Coach Ray’s Sufferings: Merry Christmas

Follow me on my Half Ironman marathon training and #100DaysOfTri journey’s concurrently. Here is how my week unfolded.

Well I’ve finally committed to an event and it’s the Buller Marathon. This event has always been on my to do list, but with it being slap bang in the middle of the triathlon season I’ve often forgone it in favour of focusing on a triathlon. With the various Half Ironman races I was lining up not occurring this season, it is the perfect opportunity to step in and do this event.

This week was reasonably busy but I got a fair bit done and finished off my year well.


#100DaysOfTri Day 52

After the big weekend of mountain biking I had just had, I needed to have a recovery day, so planned to do it later in the evening once the kids were all in bed. Couple of ciders later I totally forgot all about it but remembered after I went to bed. Sitting up right in panic, my partner asked what was wrong. I think the ciders influenced me to flag it, but my partner pushed me out of bed to do it.


#100DaysOfTri Day 53

After my partner got home from work I ran to the fire lookout at the top of the Richmond Hills. Had a surge of energy as I descended putting in a bit of effort, but got a (brief) amazing view from the top.

#100DaysOfTri Day 53 #coachray #qwikkiwi #run #seetououtthere #tricoach #tricoachnz #tritraining #tritrainingnz

A photo posted by (@coach_ray_nz) on


#100DaysOfTri Day 54

With my legs feeling sore from the effort I put in the previous day I got out early and did my normal 30 minute block. Previously I’ve had to extend the block so I get my minimum of 30 minutes. Not today as I trugged around slowly with heavy legs.

#100DaysOfTri Day 54 #coachray #qwikkiwi #tricoach #tricoachnz #tritraining #trtrainingnz

A video posted by (@coach_ray_nz) on



#100DaysOfTri Day 55

To break up the training a touch I jumped on the wind trainer and did the workout I posted about the previous day “12 Days of Christmas“. With the range of efforts but mainly a technique focus this session was enjoyable.

#100DaysOfTri Day 55 #coachray #qwikkiwi #tritraining #trainingnz #tricoach #tricoachnz

A photo posted by (@coach_ray_nz) on


#100DaysOfTri Day 56

After a wet day with thunderstorms, I set off to do the reverse loop of my standard reservoir run. Little did I know in the last week and a half how over grown this track had become. the gorse and broom were both encroaching over the track and it poured on me the whole way. It’ll be the last time I run this loop (in either direction) for a while.

#100DaysOfTri Day 56 #coachray #qwikkiwi #run #seeyououtthere #tritraining #tricoachnz #tricoach #tritraining

A photo posted by (@coach_ray_nz) on


#100DaysOfTri Day 57

Getting going for my morning run, I had limited time so decided to run to the the Fire Lookout at the top of the Richmond Hills again (same as Tuesday), this run is STRAIGHT UP. An average of 11% for the first kilometre (although the climbing starts after 400m, so in reality is steeper), 13% for the second kilometre and 18% for the final kilometre!!! Mt legs certainly feel it after this run.

Good morning #nelson #100DaysOfTri Day 56 #coachray #qwikkiwi #run #tritraining #tricoachnz #tricoach #tricoachnz

A photo posted by (@coach_ray_nz) on


#100DaysOfTri Day 58

Qwik Kiwi
Unnamed tarn

As neither my partner or I had our respective children for Christmas day we had decided to get up in the hills and have an adventure. We’ve been wanting to get up to Lake Angelus in the Nelson Lakes for a while, so tentatively planned that. We often change our plans for any myriad of reasons, but this one looked like it was holding together. The weather was scheduled to be amazing and with it being a couple of days after the longest day of the year we had plenty of daylight to complete our planned route.

As we drove up to St Arnaud, it was very overcast with low cloud around the hills (this wasn’t forecast). On getting to St Arnaud we re-checked the forecast as Lake Angelus is an alpine lake and we can’t be blasé when making trips into the back country. All was good with the forecast so we pushed on, heading to the Mt Robert Carpark. As we were planning on coming out of the trip along the lake edge past Coldwater Hut and Whiskey Falls we parked a couple of kilometres from the start of the track at the start of the Whiskey Falls track and jogged up the road to Paddy’s Track.

White Christmas
White Christmas

We ascended up Paddy’s track up past Bushline Hut and onto Roberts Ridge proper. We took this ridge along past Julius Summit and up above 1700m we found some big patches of snow still…..yay my first white Christmas. There was a surprising number of other people out tramping on Christmas Day making their way along the ridge line either heading to or from Angelus Hut.

Lake Angelus
Spot Height 1788 on Robert Ridge

As we were only on a day adventure I carried a pack with our food & water and emergency supplies (warm clothes, first aid kit, survival blanket etc…), as we were travelling light we would race past the true trampers, exchanging pleasantries and getting strange looks (like we do on our day adventures in the back country).

First view of Lake Angelus as we came over the sadle
First view of Lake Angelus as we came over the sadle

Once we got to Angelus Hut, we took the time there to chill and relax (and sun bath) as it was an amazing location. We ate our lunch and then discussed our return route. Down the Cascade is a very challenging track and also the longest route back, which Rach wasn’t keen on. I hate Speargrass with a passion (after having my legs ripped to pieces in the Absolute Wilderness Race a couple of years ago by it) and wasn’t keen on traversing a valley called ‘Speargrass Valley’ as it was bound to be full of Speargrass. And neither of us wan’t to simply return the route we came. We eventually made the decision to go down Speargrass (filling in the intensions book before we depart) and a good decision it was. Such a great wee track and hardly any Speargrass to be seen!!

Lake Angelus
Lake Angelus

We descended down through alpine scree down into the Beech forest, following Speargrass Creek the majority of the way. A few kilometres from the Mt Robert carpark we ascend up to it. It would have been great to finish here after 30km but as we had originally planned to return via the lake we still had two kilometres to run. The only blessing was that it was all down hill.

Unfortunately, when I got home my Garmin powered down as the workout was saving and it isn’t easily accessible. I’m working through some data recovery options to hopefully save and retrieve this workout, but not too hopeful.


UPDATE: Finally managed to recover the Garmin File


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