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RacingThePlanet: Ecuador 2015 Blogs

I can resist everything except temptation
16-Mar-2015 06:51:26 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Well I've gotten around to signing up! A race called the Route of the Volcanoes, how could I not? Especially considering I'd decided on the rest day in the gym in Iceland that I'd be doing another race at some stage Ecuador is just too tempting, if a bit of a side-step from the original plan of waiting to do Atacama a bit later in the year. And given I was told that it would be appreciated if I would blog during the event so people "would know I was alive" I figured I may as well start now to keep up motivation while training. Bit of a long one to start, but anyway.
It looks like Ecuador is going to be challenging especially with the altitude, which is something I haven't had much experience with. I got some practice over 2000m last year during geology field work in France at least, but while that was carrying a 8-10kg backpack (depending on water:rock sample ratio) there was less walking a marathon a day and more walking, stopping to hammer at rocks, walking, hammering a bit more Enough exercise to keep me fit at least!
Training is a bit different this time around. I've decided to focus on strength training a fair bit in an effort to get my knees sorted out. My gym here in Porto Alegre has been good and I feel very confident that my knees are much improved I haven't done much in the way in running to test this, but all the long haul flying I did last year (ridiculous amounts, previously had noticed ITB wasn't happy with long-haul habits of sitting for so long) and field work gave me no problems. For reference, my right IT Band started playing up halfway through stage 3 in Iceland not badly (relative to some people I saw!), but annoyingly. Had to keep stopping and stretching it out every few km till the end of the race to keep it from getting worse. This was an ongoing problem after getting very painful knees from both IT Bands during a half marathon in 2011, so all up I think I got off lightly.
So, all round strength training and exercises focusing on the knees. And shoulders, though that's more because work isn't great for them (computer and microscope work all day). So far, so good. I've started training on the treadmill with a backpack and weights, too, much to the amusement of people at the gym. I've been eyeing up the bus route I take to work every day and I'm about to start walking along that. No one here believes it's possible to walk the 15km along the bus route I take (never mind that it's 235km less than walking distance!), but it'll probably be better than taking short cuts as I've been able to observe the neighbourhoods I'll walk through.
It's a bit different thinking of the training here in Brazil when I've been used to training in The Netherlands and New Zealand for the previous race I'm having to consider personal safety a lot more seriously and take that into account with my training plans. I keep being told how dangerous it is here, though to be honest my Hence doing a lot of gym training but hopefully walking (and later jogging) to uni will help along my bus route will be safe enough. The suburbs the bus goes through look safe, and they will probably be fine early in the morning. That and if it goes pear shaped for whatever reason I can jump on the T8 for the rest of the trip to uni. I've got to buy a couple of 5kg bags of rice for these walks as I'd rather not take my race kit with me. Most of the time in New Zealand I used gear for the race as weight plus things I'd need for the weekend if going between my grandparents and parents, and sometimes even included my laptop. Not about to do that here. Though the brick I used when training along Muriwai beach would definitely come in handy!
All up I'm feeling stronger all round than before Iceland which I think is a definite improvement. Time on my feet and racking up the kilometers (and getting more hills in!) is most of what I need from now on. I have to admit I'm missing the trails in the Waitakeres for this race and my training buddies both in New Zealand and Amsterdam!
I'm happy with the gear and food choices I made for Iceland, so will be using the same/similar where possible. I'm intending on getting a blow up mattress to save on space, and I've got a newer model backpack (Macpac again!), which is lighter. Hopefully I can cut down on the weight from the 10kg I had before. I'm also going to swap out the camelbak for drink bottles I think. Apart from that and adding a bit more protein to my food I think I'm pretty much sorted. I've got to go over my gear list and see where I can lighten things, but if the race was tomorrow I'd be happy with what I've got (almost pending buying a new sleeping mat and getting the food!).

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KRISTINA ARTHUR
RacingThePlanet: Ecuador 2015

Hometown
Auckland, New Zealand

Profession
Geologist/Micropaleontologist

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KRISTINA ARTHUR
RacingThePlanet: Ecuador 2015 competitor

Bio

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

Hometown
Auckland, New Zealand

Profession
Geologist/Micropaleontologist

Why are you competing?
To challenge myself.

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