Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Saturday, apparently. Already the days of the week are an abstract idea, something having little bearing on what I’m doing, and that despite iPad, iPod and garmin all reminding me. I have probably stopped trusting them, mind, thanks to the myriad different times they are showing me. I know what time zones they refer to, but the fact they are all different has put them into an overall ‘untrustworthy’ bracket. I’ve not touched the ipod, so it is on UK time. The iPad was off when I got here, and switching it on allowed it to cleverly pick up the right time zone. I don’t know how, but it did it. The garmin is linked to satellites so it, well, it waited for me to pick a time zone, but it has a limited selection of 40, the majority of which seemed to be European or US. I have so far failed its geography test and it is set to Cairo, an hour behind.
After yesterday’s two runs I was feeling a little sore in the calves and my knee, so decided to make today a rest day. That was helped by the slightly sporadic wifi here sparking into life this morning and allowing me to check email and facebook. The latter had a few mentions of rain; the only thing better than waking up to the sun streaming in and it being totally normal, is waking up to that and remembering that these would not be your conditions normally. A day of eating, reading, and enjoying the sun. It is still breezy here, and the clouds are plentiful, just like a reasonable but not spectacular English summer’s day. Rain forecast for Monday, they say. That sporadic wifi will mean my updates get posted as and when, but I still plan to write something each evening.
On the way to lunch I spotted Tatt man and his English running buddy sat outside, and they were still there when I finished. Three days in to my break seemed a good time to get to know people so I joined them. Chris is a medical student, working on placement in the capital, training up here when he can but coming to join us here full time next Friday, with the aim of doing some serious damage to his middle-distance pbs over the summer. He’s a decent club level athlete, I didn’t like to ask about times but at least when someone runs shorter distances it feels sort of like a different game to what I’m doing so it’s just fine that he be quicker. Plus, of course, I could in age just about be his father, so it won’t surprise him if I’m struggling in his wake. Rejean is a marathoner, though he’s relatively new to it, only having run a couple-which I say by way of ‘he’s a rising star’. He’s Canadian, but his training group mainly go to Florida when they’re out of town, which didn’t sound the best-for one thing, it’s very hard to find healthy food there. Tomorrow he’s going to take me out at 8 and show me his 20km loop, and I’m going to discover just how hard I have to work to stay with someone who takes his long runs very slowly because he trains 2 or even 3 times a day. He and Chris have felt honoured to be allowed to run in the same group trained by Jama Aden (last year’s Olympic 1500m winner is one of his and was here, for instance). But to me at least they’re on the same page. For me, by contrast, to start with he’s going to be the fastest person I’ve ever run with. But aside from that, I think it’s pretty rare that I’ve ever even been in the same field as a 2:17 marathoner in a race. A 2:17 marathoner looking to improve, I should say, who was disappointed with his second attempt because he was fitter and yet slowed by a couple of minutes compared to his best. I’d be nervous about trying a long run out here anyway, but now I’m extra nervous. But it will get me out onto the trails, and show me “the field”, which apparently has a 5k loop, ideal for adding distance after a run in the hills, or for speed work. Speed work when they’re not running at Kenenisa Bekele’s track, just up the road, anyway. Once I know where I am then I can, I hope, start working on the length of my runs, and then with a bit of luck I can fall in with people from time to time. Probably, with no false modesty, when I do some kind of tempo run and they are taking it easy, but still, be good to have some company and also some people to make me work.
Today’s stats: 0:00, 0km. Pratchett and Child books finished, attention to physio work for dodgy knee, reasonable.