Friday, 21 October 2016

2016 Running Goals: Check-In II

The biggest chunk of 2016 is officially behind us (how?!), meaning that it's time for another 2016 running goal check-in!  (You can read the first check-in here.)  Brace yourselves, though: It isn't pretty. I guess there's just been so much going on in other parts of our lives (three months in the Kalahari and then moving continents) that serious, goal-orientated training took a bit of a backseat this year.  That said, here's a reminder of my five running goals for 2016:   

1.  Run a sub-50 minute 10 km

As mentioned before, this one has turned into a bit of a nightmare...!  Although I've technically clocked a sub-10 on my Garmin at the 10 km mark of a race in April, this distance didn't correlate with the "official" race distance of 10  km (which measured long on my Garmin), so for now we'll leave this one unchecked.  After three months' worth of shorter Kalahari runs, I'm also currently in no shape to attempt a legit sub-10 km on our accurately measured local parkrun course - perhaps it's time to let the dream go?  
2.  A half-marathon PB (i.e. anything below 01:56:12)

I penned down this goal when moving to New Zealand was still just a big, scary dream.  A lot has happened since then and, sadly, just like No. 1 above, running [and more importantly: training for(!)] a half-marathon just hasn't been a priority.

All of the local, big half-marathons in Wellington are also over for 2016, with the Wellington and Round the Bays Half-Marathons only taking place in July and February 2017, respectively.  It therefore looks as if this is also a goal that will have to stand over to 2017 and beyond.

On my list for 2017!

3.  Complete a SADC Region parkrun (excluding SA)

Despite rumours of SADC Region parkruns being planned for 2016, nothing to this effect has realised to date.  I do think, however, that I've actually bumped this goal up one notch: I've completed an international parkrun!  With the motivation behind these two goals (completing a SADC Region parkrun vs. completing an international parkrun) essentially being the same, i.e. exploring far-off places on the run, I'm ticking this one off my list - wahoo!

Kapiti Coast parkrun.

4.  Clock a sub-24 minute parkrun

I still have this one in sight and really, really hope that I'll be able to nail it before the end of the year!  There isn't much time left, but I believe that if I focus on this one goal for the next two-and-a-half months, I might just make it.  Fingers crossed!  

5.  Become a member of parkrun's Club 50

As mentioned in the May check-in, I became a member of parkrun's Club 50 in January this year, with bestie Tanya and her son, as well as many other parkrun friends, cheering me on.  I worked really hard to reach this milestone, having stayed in cities without parkruns for long periods since doing my first parkrun, so I'm super chuffed to have earned the coveted red shirt.  Onwards now to Club 100!

[Picture by Stanley Harvey.]

So that's two (and-a-half?) out of five for now - which, let's be honest, isn't great.  But, taking into account all that has happened during 2016 (a big, big year for us as a family!), I'm happy.  This year the bigger picture has just been more important than the running picture, and that's okay for now - things will settle back to normal soon enough.  

How are you progressing with your running goals for 2016?  Hope you're doing great!

Happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

The day I hoped would never come

I was out running with Miss K and J Bear in the double stroller last week, lost in thought while huffing up a steep incline, when suddenly it dawned on me: I can’t do this anymore.  No, wait: I actually don’t want to do this anymore.  Not because I’ve lost interest or don’t enjoy the time we spend together – on the contrary.  I love running with the kids - some of the best runs of my life were spent in their company.  But they’ve simply grown too big and the stroller too heavy for double stroller running to be a feasible, enjoyable option for us anymore.  This chapter is drawing to a close*.

I’ve been anticipating this day for a while now, and even announced its arrival prematurely on one or two occasions.  Yet somehow I've always hoped that it would never come: It’s the one running chapter I wished would never end.  What a joy to have had two running buddies who love getting out the door just as much as I do, and who squeal with delight on every, single downhill and giggle as we heave up the climbs...     

But, since arriving in New Zealand, I’ve inevitably started really looking forward to my solo weekend runs, when Will could watch the kids.  It’s become the highlight of my week, simply because it would give me the opportunity to run.  And I mean really run - not battle to navigate a 40+ kg steel structure around every single twist and turn like an ant pulling on a loaf of bread; or grunt and heave it up sidewalks and inclines, using my last ounce of energy to prevent its occupants from pulling each other’s hair out.  I’m craving running.

So thanks sweet K and Mister J for the best running chapter of my life.  I cherish each and every mile we've ever covered together - from those first, painfully slow crawls after each of your respective births, to the races and the parkruns, the poopy shirt runs and the sing-at-the-top-of-our-lungs runs.  I can't think of anyone else I'd rather have spent those miles with - you're the best running buddies I've ever had.

And, who knows, perhaps one day, when you're bigger, we'll share some miles again on foot - I absolutely cannot wait!

*Note: We'll still be doing the odd double stroller run until K and J have started and settled into school here in NZ, so don't expect the double stroller pics to completely disappear for now...!  But, as mentioned above, running with the stroller is becoming increasingly difficult from a physical point of view, so we'll slowly be phasing it out over the next while.  The single running stroller, though...  That's another story!

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A quick and hearty "hi!" to everyone visiting from the Runaway Bridal Planner blog hop - thanks so much for stopping by!  I'm really looking forward to getting to know all of you a little better over the next two weeks.  Thanks also to Kristy for hosting! 

Monday, 17 October 2016

A whole new world

So, after two weeks in the land of the long white cloud, I've learnt, among other things, the following:

  • That there is still a place on earth where every, single passenger who gets off a bus personally thanks the bus driver for the ride.  So awesome.
  • That it hurts to pay R140 for a frozen chicken.  It hurts a lot.
  • That dark chocolate and cheese, two of the lights of my life, are, in fact, cheaper in New Zealand than it is in S.A.  Hallelujah.
  • That driving in a foreign country isn't half as terrifying as it sounds.  
  • That a speed limit of 50 km/h in residential areas and 100 km/h on the freeway is right up my alley.  I was born to drive in New Zealand!
  • That a shopping cart/trolley is also called a trundle.
  • That conquering the bread shelf at the store is, overwhelming as it may be, indeed possible.  And believe me, overwhelming is an understatement.
  • That getting your refuse removed isn't as simple as placing a filled, black garbage bag on the sidewalk on refuse removal day.  Just ask the only paw-paws in the street whose refuse got left behind for two weeks in a row.
  • That wet washing does eventually dry out after three (rainy) days of hanging in the garage.
  • That nothing comes close to a beautiful day in Wellies!


I've also made some interesting (initial) observations about how parkruns here differ from those back in S.A.:

1.  Kiwis are fast!

Or perhaps parkrun NZ only attracts faster runners?  On Saturday, I clocked a 26:43, which would, back in S.A., easily have landed me in the top 50% (at least) of the field at most of the parkrun locations.  Here in New Zealand, however, it placed me in the bottom half of the field at Kapiti Coast parkrun, with only 14 odd minutes between me and the last finisher - gulp!  And it's not a question of only a certain age group being represented at Kapiti - I saw a good mixture of (very) young children, senior citizens and younger adults.  They're just all super fast! 

26:43 - bottom half of the field, but still lots of fun!  [Photo by Tom Collier.]

The finishing time of the last finisher at Kapiti has varied between 39 and 40 minutes for the past three weeks of me monitoring it - a good 30 or so minutes faster than that of the average S.A. parkrun.  Speedy indeed.

2.  Kiwis aren't fair weather runners.

My first Kapiti Coast parkrun was perfect in every way: Perfect weather, no wind, dry as a bone.  But then, this weekend, it was what I assume is closer to the norm: Wet, freezing and very muddy.  I expected everyone to sit huddled up in their cars until 07:58 and then sprint to attend the pre-run briefing, but no.  As folks arrived, they leisurely got out of their cars, walked to the starting line in the rain, and stood there chatting without even batting an eyelid.  A large portion even showed up in shorts and t-shirts - a far cry from my three layers, including a rain jacket, ha!  At least I was there, right?!

Spot the Saffa!  Tip: It's not the one in the shorts and t-shirt.  [Photo by Tom Collier.]

I see the same trend outside of parkrun too: People walk their dogs in the rain, stroll to school in the rain, and cycle in groups in the rain - it's just part of life here. 

And that's exactly why I love to travel - to experience what is done differently and make some of it my own.  Can't wait to experience more!