This morning was Fartlek.

Yesterday morning we did hillwork, then rested all day, so today Fartlek was on the menu to open up the legs. I woke up at 6am to meet the guys at 6:15. I felt much better than yesterday, and was happy about it. My eyes were a little sore, and still are, I think a little nap will help that.

The group is growing. Simon has a Maasai friend staying with him named Ahem. We jogged together in the dark to the fartlek meeting point, about one kilometer away, it took us 7min. Nice’n’easy. We waited for the others until about 6:45. There were new faces, guys who have come from home to put in some serious training. We continued to jog to the flat loop used for fartlek, about 15min away.

The workout was originally as follows: 10x 1min:1min, one minute on with one minute recovery. You could run it however you liked. When we got closer and closer to starting the guys decided to start with 3x 2min:1min, to warm up for the main 10x 1min:1min.

We started.

My buddies packed up in the front controlling the pace, which seemed a little fast for me, and what I thought should be a warm-up so I hung back abit, while the rest of the group were hot on their heels. One of the guys that is running with us now is Laban’s (my host) brother, Willy, an 800m guy. He works with a group in Finland now, and I think he’s slowly moving on to being a coach. He’s an amazing leader, and really knows how to communicate. The entire group listens to him, if for example they are jogging too fast, or if there’s disagreement. He says the word, and they respond. I’m a little bit faster/fitter than him right now, so we work well together in the beginning of the workouts.

When the 2mins were up, some of the guys were already starting to wilt a bit, especially the new faces. Ahem is from Maasai Mara, in the south of Kenya, where all the wildlife parks and reserves are. I don’t think it’s at altitude, as it’s not in the Rift Valley, so I think he’s taking time to adjust. Two other new guys began struggling early, so I had bodies to hunt down in the workout. The 1min:1min rolled out nice, I’d start at the back with Willy, then slowly work past two or three more guys, to finish right behind the main pack.

At the end of the 10x 1min:1min the guys decided to throw in 8x 30s:30s. I laughed, and kinda whimpered, then set my watch for the group. Oh ma gawd they hurt. I hung on for a bit, but lost touch on the 4th and 5th one, then somehow managed to catch the group again for the 6th and 7th. On the last one, we finished on an uphill, and my legs began locking, probably from hillwork yesterday, and being tired. My ‘go’ and ‘stop’ shouting that told the guys when my watch was beeping for intervals turned into ‘ah’ and ‘aaaahhhhh’ *cough-spit*. It was awesome.

We shuffled for 10min towards home, and then Willy said the word to walk the rest of the way. Total time was 80min. Before breakfast.

I caught my friend John a couple times during the 1mins, and passed Simon only once. My other friend Abraham led the entire workout, with a buddy named James, and one of Laban’s other brothers: Noah (families here average 7 children). Willy demolished me in the 30:30, but I held my own with Ahem and one of the new guys.

Little apples.