Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Two Days in Auckland

Work led me to Auckland on Sunday night, and to the City Life Hotel. Usually when I travel for work I stay with family, so it was a nice change to be staying in some reasonably upmarket accommodation. I was even more pleased when I realised that the bed in my hotel room was a super-king, complete with six pillows.

I couldn't bring myself to order breakfast from the hotel, even though work was paying. The continental breakfast was $25 and all I wanted from it was the cereal. Instead I ventured out onto Queen Street on Sunday night and hunted down a couple of boxes of Lite and Tasty cereal. It was a mild spring evening and I started to feel quite nostalgic for the years when I was studying and working on Queen Street and this was my stamping ground.

One early night later and I was up at 6, downing cereal from a mug with a teaspoon, and catching the lift down to the hotel gym as soon as it opened at 6.30. I had the gym to myself and, although basic, it had everything I needed. I managed three full sets of 10 pull-ups - 30 in total, and ran through the rest of an upper body weights circuit after that, including three sets of push-ups and a few extra tricep dips.

A full day of presentations at our Auckland office followed. I didn't fancy any of the lunch that was on offer - croissants, sandwiches and savouries. Instead I found a really excellent salad bar downstairs. I ordered a vegetable hotpot with brown rice and a broccoli and carrot seasame seed salad. That filled me up for the rest of the afternoon.

At 4.00 we wrapped up for the day. Everyone else headed off to a nearby bar but I was on a mission. I donned my running shoes and Garmin and headed off down Queen Street to the Viaduct. From there I headed for Victoria Park. As I ran it started to rain gently - the warm pleasant kind of rain, not the icy bullets of a Wellington winter.

I assessed how I felt when I got to the end of Victoria Park. I was running slowly but wasn't ready to turn around. I decided to run up College Hill. Before I moved to Wellington six and a half years ago I lived in an apartment down the Three Lamps end of Ponsonby, just off Jervois Rd. I used to attend a Weight Watchers meeting on Jervois Rd and one Saturday I walked, puffing and panting up College Hill, staggering behind two women from the meeting as they power walked to the top. Some time after that I made a second attempt at taking up running (the first had been as a student living in Newmarket). I used to jog slowly down Curran Avenue then run and walk my way past Westhaven Marina back to Victoria Street, then walk up College Hill to home.

In the back of my mind over the last couple of years has been a desire to return to Ponsonby and run that route again. Here I was at the bottom of College Hill, about to see how far I had come. I wanted to run to the top.

Of course running to the top turned out to be a simple matter. Even though this was my first run in nearly three weeks, even though I was really tired and my legs felt like lead, running to the top was easy. And of course, once I was at the top I wanted to finish this thing. I ran to Curran Ave and down to the Marina.

By the time I got to the Marina I was a bit over the whole thing, particularly when I went the wrong way and ended up in a car park surrounded by water and had to double back. I was cursing the motorway sign on my right which advised it was another 500 metres to Fanshaw Street. Here I was totally aceing a run that I once could have only dreamed of doing, and I just wanted to get back to the hotel!

I fairly staggered back through the Viaduct to the Ferry building, then ran past Britomart to the bottom of Queen Street. By that time I'd done about 8.5km according to my Garmin, so I estimated I had in fact run around 9km. It had taken at least 500m to latch onto a satellite. I figured 9km including a big hill for my first run in several weeks was enough. I figured that trying to run up Queen Street through the after-work mass of humanity was stupid and rude. I walked back to the hotel, stopping only to buy a cheap bottle of Rose from the superette across the road.

So it wasn't a pretty run, even if it was a tick-the-box-I've-done-that-now run. I wasn't entirely satisfied with it. Of course I had to remind myself that my legs were hardly fresh either, having been put through RPM on Friday, Makara on Saturday and the Bays ride on Sunday. Really, I shouldn't have expected one of those floating, fast kinds of runs.

One long, powerful and very hot shower later I was ordering a plate of chilli chicken with noodles and a side salad from room service and sipping on Rose. I climbed into bed early and watched the Illusionist on Sky then fell asleep. All the while my workmates were dining at Portofinos and being sociable. Sure, it wasn't very team-building of me, but I was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to hang out with my six pillows and Egyptian cotton sheets and The Illusionist on Sky.

I took Tuesday as a rest day but my metabolism didn't know it was supposed to be taking a day off. I had my Lite and Tasty for breakfast. My stomach told me it wanted something else. I ate some fruit. My stomach shrugged its shoulders and hmmmmed. By 10.30 a.m. my stomach was screaming at me. Fruit was not going to cut it. A scone with a little jam and a little cream hit the spot. I felt the most amazing sense of relief as my stomach smiled and relaxed. Here was a lesson in intuitive eating if ever there was one. Unfortunately the carb-and-sugar binge didn't stop there, with various slices being served for afternoon tea. However my weight is fairly stable so the occasional bad day won't hurt me.

Back to Wellington, the cats and Hamish on Tuesday night and up early this morning to do a leg workout. I'm slowly increasing the height with my box jumps and I'm steadily increasing my leg extension weights. I backed off increasing my leg press weights this week because we've got a ride on Saturday and a race on Sunday.

The 'rest' week in Gearshifters training has meant that today I was able to treat myself to another run. I headed out at lunchtime in the spring sun and avoided the worst of the wind by running up to Kelburn. The tulips are out in force in the Botanical Gardens and it was a very pleasant route to have chosen. I wish I could say that it was one of those runs where I amazed myself with the speed of my hill climbing or the power in my legs. Wrong on both counts. My legs felt heavy and I fairly plodded my way to the top of the hill. Once again I reassured myself that I simply haven't been running very often. I also reminded myself I did a leg workout this morning.

In the end I was too happy to be out running (I felt like a naughty schoolchild) that I didn't mind too much that I felt slow. I know that it would only take a week or two of regular running to get my speed back up again. I will make more of an effort now to fit a run in at least once or twice a week.

Tomorrow I'm going to do a circuit weights session and follow it up with an RPM class after work. On Friday I will limit myself to a Balance class. I'm concerned that I'm not getting enough core work in so if I can't make it to Balance a couple of times a week I'm going to have to fit in a core session in my own time. I do have some Pilates and Yoga DVDs at home from boxes of Special K cereal and I should really make use of them.

It's time to lift Gaffer from my lap and prepare for tomorrow!

1 comment:

Sass said...

Young lady, are you taking a proper rest this week?? *looks sternly*