Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter Adventures and More Medical Pondering

Oriental Bay, March 2012. Not a breath of wind.

So what's a girl to do when Easter throws up perfect weather here in Wellington? Don't forget, it's autumn in New Zealand, and Welly's not exactly known for its climate at the best of times. It was a very lacklustre summer, so it's been pleasant to be gifted an ideal autumn Easter break.
Devil's Gate, Southern Coast of Wellington

My next event is a trail half marathon this Saturday. It's a fairly flat course and mostly on forestry tracks, so not too technical. On Saturday I went out on my last long training run - two hours around the flat, gravelly and sandy trail out past Red Rocks. The first four or so kilometres are fairly straightforward, but then the trail deteriorates and is interspersed with big banks of gravelly rocks which have to be gingerly traversed, or deep sand which has to be waded through.

After Devil's Gate I was almost completely on my own. It was just me, the hills to my right, and the sea to my left. So incredibly beautiful and so remote-feeling despite being so close to my country's capital city. After about eight and a half kilometres the hills turned into a huge sand dune which begs for a repeat visit for some sliding. The road became deep sand. I turned around and plodded slowly back to the car park. On the way back I sort of lost interest and energy and it was not a negative split by any means.

Cooling my legs in the sea at the end of my run.

The lacklustre nature of this run concerned me in that it followed a week of absolute exhaustion. I had become a fan of the afternoon nap, and was cultivating a close relationship with the sofa. Even with the beautiful weather and free time I had lost my mojo and just wanted to sit around.

Was I prepared to let myself do that? Well, no. I decided to let the housework and gardening slide instead!

Looking from Red Rocks car park towards Pencarrow

On Sunday I went out for a road ride with a friend, Karen, and a new women's riding pack. We were scheduled to do an easy ride of the Bays here in Wellington - about two hours and mostly flat. I should have known I was in trouble. My friend and her riding partner have been training seriously for some big cycling events lately. Another girl has just come off Ironman training, and a couple of the others just looked very fit in general.

I coped easily while we were on the flat but got owned when we climbed the five kilometres to the top of Brooklyn Hill. Karen even came back looking for me. So embarrassing. I guess my legs were more tired from the day before than I'd thought, and I really need some more bike time!

The lower of the two Pencarrow lighthouses.

After yet another afternoon nap on Sunday I was up again for a mountainbike ride with my friend Julia. I was really feeling quite worn out by this stage, but I knew I was a faster rider than Julia so figured I could take it easy. We started from the car park at the end of Eastborne, on the opposite side of the harbour from the car park I'd run from on the Saturday.

This wasn't exactly hard core cycling. For the most part it's an easy ride on a four wheel drive track. It's only the last four or so kilometres which get a bit more technical as the track slowly peeters out. We finished up in gravelly sand at Baring Head, a popular rock climbing site. The land around Baring Head has recently been purchased from private ownership to be turned into public reserve. I'm planning to return to explore the trails inland, and the historic lighthouse and farm buildings. Such an amazing asset for the city.

We'd had what seemed like beautifully calm conditions on the way out, but it only seemed that way because of the stonking Northerly headwind we turned into on the way back. It was a total slog back to the car and I was really quite shattered by the time we finished. It was all I could do to get my bike into my car and drive home. I spent the afternoon getting off the sofa in short bursts to tick chores off my to-do list. All the same, I was feeling so lucky and grateful to be able to spend my weekend outdoors doing what I love.

Through the whole weekend (and most of last week) I'd had a headache, and by yesterday I was starting to worry that my surgery might have failed and that I'd soon be back in hospital again. I'd lost my appetite and all motivation, and last night's squad run was a non-event.

Then I looked at my calendar and realised it had been four months since my last B12 shot. Guess what I had this afternoon? Guess who feels a lot better already? Yes. I'm an idiot. Don't let me make that mistake again!

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