Rewind, what are you doing on Kauai?
Six years ago we had a vacation in Hawaii and decided we would return every three years. We figured if we put away $1,500 a year and planned on eating cat food as seniors we could do this. Six years slipped past with the budget going to other trips based around my Ultra races and family visits. This year the Teriyaki Chicken came home to roost and we decided to return to paradise. So here we are.
In little over a month from now, May 13th to be exact, I will board a plane to take me the rest of the way across the Pacific. I will be going to China to run two races. China is a day and a half ahead of Seattle time. Will I adjust? Will I rise and sleep with the sun or will my internal clock rule the day?
I am hoping my body goes to sleep on the plane and reboots upon arrival.
Rewind, what? China?
Yes! Chi-frickin-na! I was invited to the second running of the Shangri-La Marathons 100k in the highlands of Yunnan Province. Think, Eastern Himalaya, Tibetan Plateau. Yak, monasteries, pilgrims, butter tea, high altitude. Oh, that's right, altitude, that is going to be an issue. Race is held between 7,000 and 12,000 feet. I will not be acclimated to the altitude, culture, language, food, water, time, or toilets. The only things I will have of comfort will be other runners. The language of running is international. Plus, I will be accompanied by Co-race- director, Terry Sentinella, Portland elite Yassine Diboun and Ultra running legend Nikki Kimbal.
Race website is: http://shangri-la-marathon.com/ It looks sooo dang cool.
My generous hosts also wanted me to run another of their races, the Conquer The Wall Marathon six days prior to Shangri-La. I at first said no as it seemed a bad idea to race that soon before a 100k. Then I realized my folly. Run a race on the Great Wall of China? Hello chance of a lifetime! I said yes but only to the half marathon, then I saw the course! It is all stairs! Jeepers. The winning time from last year was 3:30 something for the half! I down graded to the 10k. I will be stopping and taking pictures along the way.
Elasticity of time is going to be key for China.
I leave on a Friday morning, I arrive on Saturday evening. Conquer The Wall 10k is early Sunday morning. The only way to adapt is to become one with one's place. I think this is a valuable lesson for life. I've found running long races is a great exercise in being where you are. Sometimes it feels like the storm is your new reality or the heat will be here forever. Giving in and accepting what life gives you at the moment calms the mind and allows the body to follow. Fighting or over analyzing wastes energy.
For now, I've accepted my new reality to be this beautiful tropical island.
Big thanks to Merrell, Drymax, Julbo, 7Hills running shop and Globespun Gourmet