I have been on a longer Asia trip with a very combined mix of activities.
I started with going to Nepal for a two weeks hut to hut run/fastpacking trip. The mountains are truly amazing there and the weather was sunny and beautiful every day, but with very cold nights, especially higher up in altitude. Together with two friends I did a loop that is called the three pass loop which goes over three passes which lies on 5300-5500 meters elevation. Nepal feels like the perfect place to do easy fastpacking/running between huts. You don’t need to carry much, some extra warm clothes because the nights are very cold, but otherwise there are places to stay, food and drinks all along the treks. I was surprised to not meet more people who tries to move a little quicker and lighter. The standard is to go with guide, porters and massive packs.
I enjoyed these weeks so much. Hiking/running and cover a new distance every day and exploring a new place is really my favorite things with traveling. It was two weeks with not my ordinary more structured training with intervals, hill reps and weights, but every day was pretty much a longer day. Due to the altitude the heart rate was high as fast as I was going uphill, so even though I had many days with slow moving, I still had a lot of hours which was hard training.
Still, it was not a normal buildup for a world championship, which was coming up in Thailand and where I was going to run the 80 K trail race. I left Nepal a week before the race and that felt smart since the first few days felt very hot and humid and I was completely drenched in sweat after a run. I thought that I felt a little better running than earlier this summer, but still my hopes were not too high. I hadn’t finished an ultra since 2018 and earlier in the summer when I tried to race CCC 100 K in Chamonix, I couldn’t do it. I was completely destroyed after 60 K and had to drop out.
My main goal was actually just to finish in a decent way, which felt like low expectations, but I wasn’t very confident after running a lot of bad races.
When the race started and we went into the first uphill, I noticed I felt good, it felt pretty easy. It came as a surprise. I realized that this is exactly how the beginning of a longer race should feel like. I used to feel like this, but lately beginning of races have felt almost like an all-out uphill race.
I had some doubts that maybe I should not be running with the lead woman, but then I just got absorbed into the race. It was so much fun to actual be competing for the win in a race again. I didn’t last to the very end, a fast opening in the race until 60 K, the heat, dehydration, low energy and cramp made the last 2,5 hours the hardest I ever experienced in a race. I fought everything I could to keep that second place and it was such a relief when I got handed the Swedish flag 100 meters to go and I finally could drop to the ground passing the finish line.
Now I have extended my Thailand stay a few weeks, taking some down time from running and training before the ski season starts. I still feel pretty destroyed in the body, but I can’t think of a better place to recover than here with amazing Thai food, fruit drinks, yoga studios and massage places in every corner. It was a long time ago I had a proper season rest as well that wasn’t due to forced time off with injuries and sickness, so I’m going to enjoy my last week here to the fullest!
📸 iRunFar/Bryon Powell