Sunday, July 25, 2010

Skyline Walkway Run

I ran around 10km today in the sun on the Skyline Track. It was the first time I've run most of it, and it was heaps of fun. In places it was ridiculously muddy, in places rather steep. Some of the track was narrow, ridged single track, some wide and well graded. Most of it was farmland, and there were cow pats everywhere. Even though it was a relatively still day in the city, up on the ridgeline the Southerly was still blowing strong and to stop was to get cold, rapidly. I stupidly stopped a little too often to take photos, and that, combined with stupidly not taking on a gel, led to me deciding to bail short of the Kaukau summit and head back down to Ngaio via the Bells Line track. Next time Kaukau will be mine .... This was a good run though. I felt very strong throughout and could have gone the whole 16k had I needed to.

Photo above: sheep, something this country is well known for.

Cows, because you can never have too many photos of cows.

Looking East over the suburbs to the harbour.

Kaukau in the distance. The pylons below are carrying power to the whole North island via the cable between the South and North islands.

Stunning views.

Views out to the west coast of the island.

A relatively well graded section of the track.

Looking North with the power lines in the bottom of the picture.

Looking south.

West Wind wind turbines in the distance.

Another turbine photo. I just find them beautiful.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

An update in bullet points

  • The last Xterra run in Belmont Park was crazy fun. It was around 2 degrees at the start line, but it was a beautiful sunny day. The first 2k was a long slow climb up a series of switchbacks through the trees, followed by a long, gradual descent down a four wheel drive track. The views from the top were breathtaking. There was a long, steep and very muddy section of track which involved lowering oneself down whilst grasping hold of nearby foliage. I only fell over once and consider this an achievement. The last section was a run on grass alongside a small stream, which we had to wade through five times. It's the slowest, but one of the most enjoyable, 7k races I've ever run.
  • I got home, grabbed some lunch, and because it was such a nice day I headed out round the Bays on my bike. My legs were shredded. I stuck to an easy gear and spun my legs out. It was fun!
  • On Monday night I ran out of gas during Duck's Body Blast workout. I realised I'd not taken as much Hydrocortisone as usual. Idiot.
  • On Tuesday I redeemed myself by running around 8k round Wellington's waterfront on yet another stunning winter evening. There was a sickle moon, the fountain was pluming, the ripples in the harbour were a molten gold, there was a ferry going out and a huge cargo ship was coming in. I put some appropriate music on my iPod and enjoyed myself.
  • Wednesday was another Body Blast session. My hip flexors were screaming.
  • This morning Duck and I had a session in Frank Kitts. The weather was again stunning. It was a little warmer than it has been, the harbour was flat, the sunrise was divine. The best part? I got to work out with Kettle Bells. Do you know how many years I've been wanting me some bells? Happy Pip.
  • I had a three hour workshop with other managers on the Department's new relationship model. It was surprisingly good, and I was unusually inspired.
  • I was inspired enough to do an RPM class after work. This is despite the screaming hip flexors. I am my own worst enemy. It was good!
  • I got home to a shiny new iPhone. I am excited!
  • Oh, and there was cider. I am very, very happy.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

An Urban Wellington Run in Pictures

If you want to see this run as it actually unfolded, you'll need to scroll to the end of the post and read backwards. I always forget which order Blogger uploads photos in! Anyway, today was another Wellington-on-a-good-day. It's the middle of winter and ok, the weather's supposed to pack in tomorrow, but we've had several days now of perfect conditions. I was feeling good after yesterday's bike ride so decided I'd run the City to Sea trail from home, the reverse direction from the run Jo and I did a few weeks ago. Last time I felt terrible on the hills and walked a lot. Today was redemption time. I'm pleased to say I did, actually, run most of it, including the hills. I redefined shuffle, but I worked it all the same!

So, the picture above is of the little trail that runs behind my office building, which is out-of-frame to the left of the photo. To my right is the motorway. It's a surprising little urban oasis and usually marks the end of my runs, not the start!

This is Wellington's oldest graveyard. The motorway was built right through the centre of it. A number of graves were dug up and the remains reinterred in a communal burial ground off to the left of this photo. At the top of the shot you can see the footbridge over the motorway, crossing over to the other side of the cemetery. Again, this is only 100 metres or so from my office.

At the top of the cemetery, looking back down the hill. There are lots of little gravel trails you can take instead of the main footpath seen here.

A busy day at the rose gardens, with the cafe in the distance. Everyone was out today enjoying the sunshine! When I had a sore ankle a couple of years ago I was limited to running on the grass, and used to do spiraling laps around, and around these gardens.

One of my favourite little trails, the Serpentine Path, again only minutes from my office.

My path today took me through the sculpture walk. Sorry for the low quality of my photos. I'm getting an iPhone in a few weeks, then they will improve! My current phone does fit well into my fuel belt though.

This photo isn't very clear, but there's a conical sculpture at the top of the hill. Someone is standing inside it.

At the top of the Botanical Gardens, with the cable car in the foreground. Below is Salamanca Park, part of the City to Sea walkway. So after all that climbing you promptly head straight downhill again!

Another little graveyard. I had no idea this one existed until I ran this way with Jo.

Very lovely!

The Aro Street shops. This is a very historic and lovely inner-city suburb.

A typical narrow little inner-city street.

Looking up the street. No offstreet parking here!

An urban run wouldn't be complete without urban graffiti. This on the climb up to Tanera Park.

And at the top, the dog walking area in Tanera Park, with lots of happy dogs! There is also a community garden here, but I seem to have deleted the photo accidentally.

From Tanera Park the walkway crosses Ohiro Rd and heads downhill into Central Park. This lovely little bridge is one of my favourites.

From the middle of Central Park looking down the hill towards the city and harbour.

From Central Park the walkway crosses over Brooklyn Rd and up Bidwill Street, rejoining the town belt as it skirts the edge of Mt Cook. This section is a mix of grass, path and trail.

Again, sorry for the blurry photo, but this is a rather cute little bridge over a city stream.

Running through a tranquil trail section of the walkway. Although there are pines here and there, planted by the early settlers, they are slowly being removed and replaced with natives. In places the pine needles made for very treacherous running, particularly where they covered and disguised a series of shallow steps. It would have been very easy to turn an ankle!

Out of the trail again and across the road to reenter the walkway.

Here's a good example of a stand of pine trees. One day they will all be gone, and tall native timber will have replaced them. The pines are slowly being replaced by trees such as Rata, however they are very slow growing so this is a long-term project.

Grass and gorse, more typical Wellington running!

You can see our house in this photo. I'm not going to tell you which one it is - you'll have to guess!

So, if I were doing this run in the order the photos are shown, I'd run down off this little knoll, skirt around the edge of Macallister Park, then plod back up about a kilometre or so uphill to home. Instead this morning I jogged slowly downhill and around the park to warm up. Much more civilised!

I took quite a while to run 10k today, but of course I stopped a lot for photos. I was very happy with how I felt and had a great time out there. Wellington on a good day really can't be beaten!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Matt Smith and Orbital at Glastonbury

I'm sharing this all over the place because it's quite the yummiest thing I've seen and heard for some time. Sure Matt's timing is all over the place at the start, but I'm willing to forgive him. Sigh.

I'm back on my bike

And I have the BIGGEST smile on my face. Even if we were riding into a stonking Northerly that had our pace down to 13kph at times. Seriously, that wind was nasty! However I felt strong. We only did a short ride today but I could easily have kept going. I felt sooo comfortable on Cleo, and Julia commented that I looked it.

This, this feels like a recovery milestone. I am VERY happy.