Entering Mt Aspiring Nat'l Park
These mischievous cows followed us for a good 2-3km.
Waterfalls at every turn.
After 15k of hiking on our first day, we were faced with the remaining 2km of the hike to reach the hut. The signpost said it would take 2 hours to hike 2km. How could this be? 2km is nothing! Oh no, 2km when carrying heavy backpacks up a rock face at a 35% grade is... something!! What did I do? Well, I tried to hike/climb those 2kms as quickly as possible. I very quickly dropped my friends (they couldn't suck wheel well enough, apparently), and scrambled up in a respectable 1h10m. It was a hot day, and the entire time every pore of my body was dripping sweat. However, the hike up and above our hut was well worth it, I was treated to stunning views of the valley of the West Matukituki river.
Liverpool hut and the West Matukituki branch.
But, all good things must come to an end and so my 3-month summer vacation in New Zealand did... I flew back into Melbourne on February 13th and since then I have been living in a big city yet again, staying in a hostel and scouring the city for a good place to live. I'm seriously battling feelings of utter crappiness because I truly detest living in a city. There are far too many cars, roads, buildings and unfriendly people. Nature and beauty is impossibly far away. I, however, have got to stick with it - last semester at Melbourne Uni! I've decided to appease myself by taking a 2-week vacation back to NZ mid-autumn (57 days left!), and I can also comfort myself by the fact that these next 4 months are the last 4 months of my entire life which will be spent in a city. I didn't know it, but I am a small-town girl. And not just any small town, I require such epic natural beauty (as can be found in NZ, and I'll see if Colorado and Utah can imbue some happiness in me as well when I visit those 2 states in June-July-August).
In any case, I am back in Melbourne. And I'll be restarting IM training this very Saturday. I can't wait!!
Here's the race schedule on a monthly basis:
19th: Restart training... and continue to train consistently until the end of the month
26th-27th: On the 26th there is a 145km cycle event on the Great Ocean Rd: 2XU Great Ocean & Otway Classic Ride. I will definitely be a part of that. On the 27th, also on the GOR, there will be a 10km trail run, part of the tri X series. I think I'll make a long weekend of it and spend some time by the ocean in the fall. It should be beautiful!!
The rest of the month is good ol' consistent training.
From mid-April to beginning of May I will be flying over to NZ, renting a van and living in that as I travel the South Island. It'll be a run-focused 2+ weeks, giving me the opportunity to fall in love with NZ and its beautiful mountain trails even more than I already am. I'll also rent a mtn bike for half-day periods and do some mtn biking, as I won't be bringing my road bike overseas with me on such a short trip. I'll swim if I am in a town with a pool.
15th: Great Ocean Rd half-marathon! It's a hilly course, but I am doing it with a running friend, and it's a gorgeous location, so it should be thoroughly epic.
At the end of May, once classes are done, I am flying to Cairns and staying there for up to 2 weeks because... the true tri racing season begins now!!
5th: Challenge Cairns half-iron!! Yes, the first triathlon of the season is one I am really looking forward to. I am a huge fan of the Challenge family, they treat their athletes amazingly, and their races are impeccably organized, far more friendly and less corporate than the Ironman brand. It's also in a beautiful, hot location - THE GREAT BARRIER REEF. I'll grab this opportunity to snorkel in the most biodiverse ocean environment in the world!
6th-24th: Exam period. I hope to goodness I don't have an exam on the 6th because that would mean flying back right after the race... Not good. Here's hoping!!
On the 25th (or as soon as my exams are over), I'll fly back to Montreal, visit the family and... wait for it...
26th: My friend, Steph, will be running her first ultra!! She's doing a 50k from Beaconsfield to Mont Royal and I will be her support crew in the Mont Royal Summit Quest. I can't wait!!!! She's an inspiration. After a breast reduction several years ago, she started exercising consistently and fell in love with running. She gradually moved her way up in distance, from her first 5k, 10k, half-marathon up to marathon, which she completed a few months ago. This'll be her first ultra and I can't wait to be a part of it.
I'll then take my car, now sitting at home, and do a cross-country trip into the United States. I'll find a place to live in a small town in gorgeous Colorado and continue to train.
31st: Ironman 70.3 Calgary! Another incredibly scenic course.
7th: One week after 70.3 Calgary, I will be doing Ironman 70.3 Boulder, Colorado. It'll be smashy, that's for sure!
28th: And, the cherry on the top of this international-sized cake is Ironman Louisville, Kentucky! Yep, second iron-distance of the year, and second one of my life. I truly cannot wait!!!! There's a lot to work on in training, I am very excited to tackle all the challenges... both mental and physical. Here's to a good season!!