Well since my last blog a month ago the weather has been pretty ‘special’ and I’ve found it extremely difficult to get up high running in the mountains. I went on a little trip over the New Year period and took the opportunity to run up Ben Lomond in Queenstown whilst I was there. Really enjoyed getting up there and was nice to be on a slightly easier gradient than in Mount Cook National Park. I have been trying to shed any unnecessary weight for upcoming races which made me feel a little weak particularly near the top. All in all, an awesome mountain to run up and will definitely be back to do it again.
On returning to Mount Cook the weather went from bad to frightening! For a few days we experienced wind between 140-180 km/h and had some incredible thunderstorms. The airport had a number of windows blown through, buildings where flooding and winds of up to 230 km/h were recorded up at Barron Saddle Hut. As one of the electricians in the village it meant that I was constantly being called out for fire alarms because of the lightning activity. Most of my training that week was merely gym work as it felt dangerous to be outside.
Thankfully the weather over the last 2 weeks has been nothing short of glorious. Having said that I’ve been ‘on call’ quite a bit so I can’t really stray too far away from the village. A lot of my training has been running up and down red tarns, sometimes 3 or 4 times in a session. I would estimate that its between 300-400m elevation from bottom to top and a whole load of steps! In particular I’ve been trying to work on my descending and learn to fall controlled down the mountain. Coming from a triathlon/road running background this is something that’s new and foreign to me. I’m feeling strong from all the reps I have been doing and think that it will all stand me in good stead for Avalanche Peak in a few weeks.
My main concern is that I’ve not really run for much longer than an hour because in the past I’ve had chronic shin splints. Its always a constant on my mind that they could come back if I do to much too soon. So that’s going to be the test at Avalanche Peak other than running up a really steep mountain!! Even if I don’t get the performance that I want the main thing is that I’ll gain some valuable experience about the course for next year. Really looking forward to the race and what looks like one of the few true mountain races in New Zealand.