Monday August 13
Eight days ago I ran the Olympic marathon. It was my first Olympic marathon - in 2008 I competed at the Olympic Games in Beijing, but I ran the 10.000m - and I was moderately satisfied with the result: number 24 (in 2.28.52). This week I took the time to relax and think a bit about my race.
I realize that it was a very tough race for me. We ran in the rain and soon after we started, I got a whole lot of water on my shoes, so my shoes got soaked and slippery. Because the course had a lot of turns, and the rain made the roads slippery, I was often afraid to fall. Off course, we all ran in these conditions, so it was tough for everyone I guess, but somehow these conditions made it hard for me to run as focused and aggressively as I wanted. I stayed in the leading pack for the first 18k or so. After about 18k I felt that the group was accelerating and I thought it was better to be smart and continue running my own pace. In that way I would not kill myself and hopefully be able to catch some ladies back in the last part of the race.
After I let the group go, I ran most part of the race with Isabella Anderson, a Kenyan lady who is running for Sweden. I think the plan to run my own speed, in stead of running with the leaders, was okay, but I felt that the energy that I needed to acelerate or maintain the speed in the end, was leaving me. The rain made my whole body feel cold and because of blisters on my feet every turn was a bit painful. In the end I was happy to finish the race in a decent speed and position.
The result was not what I had hoped for, because I still feel like I am in a better shape than what I have shown. However, I think with the conditions that we had, this was almost the best I could give. In the end I was number 24 and that was also my ranking before going into the race. The positive thing about this race is that I got some experience in running a race in an extremely competitive field, without pacemakers and in bad conditions. I am sure this will help me in the future, in becoming a more all-round marathon runner.
Now I am resting; sleeping a lot and no running. When I feel the energy to run is coming back, which will probably be in the coming week, than I will start jogging easy and make new plans for the rest of the season. I know I trained very well in Boulder and all the hard sessions I did, did not really give me what I hoped for in the Olympics, but it is not lost and it will help me in my future races.
For the last 9 weeks I have been in Boulder, Colorado (USA) to prepare for the Olympic Games. It's for the first time in 5 years that I decided to leave Kenya to train somewhere else, and it was a very good decision. I love this place!
I always like training in the altitude. That's why I normally don't train in The Netherlands, except when I'm running races. Kenya is a very good place to train, with often good weather, great trails/roads, lots of trainingpartners and altitude. However, this time I wanted something else. I just wanted to be away from home, from my normal life and focus on running only.
Here in Boulder, we are staying in the house of Mike Sandrock. Mike is a very well-known journalist and writer, who wrote the book “Running with the legends” and who interviewed many famous runners. He has a house in Boulder, on a big piece of land, next to a wild river. It's a quiet place, just outside the town, going into the mountains. The place is kind of basic, but beautiful, made of wood and rocks. There is no telephone connection here (for cell-phones), no television and no washing machine, but I like it that way. All we do is train, eat, sleep and talk. We wash our clothes by hand and in stead of watching tv, we go on internet.
Boulder is a beautiful town, at an altitude of around 1600 meters, with lots of trails to run. You need a car, to go to the different trails, but than you have a lot of choices. Within 15 minutes driving you can be at 2400 meters (Magnolia) where you can run on a hilly road, or you can run at the track or a soft, flat trail at 1600 meters.
I am staying here with Hugo, who is injured right now, so he is always following me on the bike. During heavy work-outs, like a temporun, he sets the pace on his bike and gives me my drinks. Our friend Chris, from The Netherlands, joined us here for 4 weeks. Chris is about the same level as me, so we could perfectly train together. Also my sister Elvin, who is studying at the University if Arizona, came to visit us.
Training has been going very well. Most days we wake up at 7.00 am to go for a run. After the run, we drive to a place at the wild river, nearby our house, to soak our legs. That place is called 'nudy rock' because it sometimes attracts people who want to be nude. Luckily, most of the time there are no nude people, so we just go in the water and soak our legs, just like when you take an ice-bath. It really helps for recovery!
After the river we go home to have breakfast, relax a bit and sleep again. In the afternoon we often go to one of the gyms in Boulder to do exercises and/or to use the sauna, and after that we go for our afternoon run. The days are pretty full, but only with running, exercises and recovery. It's perfect like this. When I arrived here I was in a pretty good shape, and I'm sure my shape grew a lot in the last 9 weeks. I have been doing some heavy marathon sessions, like temporuns of 40k (25 miles), and they all went well. Also, I'm injury free and I have been able to do all the sessions that I wanted. The roads that I use here for my marathon sessions, resemble the roads of London; paved, a little hilly, with some turns. So I think I am well prepared. Soon I'm going to taper, travel back to The Netherlands and get ready for the Olympic marathon – on August 5 at 11.00!!
The only thing we have been doing, apart from running, is to help Mike Sandrock a little bit with his foundation. Mike has a foundation called One World Running and they collect and than send athletic shoes to Third World countries, more than 20.000 per year! Mike has a lot of shoes laying in his store and his garage, so we helped him a bit to organize them, and put them into bags.
Mike also helped me to think about my own foundation. I want to start a foundation, so that I can do some useful things in Kenya. In the last years I have been supporting some kids, but a foundation can help me to start and support bigger projects – just like Lornah who has her Lornah Kiplagat foundation. I will tell more about that later, probably after the Olympics.
A beautiful place to run, but sometimes scary, cause this is where I met a rattle snake last week (see picture).
After soaking our legs in the wild river, with Hugo and my sister Elvin....