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Monday, August 30, 2010

Post Crim and Some Blogs to Check Out

Catherine returned to Flint, MI this past weekend to run the 2010 Crim Festival of Races 10 mile. When asked how many time she had won the race, she said "like three or four times" but someone corrected her that it was actually SIX times! She really had no idea just how successful she has been at the Crim!  She won every year from 1996-2002 except for 1997 when she was pregnant and did not run.  She had not been back since 2002 because each year since, she has been training for either the World Championships or the Olympics, and it did not fit into her training schedule. She was genuinely glad to be back and had told me while we were cooking the weekend before, that she was looking forward to it. She placed 5th and was very happy with that. She has now run three races since coming off her injury and she's feeling healthy. Her speed work is also progressing so things are good!

As for the documentary, we are still looking for donations and sponsors for the film and hopefully this week we will see a new surge in people who want to see this film happen and are able to donate.  Several bloggers have written posts and I'd like to thank them here.

I want to send a huge shout out to Leah at her Chasing Atlanta blog. She wrote a post about WinCatherine and asked her readers to check out our websites and help out if they can! Chasing Atlanta is a great running blog so please check it out and look through her previous posts as well. 

I also want to send a big thank you to Ryan at I Run Flint for the blog post letting his readers know about the WinCatherine documentary and asking them for help as well! Please check out his blog that is also full of inspiring stories. Ryan also sent in photos taken of Catherine at the Crim race last weekend. 

Thanks also to everyone who has already helped out and supports this inspirational film. Keep passing on our IndieGoGo campaign to your friends and family and together we will make it happen!
photo courtesy of Ryan Litwiller

photo courtesy of Ryan Litwiller

photo courtesy of Ryan Litwiller

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cooking with Catherine

It's been over two years now since I first visited Kenya and since I had my first traditional Kikuyu dish at Catherine's house. Every time I have traditional Kenyan food, I love it and want to learn how to make it. The Kenyans cook with such fresh ingredients, the food is very healthy and tastes great. I have been asking Catherine for awhile now to give me a cooking lesson and we finally had the date scheduled!

I arrived at the athletes' house around 1:30 and Catherine was just finishing her lunch. The house was quiet as her brother, Samuel, was off at a race in Michigan, so it was just Catherine, Irene and Simon there.
Simon Ndirangu smiling as usual!
The lights were out to keep the house cooler, and everyone had already done their morning training so they were relaxing. After socializing for a bit,  it was time to shop for our ingredients. First, Catherine took out some dried peas and left them in a bowl to soak while we were out. 
soaking peas
Our first stop was to Dollar Tree, or what I refer to as "$20 Tree" because it is virtually impossible to leave there without spending at least that much! We both love that store but knew we didn't want to spend too much time so we grabbed a few items and went on our way. Our main stop was at this amazing produce store not too far from where the athletes' house is. This store is more like a large stand; it's just a plain building and there is nothing but produce; massive quantities of it at extremely cheap prices! You walk in, take a number, and when you're called someone waits on you, you tell him/her what you want, they get it, put it in a box and even take the box out to your car if needed. (Usually, when the athletes shop here they buy large quantities and the box is heavy)! The whole process is very streamlined and while it can be extremely busy, it usually moves along fairly quickly. We got our fresh vege supply and returned to the house.

At this point it was too early to start cooking so Catherine asked me for a favor; would I take her shopping? Of course I would; if that is the price of a cooking lesson, it is well worth it! I know she loves to shop and without a car in the U.S., it's hard to do large shops! Once Irene heard we were hitting the Walmart, she was on board for the trip! The three of us hit Walmart and had fun; Irene shopped for her daughter Debra and bought herself a matching outfit. Catherine shopped for her daughter, Jane, as well as for her niece and one of her friends asked her to pick up some educational DVD's. We went through a huge bin of DVD's and her and Irene both got a few titles suitable for youngsters. My recommendation was for them to find Sesame Street DVD's if they wanted educational ones, so we found them and they both purchased that as well. Overall, we had a good time shopping and laughing but it was getting late and it was time for the "lesson" to begin!

 Irene Limika models one of her new outfits
Once we got back to the house, we laid out all the ingredients and Catherine immediately started preparing. The cooking lesson for the day was Mukimo and stew. I've written about mukimo before, but if you haven't read the posts, it is a traditional Kikuyu dish made from potatoes. It is similar to mashed potatoes but there is no butter in it. It is simply made with the potatoes and a select few vegetables and is a healthy staple of the Kikuyu diet. Usually, you don't eat it by itself; it is served with some stew or soup in the same bowl and eaten together. Today we were making a stew with beef in it.

Catherine jumped right in and started grating carrots as I took notes, photos and video to be sure i didn't miss a thing! I also wanted to help and when I asked, Catherine was very cute; she didn't think I knew how to peel potatoes without a peeler! I laughed because she just assumed that we all use the peeler here, which of course we do but it doesn't mean I didn't now how to peel with just a knife! So, Irene and I went to work peeling all the potatoes and cutting them up. Catherine chopped, grated and prepared the remaining vegetables and Irene cubed the beef. I asked questions along the way and took good notes because I know that the next time I will be making the dishes and Catherine will be grading me! She has already told me that Irene will not be allowed in the kitchen with me when I do so she can't help. Catherine said she will be the proctor and make sure I do it all myself to earn the good grade!
fresh ingredients ready
mmmm, onions and garlic

everything prepared

Catherine starting to cook
 It was a lot of fun learning and I have a real appreciation of the work involved. It's not that it is hard work, but it is quite time consuming getting everything prepared, letting things simmer and cook, and then making the final preparations which includes "smashing" an entire pot of potatoes. The key to a good mukimo, Catherine taught me, is to not have any lumps! 
 those are not lumps, that is corn!  


The finished stew
  The table is ready....

After two hours everything was ready and we sat down for the meal. After a lengthy and heartfelt grace by Catherine, we all enjoyed the delicious dish! 
Mukimo, left and stew, right 
Catherine offers Anthony a plate, too bad he's in Kenya and can't join us!
This is how it is served
During dinner, I asked Catherine about how she was feeling with her running and she was very happy with her run at Falmouth where she placed fourth. She is looking forward to the Crim race in Michigan next week. We also discussed where she may run a fall marathon and she is undecided about that at this point in time. Her and Lisa (Buster, her manager) need to look at her schedule and figure it all out. Once they do, I will post where she will run.

I am looking forward to making the meal on my own the next time but we decided to hold off on scheduling until after the Crim race where, she heads with her brother next weekend. After that, we will schedule my test! I will post my "marks" after I receive them (if I pass)!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Beach is finished; now on to Falmouth!

I just spoke to Catherine to see how she is doing. She ran the Beach to Beacon race last Saturday and it was her first race since her injury. She was running to gauge her fitness and see where she was at. The weather was perfect; not hot and not humid which is always a help! It was a very good field of runners on both the mens and womens sides and Catherine placed 6th among the women (33.33.7). She is very happy with how she ran and more importantly, with how she feels. She isn't having any pain and is looking forward to this weekend at Falmouth.

Beach to Beacon holds a lot of memories for Catherine. Not only has she won the race several times in the past, one of the special things about the race is that the elite athletes are housed with families during their stay. Catherine was reunited with the same family she has always stayed with, even though she hasn't been back in five years; that is very special for her. The race is also organized by Joan Benoit-Samuelson who has been an inspiration to Catherine. She still won't eat a lobster but told the crowd at the awards ceremony: "I love you...I really want you to know you really have a place in my heart." I wasn't there but I can picture Catherine exactly how she would say that to the crowd; with complete humility and a wide smile!

Irene Limika, who trains with Catherine, was 4th (33.06..1) and  Catherine's brother, Samuel, was 13th among the men.  Congrats to all the winners!

Next up, Falmouth! Hopefully the weather will cooperate this weekend as well and not be too hot and humid for the runners.

Friday, August 6, 2010

This weekend: The "Maine" Event

Good luck to all the athletes participating in the 2010 Beach to Beacon 10k race tomorrow! This is the race that legend Joan Benoit-Samuelson started 13 years ago. As she told The Portland Press Herald: "All I wanted was an event that showcased our state. And the people here. It's inspiring for me because I see what this race can do for people." (Read the full article here.)  The race has become a favorite to many over the years and has increased in popularity. 

Three of Lisa Buster's Norristown athletes left yesterday for Maine and will be running tomorrow. Irene Limika returns to defend her 2009 win. 
(Irene Limika  2009)
Samuel Ndereba, Catherine's brother, will also be running and Catherine returns after a six year absence. She has won the race five times! 
(Catherine Ndereba Beach to Beacon 2002)
This is also Catherine's first race since she had to withdraw from the Boston Marathon due to a tear of her piriformis muscle. She says she feels good; I'm sure a lot of people will be watching her to see how she looks. I do know that she will listen to her body and run accordingly, regardless of whether that will bring her a win or not.  An important lesson I have learned from Catherine is that it isn't always about winning!

Last year I teased Irene because she wouldn't try lobster, a Maine favorite (and a favorite of mine!),  while she was up there.
(No, Irene Limika (L), did not try the lobster even though it sat next to her!)
It has now become a running joke and I dared her, Catherine and Samuel to eat one and send me a photo. It's a shame I'm not up there filming with them this weekend; I would have loved to capture an encounter between Catherine and a lobster! But, I don't think that's going to happen anyway; they all seem very adamant about not even touching one much less eating one!  (Maybe if the meat were out of the shell......who knows!)

Anyway, I hope that the weather is cooperative, that everyone has a great race and that Catherine feels healthy and strong after! Both the men's and women's fields look to be very competitive. 

Please remember to visit our IndieGoGo campaign and send the link to all your friends; we need your help to finish the film WinCatherine!