Day 12 from Hymilayas

woke at 5 thinking its six and hurried to get going for our trip to the pass kardungla today.  went to chris and lukes room and was annoyed they were still asleep before i realised “i am a dork” it was only 6 and not 7am.  went back to bed.
An hour later i met sharon gayter at breakfast, the favourite women in the race from England,  she had run a marathon down hill from the top of the pass the day before and she had some dramas with her asthma (a problem we share)  her inhalers didnt work up there and the exhaust fumes were diabolical.  The doctors are now organising nebulisers for us (another way to get asthma med in) so we may have to run along hooked up to a machine for 10 min if we have attacks up there which is pretty much a given..Chris, venkat and Rana and I piled into the van to head up the kardung la pass again for training, it was chris first time up after only having been here for two days.  Josh and Luke we left down in Leh as it was too dangerous to take them up just yet as they only arrived yesterday and to go straight up to 5600m would be downright stupid.  Chris with camera in hand was happy snapping away on the ride up.  We stopped at the police check in point at north Pullu grabbed some water and headed up further.  Chris had had an upset stomach all night and I was a bit worried about him but he decided to jump out with me and to try to get some footage and photos for a bit then the headache started.  My crew alternated for a while while I tried to control my breathing and to stop the oncoming asthma attack from getting out of control. The wind was strong for a while and the traffic terrible.  if the altitude doesnt kill us the fumes will. Just when you have so little oxygen anyway the black smoke of the cars ad trucks is a constant menace.  I plugged on till we again were stopped by a huge rock avalanche.  Rana and chris grabbed waterbottles and accompanied me but chris started getting a massive headache and had to peel out and wait for the car to get through.  Rana continued on with me, he is the dark horse here, he is doing really well at altitude and manged 4km in total with me today which doesnt sound like much but every kilometre up here is equivalent to about 10 km at sealevel in regards to anaerobic  stress, fatigue etc.  I plodded on to the top of the pass completing just 12.5km.  I immediately went and stuck my finger in the oxygen monitor machine i have with me which measures the oxygen saturation in the blood given as a %. 98 % is normal at sealevel, prolonged levels below 90% is getting dangerous.  Mine at that moment was 79%. Get any lower than 72% and you are really in trouble.  We stayed on top for a good hour trying to use the time to acclimatise but poor chris was not doing well so we headed back down as fast as we could.
I still cant get my head around how I am possibly going to run/walk/crawl 222km in these conditions in just a few days time.  12km is knocking me for a six.  1 or 2 or 3 km is knocking my crew over, i just dont know how it was possible for mark to do it last year… I can only keep praying and trying to think positive and taking it slow.  Incomprehnsible is the word of the moment.
we finally got down to Leh with a very green looking chris, who has only had two days here, and the other two were also feeling very fatigued and sleepy.  We thought we would be at the hotel in a minute or two when we ran int o a huge furneral procession, a very colourful affair but a very slow moving one, for 2km we had to follow at walking pace behind the procession just dying int he heat.
We all hit the sack immediately once we got back.  Two hours later i went to get some water from a shop and heard that all shops and all restaurants will be closed tomorrow ( we were planning a supply shopping day tomorrow) and no one will be able to get anything to eat.  We just bought some bread and 2 min noodles and hope we will get something somehwere.  we are now trying to bring our plan to go up Tang lang la the second pass, tomorrow instead but only if the taxis are going which i fear they wont be.  There is nothing to do here if the shops are open and you cant eat.  dam
We just a meal which again took 3 hours to get. (what I wouldnt do for mcdonalds speed) and this morning when we came out of the hotel we saw the cook come out of the kitchen of the restaurant we ate in the day before, he snotted all over his fingers then flicked it on the ground and went back inside to cook.  it doesnt instill confidence.
well till tomorrow.  appreciate our beautiful little country

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