A quick trip across the ditch, a parkrun and a 90th Birthday

There are some places to run that lift the spirits and fill the heart with happiness.  Porirua parkrun is one of these places.  It is just so pretty.  This parkrun is totally park.  No roads to cross, no car parks to go through, just a lovely meandering path through a pretty Kiwi forest complete with stream and waterfall.

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Porirua is on the North Island of New Zealand and an easy 17 minute, straightforward drive from Wellington’s CBD.

There are two things that stick out about this parkrun that make it fabulous even without the wonderful course:

  • The directions on the web site were easy to follow.  We arrived 45 minutes early!  Other parkruns we’ve visited have resulted in anxious asking for directions, so rather than getting lost this time we were early!
  • There is a sign at the park that says parkrun happens here every Saturday.  The early bird tourists didn’t have to wonder if we were in the right place (we’ve done this before and crossed our fingers hoping the best) the sign told us we were.

Saturday morning at 8am, it was cold!  It was freezing!  Our rental car said 1°C on the thermometer!  It felt so much colder.  Running through the shady forest track my hands were so so so cold, I started to get that hot/cold almost hypothermic feeling.  Why didn’t I wear my thermals?  The cold made me want to run harder just to warm up!

Porirua parkrun is a fast course.  The course record is 15:47, imagine being able to run that fast?  This Unsporty Woman can’t but is in awe of those who do.

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Waiting for the run briefing

and we're off

and we’re off – I started right at the very back

The out and back course goes up 40m in altitude with two sections that are just a little steeper than others.  At the turn around point we go back down and the ability to zoom on the lovely compacted gravel path is there to take and literally fly with!  On the way up I stopped numerous times and took photos (judging from the graph below I stopped six times).  I would zoom along, see something pretty, stop and take a photo, then zoom on again.  This resulted in a pretty good negative split, just under 15 minutes on the way out and just a smidge over 12 minutes on the way back.  I ran the 4th km in 4:51!  That’s super fast for me.  I was expecting to finish in the 28 minute range because of my photo taking but surprised myself and finished in 26:37.  I’m always happy with a 5km run in the 26s.  That’s about where I am at the moment.  It means I didn’t doddle but I didn’t put in so hard that I might be sick at the end!  I’m actually super stunned to have been in the 26s – it just shows what a fast course this is.  If I can stop six times and still be in the 26s…perhaps I could…nah…too pretty for running too fast!

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Pretty Porirua parkrun – prettiest parkrun ever!

This was the seventh parkrun that we’ve visited.  All have been lovely in their own way.  Porirua, however, takes out the prettiest parkrun award from this Unsporty Woman.  And friendly people?  Oh yes!  A pretty and friendly parkrun!

And how did I go overall?  Out of the field of 66 runners and walkers I came 27th overall and 5th woman AND 1st in my age group!  All the fast ladies stayed at home on Saturday!  There is a lovely write up about the event on the Porirua parkrun news page – this really captures how cold it was.

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The half way and turn around point

The half way and turn around point

Pauly had a great run too.  He came in 5th overall and 5th male in a time of 22:22.  He came first in his age group on Saturday and now sits third overall for Porirua parkrun old boys, I mean category VM55-59 athletes.  Pauly is getting faster and faster!  His 5km parkrun PB at Launceston is 21:14 but that will get knocked down very soon.

There's Pauly (in blue) zooming back

There’s Pauly (in blue) zooming back

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A 90th Birthday

The real reason for our quick trip across the ditch was for the 90th Birthday of Paul’s Dad (The ditch is what Kiwis and Aussies call the Tasman Sea, the stretch of water between Australia and New Zealand).  It was on Saturday 6th of June.  It was a lovely time of getting together with Paul’s extended family and celebrating a wonderful milestone of a true gentleman.

My Father-in-Law, Pauly and my eldest Sister-in-Law

My Father-in-Law, Pauly and my eldest Sister-in-Law

The very lovely Sue from Travel Tales of Life wrote a fun post called Looking for True Love.  I read this post just before Porirua parkrun and it made me laugh and laugh, smile and feel very humbled all at once.  At my Dad-in-Law’s party I saw the below quote and thought of her. She encapsulates this quote completely.  With all the adventurous things she and her husband Dave go and get out and do she always has that courage to give things a try.  In the process she encourages and inspires her readers to think outside our own limiting boundaries and to grasp life and blow those boundaries up.  Thanks Sue, you have the biggest heart ever.

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Back home and it’s cold, rainy and rough.  Today is a public holiday and I have time to catch up on housework and things before I dive into what is looking like a manic work week.  But before that and after the housework a lovely long run out on the farm is calling me.  My head is foggy with racing around, queues in customs, watching departure boards – a long run will fix this.  Looking at the grey skys and the hearing the sound of the wind I won’t be forgetting my thermals today.

Happy running 🙂

PS on my list today is to sit down with my calendar and put myself down to volunteer at Launceston parkrun (my home parkrun).  Without volunteers parkrun doesn’t happen and as visitors we don’t get to run in so many lovely places.  parkrun asks runners to volunteer three times per year and so far I’ve only volunteered twice so it’s time to put my hand up again and be a helper so all of us can keep enjoying this wonderful thing called parkrun.

10 thoughts on “A quick trip across the ditch, a parkrun and a 90th Birthday

  1. My sweet friend I will admit I got all teary reading your lovely words. The quote is perfect. I love it and hope I live it every day. Congrats on another wonderful run for both you and Pauly. I can not believe how fabulous your Father in law looks .Who would possibly guess his age?!
    Now i am bundling up your inspiration,. positive mantras and putting them in my suitcase, This week we head for South America to cycle and hike in the Andes. I will be thinking of that quote a great deal!

    • He doesn’t look or seem 90 at all, he’s so amazing and still keeps fit by going for walks most days. Oh my goodness..off to the Andes? So cool. Stay safe lovely Sue, can’t wait to read about your adventures! I lived 11 feet up in the Andes for a couple of months, the altitude is tough work. Have a great time!

  2. What a great time considering you stopped so many times! You could definitely get those times down but maybe you wouldn’t have so much fun 😀
    Lovely that you were able to be there for a special family occasion, living on the other side of the world from my family, we’ve missed too many of those.
    Love the quote, think it’s perfect!

    • Sometimes, no often! I think we are crazy all this jetting around but NZ isn’t that far away compared to the UK and it’s lovely to be there for special things. The quote is perfect for you as well as Sue. Sam, you and Sue are like two peas in a pod in many ways – you don’t let anything stop you and you both get out and do adventurous things 🙂 And you’re both nurses and lovely kind, caring souls xxx

  3. Fabulous Parkrun results for you both. I aim to do a 26 min PR without feeling the need to vomit at the side of the finishing funnel, but not quite there yet, so well done you!

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