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Get That Heart Rate Up!

WAIS DIVIDE, ANTARCTICA– In Antarctica, as I constantly work in this cold environment, I can sense my body working really hard. Staying warm is a primary challenge and keeping enough energy to complete my daily tasks is a tough. However, as with anywhere in the world, it is still important to get exercise to stay healthy and strong. So, how do you exercise at a remote field camp when the temperatures are typically well below zero?

Well, many of us here at camp are use to very active lifestyles back at home and therefore planned ahead for some fun recreational activities that would help us to stay healthy. I personally enjoying running so I brought some warm, waterproof running shoes and some nice warm running clothing! Many of us also have cross-country skis that we can use out on the runway that is groomed for the C-130 airplanes. The primary challenges to exercise here are a) finding time b) braving the bitter winds and c) getting motivated to go outside and freeze! Once you have finally prepared yourself, the running and skiing are excellent!

This last week was our first week working 24 hours a day. Our crew and the drillers are all split into three different shifts. I am on shift 2 and am responsible for helping to receive and document the ice cores from 3:30 p.m. to 12 a.m. After work I typically do not get to sleep until about 3:00 a.m. The primary reason for my late bedtime is because I have discovered that the weather tends to be the best in the middle of the night and I have turned the middle of the night into my exercise time. It is a good thing the sun doesn’t set around here! Most people aren’t silly enough to be out skiing or running in the middle of the night, but I do have a few skiing buddies who are willing to recreate with me. With the camp well marked with flags for safety and to guide the airplanes, you can go over 3 miles out of camp in every direction! Within a mile, the landscape becomes even more overwhelming as the camp disappears into the horizon and there is nothing but white and an incredible silence. The silence is really amazing. Imagine no sounds around you. We have no ambient sound from the everyday things we are used to at home. There are no noises from cars, insects, sirens, blowing leaves, honking horns etc. It is truly a unique experience!

Enjoy this photo of what you can look like after a good run here at WAIS Divide.

Peter Neff, my running buddy, always manages to look like Santa Claus by the end of our runs! All of the moisture from his breath freezes and accumulates on his beard!
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6 Responses »

  1. Thanks, Heidi! I’ve been wanting to see a picture of icy Pete. Now he’s my new background! At least no big nose-sicle! Enjoying your blog work. Keep your core warm and the cores cold!

  2. I worry for your safety. Keep warm! You know we all love you, Heidi!

  3. Wow.How very cool that you are able to exercise in the middle of the night and get your work done at the same time too.Looks like you know how to mutil task and you do kind of look like Santa Claus too.
    Ann Mishmash

  4. Its really good that you are taking care of your health even in such extreme cold place. But just be careful and stay warm.

  5. I hope that when you get home you won’t find yourself exercising in the middle of the night! It is the end of the decade today and tomorrow starts a new one..peace and happiness to you and all who love you in 2010..come home safe and soon!

    Love you


  6. Wow! That picture of Pete is really great. I can understand about the silence…kinda of creepy, eh?
    Happy New Years to you guys down there! Stay warm. =)