Friday, 5 September 2014

Running and exploring a new continent.. ASIA!

Running around Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park.
As my running came to an end in New Zealand it was time to move on in my world travels and continue my dream of running in as many countries as possible including ticking off all continents along the way.. As me and Gem moved on we firstly landed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for a few days. Not only was this a new country for me to run in, it was also a new continent as I had never ran in Asia previously to now. Excited to get out the next morning after arriving we got up and headed to the Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park as the streets looked extremely busy. Little did I know that getting to the park (only 5k away) was going to be such an experience! Firstly the heat and humidity was just just killing me, the sweat soon covered every inch of my body and made me look like I had just come out of a swimming pool only in shorts and t-shirt. The streets were just crazy, any one who has been in New York Times Square on rush hour would get a sense of how it was trying to running to the park. After a very hard 45 minute effort we finally arrived at the park where the world famous Petronas Towers over looked in all their glory! I had done some research on ‘Strava’ first to see where the most popular segments was and obviously the City Centre Park had two, one full loop and one shortened loop. Unfortunately the full loop of the park was under maintenance therefore it was all about racing around the shorter loop in the bid to place well in the rankings of Strava. Now fast road running has never been a a strong point of mine but since starting on Strava I have been enjoying the smaller faster efforts too!
On picking up the pace my breathing went really erratic from the off and instantly felt harder than it should! But with it being over 30 degrees and 80+% humidity it kind of made sense.. After a couple of laps we headed back to the hotel to recover and rest up before an afternoon of exploring Kuala Lumpur.

The next day I headed back to the park from the previous day as I felt like I could better my Strava segment effort after knowing what to expect and on the second attempt I some how managed to move up from 5th quickest to taking the course record overall. Much happier with todays effort I continued my run at a slower pace and explored a little more of this cool city! All this heat and humidity will be great training for my upcoming races around Asia with a 50km Trail Ultra in Singapore next month followed by the marathon in Bangkok. Both events are going to be complete humidity and totally different from anything I have done before, but I am really looking forward to taking on this new challenge. 

Nagarkot Look Out Tower.. 
After a few days running around in Malaysia , next saw me move onto to a place what I have dreamt about since being a little boy, NEPAL!! I was so excited to come to Nepal words couldn’t articulate, knowing that it has some amazing trails and of course the Himalayan Mountain Range to play with I was soon out the following the next day to explore a little. Again Nepal was very much like Kuala Lumpur in terms of the streets being well over crowded if not worse.. Totally un-runnable! After the first few days exploring around Kathmandu we decided to take a 3 day break up in the mountains in Nagarkot this small little village is about an hours drive away from Kathmandu and is ultimately 2000ft higher too. It is a beautiful mountain side village and anyone who is into nature and exploring trails it’s well worth a visit! The lower part of the village is around 6400ft with the highest point at just over 7200ft. Also is the closest place to Kathmandu where you can get a great view of the Himalayan Mountain Range including some of the most famous peaks Mt Everest and Mt Annapurna on a nice clear day. Unfortunately at the moment with it still being rainy season the clouds are low and cover most peaks. But this was not going to stop me running around the tracks and trails here, as some of the clouds lift the views are some of the best I have ever ran with! It’s like a 360 degree view of snow capped mountains. If this doesn’t inspire anyone to get out and run/hike/explore I’m not sure they ever will… I was really enjoying my running around this area of the world and even ended up having a little race off with the local Nepalese Army who has a training camp up here, after beating them to the summit of the Nagarkot Tower view point I didn’t stay around too long :-) But again the views were just breathtaking, I was surprised that  the altitude didn’t really get to me too much but maybe a year in the Canadian Rockies last year helped. 
Just amazing every where you look! 

Our final morning in Nagarkot was just perfect! Up at 4:30am to try and get above cloud level to see the morning sunrise over the Himalayan Mountain Range, this had to be one of the best morning runs I have ever had! 

A couple of shots below to show why: 

Wish you were here..??

Just magic! 
Breathtaking in every direction you look.. 

Next up for me is definately a few more runs down in the Kathmandu Valley before heading up into the Himalayan Mountains in search of the Gokyo Lakes and Mt Everest Base Camp…! Excited is an understatement :-) I will have many of experiences and pictures after 3 weeks playing around for sure. But for now back to enjoying life and for filling my life time dream.

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to follow me around the world! I hope of all my experiences and pictures inspire some of you guys to get out and enjoy what the world has to offer!

Paul x   
Some dramatic views around..

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