Things have been pretty tough over the last few days. We made it to Iten, but finding a house to rent has not been easy. The houses that are available are very basic, but still not cheap when it's a mizungo [white person] wanting to rent them. We think we've agreed to rent a half-built bungalow from a politician. It has all been negotiated through two other people, so it's hard to know exactly what is going on. But one thing is for sure, the politician is not interested in negotiating. He has my main contact running scared at the moment because we dared to say we only wanted the house for two months, instead of the four months we initially mooted.
All the uncertainty has been tough on the children, on top of the constant attention they get and the fairly basic campsite we've been staying in. They keep telling me that they like England better. To give ourselves a little break, until our house is ready - on Friday, we think - we've moved to a more expensive "resort" for a few nights. It has a swimming pool with a waterfall. The loo has a seat. And the beds have lovely, soft, fluffy pillows. It's complete luxury.
As for the running, I've been out for three runs since I left Lewa, two with Kenyans. The pace has been very slow each time, which is allowing me to get used to the altitude, and to test out my sore calf - which feels better. The "barefoot" running style now feels completely natural to me, though I have to admit I've seen plenty of Kenyans running heel first in big Nike running shoes.
The key question, though, before I bin my theory of barefoot running being part of the Kenyan secret, is how do the best Kenyan runners run? There was an incredible cross-country race in Iten at the weekend and I was watching the feet closely. It was only a district race, but the standard of competition was probably higher than the world cross-country championships - there were world championship medalists finishing way down the field. Interestingly, though, nearly all of the top 50 or so athletes in each race were definitely running "barefoot style", or, to put it another way, were not landing heel first when they ran.
I briefly contemplated entering the race, but felt it was too soon. In hindsight, I would have definitely come last, probably by quite a long way. There was one English guy in the race, and I've just discovered he's also writing a blog about training in Kenya. He didn't come last, but he was a long, long way from the front.