After leaving last year in a bit of a daze (and leaving a bit of myself on the pavement out this way), I wasn’t quite sure how returning to Wanaka would feel. And after 30 hours of travel I *really* wasn’t sure. But….turns out that long travel days are becoming quite my jam and, more importantly, Wanaka remains to be one of the most special places in the world!
First things first – I get a lot of questions on the travel situation and how I’m not completely wrecked when I have to adjust to an 18 hour time difference. First steps for this happen when I am booking my flights – don’t just book the cheapest flight options. Often these leave you with the worst layover options to include potential for spending nights in random cities, or sleeping in airports, etc. If you’re going to come all this way, just resign yourself to the fact that paying a bit more might be worth it in this case! Generally, traveling west, it’s easy to schedule the long haul flight portion to be overnight. Which brings me to my next point…..I’m a really good sleeper. I could sleep just about anywhere at any time. In fact, I pointed out to Hillary yesterday on our ride that this field with sheep in it looked quite nice for a nap.
I realize that not everyone is as good at sleeping, but if you can arrange your flights to be around normal bedtimes (or, slightly later so you’re more tired!) then that’s ideal. I don’t take any sort of sleeping pills or whatever, but I do bring a comfy wrap/sweater, ear plugs, a sleeping mask, and I have some chamomile tea bags in my carry on if necessary!
Also: stay hydrated! It’s super easy when the flight is 15 hours to get dehydrated FAST. Make friends with your flight attendants and they will help you on this task. I keep NUUN tabs or packs of The Right Stuff handy and, if I’m awake, I’m constantly pounding water. So I also always book the aisle seat for easy bathroom access too!
And more than anything – just buckle up and enjoy the ride. It’s a long time to travel, but if you can settle in and enjoy some time disconnected t0 watch movies and read books, it’s not that bad. And every now and then you can meet some friends too! Accept the fact that the first handful of days after this type of travel could very well feel very shitty, and don’t expect to crush any workouts. But, I promise your fitness doesn’t just drop out into the ocean as you fly out here, and slowly it will in fact return as long as you stay focused on the basics: sleep, hydrate, and eat!
But back to Wanaka. The mountains, the lake, the people, the lolly cakes. It’s all just THE BEST and I truly hope everyone can make the time to come out to race this event at some point and experience life here.
The biggest of the workouts are over and it’s time to begin to rest up and get the body crisp for the race. I wouldn’t be human if I wasn’t a tiny bit afraid of waking up on race day to wild winds like last year and having to face that once again. But, I have my heart and mind in the right place so I think it will be all good!