West Shewa, Ethiopia
Today was due to be a tougher day. Rejean and Julia had invited me along to their early morning session, and while there was no danger of us actually running together, I’d thereby start early and push myself. It was a beautiful morning, sunny and cool, and after coffee (no thanks) we jogged to the satellite field. It’s a large field, with a big closed off area containing satellite dishes and pylons. Not quite the same as the golfball field in the UK, and given the popularity of the televisions everywhere in the hotel I couldn’t help but imagine it as a TV installation, with locals gathering to watch pictures from even further afield than our hotel can manage.
I was already reasonably warmed up when we got to the field; even the African shuffle of a couple of pro athletes is enough to get me moving. But they engaged in a proper warm up, swinging legs, dynamic stretching and strides, so I joined in. There were a few other groups of runners going round the edge of the field, which is about 5k all the way round, and we were soon joined by a group of three doing 1k laps. Our loop was 1.4km, with Rejean aiming for a 6k tempo and then some shorter intervals, Julia publicly considering that I might be quicker than her, and me wondering whether I would get lapped or not. Cut a long story short, yes-both eased off into the distance and though Julia did shorter reps, she had no problem letting me go past and then chasing me down. A small boy was driving some cattle across the field, and having stopped to high five me, he then kept pace with me for nearly 800m as I finished my 3mile tempo run. No, he was not wearing running shoes. Still, his one word of English, “yes” was enthusiastic and appreciated. Rejean had steamed past in the middle, completing his 6k before I could finish my 4.83. Well, it was good to see what someone that fast can do.
The youngster had dropped off, so I wandered back to our start point and did what I usually do with small children, hoisting him into the air. I think he appreciated it. I then did a few 100m sprints, which were just about enough to keep pace with the 1k lappers. All in all, a good exercise in staying humble. We jogged back “the long way”, which was nearer 4.5 miles than the 2/2.5 on the way there, and I left it there for the day. Those who went out in the afternoon got caught in a mother of a storm, which bounced off the flat roof and I hope you can see in the photos.
My calf feels better, my knees are recovering from being banged on the ground and I think the strain down the side of the left calf is finally getting better. More trips to satellite field will help, as there’s much less opportunity to trip over or run on an odd camber there. I have some pain near the left adductor, though, so tomorrow is a non-running day, probably with some cycling in the gym.
Summary: 11:00, 2k, 30:14, 6.95k, 39:00, 7.05k. Tempo splits: 6:35,7:10,7:05. Hunger games 3, Hyperion 2.