Thursday, January 11, 2018

90 days left - where did the last 170 days go?


That momentum I thought I had for future posts went out the window as I wrapped up a busy semester.  Once the semester ended, I headed up to the Pacific Northwest (the states of Washington and Oregon in the US for those of you from far away).  I skied and skinned with my pals and they taught me a thing or two about youth (don't waste it).  Today (Tuesday) marked a milestone where I both began training again in earnest after skiing during the holidays.  Finally, I felt good enough to train after suffering from 3 sinus infections.  Ah...all is good now.  So, 90 more days until I will be in Kathmandu (as of January 9th).  Here is what I can offer as an update.

1.  I am physically fit to leave today.  So if I am fit already, why continue to train?  Over the next three months, I plan to lose a few pounds to make climbing a wee bit easier, break in some new(er) gear while staying fit, and implement a few training changes to put the finishing touches on what I believe is shaping up to be another great preparation.  I am fit to climb today but I have some minor details to iron out.

2.  I keep learning with each adventure.  My first Everest preparation focused a fair bit on training.  I found that fitness was only one aspect of alpinism and a very small part.  In preparation for my second Everest expedition, I focused more on hypoxic training AND fitness.  Together, these two approaches provided me with sufficient stamina to reach Everest basecamp in a day and a half (well short of the 5 days it took us in 2014).  Still, I thought I could do better.  For my third time (and final attempt), I am combining the two previous bits with another approach - get hardier.  I figure being fit, acclimatized, and hardy gives me the best shot of tolerating anything.

3.  Hardiness training comes easier than I thought.  Preparing for marathon swimming gave me insights into how training leads to better tolerance for extreme environments.  Specifically, I learned to tolerate cold water by simply immersing myself in cold water, cold air, and warming up naturally.  I now vary my diet, eat simple foods, and push myself to be uncomfortable.  Every day, I take cold showers to develop better cold tolerance.  These efforts are easy and enjoyable.  You can say what you want but after a while, I find comforts to be uncomfortable.

4.  Weight training takes priority over cardio training this time around.  I found that too much cardio training lead me to lose muscle mass.  Rather than push my time running, and working out on the elliptical and bike to build my cardiovascular fitness, I now focus more on weight training to maintain my strength.  I focus on legs more than upper body but I cannot let my upper body go to pot.  Upon my return from Everest, I have a month to recuperate and then I head back to Ireland for more marathon swimming in Cork (hi to my Cork Distance Week friends).  So, I hope to remain strong throughout the entire preparation.  

5.  My plans are shaping up.  I leave on April 5th for Kathmandu.  More details to follow.

Thanks for following along.