Karen Sharwood - March 15, 2002: Bright ideas - Arrived back in Russia on Wednesday night only to find a completely different-looking Star City. The beautiful white ground cover has mostly disappeared and has left greenish-brown tint to everything. Luckily, there was a driver to meet me at the airport this time, so my arrival was a little less stressful than previously. I also met up with a British journalist who was coming over to Russia for a couple of days to do a story on the project, and we travelled back to Star City together.
Dale had organised the bunya for us on Wednesday night, so we all headed off after dinner for a relaxing evening in the sauna, which I thought would be an excellent cure for the serious case of jet lag that I was experiencing. Given our previous experiences there, however, I really should have known better. It all started off quietly, but then someone came up with the bright idea that, instead of using the ice-cold plunge pool inside the bunya, why donít we run across to the lake, jump in, and experience the real thing? After all, the weather had warmed up and the lake really isnít that far. What a fantastic idea!
So we all charged out, trying to ignore the fact that the temperature had plummeted significantly since we had arrived at the bunya, and embarked on the official Star City cross-country route to the lake. I was barefoot (what was I thinking?) and only wore a cozzie and a towel (obviously not thinking at all). Onto the melting ice and in to the ice hole we went. Oh, my hat! Thatís all I am saying. Although totally invigorated once back inside the sauna, I can honestly say that my toes experienced things they never had before Ė besides those at the bottom of the lake. At least I can say that Iíve done it. Thereís nothing like diving right back into things (in more ways than one).
As though the swim-in-the-lake idea was not enough, someone else had the brainwave of waking up early the following morning to go for a 7am run. I had tried running outside on two occasions earlier on in the year, and had been pleased to have made just it 50m down the road, given the snow and potentially lethal hidden patches of ice dotted around. This time, Mark and I, together with another one of the doctors, went for a great run outside. It turned out to be a far better idea than our sprint between bunya and ice hole the previous evening. It seems as tough we will be able to run and exercise outdoors more often now, given the improving temperature.
The rest of the day was spent meeting the schedulers again and finalising testing dates and times. Yuri (the cosmonaut physical trainer) had himself volunteered again (by me) to act as the guinea pig for the test run of the protocol that is happening on Tuesday, adding his name once again to my near continuous i-owe-you-a-favour list!