The countdown begins with only 100 days (just under over 14 weeks) until I depart to Kathmandu so a quick update on the training and journey to date. I’ve managed to climb to the top of the tallest building in the world recently (Burj Khalifa, Dubai) care of the Altitude Training Centre but more about that later.
I’ve kept the legs moving and not for long distances so time to pick up the km’s and get back to the long distance running dragging my (much faster) partner Ceri along for the ride. 17km every other week is the slow increase of distance after a nice relaxed christmas. Lets just say the usual low sugar and starch diet had a wee holidays too.
With the help of some great advice from my coach Walter Thorburn I will be running a long distance run every other weekend and increasing that distance over time just by small portions. This has been the best way for me to manage the distance without incurring further injury.
New flights are booked along with accommodation in Kathmandu and now to find some way to save for any additional expenses along the way. You cannot always have smooth sailing and sometimes life will throw you a few curve balls just to test you.
This all became apparent when my good friend and Manager of the Harvey World Travel shop in Botany called me. Michelle had to break the news that the very wonderfully priced flight I had booked with China Southern had been cancelled to Kathmandu in May due to fuel shortage. This truly shows you the devastation continues for the people of Nepal.
Thanks to Michelle’s expertise I secured a new flight with Singapore Airlines but paying an additional $1400. A small price to pay for a recommended and trust worthy airline. Not the kind of spare cash one has floating around! Goodbye spending money and thank you mortgage fund. Michelle was so amazing and as always make the most of now and not dwell on what could have been.
Onwards and upwards (excuse the pun) to the next big run which I would like to call ‘the Waipu special’. I knew it was going to be a challenging 18km run on a hot morning but it was worth a go. The hills appeared and it wasn’t until both Ceri and I completely jinxed ourselves by saying “it must be mostly down hill from here” when we realised we were horribly wrong. What came next was a gradual climb and with every corner you reached (thinking it’s the top) just continues to another km of hill.
The temperature increased from the 8am start and it now reaching around 9:30am, it was getting very hot. Ceri and I were thinking of ice cold beer and the lunatics who run the death valley run. Always in the back of mind in these moments is – “harden up Mel it’s nothing on the Everest Marathon”. You must be crazy when cars pass you on their journey with that look of confusion on their face. “Well that’s commitment!?”. Ceri started to get goose bumps which was a sure sign of heat stroke. Lucky the glorious bus shelter appeared which was our 18km stop! I love that bus shelter.
January had quickly arrived and that 4 week summer break had ended for Altitude Training. Back off the the Altitude Training Centre. I was curious to see how the body would react and was pleasantly surprised with how my body was coping with the stress of less oxygen. Training at roughly 12% oxygen which was an increase of 2% of my usual 10.
The best way to explain that very first time when training with reduced oxygen is that you feel slightly claustrophobic. You soon get your rhythm and it can quickly change to being rather therapeutic with following a very routined breathing pattern. It’s always a good idea to have that thought in your mind to get you through the first few mintutes. The second training session I reduced the oxygen further to roughly 10%. This is now back to the level I was on before Christmas.
In my current 1 hour altitude session I include a 30minute session on the ‘Stair Master’ (the tall contraption and most challenging yet rewarding pieces of equipment i’ve used) climbing enough stairs to reach the top of the tallest building in Dubai (the Burj Khalifa) then 30min running all on 10% oxygen.
I sure missed the feeling of achieving the training but sure to regret saying that when it all increases again as each day passes. I received my updated race pack from the Everest Marathon organisers just last week. It’s all feeling very real now and i’m nervously excited. I’m looking forward to working with the very talented Walter Thorburn and training with my awesome support and partner Ceri with the encouragement of my two gorgeous girls. Watch this space….