hover animation preload

Lukla to Tok Tok
by Denis Oakley in

I woke up in the morning at about 0500 when another group was getting up and getting ready to travel. It was already light and by 0530 I was ready to get up and run. I'd vaguly arranged with Gerry to go for a run with him but he'd had a GI the night before and nothing was definite. Still k nocked on his door but Mark said he'd already gone.
I'd decided to dedicate the morning's run to Ngae. His death had a suprisingly strong effect n me. So as he always ran barefoot I decided that an appropriate homage would be to follow in his footsteps. The ground was a bit tough for me to run the whole run barefoot so I decided to do most in my vibrams and come home barefoot.
The trail is about a third dirt and dust at any point and a two third rock sticking out at odd anbgles. it occasionally is all dirt for a few yards and is regularly all rock for many. Running in VFF's means a lot of concentration on footplacement in order not to hurt your feet. Speed isn't as fast as in trainers and in many ways running a rocky trail is a combination of dancing and picking your way through a minefield. A bad hard placement can hurt in a way that a twisted ankle in a trainer does not.
I ran through the village this time and met Gerry near the village gate. He was running up and down in a 50 yard stretch which was the only flat and smooth part of the village. He'd been at it for an hour apparently and intended to carry on for another 30 minutes. Not my cup of tea and I needed to say goodbye to Ngae.
I ran out to the same place that I had run to the day before - a pretty bridge and was 3 or 4 minutes slower (about 30%). Turning back I started the long climb to Lukla. On my way down I'd chosen a point to take my shoes off - by a bridge with great views looking out over the valley to the snowy peaks above.
When I got there I took my shoes off and knelt on the ground in prayer presing my hands together and praying for a few minutes. It was quite emotional and I continued, thinking of that big grin, until a cock crowed in the valley below. I took that as a sign and rising started running barefoot back to Lukla.
The ground was hard and cold and it was very hard at first. I'm not used to running over such rought ground and much of the time I was reduced to picking my way slowly through the rocks rather than running. The altitude and shortness of breath didn't help. I managed a good pace in somepoints though and soon climbed up to the village.
I got a lot of stares from the Nepalis and I think some respect. Though I'm sure that some were saying "what are the stupid westerners going to do next?" Gerry was gone and I headed back to the hotel for a hot shower - the last for the nexr couple of weeks.
We had breakfast and then Jose, sanjay and I headed down to the end of the runway to see if we could find where the plane had crashed a while before trying to land (if you're interested there is apparently a video of it on Youtube - search for plane crash Lukla). No luck. We then headed off up to Toktok an easy 4 hours up the valley towards Namche Bazaar.
The trekking is very easy as we are taking time to get acclimatised. The slower we ascend the faster we will run. At  least that is the theory. Tday I pottered along towards the rear of the group chatting and taking my time. It was a nice walk up through the valley - the trail dotted with tea houses. We didn't gain much height.
My walking boots are a bit of a disaster - heavy and uncomfortable. I remembered this once I felt the pain - and I think I will donate them to the sherpa's at the end of the trip. All the other kit is working pretty well.
Altitudewise I'm feeling pretty good. I get out of breath (we're at about 10,000) quite quickly and my heart rate goes up quickly. At the same time though I'm feeling stronger and faster than yesterday. I'm feeling tired though - not fatigued. This may be a combination of the pre-travel and travel stress or it may be the mountain air. Lots of people are having naps so it isn't just me. Most though are still jetlagged so....
I'm working hard at staying hydrated and urin is consistently a clear water colour. This is important as the Diamox does various interesting thinhs to blood composition in order to have its effect - and one of the consequences is that you have to drink more than normal to counter act the side effects. The only side effects that I've noticed from the Diamx so far (I'm taking 250mg once a day in the morning on waking) is that on occasion it disrupts my taste buds and food tastes very strange. The other is that a coupple of times I've had a tingling sensation in my fingertips. Both of these are known and harmless side effects.
On the altitude effects itself - the breathlessness and shortness of breath I've already mentioned. My throat is drer and my lips need salve every so often. No headaches to speak of yet and I've had no trouble sleeping - though I think I had quite vivid dreams last night.
I am incredibly hungry though. My body is demanding food at a huge rate. I'm having three good meals a day and supplementing them with more energy bars - energy juice in my camelbak and instant noodles when the chef has hot water. Physiologically I think  that my body has recognised the cold and the altitude and is adapting quite quickly to increease my fat levels. That is the best explanation that I can think of as I am certainly not consuming the same number calories that I m eating. I am in a high surplus - I mean for breakfast I did a bowll of porridge chinese style in about 45 seconds (face in the bowl and spoon bringing food to the mouth continusoulsy at high speed). Then at tea I ate 15 - 20 biscuits immediately after finishing a bowl f instant noodles. Not a normal eating pattern for me.


Post a Comment