Monday, 9 October 2017

#parkrun13

I ran! After five never-ending sick weeks, which concluded with ten whole days of antibiotics, I finally laced up and ran. And the timing couldn't have been better: parkrun turned 13 on Saturday! My inner parkrun nerd rejoiced that I was healthy in time for the festivities.

The run was, as expected, horrible and glorious at the same time. Horrible, because it hurt. From around kilometer 3 I huffed and ached like a newbie fresh off the couch - waaaaaaah! But the endorphins were g-l-o-r-i-o-u-s, as always. How I've missed them! 

[Photo by Jeff Stark.]

And so I find myself almost entirely back at square one. From half-marathon PB to struggling with a 5k in seven months flat, ugh! But that's running for you, right? No one is ever quite its boss. I'm just happy to be back. 

I've been thinking about entering another half-marathon before the year ends, just to give me a goal and something to work towards, but haven't pulled the trigger just yet. The last of the bigger races for 2017 all take place towards the end of November, which doesn't give me much time to prepare, plus they're all located pretty far from us. But we'll see. There's still time.

For now we're just loving the school holidays and the fact that winter has finally called it a day (I hope?!). Looking forward to a wonderfully warm and sunny couple of months to run, scoot and be happy!


      

Monday, 2 October 2017

Our first year in New Zealand

We celebrated our first year in New Zealand this weekend! And wow, what a year it's been. The kids are now both fluent in English and sport proper Kiwi accents; Will is settled and happy in his new job; and I am slowly but surely starting to master the art of juggling housework, writing, mom duty and running. Let's just say it's a work in progress!



And while we've all thankfully settled in really, really well, there's also been some tears. Just last week I burst out crying when a truck transporting a complete stranger's container full of belongings drove past us in the street. I couldn't decide whether I was being a complete nutcase or just really homesick, ha! For some reason I also feel like bawling every time the New Zealand national anthem plays at Miss K's school assembly... I guess it's a feeling of "wow, it's been a wild ride, but we made it!"...? And then there's of course things like Freshpak Rooibos tea (it tastes like home!); watching a good Afrikaans movie in the theatre; the camaraderie of Kimberley parkrun; and chats and laughs with my besties and family that I really, really miss. Sigh. 


How I miss these two...!

Having said that, this is our home now and we couldn't be happier and more thankful to be here. New Zealand is breathtakingly beautiful; the people are friendly, respectful and disciplined; and it's the perfect place to raise a family. We don't regret our decision to come here for one, single second.

So, in celebration of our first year in New Zealand, I thought I'd share with you some fun (and funny) facts:       
  • Number of times Will and I have looked at each other and said: "Are we really in New Zealand?!": Countless. We do it to this day and then giggle like little kids.
  • Number of NZ parkrun events completed: 42 [plus 1 volunteering stint, 2 races, 1 parkrun cancellation and 6 sick weekends (of which four were back-to-back over the past four weekends... Ugh.) But that's all 52 Saturdays accounted for - couldn't be prouder!]
  • Number of NZ parkrun venues visited: 4 (Kapiti Coast, Lower Hutt, Porirua and Puarenga). And there's a fifth one in the pipeline for October, woooot!
  • Number of people who've attempted to pronounce our surname: Only 1 - seriously! And it was a South African working at our local pharmacy. Every one else just gives it one look and then says: "I'm not even going to try to pronounce that!".
  • Number of miles we've walked before getting a car three months ago: A bajillion. At least. Thank heavens for the blessing of four wheels.
  • Frequency at which people say "where are you from?!" when we open our mouths: Almost daily. It's funny how you start to think that you sound just like everybody else once you've been in a new place for a while... But judging by everyone's reaction to our accent, that's clearly not the case, ha!
All in all, this has been an absolutely incredible family adventure so far. Looking forward to seeing what Year 2 has in store for us! Happy running, everyone!


Tuesday, 26 September 2017

The flu bug from hell

The kids and I are fighting the flu bug from hell. Miss K has been coughing for six long weeks (yes, six!), and J Bear isn't far behind. Poor kiddos. I feel so helpless! At least they're starting to feel better and sleeping through the night again, so there's hope...

Poor, sick Bear.

I'm going on four weeks of coughing, and I'm so over it. I haven't run in 3.5 weeks and missed the last three parkruns as a result. Three! My frustration levels are through the roof. Please send help - I need to run!

All this downtime from running has, however, given me the perfect excuse to spend more time in the kitchen and really focus on our family nutrition. As a mom I find few things as rewarding as nourishing my family with wholesome, hearty meals and snacks - I'm such a nerd, ha! But both kiddos also love cooking, baking and smoothie-making, so it's definitely about more than just food for us. We love making memories around good food.  

I recently read an article in Runner's World about the connection between gut health and running, and found it absolutely fascinating. It basically boils down to making each meal, snack and drink as nourishing as possible. And I love the concept. To me good, wholesome food is one of the simple joys of life - something to be enjoyed and relished. And a way to really honour and care for our bodies.   

So during the past four weeks or so I've been focusing on making every meal, snack and drink as nourishing as possible for both myself and the family. But without being a pain, and without making it a burden. It can be as simple as grating an extra courgette and carrot into a lasagne, adding a teaspoon of maca and a pinch of cacao nibs to a smoothie or switching up regular brownies for the black bean kind. And. It's. Been. GREAT! I'm having SO much fun. And except for a vegan chocolate cake with avo frosting that didn't go down too well, the family has been loving it too.  




Brownie of the year! Miss K and I went to the Little Bird Organics pop-up in Wellington and stood in line for 45 minutes (with our sick bodies) for these bad boys. And it was SO worth it. Wholesome, healthy goodness! I'm seriously considering buying the Little Bird Goodness cookbook just for this recipe.

And to make it even more fun, I'm trying to add as much nourishment as possible from our own garden. So far we're growing peaches, lemons, rhubarb, parsley, mint, strawberries and courgettes, and I hope to add more as time allows. Both kids love pottering about in the garden with me, and of course it's even more fun for them to pick stuff from the garden to add to our dishes/smoothies. Fingers crossed that the sun shows its face so that our new plants can grow!




So even though I haven't been able to run, it's been a good month. I can't wait to add running to the mix again...!    


Wednesday, 9 August 2017

A parkrun experience unlike any other {Puarenga parkrun}

Will celebrated his first year in New Zealand at the beginning of July - say what?! And we went big with the celebrations: We bought a car! If you've been following the blog for a while, you'll know that we've been footing it since moving to New Zealand in 2016. And, while walking everywhere for a whole year certainly had its challenges, it's an experience we'll cherish forever. It reminded us to be thankful for the small stuff and just how quickly we get lazy when blessed with little luxuries... Duly noted!

But, having said that, we sure are excited about our new wheels! And, of course, about the places it will take us... So, without wasting any time, we set off on our first ever NZ road trip last weekend. We headed up north to Rotorua and Taupo and man, it was incredible! The kids wanted to stay there forever (and a part of me did too...), so we'll definitely be back.

No trip is, of course, complete without a visit to a new parkrun, right? So on Saturday morning bright and early I snuck out of our hotel room in Rotorua while Will and the kids were still asleep. It was a frosty minus three degrees outside - a minor little detail that doesn't seem to necessitate wearing anything warmer than running shorts here in NZ.  


The Puarenga parkrun course is incredible! It's a two lapper that goes right through a geothermal area, with steam eerily rising from the ground and the smell of sulfur a constant reminder that you're not, in fact, dreaming. At one point in the course, you literally hop, skip and jump over and through the steamy, white, sulfur-rich mud. And yes, I still have the white, sulfury-smelling running shoes to prove it! 



I'm usually not a big fan of running a two lapper, but in this instance I didn't mind it one bit. In fact, it was a treat to run through all of Puarenga's surreal beauty for a second time! Plus, it provided ample photo opportunities... I can always shoot for a fast finish time on our next visit, right?  


Judging by one of the marshals' amazed comments when I ran past him, I'm assuming that my three layers of clothing, plus a buff, long tights and gloves were deemed a bit over the top for the "pleasant, sunshiny" running conditions. Perhaps I'll brave it in shorts next time...?

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

On giving up

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." - Thomas A. Edison

I discovered this quote way too late in life. Or perhaps I just wish that I'd learnt the lesson sooner? Be that as it may, Mr Edison's words are strongly resonating with me these days. Because forty years of living has taught me exactly the same thing: Success cannot happen when you give up.

Rewind to two weekends ago and what was supposed to be my very last attempt at a sub-50 minute 10K [insert eye-roll here]. Everything was perfect: A flat course, ideal weather and a free entry. What could go wrong, right? Ha! 


A perfectly paced Porirua parkrun a week before the goal race...

After weeks (and I mean WEEKS!) of successfully resisting the kids' flu bugs, my body chose race-day morning to finally give in. I woke up with aching limbs, burning lungs and a general feeling of blah. Are you kidding me?!

So I did the unthinkable: I skipped the race and stayed in bed. Will couldn't believe his eyes. He even asked if I felt feverish, which, in fact, I did. So in hindsight it was definitely the right decision. Always keep sight of the bigger picture, right?
    
Which brings me to my burning question: When is it okay to give up? Or, more specifically, when can I bury my sub-50 10K goal with my head held high? (I've been unsuccessfully chasing this dream for almost seven years now, by the way.) May we give up when we lose interest? (Which, in my case, I haven't.) Or can we quit when circumstances leave us no choice but to throw in the towel? (I'm not getting any younger, ahem...) Or do we simply keep on trying until we die? What do you think?


Soooo darn close.

I think that for me the answer lies herein: Passion. Is the passion still there? Yes? Then keep on trying. 

Personally I'm just not ready to give up on that sub-50 dream yet, lofty as it may seem. Yes, I'm not 25 anymore. And yes, the chances of reaching it are getting slimmer by the day. But the fire's still burning - strongly. So I'll keep on trying.

So yes, for now the goal is still in the back of my mind. I might not proclaim it over the interwebs quite as boldly in future. And I definitely won't include it in my yearly list of running goals going forward. But by Jove, I'll keep on trying.

  
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