The night before the race, we travelled 2-3 hours by bus on a rocky bumpy-dirty roads.
I think we finally arrived around 1AM in the morning. We all quickly headed to bed for a 5:30AM wake up call. Each night we would end up in a new village and sleep. The first night had electricity, the second night had none, and the last night also had electricity. The shower area was either from a small hose that had no pressure. Luckily, all the places had a squat toilet versus digging/squatting in the 'field'. I would say that in the conditions we had, it was overall pleasant.
Unlike Vietnam which was in July, the weather was less hot, humid, and rainy. During the night, we actually had to use a blanket because the temperature went down below 75 degrees. Overall, the terrain was long drawn out up hill compared to a quick up and down hilly. I'll go into details on that next...
Day 1 - 41 km
|10||0:05:53||Very fast 10k, I did this actually intentionally since my walking speed is terrible. As I figured, all the fast individuals past me at 13k.. This is the start of when the altitude went straight to the roof.|
|14||0:13:39||The beginning of my second race - walking up a long long hill (20km)|
Somewhere during the race after 15km, my arch started to hurt really badly. Silly me.. I kept on walking. My mistake was to 'NOT' remove the theraputic insoles. I thought the insoles would be helpful, but it became a big thorn and eventually slowed my time (in my honest opinion). I will never use them again: P.O.S. Clincally speaking, I believe my feet are actually fine without them. I did have some leg spasms after 37km; I constantly drank salt pills which would calm down a few km later. I believe it is probably good to drink potassium and magnesium pill the night before which I failed to do.
After running day 1, the village we stayed is really 'outback'. I believe I had Anterior Talofibular Ligament Sprain. I had a few repeatedly sprains on MacLehose and it is possible that I didn't really recover. Whatever the technical term was or how it happened; my ankles were very damaged, so I didn't care as I just had one thing on my mind - sleep! Of course I took a shower, we'll communal shower with very little water pressure. One constant morning event is the 5 o'clock wakeup call by some god damn rooster.
Day 2 - 47 km
In the morning, we travel 40km by road and headed over a ridge. The cloud hugging view with its crisp fresh air was fantastic before the sun melted them away. Once we arrived, we did a little sightseeing which started at the Pha Tok Caves. These are enormous multi-levelled caves set in
limestone cliffs, where villagers hid out during the Second Indochina War. There is a rickety ladder going in which everyone was stopped by a chain and gate preventing us to access the caves before the race. Well, we did get to see a millipede.
I won't bore you with the splits.. The damage of the insoles and my ankle impingment problems were done. I finally decided to get rid of the soles at 18km. One great aspect of running in Lao is the when the school children lined up and gave synchronous clapping as we past by. I even I was passed by 3 other runners. Luckily, there was big downhill on the other side of the ridge. It's not the fact that I am good at going downhill, but more uphill (when it is steep). This is near Phia San, a village which was remote and very quiet people. I heard more roosters than I heard people. Kids would just stand and stare. Well, going up the hill, I was able to pass 2 of the runners and pass another runner after 38km. It felt good and I did less walking...
Day 3 - 7+km
My ankles by now have inflamed especially my left foot. I could hardly even walk.. but, I wouldn't let the talus area of my foot prevent me from finishing. Today was water and rice patty field run day. It was really trail running here. This was very technical and one slip would put you right into harms way of some blood leaching leaches. Some of the runners had blood running down their calves from them grabbing onto their leg and having a blood fest. Fortunately, I was so slow that I didn't fall.. well, wait. I did fall and it happened to be in a river. I lost my footing when crossing a 3 log bridge and bam! I fell sideways and back into the river. Luckily, it was deep enough not to hurt except my camera :(. Thanks Joseph Osha~ You saved my life by helping me out of the trenches. It was good fun~~ really.
My final thoughts as 'pretraining for the Maclehose Trailwalker':
1. Tape up your feet, it did wonders and I only had a very small blister which didn't really form.
2. Bring plenty of salt and magnesium/potassium and start consuming them the day before the race.
3. Don't stop your activities after a race like this. Keep moving~