One minute I am in the UK packing for my flight to Peru and then suddenly I am about to leave Huaraz having spent 4 days here acclimatising and exploring the surrounding mountains.
I hired a guide, Jim Sykes, for 3 of my days here so I could explore some of the area as well as incorporate some running into each day. Huaraz is above 3000m so heading off on my first trek just a couple of hours after arriving by overnight coach from Lima might have been ambitious, but having a guide meant I wasn’t going to admit to any weakness (I was not feeling my best!) We caught a taxi to the city cemetery and then headed up, up, up the Pukaventana. Luckily there was a lot to look at and a lot to take photographs of, so I had lots of valid excuses to stop and rest at regular intervals! We wound up the hill through steep sided red canyon until we reached the top to be rewarded with a stunning view of the mountains of the Cordillera Blanca with Huaraz in the valley below.
The next day we had a car drive us up to the Huascaran National Park so we could trek along the Llaca valley to the end of the Ranrapalca Glacier and Laguna Llaca. Stunning views in every direction made for a great day out. We even managed to get in 5 miles of running on the way back along the “road” with the car behind us. The concept of a “road” in Peru has a much loser meaning than here in the UK. The “road” was a rough track with stones and holes along the whole way.
The run may have been downhill, but it was a very shallow descent at a starting altitude of 4400m with a very bumpy surface. At just my second day of acclimatisation I thought I had done quite well! No headaches, just a bit out of breath, I was relieved that things were looking good for the race. And the next day was a rest and recovery day – phew!