Sunday, 22 August 2010

Mukamuka Munter Madness!!

Perhaps there's some fitness coming back - 3rd place and a race I'm proud of...

Description of the Munter from the BetterThanTV website -

"Keen on a real off-road run that is worth the bragging rights on the Monday? Do you miss that feeling of the lungs searing while you are gasping for air and the legs screaming with lactic acid while knowing that you are still less than half way to the finish (and there's the rest of the hill to climb).....? 

The Mukamuka Munter is your kind of race which is kinda cool because it won't be everyone's kind of race.

Starting at the mouth of the Orongorongo River, the 29km Mukamuka Munter will take you around the south coast of the North Island, over terrain that your ankles will hate you for and then up the Mukamuka Valley to the South Saddle. From there it's a knee bashing downhill to the Orongorongo River and an exit via the Orongorongo Track to the CatchPool Creek DOC base."

4x4 track along the coast to Mukamuka stream
This race lived up to the hype.  About 80 of us rocked up in the middle of nowhere yesterday morning, to pick up our maps and hear out the briefing on how likely we were to get lost and that carrying safety gear was not a joke (my car-share had pointed out people die in these ranges on the way to the race!).

After a mediocre trail run last weekend in Auckland I decided to take my nutrition a bit more serious this weekend and got out my camelback and picked up a few gels, some space rocket (sweets) and some caffeine.

The run follows a 4x4 track 12k around the coast to the mukamuka stream, where we turned in land and literaly ran 6k up a riverbed and finaly a near vertical gully to shoulder the range before dropping down through the bush (there wasn't really a trail) to the Orongaronga stream, where we followed another riverbed for a few k before getting onto a track for the last 8k and then a final 2k dash along the road to the finish.

Damien jsut ahead on an easy bit of mukamuka stream!
I headed out steady, wanting to hold my own but save the legs for the hills, I hit 12k in 55 mins or so and began the slog up the valley.  I turned into the valley in 6th with training mate Damien 30 secs ahead with the 4th place guy.  I quickly bunched up with these two as we picked out way over the boulder field that was the stream bed.  .

Mukamuka stream bed
Entering the gully
Towards the top of the valley, before it turned into a gully scramble I passed these guys and another chap caught me. We scrambled up the gully making the best route we could swapping the 4th and 5th position as we each took good or poor choice in terms of the best way to get up

Looking back down the Muka valley
South Saddle
Orongoronga valley ahead

I was able to take a few pics on the way up the climb but once we started the descent into the Orongorogo valley I needed both hands to stay upright. Dropping down to the valley another guy caught up with us but we over took the guy in 3rd who'd been struggling with cramps.

Out into the open valley floor at last I managed to push on from the others taking 3rd place and pushing away.

Orongorongo river
Unfortunately I looked over my shoulder after 5 mins of good running and realised the others had turned off behind me and I'd missed the exit of the river bed onto the Big Bend track.  Retracing my steps I quickly got onto the correct path (checking the garmin I only lost about 2.5mins).  Passing a bunch of trampers a few mins later they informed me I was now in detour had lost me 4 places.  I took a gel and started to work hard on what was at last a good runable track.  The remainder of the run was uneventful, it was all I coudl do to lift my legs enough to save myself from tripping over tree routes.  I managed to push through 6th, 5th (first women) and 4th then got a few glimpses of the 3rd place guy (the cramp victim) through the trees.  I caught him just as we were popping out of the forest onto the last 2k on the road.  We ran together for a k and then saw noticed the 2nd place guy up ahead.  I knew we had about a k to go and he was about 150m ahead.  I pushed on away securing 3rd and ran a 3:49 last k but just ran out of road and couldn't quite make 2nd.  3rd place and 3hrs7mins for a bloody tough 32.5k(Garmin) is good enough for now.  Great to feel some strength over such a long event, it just goes to show the difference a few gels will make you.

Two weeks away I've a road half marathon which will be a bit of a shock after all the trail running I've been doing but Dave has me back running on the road and doing some speed stuff so i should be a bit sharper by then.

Time to ride my bike now though!

Double hammy cramp. Go Robin...

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