As part of my adventure racing or simply how I see it, a long workout that could be a day or 6 days long followed by relaxation and recovery, while traveling around and seeing different sites. Recently I took part as the only American to run in the Everest Trail Race in 2019, which is a 6 day run over a hundred miles through the mountains of Nepal. After this race I was bloated, swollen, and dealt with a few injuries that occurred on day 4 of the race that could have been due to running or the fact I was running with about 12 pounds, give or take, of gear for 100 plus miles, or even the fact that there was not 1 kilometer of flat ground to run on within those 100 miles. Regardless of what happened or what caused it, everyone needs some time to recover. It had been an epic year starting with my first triathlons to completing 2 Ironman races (New Zealand and Boulder Colorado), a half Ironman, and now a multi-stage trail race. My body was due for a long recovery and relaxation.
The mountainous tasks of training all day for an entire year for multiple different type of events adds up on the mind, body, as well as friendships and family. Some people can do this for years, I sure could have if finance was not a issue, I had unlimited time off, or the Coronavirus wasn’t taking over the world. When you train for weeks, months or years you need to give yourself a little break to stay sane and healthy. Not to mention to continue to love to do these events.
I knew I needed a chance to recover going into my race in Nepal, so I booked my relax and recovery time along the Amalfi Coast, Nice, and Paris. From finishing the race in Nepal I spent one night in Lukla having dinner and drinks with some fellow racers I got to know. It is crazy to think you can meet and get along with people you have never met and be with them for 6 days running on crazy terrain and having the time of our lives. For some they barely spoke English and for those that spoke English were from many different areas of the world. Some runners were professional some were just in it for the fun, experience, or torture depending on your idea of fun. This was in part, also considered the beginning of my recovery and relaxation. Who knew you could meet some many new friends so easily with only one thing in common, running.
Once we left Lukla and made our way back to Katmandu and the miles started to take their tole. My legs and feet were completely swollen and my foot hurt so much I could barely walk on it and there was no way I could put a shoe on due to the swelling. I was limping pretty slowly through the streets and venues in downtown Katmandu with my new friends. My iPhone had crapped out on me and I needed a new screen as the old one wouldn’t hold a color for more than a few seconds. I had all my photos on there and didn’t want to lose them. I ventured off from the group to get a new screen replaced, which is scary since I didn’t know where I was, where I lived, and the general sense of direction within the downtown area was next to nill. Luckily they were able to switch it out, but when it came to me remembering my pin code to get into my phone, I failed. I retried several times and then the worst of things that could happen I was locked out. The phone was set to factory default settings, I had no internet, and I had to navigate back to the hotel via a vague memory. Luckily I made it!
After somehow making it back to Hotel Shanker I was able to connect to WiFi and pull the latest backup. This backup was over year old and I lost most numbers, all my apps, and my itinerary. It took hours to restore to that backup since the internet connection was incredibly slow compared to the US, plus pulling from a backup isn’t the fastest thing in the world to do. I only downloaded the few things I needed, which was just enough to communicate to some of the other racers and find out what everyone was doing for dinner and drinks. I connected with Roland and Hans, where we jumped on a podcast to discuss parts of the race and had a general recap on the entire event. This was such a cool experience as Hans has a great podcast in both English and Norwegian. After about an hour discussion we walked down to the hotel bar where we got together with Graham, Charlie, and Ian the race photographer. The crazy thing is I listened to a lot of Ian’s podcasts in the past, yet I had no idea who he was or even what his name was. I took his racing advice since he had one on Everest Trail Race in previous years.
As we sat there having our beers I connected the dots, this was Ian Corless the owner of Talk Ultra! The world seemed smaller than ever. We got to discuss how the race was put on, interesting facts how Nepal has changes in the past 9 years, and where it is headed. Shortly after our discussion Nihad showed up and off we went to grab pizza, burgers, and beers. You would think this is your last night in Katmandu, why not eat authentic cuisine… well we ate it for 8 straight days, 6 of which were when we were running in the mountains. Regular junk food was what we craved and probably needed since we were all protein deprived. This recovery period was starting to be epic!
The next night was the celebration and mainly saying goodbye to all the folks we met and off I was to southern Italy. On my flight I listened more to Ian’s podcast, it was even better now that I got to meet him in person as well as spend 9 days around him throughout the race. Finally I arrived in Naples Italy, where I jumped on a train that took me south to Sorrento or an area also know as part of the Amalfi Coast. Once I arrived it was rainy and cold, this was off season and it was in the end of November. I did not mind it one bit, in fact I welcomed it. Living in southern California I don’t see rain very often, let alone get to walk the streets in Italy in the rain. Once I finally found my flat I realized they had tried to get a hold of me when I was in Nepal. The heater to the building was out and they had to send me over to their sister hotel. As usual I kindly head to the new area as if it was part of the big adventure, which ended up being a way better location on the main road just a few blocks from the downtown area. I couldn’t of asked for a better place to stay! So if you go there look for Hotel Sorrento City, they were very helpful, it was a great place, and they had a great breakfast every morning.
I noticed there were lights hung throughout the streets along with Christmas decorations everywhere including a giant Christmas tree in the middle of the towns roundabout. I asked the lady at the desk when the lights would be lite, thinking it would be sometime in December when I would be gone, but she said Friday night (the day after the American Thanksgiving holiday). It was perfect, it was my last night in Sorrento before I ventured off to Capri. So I was excited to spend the next few days there and end off with the tree lighting.
I would wake up early and head down to a coffee shop that was off the beaten path, full of locals. This is something I try to do often to stay away from touristy things, I like to experience the real life there, not the make belief tourist traps. It was relatively rainy most my time in Sorrento, but it also made it really spectacular. I still walked through the random streets, stopped at local shops, and I would venture out to see a few sights on foot. This was semi challenging since I was slightly injured from my race. It was also really tough to see other runners as I was walking, I much rather run through a city I am visiting rather walking through or driving through.
I found a really cool area that was way off the beaten path. I took an alley all the way down the ocean surrounded by lemon and olive trees. As I walked down the brick road I wasn’t sure if I was even going to make it to my destination. Once I finally got down to the ocean I was able to checkout the old run down castle and the amazing views of Sorrento and the cliff side. As I headed back I realized how sketchy it was for me to walk there. There are no sidewalks, so I was walking on the main road. It didn’t seem bad on the way there since I left rather early and there wasn’t much traffic, but on the way back the buses were running and there were areas that had very little room for a bus and a car to pass let alone for a person to be walking on the street at the same time!
Luckily I made it back with minimal honks and began to tour the city the rest of that day and the next. Finally it was the tree lighting night and I dressed up and set out for a fun night. I met another American there as I sat at one of the restaurants right in front of the Christmas tree. It was very strange to see the streets packed as the previous few days the town was completely empty. The day before I asked the owner of a really great restaurant how long the wait would be during the tourist season, he said it would be at least a 2 hour wait. I walked right in and I was one of three people there in the off season. So it was a drastic change just for the tree lighting when a town of a few became a town of a few thousand.
After the ceremony I walked around the streets enjoying the lights and decorations throughout the town. I had a few drinks at several different places along with a few desserts! It was such a cool night and they played music throughout the town pretty much the entire evening. It has been a long time since I have had such a holiday excitement, so I am truly grateful and I was truly in the holiday spirits!
The next morning I went to my same coffee shop then grabbed my luggage and headed down to the port. I was off to the island of Capri for a day. I was lucky enough the weather held and I was able to get to Capri. Recently there were large swells and the ferry couldn’t get out. Once I arrived it began to rain slightly, but it made it all pretty amazing. I dropped off my luggage in my room that faced the ocean and port. The hotel was super cool and very decorative. It as called Relais Maresca Luxury Small Hotel and it had spectacular views from the room. From there I was off to see the town. It was quiet a walk up to the main area, but worth it. I did see you could take a small train up there or a bus, but I much rather be on foot. Once I was up there I stopped for a espresso and a croissant at a restaurant that overlooked the majority of the island. I felt as if I could read my book there all day.
I wondered around and found a place to grab a pizza, salad, and a few glasses of wine. Form there I was off the see the different treks on the island. There were some really great views of the cliffs leading into the ocean and some really crazy rock formations. After touring around for a few hours I headed back to the main area where I learned they were having their tree lighting ceremony that night. So I made it back to my hotel to change and head back up just in time to catch part of the excitement. Once I arrived I was able to snag a small table to have some food to munch on as well as a few more glasses of wine. They had a local band on the stage playing various local music. I randomly met a few folks that were looking for a place to sit and moment later we were counting down to light the tree as well as the city. It was a similar experience as Sorrento, it was great to be apart of that and all at random.
The next morning I was suppose to be on the first ferry back to Sorrento, but after the swells picked up overnight they had cancelled all but the last ferry, which was around 2 pm that day. It was also a pretty raining day in general, so I stayed at the hotel roof top in a section that was covered where I had more food, wine, and spent some more time reading my book. I couldn’t ask for a more relaxing time. Soon enough I was luckily to catch the first and last ferry out for the day. As I was leaving I noticed that there were folks hanging lights up all over the port. I’m sure it looks amazing all lit up. I would have stayed another day if I could, but I was already double and triple booked stays in some other areas. Normally I am a better planner and not entirely sure how that happened!
Once I was back at Sorrento I navigated my way to a bus stop. I had no idea where to get a ticket, it was almost maddening. Some people said I needed to get it at the train station, others said I had to get it at a local bar, which happened to be closed at that time of day. Luckily I met another American that told me I could purchase it on the bus. I am thankful they were correct as it was probably the last bus for many more hours. On that bus ride I was talking to that same lady and her child whom where traveling around as well. In our talks of the places we have seen there was an old man in front of us and was acting very strange. Shortly after, his wife turned around and told me I was being too loud. For all of you that don’t know me, I am exactly the opposite of that!
Anyways I didn’t change anything as I refuse to be told what to do and in all honesty I was not loud at all. They moved a few seats in front and shortly after that a family came on board with a crying child. I am sure that was way more annoying that my quiet discussion on the cool places I have seen as well as other places I have traveled in previous trips. Let that be a lesson to people, just go with the flow, learn to have fun, and enjoy every bit. Nothing is ever perfect so enjoy the un-perfect!
About 2 hours later I arrived in Positano and toured around there for a day, trekking around the city, taking photos, having wine, and more great food. I then made my way to town of Amalfi. I got to see the famous bridge that is in all the photos. Luckily enough it happened to be sunny at that time as it had been a rainy week and barely letting up. I checked out the beach, art galleries, a church, and various other great places within the city. It was incredibly cool to walk through the many mazes and stairs that take you around the city through the mountain side. I had used google maps a majority of the time, but there were signs and friendly people to help along the way.
When I was wondering around that night I was able to order two dozen bottles of wine from a local winery there in Amalfi. I just so happened to catch the last hour of the winery being open, which consisted of the owner and his wife. She gave me so many tastings, which is probably why I bought the two cases. It was really good wine too. The winery is called Ravello Costa d’Amalfi and I will be ordering from there several more times in the future! Contact me if you want the details!
I also ran into a shop that sells Gelato and makes their own lemonchello. They showed me how they made it, which is about a month process to get a batch. They also had various other types: lemonchello, orangechello, pistachiochello, mocachello, and various others. I tried so many of them and loved them all. They also had a local artist paint on each bottle, so I ended up ordering about a dozen different ones of all shapes, sizes, and flavors. It was a nice surprise when I got home from my trip to have a box of wines and chellos showing up just a few days upon my return, I had no issues and to this day still enjoying them!
From there I went to Minori for a few short hours where I toured around a bit. I ended up booking some time at a spa to help my muscles and body recover. I was still on the struggle bus from the race and I know my body still had a lot of lactic acid built up in my legs. Not to mentioned walking everywhere since the race and adding to the problem. Later that day I ended up in Salerno and hopped on a train back to Sorrento for my flight to Nice, France. All in all this leg of the trip was an epic success!