After the excitement of the egg sandwich on Sunday the week started well. We did our usual 80minutes ‘easy’ up at Sulultaa, although today’s easy suddenly became steady, hitting sub 7minute miles for a lot of it! My legs were already feeling worse for wear from my track session the day before so I dropped off the pace, making sure to stay close enough to the group so that I could see where they were going, the last thing I wanted was to get lost in the forests! By the time we got back I had covered 12 miles. I wouldn’t do that pace at home for a 12 miles easy so no the wonder I felt the pace today!!
In the afternoon I nipped into Bole to check emails and use the gym. This is where the day got better! As I went into the gym I was introduced to a new training partner, none other than Haile himself!! Yip here I was shaking hands and lifting weights with Haile Gebrelsalassie! Big G! In my opinion, the greatest male distance runner EVER!! So, after I pick myself up off the floor, I got on with my weights and core sessions, taking a few pointers along the way from the Bigman himself! He actually isn’t as small as he appears in TV. Ok this is me I’m comparing him to, but he really didn't seem that small!!
At the end of the session I managed to pluck up the courage to ask him for a photo. I don’t know why I was nervous about asking, he’d had his workout interrupted a few times with requests for autographs and photos and had happily obliged each time. I suppose he is used to it, but still I felt bad asking! Anyway he agreed and I now have a prized photo of me and him looking knackered and sweaty post workout!! I’m going to see if I can get it printed off before I leave so that I can ask him to sign it for me!
Tuesday, my legs were feeling better but I just ran for one hour very easy with Yishi on the morning and then an easy 5 on “aly’s trail” in the afternoon, just to make sure that they were ok, no point in wrecking them even more!!
“aly’s trail” is so called because whenever the lads see me running in the forest I am always running up and down the same stretch of trail so that I don’t get lost! Because of this they have named it “aly’s trail”! See I’ve even got my own trail named after me now – more than at home!! It’s a nice trail too, about 600m long, gently downhill one way and uphill the other so you get a good workout on it!
Most of the group was doing a 3 hour cross country run on the morning. Although those running Paris Marathon this weekend (Sunday 5th) just did one hour. By my calculations there are about 8 – 10 going over to do Paris. I hope they get there ok as one of the lads thought he was going to my ‘home’! I hope not or he won’t be running in the Paris marathon on Sunday!!
Wednesday, the session I’ve been dreading since getting here – hills!! As usual I didn’t have a clue what the session was apart from hills! Justina had told me about a hill session she had done out here which was 10 x 3minutes – I was hoping and praying that it wasn’t this one today!! That would have been my worst nightmare!! Thankfully it turned out to be 20 x 90seconds with a jog back recovery. When we showed no sign of stopping after 10 I asked the two girls I was running with how many we were doing – 20! After the 20th one I breathed a sigh of relief that I had completed the session without dying – how wrong could I be? We now had 20 x the downhill to do with jog up recovery!! Thankfully on completion of those 20 I was told “finish, no more”, don’t worry I wasn’t going to try and do any more!! The session, not including warm up and down, had lasted well over 80 minutes!! Good half marathon training though! A nice afternoon 5 around “aly’s trail” got the crap out of the legs ready for the onslaught of the next day!
Thursday, to make sure my legs were good for the 15k tempo the next day I made sure that today’s runs were very easy. Rather than going with Gete’s group, which I have noticed is getting slightly faster lately, or is it just me getting more knackered? I went with Yishi and some of the other girls instead. The fact that we only covered 10miles in the 80mins compared to the 12 miles we covered last weeks shows the difference in the pace. The 80minutes was followed with 10 x 100m strides and the normal 45minutes of stretching – I’ve never stretched so much in my life, but I am feeling better for it, I can even touch my toes now!! Again a very easy 5 on the afternoon and some self massage and my legs were starting to feel ‘normal’ again, just in time for my weekly 15k tempo!
I had thought about taking a rest day on Thursday had my legs still felt mangled, but as they felt good after Wednesday’s hill session I scrapped the idea. Plus I need something to pass the time of day! I had looked into a safari. It seems a waste to come all this way and not see what there is outside of Addis. Also the lure of seeing the “big 5” in their natural environment was very tempting! However, as the nearest game reserve is 100km outside of Addis and I haven’t had my injections or taken any malaria pills, Addis is too high for mosquitoes to survive and pretty much tropical disease free, it was advised that I shouldn’t take the risk! I would have loved to have gone but it seemed a silly risk to take considering my sole purpose for being here is to train, not to enjoy myself looking at the local wildlife! Next time I come I will be more prepared!!