Greta and I met at Thredbo National running week back in 2003. I had been venturing down with friends and family for 10years so it was only fitting that I met my future wife who was visiting with her coach from Alice Springs.
We have dropped in once or twice since we met and last weekend we decided to again head down for a few days in the Alpine air. It was a last minute decision but having family that live on the Alpine Way certainly helps so we crashed in their mountain house.
Once thing I immediately noticed had changed after 10years, my ability to absorb the higher altitude quickly. I used to be a lot better at adjusting but it took me pretty much until we left to get used to it. Besides this, Thredbo running week is locked in a comfortable, friendly and consistent time warp where the core people, events and social gatherings have not changed. And this is a good thing as the formula is just right. Tough races, scenic trail training runs, trivia, tennis, golf, happy hour, BBQs and so on. Perfect for running couples and families.
We arrived late Friday at my brother's and there is nowhere else to run but up and down so I did my 7km (34min) run around Crackenback ridge.
Sat morning, Greta and I ran the gate and back 7.6km just easy. My record of 30:09 was well in tack as we hit the letterbox (Alpine way - 3.8km) in 19-20mins. The return is brutal so we just shuffled along avoiding Wombats and the like and cruised it in at around the 42min mark. Total 8km.
Mid afternoon we drove to Thredbo to say hello to everyone and watch the first event of the week - The Crackenback Challenge. 2km straight up where the record is approx. 17mins. My PB is 23mins and it scarred me for life. First person we saw out of the car was Marty Dent warming up. Not keen to chase another Park Run record that day, Marty set off up the hill in search of Crackenback glory but it was not to be as a couple of stair climbing specialists eased past him to relegate him into bronze.
Jaden loved his first ever chairlift ride and we loved the fact we weren't racing the event.
PM: A tough but fun 6km loop with Deano that took us up around the Golf Course, halfway up the mountain and back via Friday Flat. Slow going but we didn't care.
Sunday morning was the big 6km Thredbo fun run I was hoping to win. I have done it many times with a PB of 19:06 quite a few years ago. My old arch rival Dean Degan was on hand to reminisce about our battles of yesteryear as was his lovely wife - World Champs marathoner Julia.
The warm up was okay, the start line strides so so but I was ready to go and off I went in typical fashion.
Say no more. I was passed at the 4km mark by a young ACT runner Patrick Johnson who went on to win easily in 19:30 (the time I thought I might run if things went well) with Deano chasing me down in close to 21mins.
2016 may need to see a dramatic shift in the way I approach races. Total kms - 15.5km
The Armstrong Trivia night was as clever as ever and we were all bushed so back to the hills for a well earned night's sleep.
Monday 11th: I returned to Thredbo myself for a training run / session on a fantastic new running trail called the TVT (Thredbo Valley trail) which runs from Friday Flat chairlift through to Lake Crackenback resort 17km later. Crossing bridges and paralleling the Snowy River, this run was a 30min out, 30min back run which I turned into a tempo progressive after feeling like I had not gotten much out of Sunday's race. 3km easy warmup up, then after a conservative first km, I snuck past the ACT boys and headed off turning at 7.2km (30:30) and with the aim of getting back in 29:30. I felt great the whole way which was nice but frustrating (again that first km yesterday haunted me), but I was caught up with backmarkers in the last km of the return leg and missed the 60min mark by 18secs. Still the return was nett uphill so happy - finished off with a solid 19km Monday morning training run.
PM: The pizza relays - a relaxed fun random team relay of two laps of the village green. I think I ran close to a 3min km (again feeling good by now) and a total of 6km
25km for the day and a great start to the week.
Back to Sydney after this to get back to reality.
Tues: Bumped into Dave Byrne in Centennial Park which helped me get through an easy 13km recovery jog.
On a side note:
I won't be stepping on Hoey's toes with regards to his passionate perfect B&E roll search but a shout out must go to the very affordable $8.50 version at the Wild Brumby Schnapps distillery on the Alpine way. We didn't try the Schnappycino but did have a tasting as we left.