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RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 Blogs

Preparation is Key (or Not)
06-Aug-2014 05:59:06 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Just four weeks away from Madagascar, I chuckle at how ridiculous I have been in signing up to do this 250km run this year. I am wildly under-trained, but strangely unfazed. Hopefully this chilled perspective somehow allows me to levitate across the plains. Samantha Fanshawe, I know you think I’m going to pull out - but I won’t let you down! As I file this week’s entry I find myself travelling in Turkey, Spain and Italy for a combination of work and holiday, juggling the demands of early morning conference calls, middle of the day/afternoon sightseeing, evening dinners with some mates I am travelling with, and then back on to late night calls again. My sleep is compromised, my diet is out of kilter and I’m consuming way too many cocktails. I’ve been jamming my Madagascar training in before dinner, which in summertime Madrid and Rome has certainly had me sweating when it has still been 35 degrees Celsius at 6pm. I’ve averaged about 40 minutes to one hour of “serious” training, over the last week, mostly on hills, and some days with a 5kg pack. I’ve tried to nail 200 pushups a day as I’m not doing the gym while travelling. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that it’s great to be perfect in your preparation…but don’t panic if you’re not. In the past five deserts, I’ve been side by side with people who are seemingly perfectly prepared, only to then find them on a drip in a later stage. But please do help me, if you see me melting in a puddle of under-preparation somewhere midway across Madagascar. Key priorities for me right now: 1) Get my diet sorted for the race. Dave, a fellow competitor, in Singapore, has been super helpful and we have most of our food things ordered. I’m pretty happy with the diet I’ll be following, and in comparison to my last race five years ago, my diet is much ‘tidier.’ We’re totally preservative and sugar-free and eating vegetarian. I’ll stick to 2000 calories a day, 70% of which will be in the afternoon/evening after the race is done. This seems to work for me. 2) I have most of my equipment from previous races, so I’m about to dust that off when I get home to Singapore. I will be ruthless, in order to get my pack to 6kg - at all costs. I will take trekking poles this time (thanks Oscar for leaving them in the attic). Otherwise, it’s two shirts (one long and one short sleeved), two compression pants (one long and one short), a hat (with a floppy tail), sunglasses, two pairs of socks (Fox River brand), a small square of foam (for bottom of my back when sleeping), a pair of bike gloves (to prevent sun burn), a buff (really handy) and a few other basic items on the compulsory equipment list (which I still need to cross check). 3) I’ve had the flu twice in the last seven weeks, and my body is telling me I’m burning the candle at both ends. Granted, I have a pretty good threshold, but I’m trying not to land at the starting line coughing and spluttering. 4) Running my shoes in. I know it’s late to be doing this, so I am trying to wear them all the time. I’m liking my Olympus shoes, after breaking away from Asics, which I have used previously. Happy cramming. Sunburn one word?

Zeana H

Posted: 06-Aug-2014 08:19:52 AM

Hi Matt, great to read your blog. For someone who doesn't feel prepared, you do sound like you know what you are doing! Bike gloves - interesting, I might steal that idea. Stay healthy and enjoy the cocktails! See you in a few short weeks. Zeana, 4 Deserts Team

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RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 competitor


Entrepreneur with interests predominantly in the recruitment sector and secondary interests in farming and hospitality.



Why are you competing?
To re-sync my personal and work balance. Ironic
that it takes entering an ultra marathon to get
myself focused on this!

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