Sunday, 29 November 2009

Trabuco Christening

Today I finally christened my new trabucos. Reluctantly I must admit, but I could not postpone it any longer. It had to be done. But I did get a photo with them all clean and shiny before I took them out. I joined the club's "easy" off road run again. 5-6 miles round the reservoirs high above Greenock. It was a great day, dry, you could even call it sunny.
On Thursday I had done the hill reps with the club in pouring rain. So I guess you could call that a bit more regular running again. Last week I had been in London at a conference, but also meeting my sister and visiting friends. It was great. The only downside was that I missed the club's annual prizegiving. Thomas did attend his 1st club prizegiving though. And he came home with 2 prizes! One for the fastest HM and one for the fastest marathon. Maybe next year he will bring home a goblet?! I live in hope.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

I am back ...

... in my running shoes! After many weeks (I think in fact it might be a couple of months now) of not running (skating instead and then "recovering" or being lazy, holidays) I went out with the club today for an "easy" run in the hills above the Greenock cut. I had been out twice at the waterfront for very short runs lately, just to get myself into the running motion again. Then I had planned to do the Diet Coke version of the Glee Club run yesterday, but as Thomas has been (and still is!) working we had to cancel. So off I went on my own to join the Sunday stroll. Well, there probably is no "stroll" when a club goes for a run, so off we went into the hills and onto a course that will be the Xmas race course. I had thought of putting my new Trabuccos on, but then decided against it and used my old black running shoes. Good choice as we went through numerous bogs. Then suddenly I heard, we'll do a time trial for the 2nd loop of the course! Time trial?! It is a Sunday stroll! Luckily someone had a hangover and I managed not to come in last, sneeking in just before her. At the end of the 5-6M I was knackered, feeling sick, covered in mud and some scratches after a fall, but I felt like a cross-country runner and was very happy!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

NEPAL 2009

We have returned from our trip to Nepal where we joined a trek to the Annapurna Sanctuary.
The trip was organized by Mountain Kingdoms UK (formerly known as Himalayan Kingdoms), there were 12 people in our group led by KC, a Sherpa by profession who had won the international Sherpa of the Year Award a few years ago. He was indeed a great leader assisted by 3 other local guides and 10 porters.

The trek as such was superb. The scenery is difficult to put into words, the size of the mountains, the vastness and the beauty of it. I am hoping to put a little film clip together and will post it here to give you an impression. For now there will be a link to some photos on facebook at the end.

Our highest overnight point was 4130m, the Annapurna Base Camp or “ABC”. The trek started at around 1000m, but instead of gradually going higher, the trek leads through lots of small villages that are reached by going up and down all the time. There are a lot of “staircases”, built into the mountainside, that let the Devil’s staircase look like a walk in the park.
On one morning alone we climbed 2500 steps up to reach a village, not to mention 2500 down in the afternoon and – yes!, up again the next day! It was harder than I thought though I did not have any big problems with the altitude.

After 6 days into the trek Thomas was known as – yes, “crazy German”! Where have we heard that before? While everyone of the group was glad to have reached the Machapuchare Base Camp at 3700m for an overnight stay for acclimatization purposes, he decided to go for a run! He returned after 1 hour stating that he had actually ran up to ABC at 4130m and back again in 59min! The uphill alone would take us 2 hours of slow walking the following day. Realizing that most people might not believe him, he had scratched our initials into a big boulder up at ABC!

A few days later he and 3 others of the group wanted a “fast day” so we split into 2 groups. The fastest and fittest Sherpa was sent with them (Phuri, he recently summited his 1st 8000m mountain, Manaslu) and only Thomas could keep up with him!
Anyway, not to bore you with any more of the details of our trip, here is a summary:

- Spending a whole day and night at ABC amongst some of the highest mountains on earth and watching a magnificent sunrise
- Walking through sub-tropical forest for days in sunshine and bamboo forest until around 3000m.
- Being invited by Phuri Sherpa after the trek to meet his family in Kathmandu. Thomas & I were given typical Sherpa food and saw how he lived.

- Kathmandu (KTM): a city that seems to have descended into chaos and corruption over the past few years according to the locals. It is unbelievably noisy, dusty and dirty.
- Mt Everest flight: great views over the whole Himalayan range, but unfortunately no close up views of Everest as expected. I did see the cloud shrouded top though!
- I must have brought a bug with me as I have been off work since Monday with N&D. Slowly recovering though.

A trek worth doing and thoroughly recommendable! 2009