Puente-Punku Vertical Kilometer FKT: 61’06 (1118m vert, 3910m top, 8.3km distance)
09:00: Another big day! Left the hostel around 9am and jogged down the steps to the bridge and out/back 1km on the route. The plan was to hit the VK up to Inti Punku hard and then, if we felt decent, continue on jogging/hiking to the summit another 600m or so vertical above, then head back down.
We went super light since the segment was short. I wore only a belt w/ 1 bottle and brought 2 gels mostly as backup (I was very glad I did in the end).
Did full drills and then 2 strides and then headed off together. I thought I might gap Joaquin a bit on this one, since it starts out super runnable on very smooth trail, which plays a bit more to my strengths. Felt great and stayed right under the red-line coming through 1km in 3’50 which is basically rolling/flat before the real climbing starts. From there, I ran almost the entire way, with one stop for passing horses and one walking break for aggressive dogs.
This was much harder than I expected. I thought maybe 6’00/km avg would be possible but I had an 11 minute km going up a shit-ton of stairs in km 6 and that was pretty much the end of it. The route got much rockier and steeper through the quarry section and keeping a rhythm was harder. The last ~1km is more buffed out and gentle as you traverse more gently up towards the Door (which door you can see from way too far away). I was counting up seconds and sure I was going to easily be under an hour but it just never seemed to get closer.
Finally, I popped up right in front of it and just missed the 60 min mark. I split my watch right at the door and then jogged back down to run in w/ Joaquin.
He wanted to go for a time all the way to the summit, so I was basically still tasting blood as he took off past the door and up towards the summit. This trail was gentle and nice for about 1km and then cut super steeply uphill. I was completely fried at this point and very thirsty already (it was now like 11am and very hot and sunny, even at 4000m) and very much wanted to just turn around and head back to town, but Joaquin was out of site so I trudged up the switchbacks feeling very sorry for myself, indeed.
Finally the trail cut out of the gully and up across and I could see Joaquin on the summit and I made a pathetic little jog up this last stretch. It was an amazing summit and worth it, but I knew we had a long, dry, technical descent down nearly 1800m to town.
We hung around for maybe 15 minutes and then headed down. I had already taken one gel and took the second for the descent as I could feel my brain was a bit foggy. We took an accidental shortcut through a lot of scratchy plants and cut down to the main trail and then had a long slog back down. A few close calls with toes on rocks, but no falls.
Went straight to the market and drank an enormous amount of liquid. This was nearly 5 hours in very hot sunshine with 500mL of water. Oof!
Overall, a great day with an excellent squeeze up the mountain and then good practice staying positive in some pretty serious discomfort.
More work tomorrow.
Total run 28.5km in 3h46 (moving time), 1940m vert.