Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ooo yuck mud!

For some reason I decided to do my long run on trail, despite my foot being of the 'nearly healed' status. I looked at a lovely map of the Waitaks and picked out some nice trails which were either walkable or easy tramps. The first three were relatively pleasant and only the continued rain made it less than idyllic. But it all changed when I turned on to Hamilton Track! Really 'on to' does not describe it. "When I slogged through the muddy ruts and hauled myself past cutty grass" would be closer to the point.

Hamilton track is a feast of roots and ruts. I could have coped with that but the past few days of rain had left it a bog full of bottomless holes at the bottom of innocent looking puddles. All the footprints were moving in the opposite direction and they all seemed to be from size 14 tramping boots. If Hell is a wet murky bog filled with slippery roots and low hanging branches, I know where it is!  To call it a run would be a lie! I staggered along like a belligerent drunk, cursing at trees that seemed to bump into me and banks that leapt out in  front of me. Falling flat on my face while my Garmin cheerfully beeped the k marker did nothing to improve my mood. Clambering across a waterfall in full flow was not a refreshing break!

The joy I felt on emerging onto the Nihotapu dam road was quickly dampened by the realisation that I had to double back! I made it through by counting down the k's of mud sucking hell to go "2 and a quarter ks of mud sucking horror to go" "2ks of mud sucking torture to go". On the way out I'd put thought into my line, not so on the return. It was faster but only because I ploughed straight through the wallows of mud, often feeling the tug as the mud fought to steal my shoe or sinking up to my knee in the 'puddles'. Luckily I only turned my ankle two or three times on the way back.

It was a death march near the end, I was running but not as we know it, Jim. Wet skins are not pleasant and prone to get very cold. I almost laughed hysterically at the shoe cleaning points. Scrub off the mud, yeah right!

Note to self: when heading to the mud mines, remember your beanie and gloves, make sure there is at least a towel if not a blanket in the car and a thermos of something hot so you arrive home a lot less grumpy. And always check the headlights are turned off because there's no cellular reception to call the AA.

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