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 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.
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!