Sunday 15 March 2009

The simple life

Well, since last weeks gastric issues, I've been good to my pledge and lived on a very basic diet. I have not eaten any meat (or animal produce of any kind), or dairy. I've stayed away from any high fat or spicy food too. I have eaten a huge amount of fruit and vegetables; more than I have in my life! I've eaten (or juiced and drank):

48 apples
16 oranges
2 punnets of strawberries
2 punnets of blackberries
1 bunch of red grapes
1 large pineapple
2 packets of carrot batons
1 packet of organic carrots
9 peppers
1 pack of mini corn
1 pack of mange tout
2 large packets of spinach
1 head of broccoli
2 sweet potatoes
1 bunch of asparagus
2 bunches of salad onions
1/2 bag of new potatoes

I've written that down because I won't believe it myself otherwise!

I have had no normal tea or coffee at all either.

For breakfast I've eaten a bowl of mixed fruit, washed down with a herbal tea of aniseed, fennel seeds and liquorice (good for digestion, apparently). Normally I would have the same bowl of fruit, but with a little low-fat granola, some fat-free vanilla pro-bio yoghurt and skimmed milk, with a cup of normal tea.

For lunch I've either had wholemeal pasta with passata, or a homemade Quorn mince, carrot, onion, sweet potato topped cottage pie, or steamed vegetables with plain wholemeal rice. I would drink it with juiced apples or oranges. My typical lunch is usually pasta with pesto and sundried tomatoes, so this wasn't too much of a change.

For my evening meal I ate more steamed vegetables with rice, perhaps with a sweet and sour or lemon sauce. I also made so much of that cottage pie, I had that in the evening too a couple of times. Again I would have juiced fruit to drink, and several cups of the herbal tea throughout the day. Normally I would have a stir-fry in the evening, usually quite spicy, and include free range chicken, or tuna. So, I did crave the meat loss at times this week, though Quorn mince is really very good; I have eaten it for months now, and don't eat meat-based mince anymore anyway. I rarely eat red meat now either.

I've impressed myself by sticking to this, though I am looking forward to relaxing it tomorrow! My stomach pains still persisted a little during the week, and are not entirely gone. I feel generally a little tender, like my insides have done 15 rounds in a boxing ring. My blood test results came back normal, as I expected. Ok, there is a small possibility that it could be gall stones (ultrasound in 3 weeks or so, after the event), but I hardly fit the profile of a typical sufferer (over 40, female, and overweight), so I am inclined to stick with what I assumed it was, which was a very nasty gastric virus.

I do feel better for sticking to this diet all week. I don't really buy into the whole 'detox' nonsense, but all the fruit and vegetables this week have left me feeling healthier, not to mention a little lighter. I'm at 64.5kg which is about what I would like to be at for the event.

The foot pain sadly has not gone away. Even today I got pain from walking just a couple of miles. I will have more physio this week, and I can only hope it clears up. I said last week that I may not be able to run another step before the race, and that it certainly looking to be coming true.

I didn't do anything at all on Tuesday as the pain was too acute. On Wednesday I cycled for an hour in the gym and then spent some time in the sauna. On Thursday, I did a 20 minute sprint on the bike in the gym, followed by my normal strength and stability workout. I also went into the sauna again. On Saturday I did an hour on the bike, covering 35km, then 45 minutes on the cross trainer, target heart rate of 140. I did a random hill profile on both machines, so my HR sometimes peaked out at 150, but overall I maintained a steady endurance 140bpm. Following that I again went into the sauna, which I aim to do every day now until I leave for Chile in 10 days time.

I have pretty much finalised my entire backpack list, and will be weighing and measuring it all this week. I'll post my kit and food list in next weekend’s final post before the event. I'm looking at around 8.2kg pack weight, plus the 1.5l of water, on the start line. My food is around 2900kcals per day, and weighs a total of 4.6kg. The mandatory kit items weigh 2kg. So that's 6.6kg in essentials. I therefore have 1.7kg of what you might call 'luxuries', but this includes items such as a bed roll, extra socks, foot tape, warmer clothes for the evening, and a digital camera; most of which many people would consider necessities. Since I am a blogger, the digital camera is pretty much a necessity!

I have had to fork out an additional $50 to the event organiser today, so that I can send and receive emails when on the event. This was a bit of a shock, since every event I have ever been to so far provides this service free of charge! I usually use the email facility to send an email to my blog so you all know I am still alive each day. Generally the organisers come and give out any emails you receive on paper each night. Not at this event though, you have to log in and read them yourself by the looks of it. I've been impressed with Racing the Planet as an organisation so far, with plenty of gold stars earned, so this is the only thumbs down they have got from me so far for anything. I guess when you are so used to getting something for free, you begrudge paying for it! $50 isn't going to break the bank I guess. I'll sulk in silence!

I am in two minds as to whether I should ask the doctor to prescribe me some Diamox tablets this week. These tablets can help some people with altitude sickness; helping you to get more oxygen into your body basically. They have the disadvantage of being a diuretic (making you need the bathroom more often!), so it is important to keep up hydration. There is also a local herb available in Chile called Chachacoma that you can mix up with water to produce a similar effect, but I imagine the Diamox is more effective. The race is mostly around the 3000M mark, going up to around 3500M on the first day, so it is not massively high altitude, but most people can expect headaches and nausea. Excursion makes altitude sickness worse, so I figure running across a hot desert with a pack almost 10kg in weight qualifies. Now, I arrive in Chile only 2 or 3 days before the race starts, whereas some competitors are arriving well in advance to get used to the altitude. I simply can't afford to take more time off work, since I don't get paid for time off. So, Diamox is sounding like a good idea right now.

I have more cause to need Diamox that any of the other racers I suspect. 2 days before the race (the day after I arrive in Chile) I have arranged an excursion to a nearby volcano. The vehicle and my guide will park at 5200M (!) and there is apparently as easy 2 hour walk to the summit at 5625M (almost the height of Kilimanjaro). I carefully specified that I wanted an easy ascent, nothing strenuous as I wanted to save my strength for the race itself. If I think it is too tough, I'll just spend a few hours at the car park altitude, and suck in some thin air before going back to San Pedro. I'm looking forward to the view (photo's for my readers!), and maybe a little time at that height will acclimatise me (even a tiny bit). My guide is bringing along some Chachacoma and carries oxygen in the event of acute mountain sickness, so I should be ok.

That's it for preparation news. I will continue to cycle this week, and hope the foot gets better.

Have a good week.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you're feeling better Rich, getting very close to your event too! Looking forward to seeing the photos- I will no doubt take loads during the MdS!!