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First long tow

I got my first long tire tow in this weekend. 2.5 hours. It was great! I wandered through the canyons, dragging the tire up and down hills. The interesting part was that pulling on dirt was extremely easy compared to smooth asphalt and concrete.

But! Towing on trails was irritating, as rocks, sticks, and detritus caused snagging, making me fight with the tire. It is good training for rambling over crumbled ice.

ANI Training baseline

In order to march across Antarctica on a guided trip, you have to be able to handle the ANI Training Baseline Fitness program. If you’re not able to sustain an hour of intense activity (running, tire towing, cross country skiing) at least 3 months in advance of your trip, you will not make it.

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Right before leaving, you have to be doing 8-10 hours a day to have a chance of surviving the ice. Dragging heavy things through really cold places demands massive commitment.

As I look at the training log ANI/ALE puts out, I can see why my last trip to Yellowstone was both good and bad.  The good – my training was pretty good.  The bad – I wasn’t doing 8 hours a day.  Experiencing the consequence of that made me realize a life change was in order.  My training was good but not to the 8-10 hour level prior to departure. There’s no general way I can simultaneously work a full time job and train like this.

So, having a little life-altering meltdown may be exactly what is needed to make this whole expedition possible. Dump everything and concentrate on this. Otherwise, all the time, effort, and money will be for naught.

Bootlegs

On my trip to Egypt, I listened to a spectacular sound track while lounging at the top of my hotel, looking at Karnak Temple. It was hot and dry, but the hibiscus drink took the edge off.

Sitting in that pool, watching night descend upon the city of Luxor, was one of my best experiences ever. I had the guys at the hotel find me a copy of the soundtrack. Everything there seems to be bootleg. It worked for me, as everyone there seemed not to care.

The very best of Shereen is in Arabic. I don’t understand it, though it sure sounds good. Perhaps it’s all in my mind, as this is just a memory now.

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2-day soreness

I can’t believe that I am suffering from 2-day soreness after doing the Insanity fit test. It is a very difficult fitness test primarily focusing on cardio and flailing away, though it is quite impressive at measuring your basic capacity.

If you are not halfway in shape, you will likely hurl after getting done with the half hour, if you can keep up with it at all. I struggled. My abs are sore, shoulders are in pain, and surprisingly my legs are achy. This actually makes me happy because it shows that I have weaknesses in my training regimen.

I would much rather have problems identified now, showing the holes, rather than arriving at the big game and realizing I’ve missed something completely.

Insanity fit test

I tried the Insanity fitness test by Shaun T from the Beach Body DVD series. It’s funny – no matter how hard you work out, this thing is still pretty tough. I suppose that’s the idea. Anyway, here are my results:

Switch kick: 92
Sit back into squat: 56
Power knees (right): 64
Power jumps: 40
Globe jumps: 11
Suicide jumps: 13
Pushup jacks: 20
Low plank oblique: 46

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Diet alteration

Based on reading Alexander Gamay’s blog, a Norwegian who made the first solo trip to the south pole and back, I need to dramatically increase my calorie intake. The weight loss experienced by Gamay and also the Australian team demonstrated I do not weigh enough to survive the trek.

It was interesting to note in Gamay’s blog that he started eating ice cream right before going to bed. In order to compensate for the 20+ pounds he lost in Antarctica, he had to consume massive calories prior to the expedition. He needed to have enough cellulite to lose, he joked about himself.

Thinking about what is normally over-eating, having ice cream before bed, and generally gorging myself is not exciting in the, “I get to eat whatever I want” perspective. My biggest problem is I have a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, filling me with good wholesome nutrients. Bananas and apples won’t pack on the pounds so I can lose them later this year, though.

The irony is I eat pretty well for a bachelor. I consume little junk food. I never buy chips or snacks. This is all going to have to change.

Both Cas and Jonesy (the Australians) looked like refugees at the end. Gamay reported his legs were reduced to sticks. Most explorers lose at least 20 and some up to 40 pounds while in Antarctica, on an 80+ day trek.

As I’ve weighed in at 160 pounds for the past seven years, this is going to be a big challenge for me. It seems that no matter how much I eat, working out burns those meals right off. My metabolism is not that efficient for the activities I like to do.

In any case, I definitely need to step up my eating habits to include much higher calorie foods. But, I have to make sure these meals are still highly nutritious. The ice cream is just an extra bonus.

Consider this: when trekking through the Antarctic, humans burn 6000 calories per day. And lose weight. That amounts to eating 11 Big Macs. Supersize it.

Bed time meal:

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Pseudo movie actor

I took a picture of myself right before a run. Upon returning and looking at the image, I realized the thin beard, earbuds, and hat made me resemble the actor from 127 Hours. That movie recounted the harrowing experience of Aron Ralston.

During a particular climb down a slot canyon, Ralston rolled a boulder onto his hand, crushing it, shackling him out of sight in a stone prison. No one knew he was there. After days of failed escape attempts, he came to the grim conclusion that he either amputate or die from dehydration and exposure. The surgery was performed with a dull penknife.

Friends of mine have visited this now famous location. Looking at the boulder and the depth of the canyon, they wondered how Ralston survived at all.

Seeing that photo of myself reminded me that whenever I go out to some far-flung place, always let someone know where I am going. That was one of Ralston’s major mistakes. If no one knows I am out there, people will only wonder why I am not returning phone calls. They certainly won’t be searching for me in some deep slot canyon, in the middle nowhere.

I always make sure my knife is sharp, too.

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Barrier broken

I was able to get back under the 27 minute mark for my 1.5 mile tire towing distance. 3 miles per hour is where I got to last year, prior to leaving for Yellowstone. This is a huge benchmark for me to hit.

Consider that a few weeks ago, I was pushing nearly 40 minutes for the exact same distance. Shaving off 25% of the workout time is a huge improvement.

The death hike up San Jacinto paid off in spades. Every time I do a big, tough trip up some mountain, my training times improve. Just like last year, when I started riding my bike up the steep hills of Carlsbad, California, pushing the limits made training much easier. Or, at least, I’m able to move faster. Towing a tire in the street never seems to get easier.

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Basketball

I ended up playing basketball with my brother and nephew yesterday. It was a cross training experience! I had forgotten just how much of a workout running back and forth is.

Remembering back to my high school volleyball days, running lines was the ultimate killer that just reduced me to a sweating heap. But, the torture induced by the coach really helped improve my stamina and agility.

My hamstrings and quads were quite sore from Friday’s training session. By Sunday afternoon, I was feeling much better, so basketball went quite well. I think my muscle efficiency wasn’t as good as it could have been, and maybe I still suck at the game, but it gave me another good point to measure my training by.