Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tuesday! Not Monday. Not sure what happened to Monday in my mind, though I do remember it. I was sure today was Monday, though. Meal times are much more sociable, with the Brit/Canadian axis joining forces. Both nights I would have had to pick a table in any case, as the camp is currently full enough that every table can be taken. We all eat at different times, but it works quite nicely that we just join in whenever we each get to the table each time. Why that should mean that I have now properly lost track of the days I’m not sure, but it seems to be so.
Today I popped into the gym in the morning, had an al fresco lunch with Chris and then fell asleep in a sunny swing seat. I woke up about 4 to find people mostly abandoning the garden, with thunder in the background. At the moment it seems to be predictably bright sunshine until about 4, then a storm, and a wet evening with slippery pavements. I ran about 5 and only had the lightest drizzle. My knee tendon thing is still not quite right, but I had a shocking 4 miles yesterday and a much better 5 today. At home when I run the first mile is usually the slowest. Here it’s often the quickest, as the altitude really takes effect in the second mile. Yesterday I ended up battling through bushes, so had to walk a fair amount, whereas today was all running but I still had wild splits: miles in 7:47, 8:35, 10:22, 6:45, 8:40. You may just be able to spot where I crested a hill and galloped down the other side.
Everyone is slower here, but it is relative. If I’m a minute/mile slower than home, then I’m in reasonable shape, though hills are at least doubly hard. And by hill, I mean anything from a slight incline up. Rejean reckons he’s only 15 secs per km slower, but then he is 40 minutes quicker over a marathon – and aiming to take another 7 or so minutes off that. Listening to Julia and Chris plan their workout is salutory, aiming for 600m,400,200, at 74sec/lap, 72,70, and ending up being quicker than that. Meanwhile one of the sprinters came by our post work out chat having covered 500m in 63 secs. We reckoned that might have been his quickest, all out effort, but still. All of them talk about clipping along at 5.40 or so as a standard long run pace, when that’s my 5k race pace. On a good day.
I missed another long run on Sunday, and that may be a marathon graveyard. I think that’s two I’ve missed now, and both due to be 20 miles. I’ve a feeling I missed 2 or 3 before Paris, which was a disaster, but I can still train and take a benefit here, and there’s still the outside chance of fitting in a couple of really long runs and hoping they count for more than they would in the UK. The next couple of weeks will be crucial, but just 33 miles last week doesn’t look good.
Summary. Monday exercise bike and 38:33, 6.45km, Tuesday ex bike and 42:13, 8.06km. Books: Rory McGrath, Bearded Tit, and Philip K. Dick, The Game Players of Titan.