Friday, January 31, 2014

Back to Where it All Started

At the start of 2012 I was a 2:44:XX marathoner and made my way over to Kenya for a 6 week training stint. I really was not certain what the heck I was doing, and definitely felt like the odd man out when I realized the amount of talent that surrounded me… not only those that stayed here at the High Altitude Training Camp (HATC), but the raw talent of the hundreds of Kenyans I’d see running up and down the paths around town. At the end of that training block, I was ready to run Rotterdam and hopefully throw down a PB. By the Spring of 2012 I was a 2:31:51 marathoner. I had hoped to lower that mark again before the end of the year, but my body had other ideas.

I started out 2013 still as a 2:31:51 marathoner. On a bit of a whim I rebooked myself in at the HATC and headed back over to the altitude, hills, ugali, and red dirt for a 3 week training camp. Holy heck, it felt a lot harder than my first trip over. I had forgotten how much the adjustment period could hurt. Since I felt so poorly during most of my training sessions, I had very few expectations for what my Spring season would look like… but that was fine. The end goal was Worlds. I ended 2013 with my best year of running yet (with the small black mark of my body having its own plan for Worlds), and a 2:28 marathoner.

So here I am again. It’s the start of 2014 and I find myself back here in Kenya. This year I’m back for another 6 week stint, and I have the added bonus of training with Desiree Davila – Linden. I made it through my first 10 days of training and finally, (albeit slowly) my lungs came around. I hit around 85 miles my first week week and have completed four workouts so far.

The first was scheduled to be 12x400 w 200m jog rest… but after the first few intervals I could tell that I was going to have to do something different. I ended up modifying the workout into 2 sets of 5x400 w 200 rest, 2x 200 w 200 rest. It took me a while to find my stride, but I felt pretty good by the end of the workout. I followed up that workout with a Fartlek on Thursday (25*1 min on/1 min off) with about 300 other Kenyans. It is intense, but it is a lot of fun to run that sort of mayhem. I capped off the week with a 15 mile long run (about 24-25 ish km) averaging 6:34 per mile (with a 7:45 first mile to ease into it), giving me 90 miles for the week.

After the long run, I headed to Eldoret with a group including some of our Canadian guys and Desi to watch the Discovery Cross-Country meet. I promise when I have a better internet connection to put up some pics. Anyways, talk about a huge depth of talent… hundreds of runners all running faster than I could even imagine. There was however, a slight disappointment when watching the senior women’s race, as it was probably less than a 1/3 the size of the men’s races. Here in Kenya, you have to really “be making it” as an elite runner to be a female and train full-time. It is crazy to think of how many girls are here that are significantly faster than me, and yet, like most senior women's races back home the field is quite small.

This week’s workouts consisted of hills and track intervals on Tuesday… nothing too fancy, and then 3*(5*400m) Thursday. The 400s felt a lot better than they did ten days ago. I will again cap off my week with a long run on Sunday… looking for about 18 miles (30k) of solid running.

Things are the exact same here as my previous two visits… aside from a much slower internet connection (sorry, looks like my blogs are going to be picture free for now). Run, eat, read/nap, eat, read/nap, run, eat… it is a pretty easy routine to fall into. I have a bit of work to do while I’m here, and I have already read most of my books… oops. So far I have stayed upright, but it’s early into the trip so far. I have a few doosie workouts planned for my training here… have to get ready for my return to the 10,000m on the track in early April… and oh yeah… keep my mileage up for BOSTON on April 21. I turn 30 ten days before the marathon…. It seems like the perfect lil’ birthday gift to myself. All birthday beers can be consumed with me post race ;)


  1. Run, eat, read/nap, eat, read/nap, run, eat...I think I could get used to that!
    Thanks for the look at your training in Kenya, it sounds amazing to be surrounded by so much talent.

  2. Thanks Lanni you are a real inspiration. Kenya must be working for you since you keep going back and improving.