Distractions

How are you feeling about the Ultra in less than two weeks?  

Ultra?  Oh yes, that.  Umm….well…first I’ve got ummm stuff to do…then I’ll let you know.

The Unsporty Woman is feeling distracted.  Distracted by people coming and going.  Distracted by hiccups, irrigation dramas and happenings on the farm.  Distracted by changes at work.  But mostly distracted by the up coming 60th Birthday Party for Pauly.

Pauly’s 60th is being well and truly celebrated!  He’s had his early birthday gift of a Polar M430 a few months ago.  He’s had an early Kiwi Family and Friends dinner in Auckland.  He will have his real 60th Birthday on Tuesday.  AND Finally he’ll have his birthday celebration on Saturday.  Birthdays that end in 0 should be celebrated for as long as possible.

All these distractions mean I’ve been run off my feet but not by running.  The training is being done and hopefully will get me across the finish line of the Bruny Island Ultra; I’ve ticked off long runs, short runs, medium runs and cross fit, all according to the plan.  And so have Janette and Louie.  We have 10 hours to run 64 hilly kms.  Am I convinced I can do it?  Am I sure I won’t want to hop in the car and wave Louie and Janette on?  Fortunately right now I’m way too distracted with catering lists, spray painting Australian Man Fern fronds to look like New Zealand Silver Ferns and generally doing exciting things like counting knives and forks, wondering how many kgs of bread crumbs I need to put into 10kgs of mince for hamburgers and well things like that.

I was even too distracted to remember that Louie and I had to run a virtual half marathon for the Indigenous Marathon Project.  We slogged it out on Friday.  This virtual run raises funds to send Indigenous runners to the New York Marathon.  It’s the third year that Louie and I have participated.  It’s a great cause and it’s a lovely medal.

Happy running 🙂

Here are some happy snaps of some of the distractions this week…

A cheeky Kookaburra on the gate showing no signs of fear.   I was running late for work but who can resist saying hello to Kookaburra?  I can’t!

Pauly had a horrible day yesterday digging up 100s of metres of irrigation pipe.  My washing machine and I had a tough time as a result with several changes of clothes left on the front door step for us to deal with.  Please note if coming to visit during irrigation and you see clothes on the door step it might mean a naked farmer somewhere close by.

I finally put all of Pauly’s medals on his own rail.

Calves keep escaping into the farmhouse yard. I am going to turn them into veal sausages if they don’t behave… only joking.  These little girls will join the milking herd when they are older.

Louie and I on Friday doing our hot and humid 21.1kms for the Indigenous Marathon Project Virtual Half Marathon.

Three crazy duckies last Sunday doing the 19km Triple Top Event. Well done you three!

I was waiting at the end. The participants had just literally come down the face of the mountain. I so want to do this next year!

 

M I A: Tamaki Maori Village

There were so many options for things to do and see while we were in New Zealand.  We looked at tours, experiences and adventures.  A must was a trip to Tamaki Maori Village.

Missing in Aotearoa:  Tamaki Maori Village

This is a unique and authentic look at life for the Maori people, their culture, their traditions and their history.  Janette had done something similar on a trip to NZ nearly 20 years ago and Pauly and I visited a few years ago.  I wrote about our trip on the blog back in April 2015:  Fulfilling the dream of a little girl.  I loved it the first time and I loved it the second time.

The Tamaki Maori Village is run by the Tamaki family.  Yet again, another experience in NZ where we felt like invited guests to a special family event rather than paying tourists.  It was so much fun to experience this with our friends.  They were as keen as we were and at the end of the trip everyone said how much they loved it.

The best part of the trip was that Grant was elected Chief of our Tribe.  We travelled to the village in our waka (our bus became a Maori canoe called a waka).  Some noisy Australians nominated Grant. I don’t know who (innocent look).

Grant and our Waka driver Wallace doing the traditional Maori greeting known as the Hongi. The Hongi is the pressing of nose and forehead twice and is all about the mixing of breath.

Chief Grant out front and centre for the traditional greeting.

Apologies for the dodgy videoing.  Grant and Pauly along with all the men of our tribe learning to do the Haka.

The Tamaki Maori Village was all about the traditional Maori way of life.  We learnt about things like their poi dance, the Haka, facial tattooing,  the making of traditional weapons and games.  Then it was off for a communal meal.  I forgot to take photos of the Hangi!  It was so yummy!  This is a traditional meal cooked in the ground using hot volcanic rocks.  How many potatoes do you think one little duck ate?  And how much Maori bread?  We had just run a marathon so we can call it refuelling the Maori way.  Oh my goodness the kumera (white sweet potato) was delicious!

We had the best of evenings.  This experience was voted five stars by all the Quackers!

This is my last M I A post.  Normal blogging with commence shortly… as normal as it can be seeing as though there are only a few more weeks until Bruny Island Ultra.  I hope those lucky Tikis are up for the job!

I hope you haven’t minded a little clogging up of your email and WordPress Reader by the Unsporty Woman this week 🙂  thanks for reading along x

Happy running 🙂

Here are just a few more happy snaps of our trip…

Louie and Janette at a stop over in the gum boot capital of NZ, Taihape. The Quackers got to see the hills that are the course for The Great PukeokaHu Man v Horse race. I don’t think they were inspired though!

We all loved our brief stop in Napier and the Art Deco buildings.

The beach at Napier – volcanic sand and pebbles.

A reminder about courage.

M I A: Lake Taupo parkrun and the lucky Tikis

Lake Taupo is stunning. Unfortunately on the Saturday we were there, the weather decided to be wet and foggy so we didn’t get the usual views of a lake so vast and wide that you’d swear it was the ocean.  Skin is waterproof and you can only get wet through once so off we went to run Lake Taupo parkrun.

This is a new parkrun that’s building numbers.  Of the 20 people who participated it felt like more than half were visitors.  The volunteers were wonderfully friendly and sunny and more than made up for the soggy run.

 

All done. This was Louie’s first parkrun and her ‘Run Brave’ run. This is the second year she has participated in a virtual run to raises awareness about mental health and the mental health benefits of running.

After parkrun and another soak in the hot pools we went for a walk to Huka Falls.  The colour of the water is so beautiful.

New Zealand is known for its green stone.  According to Pauly green stone must be given as a gift.  With the Bruny Island Ultra just around the corner he bought Louie, Janette and I a lucky Tiki each.  It’s tradition to wash them in a stream before wearing them.

Just as we finished washing our Tikis a duck swam close.  I’m taking this as an extra special bit of good luck!

Happy running 🙂

M I A: Embrace your inner tea bag

The tea bag.  Were a tea bag able to choose a holiday destination, it would be New Zealand for sure.  Without a word of a lie any self-respecting tea bag would be saving up furiously for a couple of weeks in the Land of the Long White Cloud, Aotearoa.  Here’s why…

Missing in Aotearoa:  Soak like a tea bagDid you know that New Zealand is a land of geothermal action?  After the marathon we headed to Rotorua for a few days.  There is a distinctive smell in the air of sulphur.  There are steamy holes and puddles.  Springs of hot water and ponds of boiling mud.  Quite fascinating really.

Soaking in the 37C water of Waikite Valley near Rotorua.

Te Manaroa Spring has the largest volume of boiling water bubbling it from it in the world.

We loved Waikite Valley.  It was quiet and had a natural feel to it unlike other more expensive geothermal pools.  The staff were friendly and regularly tested the temperature of each pool to make sure they were safe for human bathing.  Warning signs suggested carefully dipping a finger or toe in first just to make sure we weren’t about to turn ourselves into a human version of corned beef.  After a soak we walked to the Te Manaroa Spring and looked down in wonder at the boiling water and the steam rolling in and out with the breeze.

We stayed in a small hotel that had its own thermally heated pool.  We had a wonderful soak in that after our first little run post marathon.

It’s not everyday that a bunch of Australian Quackers get to run through a geothermal park with steam and plopping mud!

We had a good old soak a few days later at Lake Taupo at De Bretts Spa Pools.  Arrrrr the sheer lovliness of the hot steamy water.  Heaven to marathon-weary muscles.Yes, we soaked like a tea bag.  As we steeped the troubles of the world seeped.

Missing in Aotearoa:  Dangle and jiggle like a tea bag

Of course what’s a cup of tea with giving the old tea bag a good old jiggle?
After much research three brave little Quackers decided on Rotorua Canopy Tours.  I don’t have enough words to say how truly wonderful this experience was.  We learnt about the conservation effort this little boutique business is involved in.  We learnt how some of the tour cost goes into helping native animals survive and to getting rid of introduced pests like rats and the Tasmanian possum.  Then we had the most magical three hours of glidding through the tall canopy of massive and ancient native New Zealand Forest.

The look of sheer happiness on our faces says it all.

Just for fun I tracked the tour with the Polar M430 GPS.

The fastest speed I clocked was just over 41kms per hour.

Janette is holding a little worm for one of the native birds.  Our guides are in the background.  They made us feel like personally invited guests on this trip.  I felt safe the whole time and loved the experience of swinging and zooming through the trees.

This trip is extremely popular and booking ahead is a must.

Unlike the Tasmanian possum, the Tasmanian Quackers weren’t able to over-stay.  But we will be back!  We LOVED it!

While we were off jiggling and dangling like tea bags, Louie and Grant had fun at Rotorua Skyline Tours where they went up in the gondolas and zoomed down in the luge.

Soak like a tea bag and dangle like one too.  All up, just like a good cup of tea, we felt renewed and refreshed.

Happy running 🙂

M I A

Ahhh holidays.  We dream about them.  We what if only about them.  We need them.  We crave them.  We plan them.  Just sometimes we get to experience them.

For the last eleven days the Quackers have been M I A.

Missing in Aotearoa

Aotearoa is the name that the Maori people give to New Zealand.  It means Land of the Long White Cloud.  We went to run Auckland Marathon and then to tour around the North Island a little bit.  Reflecting today, suitcases unpacked, the washing machine whirring, coffee beside me, choosing photos to share with you; rather than wanting to tell you about running, or places or experiences, I want to tell you about friends.

When I took up the challenge to try and run with my speedy husband seven years ago, never did I think that a few years down the track I would be sitting here writing about a holiday in New Zealand with a little bunch of people that running brought together.  People who are my sole-mates and my friends.  These people have seen me at my absolute worst and yet they still wanted to go on holiday with me.  Not just any holiday!  A holiday where we had to get up extremely early a few times, where we were sardines in a car driving 1000s of kms AND friends who were able to share teeny tiny holiday units with.

Thank you Quackers for the most wonderful holiday ❤

Now I’ve got the soppy stuff out of the way.  Let me tell you about what we did while we were M I A!

Auckland

Auckland is a beautiful harbour city.  We stayed right on the Harbour in what’s called the Viaduct Precinct.  Our accommodation was a few minutes walk from the Auckland Marathon Expo.

The Expo was fun.  It had heaps of different displays and products.  The organisers and volunteers were smiley, friendly and plentiful.  No question was too silly and nothing was too much trouble.  Just Awesome!

Oh but we love a marathon goodie bag!

We had a little run the day we arrived and checked out the venue just before the Expo opened.

What do we do if we are in Auckland close to Pauly’s 60th Birthday?  We have an early 60th celebration with family and friends.  Family and some special friends who Pauly has known since his youth were able to join us at a wonderful Irish Pub on the waterfront called O’Hagans.  Some family and friends travelled quite a way especially!  It was a lovely evening complete with cake.  Pauly did a speech right from his heart about friends which brought tears to a few eyes.  New friends and old friends.  Both are gold.  He’s no public speaker but this was beautiful.

Auckland Marathon

Like the Expo the Marathon was well organised with numerous friendly and enthusiastic volunteers.  All of us had a pretty good run!  Louie went sub four hours, Janette and Pauly just over and me just over five hours.  The course was beautiful.  It wound through and up and down some main streets before mostly heading off and around the waterfront.  We even had a ferry ride to the start!  The time difference meant we lost two hours going from Australia to New Zealand making the 6am marathon start a challenge.

Heading to the ferry with Auckland’s Sky Tower in the background.

Grant was support crew. He waited at the half way point to give us all a cheer and then was at the finish. All the running Quackers appreciated this more than we could ever say!

As I plodded around those 42.2kms I saw all the usual sights that a back of packer sees.  Volunteers on drink stops giving their all to support the marathoners.  Family and friends anxiously looking out for their special someone to run past and then that special someone getting an extra bounce in their step after being cheered and encouraged.  First time marathoners getting to breaking point but finding that extra something to keep on going.  Super fast runners about to head to the finishing chute just as I was at 21kms and about to head way out around the harbour for the second half of the course.  Happy people with deck chairs and boom boxes out cheering marathoners as they run past their homes.  Countless marshals and lolly pop people keeping marathoners safe.  And I see myself.  The Unsporty Woman.  Plodding around 42.2kms for the eighth time.  At 18kms I was pretty much done and from then on had walk breaks, finishing in 5:02:47.  It wasn’t how I had hoped it would be.  Coming around the corner to the finishing chute there were the Quackers and some of our Kiwi family who had come to cheer us and to run the 5kms.  Crossing that finish line was Sweet As! 

Another marathon done.  One that was planned for months and months… something that we looked forward to with equal amounts of happy anticipation and dread.  We did it.  We were brave enough to be at the starting line and determined enough to get to the finish.  If I can become a marathoner anyone can.

With that it was time to pack up the Jeep and head off to be M I A!  Over the next week and a bit we embraced our holiday and all things Kiwi.  We experienced this wonderful place and created happy memories that will keep us glowing for years to come.

We soaked.  We steamed.  We dangled.  We zoomed.  We hongi-ed and huka-ed.  We ran in special places and ate an awful lot of chocolate! More soon.

Happy running 🙂

L&P soft drink is as Kiwi as you can get. L is for Lemon and P is for Paeroa. Paeroa is the natural mineral water that bubbles up in the town of Paeroa. And Whittakers Jelly Tip is another Kiwi bit of yum that no holiday to Inn Zid is complete without sampling!

Shit Just Got Real. Again!

Marathon number eight coming up.  Auckland Marathon, New Zealand.

Shit just got real.  Again!

Have you seen Hunt for the Wilderpeople?  This 2016 film from New Zealand demonstrates everything I love about Kiwi Culture.  It’s funny.  It’s real.  It thumbs its nose at political correctness.  Or perhaps that last sentence should be:  Political correctness?  Never heard of it.  It shows the New Zealand landscape in its full and raw beauty.

One of the sayings from the movie is Shit Got Real.  This is a bit how I’m feeling about heading over to New Zealand tomorrow and running marathon number eight in four sleeps.  I don’t care that I’ve done this seven times already.  Marathons are a long way and I respect the distance and I respect my runner’s mind and body for being prepared to do this again.

I plan to be at the start line and I hope to be at the finish line.  Time is irrelevant.  I’m in running for a good time not a fast time.  I run marathons because of the fun and challenge, for the running friendships and the running trips.  It’s the whole package that keeps me planning and training and lining up for 42.2kms.

The run bank is nicely full.  Some of the long runs for this marathon plan have seen me seriously questioning if I can keep running distance.  I’ve struggled.  As long as I can propel my body to the finish line that’s all that matters.  My aim for Sunday is to only walk at drink stops.

I read a magazine article this morning while I was having my hair done.  The article was about a lady who had lost a whopping 116kgs and is now a triathlete.  She said that everyone goes on about her weight loss.  She says that that’s no big deal to her anymore.  The big deal is what she’s been able to achieve post weight loss.  She can’t believe that she’s able to do what she is doing.  She is currently training for her first Ironman.  And that’s how I feel too.  I can’t believe what I’ve been able to achieve since I first made that decision to try and run.  I don’t think that I will ever come to terms with transforming myself from non-runner to runner.  It was huge for me.

When I line up on Sunday I will be thanking my 2010 self for making that decision to try and run.  Had that Unsporty Woman not made that choice and then stuck with it, the 2017 Unsporty Woman would not be about to run her first international marathon.  If I can do this running thing anyone can!

Happy running 🙂

PS while we’re in NZ we won’t be mentioning the Rugby.  The mighty All Blacks lost to the Wallabies on Saturday night.  And guess who was at his first ever match?  Yes (whispering) Pauly was.  We don’t mention the Rugby while we’re in NZ.  Rugby isn’t a game.  It isn’t a religion.  It is a way of life to Kiwis.  No… I think I have that wrong.  Rugby IS life!

Reaction to Wallabies’ drought-breaking win against All Blacks

PPS please watch Hunt for the Wilderpeople.  It is one of my three all time favourite movies.  What are the other ones?  Sense and Sensibility (swoon…Alan Rickman RIP is such a hunk in that movie) and Robyn Hood Price of Thieves (hunky Kevin Coster naked under a waterfall?  🙂 )  Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a wonderful story that has some hugely funny things, some really sad things, breathtaking NZ scenery, but above all shows what’s really great about human kindness in two very specific ways.  I shan’t spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it.  Here is another little capture of the movie…

Knickers and Carbs

Oh for a smooth butt.  A butt without any hangy saggy droopy bits.  A pert tight bottom that cries out to be clad in lycra.  A super toned rear end with glutes of steel and definitely no sign of knicker elastic!

Each Monday and Wednesday (when not in marathon taper mode) Janette and I head to the gym for an hour of Les Mills Body Pump.  We squat.  We lunge.  We lift weights.  We pushup.  We plank.  Did I say squat?  We squat hundreds of time.  Two ladies just over 50 in a sea of fit young toned things all of us sticking out our bottoms as low as we can go.  We are surrounded by girls young enough to be our daughters in THE latest gym fashions and styles with figures that look like they’ve just walked out of a fashion shoot for Lorna Jane.   And gorgeous they are too.

These young things flick their perfect pony tails, put on the heaviest of weights and squat with purpose.  And their bottoms!  What can I say?  Smooth, sexy and not a hint of knicker elastic anywhere!

New undies, that’s what I need.

Into the Bonds Outlet shop I go.  I’m offered two styles and then comes the suggestion of an exercise G String.  Umm… no thank you I say.

I buy one of each to test.  I’m not sure that these knickers will actually help me to squat better or if they will make my rear end look more toned.  But what can I say?  I’m after all the help I can get!

Which leads me to carbs.  Bottoms and carbs… good segway don’t you think…or is that segue…

Anyways… carbs.

I don’t eat them.

I don’t eat wheat.

And I don’t eat sugar.

Nope.  I do not.

On Monday I ate a parmi with chips.

On Tuesday I ate a piece of cookies and cream cheese cake.  Two tacos and a bowl of chips.

On Wednesday I had a butterscotch muffin and an ANZAC biscuit.

On Thursday I made and ate pancakes with caramelised bananas.

Today, Friday?  Carbs, wheat, sugar?  I don’t eat them remember.  I’ve had salad.  Salad is good.

What with all this no carb eating and new knickers I’ll be giving those fit young things at the gym a run for their money in the toned butt department.  Wish me luck.

Happy running 🙂