Marathoning out of Charmander Canyon

Marathoning out of Charmander Canyon

Almaty to Charyn Canyon and back, Kazakhstan

The morning would be filled with errands. Even during travels we have to do errands except we get the added bonus of two whoppers and fries from Kazakh Burger King tasting like a Michelin star restaurant burger. Mmmmm.. so good… so familiar. Then we were off to Charmander Canyon. or is it Charzard…. It’s the mini grand canyon of Kazakstan. Charyn Canyon as the Kazakh peeps know it as. We get there late at night and are greeted with a few other ralliers camping at the canyon’s edge. The kiwi’s were there! Team Karma Kar and few others I don’t remember…. We ate some dog food… i mean Cowboy Can Meat… with some beans and a shared can of ravioli and mac and cheese as chasers. Then bedtime.

The next morning was exercise central.

We walked down into the canyon with layers of colorful rock streaking the vertical walls. Who knew rocks could be pretty. At the bottom of the canyon is a freezing cold river and a campground with yurts and a bar. It was a little strange to have something so commercial in the midst of nature. I marked my territory in the canyon…if you know what i mean and then it was back.

We met the kiwi’s who took the upper trail at the bottom of the canyon and then proceed to scale a vertical wall back to our cars…. there isn’t much solid ground on this canyon walls… its two steps forward. one step back. a slip and fall.. crawling on our hands and knees and then an inch of progress up the monumental cliff. Upon the top we were greeted with an amazing views as our breathe slowly came back to us.

At this point we thought it would be a good idea to start our marathon dare, given by my diabolical brother. The dare is to collective run a marathon. Simple enough. Relay style we would each run 6.55 miles… the only caveat if anyone stopped at any point, we would have to do 20 burpees.. So we’ve tried to attempt this dare a number of times…. in our poopy state on the Pamirs… only to have Marshal throw up the night before.. also probably not a good idea considering we were over 10,000 ft up in the elevation… (4000 m up in the air). Josiah took the first leg. He selfishly took the dirt road from the canyon start to the highway. This was problem a mistake. Although the dirt road would be easier on his 40 year old knees… it would be all uphill..as we were DOWN at the base of the canyon and only had one way to go UP from the canyon floor…

Josiah confidently start off his “athletic event” as he calls it. Apparently running is not a sport in the Josiah book of sports. Josiah starts off slowly.. he is determined not to stop. We go on in the car filming him and taking pictures. Noting on how much pain he is in. Driving up a mile up the road, giving Patrick enough time to poop his heart out as Josiah keeps on trucking. There are moments where we think he is going to stop and just keel over and die, but his spirit and distaste for burpees prevails! Josiah finishes his run strong and Patrick is next.

Josiah finish time: 1 hour 19 minutes 18.5 second. Pain level: (how high does the scale go?)

Patrick starts off his first couple miles strong…but the pain on his face just says it all. He may have taken those first couple miles a bit fast. Note: Patrick absolutely HATES running.. .which he mentioned to us numerous times before the start of his leg. But we ignored his qualms and there he was running.. one step at a time. Patrick took the run off  onto the highway. If death and distain could be summed up in a facial expression, Patrick would win the prize. Maybe he could take up acting if his Master’s degree fails. But no amount of hatred of running would stop Patrick from finishing his run without stopping. So far so good, no stops and halfway there.

Patrick’s finish time: 1 hour 6 minutes 10.7 seconds. Pain level: (OMG I feel horrible…but I finished)

Next I was up, I was kinda excited to get out there on the open road and get running. It’s been a few weeks since my last run and my legs were just atrophying while my precious leg muscles were getting smaller and smaller… sad panda. I went off in good spirits with a determination to run atleast a 10 min mile, not knowng how much muscle loss had set in. It was a enjoying slight down hill for the first 5K, then I hit a couple uphill stretches that were absolutely brutal. My run became a trot. Cars are whizzing by and I give my best touristy smile and keep on going. Chasing the infamous runner’s high. Then around mile 4, the nips started to rub against my shirt a bit too much.. mas discomfort… no worries.. just gotta take my shirt off.. (I should’ve put on bandaids)…anyways after that mishap, I finish my run in good speed and Marshal was next.

Jon’s finish time: 1 hour 11.45 seconds Pain level: (That was fun, I feel much better now)

Marshal starts off his run and we all look at each other and have this gut feeling that he will stop… He doesn’t look good. A bit labored. A bit sluggish. A bit throw-up-in-a-few-steps… It doesn’t look good for us. Then as if God was watching over us, the road goes into a beautiful long downhill stretch down a gorge. We were saved. The color in Marshal’s face coming back after a mile or so and we knew we wouldn’t have to do burpee’s unless an injury happen…. or Marshal… at 26.19 miles… Marshal stops..He doesn’t say much as he is huff and puffing… then we know… that diabolical man… 20 burpees from all of us. Really Marshal…. really!?!?! After our burpees Marshal finishes the last 0.01 miles and we do a quick stretch then head off back to Almaty to rest.

Marshal’s finish time: 58 minutes 13.2 seconds

Thanks Marshal… Thanks.. but really thanks, Nathaniel.. That was a fun dare. Helps break up the dudge of the road and brought some excitement back into our trip!

It’s cold, mom…

It’s cold, mom…

Strangest border crossing…completed.

Strangest border crossing…completed.