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RacingThePlanet: Ecuador 2015 Blogs

Post Race Blog: Recovery Week
12-Aug-2015 07:12:49 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

It's been about 10 days since we finished up with RTP Ecuador.  It took me that long to realize I never actually did a wrap up blog.  Better late than never!

 

I spent the off day stumbling around in a half-crazy, half-starved state. I did not do a good job rationing the 14,500 calories I brought, and paid for it at the end.  The days were so much longer than I was used to (thanks crazy elevation chart!), which meant I finished each day much hungrier.  I kept allowing myself to dip into my off day food with the theory "that will be a problem for future me." 

 

I found myself in a very weird position on the short day, where I wasn't anywhere near the people in front of me or behind me.  That meant I could take my sweet time on those final 6 miles, and not be stressed about getting bumped out of 3rd place.  I ended up running the last day with Mark and Paul.  They both constantly slowed down and waited for me along the way, as I was a total mess and not really moving all that well (it took me over an hour to do the last 6 miles!)  Granted, I was being very social, but still.

 

We had a long drive back to Quito, and as soon as we returned, the binge eating started.  We had our buffet banquet at 8pm, so Dave and I went out for a pre-dinner-dinner at 6:45pm.  We ended up both ordering 2 meals each, as well as pitchers of beer.  We then went to the actual dinner where we made our repeat trips to the buffet. 

 

The night continued with a visit to some club called Barcelona 5 or something like that (hilarious).  This was then followed by Belinda, Lucy, Kate and Fergus ending up on stage for someone's wedding in the hotel (even more hilarious).  I will leave out the rest of the details, but it was one of the best post race parties.

 

I ended up flying back Sunday afternoon, and ended up getting stranded in Miami for the night (there are worse places to get stranded).  I finally got back to Boston Monday morning, and ended up incredibly sick for the rest of the week.  Sadly, I wasn't even able to stomach any of the foods I had been dreaming about all week.  In hindsight, I was definitely coming down with something on the tail end of the race.  I assumed my nausea was because of altitude, but based on how much worse things got as the week progressed, it is clear altitude was not the only issue.

 

I am finally feeling much better at this point.  This past weekend was a turning point where I finally started to eat normally again.  I still have not gone for a run since the last stage of Ecuador (planning a nice run today though!)  I was pretty close to backing out of Leadville, as it's currently 10 days until the race.  Hopefully the next week or so goes pretty well and I won't regret flying out there. 

 

RTP Ecuador was definitely the hardest stage race I have done.  The course really beat me up, as this one had way more climbing and descending than usual, and all of this was at high altitude.  I felt like this course really pointed out all of my weaknesses, and showed me what I really need to work on for next time (yes, there will still be a next time).  I just remember feeling more beat up after two days than I normally feel after a week of stage racing.   I did struggle more on some early races (Sahara and Atacama), but that was more a result of me being underprepared for what I was taking on.

 

I plan on doing single day races for the remainder of the year (although, let's see how Leadville goes first).  I'm not sure when the next stage race will be, but definitely not until 2016! 

 

Thanks again to everyone who wrote emails/ blog posts to me throughout the race week.  It definitely helped reading all of the words of support during the race. 

 

Also a huge thank you to New Balance and Polar for helping support my crazy running plans.  I definitely would not have been able to do all of these races this year without them.  Until next time!

Stage 5: The Long March
01-Aug-2015 04:25:10 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

All week we were looking at the Long March as not being that difficult of a day.  It was 38 miles (much shorter than most long marches) and a lot of downhill (7,000 feet-ish downhill).  Once we looked a little closer, we realized there was quite a bit of climbing before we hit the downhill (3,000+ feet of climbing). 

Ake, Paul and I took off from the get-go, as we were all relatively close together.  I knew I pretty much had no shot at moving up, as Ake and Paul are ridiculously fast on downhills (I honestly do not know how it is possible to move that quickly). 

At about checkpoint 1, Ake took off (I didn’t see him the rest of the day).  Paul and I were back and forth on the day until we hit the downhill section (about checkpoint 3).  As soon as we hit the downhill, he was off.  I thought I was running as fast as possible, but was still losing ground like crazy on the very rocky path.  

At this point, we crossed over the mountains and started hitting the tropical climate.  The views were incredible, as we were dropping through the rainforest about 2,500 feet per 5 mile stretch.  The focus was to run as quickly as possible without taking a major crash.  I pretty much ran this whole stretch by myself, and really just enjoyed the crazy views along the way.

I did manage to catch back up to Paul at checkpoint 6 (about 5 miles to go in the day).  I tried pushing it a bit to the finish, and Paul followed right along every step.  The last stretch was pretty relaxing, as there was no time left for movement in the standings.  I crossed the finish line, and was handed… a banana.  I just started dying laughing, as it was probably the only food I would not eat at that point.  We were done early enough that we got to head down to the river and clean off. Today we are just hanging out at our tropical camp, trying to not think about all the food we crave.

I get to relax on our short day, as I’m in 3rd with solid gaps to 2nd and 4th.  The course was incredible (especially the last 3 days).  It’s crazy to think how different the scenery has been, and we’ve gotten everywhere on foot.  I’m really happy with how this race turned out, as I really struggled on the early days. With all the climbing, I spent much more time on my feet than expected.  I burned through my food like crazy, and was shocked how wiped out I was throughout the days.  But yeah, thrilled to pull through and still be in one piece. 

We now have 24 hours until we get to eat normal food! I’ll check in tomorrow with a final wrap up.

 

 

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