Tim, Luka and I set out for our long run yesterday (Sunday) morning at about 10am. It was a gorgeous day and we planned to do a loop of 25km on the STORMY course. I am training for the 50-mile option of this race, held in August.
Incidentally, the hugely popular Test of Metal mountain bike race will be held here next Sunday. This challenging 67km course includes the same lap we ran yesterday.
We knew this loop, essentially from aid stations 7 to 10 (which are in the same place) on the STORMY trail map, was a combination of dirt roads and trails, with an elevation gain of at least 500 metres. Still, with the benefit of the downhill in the second part of that loop, bringing us back down to where we started, we expected to take between 2 and 2 1/2 hours.
We each had a bottle of 500ml water, two caf gels and a handful of dog cookies (we knew there would be water along the trail for Luka to drink and shared some of our bottled water with him along the second half where there wasn't any).
It took us 1 hour and 23 minutes to reach 9-mile bridge, a steady uphill for most of the time along a dirt road. We considered running back the same way, as we knew it would take a lot less time given that it was all downhill so should take us an hour or less. But with the beautiful weather and feeling good, we decided to do our loop as planned.
We kept Luka on a leash here, as he still is a very curious puppy and might easily consider chasing a bird the wrong way. It wasn't long before we reached the next part of the trail, the Ring Creek Rip trail followed by the Powerhouse Plunge, leading us back into the forest, away from exposed ridges.
Here we let Luka off the leash, also because few mountain bike riders were using the trail today. So far, Luka's longest run with us had been two hours. He was about to smash that record, as the trail on this end took a lot longer than we had anticipated, partly because the footing is trickier with rocks and tree stumps.
All three of us were fine, just a little tired and hungry by the time we got home after an epic 3 1/2 hours. We ended up walking much of the final 45 minutes, as Tim's legs were still recovering from last week's half Ironman race while mine were as well from the 9km time trial the previous day.