Panic Training, and Why Popcorn Isn’t Actually Dinner

Back in August / September of 2017 when we first began planning and saving to go to Peru, Matt got a gym membership at a Planet Fitness that opened up downtown, and has been going at least four or five days a week ever since.

I, on the other hand had an entirely different approach to training for this massive trip. I wrote down in my day-planner that I was going to train, and then totally blew it off.  I didn’t get a gym membership until two (maybe four) months after Matt had, and even then it was hit or miss as to whether I’d go, or not. Getting there is hard – it requires leaving the house, gah. I think part of me just didn’t believe that it was going to happen. I couldn’t fathom actually getting to go to Peru, and seeing Machu Picchu. I was so skeptical that such a magical trip could take place that I chose not to believe, or train. Matt was saintly quiet about my lack of training- he’s a super intelligent human. He bought plane tickets, started booking hotels, and sent a large deposit to the guide company for the 7 day / 51-mile hike through the Andes Mountains to Machu Picchu. Still, I did not train. Sure I went to the gym to make it look good, but even then it was only if Matt was going, or if it had been more than a few days – I was totally fooling him, and myself. Meanwhile, Matt is bench pressing small children and can crush a watermelon with his thighs. He was eating healthier, he had cut back on sweets, fast food for lunch, and booze. I was totally doing the same – I had gone from three bags of kettle corn popcorn a week to two – massive improvements were taking place across the board!
Then mid-June just twelve extra short weeks before we were due to fly to Peru t I woke up in the middle of the night in sheer panic. I was going to die in Peru if I didn’t get my shit together immediately! The next morning, I reached out to my friend and running partner in Anchorage, and she reminded me that we still had all of the training ..schedules from the half marathon training program that we did together a few years ago.  I spent a good hour going through all of the old emails from the training program coordinator and set out a 12-week plan. I had trained for a half marathon in 12 weeks, I could train for Peru too. Right?

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Week 1 – Time to get serious!

My training plan is as follows:

Sunday – Rest (starting out on a high note!)
Monday – Run 30 -50 min. (week 1 – 30 min.; week 2- 35 min.; week 3 – 40 min. and so on)
Tuesday – Gym 30 min. stair climber; 40 min. lifting weights
Wednesday – Run 10 min. warm up; 10 min. stretches; 40 min. tempo training, hills, or strides
Thursday – Gym 30 min. stair climber; 40 min. lifting weights
Friday – REST -thank the sparkly lord and savior!
Saturday – long run (week 1- 45 min. increasing 10 min. each week until I get to two hours.)
At this point I am finishing up week 6 and tomorrow I will run for 1 hour and 45 minutes.
*it’s only fair to note here that not all six weeks have not looked like this, there have been a few extra rest days peppered in where needed, but I have actually been training.

Matt’s training plan has been, and continues to be:
Gym – stair climber for as long as humanly possible, he’s up to an hour at this point, and then weights for an hour. Watermelon crushing at noon each day.

Other than overall fitness, the other major factor we need to worry about is altitude. We live at sea level and have for the past 10 years. In 2015 I trained at sea level for a half marathon then ran the race at 3,200 feet of elevation and thought I was going to die. The elevations we will be hiking in will be all over the map – literally! On the day we start hiking we will wake up in Cusco at 10,990 feet take a bus 60 miles down the mountain to the trail head which is only 11,318 feet. Then we hike. In 6.8 miles we will have reached an elevation of 12,795. Did someone say headache? They did, and to that I say bring on the cocoa tea! It’s a thing. Here is a link to the guide company and our route with all of the elevations and miles of  each day. Alpaca Expeditions

In order to train for the elevation Matt is flying to Alaska for a work trip and then will be staying for a week to hike in Denali National Park. I will be traveling as well, because I have a sweet work from anywhere gig, and will be in Portland, OR doing some hiking on Mt. Hood. Then I will go to Montana where my dad has a number of elevation gaining hikes picked out for us.  I’m spending the two weeks prior to Peru with my parents because they won’t let me eat popcorn for each meal as is customary when Matt travels for work and I am left on my own. Apparently popcorn is not a super food, and if you eat an entire bag for dinner the night before a long run – your tummy is going to hurt. You can take my word on this.

Stay tuned for trip photos from both of those outrageously beautiful mountain states!

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