My Thoughts

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June 09, 2012

​Well its been a crazy 60 hours to say the least.  On top of four consecutive flights covering 40 hrs of travel time I managed to leave my passport in the seat pocket in front of me on my final leg from Urumqi to Kashi.  Its really not surprising considering how delirious and sleep deprived I was upon landing.  Most other competitors have been here for days/weeks acclimatizing.  Not Chmiel.  And the ironic thing – if I was in the states Id say my chances of recovery would’ve been very small.  But not in Western communist China.  After an exhaustive search for a translator, many people shaking their heads not having a clue what I was talking about and some serious black market negotiation at the airport the Passport was located on the ground in Urumqi last night and flown back to me on the last flight in.  What a break.  To that kind man at the airport I thank you.  And now as i meet fellow competitors for the first time im ‘that guy’ from Boston who lost his passport. Sweet.

So we just arrived to checkpoint 1 and I can say its nothing sort of spectacular.  Stepping foot off the bus we were greeted by hundreds of locals, military officials, children dancing in circles, etc.  That’s what really makes these events so special.  Were tucked away in a river bed surrounded by the majestic Tian Shian mountain range in all directions.  Phenomenal.  And im super stoked about my tent…cast of characters to say the least with inappropriate joke after inappropriate joke.  Thats what happens when you mix Americans, Brits, Aussies and South Africans in close quarters.

So Ive gotten a good look at the competition and it looks very tough.  There are 163 runners from 42 different countries in the field.  Ive confirmed at least four past champions. The Spaniard Vicente looks to be the heavy favorite.  Like all great ultra runners he’s incredibly fit and very light.  As is his pack. He’ll be very tough to keep up with but that’s what I’ll be attempting to do.  Got my pack down to 6 kilos.  By far the lightest its ever been.  Absolutely no frills or luxuries.  One pair of socks.  One pair of underwear.  One shirt.  For the entire week.  Happy I did go with a sleeping pad though as the terrain is very rocky.

Temperatures are expected to be warm but not scorchingly hot.  With tomorrow being the easiest stage of the race I expect the pace to be blistering.  I’m not sure what the total distance is yet but rumor is about 37k…or 23 miles.  I’m gonna go out hard and try to lay it down around 3 hours.  I didn’t come out here to take it easy.  Thx everyone for your continuous support.  Hope to report back tomorrow with good news.  Love you all.

Go C’s!!!!


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