Well, more climbing at the wall every day this week, and quite a few tiring sessions. We started working with Fabio, our personal trainer, yesterday and now we are practicing climbing up and then climbing down – sounds simple enough. Actually quite tricky as we are using our normal muscles but in different ways than normal – biceps in an antagonist manner by slowing down descent rather than letting the triceps quickly contract. The point of the exercise, however, is to really concentrate on our feet movements as the feet are the most important aspect of climbing and using them properly can save a lot of energy which you would lose in your arms if you are not technically proficient. For me, with my hands already pretty sweaty by the time I get to the top of the wall (in spite of the chalk), trying not to lose grip with my hands whilst trying to get my feet in the right places… can be quite tough.

The new exercise prompted a bit of an argument between Natalia and myself – communication difficulties with her trying to say something when I was on the wall whilst I was already getting frustrated with the slipping (the noise from the air conditioning is quite loud and makes talking to each other from ground-to-wall quite hard); me not understanding; she getting frustrated with me; me getting frustrated with her… a little bit of a dispute at the bottom when I got down… and then us both taking our aggression out on the climbing wall by traversing a long stretch along the main length of the gym before sitting down calmly to kiss and make up and get back to some more proper training.

It raises an important issue – over the next five years, the team will undoubtedly have a few disputes here and there; we’re all going to get a bit frustrated now and then, and maybe momentarily home-sick or just needing a bit of space for ourselves. I think this part is pretty much inevitable – I don’t think we could actually be human and not have anything like that. The important part, however, is remembering that this whole project is going to rely on team work and us being able to sort out any differences pretty quickly. We have all committed and entered into this project knowing this, all of us knowing that we are in this together, so we shall work together to make it happen: to the very end of the journey in 2017.

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