The morning after the race I woke up with a severe sore throat, sharp to swallow and just plan sucked! I felt it coming on the last 10k of the race and sleeping on the way back to Leh and now it was totally killing me! I went to the medical team to see if they had any meds and after a quick exam and some talking I was given a Z-pack and took some serious amounts of ibuprofen. I had gone to breakfast with Molly and Bailey but could barely swallow and nothing was fun to eat, the first time I didn't finish anything on my plate since being in Leh! Bummer! I later then went back to bed and slept for half day waking up and feeling much relief! I mean it was still there but the sharp pain was gone and a lot less swollen.
As I started to pack for home I was thinking in moments of the overall race and how Molly has accomplished completing the race, even when she was at her worst. Now remember, I crewed Molly in 2009 Badwater and I remember seeing some pretty low down and out times but this race took her farther and at times in longer periods of the what I call the Suck Zone! I mean she literally had thrown up 5 times, that I know of, within 24 hours! One specific time she was getting sick she asked home many times had she gotten sick while I was pacing her? I replied, Do you want to know within the last 24 hours, the last hour or since I have been pacing this time? haha. poor thing! but all in all Molly is a very Patient runner! Persistent! and Dedicated! I think in tough races/events like these, if you lack any one of the 3, your toast!
Packing was just about finished and the afternoon approached and soon dinner with a big celebration victory bon-fire party was to occur. There was also going to be lots of beer so that was a plus!
First the Party: the party was great! everyone celebrating, having some drinks and enjoy the guitar that was being played by various locals and some of the crew from Lisa's team! After the presentation of the finishers trophy, which is way cool! no belt buckles here, plus you get a nice cloth hanging finishers certificate and shirt. Then there was the finishers picture and a few words from each of the runners all stating there difficulties and the having experienced the toughest race they ever completed, which is saying a lot because these runners have completed a lot of tough races in their running careers! The night was fun and again lots of beers were appreciated!
The Race: First off, let's remember this is the 2nd year this race has been offered. Last year only 3 runners accepted the challenge and only 1 finished! People have to remember that this race takes part in a 3rd World Country! in a remote part of India, so usually and customary things are simply not offered. Since it is the 2nd year to be put on, the logistics of putting the event together are still being worked on and so a participant should be open and flexible to change, with that the great race director, Rajat Chauhan is still working on his perfect race team. It takes a lot of help and getting the right people for the jobs needed is tough, this year he had some great help but some of the race help thought they became the race director in making decision when only the RD can make the decisions and along with those people some of there attitudes were just not comfortable or fit with the overall attitudes of the participants so there was drama and tension at times. With time Rajat will have things worked out for the better of the race and participants, but just remember, if you select this event, you experience not only one tough ass event but a great destination and experience for your life of memories. Not only will this event challenge you in terms of distance but altitude and obstacles such as exhaust from many diesel truck/cars as they pass on the race course!
City of Leh: the city is 11,500feet so landing here you immediately feel the change in altitude so be prepared to acclimate in the days leading up to the race. The city offers lots of shopping and food, surprisingly the food was very good, Yes, there is curry but there is lot of other food as well. Westernized food as made it way there and again eating around the city was not a hard thing to do, especially, when you find the restaurants that you like, as we did, you just keep going back. The city also has great culture and temples to visit as well as driving up to Khardung La, during your acclimation periods. I also did white water rafting this year and that was fun, cold, but fun.
The hotel we stayed in was an older style hotel but nice, toilets, running water, sometimes hot water but the beds were overall hard, which I think that is the standard in the city as Molly's room was the same. Molly's hotel was a little nice in the rooms but they did not have a shower head in the bathrooms and therefore a splash type bath had to be taken, I had a full shower head and it was nice to have a regular type shower. You can pretty much get around everywhere on food in the city, if you decide to go farther and up to Khardung La than you will need a taxi service.
Personal: I love this event! I loved Leh and the people! Yes, the city was very interesting in dealing with dusty roads, diesel exhaust, squat toilets, and other fine changes in our standard lives but that's what it's all about! Even though there was drama and some of the attitudes of the race organizers were a little much to deal with it, it was nothing that couldn't be handled or avoided for less stress. One of the toughest parts a participant will have to deal with is staying health in the days prior to the race and acclimating to the altitude.
I am also excited to see the documentary that Barry Walton, who filmed Profiling Hurt, is working on for this event! He did an exceptional job, filming, interviewing and taking pictures! It will take him some time to get the final work out there but I will be keeping you posted on when its available, most likely a year he estimated.
Experiencing not only a 16 hour flight but a different world in Delhi and Leh has been one of the best things in my 40 years of life experience and I thank Molly for everything! I also thank Dez, who always has supported me in all my endurance sports since day 1. Now both her and Molly will have to return in 2012 as I look to take down those mountain passes and become part of an elite group of finishers!