Friday May 29th.
Twelve months ago, I stumbled upon an adventure run in a place called Bhutan, a country unknown to me at that time, and without hesitation (and after looking it up on the world map) I signed up to what would be a unique and extraordinary experience in a place that measures its gross revenue on happiness.
After months of anticipation, the day finally arrived to catch my flight to Bhutan to participate in the Global Limits 6 day, 2ookm adventure run. I was both nervous and excited......and what an arrival it was.
We were suddenly flying between mountain ranges that soared towards the sky and towards a very small airstrip nestled between the breath taking mountains. Our flight waded and smoothly steered through the valley and clear blue skies to make a quick and efficient landing on the lone air strip. I knew right away that this adventure was going to be special.
We were greeted by polite and friendly locals dressed in traditional attire called 'Gho' and soon we were packed in buses and headed to the capital city, Thimpu where we would spend our first evening at the Hotel and becoming acquainted with our fellow runners and the Global Limits team.
I was very excited to see many familiar faces who were just as crazy as me and although smiling with enthusiasm we all knew what lay ahead, but we never spoke of it. To remain in the moment and positive was a weapon to stay focused and strong...there is no room for doubt when taking on a challenge such as this.
The first day/evening of any race is filled with excited anticipation, giddy reunions, nervous equipment checks and making new acquaintances. Your mind is filled with certain doubts but anxious excitement and your belly has a fire ready to burn for 6 days of non stop running/hiking and the knowledge that anything could happen out there.
We slept well that night knowing that it would be a week until we saw a shower, sat on a toilet or slept in a comfortable bed again. Participating in these adventures always identifies how fortunate we are and how grateful we are for these daily commodities.
On Saturday we set off. But not before we did some sight seeing. We visited what is now the highest standing Buddha in Asia and the we drove to the stunning Punakha Dzong, which would b where the race would start. I was constantly left breathless.
After touring the intricate architecture and fine artistic details of the Dzong, we headed to our first evening of camping. We were to stay in tents by the Thimpu river.
What an amazing location to start the journey...........although very little sleep was had due to unleveled ground and barking dogs.
By 8:00pm, we had eaten a delicious meal of local rice and vegetables cooked by our local team on camp fires, we had listened to the race briefing and already our minds were contemplating the enormity of the journey ahead and final Gear was packed and ready for the 4am wake up call on Sunday....day 1 of the race.