David Coveney

More preparation

I’m actually working on my fitness now. I realised that for things like the Inca Trail, as well as other stuff that might be fun to try like sand surfing, fitness will help. Thing is, I’ve realised that fitness is an elusive measure. Every time I’ve gone to the gym I’ve done the treadmill fitness test. My VO2 max is up by six points from average to above average, my weight’s down a few kilos, and my body fat’s looking almost reasonable. And do I feel any fitter? Well no, not really! So I suppose fitness isn’t necessarily about feeling better. I suspect your average marathon runner, though very fit, finishes the race with their heart pounding, ears ringing, and pains all over the place.

I also took a long walk up Moel Famau, the nearest proper mountain, at the weekend. My friend showed me a route up that I’d never taken, but in one part it has the disadvantage of being more or less straight up. We worked hard for that one but when you get to the top, or into a clearing where the view’s great… well it does feel worthwhile. It’s one reason why I want to do the Inca Trail. Reaching Machu Picchu on a bus just won’t seem nearly so magical.

So it’s more fitness. Every two days I have to make myself work hard on the stair climbing thingy at the gym, and do half an hour on the treadmill at its steepest setting. Of course, I hate gyms! They’re weird places where nobody seems to want to talk to anybody else. They’re hardly the chattiest places are they? I got a very weird look trying to initiate a conversation with the person on the machine next to me. Maybe I’m a freak?!

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