Road Trip!!!


True confession time, I have had this blog post in my draft folder for ages.  I hadn’t realised how much driving, eating and drinking and even a bit of running we packed in on our 4 day South Island trip, and and how long retelling it all would take.  I also realised that if I am getting exhausted writing this, you no doubt will fall into comas reading it.  But because I  have a target of 40 blog posts to hit by 31 December – which I can’t really see being achieved, I am going to inflict this sad half finished effort on you all.

First things first, here is the official yes I ran the Queenstown Half Marathon photo.  And of course I have picked the one of me smiling not the one with the Oh My God what am I doing here expression.

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Smiling for the camera, grimacing once past the camera

Now that’s done I can write about the real reason my support crew came on along to wait around in the cold while I went for a long run.  Road Trip!!!  And road trip we did.

Mr Brett had never been to Queenstown before so I thought it would be really cool if we drove from Christchurch to Queenstown so he could really get the Mainland experience.   Unfortunately it didn’t start off that well, I left my driver’s licence in Frank the Tank which meant Brett was now going to have to do all the driving .   I didn’t do it on purpose ok.  And we couldn’t actually find out how to start the mighty Commodore aka the Green Hornet, because these new fanged cars don’t need a key to start them you just push a button.  Not that the rental car company thought we needed to know that.  Fortunately I was able to redeem the forgetting my licence – not on purpose ok, by working that one out.

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Green Hornet stopped on the Crown Range where signs say avoid this route if towing.  Truckie be like Yeah Nah

Then we (alright Brett) had to drive for the longest time 483km approximately, in rain and cold and mist through amazing scenery that we couldn’t see much of because of  said weather.  But it was still freaking awesome, because your gentle rolling hills of Jafa Land this is not.  There is mountains and blue blue rivers and big rocks and schist and just land and no people’s or anything for ages and ages.  So when you come to a place with a dog statue, you damn well make the driver stop to look at that.  There is also a church there – but dog statue!!!  I am referring to Lake Tekapo, which really is beautiful – pity about the weather.

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Statue to recognise the awesomeness of the dog. I approve

We also stopped in Twizel.   Not a lot can be said about there, except Kia Kaha to all the men, women and children who came there to develop the hydro power projects so I can play on the interweb in a nice warm, well lit home.

Finally we made it to Q Town.  Well out the back to be honest.  We stayed at the THC Nugget Point, which met most of my requirements, great price, and not right in Queenstown.   It also had amazing views of the Shotover, and a fabulous library.  What it didn’t have was a bar that was open outside the restaurant hours – boo.  Sometimes the struggle is real I tells ya.

As good nutrition is important for the well tuned athlete as well athletes running a bit rough – like myself, we went and had dinner at the Amisfield winery that night.  What can I say except it is great.  Fabulous food, in a beautiful setting, with nice friendly helpful staff.  I know it definitely helped my running prep.

The next day the weather was heaps better, so we did a bit of tiki touring.  We went over the Crown Range, to Wanaka (home of a beautiful lake and about 100 camper vans), and then back to QTown via Cromwell

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View from the Crown Range over to Queenstown

We had to stop in Cromwell because I needed to go to Rockburn Wines to meet the winemaker there Malcolm Francis – no relation to Mr Brett.  Malcolm is a great guy, makes one of my favourite wines – Rockburn Stolen Kiss, and he is really clever and funny on twitter.  So yes he is a twitter stalkee acquaintance of mine, and he was nice enough to make time to meet up without arranging a security detail.

Another advantage of visiting a wine maker is they know where the good eats and drinks is at.  Malcolm recommended Mt Difficulty and Wild Earth wineries to us, and by golly they were lovely spots to visit.

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Lunching at Mt Difficulty – noice

It was about at this point of the proceedings that I realised that it would probably make sense to slow up on the carb loading – alcohol is a carb right?  And treat my body more like a temple and less like a disco.  Brett however was able to go full Studio 54 – if Studio 54 closed at 9pm.  Because I had a race to run, and I was going to run it by golly.

As you know I runned and I finished and I survived, and I could even walk the next day.  Great success.

This is the point where my post got moved to the Drafts folder where it has stayed languishing for the last few weeks.  So I will distract you with a photo of the view from the Wild Earth winery where we stopped for lunch on the way home.  And if you are very good or very bad boys and girls one day I will let you know what we throught of Oamaru and Ashburton and Rakaia.  

 

 

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Running in Queenstown


Blame it on turning 50 but at the start of this year I set myself a goal to run the Queenstown Half Marathon. I heard it was really scenic and a nice course.   The added bonus was Brett had never been to Queenstown before, so he was very happy to come along as my support crew.

He didn’t realise that being my support crew entailed

  • listening to me moan and groan for the last 11 months about why I wasn’t fit enough and couldn’t do this
  • kicking me out of bed on Sunday mornings so I would do my long runs
  • being left with all the housework while I did the long runs – they take a long time ok
  • watching me hobble around for hours/days after I completed my long runs
  • looking at blisters
  • driving for over 1000 kms because I thought it would be more scenic and interesting if we drove to Queenstown from Christchurch rather than flying in – and it was it really was
  • paying for accommodation and food and drinks.  I take a lot of feeding and watering – just saying
  • co-ordinating getting me to the start and picking me up at the finish

However being the trouper he is, he did that and more.  I think he say it was almost worth it, because we saw some amazing scenery, drank some fantastic wine, and ate some great food.  And he did support someone who ran a half marathon and finished.  There is even a medal to prove it.

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For those are a little bit interested in the running side of things.  The course really is spectacular, particularly on the gorgeous day we had.  You run alongside rivers, and over bridges and down country roads.  The dead possum on one of said roads was a nice treat for the city folk and international visitors.  Mind you, here was a hill on the course that should be banned as it goes up for the longest time and has no place in a run – in my opinion.

3 bands played along the route, and there were the Air NZ Trolley Dollies handing out refreshments – much appreciated.  I also loved the Drag Queens at the 18km mark.  They were fabulous.  There were even Highland Pipers right at the end,  I loved that too.  The slight rise just before the finish line I did not love, and I would like that removed as well thank you very much.

I wish I had taken photos, but you know I was runnering.  And to be honest it is freaking annoying to nearly run up the back of someone because they were taking a selfie and or a picture of a dead possum or an evil hill.

I did take a selfie before the race and you may notice there was snow on the hills behind, so it was rather brisk waiting around,but it certainly warmed up quite quickly.  Did I mention what a stunning day it was?

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And here are my results.  My goal of completing the run without falling to bits or injuring myself too much was completed.  Although I do have an awesome blister between 2 of my toes.  According to the physio this is due to my weak glutes and a lot of glute work is required if I want to avoid these type of injuries in the future – yay me.

OFFICIAL TIME
Finish Flag 02:15:33
Overall ranking

2244
from 4384 Finishers

My division F 50-59

106
from 302 Finishers

Female Runners

1115
from 2782 Finishers

I will be honest,  I never thought I would do more than one half marathon, but maybe I have caught the running bug.  Some serious glute work is required (booo), I definitely need new shoes and some hills need to be dealt to.  But I can see me inflicting myself on my long suffering support crew some time in the near future.  I will just need to find a location where he hasn’t been before and wait till the bank balance has recovered a bit.

Finally a genuine and heart felt thank you to all of you, who have been so supportive and positive about my running endeavour.  A big shout out to Sister Julie and Greta for keeping me on the right track although I did veer off it many many times.  I couldn’t have done it without you all.

How Many Hangers does it take to Fill a Landfill?


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I am new to Junk Run and I must admit I have never really thought about sustainability or recycling that much.  Apparently putting my wine and gin bottles into the recycling bin won’t put me in the top % of eco warriors.

But wow in just over a month have my eyes been opened.  We really do live in a throw away society.  It is incredible the amount of stuff we accumulate and then we just throw it away so we can get more stuff.

My most recent OMG moment has been around coat hangers.  Our team went and cleared out a clothing store chain premises in a suburban mall.  Among the clothes and shop fittings were boxes filled with black plastic coat hangers, over 8 000.  Just in one store, and they can’t be recycled.  

So my mission this week was to find them a home.  Because there was no way these babies were going to be sent to landfill.  After a bit of ringing around I was able to find a second hand dealer who was happy to take them off our hands.  Win Win(actually it might count as a triple win as I was worried that I might have had to store those coat hangers in my bedroom until I found someone who would take them) 

Below is an excellent article from Green Progress which explains very clearly what an environmental nuisance they are.  It certainly makes you think.  When one store alone can have 1000’s, why are we bringing more into the country?   It just doesn’t make sense.

 

 

How Many Hangers does it take to Fill a Landfill?
A drop of water is a very small thing, indeed – but collect billions of drops and that drop becomes a flood.

Your typical, humble retail plastic hanger is a very small thing, too. But take the estimated 8 billion plastic hangers that are thrown into landfills every year and what you have is an environmental crisis.

It’s been estimated that from 8-10 billion plastic and wire hangers are produced and sold every year. Of that number only 15% are ever recycled. Where do the rest go?

Visit your favorite clothing store and purchase a shirt or a blouse or a pair of pants. What happens to the hanger once you make your purchase? Most likely it gets tossed into a cardboard box under the counter. And where does that box go at the end of the day? 85% of the time it goes into the dumpster out back. Repeat that in thousands of clothing stores and you’ve got 8 billion polystyrene and polycarbonate hangers, every year, clogging our landfills.
But why is that? Aren’t hangers recyclable?
The short answer is yes, but the practicality of it is a big no.

Hangers are typically made out of Polystyrene [6] and Polycarbonate [7]. Besides those two plastics, hangers can be made out of 5 other different plastics, usually of very low grade. Separating the different types of plastic is difficult if not impossible on a rapidly moving recycling line. Recycling machinery is rough on materials and most hangers break into pieces before they even make the plastic separating section (usually the last section in a recycling line). Identifying chards of plastic is not possible. Plus wire hangers gum up the rotating cams and are so troublesome that in most municipal recycling programs all hangers are banned.

Additionally there’s a new trend emerging in the clothing industry where hangers are put on clothing (garments on hangers or GOH) at the factories overseas and shipped on hangers. This means that every article of clothing is already on a brand new hanger when it arrives. So when a piece of clothing sells, there’s no reuse need for the hanger. So into the dumpster they go.

To put these numbers into perspective, picture the Empire State Building packed from floor to ceiling and from basement to observation deck-all 102 floors-with plastic hangers. Now multiply that by 4.6 to get the number of skyscrapers needed to hold 8 billion hangers.
And these hangers don’t just lay there quietly in the landfill either. Polystyrene leaches benzene, a carcinogen, into our drinking water. Benzene is the active ingredient in cigarette smoke.

And how long do these plastics sleep quietly in these landfills? It is estimated that it would take from 800-1000 years for these plastics to break down in anaerobic landfills, and possibly longer. That’s 40 generations necessary to break down these plastics.

All for a very short time on the rack.

All for a simple hanger.

 

Happiness is…


Obviously not watching the American election.  That was so sad that even self medicating with gin and cheese didn’t help.  I can’t even imagine how distraught Hillary and her supporters must be.

No, happiness is having a job that allows me to do what I am good at, talking to people and spending time on the interweb.  On Fridays I can bring Billie with me.  We start our day with coffee and a run on the beach – well one of us has coffee and one of us runs.  And life is good.

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Happy Dog

A letter to Greta


Greta is a fantastic woman and running coach (you can be both) She has done amazing things with sister Julie’s running technique and stamina.  Julie is now a keen member of her running group the Rejoov Runners in Sydney Australia.

http://rejoovrunners.com.au/

For my birthday this year, Julie gifted me the Rejoov Runners  12 week online running program so I could complete the Queenstown Half without totally disgracing myself.  It has been a wonderful present truly.  For the last 10 weeks Greta has been checking in, sending me through a weekly plan, being so positive and upbeat it has really kept me on track – well a wayward all over the place track.

On Sunday I ran the Auckland 12km Traverse and Greta asked for an update.  I started to write her an email and then I realised I could use this as a blog and kill two birds with one stone mwhahaha.  So here goes Greta, here is your update

Hi Greta, thank you so much for being so supportive and interested in my efforts.

Anyway here are my impressions of the Traverse and my training so far
The 12km Traverse is part of the Auckland Marathon series and is designed so you can run over the Harbour Bridge without the pain and suffering of having to do the Marathon or Half.  And it is pretty special because it is the only time of the year people not in vehicles are allowed on the bridge.
Like the whole event it is really well organised, and they always seem to get the weather right as well.  Nice and sunny but not too hot.  You run for about 4kms on the flat then up and over the bridge, another nasty little hill and then the last few kms are on the flat around the waterfront until you arrive at the finish line.
I did it last year, while sister Julie slogged her way around the full Marathon course. This year I thought it would be a good wee warm up event before I do the Queenstown Half in November.
Doing the Queenstown Half seemed like a good idea at the start of this year, but to be honest it has all been a bit of a struggle.  The job I took on in May where I was on call 7 days a week really played havoc with my whole fitness and training regime.  I kept managing to have niggling injuries, and my motivation was probably around the 2/10 mark.
If I didn’t have your training plan I don’t think I would be anywhere near ready. Not that I have followed it that well (ahem)  It was just that when your 12 week program turned up with tasks for me to do and things to fill in I cried a little bit. My job had so much of the tasks to do and things to fill in, that the thought of doing any more just gave me the heebie geebies.
But I managed to takeaway my own key learnings.   Stretch, rest, and get that long run in once a week. Hmm managed to completely miss the interval training bit.
My long run routine (which is usually on a Sunday) goes like this
Wake up
“God it’s Sunday I have a long run today”
Moan and groan about it to Brett for at least 40 minutes before leaving for my run
Stretch
Run – while Brett stays home and does all the house work
Share run update on Facebook along photos of blistered chaffed bits
Moan and groan and hobble around for a couple of hours
Did my nutrition guideline mention gin and chippies”? I am sure it did.
Drink gin eat chippies
The following Sunday repeat, but just run a little bit further
Anyway this year with the Traverse I wasn’t quite as fast as I was last year – that’s what happens when you ignore interval training sessions – just saying.
But I did it, I did get bunched up near the back at the start and nearly tripped over.
Run almost over before it started.  That would not have been cool.
Key learning there get yourself into a good position if you can.
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Too busy thinking about a good selfie rather than a good start position
I managed to be consistent with my pace and I knew I could have kept going. Which is just as well, seeing as at Queenstown I will have to do 9 more kms.  Yay
My mind does funny things when I run a race (funnier than usual)  I start trying to beat people just in front of me, or working out what their story is.  Why is that older, fatter person with the weirdest running style passing me?  Did they do interval training or something?  And I am not proud of this but I got a hate on for the young girl of about 10 or 12 who kept running back down the bridge to check on a friend then running back up, passing me and then running back down again.  She did this about 6 times.  While I was still struggling to just get up there once!!!
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That happy finished feeling

I did find some good people to strap up my blistery foot before race day, and it did make a difference.  But it looks like I am going to have to invest in some new shoes.  Obviously the ones are using are causing problems – just on my right foot strangely enough. Hmm maybe I am the one with the weird running style.

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Obligatory blistery foot photo
So lovely Greta, onwards and upwards for Queenstown.  Plenty of extra curricular activities have been booked, visits to wineries, and eateries.  Brett has never been to Queenstown before and he deserves to enjoy some fun times seeing as he has been such a fantastic supporter of my efforts.  Seriously he has listened to a lot of moaning.
I am really looking forward to the race, and while I won’t be breaking any speed records. I will have a great sense of achievement for doing something I thought was impossible a few years ago.
Thank you, I will proudly wear my Rejoov Runners shirt in Queenstown, and as sister Julie pointed out I will be very thankful it is black and not green and gold, that really would be going a step too far.  Even for a fantastic running program.
Love Nat

I told you I was discombobulated


I have written nuffink for a month, I took some photos and had some ideas like

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  • Why Don Brash is an idiot and why I would buy him a one way ticket to anywhere but here and some recommended reading for him*
  • Why The Big Short is a great movie and we should all see it – have we learned nothing people?
  • Why I cried in the car when I heard that Helen Kelly had died and I have never even met her
  • Why training for a half marathon is the devil, even though Greta from Rejoov Running is the best coach ever – I had nice photos of blisters to attach to that blog*
  • Why I am reading and researching more about sustainability and finding out stuff that amazes/scares me a bit*
  • Why I am super excited for the NRL Nines – I think I may have already mentioned that but I do have the best job ever on that weekend.  And why I am sad Benjy has left the Dragons*

But gentle reader did you get to immerse yourself in any of these blogs?  No you did not. And I have self diagnosed this as being down to an extended case of discombobulation.  Not just laziness (ok that may be a contributing factor)

I didn’t realise that going from one job straight into another was going to be so tiring and be so much for my little brain to take in.  But I can honestly say that after a month I feel that I am now starting to get my head around things and back to being able to put my ideas into semi- meaningful sentences.

So be afraid people, I have got a shit load of blogs to write to get to my 40 for this year target, and despite all my best efforts I don’t seem to be able to train Billie to write them for me – she is a little bitch sometimes, honestly.

However one thing she is always available to do is to take me for walks, and show me things.  Like the new walkway at the end of our street across the mudflats to Eric Armishaw Park in Pt Chev.  There was actually a kingfisher on the railing just before I took the photo. More awesomeness in the Chev.  Love it.

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*Here is the book Don Brash should read.  It has lots of pictures so that might help him.  Just a wonderful beautifully crafted book about Maori history, our history.  Actually we should all be given a copy of this book with all of that surplus that our amazing National Government has managed to squirrel away

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*Blisters photo – I need new socks and probably shoes and feet and legs

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*Fly Tipping- did you know bad people just go and dump skip loads of rubbish in carparks etc?  Our Junk Run guys sometimes have to go and clear it out – blucky  (wouldn’t you rather look at photos of pie displays?)

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*I am sad Benjy is leaving the Dragons because he is such a great team man and so good with the young guys and old ladies

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Discombobulated and Grateful


Yesterday was my last day at Goodman Fielder.  For the last five months I expended blood, sweat and tears – yes I am talking about you Pukekohe Pak n Save, on managing a team, myself, and an infinite variety of grocery products.  Now it is all over, the phone and laptop have been passed back.  I start a new adventure on Monday and I feel strangely discombobulated.

It really is the weirdest feeling.  I actually have no words to describe it.  But I do have some fantastic memories, and I did get to meet and interact with some truly beautiful people, for which I am honestly very grateful

It must be said, some of those beautiful people did not look very beautiful on Thursday morning, after they took me out on Wednesday for a farewell lunch.  I take full responsibility for enabling the badness. But I don’t refer to my colleagues as Wahine Toa for nothing.  They fronted up and gave their very best the next day.  I am just very grateful there is no photographic evidence of the shenanigans.

One of the most humbling things about this whole experience has been the kind words that have been said about me making a difference.  I am really not sure that is the case, all I did was hand out a few chocolates, wrote some notes of appreciation and did terrible things to the rosters and shared drives.  My poor boss will probably age about 10 years taking over my area.

But because she is so very nice, and at this point in time not realising the state of the rosters or the share drives, ahem, she gave me this most gorgeous gift.  An owl for the wisdom I imparted.  I think it is more for what I have gained, but he has a special place up at the Lodge where I can sit in the lounge and look at Mr Ruru and reflect on a most extraordinary and discombobulating 5 months in my life.

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A perfect spot for Mr Ruru

 

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My beautiful candle and the obligatory bath selfie

My colleagues also gave me a beautiful present – apart from a sore head on Thursday, a fabulous candle, they thought I could have by the bath.  It will help remind me of the light they brought when I was in a dark place, and how apparently bath selfies are so good for team morale.  Who knew?

But I might not try the bath selfie trick with my new team until I have been there for at least a week.  According to Mr Brett there is such a thing as over sharing and too much of a good thing, so I will take his guidance on that one.

Finally my pick for the game tonight between the Raiders and the Storm tonight really has to be the Raiders, after all I am going to be part of a Green Machine myself next week.  Yay me.