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RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 Blogs

The puzzle pieces are slowly coming together!
25-Jun-2014 02:42:52 AM [(GMT+02:00) Harare, Pretoria]

The puzzle pieces are all slowly starting to come together, and for the first time, I can actually visualize successfully completing this race! In the last two weekends, I’ve done a 50k (fairly flat) and a 48k (with 3 mountains), and it’s been amazing – no chafing, no blisters…. Even after falling into a river (the most disgusting slimiest, sludgiest, sewagy-stinkiest river imaginable!), and then walking for many more hours with wet feet, I still didn’t blister… I may yet come down with cholera or typhoid (I only wish that was a joke!), but at least I’m blister free :) And most importantly, my long days are all ending with a smile still firmly on my face! The secret to no blisters? Certain-dri antiperspirant on the feet the night before, tincture of benzoin swabbed where the tape will go, hypafix tape on the two littlest toes, KT tape on the inside balls of my feet, zeasorb powder on feet and between layers and a bit more in the shoes…. And then Injinji toe sock liners under CEP compression socks. Yes, it sounds complicated, but it’s really not. It’s certainly far less complicated than dealing with little toes rubbed raw when you’re 5 hours into a 12 hour day! I also have decided on the clothes – a short-sleeve Saucony men’s mesh-type shirt as I find that women’s shorter sleeve lengths cause chafing inside my upper arm. And short-sleeve is my only option as I can’t stand material flapping around my forearm… any long-sleeve shirt with a tight enough arm will be too unkind on the mommy-midsection for me to even begin to take seriously. I’ve found some great REI knee-length running shorts (tights?), which work fantastically well with Nike undershorts to minimize chafing (along with the ever-present Body Glide of course!). The only question now is shoes…. I’m so stuck. I like that the Salomon’s I’m wearing are 2 sizes big, and that they’re not making me blister (yes, I’m obsessed with blisters)…. But they have very little padding in the forefoot, especially once I put my rigid orthotics into them. My feet feel so sore and bruised at the end of a 12 hour day… I guess they would with any shoes, but I certainly don’t think the ones I’m wearing are helping me out at all…. I’ve been advised against Hoka’s because of the orthotics, and I find the toe box on my favorite Asics is just too narrow… I even tried Keen Marshalls because of the nice wide toe box allowing for swelling feet by Day 3 or 4, but they had virtually no padding at all underfoot. I feel the clock ticking and realize I have to make this decision in the next 3 weeks at the most. Any suggestions are most welcome!
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?
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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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