hi all, sorry this blog comes out of the right order because the itnernet was down for two days but anyway
blog day 13 and 14
sorry for no blog yesterday, everything in leh was closed due to the one year anniversary of the disastrous floods so nothing but nothing was open, leaving a lot of hungry stranded tourists, we got wind of it the day before and tried to stock up on a few items and made plans to go up tang lang la.
before we left for the day we had a big briefing where Molly the woman who attempted it last year, reaching the 120km told us of her experiences. Her crew (which were only locals) left her near the top of the pass and waited over 2 hours for her to get to the top (rule one never leave your runner), as it was freezing they slept with the windows closed at the top of the pass and nearly died, their oxygen levels according to organiser Kunal was down to 30% when they got to them. with the windows closed they were breathing out carbon dioxide (monoxide??) anyway whatever it is you breath out and depleting the precious little oxygen in the car, not to mention poor molly who was by this time severely dehydrated and had to be taken to hospital for an IV. After Molly Rajat the race director talked about accompanying mark cockbain from england who is the only one to have finished, for the last pass. For a start he stopped for some soup at the bottom of the pass and it took so long to make 2 min noodles (cooking with gas here takes forever due to the altitude) and mark started suffering hypothermia in the freezing temperatures. somehow he keep going, it took him 10 hours through the fnight to fight his way up the pass, Rajat said he had no idea what he was doing or why he just kept moving forward, he was completely delirious and rajat had to keep him from going over the edge of the road ( read big falls down banks or cliff). When questioned whether it was fatigue or altitude sickeness, Rajat who is a sports doctor said he had no idea but didn’t want to pull him out after such a long way. Sounds dangerous to me. Somehow mark being one of the most determined people i know managed to finish it but still has to this day dizzy spells. Just how much damage you are doing at these altitudes depends on your oxygen saturation anything in the 70’s % is not good. all the crews and runners were bombarding the organisers with questions but i don’t feel safe really. most runners have had some problem or another, and the doctors are really good, so that is something
First outing as a complete team and the first altitude excursion for josh and luke to test their wings. our driver looked about 16 and didn’t instill confidence and we were in for a terrifying ride with many close encounters. everyone drives like maniacs here and you are alway glad to be home in one piece. we had one particularly close encounter including a army truck which we were trying to over take at the same time as a family of donkeys were crossing the road. the driver slammed on the brakes just in time throwing us all out of our deep tired post altitude slumbers.
I decided to run 12km up to the top of the pass today and was feeling not too bad. even managed to walk/run which at over 5000m is quite something. Luke is doing a great job getting footage and chris is running around snapping everything and the whole team is pulling together nicely. Venkat (henceforth to be known as the cat) our accountant is the dad of the group and makes sure we all get we need to be on time and organises our finances etc. but today he is was feeling sick so didn’t manage to pace at all.
Josh was as usual a machine and was having no trouble with the altitude, he will be a strong pacer i think. Chris has recovered from his tummy troubles and was doing great too.
At one point we had thirty huge army trucks pass us with their black exhausts, one after the other making the breathing for the time being cancerous. And from then on i had to fight with asthma. i would just get it under control then have to sip some water, and end up each time having my bronchial tubes just shut down on me. It took a lot of concentration and calming thoughts to stop the panic taking over completely.
i tested whether i could eat anything while going up hill near the top and managed in-between gasping asthma to get one lolly down and one peanut. How the heck i am going to be able to get enough calories in is beyond me at this point. going up hill (each pass will take between 7 and 10 hours estimated) so I will need to find a solution to this.
AFTer a brief stop at the top of the pass, a big group hug and some filming we headed back down, the total trip of 9 hours long so we had a long trip back with this crazy driver and were anxious to get down. We pulled out the food we had bought the day before, including a pizza which turned out to be not such a great idea, promptly josh started feeling sick, and i had to get out and vomit again. Venkat was also green.
but by then we got down to the nearest village there was a ceremony being held for the anniversary of the flood and the locals were giving out fry bread and tea and wouldn’t let us pay but happily invited us. Their hospitality was lovely.
we continued our weary way home and managed to get a meal at 9pm at our hotel (it was meant to be at 7.30pm) which promptly burnt it way down our gullets. Hot as hell. But the refreshing watermelon after was a hit.
This morning though i woke up at 4am with cramping in my tummy, things didn’t bear well, i had been planning to go running so i tried but was so weak i could only walk slowly up to the monastery where i rang mum again. By the time i got back to the room, all hell had broken loose in my tummy and i had to miss the shopping excursion with the boys today which was to get supplies for race and just had to sleep and sleep. The doc’s are onto it tho. I also have toothache and have been put on antibiotics to clear up the infection. so i am feeling very weak and sick and scared that this wont go by the time the race comes. Chris’ tummy troubles tho have stopped so maybe mine will by tomorrow too.
my room is in total chaos with all my race gear spread out and i am trying to workout what to take to camp in two days time. my toilet is leaking so overtime i need to go in there i have to walk through puddles of toilet water. yuck.
so i shall now return to my room for another lie down