 2.10 out of him.

My training has been ticking along quite well, I'm trying to stay in good shape but be fresh enough so when I get to Kenya I can handle all the work and not be dropped too much!!

Well at least the snow has gone now, but its still freezing. I checked the weather out in Kenya and its currently 24degC out in Eldoret.....

Saturday, 4 December 2010

The End of Movember

The end of Movember, and the end of me looking like ........ (add whatever insult you feel appropriate).

So we are in December now and along comes the snow bringing the country to a stand still. I was looking forward to a nice muddy Hampshire League Cross Country today but it was cancelled :-( Still sorting things out for the move to Kenya and making lots of headway, I'm confident I will have everything ready.

I found out this week more details about the camp I will be staying at, I will be sharing with a young Kenyan called Edwin Kipyego (won Bristol Half this year among others), he has already run low 62mins for the half so will be a really good training partner. It will be strange getting absolutely battered on every session but its exactly what I need to push myself to the next level and finally get some decent pbs.

Until next Time, laters