Fitness Weirdo – but a happy one


This Sunday I ran my first 10km fun run.  I am pretty darn proud of myself too because I ran all the way.  The course was a 2.5km loop around Waiatarua Park in Remuera.  The course was quite good but it poured with rain about half an hour before we started and for most of the hour and 2 minutes and 13 seconds that I ran for.  Which meant it was wet.  And there was a spot where I swear wasn’t a puddle it was a mini lake.  The water came up well over my ankles.  Knowing the first time you ran through it, that you would be coming up against it 3 more times was not the most inspiring sensation I must admit.

Before the race - boo
Before the race – boo

The run is part of a series of 6 races organised by Run Auckland.

http://www.runauckland.co.nz/

I have to say despite the weather being more designed for ducks than runners, it was really well organised, and once you got your head around the fact you were going to get bloody wet a lot of fun.  I was a bit disappointed I didn’t finish in under an hour – which was my goal.  But there is next month’s run.  And I will tie my laces better next time.  I did have to stop for that – that must have slowed me up by 20 seconds at least 🙂

By the time we finished a little bit of blue sky
By the time we finished a little bit of blue sky

Of course the funny thing is me even being disappointed at not achieving my goal of 10km in under an hour, is that 2 years ago this would not have been remotely possible.  But since making the decision to stop being a couch potato and doing the Michelle Bridges 12WBT program.  (which I joined thanks to Sister Julie and I can not sing the praises of highly enough)  I can now go out on a wet Sunday run for over an hour and think that is a good time.  Weirdo I know.

Billie recreating what I felt like doing straight after my run
Billie recreating what I felt like doing straight after my run

That’s me the healthy and happy weirdo who has biceps, and enjoys nothing more than showing off her headstand moves.  Of course the time I really want to show off my headstand is when I have had a couple of gins.  Unfortunately I have not found a way to keep my balance when the magical juniper juice has been consumed.  But I am a work in progress, and if it is at possible I will find a way.

I have discovered this amazing thing (and sorry if I sound like an evangelist) but regular exercise is really really important for my well being.  In fact it is my preventative medicine.  I am quite sure if I stopped exercising, my family and colleagues would push me out the door anyway, because it has made such a difference to my mental and physical health.  Exercising regularly, eating healthyish and drinking a bit less have all been really good for me.  Crazy times.

So my goal for 2015 is to keep it up, even when getting out of my nice warm bed at stupid o’clock to go to they gym seems like a really dumb idea.  Because the reality is, I have tried the alternative and that isn’t too clever either.

And I just have to say, because it has been a big week Shout Outs to …

  • The people of Northland, showing the National Party they can’t be taken for granted.  Winnie is a sly old silver fox but he is just brilliant for his nuisance value.  Lord knows what he will get up to now, but I am pretty confident it wont make John happy
  • The Warriors, I know you would have really wanted that win against the Broncos at Mt Smart, but you really came back in the second half, just wasn’t to be unfortunately
  • The Dragons, yay another win.  Hopefully you can build on that momentum for the Knights.
  • The Black Caps.  So very proud, the game against Australia wasn’t anywhere as close as we would have liked.  But you got into the final and displayed an awesome attitude the whole way through.  I think good sportsmanship is definitely something we should value and celebrate.  Yes I am talking about you, Australian cricket team, who gave an awesome demonstration of how you can be losers even if you win.
  • All the volunteers who help keep sporting clubs with future Black Caps, Warriors and Dragons going, and all those people who knock on doors to get people out to vote.  Giving up your time to do something for others for no material gain is pretty awesome.  (maybe not the Young Nats though – I think you just annoyed the hell out of the voters of Northland) Ok, it’s me, you annoy the hell out of me.

 

 

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Bye Bye Volvo Race Village


IMG_2372I really miss you now you are gone.

Each Thursday afternoon for the last 6 weeks I have walked down to Auckland Harbour where my writing class has been held.  And for some of that time an area was set up to host the Ocean Race Yachts and their teams.  It has been fantastic.  There was a wine bar, displays, a stage with performers, bean bags so you could just chill out, a kids area and lots of helpful people keen to tell you all about the race and what was going on.

And now it is all gone.  I am actually annoyed I didn’t avail myself better of the facilities.  I mean I could have visited the wine bar or lay in a bean bag for a bit.  It was just so wonderful, I thought it would stay up.  But no, all dismantled and back to being a car park.  Which after seeing how well the space was used seems an absolute waste.

The Queen Victoria cruise ship was in Auckland on Thursday however, and I got to see her.  Huge, dwarfing everything around her.  So big in fact she had to berth a bit further down the port.  Right by where the Ports of Auckland unload all the cars.  Hmm bit of a theme here.  Because nothing says vibrant, world class city than a container port and car yard right on the front door step.

Big Boat
Big Boat

Funnily enough the next day a campaign was launched Save our Harbour.  Which is trying to stop the Ports of Auckland building two huge extensions out into the harbour.  Personally I don’t think the Ports of Auckland should be operating slap bang in the middle of the city.  And I would far prefer that the Port at Whangarei was developed.  It would be a win win for Auckland and Northland.  But what do I know?

Well let me answer that.

I know how to parallel park a 3.5 litre station wagon* like a boss.  On Friday I parked Frank so sweetly, I wished it could have been recorded for posterity.  It doesn’t always happen but sometimes the stars and planets align and you just get the angle right.  It is a great feeling.  As opposed to those times you have the 6 attempts still don’t make it and drive away pretending that you didn’t want to park there anyway.

I also know that my Warriors and Dragons had wins this week.  Fantastic.  There is actually a fan campaign running to sack the Dragons coach Paul “Mary” McGregor.  He really communicates well with the team, and runs a tight ship.  So I think asking for him to be sacked at this stage of the game is really uncalled for.  I don’t think anyone could work harder or care more his side than Mary does.  I really hope the team can get some more wins and the fans let him get on with coaching.

Me and Mary
Me and Mary

I also know that if I drink too much I feel unwell the next day.  But I do keep forgetting that one.  Oh well, can’t be clever all the time.  Here is a cute Billie pic, illustrating how I felt this morning.

In the dog house
In the dog house

*Yes Frank is actually 3.5 litres of awesomeness not 3 as previously reported.

 

Why I’m a St George-Illawara Fan


I even got the T Shirt   2015 has already been pretty amazing for me.  Lauren wanted it mentioned that she has moved out of home.  Of course we love you Lauren and you are always welcome to visit.  But it was time for you to leave the nest.  And let’s face it your nest is pretty awesome – it has Sky and faster broadband than our place and you are just down the road.  And we can always hear your scooter farting down Pt Chev road. I have just realised that next year I am turning 50 – like really realised as a real thing, not just a vague concept.  So I am determined to keep up with the running and exercise.  I want to get to 50 being fabulous(ish), and so far that seems to be tracking ok despite Mr Gin’s sneaky attempts to derail me. Brett gifted me an 8 week Creative Writing Course run by the Creative Hub for my birthday, which I can honestly say I was quite conflicted about.  But I have grown to really enjoy it.  And it has helped motivate me to get back to blogging.  One day when I feel brave, I will share some of my learnings from the experience http://www.thecreativehub.net.nz/   But it terms of the bestest fun and general awesomeness I would have to say being Team Liaison Officer for the St George-Illawara Dragons at the Auckland Nines this year was just amazement. I have always been a Warriors fan, and I enjoy League a lot more than Rugby.  But we don’t have Sky and I wouldn’t say I am a fanatic.  However when the opportunity came up to help out with the Dragons at the Nine’s I leaped at the chance.  I honestly felt I was one of the luckiest people in New Zealand that weekend. I could go on and on, and I am pretty sure Brett would say I already have on numerous occasions., but here using magical bullet points is a short summation of the experience

  • A Team Liaison Officer’s role is to keep out of the way, but make sure stuff doesn’t get left on the bus, there is enough food, and don’t lose the ball bag
  • Professional athletes work and train hard, they are seriously putting their bodies on the line
  • I was treated with nothing but respect and in a genuine nice friendly manner the whole time, which I think says a lot about their team culture
  • The support staff are a key part of a team, and I found them really interesting.  I had no idea how hard the gear guys, team physios, coaching staff etc work.
  • League boys like their ink.  There were a lot of awesome tattoos on display.  So glad Lauren didn’t see them, they would have given her ideas.
  • I was told to not act like a fan around them, but by the end of the exercise it was really hard not too.  They were all so lovely.  On the last day, I got a lot of selfies bro
  • My biggest hope and fear is there is a Warriors/Dragons Grand Final.  No idea what I would do then
  • Would I do it again, in a heart beat.  In fact my 50th birthday celebrations will need to work in what is happening with the Nines.  Fingers crossed I get asked back
Me and the Captain
Me and the Captain
Me and the Coach
Me and the Coach
I got to hang with these guys.  So much fun
I won’t play favourites, but Thommo, Jason and Heath were seriously a lot of fun.  Not that you can tell or anything

As an interesting aside, I actually had an old school St George Jersey with the Penfolds logo on it.   I had bought from an Op Shop in Christchurch for $12 about 10 years ago.  I decided to wear it.  And the team loved it.  It turned out it would have been a similar jersey to the one the team manager Robert Finch would have worn, when he was playing for them.  And they won the Grand Final.  A very spooky coincidence.  Mind you I also have an old school Bulldogs jersey, and it wouldn’t have gone down well if I had turned up in that – just saying

On the side line in my old school Dragons jersey
On the side line in my old school Dragons jersey

What’s after yarn bombing? Lei bombing of course


These look fabulous. I hope the Council gets back to you

Brett Francis

A couple of years ago now I did a post on yarn bombing.

Today, walking through the Civic Square I noticed the trees had been wrapped in colourful plastic lei’s – awesome.  I’ve just sent the Auckland Arts Festival an email asking what’s going to happen to these after the Festival.  I’ve got the perfect tree!

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Road Trip!!!


Welcome to Hawkes Bay
Welcome to Hawkes Bay

This weekend we made the trek down to Hastings in our trusty steed Frank the Tank.  Frank is a 15 year old 3 litre Mitsubishi Diamante Executive Station Wagon.  He ain’t pretty but he is a really reliable workhorse.  Thank goodness he is, because gentle reader it took us 3.5 hours to get from the Auckland CBD to the top of the Hamilton on a Friday afternoon.  We left work at 3:30 and arrived into the Tron at 7:00.  How crazy is that?  Brett and I decided that we will never put ourselves through that again.  If we are heading south again for a weekend, we will take the Friday or at least half a day off.  What an absolute waste of time and energy, I can’t believe that people have to put themselves through that every day.  Blech.

Anyway it only took us 3 and a half hours the following day to get from Hamilton to Hawkes Bay.  Did I mention that is how long it took us to get from Auckland to Hamilton the previous evening?

We have been visiting the Hawkes Bay fairly regularly over the last few years because Brett’s Dad lived there.  It is a long drive, but Brett knows the road really well, and how to keep me amused.  Provide a pillow and a blankie and make sure that there are regular coffee stops.

As we usually do we chose to go somewhere that sounds interesting for lunch.  This time we went to St Georges restaurant, and it was fabulous.  The food was delicious, the staff were friendly and fun, and the prices were very reasonable for the quality of the meal.  A good time was had all round.  And all of the vegetables they served were grown on site.  How cool is that?  The only thing we were disappointed about was that we didn’t order entrees as we are sure they would have been fabbo as well.  So we had to settle for dessert, because we are good like that.

My yummy pork dish
My yummy pork dish
IMG_2362
Chocolate and citrus deliciousness

 

Since I have become a bit more fitness focused, (which means I do some exercise as opposed to none).  I really enjoy getting up and going for a walk or a jog before spending a whole lot of time sitting in the car.  And it is a great way to get to see a place.  In Hamilton I went for a stroll along the river, which was just lovely, although I didn’t take any photos as it was still a bit dark.

But in Hastings I went to Havelock North, where I saw these guys.  I am not sure of the significance but they were kind of interesting.  Although Havelock North to me seems less a home to eels (tuna) and more a home to well dressed middle aged women shopping and eating in packs.

Tuna
Tuna

On the way back into Hastings I made a point of taking a photo of some of the Heretaunga Pou.  There are 18 of them and they really look magnificent

Pou
Pou

Here is a bit more information about them http://www.hawkesbayartguide.co.nz/listings/item/pou-64/

Of course stopping and looking and taking photos of them is a really good excuse to stop running.  Culture trumps jogging.  Just saying.

All too soon it was time to head back home, where we saw lots of vans full of Afghan and Kiwi cricket fans heading to Mclean Park Napier for their World Cup match.

We always enjoy our trips to the Bay, it really does have a lot going for it.  A great climate, lots of beautiful food, wine and scenery.  But seeing as it is nicely placed on top of a nice big fault line, we wouldn’t live there.  Just happy to be visitors from Auckland who come and eat and drink and take photos and stay with special friends.

I am happy too because I know we will be returning on the weekend of June the 25th when my St George-Illawara Dragons take on the Melbourne Storm.  It should be interesting seeing as Napier isn’t exactly known as the home of League.  And both teams are Aussie.  But hey Dragons there will be at least one noisy fan there.  And there is even a great restaurant that I can recommend with your name on it.IMG_2283

 

Been a while


But better late than never, unless you are Ebola and then in that case never is preferable.

I haven’t blogged for the longest time.  I must admit I lost my way a bit.  But I have realised that writing down my mad musings is something I really enjoy.  Along with gin drinking and tormenting Brett.  So seeing as I devote plenty of time to the last two I may as well get back into the blogging thing as well.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to get back into blogging, so as is now March, it seems like it is a good time to start.  And the good people at WordPress have also set up a blogging tutorial for this month, called blogging101. So it definitely seemed a good time for me to shake a tail feather and get writing again

I don’t do super amazing things, so you will never be reading about me climbing mountains, or jumping out of planes  But I have great friends and family, sometimes I go on great holidays, or see fantastic performances, or look after the St George-Illawara Dragons League team for a weekend.

When I last posted on here, I wasn’t married to the lovely Brett, Okahukura Lodge wasn’t finished, and I had no idea that I would learn to like running and regular exercise.  But all happened, and a whole lot more.  I could write a whole blog about Lauren’s tattoos for example but I don’t think I am emotionally prepared for that yet.

I am expecting 2015 to be quite sedate actually, and that won’t be a bad thing after all the busyness that was 2014.

Here are some of the illustrated highlights over the 18 months.  There have been plenty.  I really am a lucky beggar.  I am also a Nana (thanks to Brett and his gorgeous daughter Hannah)  But I won’t post a photo of the lovely Isla, because even though she is only 8 months old she likes to retain control of her social media profile.

Favourite place at the Lodge
Favourite place at the Lodge
I married this guy
I married this guy
We went on a boat
We went on a boat
IMG_2152
I did me some running

 

Lauren turned 21 and got her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award
Lauren turned 21 and got her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award

 

I got to hang with these guys.  So much fun
I got to hang with these guys. So much fun
I even got the T Shirt
I even got the T Shirt
And this is still one of my favourite residents of 7c
And this is still one of my favourite residents of 7c

So you will be hearing from me a bit more regularly over 2015.  I cannot promise it will all be quality stuff, but it will be stuff that resonates with me.