KhardungLa Challenge – A challenged run

This was not a run to be running in first place unless well set. Few things that did me in:

  1. Over ambitious
  2. Lack of practice
  3. Lack of acclimatization for the altitude
  4. Tiredness of the body

While registering for Ladakh Marathon I should have got myself registered for Full Marathon. A small desire which creeped up made me push myself to register for the tougher category. All the earlier said were pushed aside.

The day prior to the run we (runners) were transported from Leh to Khardung village. The next day the run starts at 3:00am and we run up from Khardung village towards KhardungLa (K Top) a distance of 32kms. And then run down to Leh a distance of 40kms. Calculations did not seem difficult. Clear the first hurdle and then it is downhill all the way.

After an early dinner we are all off to bed by 9:00pm after another round of briefing. The dinner is provided by them which is simple meal of dal, rice, aloo gobhi and chicken. Not to mention unlimited tea! All fine so far so good.

Morning is when everything turns around. I was getting all my stuff sorted out and about to change to my running gear when my tummy turned, flip-flopped and I ended up vomiting! Probably altitude sickness! It is mentioned that vomiting is one of symptom of altitude sickness. I decided not to change any plans. Put on my running shorts, tee and a jacket for cold. After eating a bread was off to the starting point.

1km up done managed to run/walk up amidst body challenging at all mights and sides. Slowly with the will power which was the only one that could propel forward I moved ahead slowly and steadily. And not too slow too. I kept looking at the km stone and was feeling not all that bad. Energy was definitely draining out. Probably extra glucose could have helped. The other part which was tiring me out was breathing from mouth. This was increasing the dryness and pumping lungs at far higher pace than what it could take.

I managed 20kms upwards in all. Another 12kms to the top and then downhill. Done. Seemed to be doable just that it did not happen in reality. Body buckled and few more times of vomiting. Beyond this there was no reason to continue further. I called it quits and just asked for assistance to be dropped back to Leh.

On a reality check if I was able to do a 20kms climb up I could have done a full marathon in Leh town!

It is not a run which is not possible neither is it all that tough. In the conditions I was in if I was able to do 20kms with training and acclimatization I would have ran with decent timings.

Maybe some day in future!

2 thoughts on “KhardungLa Challenge – A challenged run

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