Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Thursday means tempo running, in the Runner’s World marathon schedule. My legs were tired, and the arrival of a noisy neighbour, who had the TV on loud at 3 in the morning, meant I hadn’t had the best sleep. But I managed to throw myself out of bed at 8.30, stretch out tired legs and get out for 9.
Julia and Chris had joined Jama’s group for some mile reps in the satellite field early on and I headed the same way, accidentally timing it to avoid any chance of my plodding round the field while they tore round. Groups of runners were wandering back and there was another large group nearer the field hanging around by their cars, obviously done for the day. I hit the field with two miles in my legs and still wasn’t in any shape to try to speed up, so ran round the edge of the field, communing with the cows. I passed a large group of footballers training and a quick look at their faces told me they were from the Ethiopian Coffee People’s team*. Finally my legs responded and I managed three miles a little more quickly, if unspectacular relative to sea level. I’m hoping I’m a min/min and a half slower here, in which case I’m in great shape.
Leaving the field I picked up the usual running peloton of small children, who seemed happy enough to take me to the edge of the field and then wave me off, even without the cry of “money!”
I skipped breakfast in favour of an early lunch. It was cooler then, enough that I put long trousers on and wondered if the storms had heralded colder weather, but by the time I’d polished off a fruit salad I was baking in sun that stayed with us all afternoon, enough that I stayed out with Of Mice and Men and a crossword**, long enough to get slightly burnt and skip my usual nap. No naps at all today, maybe I can still go a whole day without one.
Summary: 1:17:49, 14.62km. Diamond league athletes embarrassed by: 0. Books: Of Mice and Men, Echo Burning, Lee Child.
*or it might have been painted on the side of their bus. Given that I once walked past a closed-off coach at King’s Cross full of footballers in kit and didn’t recognise them as West Ham, perhaps that’s more likely.
** f***, if you’re interested.