Heather wrote an article a few weeks ago about her training in the great outdoors as she trained for the Kepler Challenge. This is her race report for the Kepler.
I was expecting to do the event in about 10 hours, but it took me 11 hrs 25 mins and 49 secs. My left piriformis was really niggly a few days before (all the usual things didn’t make it feel better so I knew it was going to be a problem – bugger), and the stiff muscle morphed into a sore hip which then led to a really sore knee. Bugger. Didn’t stop me though!
The race went well and I stuck to my plan. The climb to Luxmore was easier and less steep than I expected (easier than the Pukaka/Mt Robertson climb). The weather was rather extreme on the tops: gale force wind, rain/sleet, wind chill of -6˚. I was running in all my gear (overtrou included) and I managed to stay warmish, but if I stopped I got cold very quickly. I was being blown around by the wind which was a little nerve racking, but I found the conditions quite exhilarating. Coming down off the tops on the long down was great fun – especially when I got out of the wind and rain – and I was laughing as I was running. I realised at that point that I was going to finish!
Left Iris Burn hut in really good shape. Legs were strong, nutrition and hydration were spot on and I felt amazing. Plan was to run 15, walk/run 5 then run the last 10km. I was feeling so good that I had to slow my pace down. Unfortunately I started to get sore in my hip about 5-7 km, then in the knee about 10km. I started power walking and walked the last 18km. Luckily I had practiced power walking. The last 5 km were slow and painful but I finished.
All I could think about was imagine what I could have done if I hadn’t had a sore knee. I think I’ve been bitten by the Kepler bug.
I was surprised by my physical fitness, my physical endurance and my mental toughness. I felt at the finish that if I hadn’t had a sore knee, I could have kept on going. My feet and legs were OK. I was really surprised by that.
Thanks for the training and the encouragement – I DID IT!!!!
– Heather Collins