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RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 Blogs

1 step forward; 3 steps back
05-Jun-2014 12:31:12 PM [(GMT+02:00) Harare, Pretoria]

It's been a heck of a few months since my last posting.... I ran my first trail ultra... ouch.  It was a 'mere' 45km on the coastal trail in Dorset, UK, and didn't go quite as hoped... of course, going from the hot season in Malawi to the end of winter in England wasn't the brightest idea in the frst place.  So, one pulled hamstring and re-irritated shins later, and the wheels fell off mentally as well as physically.... for a month I mentally argued with myself - "you idiot!  what makes you think you can pull this off? you can't even do 45k without getting hurt"... the other side my brain responding "give me a break - it's all lessons learned - just keep training".... 

And now here I am two months later... and only three months out from Madagascar... I'm slowly pulling myself back together mentally... I've upped my long weekends walking to 5-6 hours a day.  The running has been slow and inconsistent because of the hammie... but I'm moving, and I'm moving frequently.  At this point I reckon that's what counts.  I'm getting tons of experience with pre-taping hotspots on my feet, fueling during long hot hours (I REALLY struggle after 3 hours to keep eating/drinking), and building the mental endurance.  

Speaking of training partners, my best friend and only trail running partner has just left Malawi for good and returned to the States.  I feel very alone right now.  I do have Karen who has now returned to Malawi, but we don't see each other much and live an hour apart... only 1 training walk together so far... 

I have had some unexpected company on my long weekend outings... it's been quite inspiring to have my six year old son join my long walk/runs on his bike... that kid has pulled 4+ hour stretches out with me on the bush trails, and he's a superstar... he hardly complains about a thing and just chats away as we go.... periodically asks for some more gu or something for his "sore balls" (ow!), but no real whinging.... what a super training partner he's turned out to be at his tender age.

So - 85 days to go, and I need to focus on one day at a time... I have to commit to meeting my workout times set by my coach, and I have to up the proportion of that which is running... I also need to drop a good ten pounds... or twenty... something that's incredibly hard to do when your appetite is only increasing... any words of wisdom out there from anyone?

Beth Barr

Posted: 16-Jun-2014 04:43:34 PM

Hey Joyce - thanks for your comments!! Feeling less alone now, and timing the fuel intake works great! See you in 76 days!

Joyce Forier

Posted: 07-Jun-2014 07:37:17 PM

Hi Beth! Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us! I for one can assure you, you are not the only one having second thoughts about "can I really do this"; "what was I thinking", etc. As we are all getting into the full swing of training- the reality of what we are about to do is sinking in- and for me- scaring the heck out of me (particularly the pack)! BUT- that is why we train, through the good and the bad, learn from the disappointments, adjust, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. I've found a little bit of fear is good- it means you respect the race! I think you have the right idea, time on your feet, and keep moving and building strength and endurance, even if you're struggling with the run right now. Best to let it heal, while focusing on the other facets of the race. I had similar issues earlier this year, and I am happy that it forced me to train the walk- something I never did before for ultras- and should have. Keep your mind positive and focused, and trust in the plan that your coach has set up for you. You may not be able to hit all of the workouts exactly as laid out, but adapting and modifying is part of the game, and will help you adapt during race week. This is my first self supported stage race, so this is all new to me. But from a decade of racing other events, I do know that showing up slightly under-trained, is far better than showing up over-trained, or worse yet, injured. As for eating/ drinking: I set mine to the clock. Gel every 45 minutes; electrolyte every 45 minutes; water, approx 24 ounces per hour (varies with temps). This timed method automates what your body needs, whether you mentally think you do or not. I find it also gives me confidence in your plan and can translate into mental strength- especially later in the race. (you'll want to find the formula that works best for you) As for weight loss- ugh- if you figure it out, let me know! I'd be happy to lose 5-10, and despite really watching my diet for 3 weeks, haven't lost an ounce : ( Stay strong and healthy, Beth! I look forward to meeting you in Madagascar!! joyce

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Lived in Malawi, Kenya, Botswana, US and UK.
Education in Public Health: Behavioral Sciences and Epidemiology

Lilongwe, Malawi

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