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RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 Blogs

Enjoying the anticipation
25-Jan-2014 07:29:48 AM [(GMT+02:00) Harare, Pretoria]

Today is the first time I've ever found myself delaying the start of my long run just because I'm enjoying the anticipation of the run. Maybe I am as crazy as my husband thinks I am! For once I really have no other pressing obligations to take care of and since this is the only thing on the 'to-do' list, I plan to make the most every moment before, during and after my run... I read a great quote this morning: "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, holy crap, what a ride!!" (author unknown) What a fantastic way to approach life!
Walking isn't a "failure to run"
21-Jan-2014 03:06:44 AM [(GMT+02:00) Harare, Pretoria]

I hurt. Everywhere from my hips down... glutes, hammies, tendons, even the tops of my feet! The 22km walk I did on Sunday has returned to haunt me. Wow. I had no idea. After cringing every time I got up from my desk at the office today I came to the realization that since I started running four years ago, I've subconsciously considered walking as a "failure to run". Boy was I wrong.... Try maintaining a 16-17 minute mile pace for 3+ hours, and you'll see what I mean. It's a no-brainer that you use the same muscles as running... except you don't! You use them so differently, and your body will ever-so-rudely point that out to you 48 hours later. My eyes have been opened. Walking is it's own sport. So I'm going to try and think of it that way from now on, and I"m going to think of it as building my walking endurance IN ADDITION TO my running endurance.... not just thinking of walking as the nasty part of heart rate training for endurance running, but truly a skill and sport in it's own right.
Building some confidence... slowly
20-Jan-2014 01:46:14 AM [(GMT+02:00) Harare, Pretoria]

This weekend was a milestone for me - psychologically anyway. I've been struggling with shinsplints for a couple of months - I've been off of running for what felt like forever, and endured what felt like endless pool running sessions in the nastiest hotel pools... note to self... Lilongwe isn't a city with large or clean or readily accessible swimming pools!... a few bouts of the squirts after inadvertently sucking in some of the murky green liquid I was 'running' in, and I begged my coach to let me get back on my feet... so now I find myself walking - a lot! I'm slowly building up my running within the walking periods, but it's a good feeling to be back on my feet. I'm getting over my pigheadedness against walking, and just enjoying the journey. I'm putting in 3-3.5hr days back-to-back on the weekends, riding, walking and a little running, so I'm definitely noticing the endurance building.... but just writing that I'm aware that one day I'll look back and laugh at myself for thinking I was somewhat fit at this point... at least I hope I will!

Since I live somewhere that has literally NO races to enjoy - okay I lied, there's one half-marathon each year - I've decided to enter a couple of other races between now and Madagascar... in 8 weeks I should be in the UK for the Jurassic Coast Challenge - I was really doubting my abilities last week, but after a great weekend of long workouts, I'm feeling a lot more confident... Like 4Deserts (reportedly), there is a group of people who (reportedly) just walk the challenge, and don't run at all... so I guess that'll mean if I do some running I shouldn't come in back-of-the-pack.... okay maybe that's my greatest fear - to come in last. I'll need to think about that some more. Someone has to bring up the rear... I just don't want it to be my rear.

So here's where I'm at with planning.....

Fueling on my feet - something salty to counteract all the sweet gels is definitely needed. This weekend I couldn't stop thinking about roasted salted almonds and biltong (extra dry jerky)... so I think I'll have to try those out next weekend and see if it helps the salt craving

Breakfasts - I never used to eat before my runs, but I've been encouraged to rethink that by my coach... so I've been looking for something lightweight but which will feel like a meal, give me energy, and not forcefully expel itself from either end an hour into a long run.... and I found it - ProNutro... does the trick, and it's gluten-free. Excellent!

Bag - hmmm... so undecided here. I need to hurry up and decide because I'm completely beyond the capacity of my camelbak for my long weekend 'runs', and since I'm venturing out into the African bush, there are limited safe water options along the way. I have to be self-sufficient. So far I really like the WAA Ultrabag - if only because of how it zips almost completely open. When I climbed Kili two years ago I took a Gregory duffel, and it was a huge bonus not to have to unpack and repack everything every night.

And a few of my many outstanding questions:
- Sleeping pad or no? - Front pack or no?
- Solar charger for the iPod or just extra iPod(s) ... and oh my kids would hate me for that! - Shoes - how many sizes too large? 1/2, 1 or 1 1/2?
- Sunblock - I've yet to resist sunburn on my long runs - even when I start out before light I get burned before I'm home.. I need something super sweat proof

.. if anyone out there has ideas or opinions on my questions, I'll welcome all input :)
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BETH BARR
RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014

Hometown
Lilongwe, Malawi

Profession
Public Health / Epidemiology

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BETH BARR
RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 competitor

Bio

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

Hometown
Lilongwe, Malawi

Profession
Public Health / Epidemiology

Why are you competing?
I'm always up for a new challenge and this fits!

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