1, 2008 - Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Day 1
it begins, my training camp in the land where some of the
best distance runners train: Ethiopia.
We arrived early this morning at 4am, I come in on the same
flight as Lydia Chojeca (Polish 1500m) one of the many athletes
joining our camp for the next month. We were able to pick
up our visas pretty quickly and were picked up at the airport
by her boyfriend who had arrived a few days earlier.
The first thing I noticed when existing the airport is how
nice the locals are...okay, I don't want to sound too naive
because I do know they weren't carrying my 25kg bag for nothing!
Nevertheless, the Ethiopian people are very nice and gentle
in nature...until they step into competition.
it was dark when we drove from the airport, I didn't get a
good feel for the city, but I will say that the driving is
not like at home. People cross the street when and where they
feel like, cars go where they want and there really aren't
any directional markers so it's a bit of a free-for-all.
apartment in Addis.
at our apartment and I was pleasantly suprised - it was really
nice, clean and modern. We have wireless internet, a really
good cook, a driver to take us to training and comfortable
accomodations. But, once you step outside the gates, it's
a different story. You definitely feel like you're walking
into a different age or time. You've got cars, goats, donkeys,
and people sharing the streets, which are mostly dirt roads.
But you can definitely
see that Addis is growing and becoming modernized. It's in
a bit of strange stage because you have palaces being build
buy the wealthy athletes and business people, and right around
the corner you have people selling everything under the sun
from a shack.
As for the running,
we did our first run this afternoon at 2700m and I definitely
felt a little out of sorts. We were sure to take it really
easy, but I'm totally serious when I say that I was breathing
heavy at 5:30km pace. It got better as the run went on and,
according to the other guys that have been here a week, it
gets better after 6 or 7 days.
We've got a great
group here, representing lots of different countries: 2 France,
2 UK, 2 Bahrain,1 Sweden, 1 Poland, 1 Canadian. And everyone
is keen to gain as much experience and training benefits as
possible while here. The guys have already been hammering
each other on 10 x 1km on 90" rest at 2800m and paid
for that one - I think they were all hurting the next day.
and Bob hanging out.
I have to mention
that the running culture is amazing here as well. We were
running down the street today and people where cheering, some
even joining in, anywhere from 50 yr old men to 3 yr old kids.
They love to run and they love runners. As we were running
we saw lots of different Ethiopia athletes and even ran into
Bekele who was getting ready for his afternoon session. He
also warned us that we should take it easy for the first couple
of days until we get used to the altitude. I suppose he knows
what he's talking about so I think I'll take his advice.
Tomorrow we are
up at 6:30am and ready to do just an easy longer run up at
about 2900m - should be good!