…the traverse won…

26 Jan

Oh-My-God! The sun was relentless.

And that is my excuse for my ultimately slow time…yes folks…it took me four hours and 16minutes to complete 27kilometers!  I am not ashamed, just a tad disappointed in my ability to withstand persecution-the sun being my persecutor.

We woke the morning of the traverse at 6. I swallowed a mug of sweet black coffee and chased it with oats. (I find it very hard to eat the morning of any event, I know this is quite common.)

When we were ready, we walked from our camp  at Whakapapa camp ground, to the Tussock bar, where we registered.

I could tell from very early exactly what ‘Mr Sun’  had in store for us. I had stripped right down to my running singlet before  8 a m. 

We waited and conversed with other runners on the deck of the tussock bar-(no one was drinking beer, surprisingly.)

 I ate a banana and went to the loo, oh, about 300 times.

Finally we were called onto the bus. There were two bus loads of runners. (The walkers had left an hour earlier). It took about one hour to get to the beginning of said torture. (I always love the atmosphere in the bus trips to the beginning of rugged mountain runs, there always is a lot of chatting, laughing and fear. )

The bus turned off the main highway and did a bit of four wheel driving. Barely had it stopped and I was out waiting in the queue for the loo. Men were pissing on the mountain, an immediate forty dollar fine the race organiser said. He would be collecting this after the first 2kilometer climb. Ha ha. 

Finally, it was time to begin. We were counted out…

I kissed Deane goodbye, (he wanted to warm up by walking the start), and I started  with small steps, running up the hill, jostling my way with some very fit looking mountain people. I felt okay, a bit intimidated by the landscape actually. At the top of the first rise I see a shimmering trail of people  distancing themselves from me speedily.  I run down treacherous rocks, and scoria. I had my first Gu at the 5 km point. (This was the race I was going to try not to use Gu, I don’t like it but it is effective). I was already breathing hard and hot. I swear I could smell the top of my cap burning….

From about the ten km point, I broke down and walked up the hills, and ‘ran’ down hills. At points I felt I was going to faint. I also caught up to the walkers, who had began an hour before the runners. No-body looked ecstatic, weird huh? I was able to dip my cap, and pour the water over my head from cool glacial streams, only three times. Heaven and Hell. The relative pleasure of glacial water!…. Its all relative of course, glacial water tipped over the head is not a pleasure when one is sitting down watching shortland street, drinking sweet tea.

I trudged on wondering what the hell I was doing. The moonscape of Ruapehu is simply breathtaking, pun intended.  After about 21 k, as I rounded a bend I could see, to my joy, the Chateau. It did not seem too far away, I could almost reach out and touch it. I was fantasising about bottles of ‘pump’ water being poured all over me at the finish when I was confronted by two marshals, directing me down into forest…away from my goal. From here it was mostly pleasant. I ran, walked through cool forest, much like Mt Victoria. A tantalising waterfall confronted me, I wanted to jump right on in, but I also wanted to finish. I ran, for what seemed an age-(well…err…I was going rather slow…) , and around the final corner, two marshals were applauding and said only 200 meters to go. I saw and heard my kids yelling at me, they ran up to the finish with me. Great race, but the worst I have ever felt. I DON’T LIKE RUNNING IN THE SUN.

Will I do it again?

you betcha!.

start point...

start point...

jan-08-tussock-traverse-068

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7 Responses to “…the traverse won…”

  1. ange January 26, 2009 at 4:37 pm #

    I’ve been waiting for you to post! man what a desert looking place – I would have fried. What was the temp? I went for an hours run in the 30+ degree heat on Saturday 9with the thought of ‘this is what it will be like on race day’) just about died and gave myself a bleeding nose.
    Well done chick – here’s to next year!

  2. catherinedrew January 26, 2009 at 7:45 pm #

    Hey Ange! I don’t know what the temp was…it felt like 38…the thing wth most of the c2c run is there is water to cool down with,,trees that shade u etc…so you should be okay..but man! the traverse..nuthin but a big frying pan. A woman told me she did it last year and they had to wear thermals..this year they told us we didnt need to carry them..as if we didnt know that!! I also spoke to a few people that were using the traverse as a training run for the c2c…good training…gotta remember tis all fun…

  3. nad-ya January 27, 2009 at 9:29 am #

    Sounds like fun… in a “I wan to die” kind of way 🙂

    Might have to give it a go some day.

    • catherinedrew January 27, 2009 at 2:30 pm #

      yeah..you got it..definately fun in a ‘kill me now’ way…see you there 2010!!

  4. Tom January 28, 2009 at 12:15 pm #

    Ouch. The sun and terrain sound brutal.

    Great final line. Of course you’ll be back.

    • catherinedrew January 28, 2009 at 2:35 pm #

      Hi Tom! Thanks for that…I am figuring out how to message you in your runners lounge profile…

  5. Rachel Harris January 28, 2009 at 5:02 pm #

    Crikey girl, that’s a landscape of, like, nothingness! That looks positively nasty! Well done – you sounded slightly dubious when you first entered the event, so good on you for getting there and conquering!

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