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The day I arrived I met two other runners, Dave and Steve, both primary school teachers from Melbourne. It was great to have them here as they were both keen to get out and about to explore Kathmandu with the few extra days we had.

The next morning we decided to head out for a run whilst looking around. It was a weird feeling running through Kathmandu, we got a lot of stares. I wasn't sure if we were doing something wrong or if it was just weird to see three foreigners running in short shorts. Everybody in Nepal wears trousers even in summer; I wasn't sure if it was a religious thing or if it’s something you just don't do, like doing the supermarket shopping in your boardies only.

We came across a massive field packed with people playing cricket, badminton, volley ball (with no nets) and soccer. The runners/walkers would walk the perimeter of the field - it was much easier to run in here than in the streets. The traffic and pollution made it difficult to breathe and keep up a steady jog. We ran three laps of the field and played some cricket with a few of the locals. Everyday these guys come down to the field from 5am-9am to play before work.

By the time we got back to the hotel it was time for breakfast then a swim. The hotel Shanker really was an oasis amongst the surrounding chaos.

The next day Steve, Dave and I planned to do a mountain bike tour out of the city and into the hills.

This was an awesome way to see the surrounding areas of Kathmandu and get away from the heavy traffic and pollution. Right now Kathmandu is going through some major road constructions throughout the city - it is amazing to see the roads’ edges now literally on the door steps of shops leaving no room for a footpath. There is no such thing as safety here, it's just 'get it done' and it doesn't matter how. People digging holes on the road have no barrier or even a cone to alert the traffic. Most of the animals roam free in Kathmandu. There are a lot of dogs lying around, not fazed by the people walking by. Cows and goats were also roaming around blocking traffic and almost causing a few accidents. The pollution is phenomenal - I have never seen so much rubbish. Every morning the Nepalese sweep the streets in to piles and then burn it right there. The smell of burnt plastic was very common on this journey.

Tomorrow night the rest of the runners arrive at the hotel, it's going to be a fun few days meeting the rest of the running field before the trek to Base Camp begins.

Chris.

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Kathmandu2 Kathmandu2Flying into Kathmandu was amazing - the city stretches for miles through a valley beneath some impressive mountains. As we descended the smoggy haze became more apparent.

As I stepped off the plane the dust and pollution instantly made it hard to breathe. I quickly made my way into the airport and headed through customs. I paid my 40USD for a visa and went in search of my baggage.

I was expecting no sign of my baggage, but again I had no problems with my baggage and customs hadn't taken my running nutrition for the ultra marathon which was good.

Next step was getting to the hotel. I walked out into the sweltering heat still in trousers from the flight. Taxi drivers from all directions were hassling me but I continued through acting like I knew what I was doing. I was expecting a hotel van to be there but somehow I managed to spot a man holding a small piece of paper with my name on it. I waved and he came over and helped with my baggage. What I was in for next I was certainly not expecting.

The ride to the hotel was crazy. The amount of vehicles on the road and the endless horns tooting at each other was intense - I have never experienced anything like it. There's organised chaos but this was just CHAOS.

I made it to the hotel, checked in. The thought of going out to explore was frightening. Hopefully after a few days I will get used to this.

Chris.

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Here's the recording of my interview with Radio New Zealand yesterday.

 Chris.

 

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Finally the day has arrived - I fly out tonight at 11:30pm to Kathmandu via Singapore.

Yesterday I finished a 46km run and felt very good. I learnt from my last mistake and ate a small bowl of rolled oats and a banana before the run. It was a lot cooler than previous mornings and there were a few showers along the way so that made a difference.

I spent most of my final day rushing finishing any last jobs that needed to be done. It's a weird feeling, after 6 months of training the day that seemed so far away is finally here. It’s been a long day waiting to catch a plane at 11:30pm, I have had that anxious/excited feeling, kind of like waiting all day for a job interview. You just want to get in there and get it done.

Next blog post will be from my destination Kathmandu!

Chris
 

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It's Sunday night and I have had a massive weekend. My legs are sore and I am physically exhausted. I had planned to do a 4hr run on Saturday morning and then back it up the next day with a 2-3hr run.

On the Saturday morning I knocked out the 22k loop in the forest. It was hot, dry and my nutrition wasn't on point. I got to the point where I was walking so much and feeling down that I decided I would leave it at that and attempt to complete a 4hr tomorrow morning.

I woke up at 5am it was still very dark outside. I thought that if I had a big bowl of rolled oats with berets and banana I would have long lasting energy for the whole run.

Turns out I ate too much. 1hr into it I had a sore stomach and felt very heavy on my feet. I struggled through the entire run finishing 40k in about 4hrs 20mins about 30mins off my 50k race pace a few months earlier.

Since my injury I haven't completed one long run that felt good at the same pace I ran the Nerang 50k. I was beginning to wonder how the hell I managed to finish the 50k in 4hrs 50mins.

This is my last week to get everything sorted equipment wise. It's difficult to know what I will need on the hike and run as the conditions are very unpredictable. I am planning on completing my last long run next Saturday hopefully up near the 50k mark.

Chris.
 

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Altitude Training.JPGSo far so good, I have had no repercussions of my hamstring injury since starting training again.

This week has been interesting at Altitude Training. I have been gradually working my way up in altitude at each session.

Every time the altitude setting is increased during training the harder I have to work to maintain the same speed as there is less oxygen intake, therefore less oxygen is feeding my muscles. During each session my oxygen saturation level is measured and this is monitored and recorded as a percentage reading. A normal reading at sea level with a resting heart rate is always high 90s, for example. During training it is safe to sit at 80+%, any lower and you will become light headed and dizzy.

The interesting thing I found was that was my blood oxygen saturation level was lower when I walked as opposed to running. The other thing that seemed abnormal to my Altitude trainer was even though at I reached the low 70s, I was still able to function normally and did not have any symptoms of altitude sickness. We decided to continue pushing higher till we reached the same height as Everest Base Camp 5400m.

It's going to be interesting to see how I react to the altitude after 6 months of training on an altitude machine and living at sea level. 

Three weeks and closing, the countdown is on. Here's a wee snippet of my training...






Chris


 

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ForestFinally I am back into running, I managed to get out on the Forest trails for the first time in almost 3 weeks. This time I convinced my gym trainer, Joel, to come and see what running in the Forest is like compared to on the road.

We set out on a 17km loop run that has the odd flat section but 90% of the time you were either running up or down. It was a particularly hot day and the fact that we started at 11am didn't help as we battled through lunch. After almost 2hrs of running and the odd hike we finished the loop. Joel got through it very well finishing strong, his comments after the run were "you’re a machine - I don't know how you do it".

This last three weeks have flown by. With only three weeks to go till I fly out, I had to ramp up my training and get back to where I was. My coach and I restructured my program to suit the time I had left and my current fitness state.

The next block of training is a slight taper with the weekly training easing but altitude training and the longer runs on the weekends are still progressing.

Other than that I am happy to be back on track and with enough time to still reach my goal I am feeling confident.

Chris.

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August 2013

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