Saturday, 6 February 2010

Tussock Traverse 27k trail run

Last Saturday I ran the Tussock Traverse, something a bit different and a great way to see a new bit of NZ, plus it would be a decent training run! This 27km point-to-point climbs through the dip between two active volcanos in the Tongariro National Park, namely Mt Ruapehu on our left shoulder and Ngaruhoe on our right. 

It was an incredible event and has opened my eyes to how tough trail / fell racers are, no wonder Brownlee is so damn good.

examples of the crazy terrain...

The first 2k were straight up, see pic below for the start line between two flags, I set out at what I thought was a fair pace (just above walking!), by 2k I was around 5th, then we turned off the 4*4 track and it got silly.  Apparently this is a relatively easy course, but I was impossibly slow going down over the scree and rocks.  I got overtaken by 4 or 5 others on the downhill and that was pretty much it for the next 25k.  Push hard when it was flat and I could actually run and take back a few places then lose them on the downhill.

After about 5k I started to get cocky and decided I this was easy, I looked up for a moment, to see how I was doing and promptly fell flat on my face.  It's not like running on the road!

By 20k I was in 4th and I think I just sneaked into 3rd for a few minutes before a local chap from Welly and a 17yr old girl (thankfully she is an amazing up and coming mountain marathon runner in NZ) overtook me heading down towards the finish, I had nothing left and crossed the line in 5th.

Finish time of 2:22 for 27k (5:15k's..) but the most incredible part was an average HR of 174bpm! That's 10k HR for over 2hrs.  No wonder I was ruined.  It was one of those finishes where you collapse, stand, collapse, and then jsut don't know what to do with yourself.  20min later I pulled myself together enough to cheer Leonie and Helen across the line and collapse again onto the grass with a brew and a sausage sizzle - Kiwi's know how to look after their athletes!

Next day I was in Taupo to check out the IM course and somehow managed a 5hr brick session, including a full lap of the run course (half marathon).  Needless to say this week I've not been running much. 

I guess it can only make me stronger - as it didn't kill me!

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