Friday, August 14, 2009

Another Poem

I'm having a bit of a rethink about the direction of this blog. I'm toying with the idea of leaving Blogger for greener shores, and broadening out the scope of my posts. If I do so then I'll be making a commitment to post more often and more widely. I'll finally get around to creating that blog roll and I'll be posting on a variety of topics. If I decide to make the switch I'll start posting more commentary and more links to other sites. There'll still be the training posts most of you read this blog for at the moment. However there will also be a return to more regular poetry posts. If I get my act together I'll be posting on the issues that are important to me, and I'll be posting on daily life and happenings here in Wellington.

In the meantime, here's another (still very draft) poem! This was inspired a few weeks back by a news article stating that the current government is looking at loosening up the rules around overseas investment in New Zealand.

That Which Was Ours

They came across the border
when our eyes were averted,
too busy looking inwards
to notice the attack from outside.

They took us on the beaches
first of all, our defences weak,
their firepower stronger.

While we were still dusting the
sand from our arms and gathering
together the possessions we had
clutched to ourselves as we
scrambled to retreat they
turned on our utilities.

Before we knew it our
water and our power
were no longer our own,
left begging at the
doors of strangers to
cook our last suppers,
scraping together cash
to pay for enough light
to see as we tucked our
children into their beds.

But it will all be ok, they
crooned to us, as we lined up
to fill buckets so we could
heat water for our weekly baths.
You see, things are more efficient
this way. Your dollars
are still your own.

So we sat on cliff tops
looking down at the waves below
us while we sipped on Pepsi and
Bud, unable to afford to drink
what used to flow freely from
our taps. We kept bees for
the wax and felled trees from
the local reserve
for firewood.

That which was what ours
was not truly quantified
until it was listed on the
asset sheets of those that

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's all about performance

You know you're a cycling geek when you find yourself laughing hysterically at a video like this! Although I had a few twinges of feminist guilt at doing so ...

Anyway, funnily enough it IS all about performance. At least, it's all about this Sunday. If certain other Wellington bloggers hadn't already posted their own ambitious goals (you know who you are) I wouldn't be feeling my own performance angst. It doesn't help that my last race attempt was a dismal failure.

So, the game plan is to just go out there and run the race that plays out on the day. That could mean just finishing, or it could mean hardening up and sprinting it. I have no idea! My training has been more consistent this time around and I'm feeling more tapered. I ran a good solid 6km on Tuesday at a pace Dave thinks I can maintain, and 4km today at what was supposed to be easy, but was a bit faster than that. However ....

Anyway, it's not like I can do anything now other than continue to try to put myself in the right frame of mind.

Friday, August 07, 2009


A Poem

Because it's been a while. This poem was a response to a Read Write Poem prompt. I have also recently written a second poem, a response to an article on the current government's plans to open up international investment regulations. Unfortunately I thought I'd emailed to my hoe address, but apparently not. Posting it will have to wait for another day. Neither are my best work, but it was so good to be putting pen to paper again that I think it's still worth having them online.


When the cancer

spread to his brain he

began seeing five cent

coins on the floor.

My uncle spent hours

on all fours groping around

for the invisible currency,

keeping him happy.

After he died the same

coins materialised

in the corners of

our bedrooms and

sat gleaming on

our desks, shelves and

coffee tables,

gleaming in the

twilight, winking up

at us from the floor.

Sunday, August 02, 2009


Well, I'm ashamed to admit that yesterday's ride left me feeling remarkably shattered. Only 50k, but much hillier than anything I've done of late. So come 1.30 and facing stupidly gusty winds, predications of rain and thunder storms and general lethargy, I did, in fact, not go riding with Dee. Nor did I do that 18k I was supposed to be running.

So what did I do? I downloaded 90 minutes of kicking RPM tracks onto my iPod, then drove in to town to Extreme and sat on one of their old yellow spin bikes for a bit of a pain fest. Yes, I had a grin on my face the whole time, and yes, sweat was dripping down my face.

I'm sure everyone else on level 4 thought I was insane, but hey, a girl's gotta do what she's gotta do. I'll just run that 18k tomorrow instead!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Fronting Up

I've written before about my complicated relationship with cycling. I have a tendency to talk myself out of really putting the effort in. I hate riding in the wind and at the start of a long ride my mind can sometimes get the better of me. I'm slow and I have a loathing of getting spat out the back of the pack.

Dee's been nagging me for ages to ride with her and the SANZ pack. Unfortunately, the first time she invited me along, she warned me that they were fast. Game over as far as I was concerned! Except that it's about time to start gearing up for Taupo again, and I have some serious goals for this year's ride. It's time I stopped making excuses for myself and laid it on the line. I need to stop holding back. I need to take a few risks, put myself out there, see what happens.

Which is how I ended up getting up this morning to meet Dee at Freyberg at 7.40a.m. (on a Saturday morning!!!) for a SANZ ride. If I hadn't told everyone there was no way I was backing out then I would have, er, backed out. Yesterday the weather forecasts were for galeforce winds and showers. I wasn't going to give way to my wimp tendencies though, so I sucked it up, got dressed, and headed off in the half-light to meet her.

The fast pack was planning to ride out to Porirua then through Titahi Bay and back to Wellington via the Haywards. Some of the slower riders were planning on turning back at Porirua. There was a girl there who hadn't ridden in a bunch before, and who was not feeling confident she could keep up at all, so I was quite happy to say I'd turn round at Porirua with her if she felt the need. I was talking myself out of the full ride and I hadn't even started.

It was windy as we set out, but it could have been worse. I quickly found myself at the back and as we headed up Ngaio Gorge it started raining. My sunglasses started to fog up and I battled my way to the first meet-up point. The new girl had turned around already, so it was up to me to keep up with the slower of the regular riders. I was cold and wet but my legs hadn't felt too bad on the way up the Gorge, so I was willing to see what would happen.

I ended up riding down the hill to Johnsonville with a lone rider, Chris. I'm incredibly grateful to him for sticking with me. We were only 100m or so behind the main slow pack, but in the wet I wasn't feeling confident enough to push it around the corners hard enough to keep up. We rode towards Kenepuru, expecting to regroup in Porirua, but when we got there we couldn't find the other riders, and when we got onto the Expressway they were nowhere in sight.

Wet, cold, separated from the pack. Chris made the decision for me, and we turned right at the turnoff to the police college and started climbing back up towards Johnsonville. At that point I was feeling slightly disappointed, and had we been in sight of the others I think I would have gone all the way to the Haywards. I was certainly feeling ok and could easily have gone the distance. And when I say I was the slowest of the slow pack I was still sitting on around 30kmph (in the wind and the rain and the cold), so I wasn't a slug, just a little out of my league.
I wasn't eating enough so the ride back towards Ngaio wasn't quite as powerful as it could have been, but then we were on our way back down the gorge and I was again focussing on cornering downhill and not sliding out in the wet. I was covered in road-gunge from sitting on Chris's wheel the whole way. My shoes were sodden, my feet were cold, and I wasn't wearing my leg warmers so my knees were bright pink from the cold. However I was feeing remarkably upbeat. I knew I could have gone the whole way and I was proud of myself for getting out there at all.

We settled in at Bordeaux with our hot chocolates and eventually we were joined by the others, all looking like they'd been out mountain biking rather than road riding. We were all mud covered and soaked. I sat there in my happy little bubble, knowing that I'd actually gotten out there and done it, and loving my bike all over again.

So I'm supposed to be running 18k tomorrow, tapering for the Five Bridges half marathon. However Dee is riding from Freyberg at 2, and I can't resist coming along. If need be I'll run after work on Monday. Cleo and I are going to get back out there again, and I can't wait!