Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tussock Traverse Training

Training lately has been aimed at the Tussock Traverse 26km mountain run which is coming up on January 25th.  Last year I ran the 13km event and had such a great time that I have decided to step up to the 26km - the true 'traverse' that crosses the volcanic plateau between Mt Ruapehu and Mt Ngauruhoe.  Exciting, no?  It will be my longest distance so far, and I'm starting to feel slightly err, intimidated.

I've found running lately really hard, I think due to the humidity we've been having here in Auckland, so hopefully running will feel a lot easier down in the central plateau. I've been following a half marathon training plan that I found in an old Runner's World magazine, but it has been interrupted a few times.  After the Speight's West Coaster my quads took almost a week to recover, and what I thought was an easy jog/walk up and down Baldwin Street in Dunedin, which just happens to be the steepest street in the world, also took a few days to get over.  Moral of that story - never cool down with a 4 hour car journey!

I'm pleased to report that I did run regularly on my holiday (which was mainly driving around the South Island visiting family).  The most memorable run was an awesome 9km trail from Queenstown to Sunshine Bay around the edge of Lake Wakatipu - while the sun rose over the Remarkables (heartjumps!) (I wish I took my phone and some photos to show you!) (better still, come and run it yourself!)

Just to give you an idea, here are a couple of shots from the next day as we drove up the lake to Glenorchy:

Back home in Auckland I have done a long 17km run, and hope to get an even longer one in next week before I start to taper for race day.  The 17km was a struggle - it was 28C, 95% humidity and I decided to run up Mt Eden first.  At the top I felt so bad I considered turning for home, but the descent was kinda fun so I stuck to my original plan and continued on to One Tree Hill.  At this time of year my small water bottle is my friend on runs around town as I stop to refill it at water fountains as needed, but I struggled to find water on the route home - and silly me had no money!  Eventually I ran past a cafe with a beautiful looking jug of iced water sitting tantalisingly close to the entrance, and they didn't mind a hot, sweaty, salt encrusted runner quenching her thirst and appreciating a moment of air-conditioning.

(PS: I've since got another 17km run in.  It was slightly cooler and I felt a lot better for it!  I planned on 20km but my route worked out shorter than expected, and my knee started to get sore towards the end so maybe that was a good thing.)

Because the Tussock Traverse is in a mountain environment there is some compulsory gear for the race, like a jacket, thermals and stuff.  I just need to get an emergency blanket, and maybe another small water bottle to carry if it is going to be warm - my hydration pack carries 2L which is the minimum recommended, and there are no aid stations out on the course.

As far as shoes go, I'll wear my oldest pair of Wave Riders.  I've tried, but I don't feel comfortable running in my current trail shoes, so it is now official that they are retired to hiking duty.  Maybe one day they will be hiking here:

At the (eastern) start of the Routeburn Track

Do you have an event coming up that is exciting you? Yes!
Did you do any awesome holiday running? Yes!
What is next on your running wish-list? Trail shoes, Wave Rider 17's, sunglasses, a better sunblock!


  1. What incredibly beautiful pictures! I haven't registered for anything yet but I have a couple runs on my radar that I am hoping I will be able to do this spring. Keeping my fingers crossed!

  2. The photos are gorgeous! I know you must be excited to run the 26km mountain run. I'm excited to run a half marathon in March, too. On Christmas eve, I had 17 deer sightings on my run - my most exciting holiday run.

  3. I tell you.. you are in GOD'S country, Sherry! I swear it is so beautiful there in NZ. Amart thinking to bring your extra bottle for the run. Maybe consider bringing a purification tablet for your run. If you run out of water from the bottles you can refill from a creek (strain with a shirt or hat if needed) and add in your tablet. Then you will have more water :) So wish I could come there to run!


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