first up. please visit my website if you dont get the blog as my crew will be taking over from race day and then they might only send to my website and facebook and not all my important people. So if you want to catch up on a missed blog just head to http://www.lisatamati.co.nz onto the running side of the website.
well day 4 and 5 have been eventful. after my blog last night we went up to the local monastery or shanti stupa, climbing 580 steps to get up there, fab training, i went up and down twice and spent an hour training sunny and Rana, the boys are motivated.
Was great to be above the chaos of the town of leh. After we met up with Colonel Arjun from the indian army, a friend of sunnys who very sternly gave me the low down on what i am doing. He is extremely sceptical and doesnt think it can be done or is wise to attempt, he knows altitude sickness and is often rescuing people who have overdone it. infact yesterday up on the chang lang la pass a woman died after have altitude sickness symptoms, happening extremely quickly.
A sobering message, he told me in no uncertain terms not to push past what I can handle or to ignore the symptoms, he said it doesnt matter what your reasoning for being here, the pressure, the expectations just do go beyond the reasonable or you can pay dearly if not fatally. My gut instinct is to think he is exaggerating but then what the hell do i know. I know most people cant really comprehend running over 220 km non stop anyway so its hard to relate the how and why but i have taken it to heart.
Today we were up at 5am and heading up the tang lang la pass, the second pass on the race route. after 70km through the valley and villages, and military bases we reached a town at the bass of the pass. This pass is the only road connecting ladakh in the kashmir region with the rest of India so its strategically very important. As we pass the town of upshi we were confronted with sudden massive washouts of the road which runs along the river. Here last year in august 800 people lost their lives in floods, unusual weather bought huge rain falls to the region and in a desert like this and with all the mountains feeding the rivers the results were catastrophic. Now a year later the roads are open but just and its a huge task that the border roading organisation has. (and we think we have trouble keeping the awakino gorge open ) over 40 km of broken down roads, villages completely destroyed and very slow going in the car. The road workers are a different people tot he locals here, mostly from the Behar region (not sure of the spelling) Indias poorest region with the worst education system. These people have to work on the road, breaking rocks with sledgehammers and doing everything by hand. men and women alike. Their lives are bare, hardworking, hot, dusty and I have the utmost respect for what they do, its makes running a mere 222km through it seem trivial in comparison and I once again so thankful to have been born a kiwi, and living in the lush gorgeous country we have.
We climbed and climbed for over 2 hrs in the car, and then 8km from the top i got out to run (not to be taken too literally) wobble forward would be a more appropriate description. Instantly on leaving the car and body goes into shock, my lungs are pumping as hard as they can, i have hot cold feverish feeling in my stomach. I try to run continuously but again and again have to resort to fast power walking, Sunny and Rana are doing the crewing thing and we are ironing out the glitches in our routine. They alternate being with me and carrying the water bottle, doing a couple of hundred metres at a time. They return each time exhausted to the vehicle. Each has run about the equivalent of 2 km total. Finally after just over an hour I reach the top of the second highest pass in the world, the route is incredible, spectacular just doesnt do it justice. At the top we celebrate like we just won the race. and top it off with maggi 2 min noodles (the staple food ont he passes in the little tea houses) and a nice hot cup of chai tea. sitting in this bare shelter called a teahouse we are grinning and exhilirated and dam cold. The noodles take far longer than the 2 min described ont he packet. everything here runs so slowly and yet things get done somehow.
After an hour we head back down, Sunny is feeling sick before we reach half way, headaches, fever and I too have tingling like pins and needles in my hands (i presume from lack of oxygen inthe blood) but i am not too bad. We arrive back at home base in Leh and Sunny and Rana have taken to the beds, Sunny in particular suffering from altitude sickness symptoms but keen enough to want to go rafting tomorrow.
On the documentary front. Chris Ord the journalist and owner of trail running magazine in australia, continues to astound me with his drive and determination to overcome all odds and pull off a miracle by getting a cameraman to the race. And we almost have lift off… the only stumbling block being whether our man can get the visa for india in time. EVeryone is pulling together to make this happen adn I am so grateful to Nalu productions for taking a leap of faith and investing a lot of time and resources in the project without having even met me. I am humbled and blown away and hope like hell I can make you all proud. The pressure is mounting and i am trying to work out my strategies now having seen most of the terrain. but like the sign on the start of the course says. Failure isnt a crime, lack of effort is…
actually the road signs here are a story in themselves, every few hundred metres are some crazy signs with sayings like, love thy neighbour but not while driving and the slightly sexist…. stop gossiping and let him drive.. be courageous at all times…. the three enemies on the road, liquor, speeding and overload. Entertaining to say the least.
OUr driver today informed us that the Dalai Lama himself was in a neighbouring village yesterday opening a new monastery.. I wish I had been there, his influence is every where here.
well signing off for now.