Sunday, July 30, 2006


A long leisurely morning, breakfast in bed, finishing a good book, reading the paper...

Hamish says he's off to Soundline with Aviel to play with their X-Boxes. I contemplate staying at home on my own, but the cold doesn't appeal. Fifteen minutes later I'm being dropped off at Les Mills. My other, warmer home! I kill some time chatting to a policy analyst from work, and then it's 1.00 and I'm standing in Studio 1 about to do Bodybalance for the first time since my injury.

I don't know what I'm thinking. I don't know whether I should be here or not. This is supposed to be my day off. I don't know whether my physio will kill me, or whether this class will actually help. All I know is that I have a huge need to stretch, to breath, and to be with my body.

I was hoping for a lot of hip openers and back stretches, but we end up doing different poses from those I'm used to. We seem to do a lot of new balance poses. I really get into the Tai Chi moves at the start and end of the class. I position myself well so that I can see the instructor and I focus. I give myself the freedom to be cautious and to take the class slowly. I choose the easy options when I'm not certain of my injury. I don't feel frustrated when I can't balance on my right side. My left side seems more stable than usual. My breathing is strong and regular.

During relaxation my injury feels a little stirred up. I roll over onto my side into a back stretch and my body thanks me. Margaret taps me on the shoulder to ask me whether I'm okay and I tell her I will talk to her afterwards. We talk a little afterwards and I'm not sure that she understands why I rolled over, but that's okay.

I shower, put a L'Occitane conditioning treatment in my hair, and head for the sauna. There's only one other woman in there and she leaves quite soon. My sweet-smelling hair and I sit in the sauna on our own, my body feeling relaxed and contented and my mind wandering lazily. Eventually I leave, shower again, dress and wander out into the cold to catch a bus home...

My hip has settled down and feels looser. I have spent this afternoon either in bed or in the kitchen cooking. Now I'm sitting here on the sofa with a glass of wine and a polarfleece blanket. I've been contemplating doing some writing exercises from the Creativity Portal
but I'm feeling a little too lazy. I think I need some down time first. I've felt a little concerned about not having had the urge to write this week. I still worry too much about everything, obviously!

Yay for Fiddleback Wine, for homemade rice pudding, for dinner and great conversation with friends. Yay for tamarillos and Packham pears and Granny Smiths. Yay for leg presses and ab exercises on swiss balls. Yay for crosstrainers, and even for treadmills. Yay for massages and physio. Yay for great novels by intelligent female writers that make you think about your own life and what you believe in.

So what do you believe about yourself? Not just the good stuff, but the bad stuff as well. What beliefs do you hold about yourself that limit who you can be and what you can do? Why are you still holding onto that belief?

It's just a particle of potentiality... select another option! Get a new idea.... get a new clue!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Hmmm, reading my last couple of posts I seem to have developed a bit of an obsession with the word 'deep'....

Hamish vj'ed at a party last night and didn't get home until 10am. I ended up spending a quiet night at home in bed with three cats pressed up against my back. I don't think I moved that much - I was probably hunched up trying to keep warm myself. The forecast was for snow to 200m, but I don't think it was as bad as that, although we certainly did have a lot of hail. I was hailed on all the way from my office to Soundline when I was walking there to get a lift home with Hamish after work. I did have a lot of dreams though. Nearly everyone was in them - even one of the sales guys from the gym whom I've never spoken to before. Go figure...

I lay in bed between dreams listening to the rain and thinking that I was crazy to be contemplating running this morning. Then of course I woke to another of those (freezing) gorgeous Wellington days. Now, here's the catch. I wasn't supposed to be running - my physio wants me to take a week off. But I'd organised this running group, Duck was planning on being there, and it was too good a morning to let go. I figured I'd do a light flat run then quit for the rest of the week.

Well, I made it down Thorndon Quay to the bottom of Tinakori Rd, then it dawned on me that this was not a smart idea. I let Duck know I wasn't supposed to be out, and of course got ordered to turn around and walk back to the gym. I was feeling very stupid, but it had warmed up quite a bit and there were lots of people in town for the All Blacks/South Africa game. It was lovely around the waterfront and walking back didn't seem that much of a hardship. There was plenty to keep me occupied.

Of course when I got back to the gym Duck gave me another telling off. I'm relegated to the cross trainer for the rest of the week. Sigh. Feels like a week in purgatory. But I have to get this injury sorted and it's not going to come right while I'm still aggravating it. I guess I'm scared that it won't come right and the running will have to stop all together, or for months rather than a week or two. By stopping I'm actually having to admit I have a real problem. At the moment I can hop like a frog on my left leg, but it's a real effort to hop on my right. I'm not sure how much is this injury and how much is the Thursday weights session. It scares me a little that my right leg seems to be so weak, and I don't like the ache in my quad. But I feel like I've improved even just this afternoon, so I'll keep wearing flats, keep taking it easy, and see how things go.

Late post: This is a post I started writing last Sunday, but didn't finish until tonight...

Yesterday, after days of Noah’s Arc style rain (the end is nigh), I woke to one of those stunningly gorgeous mornings that make me grateful I live high on this ridge here in Mornington. We’re used to fog here, and we’re used to cloud, but yesterday morning there was something different. It wasn’t really either – more a silvery kind of mist that made the mountains beyond disappear off into a beguiling haze.

I love our house. It was the second house we looked at on the first day of looking. It’s a walk-down, with 46 steps and a couple of paths to get to the front door, but when the door opens you can see straight down the hallway to the amazing view. Our old villa faces East, gazing out over Berhampore, Newtown and the Eastern suburbs to the Orongarongas in the distance. If you stand on our veranda and extend your neck you can catch a glimpse of the inner harbour to your left, or spot a sliver of the Southern Coast to your right. From the corner of our street you can look right down towards Island Bay.

In this part of Wellington the Southerly rolls in like a steam train in off the Strait, along the valley, and up the ridge. It slams into the side of our house right where our bed happens to be. South Easterlies are the worst. However, on the odd sunny and calm day you can hang out in a hammock chair on our veranda and the only things you will be able to hear are the Tuis and the planes (coming in to land below you). It’s one of the most peaceful spots I’ve ever lived in, and the energy that radiates out from the mountains is palpable. The garden above the house forms an embracing curve that seems to just draw that energy right in like a satellite dish. When we first entered the house the karma felt clean somehow, like it had just been blessed.

Beautiful mornings in Mornington make it impossible to stay in bed (unless you’re my husband, in which case you roll over and thank God for blackout curtains). Before long I had pulled on several layers of clothing, including thermals and two pairs of socks, donned a pair of tramping boots (bought for $19 from the Shoe Warehouse), and stuffed a bag full of more layers, binoculars and water.

I arrived at the Sanctuary not long after it opened at 10am. The electric boat was making long, slow circuits of the lower dam with no passengers on board, and Bellbirds could be heard calling from across the lake. When I got to the Weka fence I swung right, down onto the Te Mahanga Track, and wandered the short distance to the first Bellbird and Hihi feeding station. Once there I pulled out a towel to cover the wet bench-seat with, my cell phone to use as a clock, an observation sheet, pen and my binoculars.

My volunteer work at the Sanctuary has primarily involved monitoring the Hihi, or Stitchbird. 64 Hihi were released into the Sanctuary just over a year ago. It was the first time the birds had lived in the wild on the mainland for over 100 years. Other than a small captured population at Mt Bruce the only other birds live on Tiritiri Matangi and a handful of other islands.

My first responsibility as part of the Hihi monitoring team involved replenishing the various feeder stations set up to anchor the birds in the Sanctuary and to supplement their diet until the bush eventually matures. Each time I visited a feeder I would spend 15 minutes or so sitting there recording the bands of the birds that came to feed, so that the research staff would be able to monitor survival rates.

In September last year the Hihi started to breed, and I got to be part of a dedicated team monitoring Hihi nestboxes. I had three breeding pairs in my area. Every weekend I would check on each of my nestboxes, monitoring for nest-building or egg-laying activity, and later on checking on the development of the chicks. After each clutch fledged I would spend time monitoring the fledglings to check on their continued survival.

While monitoring feeders is fun, sometimes the public can be a distraction. There are times when I really enjoy getting to talk to people about my birds. However there is also something really special about walking up into the bush to monitor a nestbox.

Sitting at each nestbox for up to an hour at a time gave me a real opportunity to learn about observation. For example, it is possible to tell whether a female is still incubating her eggs or whether they have hatched by watching to see how often she leaves the nest, and how she behaves once she leaves it. One morning I watched one of my females as she searched at my feet for twigs, then flew repeatedly at the nestbox trying to get each one inside. Each time the twig would jam lengthwise across the entrance. She would drop the twig, fly down to pick it up, and try again. Eventually she would manage to approach from the right angle so that the twig would javelin into the nestbox. She would disappear inside for a minute or two to weave it into the new nest, then fly back to my feet and repeat the exercise.

The males could be obsessively attentive or absent depending on what stage of the breeding cycle the female was at. When a female is fertile her male will be extremely territorial and protective, trying to prevent other opportunists from having their wicked way (Hihi males are notorious for committing the bird equivalent of rape). When she is incubating he will often seem to disappear, and will in fact be off trying to spread his genetic material far and wide. Once the chicks hatch he will reappear, and dutifully take his part in parenting the young (not all of which may be his).

Some of my best adventures occurred once the chicks fledged. For the first couple of days their wings are still quite undeveloped and they will stay near the nest. However as they grow more confident they begin to move further afield. One day I got a little carried away with pursuing a group of five recent fledglings and got myself a bit lost in the bush. I was never in any danger and had a radio with me, but the thought of having to put a call out for help was sobering enough to ensure that I never made that mistake again.

One of the other personal rewards was simply being able to sit with myself alone in the bush. There would be long periods of time spent in front of inactive nestboxes where nothing much was happening and my mind was able to wander. I experimented with attempting to observe everything in minute detail – the berries on the trees, the bugs on the undersides of leaves. I tried just letting my mind wander to see where it would go. I attempted to keep my mind still, to focus on working through particular problems, or on formal breathing meditation practice.

The most fulfilling approach did seem to be that which left me most fully in the moment. The days where I felt completely engaged with and part of the Sanctuary where the days when I left with a full heart and deep sense of satisfaction. I never left the Sanctuary without something happening that made me truly grateful and honoured to have been there. There was the day the blue skies were replaced within minutes by monsoon rain, lightening and thunder. There was the day one of my females landed above me and shat on my head. The first time I opened a nestbox and saw an egg. The first time I saw a chick. The morning spent with my first fledglings, watching them clamber up and down a pine tree like mice. The day one of my males followed me around three different nestboxes, landing a metre away from me each time.

There were losses as well, and times when I was cold and bored. But I had taken time out from work and ordinary life to do something that I found deeply fulfilling, and that also enabled me to give something back to the world.

We’re deep in the middle of winter at the moment, so yesterday was spent monitoring feeders in the lower valley. Most of the Hihi have moved further up into the Sanctuary, so there wasn’t a lot happening other than the occasional territorial bellbird. It was a day for enjoying the break in the weather and being grateful for being able to be outside. I love living in this city.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

So my sister showed my mother her blog, and my mother got her to email me to tell me to stop being so hard on myself. Excellent!

I actually quite like myself at the moment. I've been thinking on and off all week that it's quite amazing that we so often dislike ourselves. It's not that I don't like all of my various manifestations, just some of them. The difference now is that I can tell the useful beliefs I hold about myself from the ones that don't help me. I'm getting there...

The story I would like to tell about myself now is the one about the woman who has a good marriage and a successful career that she worked hard to get. This woman is fit and active, and has wonderful people around her. This woman would like more time to sing, and more time to pursue her spiritual side. This woman cares about people. She wants to give to the community she loves, and to the world in which she lives.

Last Monday I had a really good run. We ran for 45 minutes around a quite challenging hill circuit. I set out at a good pace from the start, and ended up running on my own, behind the really fast women but ahead of everyone else. I never felt like I needed to stop and reached the end feeling like I could have kept going. Afterwards I had the most amazing moment of clarity. I realised how far I had come and how much I had achieved. I realised that I was the woman I had always sought to be. I spent the next few days on a real high.

At the same time I was reading Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver. Barbara Kingsolver writes the way I would like to write. She writes beautifully redemptive novels about women and the environment. Animal dreams is the storie of Codie, who returns to her home town when it becomes clear that her doctor father is suffering from Alzeihmers.

Codie does not like herself. She feels out of place. She does not trust her memories, and appears to have forgotten large chunks of her childhood. Codie skims the surface of life because she is too afraid to live more deeply.

As I read the novel I felt that Codie's self-beliefs were just that, limiting self-beliefs. In actual fact she is loved and accepted by the people around her, even though she believes herself to be an outsider. Even when she is placed in an environment that is foreign to her, on an Indian reservation, to me it feels like that sense of alienation is forgiveable and reasonable, and that her expectations of herself are too high.

Codie learns to live deeply, and she does this partly through pursuing an environmental cause that saves her community. She learns to remember and to trust her memories, she stops running, and she allows herself to be loved.

I do not want to skim the surface of life, although doing so is very easy. It is too easy to go to work, come home, and go to bed, without making any commitments to myself or the world around me. I want to be authentic and I want to engage. I know that I worry to much about what other people think of me, and that it's often easier to shield myself away from everyone rather than do the hard yards. Once I started accepting responsibility for my actions this week I started feeling a lot better about myself.

Last night I was home on my own. I ran a bath, lit candles, used the lovely maple syrup body scrub Leonie bought for me from Canada (mmm, sugar and salt - tastes good). I played good music, read a good book, and took care of me. Then I made a few phone calls and worked on giving to everyone else. Now it's Friday night and there's hail or sleet outside. Hamish has left to set up for a party he's going visuals at tonight, and I'm sitting here blogging.

Tomorrow morning I will be taking a group of women out for a run then going to brunch to check out a photo exhibition by a woman I met some time ago and would like to get to know better. I'm thinking right now that I'm actually okay!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Yay for excellent runs! A quick update for Sarah...

We had a gorgeous evening for our run tonight. We ran for nearly 6km, from the gym up Taranaki Street, to the end of Wallace, then left down to the Adelaide Rd intersection, left down to the Basin Reserve, then up Ellis (sp?) Street - the street by the Liquor Store where we did our first hill run with the original Jog Squad. We ran up to Austin, down Marjoribanks, up Hawkins (?), Roxburgh etc back down to Kent Terrace, around past the supermarket (Cable Street?), back down Taranaki to the gym. It took up just over 40 minutes, with some decent hills thrown in. And for once it all went brilliantly. I set a good pace right from the start, and kept at it for the whole run. My breathing was good, and my legs felt strong again (thank goodness for physio). A handful of fast girls ran ahead of me, but I caught up with Megan by the supermarket and came in ahead of Lisa. I am sooooo a running machine! There was no way, looking at the map, that I thought I was going to be able to do the whole thing before hand. I'd lost so much confidence in my running, but this was a great restorer. Hopefully I won't be too sore tomorrow!

Bronwyn was leaving the gym as we were stretching downstairs. She stopped and we had a good chat. She's not leaving till February, and is just getting back into the gym again after a hectic few months. I've invited her along to our Saturday morning runs. It would be good to have her there to challenge me, and it was really good to catch up with her again.

On top of that I had a great performance review, and spent an enjoyable day finalising one of my business impact assessments and an accompanying visio map. Allie finished up today so we all stopped for morning tea. It's times like this I'm incredibly grateful for working in such a fantastic team, with three talented female managers above me.

Now I'm sitting here watching Extras with a cat on my lap. Definitely a day for counting blessings.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

RPM is not supposed to be done anything other than hard out. When I took my first RPM class some years ago the instructor told me that if I didn't feel sick or nauseaus at the end then I hadn't worked hard enough. After that first class I could barely walk up the stairs to the changing room, but I was hooked.

I like it when the music is loud and hard. I like it that I don't have to worry about whether my feet and arms are going in different directions (co-ordination in aerobics classes has never really been my thing). I like the mind games involved in turning that dial up just a little bit harder.

I can particularly recommend Jocko's 6.30am classes at Les Mills Extreme on a Friday, where he's likely to chuck in an extra track, or decide that he feels like doing five hill tracks. He's also likely to yell at you if he doesn't think you are working hard enough, and he always knows when you're not working hard enough. Jocko works on a building site by day, and enjoys inflicting pain on others (often his workmates) in his free time.

So there I was on Friday, in not an insignificant amount of pain from this injury, with my physio on one shoulder and my trainer on the other, and when Jocko started screaming at me I realised I'd forgotten to explain my predicament. Yes Jocko, I know I'm stronger than that. It frustrates heck out of me that I'm barely even raising a sweat. But I've got to get through the next few weeks without doing even more damage, and right now RPM is a mental salve, an attempt to convince myself I'm actually still going hard, rather than an actual workout.

Still, I'm very aware that the fact Jocko was asking me whether I was doing a triathlon in November is a real sign of how far I've come. I wasn't going to admit I can't actually swim! My mission once the half marathon is over in October will be to spend an intense month learning. After that I'll be joining the triathlon training squad along with everyone else at the gym, even if my swim sessions are spent solo, trying to complete a single lap! God help me!

I'm still trying to convince myself that ear plugs and a swimming cap will be enough to get me over this intense fear of going under. I imagine myself plunging under - the coolness of the water, and the silence and tranquility beneath. I crave the water so badly. I guess we always want that which scares us the most.

By the time I got to the physio on Friday afternoon I was pretty tired and cranky, and my pain threshold wasn't terribly high. Thankfully Helen was actually nice to me for a change, and even better, with a few pushing movements she loosened up my right quad to the point where it almost felt normal. Not the hip though - that's slightly improved, but still sore. Apparently the fact my hip is sore where she'd adjusted it was a good thing. Real pain as opposed to referred pain. Go figure!

Dinner with colleagues, an early night, and then this morning I was supposed to be leading a group of jog squadders around the bays. A night of torrential rain and gales put paid to that idea. I seriously debated just getting hard and going out anyway, but at 8.30 I sent everyone a text to let them know I was wimping out. A series of texts expressing not-so-mild relief came back at me! So I lay in bed until 11, got up, and did my 40 minutes on the gym treadmill instead.

40 minutes at 10kmph. I hate treadmills. I hate being told, second by second, how far I've gone, how fast, how many calories I've used up, and how much longer I have to go. I queued for a machine in the cardio theatre, threw my towel over the console and went for it. As always the mind plays terrible games, but I tried one of the Cool Running tips and every time I felt like stopping I made myself rank my discomfort on a scale of 1 to 10. Of course, each time although my mind said stop, a quick check of my body told me that actually things were okay. I really blew it though when, thinking I must be nearly done, I had a quick peep and I'd only done 18 minutes. Thankfully the cardio theatre was, at that point, playing passable cheesy trance and not hip hop or R & B, and I pushed through it.

At 30 minutes I started to overheat and had a weird sort of panic attack spell that nearly did force me to stop. However with seven minutes to go I rallied, and dragged myself, sweaty but intact, over the finish line. 10kmph once seemed so fast, now it's fully achievable. The satisfaction of a good run is a great thing.

Even better is that the aftermath hasn't been that bad. Running on a treadmill was obviously a good decision. I ran with my new shoes and they are finally loosening up. My right knee was a little sore at one point, but I straightened up and cconcentrated on evening my stride, and the pain went away. My quad still feels good, as does my shin, my calves are quite loose, my hip's a bit sore but no worse, and my gluts are better than they've been in a while.

So, tomorrow will be a rest day and, if it's like today, I'll be quite happy to spend most of it in bed. On Monday I'll be out with the girls again and I'll squeeze in an upper body session before work. On Tuesday I might allow myself the luxury of Body Balance, and another run. Wednesday will be spent with the jog squad again, Thursday with my trainer, and then it'll be Friday again and I'll be back at RPM.

Outside of the Pip world of self-inflicted pain, the world is dipping even further into hell. Now Lebanon again. After the World Photo Exhibition all I could think of was how horrible we humans can be to each other. I have been wondering whether there really is much point in immersing ourselves in news stories about terrible things that we can't do anything to change. John Pilger seems to me to carry such a terrible burden around with him. He carries it well, but it must be very hard. Of course, he really is in a position to raise awareness and maybe make some difference.

In my small little world I try to be a good person and try to do the right thing by the wonderful people I hold dear to me. I can do other things to help benefit others and the world around me. I can buy organic or fair trade, volunteer at the Sanctuary, protest against going into wars that I do not believe in. But at a fundamental level I still question the mindset needed to pick up a knife, a gun, or the trigger that will launch a cruise missile, and using it to inflict injury or death on someone who is, essentially, just the same as the person with the weapon. I like the Buddhist concept that we have all lived some many different lives that every person, every creature, has, at some point, been our mother or or brother.

What the world needs now is not just love. The world needs a good, healthy dose of compassion.

Friday, July 14, 2006

For overflowing,
Full of love,
Both given and received.
For days of feeling
Small minded
Not courageous at all
And for shutting the door
On all of that.
For belatedly remembering to
Acknowledge the
Amazing light of others.
THIS blog is for me
But I'm leaving this here
Because I'm speaking to you.
It'll be our secret.
I'll let you find it!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Today the string on my greenstone broke. I noticed that it seemed to have worn down to one strand where the string threaded through the hole in the greenstone. I tugged at it and it came away in my hand. I was left with the string still hanging around my neck and the greenstone, bare, lying there in my palm looking up at me.

My mother helped me choose the greenstone some years ago now, when I was still living in Auckland. We bought it at a local craft market. It is made from Takaka greenstone (not imported jade), and has a mako symbol carved into it for strength and determination.

Since I bought it the greenstone has only rarely been removed from around my neck. I don't necessarily think of that as being a good thing, as I've always vaguely believed that greenstone absorbs your energy, and can keep hold of things you are trying to release. I was told to leave it out in the grass in a full moon, or to wash it in the sea. It's funny the things we choose to believe that we can't fully rationalise, but that we sort of feel instinctively to be true.

The first time I cleansed the greenstone I remember very clearly. I was taking part in my first ever Buddhist retreat at Awhitu Peninsula south of Auckland. There was a lovely wise man at the retreat who had brought along a number of crystals from his collection. He invited me to go with him to wash his crystals and my greenstone in the sea. We had only a very limited time before we had to be back at the retreat centre for our next meditation session. When we walked down to the beach we found that the tide had gone out a huge distance, and that an island that had previously been inaccessible was now only being lapped at by the water.

The island seemed like a suitable spot from which to immerse our treasures in water, so we padded out through the sand and stood ankle deep in the warm water. I remember the sun shining on the greenstone and other crystals as they lay there, the amazing sense of peace and tranquility. When the time seemed right we picked everything up and turned back towards land. It was at that point we looked at our watches and realised that, if we didn't hurry, we were going to be very late for practise.

We sprinted back to the centre. I know I arrived very red faced, hot and puffed. I entered the meditation room in a huge hurry and sat down on my mat before realising that I had not cleaned my feet. For the rest of the retreat I meditated with the feeling of sand rubbing against my legs on the meditation cushion beneath me. I was too afraid to sweep it off, as it somehow felt sacred and not something to be cast away. Of course, at the end of the retreat, it got enthusiastically swept away with all the other debree.

It was some time before I realised my companion had not joined me in the room, and was in fact lying, sunning himself, in a very brief pair of speedos, face down in the sun. He later gave me a piece of rose quartz from his collection. He told me to stop wearing heavy-framed plastic glasses, and to replace them with frameless titanium ones so that people could see my face properly. I still think he was right, and I'm still wearing thick plastic.

From time to time when I've been at the beach I've taken the greenstone off. I took it off after doing some intense personal cleansing work and couldn't touch it for several weeks until I could leave it out in the grass at the top of our garden under the full moon. I lent it to a friend when she went off on her own journey.

It was once suggested to me that I should cut the cord. I could never bring myself to do that, but over the last few weeks I started to feel its pull less strongly. I even took it off a few times to put on other necklaces or jewellry. When having coffee with a friend a few days ago I realised that the ring I was wearing, the necklace I was wearing, and the greenstone I had taken off that morning, were all chosen for me by my mother. In my sock drawer I have a cameo ring that was my grandmother's. Earlier this year the cameo decided it wanted to go and hang out for a while with a friend of mine who was singing Billie Holiday songs in a play Hamish and I were working on at the time. I figured Nana liked Billie Holiday.

I felt I was letting go of some of the pull of the greenstone, so when it finally came apart in my hands I had this amazing sense of lightness, of endings and beginnings. In a week when I've been in constant low-level pain, when I couldn't run, when I've felt like I'm saying all the wrong things and disappointing people, either asking the wrong questions or needing the wrong answers, this seemed like a rather powerful message.

I'm not giving up on the greenstone all together. A friend from work has a sister who can re-string it for me, with a nice silver clasp. It will all happen in good time

And no, I'm not running tonight. After a day of aching soreness I figured I could probably go out and run for half an hour, and feel pleased with myself for doing it. However I also figured that I would probably be even worse tomorrow. It seemed wiser to miss one run now rather than several later on. After consulting with Allie and Hamish it was agreed that if I was considering not running then I REALLY shouldn't be running. So I went home and sat there while torrential rain poured down outside, blown by wild gales. Somehow not running didn't seem like such a tragedy after that!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Yay for good runs! Yay thinking "there's no way I'm making it from the gym up to the dairy on Adelaide Rd and back in half an hour", then actually doing it. Yay for running fast and not stopping. Yay for stretching afterwards. Yay for running with lovely women whose company I enjoy.

Yay for remembering my body is not my enemy. I am good enough as I am. I have nothing to prove.

Since this writing thing began I've hardly read at all, and most of what I have read has been other women's blogs. I used to get fidgety if I didn't have something on the go. I know I used to distract myself in books. Instead of reading I'm now putting things out there myself. Now the urge has started it is proving very difficult to stop. So why stop?

This post doesn't really have a point, other to fill the urge to put something out there. There's a cat fighting to get access to my lap and a pillow with my name on it. I will dream of the Sistine Chapel and Italians drunk on World Cup success, and Sarah in the middle of it all while I sleep. Party girl, party!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Pale Sun Filters
Wellington Morning No. 1

Pale sun filters
Down the hallway.
From the bedroom,
Door swung open,
I can see sunflower walls
Glowing softly.
Quiet and birdsong.
As I reach the door
The sun rises over the horizon,
Pink hues on mountains
Softness and peace.
Sleeping in would be a waste
This day begs for involvement.
It invites me to walk
Barefoot through
Damp long grass,
Laced with onion weed,
To stand at the top of the garden -
Look down on the roof
And on Newtown spread
Sleeping below us.
Moments of solitude,
Both aching to stay still,
And fidgeting to get on and do.
A grey tail
Bobs towards me
Sleek fur against ankle.
Together we sit,
Just this moment,

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The running mojo's back!

Woohoo... exercise is the solution to everything... After a miserable couple of weeks in triage mode I did an RPM class on Friday morning, went way too hard, and fussed around stretching out my ITBS and piriformis to try to compensate. Then I got up this morning to one of those classic Wellington-on-a-good-day kind of days. Sun, and not even that cold! I'd arranged to meet some girls from the Jog Squad down at Te Papa, so headed off to the gym first for another stretch, then wandered down and waited in the sun. While waiting I had a chat to some lovely old kuia who'd been at Te Papa at 4am for the opening of the Mo Tatou Ngai Tahu Whanui exhibition.

They were all looking tired but happy, and it was great to talk to them. If I'd gone in to check out the exhibition then and there I would have gotten in free, but I'll have to go back another time and pay the entry fee. Judging by the pride of the women I spoke to, it will be worth it.

By 10am I'd had one text from Allie, who had slept in, and no shows from everyone else. I set off on my own. I wore my old shoes, and am now convinced my new ones are the devil's spawn. They are so stiff they make me run like a clown - splat splat splat. I'm sure it's the new shoes that caused my injuries and sore knees...

Anyway, I was supposed to do an easy half hour run, so setting off at a good pace I ran from Te Papa to the Shell Station, then turned back around and ran around Oriental Bay. Turning back I ran back to the gym. It's the school holidays so there were young families everywhere, it was warm, there was only a light breeze, and the harbour looked gorgeous. I ended up running for around 40 minutes and was seriously tempted to try for 10km, but thought that would be pushing it. I did contemplate an RPM class on my return to the gym though! I had another good stretch afterwards, and felt really pleased with how I'd gone. It occured to me that I'd panicked at the first setback, and that there's no reason why I won't be able to work through everything and still do the half-marathon in October. Yay!

After my run Hamish met me in town and we had lunch at Expressoholic. Mmmm... corn fritters. Then we walked over to the World Press Photo Exhibition, which was beautiful but depressing. We humans can be pretty horrid people. After that we staggered back towards town. Walking around on concrete in high heeled boots was not terribly good for me. By the end of it all my butt was incredibly sore!

We've got tickets for It's All Gone Pete Tong at 4.30, so we're heading back into town soon. What an excellent day!

Although I haven't yet achieved one of my goals for today. What do you get a woman for a baby shower? Ideas?!!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Open mouth,
Expand heart.
Inhale love,
Exhale joy.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

To heck with squeaking, I want to roar.
Silence did not serve me for a very long time. Right now speaking loudly does.
I am not apologising for speaking.

We ran for half an hour tonight, through dark, damp and gale-swept streets. Those few pedestrians ducked aside as we pack-ran past. I nearly ran straight into the back of a large tall man wearing a full-length black raincoat, standing in the middle of the path and talking on his phone. I didn't see him until I was nearly on top of him.

Staying at home is safe. My warrior-woman brushes aside the elements. She carries on, despite the soreness. She makes a mental note of the stiff quads, the slightly heavy feet. She makes adjustments and eases into a new stride that enables her to continue. She opens up and leads the pack back home.

My warrior woman takes time for herself. She makes friends with a foam roller in the gym. Stretched, she goes home to eat vege soup on rice. She allows herself a bottle of cider and listens to the wind rattling the sash windows. She snarls quietly at the darkness and wraps the blanket more tightly around her. A cat purrs beside her.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The first enemy you will meet with on this road to wakefulness will be your own body. It will fight you until the first cock-crow.
Gustave Meyrink

So I'm hanging out in my new regular Body Balance class at the gym, and there's just no flow. Everything is tight, my piriformis is, as Damon commented, being a pain in the arse, and worse still, the pain has spread into the hip flexor and around down the front of my quad.

The tension that I feel in the strength poses extends right throughout the rest of my session. The imbalance in one part of my body spreads into my balance poses, the stretches, the relaxation. I get frustrated and feel I am at war against this body of mine. Then it occurs to me, why am I fighting? What's with all this mind-body separation crap? Wasn't I the one who wrote my thesis on gender identity in cyberspace, and argued that it wasn't possible to leave the body behind and exist solely in the mind? Here I am, back here again, at war with myself...
Enough already!

So what am I afraid of? That this body will throw another curve ball at me and I won't be able to train for the half-marathon in October? So? It happens sometimes. I'm certainly not going to get anywhere if I slip back into this old adverserial mode again. It's not 'this body', it's me. What am I putting in my way?

Last night this body ran 2.4km in 12 minutes and 28 seconds. I missed the new police college admission time for my gender and age group by three seconds. And I wasn't even going full out. That's pretty good for someone who couldn't run from Te Papa to Fergs Kayaks a few months ago, who took twelve minutes just to get from Freyberg to the point, and then nearly died doing it.

Yay me!