Training for Machu Picchu: The Home Stretch

Mother Nature isn’t making any fans this year, especially among the hiking crowd. Our outdoor training for Machu Picchu has suffered immensely as a result of her assault.

Ideal winter conditions for hiking have been on short supply. It’s been bitterly cold, with dangerous wind chills. I’ve lost count of the number of days I’ve seen -7 as the current temperature. Trails have been covered in loose snow, making them slippery and hard to read. And about a week ago, we got a few inches of slush that turned into a few inches of ice overnight, followed by another cold blast. Even sidewalks are dangerous.

Upper Hixon Forest Trails in La Crosse, Wis. A snowstorm swept in during this 6-mile hike. It's among the best hiking conditions we've had this winter.
Upper Hixon Forest Trails in La Crosse, Wis. A snowstorm swept in during this 6-mile hike. It’s among the best hiking conditions we’ve had this winter.

So what’s an RBG to do? Hike through it when possible.

Hiking through it, at Goose Island Park in La Crosse. With a  firm crust on top of the snow that day, which would give without warning, hiking was challenging.
Hiking through it, at Goose Island Park in La Crosse. With a firm crust on top of the snow that day, which would give without warning, hiking was challenging.

When not, take it to the gym.

Rollerbag Mister -- or should it be Backpack Mister -- takes it out on the treadmill.
Rollerbag Mister — or should it be Backpack Mister — takes it out on the treadmill.

Luckily, I work for a company that offers the best benefits package in the state of Wisconsin, and probably beyond. That package includes a progressive wellness program overseen by Riverside Corporate Wellness: a primary care clinic that’s available at no charge to employees, compensated wellness time for exercise, primary care clinic appointments, and wellness classes; and complementary access to a state of the art fitness facility on campus, including access to trainers…all at no cost to employees and their spouses.

The view from our company fitness center: the Mississippi River and Cass Street Bridge. Gorgeous.

Without the latter benefit, our training this winter would be seriously compromised.

The Magnum weight machines and free weights, with the cycling room in the background. Spin classes at 6 a.m. have been a regular part of our training, as recommended by my trainer.

Trainers from Riverside Corporate Wellness have created customized plans for us, taking into consideration our beginning ability (couch) and our goal (4-day, 26-mile, high-altitude hike to Machu Picchu). My trainer, Michelle McLellan has been so incredibly supportive and creative, I don’t know how I’ll ever thank her. Plus, she knows how to kick my butt…in the best way. Our repertoire has included 6 a.m. spin classes, cardio barbell classes, Magnum weights and lots of treadmill (on mid and high incline) and stair machine time with weighted packs.

A super attractive photo of me, gettin' after it.
A super attractive photo of me, gettin’ after it.

Are we there yet? I don’t think so. With just 10 days before departure, two weeks until Cusco, and 21-days until the hike, it’s crunch time. Which reminds me, I should probably do some sit-ups.

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Charish Badzinski is an explorer, food-lover and award-winning travel and food writer. When she isn’t working to build her blog: Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World, she applies her worldview to her small business, providing strategic communications, media relations and writing support to individuals and organizations. 

Find Charish on Twitter: @charishb

Creative Commons License

Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World by Charish Badzinski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

 Based on a work at rollerbaggoddess.wordpress.com.
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