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The countdown to the last two marathons
Saturday, 15 February 2014 10:07

Saturday 15th February 2014


The last 3 weeks of my project starts now. This time in 21 days, marathon #7 on the last continent will be complete. I paid the deposit for this trip before I ran my first marathon in November of 2011. I committed to this last marathon before I had even run one.

It's been almost 7000km of training since I started running in January 2011.
Chiro, physio, massage and podiatry appointments.
A couple of bowel screening tests, just to be safe.
6 lost toenails.
Too many blisters and chafed spots.
Presentations about bowel cancer and the marathon project to groups of fitness trainers, new mums, women's activist groups.

I haven't been able to train the way I had intended to over the last 3 months. I have plantar fasciopathy (it used to be known as plantar fasciitis, but not anymore) in both feet, with a tear and a bone spur on the left. It hurts. I rested a month, then ran for a month, now I'm running a little only.

I am a bit scared by how underdone I am. My last proper long runs were in the lead up to the Amsterdam marathon - therefore in September. I know I have pretty good endurance anyway. But running a marathon is pretty tough. 42.2km is a long way. And next Sunday I get to run that far on a hilly course on the other side of the world.

It is pretty exciting. And pretty scary. I think it will hurt. A lot.

So the plan is - fly to Caracas, Venezuela on Thursday and Friday. Pick up the race bib, get a bit of a look at the city on Saturday, run on Sunday. Caracas is a dangerous city, so we have organised the cousin of a client of Charlie's (who lives there) to act as our driver and guide for Saturday, and assist Charlie on Sunday so he can hopefully get some shots of the marathon safely. Venezuela is in the northern part of South America, on the Caribbean Sea, above the equator. Temperature should be about 25 degrees, as the city is at about 800m elevation - similar to Mt Lofty.

After the run, we are doing a quick trip into the jungle to see (hopefully, dry season not withstanding) Angel Falls - the longest drop in the world, and as featured in the movie 'Up' as Paradise Falls. That's exciting. And hopefully less painful.

We will then head down to Buenos Aires to meet up with the rest of the group from Marathon Tours. I don't know how many Aussies will be part of this trip - I don't know of any at this point. We will spend a few days together there then we have a 3:30am hotel departure to get to the airport and fly down to Ushuaia - the southern most city in the world. We'll spend the day looking at the town, then board our ship, the Academik Ioffe, for the 10 day trip around the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.

We'll have 2 days at sea, crossing the Drake Passage before we see our first icebergs and then catch sight of land - the last continent. The run will be held on King George Island. Last year it was a 14km loop, running between the research bases of China, Uruguay, Chile and
Russia. So we'll do three laps. Hills, ice, mud, penguins on a mostly gravel road. The weather will determine how much snow, ice, mud and slush we have to contend with. The temperature will likely be between -10 and 5 degrees C, so I'll wear fairly normal cold weather running clothes - trail shoes, long tights, an I/O Merino top plus t shirt, maybe a rain jacket, gloves and something covering my ears. I am taking a few different options with me. I should be able to find some ice for my feet at the end!

We do a BBQ on the deck of the boat to celebrate the run, and spend the next day kayaking amongst the icebergs and whales. That sounds like the best post race treat I've come across!

Very excited now - a couple more days with my kids, a couple more runs, a couple more workdays, a board meeting, a physio presentation, lunch with running friends, a yoga session or two, and we'll be on our way.


The trip, like all the others, is entirely self funded. Along the way, I have been spreading the message that bowel cancer screening saves lives. Tests are available from your chemist or from bowel cancer Australia. Do it every year from 40. If you'd like to support my rub, please donate to the Jodi Lee Foundation, via my page. 


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Health News

This weeks links

The Cancer Council came out this week and announced that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption, and that alcohol should be considered to be as carcinogenic as smoking and asbestos are.  As well as being highly associated with throat and mouth cancers, it is now found to correlate highly with breast and bowel cancers.  Perhaps it should not be so surprising that a substance that can so alter mood and ability, even at very mild levels should turn out to be in fact, not good for us.

This story, an editorial from the British Journal of Sports Medicine earlier this year has some amazing targets - it ties in with our look at sitting and health, and is about developing healthcare systems that support exercise - recognise it as being as vital a measure of our health as is blood sugar levels or blood pressure.  It recommends 150 minutes of physical activity per week for adults as a minimum.  30 mins on 5 days.  For children, it is 420 mins / week - 60 minutes every day.  How close are you?

This is another article on inactivity / obesity and health from Sports Medicine Australia, highlighting the link between an inactive childhood and a lifetime of battling depression.  It is food for thought (!) these days where there seems to be much paranoia about safety of children away from their parents watchful eyes, and therefore a tendency to want to keep them closely under watch instead of encouraging more activity and indeed risk taking behaviours.  The ability to judge situations for risk and to be able to take appropriate risks builds self esteem and resilience.  Not much to do with bowel cancer awareness, but close to my heart as well.

Another article on sitting

This one is in really simple terms - if you walk 30 mins (as recommended) and sleep 8 hours, most of us still have 15.5 hours per day not moving.  You cannot sit all day behind a screen, then drive your car and sit and watch tv with out it being bad for you.  A good read.