I’ve been Kenya a couple of weeks now, in fact my trip is nearly at an end! but my altitude camp has gone really well for me. A couple of weeks before I got hear I had to pull out of the Great South Run due to illness but I now feel I have found my feet again and I’ve put in some good 100mile weeks, alongside all the little things too. The added benefit of being on a training camp is having the time to utilize recovery with daytime naps the order of the day… I do manage to squeeze a few in at home but logistically it’s always more challenging, out here its part of the daily routine.
This now my third time in Kenya, I also came out in January and March earlier this year before the Virgin London Marathon, so I feel quite at home. Things have been a little different this time around though as there’s been a substantial amount of rain, somewhat unusual for Kenya in November. There main rainy season is usually April & May and whilst there is supposedly a short rainy period in November, this has been anything but short. Previously we there has been rain it’s mostly been over night and not that regularly but since we’ve arrived there has been rain most days and some heavy down pours during the day too. I don’t feel it has affected my training all that much in terms of quality but we have had to adapt the surface, the trails are all ground/clay based so as soon as you get any persistent rain they become very stick and sometimes just not run-able. The only option for running when its been really muddy has been the solitary tarmac road which goes through Iten, so this has lead to a few out and back on the bad days. Whilst the rain has not been a big issue for us, with perhaps the exception of the crazy drivers when we have taken to the road, no pavement here! For the people locals it is a little more serious, as the heavy rain is delaying the harvesting of crops and this for many is there only source of food or income.
It has not been all bad weather though, as we did manage to get on the Iten Track a couple of times. This is always an impressive spectacle on ‘session day’, that being a Tuesday morning, as you will always find large number and various Kenyan training groups in full swing (assuming its dry day). We were even witness to something other than distance running on one occasion with some crazy high jump techniques going on.
My sessions have gone surprisingly whilst here actually, as after picking up a stomach bug at home a few weeks ago I must admit to did struggle with my training somewhat in the aftermath. It been nice to train in group again though and having been on previous UKA/London Marathon training camps I know that these trips work well for me and it has been just what I needed to get my fitness back and set the wheels in motion for the next few months of training.
Its certainly tough training here though as you won’t find too many flat runs but I’m sure that is one part of what makes so many successful athletes here. I did have an unscheduled day off the other day however, feeling dizzy and generally under the weather, fortunately it turned out to be just a 24hour thing… or as I've since heard it call here ‘a little malaria’. Whenever a Kenyan person gets sick, whatever shape or form it takes it is usually referred to as malaria, it seems this is just a word for someone who is ill! Whilst of course genuine malaria is a serious issue here and across many areas of Africa it seems to me that the Kenyan’s version of man-flu is this ‘small malaria’, don’t let the reference foul you. When I was here in January one of the Kenya guys who works at the centre was off ill with malaria, only to be back at work the next day!
Just a few more days here now and then off to Preston to catch up with a Sports Psychologist and then on to Loughborough for some physiological testing to measure how well the camp has really gone.