I always wanted a big family and on this trip I discovered I have one. The amount of support I’ve received is nothing short of overwhelming. You’ve said it with your words and with your $$. Please know not a day has gone by that I haven’t stepped outside the circle for a moment and given thanks.
Friday was a long day indeed. I don’t think anyone slept the night before. We had to get up at 5 and have our bags packed and ready to go by 5:30. They were being sent down by the yaks for an evening arrival in Namche. I’ve had so many little cuts on my hands and nothing seemed to heal up there so every encounter with a zipper was a dreaded event, but it always got done. We filed into the “lodge” for pre-race breakfast of what else but PORRIDGE. I am cleaning out my cupboard of anything oatmeal or mush related when I get home.
We lined up at 6:15 and awaited the countdown. My first mistake in judgement was adopting the herd mentality and actually thinking I could start out running across the sandy scree and hit the hill with the Nepali’s. It didn’t take
long to feel the impact of my decision and I pulled to the side gasping for air and wondering if this was what a pulmonary explosion feels like. I never stopped but I did have to walk for about the next 10 min before I could breathe again. Well, that was out of the way so now it was a matter of navigating the “trail” which was extremely steep up & down. Loose rock and sandy scree which made slipping
inevitable. My main objective was to not get hurt so I was
very cautious maintaining more of a speed walk. After about
the first hour climbing out of Gorak Shep we hit Aid Station
1 at Lobuche. Out of there the terrain got trickier and
trail less defined. I was so busy watching where I put my
feet that when I did look up I had no point of reference and the trail seemed to have disappeared. This had been my fear
all along and now here I was only 2.5 hrs into it and I was
already off course. Red is my new favorite color as it was
only for Raj’s red jacket against all the colorless gray
that gave me a direction to head for. I knew then I had to
forget about getting lost and let my instincts take over.
Otherwise I would be too distracted by fear and any part of
this that might be fun would disappear.
I was slow over the ice and crossing the rivers by landing on the right rocks was a little nerve wracking but you get a rythmn going after a while.
I still had a bad bronchial/ chest infection and the coughing was exhausting and hurting my ribs. The irony of things being what they were I had a blister pack of lozengers in the back pocket of my tights. The sharp
packaging was rubbed up and down on my tailbone by my
backpack all day. I didn’t know how raw it was until I got
into a hot bath last night. Minor but annoying. I can’t wait
to feel all my energy back.
I ran the sections that were runnable. Some of the runners seemed to run downhill with wild abandon. There were many falls, stitched legs, shoulder injuries etc. I decided I couldn’t afford any of that. The first time I really struggled was on the hill from Pangboche up to Tengboche. It was a long, steep climb. Having just gone down it days before I hadn’t remembered it would be so difficult. Next came the Sanasa hill, a true ass kicker! There really isn’t any way to train for this at home. You spend months and some people spent years getting in peak condition for this and by race day you are just totally “worked.” It’s comforting to know that we have that “bag of tricks” we can reach into in tough times; a bag that doesn’t show itself day-to-day but it’s there none the less. I’m as sure of that now as I am of anything.
People keep asking me what’s next. I’m looking forward to nice flat run out to Blackies and back with Seabiscuit. Tennessee Valley will feel like walking through a mall after this. Maybe I will enter a 30K or something just to feel the difference this trip has made.
I was lucky to get a ride out of Namche yesterday on a helicopter back to Kathmandu. Photos are on Facebook. It meant I didn’t have to walk to Lukla today and risk not getting a flight out tomorrow. Planes can’t go in or out of that airstrip unless the weather is clear and hiring a helicopter is very expensive. Laying in a fresh,clean bed last night drinking as much water as I could my thoughts were moving like a pinball. Every thought and feeling hit a bumper and shot across multiple realities. It will be good to get home.
I went through my emails today so please know I’ve read every one of your messages – to me and to each other. Adam, did you run through CM with a head torch?? Great visual and wonderful sentiment.
As I started to write this there was one song that came to me and really captures how I feel. I tried to attached it but I wasn’t successful. Anyway it’s MILES FROM NOWHERE by Cat Stevens. It’s on my iPad and it rocks my heart. If you get a chance listen to it. Then close your eyes and we can share that moment. It’s that powerful.