Category Archives: travel

catching up

A long time between posts, but not between runs.

For once, I’ve managed to keep consistently running. Through the holiday season, through summer and into the start of Autumn. I’ve kept the injuries at bay so far and improved a lot more since the Auckland Half Marathon.

A quick recap of active events:

– walked the Skechers 6km event with my Mum in mid-November. This has become a yearly tradition now and we enjoyed the new course out and back along with waterfront. I set her a goal for us to finish in under an hour and revised this to 55 minutes as we turned at the halfway mark. We finished right on 55 minutes!

– we enjoyed a New Years’ holiday at a bach with friends overlooking Lake Tarawera. A perfect kiwi summer trip away with walking, kayaking, sunbathing, reading and swimming (along with copious amounts of wine and cheese!). We also walked the relatively new Lake Tarawera Trail. The 15km hike took us about four hours through ever-changing scenery. Once we hit Hot Water Beach we relaxed in the geothermal waters then took a speedboat back to the start!

Our view of Lake Tarawera 11139527_10153752773398574_481446992_n

– solo runs dominated with no TempoFit over summer. I’ve now nailed the art of the “runch” and can now get out for a 40 minute run and be back at my desk in just over an hour. This does leave me with a tomato face for an hour, even cold showers can’t defeat the heat of an Auckland summer!

– walked the Sculpture on the Gulf exhibition on Waiheke. We enjoyed a lovely day on the island and the walk in the sunshine to view the artists work. My favourite piece was the field of mirrors. This was then moved to a temporary spot near my work which was good to see in a different environment!

Field of mirrorsWaiheke walking

– watched the ASB Classic quarter finals, including a game with Marina Erakovic. It was the noisiest game of tennis I have attended – so much crowd support for her! We also spectated at a couple of triathlons – the WTS Auckland event, and the Panasonic People’s Triathlon at Mission Bay. I purchased a road bike in late 2014 and have started riding, I tossed up a triathlon this summer but decided to focus on running events for now.

Auckland 70.3ASB Classic

– completed the Albany Lakes Series (2x10km, 1x5km) and achieved a new PB of 55.08. Once again, they had stunning weather for the series and the events ran smoothly. I love the team from Running Events, as always it was a brilliant day out. Their tagline is “We’re Runners Too” and it shows.

Albany Lakes

– walked the Botany Fun Run & Walk with my Mum. We got her an entry as part of her Christmas present, and at the last minute I decided to enter and surprise her on the day. When she went to collect her pack she spotted my name too and I got an excited text from her – not quite the surprise before the start that I had expected! We finished the walk and enjoyed a nice chat on a sunny Sunday morning.

All in all, an awesome active summer and I’m getting stuck into training ahead before winter hits.

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rotorua half marathon: girls on the road

I think I’m developing an addiction to signing up for running events.

I was (quite easily) convinced by two of my running buddies to join them for the Rotorua Marathon on Saturday 3rd May, which meant I could also have an excuse to switch from the half to the 8km at Coatesville. After training with the two girls through a few TempoFit seasons and being able to push each other through our speed workouts and long runs, I knew they would be good running company.

We finished up at work early on the Friday and made it to Rotorua in about 3 1/2 hours. I may have caused us to take a wrong turn through a slower route, but I’ll continue to blame this on my phone GPS! We visited the expo to collect our bibs and race packs, they keep this open until 9pm on a Friday which is really great for those coming out of town. By this point we were starving and needed to get some food into grumbling bellies. Our criteria for a restaurant was simple – pasta for the other two, and some form of potatoes or rice (gluten free) for me. Turns out that late on a Friday night in Rotorua this isn’t that easy.

Chilly lakefront just before the start!

Chilly lakefront just before the start!

We woke up to a really chilly morning, just 4 degrees. For us Auckland girls, this was COLD. I wasn’t sure what to do, I had packed 3/4 tights and singlet as my usual ‘colder’ running outfit, but ended up wearing two singlets. This was a good decision as we really didn’t warm up until about the 15km mark. Despite this being the Rotorua Marathon 50th anniversary, the start of the half marathon was a bit of a shambles. Knowing we were all targeting just under two hours we lined up between the 1:45 and 2:00 markers. The first kilometre was spent dodging recreational walkers who were blocking the whole path. There were many angry runners around us and my Garmin data really showed it!

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Look at the first column!

We kept ourselves on a good pace and managed to get on track for a two hour finish if we could keep pushing. I took my Horleys Replace gels a bit later than I expected (water stops weren’t quite where we thought) but they worked well and I felt good. With it being much cooler than I am used to running in, it meant that I didn’t need to take on as much water as usual. At about the 15km mark we started increasing our pace to get our goal time. Unfortunately I was hit with some bad stomach cramps near the end (unsure whether this was dinner or the pace or the gels??) and had to stop for a moment, then walk-run. Sadly this meant I dropped right back, finishing in 2:02:30. This was still a PB but I was pretty disappointed after how well it had gone. My running buddies finished in 2:00:30 and 2:01:30, which were both PB’s as well but knowing the start we had it was three frustrated girls who got in the car to head home!

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the secret to great legs? travel!

And I’m back. Back to reality, back to work and to WINTER. And I have something to share… I may be the first person ever to do so, but I actually lost weight while travelling and on Contiki. I’m pretty sure there are two reasons for this.

Reason One: Walking kilometre after kilometre each day and being active!

I love to wander while on holiday, and I certainly did that on this trip. I also did a lot of shopping, but that counts as exercise when it is hot and the malls are so huge! I also wasn’t completely lazy while on holiday. My Santa Monica early morning run was my only actual run, but I did participate in a (tough, hot, exhausting) hike in the Grand Canyon and a (knee-wrecking) climb up to a waterfall in Yosemite National Park. I hadn’t expected to do that as part of Contiki so I was pretty excited to do it with my new friends.

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I also took every opportunity to swim – at Mission Beach in San Diego (cold), in Scottsdale in Arizona (like a bath), at Harrahs in Las Vegas (sunny), at Bass Lake (in a beautiful lake) and in sunny LA while staying right beside LAX. I decided not to swim at the top of the waterfall unlike some crazy people I was with!

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While in San Francisco we also cycled across the Golden Gate Bridge, covering about 16km all up. It was pretty tough in the wind and my lips were numb but it was so awesome, I’d definitely recommend doing so. We went through Blazing Saddles who were pretty good. My Nike running jacket did a great job of keeping the wind out too!  I also climbed a number of stairs up to the Coit Tower for some foggy views across the city.

Reason Two: I struggled with GF food

Although I’m not coeliac, I do have issues with wheat and follow a wheat/gluten free diet at home. I also don’t eat a huge amount of junk food (apart from my chocolate addiction). I figured the USA would be well ahead of NZ but I found it tough… I had bread twice in three and a half weeks, both times it was pretty disappointing. GF pizza bases were unheard of, and I ate a lot of oatmeal and cornflakes for breakfast. It could well be that the areas I was in just weren’t that into it, but I feel pretty lucky in NZ where most restaurants can provide a few options.

I ate plenty of salad, fries and bananas (and M&Ms!) and was really surprised by the size of meals, although probably shouldn’t have been – see the iPhone used as scale beside my sundae! I definitely think we need to bring In-N-Out Burger to Auckland, it was delicious and I loved my ‘protein-style-hold-the-spread-ketchup-please’ standard order.

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The point I’m trying to make is that a holiday doesn’t have to mean giving up being active and eating rubbish food. I certainly lost count of the number of burgers I ate, but I also know we were racking up close to 20,000 steps most days (thanks to my friends handy pedometer!). I did realise how much more I need to work on hills… I found it really hard to walk the San Francisco hills!

 

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