Nov. 15, 2008 – Two miles high and on the edge

Group after a run in Entoto, 500m above Addis.

So, as if training at 2700m isn’t high enough, we have learned that most of the local Ethiopian athletes actually go up to a place called Entoto to train at up to 3200m. I thought I was adapting to the altitude because my heart rate is lower and I can run faster on the same loops, compared to when I arrived.

However, training at Entoto is a different story – I have yet to go there and NOT get a headache. I find I have to be really careful about not pushing myself over my limit because it’s usually recovery runs that we do there and I’ve learned if you go over the edge on a recovery run at altitude, you will pay over the next few days by feeling really spent and not being able to train well.

Kids who live in Entoto who ran to our van everytime we arrived.

Speaking of going over the edge – yesterday Defar told me that she ran so hard in Entoto that she threw up in the middle of her run, but just kept going. I ask her if this was normal and she said yes, when she is just getting back into training her body isn’t used to the hard sessions. This made me feel like maybe I should start training harder! But I think there is a time and a place to go to the well and you can’t do it all the time or you’ll get burned out – I’ve had days like Defar, but I don’t go there often.

The rest of our group has experiences a few bumps in the road as well. Lidia ended up drinking some juice that we figure was made with tap water and ended up spending a night in the hospital with some kind of bacteria in her stomach. Frankly, Lidia was pretty scared to go to the hospital here, but was relieved and impressed to find clean and professional facilities. They took good care of her by refilling her with electrolytes and giving her antibiotics to kill whatever made her feel like she was dying. It was actually really scary when it hit her: we were in the car on the way back from a run and she turned really white and got dizzying, sick and incoherent. She is back training now.

Jean Marc and Lidia, back to normal training.

The rest of us have been pretty good with stomach issues – but you really have to stay away from the water, even brushing your teeth with bottled water, and be careful which restaurants you eat in. We’ve been fortunate to have a cook prepare all our meals at our guest house ane he seems quite understanding that we have sensitive, westernized stomaches.

Knock on wood – hopefully everyone stays healthy and we don’t have anymore close calls for the rest of the trip.



















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