Watch Out for the Cows

I’ve finally gotten back into somewhat of a training groove. The last few months have been a bit scattered. We just finished moving. The logistics and disarray that accompanies moving is quite intense. My partner handled (and is still handling) the majority of the difficult parts. Major things aside, even the little things eat up a lot of time - finding how public transport works, getting around a new city, finding a new running route, finding where you can find tasty vegan grub, heck, how to take the trash our properly!

Not all of our stuff is moved yet, but life has started to settle down. I’ve been training regularly now for the past three weeks. I am just starting to feel like my normal self again. Man, in just a few weeks I have lost quite a bit of fitness - but it’s coming back.

My brother, Speedy, has put a new crazy “Big Harry Goal” on the table. He mentioned that he wanted to do the UTMB. That race sounds impossible. So I suggested we do it together. Or, rather, train for and run it at the same time.

He is an amazing runner; he’s been running since high school. I’ve only been running for a few years now. We won’t be in the same class or even close in time for the race, but it would be really cool to do it together as brothers.

To even apply for the race requires several qualifying races. There is a point system, and the races have to be within 2 years of the UTMB. Anyway, because of the amount of planning involved, we’re going to try for 2022. I’ve been working on a multi year plan, and I started down the road map about 2 weeks ago.

In the plan is a 50k trail run later this year. It’ll be my first ultra marathon. It wont get me any points for UTMB, but it’ll be a good toe dip into ultras. The cool part for me is the race is in Taupo. So while it’s not the Half Ironman from last year, I’ll at least get to kick this thing off in the place I was shooting for. The Half Ironman is still on the docket by the way - just paused.

Working towards the 50k, I did my first official trail run this weekend. It was a 10k, and the elevation gain was low. I think that made it a nice intro race.

Now, I have done a few trail runs before, but they were with mates, and I never actually tried. We would run and walk and chat - they were hard, but I wasn’t pushing myself much. This race I really wanted to see what it was like.

The hills were horrible. They were not that big in the grand scheme of things, but it really highlights that I need to do a lot of hill work - and also, probably squats. My cardio vascular system seemed to be at the level I expected, but I wasn’t ready for the pain of those hills.

And they were long hills. I ran up them too fast, and then they kept going, and going, and going. At first, I would refuse to stop running, and then they would keep going and going, until they just wore me out. Here, you can see my cadence get destroyed towards the middle / end of the race:

Elevation and Cadence

I’d start up the the hills, and then I’d be like - nup.

However, I was cognisant enough to keep my heart rate pretty steady:

Elevation and Heart Rate

That dip towards the end was when I stopped to take a photo. A runner ran past, and said “It’s a beautiful view, eh? Just have to take a photo!” To which I replied, looking up the hill, “Yeah, let’s go with that”.