After months of email correspondance with Bruno Poirier, the race, I felt, was finally confirmed, with his words "Hope to run with you on the paths of heaven..."
Prior to the flights, was preoccupied with work, and making sure everything is OK. This left me in a state of almost total mental breakdown. It lasted through the next day after arrival.
Race day T-2. It was a long and steep climb way up to the Shing Gompa lodge. Felt tired, out of breath, with the evening sun bearing down on us. Felt dizzy too. There was a sign warning tourist of the dangers of AMS. Seems like I have most of them.
Took a long stare at the night sky. We were at 3300m. Everything was clear. I couldn't identify the countless stars here. Looks very different back home. But I could make out the milky way.
Sat alone, while waiting for the sun to rise above the mountains of Gosaikund. Blissful.
Acclimitization run to Gosaikund pass at 4370m with Claire. I was curious to go higher to see the lakes. The lakes have a clear deep greenish tinge. Didn't stay too long at the lodge near the main lake. Ran down at full speed along the steep trails, leaping and bouncing. No mistakes here, or down you go.
Race day 1: Crossing the snowy pass of Gosaikund. The peaks now seems nearer. Was eager to descend, but also felt leaving the nice scenery, a bit too fast. Descended in dizziness, but nothing serious. Had to descend in 2 hours of darkness. Not everything is going down. Had to cross countless vertical slopes. Thank God for a team sherpa who accompanied.
There was light from the finishing lodge. But the light seems so high up. How far to go? I was moving sideways, climbing up, trying just to keep it going. When I finally climbed the last few steps, I felt a bit angry to have taken so long. Then I entered the dining hall. Everyone was seated, waiting for dinner in the smoke filled room. I didn't knew if I was dreaming, or was this real?
Race day 2: Watching Phu dorjee and Upendra Rai blasting down the route with ease. They are among the best in Nepal. Reached Melamchipul after dark. I had vommited once due to exhaustion. Besides the distance was more than 40km in this mountains. Collapsed onto the bed. Couldn't eat dinner.
Race day 3: Opted for the bus. Some of the strong crazy runners did the full thing in 12 hours!
Race day 4: Felt renewed. I could race with some of the veteran french runners uphill, and also downhill. We were literally racing up steep slopes, with backpack and all. If you were to asked me if I will be doing this here, I could have said no way. It was too dangerous. Margin for error must be zero.
Nearing the Bigu Gompa (Buddhist temple), I wasn't sure of the way. A young girl guided me up. Today was good. I reached in daylight.
Race day 5: Descending for the start. I couldn't help to notice how serene and beautiful the dotting villages around here. To the north, the mountains seems like a fortress of wall, and with valleys sweeping down. The finishing lodge we stayed that night was hit by a thunder/hail storm. The sky seems angry.
Race day 6: From the start, I had trouble keeping up with the rest. Some blisters on the feet. So, I stopped, and took in the view. I was surrounded by golden millet fields, sitting on vertical terraces, all alone.
Race day 7: Simigaon was the prettiest village. The Rolwaling area up was even more so beautiful. Every turn was like a scenery painted on canvas. Turquoise streams flowing through the boulders. Mist hovering on the mountains above. Rhododendron forest with hues of green and red. Nearest to feeling of running in heaven.
Race day 8: Upon reaching the camp site, Bruno cheered for me. I was the last, but that doesn't matter. The path up to here, had been colder, rocky, snowy, icy. With altitudes above 4000m, movement was slow. Then we stayed a night in the camps. It was freezing cold. I couldn't sleep, just counting the hours to the break of dawn.
The race has to end here, due to the heavy snowfall. We couldn't progress further, so it was decided we head back. I felt disappointed, but I had to agree with Dominique "It's the rules of the montagne!".