Summary: running on empty. Found my breaking point. But first things first.
It’s 5:00 am and no alarm needed anymore. The few things I do in the morning already require no light anymore. I’m sleeping in my running pants to save me the morning trouble, just find the right shirt and get the socks on. I did not sleep much and I did not sleep well. My body feels beaten up, my muscles are sour. I’m sure the next few hours will make it all worse while. Also, I’m not the only one. We all share the same exhaustion and that makes it already much more easy. It’s called group dynamic.
We shared 2 toilets between 38 people and slept with 14 folks in one room. Speaking of toilets, it’s amazing how fast one is fine using a hole (I leave the rest up to your imagination) and replaces the shower with sprinkles of ice cold mountain water. After cleaning myself last night, I had to get into my sleeping bag for a half hour to warm up. I guess I’m just not tough enough, yet.
As for catching sleep. I was asked by my neighbor if I snore and this was my answer. “Imagine a Bhutan tiger newborn and the calm purring sound that comes from his small furry head. That’s about the most you will hear from me”. Now my wife would shape the story slightly different but since this is my blog I let it end here.
I’m not very hungry this morning but stuff as many peanut butter toast into my body as I can. I will need all of it today.
The upper body work I got yesterday through the rough clime shows of. My legs don’t feel any better. I now hope that the upcoming 20k run will help to loosen the muscles. But even if, the following steep climb to the monastery will sure put me back on square on.
The race is on and as expected the first steps, the first 3k simple hurt. My buttocks are worn out from yesterday’s steep hike, the rest of what’s left makes no difference.
Finally some runable terrain. What I mean by that is every path with only a slight incline, which does not seem to exist here. Also, I know by now that the joy of a short downhill is bitterly paid with steep ups.
I can finally find my inner engine and manage to catch up to a group that passed me 20 min ago. This is around km 16. My hope is back in balance but only for a few more minutes. The worst had yet to come and will beat yesterday’s definition of steepness by miles. At the 20 km checkpoint I’m getting told: “Get ready for the death path.” Yep, and that’s how it feels.
I can’t breathe, my body locks up, I feel as if somebody unplugged me of any energy. I try gels, bars, water, hope, bitching (lots of bitching, I now officially hate me for having signed up). What a f*cking stupid idea. Somebody please put me out of my misery but it’s nobody here. I run my own race again. Mind over body.
At this time I’m ready to step out, I just can’t find the energy anymore. There is nothing left in me. My mind starts to accept an early end. This could simply be my maximum capability. If that’s the case, wouldn’t it be smart of me to accept it! Be responsible with your body. After all you are not 16 anymore. My body is working my mind hard and almost succeeds.
I decide to forget all my planning, even the hopes of coming in early. None of it really matters. It’s all in you, all in your head. You decide how you feel about your doing, nobody else.
I’m not ready to give up just yet. A lot of kind words from support staff and fellow runners certainly help as well.
I finish at the monastery after 29,1km in 7:18 min. Peter, one of the top runners from Switzerland was so kind to wait for me at the 400 m mark before the finished. He literally talked and pushed me across the line. Thank you, Peter. You are a true sportsman!
Lots of cheers from the group after I come in. They congratulate you for have made it, unless you’re in the top 5 time does not matter. It’s such a great group on people.
Peter is it again who serves me with coke and oranges, just to get me functioning. I manage to eat a small bowl of tomato soup but that’s about all I can manage. We are high up and it is cold. I need to keep warm, so I decide to crash for a bit. And I mean crash. I just drop down on he floor, no energy to blow air into my air mattress. Nothing.
I pass out for 30 minutes and the food starts working. It’s about time because today is the soccer tournament against the monks. They wait the entire year for this, so I will drag my bloody butt up there and do my part. I do about 3 min before I call it. At least I showed my respect. This is good people. They own almost nothing and still don’t hesitate to share.
If anybody thought this day cannot get any rougher, just wait.
I need to shower! Yes! No way around. Again the water comes directly from the mountain and is served through a tiny fodder. I’m standing barefooted on cold concrete and pour water over my head. It numbs me in seconds. I shampoo my head and ‘wash’ my body. I have long stopped to be picky about being clean. As long as I don’t smell worse than the rest of the folks, I’m good.
Tomorrow will be 38km! Again with little of altitude. At this point I can’t say if I will make. If my mind can again win over my body. My hope is dinner. I need to refuel the 4000 calories I lost today. Unless I mange to make that happen tomorrow might break me.
Strong mind needed. I will keep up the fight. I’m a marathon runner …