Kenya 2014 – Dispatch #2
Track intervals aren’t normally a big part of my marathon training but up here in Iten I’m including one track session a week. The terrain around here is hilly and at 8000 feet it’s hard to keep a good rhythm so the track becomes a haven for even pace running. It’s no wonder you see many marathoners on the track here each week.
Last Tuesday I attempted to follow Martin Matathi (2013 Fukuoka winner) on some 600m repeats which turned really ugly for me after 6 intervals and then moving into some 400’s. I tried replicating times from a 600m session I did towards the end of one of my previous stays here and got a quick reminder that it takes a while to acclimate to altitude. Next week, next week…
Early Saturday morning I met up with 30+ local marathoners for a long run. This is the same group I ran with a lot a couple years ago and, more recently, a hilly progression run with two days earlier. The plan for the run was a 38km loop with three vehicles helping distribute water bottles.
The pace for the long run was honest from the get-go and at 6:15am four minutes per kilometre felt faster than it should have. The majority of the first half of the loop is downhill and then there is a long climb back towards the start. The car was pulling up beside us every 5km and distributing bottles. I only packed 500ml so I thought I’d conserve more for the second half of the run and just took a small sip at 5km. At 8.5km into the run I had to take a pit stop in the bushes. Up until that point we had averaged 3:52/km. By the time I caught back to the group around 14km my average was down to 3:44/km.
When I got my bottle at 15km I noticed someone had taken a sip at 10km when I was absent from the group. No big deal. Around 21km the lead car pulled up and handed out bottles again. I was at the back of the pack and I saw my bottle get passed to a dude wearing an orange shirt. I picked up the pace and made my way towards Orange Shirt. As I got close I realized he didn’t have my bottle anymore. I looked around and saw my bottle about to get emptied down another dude’s gullet. I yelled over to get my bottle which, by that point, had less than a sip left. I probably drank 100ml of my Ironman Perform and had to settle for a dry last 17km.
These guys share bottles, which is cool but I don’t know if these guys are using bottled water (as I do here). I didn’t want to take my chances with whatever they put in their bottles. Next week I have two bottles with “MZUNGU” written down the sides.
I kept up with the group through 28km at which time I slowly faded away along with other suffering athletes on the climb back up towards Iten. I still managed to average 3:46/km through 36km. I had initially planned for 36km so at that point I settled into a very easy jog for the remaining 2km.
My fitness is coming around and I’m getting a good base. 3.5 more weeks in Iten and 11 weeks to go until London Marathon.