Sunday, 27 February 2011

Barefoot wannabee

Did my 1st significant run in the 5 fingers last Friday. I did 5 miles on trails on paths which was probably a mistake in retrospect as there was a lot of gravelly stuff and I ended up with pretty sore heels. I did however quite enjoy it especially when I hit some grass but it is going to take some perseverance.
Yesterday we had a hill reps session at Harriers. I felt I did OK and really enjoyed it especially as 11 turned up.
Today I had really sore lateral calves. Not strains as such just really sore which must be down to the barefoot run. So that suggests I am running differently. whether I am unning differently in a god way remains to be see.
Today was my long(ish) run of the week. I did a 10.5m circuit south of Comrie on the roads taking in Glascorrie and Glen Artney. Its a stunning route and today was a lovely day again. I used to do this run a lot when we lived in Comrie. Today I had a great run surprising myself by averaging 7.10/mile. Thats not bad for this route and way better than I was expecting. Hope this positive run continues.

Monday, 21 February 2011

National X country champs

Didn't really feel up for this at all!
However as I had pre-entered I went and after a v unenthusiastic warm up set off near the back of the field.
After about 1/2 a mile I lost a shoe in the v v muddy conditions and after a brief contemplation as to whether I should undo the laces or just pull it on again I heaved it back on and spent a few mins catching people who had already passed me.
The course was v muddy and heavy and I decided to take things easy. After a while Ian came into view and near the end of the 1st lap I passed him. I think his 30m run the week before was more responsible than anything I was doing. However after that I started to enjoy things a bit more and got into a rhythm which took me to the end.
I was 269th out of 451 finishers in 53 min.
In the end I was really glad I did this race. I think my v low expectations for the day meant that any pluses were big ones.
Next race is the Alloa 1/2 M so I need to get some decent training between now and then.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Back to the clag

A few last words about NZ. We had a great night out wih our B&B hosts, Geoff and Chris. We went to the local cinema/restaurant. Saw Winters bone. V gloomy film but good and had a good meal after. Boys were great fun.
Saturday we drove down to Auckland and dropped car off. No probs with it despite it being covered in tar!
We were in the same apartment block which was good.
Sat eve we were booked into the orbit restaurant in the skytower. What a fab experience. You get great views as the resaurant rotates around taking a full hour to go the whole way round. The food and wine was really good and not too expensive.
Sunday was our last day.
We went to see the "King's speech" at 10.30am. Sl surreal time but it filled a gap and what a fantastic film.
We came out to wonderful blue skies, had lunch and wandered around before it was time to go to the airport.
Got the bus and basically sat on various planes for 30 hours.
In fairness it was all on time and couldnt have been easier. Its just such a long way.
Got home Monday at 2pm. Went for a 4 mile stagger and crashed at 8pm.

Since then I've really struggled with jetlag. Worst ever. I was awake at 4am today but did get a couple of hours from 6.30 as I had the morning off.
I did the circulat footpath this morning which I found tough but it was good to get a run in before tomorrow's X country

Thursday, 10 February 2011

NZ ctd

Mon 7th

Last day in N Plymouth and an absolute washout that was predicted never appeared. We didnt get a view of Mt Taranaki but we did have a good day. We had a really nice visit to Pukekara Park which has to be one of the loveliest Parks anywhere.
Had a great run along the front late afternoon. Did 1m in the 5 fingers then 5m in normal shoes at 6.50 pace. V happy with that.
We ate again at Marinovich's which was just as good despite Liz's reservations about eating fish on a Monday. I had scallops followed by John Dory.

Tue 8th

A long drive today up north to Kerikeri. In fact a v v long drive. Almost 9 hours in fact.
Arrived at a lovely B&B run by Geoff and Chris (both boys). This place is immaculate.
We went to the local pub just round the corner and had a great meal. In fact we havent had a disappointing meal in NZ. I had green lipped mussels followed by a Moroccan lamb salad.

Wed 9th

We have a great room here dominated by a massive image of Gail Tilsley!
We woke to really dreich day. Headed off to Waitangi which is NZs most historic spot where the treaty was signed giving the Maori rights. That was in 1840.
We took the tour which was superb, conducted by a nice Maori girl who could trace her ancestry back 26 generations. We had a group with us on the tour that had 2 elderly folk in wheelchairs.
The tour went down a pretty steep hill to see a truly massive canoe.
I felt it was a bit unfair to let one of he ladies in the group push her Father up the hill so I offered. It was quite a push and they seemed grateful. We got chatting and it turned out Sally knew Alan Murray who is my predecessor in Comrie and works with her husband. She phoned him up and we had a chat. We got chatting and before we knew where we were we had an invitation to dinner that evening.
The rain continued so after some lunch we headed home and after a 5m run we headed to Sally's which is a short distance away.
Their house is quite southfork like and we were dining in a kind of room without the outer walls and a massive fire in the end gable. We were invited to some sort of extended family dinner with the 5 from the tour, sister and family. We had a great evening. Terry is from Zimbabwe and was a selector for the national cricket team. Seems they left Zimbabwe in a hurry like a lot of people.

Thurs 10th

We had booked ourselves a day on a tall ship to go around the bay of islands today. Fortunately it was a much better day and we got the ferry from Pahia (worth a miss) to Russell to board our ship.
We had a loony as our captain, definitely on the "spectrum" but he did seem to know how to sail the boat. There were 2 glamourous assistants who did all the hard work.
We had a lovely day sailing around the area.
went ashore to climb a hill for the view before having a barbeque lunch on board.
A really memorable day.
In the evening we went to an Israeli restaurant (a 1st for me) called Jerusalem. Another great meal!

Fri 11th

A lazy today today. Headed up the road to see some Kauri trees. They really are impressive. massive and dead straight.
After that we went into Kerikeri which is a lovely town that we have really taken to.
The day turned out well despite another duff forecast.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

NZ ctd

Thursday 3rd

One of our aims for this holiday was to do a walk called the Tongariro Crossing. The usual was doing this is to use a company that buses you to the start of the walk and picks you up at the other end. Unfortunately due to a forecast of high winds they weren't going yesterday or today. So after a lot of thought we decided to drive to the start and walk the 1st half and retrace our steps. We did this and thoroughly enjoyed the volcanic mountain landscape that was a setting for some of the lord of the rings scenes. The walk starts at 1100m and rises to 1850m
We did intend to ascend Mt Tongarario directly but it was in clag so commonsense prevailed.
After a good walk up you come to the south crater.
All v moonlike. I liked it.
As we went up it got v windy indeed. It became clearer why the tour companies weren't going that day. We got to the highest point and on to a view of the emerald lakes
After lunch we returned in ever worsening rain and wind. Amazingly we came across a chap I had met at a petrol station in Whitianga a week before.
After a damp descent we arrived back at the car. All in all a great day but a touch Scottish at the end.

Fri 4th

Today was a bit of a mixed bag especially being our last day in Taupo.
I did a great run north from Spa lane up to Huka falls and beyond. I did give the 5 fingers a trial for 10min. Standing on a stone is a great reminder to stay on your toes. THe track follows the river Waikato and undulates a fair bit. It was v muggy but I did enjoy a 10 miler with a right hamstring strain to keep me company.
We had a fairly lazy afternoon and enjoyed a meal with Gail and Robert along with 2 other guests. She was a kiwi he a Brit who sailed over in the 50s for £10 and paid £190 to sail his morris minor. Quote of the night came from Robert when I was commenting on Helen Clark's deep voice and he suggested she probably had a pair of bollocks. Hillary in a deep voice of her own thought she probably had a n allergy like herself which would account for it!

Sat 5th

On we went to New Plymouth via Waitomo caves. At one point we had 3 things wrong with the car. We had driven through some road repairs the other day and got a fine spray of tar. This made it almost impossible to see when it was raining. Then we acquired a knocking noise under the car and when I had a look saw a dripping from a pipe. The dripping was the a/c and a vigorous scrub eventually cleared the windscreen. We still have the knocking but the general consensus is that it is the shockabsorbers so we'll be OK.
The caves are a major attraction because they are so beautiful and the glow worms that live within. We did a tour of the caves, all stalactites and mites followed by a boat ride with the glow worms above us giving an appearance like a bright night sky. Quite magical. The idea is to be absolutely quiet for the boat ride but most people find it quite impossible to do this.
New Plymouth is a 2 hour drive south and for the most part was a lovely drive through 1st gorges then coastal scenery. N plymouth was in a dense mist when we arrived and stayed like that until halfway through the next day.
Our B&B is literally a stones throw from the sea and all v nice. We have the smallest bathroom but its so well designed it is fine.
We went out for dinner to a place called Marinovich's which is a seafood restaurant. We both had seafood chowder followed by flounder. In fact we both had 2 fish on our plates when 1 would have been OK. It was the nicest meal I have had in a long time.

Sun 6th

Went for a 8m run along the walkway which has recently been constructed along the front here. It is 10k long. That gave me 30m for the week which is good but the hamstring is not any better and my Achilles is niggling away.
Next we went up Pareto rock which is on the south of the harbour. I did this in my 5 fingers
This is a walk up until halfway and then becomes a full on scramble. Quite entertaining. Decent misty views from the top.
In the afternoon we walked along the front to watch the surfers then headed along the Te Henui walkway which follows a river. All v nice.
In the evening we cooked for ourselves.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

NZ ctd

1st Feb

Probably a little too much of the hospitality the night before and slept v badly. This place is truly stunning though. We have a luxurious room with views to mountains to die for.
I got up for a run and did just over 6m on undulating roads. Its high here, about 500m above sea level so v fresh in the morning. We had a nice brekky and then headed out to Taupo to explore. It was a hot day and we did the tourist trail of volcanic stuff. One attraction the "craters of the moon" was v dull but everything else was v attractive and interesting inc the Huka falls which is along the Waikato river.
After lunch we did a jet boat ride with "Rapids Jets". This goes through the Aratiatia rapids and is superb. I had the seat next to the skipper and had great views. Everyone got v wet and scared but that is the point of it all.
In the evening we met up with Fred for dinner in Taupo at a place called the Ploughmans. We had a great meal (Fish and chips after superb Kumara soup for me) and it was lovely to catch up with Fred.

Feb 2nd

Slept well with the aid of codeine for my high altitude cough.
Another stunning, sunny day.
Today was Rotaruara day. Its 80km north of here. A great thermal park with the highest geyser in the world apparently called pohuto.
I loved it.
In the afternoon I ended up in a running shop to get some sandals having doused my old ones with petrol the day before. I couldn't resist the vibram 5 fingers. Its hard to know how things will work out with them but I am determined to give them a good try.
We ate in a Thai restaurant which was v nice.
Great home baking in this B&B btw. We had lemon sponge topped with lemon and passiofruit icing today with our afternoon tea.