Starting in kouk thlok kraom i left the guesthouse at 5:45am, just before sunrise. I was lucky, it turned out to be a hot but cloudy day (it’s incredible humid here) and later on I even had moments of rain (what doesn’t mean that it cools down at all- temperatures stay at around 25-32 degrees every day).
I tried to run but my back was I credibly sore. Although I had worn tight and moisture quickening clothes and applied body glide to avoid chaffing, the skin on my lower back started to come off. I wrapped my sarong around my lower back to avoid further friction but it didn’t make much of a difference. Despite all the research,training, and everything else one can do to avoid chaffing- I could not run anymore. And to cover 35km by walking on a busy road is quite a long and hot day.
I also realised that the section for the next day would be 55km. Possible to run, a nightmare to walk.
Whilst running you somehow move in your very own space and speed. However whilst walking I got a lot of attention from locals and way more interaction in general.
At some point there was a man on the road, holding smth that looked like one of the snakes I have seen quite frequently on the road (road kill un fortunately). By coming closer I realised it was a long bean he gave to me. Judging by his facial expression and eyes he had lost his marbles at some point.
He invited me to his house, what I friendly declined, took the bean he insisted on giving me as a gift and went along.
Around maybe 30min later I sat down for a break in this little cafe.
Minutes later the same guy suddenly stood beside me. He had been following me quietly all the way. And he made no intentions of leaving- just stood there and stared at me. I have to say, after already more than 4h walking through the heat with a sore back and a bit of a crushed dream, unable to run, I was quite exhausted. I knew that I could not continue like this the next day for 55km and nowhere nearer would be any accommodation.
The cafe owner tried to chase the guy away. They called him crazy. He wasn’t to impressed. I started to tell him to leave (gestures mainly- you can imagine my gestures of desperation 😉 ). And he left. Only to returned minutes later. He continues standing just beside the cafe.
I left eventually. Him following. That did make me run again. I got far enough so I could at least not see him. Next accommodation only 10km away. The tiny town of stoung.
To be honest at this point I didn’t quite feel that well anymore and I was trying g to find the best solution- and basically just make wishes for the best possible thing to happen.
And so it did:
A mini bus stopped not far in front of me, the driver having a fag break. He spoke English and was curious about where I was heading to. Inside the bus was a Cambodian mother with her 3 kids. He was on the way to the capital and gave me a free lift to kampong thom, 65km away. Far away from that crazy guy.
So I officially broke up my run after two days. Neither the running, not the heat where the biggest challenges. I can’t run with that much weight on my back. It totally ruins running for me and is simply unpleasant. It slows me down and instead of feeling free it feels mainly restricting.
I don’t know if it’s just the lack of experience or if one can train running a heavy bag. I tried everything I could find to avoid chaffing- if you got more experience or got any tips- please share.
The most important thing for me was to have tried it. I was quite scared of my own dream and it was a big step to go for it anyway- to plan and prepare for it, train, dream and imagine it. And I think I did quite well. 5.5kg in a bag for almost 5 weeks including mainly sports stuff isn’t too bad and I had pretty much packed and thought of for all occasions. The route I planed well- it was realistic in terms of water and food supply on the way. To have no accommodation arranged in advance made it a bit challenging as one can be quite exhausted after such long day but I managed.
I saw a rare and very precious and beautiful side of Cambodia and the experiences were unique and will surely stay special in my memories forever.