Start: Braemar Road (2,405km)
Finish: Lake Ohau (2,465km)
Distance for the day: 60km excluding diversion of 15km
Cumulative distance: 2,465km
Today was a much more 'Jez-like' day and I was delighted to capitalise on the flatter terrain to secure a daily total of 75km. It’s been a while since I did that. And obviously to have done that whilst on my come back from illness is a very promising sign that it’s all heading in the right direction. The only negative was that some of the kilometers don’t really count as they involved a diversion – well a new section of the Te Araroa trail – which only came into play on the 7th January and is one of the fallouts from me running the trail during the switchover from v29 to v30 maps. Anyway, it confuses even myself when I try to reconcile it all, so I’m sticking to the simple principle of following the v29 maps and the corresponding distance markers.
I now have less than 600km to go; I’m heading for Bluff as quickly as possibly; that fingerpost at the end is going to get a soppy wet kiss when I see it; that’s all that counts really.
We started on the comfortingly-named Braemar Road (I love Braemar village in the Scottish Highlands). It was then a day of seemingly endless gravel roads, albeit with some of the most incredible views I’ve experience anywhere in the world and which included New Zealand’s highest peak, Mount Cook. I don’t have too much of a problem with the gravel roads in NZ but you do need a stiff shoe to prevent the stones ruining your feet, and the TNF Singletracks do that ably. They have been more than a trusty companion in this trip.
Because for the majority the day I was accessible we were able to settle into a solid routine meeting every 10km which was a big help to my nutritional needs. It was also handy for pacing. On this trip I’ve been running 10km on the tarmac in less than an hour, but on gravel it’s 5 or so minutes over. Gem and I ran the first 20km together which I always love, and I think she likes the feeling of power knowing that she could drop me at any time!!
Lake Pukaki was another cracking aqua coloured beast of a water mass, and it was hard to take your eyes of the endless alpine ridge running along the opposite bank, with the mountainside and scree slopes dropping dramatically into the water.
It was around lunchtime by the lake that I was started to feel like myself again, enjoying a music sing along on the iPod, and feeling like I could actually speed up a bit if I had wanted. Wow.
James knocked up a cracking lunch tailored to my current absorption issues which went down a treat. He’s been consulting with some medic relatives in the UK which is incredibly helpful for my recovery. Thanks guys.
From Lake Pukaki the route skirted Twizel before then joining the banks of Lake Ruataniwha and finally to our overnight location overlooking Lake Ohau. I’m now nearly at the end of this flat running section which is a shame in some ways (quick distance/ progress), but it’s also refreshed my motivation for the mountain legs which had definitely stated to wane recently.
Tonight the girls have knocked up a beast of a lasagna so at 8pm I’m delighted to be signing off for the night - relatively early :o)
Photos to follow.