In India: Getting ready to run the Himalayan 100 Mile Stage Race (a 5 day ultramarathon)

L_MG_0386I am in India! It’s hard to believe…resting up in Delhi right now, with a 24 hour stopover here before heading on to the Himalayas, and the starting point of my 5-day, 160 km ultramarathon: the Himalayan 100 Mile Stage Race.

I am here thanks to India Tourism, and the Race Director, Mr. C. S. Pandey, all of whom are taking very good care of me, to both run the race, and to report on the race. My daily reports will be posted on SleepMonsters, the world’s top adventure racing medium, in the next week or so (usually my reports are live, written after each day’s racing, but I don’t think I’ll have the internet connections to do that this time). And I’ll also be writing an article for Jan/Feb issue of Ultrarunning magazine.

Well, it’s hard to ever be able to say you’ve trained “enough” to run an ultramarathon in the Himalayas (especially when you live and train at sea level). But I have actually been training quite well these last three months (since I have discovered that the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome I’ve been battling the last 12 or so years is actually an allergy to dairy proteins – kind of a drag, but it’s a very easy fix!). I know I’ll never be a fast runner – but I’ve been so fatigued the last few years that it has been a real effort to train, and my “runs” had become much more “jog-walks.” But the last few months I’ve been feeling great, and getting back into real running, and beginning to build my speed up – not to where I want it to be, but way better than it was even three months ago.

LIMG_6226And the big thing I’ve been able to do these last few months is lots of hills. Steep ones. Thank you, Port Alberni! Both the uphills (for building muscle) and the downhills (for strengthening knees and keeping your quads from turning to mush on long hard descents) are super-important to train for in a race with as much elevation gain and loss as this one. My cardio is not where I want it to be – I’m definitely still not fast – but my legs are very strong!

So keep an eye on SleepMonsters for my daily reports – and I’ll do another update here when I am back home, too. For now, here is a summary of the route:

Total distance is 160 km (100 miles) over 5 days

Sunday Oct. 27, Stage 1: 39 km (24 miles), starting at 2000 m and ending at 3600 m, with a big down and up making for a cumulative elevation gain of about 2740 m.

Monday Oct. 28, Stage 2: 32 km (20 miles) out-and-back, in “rolling” terrain all above 3200 m, with a cumulative elevation gain of about 1000 m.

Tuesday Oct. 29, Stage 3, The Everest Challenge Marathon: 42 km (26 miles), rolling” terrain for the first third and then a 2000 m descent for the final third. (My quads hurt just thinking about that).

Wednesday Oct. 30, Stage 4: 22 km (13 mile) out-and-back, starting around 1940 m, then down to about 1500 m, then back up again.

Thursday Oct. 31, Stage 5: 27 km (17 mile) starting around 2000 m, then up to about 2600 m, then back down to 2000 m for the finish.

Thanks to SleepMonsters’ managing editor Rob Howard for the photos in this blog post. I’ll post both over there and here when I can!

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