3 Days of Walking, Higher and Harder

Simon, Doug, Phillip, Thomas, and Van at the top of the trailOn Monday, February 18th, the group walked up to La Chispa, as far as the private property sign where we posed for this picture. Stephanie took the picture, which she immediately declared “Hot”. Eating this way and doing a lot of hiking will definitely start to clear some fat from your bones.

Phillip and Thomas took lots of pictures, and it was a great hike, but alas I didn’t feel like writing much when I returned in the evening, so, moving on to Tuesday…

Ideal house in a valley viewed along the wayOn Tuesday. the group walked past Herradura, a little town up the road from the hot springs. These walked are getting tougher, we keep going further and higher. The group’s fitness level is improving to accommodate it.

I felt like I needed a rest day from running and/or walking hard, but Dr. Graham challenged Simon and I to run up a “little” hill on the side of the road on the way. Somebody’s driveway, apparently. Well that was some driveway. It took us a good 10 minutes or more to run up that very steep dirt road. Beautiful views though. So much for taking a “rest day”. We then had to run down so we could run up the road to catch up with the rest of the group.

Once we’d run back to the bottom of the hill, however, we stopped to talk to an older local man (or a “Tico”, as the locals call themselves in Costa Rica). I said “Beunos Dias”, which he took to mean I understood Spanish., and proceeded to tell me about his swollen thumb. I got the impression that he had stuck his hand somewhere and a spider or other insect had bitten it. But that’s just my best guess at what he said. The tropics are a bad place to put your hands or feet into places you haven’t looked into first. After a moment, he figured out I wasn’t completely understanding him and instead switched to trying to learn a little English. What a friendly guy!

More beautiful landscape in Costa RicaThe rest of the group were waiting for us at a bridge, where they’d probably been doing push ups, knowing them. Indeed they informed me when we arrived that were were behind on the push ups. No rest for the weary!

Celery tastes good with banana smoothie, incidentally, but not with an unripe pluot. This is something I learned when we got back for lunch on Tuesday. Between us, Phillip and I finished off 25 bananas worth of banana smoothie and individual bananas that day. That’s more like it!

Wednesday, February 20th was the last, long, hard walk of the trip. We walked up part of the Mt. Chirripo trail, used recently in the annual race up and back down the mountain that starts in nearby San Gerardo. We made it as high as about 5600 ft. in elevation (hike started at 4000), before we came down a connecting trail we could use to make the whole walk into a loop. We did pull ups at every soccer field we passed, and we stopped at every bridge to do push ups. Doug managed a total of 100 pull ups for the day by the time we were done.

Talented Kitchen Staff at the RetreatI thought I would take a moment and thank the talented kitchen staff at the retreat, on the right. Pictured: Kevin, Lennie, Danielle, Stephanie, Thomas, and Robby. Victoire and Samara are not pictured, perhaps one of them is the one taking this picture with Thomas’s camera. They were all so helpful and the food so consistently good, it made it easy to eat raw food. Thank you all!

I’ve been asking Doug questions about how much to eat or drink during my upcoming marathon. I want to know to survive it on raw food. He guessed that I probably have about 1800 calories of glycogen store to start with at the beginning of the race. I will use about 2400 calories during the race, and I should try to replace the 600 - 800 calories difference.

He suggested raisin water. Soak a pound of raisins in a quart of water overnight. In the morning you’ll have a pint of water remaining, in addition to some well-hydrated raisins. The water will have absorbed about 3/4 of the sugar from the raisins. Use the water, without the raisins in it, during the race, taking a swallow of it every 1/4 or 1/2 mile.

This is in addition to the meal I will eat two and a half hours before the race. Those calories should be coming online before/during the run as well. If done right, apparently you need never hit the wall during the marathon. The key seems to be to consume simple sugars slowly enough that a lot of energy does not go towards digestion during the race. After the race I get to refuel (and eat those raisins.)

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