12 Jan The simple life in Kenya| Melissa Courtney

I have been very poor on the blog front for the last few months, I apologise, so thought the New Year was the best time to start again..

I’m currently in Kenya training at the HATC in Iten and will be based here until the 31st January, 4 weeks of sunshine, hills, dirt, napping, eating, a very simple life!10921975_10155032352230364_1986712900_n

So I first came to Kenya back in the end of October, perfect timing as the nights were getting darker and weather was getting wetter and colder. Having never been to Kenya before or trained somewhere at such a high altitude I was so excited to come out and see what all the fuss was about and experience altitude and I really enjoyed it. Don’t get me wrong it was tough initially, the first run I did out there it was just hill after hill and my heart rate kept rising but I seemed to adjust pretty quickly. Then everyone sees what stew it is for tonight’s dinner and you drift off thinking about what food we could be eating at home! However, it’s such an amazing experience to train here you couldn’t find a better place with the scenery and trails and I’m so grateful for the opportunity. This time I just came prepared with a few chocolate snacks! As I am a student I guess I’m pretty much a full-time athlete but being here it’s so nice to just focus on training and recovering, not having to go to lectures just catch up when suits me around training. The days are simple, breakfast, running session, lunch, nap, run, gym, dinner, relax, bed.

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After a month out here, I came home and raced 2 days later in the Liverpool at the XC trials, not my best race, I was rather disappointed but it was all a new experience coming back from altitude for the first time, doing all that travelling and then racing. Over Christmas, I did a couple parkruns and my annual Boxing Day 10km which I ran a pb of 33.57 so I was thrilled as I knew I had been in good shape after Kenya, and it gave me a much needed confidence boost after Liverpool.

Christmas came and went so fast and before I knew it I was on a plane back to Kenya on the 2nd January for another 4 weeks. After a lovely Christmas and New Year spent indulging way too much especially on the chocolates, Kenya was going to be a shock. However, I have settled back into the simple lifestyle and adapted to the altitude well and enjoyed my first full week training in Kenya last week with a couple in decent sessions. Similarly to last time though I have uni deadlines, with two deadlines on the 8th and 22nd January, so one down, one almost ready to submit I’m looking forward to spending a few more afternoon naps once this one is submitted!

I’m looking forward to the next few weeks training here, having a group to do all my runs with is something different to me and it’s so much fun, as well as sessions at the track and even the gym. There’s a great group here and there’s always people to run with or hang out with in our free time.

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This time I shall be waiting a little longer than two days to race, to see what’s best for me after training at altitude. Next on the racing scene for me is indoors and there’s something I love about racing indoors, the 200m track, the atmosphere, it being in the middle of winter, I’m not sure but I can’t wait to begin my indoor season in February.

Millie