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RacingThePlanet: Ecuador 2015 Blogs

Acclimatisation time
21-Jul-2015 02:27:52 AM [(GMT-05:00) Bogota, Lima, Quito]

Less than a week till the start of the race now! My blogging efforts have been nonexistent this time round despite my best intentions, but be that as it may.

I have to admit I was very worried about the altitude part of this race because of no (well, perhaps an hour) prior experience with it. I arrived in Quito last Wednesday though and all the symptoms I was concerned about (headaches and lack of appetite being the most prominent two) have not caused any problems. Go figure! The only headache I've had was dehydration and travel related from the planes I was on (I'll just blame this on the ~30 minute delay which added 12 hours to my trip!).

I'm normally a very small and slow eater (ahem, “energy efficient”) and on top of that a couple of weeks ago I had a cold which had me on chicken soup for a week, so I was fully expecting to get to Ecuador and find my meal sizes halved, if not quartered. Altitude seems to have had the opposite effect though, with food disappearing quickly and in larger amounts that previously I've equated with the recovery period after the 2013 Iceland roving race! Again, go figure!

In any case, so far I've had a great time getting used to the altitude. My heart rate (both resting and active) have both been quite high, not helped by the recent cold. We went from Quito to Chugchilan last Thursday and spent the weekend at the Black Sheep Inn (fantastic place!) to take the ‘shock’ approach to getting acclimated. A 3km walk (up and down steep hills) took an hour that day, which was shocking. But a 22km walk on Friday up to Quilatoa was a bit more reasonable. Flat and downhill sections felt somewhere between normal and brilliant, uphills were still a killer. The views were breathtaking. Literally. I was out of breath even at the sight of an up hill, let alone getting to the top and seeing Lago Quilatoa! Saturday I decided to do something a little different and did a 4 hour horse ride + 1 hour hike in the cloud forest to look around there. A very different sort of sore, but still good. Sunday I did a 5km walk (Edmundo’s Famous Skyrun) which was a brilliant route with a lot of hills, and while it was still slow for me I was able to run bits and generally my body felt better about it, so overall I'm feeling a lot more comfortable/confident that I'm acclimatising!

We came back to Quito on Sunday afternoon and spent Monday having an easy day just wandering the city a bit. Travel felt a bit meh on Sunday (despite the entertainment of local public transport) and felt like a slight backward step in terms of acclimatising, despite going lower (logic, who needs it), so an easy day was a good plan. Naturally, this involved climbing a church bell tower and spire for the view!

The rest of this week will be quite cruisy. We got up the TelerifiQo today and hiked up Rucu Pichincha this week as a last effort at acclimatising – I had to stop 77m from the top because of the altitude, technical last section and weather, but I'm satisfied with my attempt. Ive also been using my inhaler (for berry-induced asthma, though I've been very good about avoiding berries this year in preparation for this!) to try and get my lung sorted with the remains of this cold and to help my heart rate come down a bit. Seems like it's generally calming down and improving, so that's something!

All up, feeling pretty good, now just to see how many times I repack/reorganise my gear before Saturday!


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I'm a geologist currently based in Porto Alegre, Brazil, researching deep marine environments using micropaleontology (foraminifera!).

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