Ciao bello

Ciao bello
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Sunset from my window, over grass with trees and prairie behind


Another sunny day dawned, and with 10 hours of sleep in the bank I woke up more tired than I had any right to. Yesterday’s hilly run was obviously not quite a recovery run, but today called for hill reps, so hill reps it was. I decided to head up the same hill as yesterday and use my friend, the cobbly road. The mile uphill was tougher, even, than yesterday’s, but I picked a start point that gave me a slightly uphill start with a steepening hill bite at the end.

That turned out to be ideal. With about 220m of slight incline I was able to attack, hit a pace and make it to 0.4km on the garmin for every 2minute rep. Slightly disappointingly, when I looked later three of them were 397m, but in the grand scheme of things that’s not so bad. Possibly I didn’t put quite enough in, as on the last couple I was able to hit 420 and 430m, but the usual breathlessness made it hard throughout. With each run up then jog down half a mile, this was a long session, but at least the mile back to camp was a lovely downhill yomp.

Since I’d run three miles on cobbly without seeing a living soul yesterday, I decided this route, as well as perfect for my hill attack, wsa a suitable place to try some topless running. As soon as I took off my top, a jeep came hurtling along the road, shortly followed by a local who gave me a nice wave. The highlight was spotting an elderly runner, who turned out to be Italian – that I could tell partly from his all-blue outfit, but mostly because he greeted me with “Ciao Bello”.

The latest arrival stopped for a chat about routes. Dai – if I got that right – is, as you’ve by now guessed, an Israeli, and a fellow non-elite athlete. He is a part-time coach, though, and used to be a full time pro, so I’ll not be challenging him any time soon. When I mentioned feeling off the pace on a forum, someone asked if I was on the wrong running camp, but it’s just great living the life. At breakfast yesterday Chris and I were catching up on the racing history of Andreas, the Dane, who is a European medallist and Olympian. Wandering in to breakfast behind him was Abdi, who was 1500 World Champ in 1987, beating the Brits, while the Olympic 1500m champ was larking about with a waitress. I missed Haile on Sunday, though I seem to be the only person who hasn’t met him, so perhaps I can put “yet” at the end of that with tentative confidence. Talk at lunch today was all about the Bekele brothers racing round the track, albeit not quite at racing weight.

Quote of the day: “it was only in Russia that men of fifty thought themselves old, and that in France… a man of forty is un jeune homme.” Anna Karenina

Summary: 1:37:29, 15.92km.

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