Monday, March 27, 2017

Training at the HATC, Kenya. Days 18-21. March 24-27, 2017.

Training at the HATC in Iten, Kenya. Days 18-21. March 24-27, 2017.

I purposely saved the topic of training for one of my last Kenyan Diary posts so that I could share some numbers and have more to write about.
I have two major benefits to my four week stay at the High Altitude Training Centre in Iten, Kenya: 1) training at 2400 m (7900 ft) allows my body to produce new red blood cells to carry more oxygen, hopefully making me speedier for my upcoming Virgin Money London Marathon, April 23.
2) completely devoting myself to full-time training within what I call a, "Runner's Fantasy World". Never before have I been able to focus entirely on training with nothing else to do or be concerned about for this long. When meals are made, the room is cleaned, rest and recovery is easily completed, and your entire day is built around your running with no stress or busyness, it becomes a fantasy of sorts. It's an investment and an incredible opportunity that I am so very much enjoying but it is not something I would want to do for that much longer. My life is complete with my husband and kids #TeamDuChene.

The First Run
When preparing for my trip, many told me to be diligent in taking it easy. Ramping up the kilometres and going too hard, too early would not be wise as your body must slowly adjust. On the first day I arrived, I had my first easy shake-out run of 8km. Like many had described, I could definitely feel the lack of oxygen. Some said it would be like breathing through of a straw. To me, it was similar to the feeling you get when you reach the top of a long flight of stairs. Unpleasant but do-able. Neasa took me on my first run and was taking it easy as she had completed a workout earlier that day.

Pace and Heart Rate
Thanks to Trent's incredible support with Speed River, I knew that my pace would be approximately 15-20 seconds/km slower than sea level. Prior to coming, I was running really easy on my easy days; likely averaging about 5:30/km. Sure enough, for the first five days at altitude, I averaged about 5:45/km with a heart rate consistent to that of easy sea level runs, ~120 BPM. For days 6-20 I then averaged about 5:10-5:15/km on easy runs, again with a similar heart rate.  I followed the recommendation to get used to the initial change for the first few days, then steadily ease into a more routine full-time training schedule for the next 10 days. Adapting to altitude is different for everyone so I was emailing Dave, Trent and Margo every few days. They were pleased with how I was adapting.

After a few easy runs I did some strides on the track to get the legs moving. On day seven I got to see the large "Tuesday Track" groups when I joined Tarah and her group for half of their 1 km repeats workout. I certainly couldn't keep their pace but was happy to chase them, consistently finishing each rep at the same pace with a lengthy recovery period between sets. When easing into training, I knew that recovery would be very important; both in workouts between intervals and after each run. It's certainly possible to complete a normal workout but you will pay for it in the recovery. In the first 10 days I likely napped each day out of necessity then found that I just needed to be resting and off my feet, otherwise I might not sleep as well at night. On day nine I did 9 km of tempo with Bekele. Days 14 and 16 included a bit more volume in my tempo and fartlek workouts, both with Bekele. Day 21 will be my biggest workout in this build with a 75' tempo and day 23 will be a 25x1'/1' fartlek for some quicker leg turnover. I will then begin my taper and head home to Ontario.

Long Runs
Shortly before coming to Iten, I completed a 40 km long run so I knew mentally, that I could check that off my list for this build. I figured that my long runs wouldn't be much more than 35-36 km at altitude; it just wouldn't be necessary. In the first week, my longest run was 23 km as I was easing my way into training at altitude. In my second and third long runs, I joined the group for a progressive pace for total distances of 30 and 34 km. Each time we did a warm up before we started the 26 km progression on the tarmac road from Iten to Eldoret. For each progressive part, I felt comfortable to lead. In the first progression I had a faster finish with the last 5 km at goal race pace. In the second progression I pushed the pace a bit earlier but didn't have a quick finish. I averaged the same pace for the last 24 km in both runs. My final long run will be about 35 km with no specific set pace.

Running Surfaces
One of the first things I became clearly aware of was the difficult footing. The dirt roads are easy on the body and good for recovery runs but are often rocky and uneven. I found myself constantly looking at the ground so as to avoid tripping while getting used to the change. Prior to coming, and because of our mild winter, I was able to do a decent amount of mileage on our trails that somewhat helped prepare me for what to expect in Iten. After a few days of running on the dirt paths, I ran for the first time on the tarmac road. It was easier to pick up the pace but I really noticed it in my quads. I then decided that I would continue to include some tarmac road running on most of my runs. Doing my weekly strides would be a good way to keep the firm surface in my routine in addition to my long run and tempos that I would do on the tarmac road. So far my 1 km repeats were on the dirt track and my 16 x 2'/1' fartlek was on the tartan track. Tomorrow's tempo will be with Tarah near her house because it's flatter and she can provide a driver for fluid support. Likely our warm up and cool down will be on the dirt road and our quality work will be on the tarmac road. I think these four weeks might make a record for the longest time without any treadmill running!

I struggle with my sense of direction at home so in my first few runs when faced with the challenges of altitude, hills, uneven surfaces, and mouthfuls of dust, I knew there was no way I would be able to learn any routes. Eventually the challenges became normal (well, the hills that are unavoidable can still be tough) and I was able to learn some routes. The roads are not marked and turns are learned by remembering landmarks and kilometres e.g. "for the 8 km loop, go 2.3 km down the 'all weather road' and turn right at the shed with the shiny roof that will take you to your final right turn onto the tarmac road and back home". It's always a good idea to put some shillings in your pocket before venturing out, just in case you get lost and need a piki piki or matatu ride back. As long as you can get to the tarmac road, you just need to know the direction to Iten. Also, running uphill and into the wind usually means you are close to home.

Similar to easing into workouts, we took a steady approach to returning to the mileage I was doing before coming. My weeks have been 130, 160, and 180 km. My final week will likely being closer to 190 km before my taper begins.

Prior to coming, I was running two double days (Tues, Thurs) and four single days (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat) with one complete rest day (Sun). It was important to keep this consistency so I was happy to fall into a nice routine of three double days (Mon, Tues, Thurs) and three single days (Wed, Fri, Sat) and one complete rest day (Sun). By doing this I am allowing myself to recover before and after workout and long run days, and evenly balance the mileage throughout the six running days.

Cross Training, Core, Strength, Sauna and Preventative Maintenance
Time spent on the bike, in the sauna and pool was a good supplement while initially building my training load. It wasn't anything extraordinary but something I felt I could decrease when I started my final two peak training weeks. There is a 5:00 pm core class on Mon, Wed and Fri that I have completed most of the time but opt out of if I need more recovery time or want to hold back for the next day's workout. I've been doing "Taylor's dance" routine and some light strength training, about twice per week. Preventative maintenance is daily and includes the usual rolling, stretching and other floor exercises after my morning run.

G.I. (Gastrointestinal)
With travel, altitude, time zone changes and a new diet, you are more than likely to experience some sort of gastrointestinal issue. I had a few issues in the first few days but made some changes to what I would eat the night before workouts, which helped (i.e. avoid the sakuma wiki). The other reason was timing with a later dinner and earlier morning run than I am used to at home.

The weather is absolutely wonderful for running. I run more km in the morning around 6:30 am and less in the afternoon around 4:00 pm on double days. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday are single runs in the morning. Can't say I've seen many people run in the middle of the day around here when it's warm. And so far, it's only rained in the evenings and in one afternoon when I was off (Sunday).

Fluids and Carbohydrates
I'm drinking about 5 L of water each day; 2 L in the morning, 2 L in the afternoon, and 2 glasses with each meal. Other than coffee in the morning, my eload recovery and endurance drinks, and the occasional mango juice, I don't drink anything else. 
I've been consistent in my carbohydrate consumption during long runs via the usual intake of gels, Eload endurance and fly. Frank has been a great support on the bike with my bottles. And so far I've just stored my gels in my running bra. 

I've been getting massage treatment from Dan, twice per week; Saturdays after my long runs, and Wednesdays, the day after and before my Tuesday and Thursday workouts. I had one appointment with Tarah's physiotherapist in Eldoret, which also went well.

Body Compostion
Since my peak weight in December with minimal training and an abundant intake of sweets, my weight and fat mass has steadily decreased toward my goal. Kyle has done my anthro measurements and Trent, Erik, and I determined my ideal race weight. We agreed that it was important to maintain my weight, going into and training at altitude. Normally I weigh myself first thing in the morning, which I haven't been able to do here. I have used the scale at the gym and likely only lost 1 kg (2.2 lb) in the past three weeks, which puts me in a good position to achieve my goal race weight upon my return home. 

Friday, March 24
This morning I did an easy single run of 16 km with the group, and other than a trip to the Kerioview with the group and core at 5:00 pm, took it easy for the rest of the day. At dinner we put our tables together to enjoy our last meal with the Brits before their departure.

Red dirt takes some scrubbing to wash away.

Inside a little shop where I purchase my 10 L water for 250 shillings (~$3 CDN).

Saturday, March 25

This morning we did another progression run from Iten to Eldoret, 34 km. In the afternoon I had a massage with Dan and went to the market with Matt, Ken and Jason.
Saturday market day in Iten.

All smiles after finishing another long progression run, and about to get in a matatu to go back to the camp to shower and have breakfast at the club.

Sunday, March 26

Rest day. I knew I would be up at the usual 5:3-6:00 am so I planned to walk to see the sunrise over the Rift Valley. It was striking. I sat there for a while and simply enjoyed the peacefulness, the sounds of chickens and church music, and the beauty of this earth.
For the rest of the day, I had meals with the group and worked on my computer, preparing for a few speaking engagements scheduled at the end of April. Most from the camp spent the afternoon in the lounge, relaxing while watching the IAAF World X-Country championships in neighbouring Uganda. We got a quite a bit of rain in the late afternoon so some of us just stayed there until the 7:00 pm dinner of chicken, lamb, ugali, sakuma wiki and chapatis. Again, I was in bed around 9:00 pm.

A quiet and peaceful Sunday morning walk to the Rift Valley. It was cloudy but I did see the beautiful sunrise.

The lounge was full of HATC runners and staff, watching the IAAF World X Country Championships on a restful Sunday afternoon. A few from the camp drove to neighbouring Uganda to watch. Apparently the drive could take anywhere from 4-11 hours?! The Kenyan Sr. Women had a clean sweep (top 6 places) so there was some clapping and cheering.

Monday, March 27

This morning a group of us met at 6:20 am to start the 14 km fartlek loop together. Some added on whereas others headed to breakfast, planning to run again in the afternoon. I showered, did some laundry and rested. At 4:00, Manuela, Julia and I did an easy 10 km then I called it a day in preparation for the next day's peak tempo workout.

After a 3 km walk, post rain.

Rationing the last of my canned fish, protein, and eload endurance, recovery, and gels.

Various Saucony shoes for various purposes: yellow A5's light-weight flats for track, pink and white/blue Cortanas mid-weight for tempo or progression runs on tarmac road, grey/mint Zealots heavier-weight support for easy runs on dirt roads, and black mid-weight Freedoms for anything. I'll need to wear a pair home but will leave the others for the runners at the Running Academy in Cherangany 
As my training load has increased in quality and quality, I have decreased my x training (pool and bike) but it sure feels nice to dip in the pool after the sauna, to end my day.
Timo leading us in a core class that ...
... appears to be working.

The temps look high but it is actually fairly cool in the morning, and by the time I run in the late afternoon, it is cooling down again.
Fluids are key. Post long progression run breakfast with coffee, mango juice and water. 

Not long after breakfast and I am ready for lunch again. Beans provide protein but not quite enough so I added some sardines to this meal.

Drying line. 

Ladies in the lead, early in the long progression run from Iten to Eldoret. Frank (Manuela's boyfriend) is a great support, carrying our fluids for us while riding the bike, taking pictures, and getting splits! Picture credit: Frank. 

The easy runs are never free of hills, so never really easy!  I seem to always feel my best at the end of my second run. Picture credit: Neasa.

When Neasa was here, I could measure my O2 saturation. Within 2-3 days I was at 95-96, which is a good sign of adaptation. I monitored by heart rate during easy runs so that it was consistent with my easy runs at sea level before coming.

Dan, the massage man.

Before going with Tarah to Cherangany, I had treatment from her physiotherapist, Gasha, in Eldoret who focused on fascial treatment. 

So glad I brought my computer and purchased a SIM card; makes communicating with the Speed River team and family much easier from the comfort of my own bed.

It is quite fitting that this picture is hanging inside the club.. #LondonMarathon #April23

Thursday, March 23, 2017

New Friendships with the People at the High Altitude Training Centre, Days 14-17, March 20-23, 2017

In my first week at camp I was warmly welcomed by my friend and fellow Speed River teammate, John, and other fellow Canadians, Neasa and Kristina (Vancouver), and my roommate, Julia (Ottawa). They made me feel right at home, showing me around the camp and endless dirt roads. Prior to three of them leaving, I knew Julia would be a constant because her departure date was just 1 week before mine. It was comforting to know that we spoke the same language, and within a few days we knew we would make good roommates. We easily got to know each other and quickly fell into a nice routine of going to bed and waking around the same time, eating and running together but not all of the time, and spending our leisure/rest time enjoying different surroundings. Because of a bad experience in high school where I got sunburned before an important track meet (remember, Coach Murray Jackson?!), I have been very cautious about the amount of time spent directly in the sun. It easily drains me. Consequently I enjoy my mid mornings and afternoons in the room with the door open, the Kenyan music playing nearby, the fresh smell as the rooms are cleaned, and the gentle breeze while the staff go about their business. I can easily FaceTime my family and use my computer because I purchased a SIM card. Staying near the wifi pool/lounge area was not necessary. Julia had already been here a month prior to my arrival so she had a nice routine previously established. It can be a bit daunting, going to another country to train for a month, not knowing how your rooming situation will work out. I am pleased to say everything is great. Thanks, Julia!
I knew I needed to reach out and get to know the others at camp. Prior to coming, I was prepared to eat meals and do all my training on my own but was hoping that I would hook up with some english-speaking Europeans. Sure enough, my "New Balance Belgium couple" became my BFF's at the HATC. Frank used to pace many of the diamond league and world major events, and is now recovering from foot surgery while managing and supporting Manuela's marathon career. She too completed in Rio when I did. Within a few meals, we nicely discovered that our training plans were similarly matched, we were both racing on April 23, and at the camp for the same time period. It couldn't have been better. Add in Julia for my first few "easy" runs while getting used to altitude, and some English and French guys, and I had myself a perfect group. 
I think one of the first things I noticed at camp is how much the people are alike. Meals are important and can never be missed, recovery is just as important as training, many have a love/hate relationship with core exercises (particularly when we do the class and the instructor counts 1 second for every 2), bedtime is between 9-10 pm, and we all realize that we are living in somewhat of a running fantasy world. Our beds are made, towels are fresh, rooms are clean, meals are made, and our entire day built around our running schedule. There's no stress, massages are absolutely wonderful, everyone is pleasant and working toward their race goals. Each day I try to reflect upon this incredible opportunity; training for one month at altitude with absolutely no distractions while aiming to run a personal best was a dream that I am now living.  

Monday, March 20
Today was a fairly typical day. I ran 23 km (with some strides) with Manuela and Julia in the morning, had breakfast, rested, did laundry, ate lunch, read, ran 12 km with Manuela, did my core/bike/sauna/sauna routine, showered, had dinner, and was in bed at 9:00 pm.
Tuesday, March 21
Today Bekele met me at 6:30 for a tempo workout. We warmed up on the dirt path toward Eldoret then moved to the tarmac road for 19', 16', and 13' with 5' (' is minutes) recovery jog between sets. We cooled down on the dirt path again then caught a matatu back with Julia, just in time to have breakfast at the camp. I did some preventative maintenance (stretching, rolling), rested, had lunch, read, then went on an easy 11 km run with Frank, Manuela and Laurent (France).  
Wednesday, March 22
Today was my most adventerous and tiring morning. I ran with Julia along the fartlek route but then slowed the pace down a bit, which consequently resulted in me getting lost for the first time. They say it happens to everyone, at least once. So after many confirmations that I was heading toward Iten, a scrape along the shin from a barbed wire fence, and short piki piki ride to the tarmac road, I was safely back to camp with a 25 instead of a 20-21 km run. Julia was so kind - she had set my breakfast aside in the dining room. At 10:00 a group of us, led by Manueal and Frank, headed into Iten to visit a school. I really enjoyed myself and the children just loved having a group of mzungus there. I hadn't been in the sun during peak heat hours so got a slight sunburn. I was a bit worn out so after lunch, I settled into my bed with lots of water and my book, and called it a day, other than getting more water and having a mid-afternoon massage. By dinner I was feeling back to normal again. We took a nice group picture because people were starting to depart the next morning.
Thursday, March 23
Bekele, Frank, Manuela, Julia and I headed to Lornah's new track, which was a nice 2.5 km jog from camp. We warmed up a bit longer, did some strides then each started our own workout. Manuela did 400's, Julia did 200/300's and Bekele paced me through a 2'/1' fartlek. I quite enjoyed the flat surface, which helped create a steady workout with even splits. The track is fenced and free for use for people staying at the HATC but 1000-2000 shillings for others. After our workouts, we jogged around the track and back to camp for our cool down then had the usual oatmeal, bread, eggs, juice, and coffee/tea breakfast. The rest of the day was fairly routine with a 12 km easy afternoon run, time at the gym, and a beef, ugali, sukuma wiki, and mashed potato dinner. I spent a bit of time in the lounge before calling it a day. Tomorrow a group of us will meet at 6:30 am for an easy 15-16 km run. It will be the last run for the British guys.

From Lyndsay in December, Katherine and Lanni in January, Neasa and Kristina in February to me in March, Bekele has had a steady flow of pacing duties from a stream of Canadian women. 

Thank you, Neasa for taking me under your wing and being such a great support: when I got teary on our first run the day I arrived, by showing me around Iten, and making the HATC feel like home. It was an absolute pleasure to get to know you. 

After saying goodbye to John, Neasa and Kristina, I found a new group of friends. 

Breakfast at the club after a long progressive run to Eldoret with a matatu back to camp. 

One of the best things about being here is that everyone is so much alike. Ralph (England), myself and many others packed cans of fish to supplement some of the meals. Sardines was the choice for both of us at this particular lunch.

Axel (France) and Paul (England), two really good friends and good guys, who are rooming across from Julia and I.

Kerio View - a place to go have something to drink or eat, and enjoy the view with friends. Kristina and I went for coffee, right before she left.
The lounge has a tv and wifi, equipped with couches for relaxing after a hard training day.
Signing in at the school. No police check or identification required.

Add caption
Manuela and Krista with the children.
Inside a classroom. Paper, pen/pencil and a simple desk is all that is needed.
Here on the desk is a notepad and pen, generously donated to the students by Manuela and Frank. In this particular  classroom, it appeared that the children were studying english grammar.
I love it when it people give back. Here, my good friends, Manuela and Frank (aka my "New Balance Belgian couple" who are at the HATC for the 5th time) are seeing their sponsor child for the first time since last year. Manuela is telling him how much he has grown. 
There were about six of us who walked into Iten to visit the school. We introduced ourselves, stating our name and country. This particular boy became popular when I said that I was from Canada! Everyone pointed out his t-shirt. At first he was shy, but then I don't think he minded the extra attention.
The children were thrilled that they got to go for an early recess because of our arrival. Some played soccer, did gymnastic moves, chanted cheers, or showed pictures from home and chatted with the students.
I showed them pictures of snow, ice hockey, a swim meet, and my family with me at the Olympics. 
The loooove "selfies"!
While waiting for a massage with Dan, I met his daughter who made me think of and miss my own.
Group shot of the gang before people starting departing. Countries: France, Canada, England, Belgium.
Seems like everyone posts one of these pictures during their stay in Kenya. The scrape was from a barbed wire fence, the red dirt is from a morning run, and the pathetic and hopeless toes are from endless kilometers over the years.
Chasing Bekele in a fartlek workout on the track. No hills this time!

Meanwhile, the rest of #TeamDuChene is enjoying snow and a wonderful ski trip in Alberta!

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Kenyan People, in and around Iten and the HATC. Days 10-13, March 16-19, 2017.

I'm nearly half-way through my stay, here in Iten at the High Altitude Training Centre. I have yet to post about my training and the other people attending the camp but thought I would post about the people in and around Iten and the HATC, first. The pictures give so many details and I definitely don't have a shortage from which to choose!

Thursday, March 16. Day 10.
This morning I met Bekele for my first tempo run. I told him I didn't care if the warm up and cool down were hilly, but preferred as flat as possible for the quality work in the middle. Ha! I was quite pleased with my effort and how I felt for the 9 km tempo. He did a great job of pacing me with the range I gave him. We ended up doing a total of 24 km, which got me back just in time for breakfast. Missing a meal is not an option when training at altitude! Shortly thereafter, I felt so good that I decided to do my first load of laundry. Interestingly enough, I quite enjoyed the simplicity of bending over a bucket to scrub and rinse my red-dirt-stained clothes, followed by hanging items on bushes to dry in the hot sun. They were really clean afterwards! After lunch I rested and read then went on an easy 11 km run with Julia and Manuela. I spent some time in the gym, pool and sauna before a shower and 7:00 pm dinner with the group.

Friday, March 17. Day 11. 
This morning I did 20 km, which ended with strides on the tarmac road. It was a bit quiet at mealtimes because the British guys went on a Safari, leaving at 4:00 am and not returning until 7:00 pm! I met Jess from Australia who joined Laurent, Manuela, Frank and I on a walk into Iten. I didn't run, rather just did the core class, in the afternoon as Saturday and Sunday were going to be full days. After dinner I set out my gels and fluids for the long run, and packed my bag in preparation for my trip with Tarah to Cherangany.

Saturday, March 18. Day 12.
This morning we met at 6:20 am to start our progression run. We did a 4 km warm up on the "all weather road" then started the 26 km progression on the tarmac to Eldoret. Frank was on the bike, carrying our fluids. We had a good pace, gradually getting faster with every km. It felt so good to run downhill on a firmer and more consistent surface with the wind on our backs! At the 15 km mark, we had about 5 people, then at 20 km we had 4, and at 25 we had 3. Manuela and I were the two to finish the 30 km progression, with the last 5km at altitude-adjusted race pace.  It was a bit tricky in the end to really pick it up when dodging the increasing numbers of  piki pikis (motorbikes) and people as we entered the heart of Eldoret. It was not long before the entire group arrived, happy with their run and buying water from the shops.
Our group got a matatu back to camp then enjoyed breakfast together at the club. I had a delicious spanish omelet with toast, mango juice and a coffee. I returned to pack, briefly rest, eat lunch then catch a matatu back to Tarah's house for my 2:00 pm physio appointment in Eldoret. Tarah, the kids and I then made the 1.5 hr drive together to Wesley's childhood Cherangany home where he also serves as a Member of Parliament. I met Wesley's many family members and enjoyed dinner and tea in his parents' home. Back at the guest house, Wesley was still in meetings for his upcoming MP campaign. I was in bed just after 9:00 pm and had my best-ever sleep since arriving in Kenya. I think the long run and travel helped with that!

Sunday, March 19. Day 13.
Today was a day off of training for me so I took my time getting out of bed and starting my day. I went for short walk to take in the scenery and actually got a minute or two of reception. It was actually nice to be off the grid for 24 hours. There was a group of people sitting outside of the guest house, waiting for Wesley. It is very common for the locals to come to the house when they know he is in the area. Their main issues are financial support for school and health care. After Tarah returned from her run, we had tea and breakfast together, and relaxed with the kids on their bikes nearby. We then made an attempt to go to church but because several of the churches formed one larger surface we didn't stay that long. Again, many people were looking for Wesley so they surrounded Tarah with questions. Tarah showed me around the rest of Cherangany. I was finally able to see and better understand what the Kenyan Kids Foundation has done in the community. The main projects include milk cooling containers for the farmers and a uniform-making shop to generate income, a small preschool and nursery for early education, and the Transcend Running Academy that provides scholarships for male and female students to attend school and train. They must place well in a 3 km trial in order to be selected. Because they have such athletic talent, the focus is then on schooling in order to have a chance at a scholarship for post-secondary education and competing for the track & field/cross country team.
The foundation also assists with clinics and medical facilities, which has been more a focus with the KKF USA. Agriculture and farming are also areas the foundation has been involved.
We returned to Wesley's parents' home for a lunch of sakumu wiki and ugali then headed back toward Eldoret/Iten in the later afternoon. Wesley drove because his driver had to stay with his vehicle that needed repairing. I was back "home" to the camp around 5:00 to unpack, rest and join everyone else for dinner at 7:00 pm.
I posted several other pictures on Facebook about my time in Cherangany.

The People in and around Iten and the HATC

This young boy looks to be tending to his chickens. Meat and eggs would provide an income for the family.

Cooking in a pot beside a produce stand is common. I'm presuming that because they work there all day, they must eat on site. Usually the stands close around 7:00 pm.

Children play happily while a mother or aunt works nearby. 

On my day of arrival I was happy to see Johana. He's lived and race in Ontario and owns this shop just outside the camp. 

Here is a sample of the many beaded bracelets he can make. I've placed an order for the kids!

Many, many people on foot for miles and miles.

And of course people travel by "piki pikis". This was taken in the morning when it was chilly for the locals. 

How sweet is she?

I thought I was capturing a video of this but it was just a picture. The kids were playing quietly and once the boy in the blue t-shirt saw me, he started smiling away for the camera! Some children are shy whereas others enjoy the attention from the many mzungus (white people) at the camp. Of course countless children have joined us for parts of our runs while on their way to or from school.

I can't get over the way they bend from the waist to sweep, clean floors (with a towel, not a mop), cook and do other sorts of work. Tarah said that when doing dishes once with Wesley's sister, she asked if the rinse bin could be placed on the floor as it was more comfortable for her!

You can pay or do your own laundry here at this station equipped with sunlight bars and brushes for scrubbing.

Security is top-notch and 24-7.

Back view into the kitchen. The days are long so often the lights are turned off just after 8:00 pm so that they can get home and return again in the early morning.

Sweeping, bending over from the waist.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Prepare, cook and clean up. Repeat.

The pool is chilly but feels great after a run and time spent in the sauna. 

Workers at the camp taking a well-deserved break from cleaning the rooms.

These two sweethearts ran up to Frank for a hug and hand-holding.

Photo (by her request) at the market after making a purchase.

So convenient and inexpensive to pick up an avocado or mango to go with a meal.

Never thought I'd do it. One of sixteen people in a matatu on my way to Tarah's house, which is between Iten and Eldoret. Only about a $0.10 trip. It's all about getting out of my comfort zone!