Weekly Training, Central Otago Rail Trail

Maggie’s 30th B-Day Yogurt

Monday- 9 Mile easy in Franz Josef.  Ran by tunnel and up river and along river bed.  Had to run without my GPS watch as I left it 25k down the road in Fox.  Someone from the Backpacker hostel picked it up for me as they were doing an errand there. 25K hilly bike.

Tuesday- 11 miles, 10K Tempo.   Warm up to tunnels, genera mobility and then tempo on trails around Glacier.   Up and down, wide trail tempo splits were, 6:05, 6:07, 5:55, 5:40, 5:50, 5:56.  Felt great first 4 miles, then a bit tired last 2.  I’d like to get a good 6-8 mile tempo on flat. 60K bike.

Wednesday-6 Mile easy run in Hari Hari. 50K Bike.

Thursday- 12 miles Speed Intervals.  Did my 5 sets of 400, 400, 200 on a cement oval at a park.  I was pleasantly surprised with my splits on this workout.  This was my first time running on a hard, flat wind free surface for this 7th week of intervals.  I ran all the 400s in 66 except one 65 and one 67.  I did the 200s in in 32 to 33.  Very happy to see I have my high end speed back.

Friday- 6.5 miles easy.  Maggie’s 30th Birthday!

Saturday-SICK-OFF

Sunday-SICK-OFF.  45K biking.

Inland Coast Trail

Monday- 20ish mile long run from Punakaiki.  The coast and steep cliff like terrain on the west coast north of Greymouth in NZ is beautiful.  I ran a point to point run on the  Inland pack track in Paparoa National Park.  The run starts out along a wonderfully smooth track along the Paparoa river.  Along the river are tall limestone cliff walls with thick jungle like vegetation filled with tall fern trees, palm trees and big beach trees (silver I think) covered with all sorts of hitch-hiking plant life.  After about 4 or 5K the trail turns rough and enters the thick forests meandering up and down the hills with tons of mud and fun.  Once to the top of a ridge I took a side trip down to Cave Creek.  Cave Creek is a deep drainage with, you guessed it a cave.   More gloomy than the cave, is the fact that 14 college aged students in 1995 fell to their deaths on a viewing platform above the creek.

Sink Hole
Mt Bovis
The Trail

After the Cave Creek, the track turns to a 4×4 road crossing some unique, for this area of NZ, open fields with views of Mt. Bovis.  After the open terrain the road ends and the trail picks up and goes down to a river.  Not until the last maybe 5-8K there is no longer a trail and instead you follow the rocky stream bed down.  This creek section was beautiful with clear and emerald green water in another deep limestone gorge.  The river actually once totally disappeared into a cave and reemerged a kilometer later.  I visited the “Ballroom” which was a unique overhang area along with Fox Caverns before finishing at the road and beach where I hitched a ride back to Punakaiki.

The Ballroom
Fox Cave

Flightless Bird I saw on my run
Wekas

Overview-

This week had my best tempo and speed sessions yet (happy to hammer out 5K worth of sub 4:30/mile pace) and ended with another awesome long run.  The only bummer was getting a cold that forced me to take two days off.

Central Otago Rail Trail-

One of the highlights of biking through New Zealand has been the 150K on the Central Otago Rail Trail.  The rail trail was wonderful for many reasons, but some of the big ones were that A) we were off the road, didn’t have the noise or stress of traffic and felt like we were more in scenery vs. next to it B) railroad grade is flat or very gradual and this was the case on this rail converted to trail.

We started the rail trail in Middlemarch and headed north and west finishing in Hyde.  The trail gradually climbs and at about halfway, gradually descends.  Our best camping was the first night at Daisy Bank, less than 30k from the start.  Daisy Bank is right on the river in one of, if not prettiest, canyons on the trail.  We were completely alone and had a blast camping on the river.  While playing with Felix in the river I felt something come up and nudge my leg, which gave me quite a jolt.  I realized the nudge must have come from an eel.  I decided that this was a great place to see if I could catch an eel.  I took out my treble hook, unlaced my shoe strings from my Hokas and put it all together with a secret piece of bait (Maggie’s secret) and I instantly found the eels hovering around the hook.  I had a very hard time hooking an eel, each time the eels managed to steel the bait and free themselves from the hooks.  In fact, more than once they bent the hooks of the treble hook, I was getting pretty frustrated.  I tried all sorts of things and it wasn’t until just before bed, in the dark, that I caught the slimy, squishy, snake like fish.

 

The eel certainly was different than any fish I’ve caught squirming about, making my hands and arms a mess and even freaking me out by nearly escaping be slithering back to the river and by wrapping itself around my arm.  I put the eel back in the water as Maggie and I aren’t huge eel eaters in the first place and thanked the crazy critter for a full evening of entertainment.

The rest of the rail trail was fun with long bridges, tunnels and plenty of great towns to visit, camp and hangout in.  The rail trail was a great adventure and break from the road.

 

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