TuM/NB Double

My Tarawera/Northburn Double– yeah, not really the “double” ……..

20130309_113330

Swampy Ridge Track

But before Tarawea, this story begins in a far, far away place. A magical land, famed for its pissed uni students, tropical weather and a very expensive stadium that no one really wanted….  In addition to these claims to fame, Dunedin is also the home town of international bad ass runner Anna Frost and thus the first port of call for a collection of the International Salomon Running Team. The chance to run with the WeeMan and Frosty on their home trails, see some old friends and meet some new ones was too good to pass up so I headed south, car camping in Trotter George on the way and meeting the team early morning. We headed up the Pineapple Track and to Flagstaff and then on to the aptly named “Swampy”. We had thick fog and zero views, but I was far from disappointed. Continue reading

Arthur’s Pass Scrambling

Arthur’s Pass Scrambling

Just before Christmas Robert Jarvis gave me a call- it’s always nice when Rob calls as he is always up for a good mission in the hills. Ironically, at the time I was standing in the living room of Rob’s World Rogain partner’s house- Matt Bixley. While some might think Rob’s biggest achievement was the silver medal he got with Matt in the 40+ age group at the 2012 World 24 hour Rogain Champs, I strongly disagree. I think it was putting up with Matt for 24hrs…… (Only joking Matt, I just wanted to work you into this post so you did not feel left out after missing out on an epic outing yesterday).

Anyway, Rob and I finally keyed up a run, our first together in some time as Robert had done his ankle in pretty bad a while back. Robert’s cousin Karl, fresh off a 5hr45 Kepler was keen also and we set off for APNP. A few years back, when I first started running again and was living in AP Village, I did the Avalanche Peak- Mt Bealey traverse. It was a  trip that neither Karl nor Robert had done before and I was keen to do it again to see if I could improve on my 4hr30 time.

The Arthur’s Pass info website names risks: “Height exposure, loose rock & ice, narrow sections” and speaks of the Razor Ridge “at times on a ridge no wider than 20cm, with 80 metre drops on both sides”. In addition to that fun, we also had amazing views and I even did a little “shoe skiing” coming off Avalanche Peak.

It was an excellent day out in the hills- 10.8km, 3hr54min and 1450mD+.

After a nice training week to finish off 2012- 17hrs, 4270mD+, 125km, I felt like this week built on it- even if it was smaller- 12hrs45, 4000mD+, 97km. Both weeks included 3 very good quality speed/tempo sessions.

Last night I watched a movie of the 2012 edition of the UTMF- the next big race that this new block of training is working towards. It is 50mins and very very much aimed at non running viewers, but is still well worth a look.

A rest day or 2 next week and then off to Totaranui for a week, and maybe a jog in the St James with Jez Brag.

Post CDR/Pre Yurrebilla Trail

Things have been going well since the CDR almost a month ago. I, surprisingly, came out of the race better in many respect than what I went into it and the recovery has been good. The CDR was the #1 focus from about mid December, even though I didn’t really feel like I knuckled down and trained for it until early April. The blow out at BR was maybe not ideal, but was a blast. So next up is the Yurrebilla Trail on September 23rd- a 56km ultra in the hills behind Adelaide, in South Australia. It’s crazy to think I am hopping on a plane to go to a race again. My Yurrebilla training really only started about 2 weeks ago with some good speed/tempo stuff and easy runs. So far the longest post CDR run has been about 20ish km (if you want to check up on my training?? you can go here).  Pretty excited about the Yurrebilla Trail- new place, new trails and new people- can’t wait to explore the place in what limited time I have in Adelaide. There is a good map/profile HERE of the race.

Other stuff-

Drymax socks have been nice enough to start supporting me! Stoked as they are easily the best socks I have ever used. I had the bottom of my feet almost peal off after the 2011 Routeburn. Blisters galore. I then rocked my first pair of Drymax socks 2 weeks later at the TNF100 Australia without a single foot/blister issue- sold on them ever since.

I did an interview about my win at CDR with the local Darfield weekly paper the Malvern News. If you didn’t get a copy then I am guessing you never will, pretty much a collectors item by now. I also did an interview with Radio Sport. You can hear it HERE

And now for random photos that likely have little meaning to anyone but me….

Scared!

I am scared, scared shitless about my next race coming up.

There, I said it, I got that off my chest and feel better for it. I will be out of my depth, hugely under prepared and very very much a fish out of water as I line up tomorrow in the Canterbury Cross Country Champs– 12km at Halswell. SRC are the duty club so I will for the first time in 3 years of being a  member pull my weight and help out getting things set up pre race. Then my race kicks off 1440, but Jane is going to line up in her 1st ever cross country race and first race as a SRC member tomorrow also! I guess I will warm up with little Bella while Jane is racing- so that means Jane will have to crank out her 8km in 35mins, or our little princess will be left to her own devices for a while…

The other race I have coming up I am a lot lot more positive about! The 125km Canadian Death Race is now about 16days away and I am feeling good and ready to go- not too ready, but getting there. Other than a niggle on my ankle which is some what of a mystery (all the “good” injuries are) as to how and what?

Last weekend I had my final long run and then a good hill session, both runs in the Port Hills, accompanied by GaryM and George Dog and wearing some flash new Salomon SpeedCross3s courtesy of The team at Salomon NZ/Snoworld.

.Looking past CDR I have some pretty exciting race plans coming up for the summer- I can’t remember the last time I was looking so far ahead. At this stage I think I will be lining up in the following-

Yurebrilla 56km, Xterra Waihi60km, Kepler 60km, Kaweka Mt Marathon, Shotover Moonlight Mt Marathon and The Hillary 50mile (if that last race gets the green light?). We’ll see, might add Tararua 35km in also if it works and need to balance racing with family, work and “fun runs”.

But first things first – CDR!! oh, and that scary 12km tomorrow….

Foggy and Castle Hill Peak

Another good week of training, some good speed stuff, capped off by a good hill session on Saturday and then some fun on Sunday- climbing Foggy and Castle Hill Peaks from Posters Pass. About 47-48mins to Foggy which s well off my person FKT of 36min from Pass to Foggy Peak, but not fast conditions and there was lots of stops and photo taking. 1hr40 to Castle Hill Peak, where I spent about 10mins hanging out and then 2hr50 I was back at the car where Jane and Bella were waiting. We headed into Springfeild for coffee- the big treat from the week!

Trig M track- only real snow free option around home for hill repeats

On the climb to 1741m Foggy Peak

On the ridge about half way between Foggy and Castle Hill Peaks

Getting closer and more interesting

Foggy Peak (left) and Castle Hill Peak viewed from highway 73 driving back to Castle Hill

Commiting

So I am thinking about removing the “Ski” from this blog’s title, so little have I skied this year it is boarding on embarrassing. I hate to admit it, but without a doubt the way shit went down in regards to ski related gear a few months ago has sadly dampened my enthusiasm for skiing. That and trail running, for now at least, is just so darn fun! It is an interesting place I find myself in with regards to running at present. With all of life’s little changes coming at once I feel like there has been a big change, but with the lifestyle chosen, consistence has never really been, well consisant. I committed to racing the CDR for the 2nd time about 7-8 months ago. I knew way back then it was going to mean less skiing and more running during this time of year. I have been very tempted a few times to blow off “training” and go “play” (the 2 blur into one more often than not) many a time since the hills around home have been covered in snow. But staying on track, following the training program, keeping the focus on the CDR and remembering the commitment I made to turn up to that race knowing I have done everything possible to prepare has in itself been very satisfying.

Craigieburn’s looking all snowy and tempting

I was feeling pretty tired last week after being dragged around by Vajin on the Sunday and doing a solid back to back weekend, lucky last week was an easy week! This week and next are lots of good high intensity training (might even have a blat at the Canterbury XC Champs). I found it odd to drive away from the mountains here and into snow free Port Hills for training last month, but I managed to top that oddity by driving out Oxford way to do a tempo session on the flat farm roads in the area this week. Coming up I have some fun training- it is not based on time, distance or heart rate- it’s all about the vertical gained! Hopefully I can complete that around here on foot on some snow free trails.

Other news- I have been very luck to receive support from Mother Nature’s, the New Zealand importer/distributor of Udo’s Oli, as well as some of the other great products in the Flora range. Mother Natures is a family business operating for over 30 years mainly supplying healthy Snack Foods and recently have started bringing in the oily Udo’s goodness! You might recognise Udo’s 369 Blend as it is pretty popular among the US ultra running community- it’s what the cool kids use, not wanting to be on the out I tried Udo’s last year when I was in Canada for the CDR. It tastes good and is good for you. I have been loading up on it this past week, so hopefully just the ticket to help with recovery coming into CDR. If you are keen on getting some, or just want to learn more about Udo’s 369 check out Ollie Pacific Heath. They have some good videos on the 369 and recipes also.

Balance

Another good week of training for me just gone! Don’t get me wrong, I know I am not a hard core high mileage, mass vertical rad man of running, but the last 3 weeks of training have been bang on for me. A 12hr and 2x 14hr weeks for the first 3 weeks of my CDR build up. Mileage was pretty low the first 2 weeks with slogging in snow and then training on skis. This week was all pretty good quality running (for me), but sadly the vert was down a bit- 1/2 of last weeks 6000mD+, but there was almost 50km more distance covered- it’s all a trade off I guess. Right now I am really happy with the balance I have with my training and that is without a doubt the advantage of having a (very very knowledgeable) coach in the form of Frenchman Christophe Malarde. I won’t say who else Chris coaches because it will just sound like I am name dropping, but he knows his stuff and I am pretty happy with the direction we are heading in. I am looking at it as a long term relationship. I knew there would be little to no real change in time for TNF100 last month (only 6 weeks with Chris then), but I was probably wrong as I arrived at the start of that race feeling very rested and so ready to run. A good recovery and now into a good training cycle I feel the balance is really what I have been lacking for the last 14+ months. CDR might even be too early to really reap the rewards of this, but I think improvement will be seen.
Super fun weekend was had in Chch running. Saturday was solo on the Crater Rim Trails. Cashmere, Rapaki, Vernon, Sugar Loaf, Gibbes Pass, Pack Horse, Mt Herbet and finishing at Diamond Harbour with a milk shake and a ferry ride to Lyttleton. 5hrs, 44km and 2180mD+. Sunday I met up with Vajin and Nelson and we started out at Little River. It was all gravel or sealed road which was very odd for me, but it is good honest running that you can not hide from like you can do on the trails sometimes. I don’t really know the area, but you can see a map of it on my MovesCount. 5hrs20, 51km and 1470mD+. Was a fun outing, again finished off with a milkshake, chocolate, for the 2nd day in a row. Easy week coming up so will be a good time to get some skiing in I hope!

Did both long runs over the weekend in the above slippers (that’s what  they feel like), as well as 4hrs the week before in the snow and mud above Chch and a few other outings. I would say I would have maybe been better in my FellCross on Saturdays and the week earlier on the Crater Rim Trails as they are pretty darn muddy and slippery right now, but I feel like I have run enough in these shoes now to say they are pretty good. The upper and fit is very very nice. I would love to see a winter/SoftGround version- maybe with a FellCross sole?

I aren’t going to go for a full on review- they are good- light, comfortable, tick the right boxes. But there is no point re-inventing the wheel- the lads at Ultra168 have done a great review so check that out!