Kenyan Training

20140611-150321-54201673.jpg What is the secret to running fast? Why are the Kenyans so fast? There are books written about Kenyan runners and so many people are trying to figure out why they are so superior. The fact is, they work hard, they eat well and they want to be the best. They are placed in an environment where running is there life. When they start primary school at the age of 6 years old they run two plus miles to school everyday. Then they run home for lunch and then back to school and home again. Some of these kids are running at least 8 miles a day from the start of age 6, in altitude! These people are in phenomenal shape. They are extremely lean because they run so much and they eat very healthy. They do not have the processed food and the ample amounts of sugar that we have in the states. I have been here over a week and have not had dessert once. It is not available unless you go out of your way to find it. When the kids begin to focus on training, once they get a bit older, their cardiorespiratory system are already pretty developed. They have such a strong aerobic base that once they start training and focusing they are destined to suceed. The terrain here in Iten is perfect for running. Soft, rolling red dirt roads that go on for miles and miles and in nearly 8000 feet of elevation. These people are strong and fit! I look around and I see many runners with poor form and running with a slow cadence but they are still smoking fast. Most do not have the recourses or the knowledge to fix imbalances or injuries that arise. They just run and they run hard all the time. The only knowledge they have about running or injury prevention is gained from other athletes or from what they have been told. If anything, Kenyans should not be as fast as they are because they do not have the recourses and advantages that we Americans have at home. There are no physical therapists to fix them when they get injured. They don’t have exercise physiologist and psychologist to help optimize their training.  Like I said before, they just run and they run hard all the time. Here is a typical Kenyan training week which is actually not too different from many runners I know: Monday: am- longish hard run- progressive and finishing hard. pm- easy shake out run Tuesday: am- Speed on the track. pm- easy shake out run Wedneday: am- mid distance run easyish. pm- easy shake out run Thurdsday: am- fartlek. pm- easy shake out run Friday: Mid distance run or hill repeats. pm- easy shake out run Saturday: am- Long run. pm- easy shake out run. Sunday: OFF- Rest The shake out runs are done very slowly. Like a shuffle almost. Anywhere from 8:30-10 min pace but the morning runs are all relatively hard especailly Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday runs.  The others are ran according to how their bodies are holding up. Many do core strength on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and will do unstructured weights inbetween. I would definitely structure the core training differently if I were the trainer here. I would focus more on injury prevention and optimizing their fitness. Their philosophy is “no pain, no gain.” There are no modifications and form as not the priority.  Quantity over quality around here.  I have lot’s of advice in this area. Kenyans are fast not because they know something that we don’t. Quite the oppostite. We definitely know a whole lot more about the body and training but maybe that is our crux. We think to much. Once again, the Kenyans are extremely fit, healthy people who just want to be the best and they train hard! They have hundreds of people to train with who are all trying to be the best. If one person gets lazy or injured then there is someone else right there, trying to get in and be better than the other. They have very few distractions. They focus on running, sleeping and eating and that is it. It is there life. Running is what they do and they do it well. Train hard or go home! Blessings

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Kenya week 1

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Where do I begin? I have only been here a week and Kenya has touched my heart emensily. It is a wonderfully beautiful place! I couldn’t be more content and feel more at home. The people here are so friendly and community based. Everyone works together as a family and most of them run. It just doesn’t get much better than that for me. I have been very busy training and doing all sorts of fun things. I will recap my week and try to not bore you with too many details. I do have so much I could say.

The camp: I am very spoiled living at the High Altitude Training Center. We have hot water, wonderfully cooked meals, a pool, weight room and even a TV that we never watch unless a Kenyan track meet is on. Most Kenyan’s do not have the luxury of hot water or even flushing toilets. They lack many of the conveniences that we often take for granted.

The Muzungu (Kenyan word for white people): There are just 6 of us in my group staying at the camp. Two from Azerbaijan, two cousins from Australia, one American from Arizona and two from the UK. They are wonderful people and we are having a great time. All the runners are recreational except for Matt the Brit and I. Matt runs a 70 min half and is looking to improve and I have a good feeling he will. We all get along great and I feel so blessed to have met them all.  There are many Kenyan athletes at the camp that use the facilities so we are always surrounded by amazing runners everywhere we go. We have had the opportunity to meet and talk with many world class athletes.  It is so inspiring to be among so many hard working athletes.

Primary school championship track meet: AMAZING!! Attending this meet was a wonderful experience that I will never forget. These kids are so fast, running barefoot on a dirt track. The stadium was packed with spectators, cheering so loudly you couldn’t hear your own voice. Running is their livelihood. For many, it could be their way out of poverty so the kids give it everything they have.  I have never seen so many fast kids ever. They are all so lean and built to run.

Primary School: I was able to spend sometime at the local primary school (age 6-12 ish). Ever since then I can not stop thinking about how I could possibly help these kids so that they can live healthy lives. They do not have running water, toilets or electricity and they lack efficient school supplies yet they are filled with joy and are the most well behaved and respectful kids. They were so thrilled to have us visit their school. Each class room we entered, the students would stand up to welcome us. The younger kids even sang us a welcome song that melted my heart. Though they were filthy, barefoot and snotty nosed they had so much love and spirit. Thanks to RoughFit clients and many others, we were able to donate a bunch of school supplies which was wonderful but I can’t help but think of what more I could do for them, like providing a proper toilet. It just can’t be that hard, right? I had the “honor” of using the schools squat toilet. A hole in the ground, surrounded by mud from the previous rain- which made it quite slippery and pitch black so you could barely see the whole to aim in. There was no toilet paper or anyway to clean yourself. The stench was so rancid I had to focus so hard to not gag. Now, imagine 500 students as young as 6 years old, mostly barefoot using these squat toilets. It absolutely brakes my heart. There must be something we can do!

My heart definitely beats for Kenya and the people here.  I hope that one day I will be able to give back what they have given me in this short time of being here.  I would love to be able help them get out of the poverty that many of them are in.  I have already learned so much from their life style and it is obvious why these people are some of the best athletes in the world even though they do not even have much knowledge of running at all but that is another blog.

Have a blessed day

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Run with the Kenyans- Day 5

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The trip started out rough in Nairobi.  Everything just seemed to go wrong.  Luckily I met a wonderful missionary group who was there working for the organization called “Connect with a Child.”  I don’t know what I would have done without their help and love.  They were so generous, helpful and loving.  Praise God for them!

I finally made it to the High Altitude Training Camp yesterday and I couldn’t have been more thrilled.   It is beautiful here!  So green and lush with red roads that go for miles and miles.  The camp is perfect.  There is literally nothing to do but run and workout with the best athletes in the world.  I ran twice yesterday, trying to acclimate myself to the altitude as quickly as possible.   We also had a core workout with some very high profile athletes and I couldn’t help but notice their terrible form. I actually think I have a lot to offer them to help improve their form.  Our tour guide and helper at the camp who is a 1:45, 800 meter runner, hoping to make the Olympic team this time around, has already asked me to watch him run so I can help him improve his form.  So fun! The only expertise they have on core strength and technique is from what they have been told. I really want to help them in this area. RoughFit is coming to Kenya!

Today has been such a great day!  This morning I had my first experience with the famous Kenyan fartlek run. Our group started before the Kenyans so that we can get a big head start.  We did 10 x 2min with 1 min rest.  The Kenyans do this same workout every week on the same trail.  It was glorious!  I am still struggling with the altitude since it is only day 2 here but it felt great to get out and run hard. The trail is a 9 mile loop through the forest.  It is beautiful.  The goats would yell at you as you ran by.  I think they were telling me to run faster.  We finished our workout and waited next to a photographer who was there to take pictures of the Elite Kenyan athletes as they ran by.  Me and my new British friend Matt decided to circle back and when we saw the Kenyans cresting the hill we would turn back, run like hell and try to not get passed.  It was brilliant.  Seeing the Kenyans crest the hill was more impressive than I could have imagined! There were at least 150 of them at a full sprint coming right at us.  I turned around, yelling as I ran to get away.  We made it in time to watch as they sprinted past us, effortlessly.  I loved every moment.

kenya kidsI still can’t believe I am here.  It is the best place ever.  Besides being white and slow, I feel like I belong here.  The people are wonderful, the food is healthy and delicious and you just run everywhere. The kids crack me up.  They learn how to say “how are you?” in English at a very young age.  They love to throw up there hands and yell at the top of there lungs “how are you?” as we go by and laugh when we answer them.  It is the best.  Also, Kenyans think that it is cold here.  I am so hot and it is 80 plus degrees and they are all wearing down jackets. I bought a mango off a lady today who was wearing a down jacket while I was getting super sun burnt and I asked her “aren’t you hot in that jacket, I am melting?!” And she answered, “no, I feel a bit cold.”  I told her she was crazy.

Well, I can go on and on so I will end here. More stories to come.

Run like a Kenyan.

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RoughFit’s 28 Day Challenge

 

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I decided I should probably practice what I preach and join our 28 Day Challenge of not eating processed foods and added sugars for 28 days.  I have to say that I was hesitant to join, why? Because, I think I already eat healthy, love eating healthy and all the “junk food” I eat is actually relatively healthy.  So why did I join?  Well, I am lazy and I think I actually eat more junk than I am aware of. The absolute only reason I eat foods that are not optimal for my body is out of pure laziness. I don’t really crave fake food. I only really crave nutritious foods.  Yes, I crave sugar but I desire natural sugar or treats that are made with natural sugars.  Does that mean I never eat processed sugars or processed foods? Absolutely not. Though I wish that was the case but I eat out a lot and I don’t like to cook.  It is not as easy to find non-processed and sugar free foods when you go out.  If I am not paying attention, I may eat a lot more treats and processed foods than I even realize. My goal for this challenge is to bring awareness and start keeping track of when I might go for the easy way out.  

Possible challenges:  

1) Rutabegorez oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (man, I wished they used natural sugar in their cookies!) 

2) Free Soul Caffe Waffles- I love waffle Thursdays!!  Most Thursday mornings I sleep in and walk to Free Soul with Murphy (my dog) and eat a classic waffle with fruit.  

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3) Rice chips:  I love eating rice chips. They are so good!  I don’t really want to give them up but I know there are chemicals in them that maybe wreaking havoc on my digestive system. I should just learn how to make them myself so I can make them beneficial for me but I did already say that I am lazy so I might not do that. 

Try participating in RoughFit”s 28 Day challenge and see how you feel or if you can make it through. 

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Boston 2014

 

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2014’s Boston Marathon was the year to take back the finish line, be strong, “Boston strong,” and get all the racers to cross that finish line. Before the race started, it never crossed my mind that getting to the finish line would possibly not be an option.  I was trained and ready to race.  I didn’t know what obstacles would come my way.

Let’s step back a day.  It is Easter, I went to a lovely service at Reality Boston Church with great friends and it was a wonderful day of reflection and remembering the way Christ suffered on the cross for our sins so that we may live eternally with Him.  He paid the price out of LOVE for us.  Suffering is a key word here and it goes along with the lesson I learned in my race.

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Fast forward back to race day, I felt great!  I felt ready and I was ready to take back the finish line for Boston!  Little did I know what was in store for me.  My first 9 miles felt great. I went out comfortably and settled into a sustainable pace. As according to my plan, I decided to take my nutrition (this time a Clif Shot) as I usually do, but on this special day my body decided to no cooperate.  I immediately felt ill and was trying my hardest to not spew.  Boston is not a particularly easy race to be sick in. There is wall to wall people both on the course and spectating. Usually this is a wonderful thing but today, for me, was not so convenient.  I really tried hard to keep my Clif Shot in, as a frantically looked for an open area that I could run to, if matters got worse.  Well, they got worse.  Next thing I knew I was dry heaving next to a poor race helper on the side of the road. He of course asked me if I was OK but it is tough to answer while your body is involuntary trying to puke up a gel.  I finally, moved on and began to run again.  I did feel a little better which gave me a glimmer of hope that maybe I was over the sickness.  I would have only lost a couple of minutes off my time, due to my dry heaving session. This was wishful thinking.  I ended up dry heaving a few more times along the way until finally I spewed out a bit of my gel. How could such a small amount of gel do so much damage?  By this point of the race, my back began to cause me much grief, due to the violent contracting of my diaphragm.  I felt a shooting pain with every step I took. This began around mile 18 and Lord knows, I still had many steps left.  This pain caused me to walk quite a bit.  I tried so hard to run so I could finish faster!!  I needed to get across that finish line and do it for Boston even if it killed me- besides, no one had offered me a ride back to the finish line yet so I had to get there somehow:)  I ran into a slew of RoughFit spectators around mile 20 and was so thrilled to see them.  My first thought was, maybe they will take me back to the finish line, but I didn’t ask.  I kept trudging along.  In spite of every part of me wanting to quit, deep down I really wanted to finish.  It felt like it was my duty as a runner to finish for all those who couldn’t last year.  I didn’t travel across county to quit.  At mile 25 I decided to try to drink some Gatorade the course offered.  I drank a cup and to my surprise, it went down great so I thought, sure, have another glass.  As soon as the last drop hit my stomach, I immediately spewed every last drop out right next to a wonderful group of spectators.  As I was on my hands an knees with tears in my eyes, apologizing to the wonderful fans I spewed next to, a man, also running the race, picked me up and said “you are going to finish this race!”  I wiped my tears and started to run again.  I was so thankful for this man, who got me to my feet and encouraged me to keep going. He was my angel and then suddenly my angel pulled a hammy and he was down.  I felt like I was in a daze or a really bad dream but it was real. I turned the corner and saw the finish line.  I couldn’t believe I had made it!

Getting to the finish line in Boston had more meaning than any marathon I had ever run. I felt more joy and feeling of accomplishment then ever before.  I wanted to quit but I didn’t. As I lay 400 meters from the finish line, in a fetal position, I couldn’t help but think about how this suffering fit the theme of the weekend.  It was Easter, a day to remember Christ’s love and how He suffered for us so that we could live a full life.  It was also an important year for the city of Boston.  As suffering came into the city in 2013, love rushed in to help those in need.  This year was to demonstrate that love always wins.  A year to show strength and be strong, “Boston is Strong!” “Without love we are nothing” (1 cor. 13:2).   Love conquers all.

If I had run this race without all the suffering, I might have missed the the lesson.  There will be many times in life when we want to give up and call it quits but we need to remember that even though we can’t see the finish line, it is there.  We just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and encourage those around us to keep going. We can learn so much through our suffering if we are willing.

“We find glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).

Thanks Boston for kicking my Ass!

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Guilt Free Snack?

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I was in Costco the other day and was, of course, sampling when I came across a rice cake snack.  I thought to myself, “that sounds great and my body does well on rice so yes, I will try it!” As I approached the rice cake, the girl working the sample table says to me, “these are a guilt free snack!”  Said this with much enthusiasm.  My first thought was, “shouldn’t all snacks be guilt free?”  What a funny thing to say, but then I thought more and realized that many people live there lives feeling guilt when they eat.  This phenomenon discouraged me and brought me back to the years when I had an unhealthy relationship with food and when certain foods that I ate made me feel a sense of guilt.  I do not miss those days and if you are in a time of your life where you do feel guilt behind your food then there is hope for you yet.  It is hard to remember the last time food made me feel guilty  This realization brings me much joy.  I am very intentional about what goes in my body.  My natural instinct are at a place where most things that go in find a purpose. There was a time in my life where food controlled my instincts and when food controls your instinct then poor choices and guilt begin to settle in.  When you eat unhealthy foods, your taste buds get hijacked and you continue to crave those foods.  Once you can take the time to detox your body and get rid of all those hijacked taste buds then you begin to crave what your body needs versus what it wants.  This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy what I eat, quite the opposite.  I enjoy it much more now and I don’t have to feel guilty about eating.  I crave healthy foods and I want to fill my body with the proper nutrients that it needs.  I hate the idea of eating empty calories and eating foods that lack nutritional value.  I have no desire to eat them therefore, it is not a challenge for me to not eat them.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have a sweet tooth and I do enjoy dessert but I get more excited about eating desserts that have nutritional value my body can use for good.

If you are someone that struggles with guilty eating then I have a few personal suggestions:

1) Detox your body and cleanse it from all the processed crap and sugar you have built up. I enjoy cleansing using a company such as Earthly Juices just because it is easy and I am lazy.  If you are at all concerned or take any medications then be sure to consult your Doctor first.

2) Set your intention for food.  Why do you eat?  Just for enjoyment and pleasure? I eat to survive and I want to put as many awesome things as I can into my body and make them taste as good as possible.  You are what you eat.

3) Work on your head and positive thinking.  Staying positive and reminding yourself of your intention and the purpose for food will set you on a path to success.

4) Stop being stubborn!!  Try new foods, even ones you don’t like.  Remember, you need to retrain your brain.  Your taste buds have been hijacked therefore healthy food are going to taste bad until you can regain control and get rid of the toxins that are keeping you from making healthy choices.  There are many foods that I LOVE now that I hated before.  Just keep trying healthy foods you don’t like.  At least you are getting good nutrients as you choke your way through it and maybe one day you will LOVE it:).  And in case you didn’t know, you get new cells on your tongue every 7 days so there is a good chance you will like foods you once hated if you just keep trying!

Don’t let your food make you feel guilt!

Peace, joy and guilt free eating.

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Love Life

Lent

Religious or not, Ash Wednesday (first day of Lent) is the perfect excuse to reflect on your life to see what changes can be made to improve the quality of your body, mind or soul. Change is essential to life.  Without change we will die.  Being that I grew up in a Christian home, I knew a bit about Ash Wednesday but did not practice it.  Many non-denominational churches do not participate Lent (some might).  Though, I think they should as it is a great reminder of our faith and teaches discipline and self-control.  Lent is 46 days until Easter (counting Sundays). The idea is to give up something of sacrifice and endure the temptation just as Christ Jesus did in the dessert for 40 days and 40 nights.  If only we were all more like Jesus, right?

This year I have decided to give up processed bread.  It seems as though I only eat it out of convenience.  At home I only eat sprouted bread.  The problem is when I go out. Restaurants don’t have sprouted bread so I order the best choice they have.  I am still praying for sprouted bread to appear in the restaurants I am most likely to be at such as: The Lost Bean, Rutabegorez, and Panera.  It all comes down to me being lazy.  I like convenience but it is convenience that has lead our nation into obesity and numerous other chronic diseases.  Our nation is always looking for a quick fix or an easier way to do things. Once they have made it easy they try to make it easier. This has lead us into a world of processed and genetically modified foods.  It has also lead us into a world of too much plastic waist and waist in general!  This goes back to my last post (greening myself) on the effects of plastic and the garbage patch.  I have been really trying hard to limit my amount of waist and it is not easy!…  Getting back on track here and going back to Lent, I am going to focus these next 46 days on not allowing myself to fall victim of convenience.  I know that I need to make small changes and these small changes will hopefully lead to big changes.  All we need to do is break one habit at a time.  Easy, right?

Let’s make change happen!

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