Boulder Bay Run

Yesterday we took part in the Boulder Bay Classic 10.5km trail run at Godley Head. Adam and I started trail running in July of this year shortly after arriving in New Zealand. The first trails we ran together were those at Godley Head so it seemed fitting to sign up to the local race there. This race starts at Taylor’s mistake Beach and then winds up and along the coastal paths before looping back around to finish back in the valley. I haven’t run many trails but this has surely got to be one of the most beautiful runs in the world!

The weather was already warming up when we arrived so after the obligatory selfie shot we smeared on the sun cream, tied on our race chips and managed to squeeze in a quick coffee before the warm up.

The race started at 9am and more than 300 of us thundered along the beach and through the gates onto the coastal paths. There are a number of hills along the route with a total elevation of around 250m. I found the race hard work, hot and really enjoyable. I finished with a time of 1 hour 12, coming 41st out of 65 in my category. For my first official run, I was pleased with that. Adam did really well and came 13th in his category with a finish time of 53.58.

After the race, the atmosphere was really great. Everyone congregated on the valley floor and lounged in the sunshine, enjoying the prize giving ceremony. Adam also managed to bag a spot prize of 50 free coffees at a local cafe so that will no doubt come in handy after future runs!

This race was a great morning out and I’m sure we’ll be there again next year trying to improve our times!

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Wherever you are in the world, have a great week.

It’s all about the running…

The last few weeks seem to have been all about the running. Adam and I took part in a our club’s trail running championships recently which was great fun. We ran up and down a famous local track known as Rapaki Track which had the usual gorgeous views but as it was a race I didn’t have time to stop and take photos! Adam did really well, coming 4th overall and 3rd in his category and I was pleased with my 13th place position and 2nd place in the female category – although I should point out that there were only 3 females taking part!

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Last weekend was the incredible Crater Rim Ultra race which is organised by our club. We volunteered as marshals and spent the day handing out wrist bands to incredible runners as the made their way around the 30km and 52km courses. We had a lovely spot on out on the hills (although chilly!) and the locals looked after us well by coming out with coffee and cookies. Adam is now looking forward to challenging himself with this run next year.

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Yesterday we had our usual club training session in beautiful Hagley Park and I decided to take a few photos of my journey along the way.

As you can see, Hagley Park is really pretty and I’ve only captured the few bits that I see as I jog to the club meeting point. The park is really large (over 160+ hectares) and includes the botanic gardens, various trails to walk or bike, a cafe, huge greenhouses full of tropical plants, ancient trees, ponds, wide open spaces for sports, a golf course, the River Avon and various arty pieces.

Much of the flora is labelled and named making it easy to identify the different species of plants and flowers as you wander around. I feel so lucky to train here every week. It’s a gorgeous place to run around and the birds are amazing!

The park is filled with gorgeous birds and I managed to photograph a kingfisher there in early spring. People all over New Zealand have been voting recently for their favourite bird of the year and the lovely Kererū won:

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I’ve not actually managed to spot one of these hefty birds yet but have been told that there are a breeding pair just outside our offices so I’ll be trying to spot them for the rest of the year.

It’s now bank holiday weekend here so we’re about to enjoy a lovely three days off. Wherever you are in the world, have a great weekend!

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Greta Valley

It’s been a beautiful week here in Christchurch and I can see exactly why the city is known as the Garden City. The spring blossoms are everywhere and it takes me forever to walk from one place to another as I can’t help but stop and admire.

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(Photo curtesy of Kiwi Explorer on TrekEarth)

Yesterday was the Greta Valley Relay Marathon. Adam joined as one of our team’s runners and I went along to enjoy the views and support with the driving.

Greta Valley is about an hour’s drive north of Christchurch and the scenery is just amazing. Rolling hills, steep cliff faces, deep gorges and sparkling lakes surrounded the runners throughout their different sections. Part of the run is along the coast so you also get gorgeous glimpses of the ocean along the way too.

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Our team ran their sections really well (a few of them running additional legs just for fun) and finished with a very respectable time of 3 hours and 11 minutes. We then enjoyed drinks and some food at a local bar (which also doubles as the finish line!) afterwards. The atmosphere was really good and we ended the day with plenty of clapping and celebration during the prize giving session.

This relay was a great day out with an excellent atmosphere and is something we’ll definitely be keen to take part in again.

Wherever you are in the world, have a wonderful week ahead.

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Lyttelton Farmers’ Market

Spring has finally arrived here in New Zealand! The first day of spring was wonderfully warm and bright so Adam and I headed out for our third trail run together at Godley Head.

The views were as gorgeous as ever and we’ve now signed up to complete the Boulder Bay Classic trail run which takes place around the headland on 28th October. This meant it was finally time for me to invest in a pair of trail runners and I bought this rather fab pair earlier today.

We found out recently that our shipping container is finally on its way and we’re now merrily tracking its progress as it sails steadily onwards to us. It should arrive in Lyttelton Harbour on 16th October so fingers crossed everything makes it over safely! To apologise for the delays in shipping, the freight company very kindly offered us a meal out so we headed to Amaterrace Teppanyaki, a Japanese restaurant based in Christchurch CBD. The food was amazing and all cooked in front of us on a teppanyaki griddle.

We enjoyed the performance and cuisine so much that we’ve booked to go back again soon to celebrate Adam’s birthday.

To help keep myself warm I took advantage of the recent Ballantynes‘ winter sale and purchased a few of the famous New Zealand merino wool jumpers. They’re super warm and a great investment but are all, unfortunately, hand wash, dry flat items. I thought I’d found the perfect sunny spot to dry them recently but the kitty-cat felt they made super beds and scuppered my drying plans – the joys of having cats!

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My other recent purchase is a fairly new product called Nutrient Rescue which is a serving of dehydrated, powdered fruit and vegetables. You mix it up with water to create a ‘shot’ and it provides you with all the nutrients you need for the day and ensures you’re getting your ‘5 a day’ fruit and veggie portions.

We ordered the sample box after hearing positive reviews and felt a very noticeable energy boost just a couple of days later. Instead of heading to bed and collapsing around 8:30 – 9pm, we’re now feeling energised until past 10pm which is unheard of for us. The veggies aren’t tampered with in any way before being dried and powdered so we’ve now signed up to try it out for a month. Hopefully the rather grim tasting green shots will help keep our energy levels high and at least we have the tasty red shots to look forward to every other day!

The weather has been rather hit and miss lately but we’ve still managed to get out and explore a few new spots. Last weekend we went to the Waimakariri Gorge which is where the river (Waimakariri) gets forced through a narrow canyon as it approaches Christchurch.

The water here is crystal clear and blue which unfortunately isn’t properly reflected in these photos. The banks are shingle and rocky. You can scramble along them and enjoy watching the local fishermen and the speed boats racing past.

Our favourite new find though is Lyttelton Famers’ Market which is held in Lyttelton each Saturday.

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Lyttelton is one of the port towns on the Banks Peninsula which is accessed from Christchurch via a tunnel. Although still suffering from the after effects and damage of the earthquakes, the town has a vibrant, friendly feel to it on market day and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit.

There were many wonderful stalls to explore, most of them offering free samples and all of them eager to chat about their produce. There was live music playing, the smell of coffee wafting through the streets and a great atmosphere to soak up.

We went to the market with a colleague of mine who is teaching me to be a ‘proper kiwi’ by growing my own herbs. My intention today was to buy just one ‘tester’ herb but we all found ourselves purchasing a great many items we hadn’t realised we needed such as cured meats, cheese, amazing gluten-free treats and fresh, locally caught fish. We left with our wallets feeling somewhat lighter but I am now the proud owner of a coriander plant!

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After a quick trip to the garden centre to purchase a vast amount of other items (pots, potting mix, trowel, gloves and dust mask) which are apparently all required to grow things, I am now set to enter the new world of growing my own herbs. Having never attempted to grow anything before I am a little nervous and we’ll have to watch this space…

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Wherever you are in the world, have a wonderful week and wish me luck with the planting!

Trail Running & Sumner Bay

Last weekend started out with more glorious sunny weather so Adam managed to persuade me to try a trail run. As a road runner, I was a little nervous about the thought of running up and down hills but we headed up to the beautiful Godley Head area and ran around the head land. I have to admit that I absolutely loved it and now consider myself a convert!

 

A few nights after the trail run, I joined Port Hills Athletics Club for one of their training sessions  and really enjoyed that as well. In October there’s a local trail run called the Boulder Bay Dash so I think I’ll sign up for that and see how I fare.

We also spent some time exploring Sumner Bay and what a stunning place it is! So close to Christchurch city and yet you feel like you’ve travelled far away to a little holiday town.

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The beach is clean and vast with room for families and surfers alike. You can see the alps in the distance and there are various cafes, eateries and little gardens nearby.

There’s sand and rock pools aplenty and they also have the fabulous Cave Rock which is good fun to explore.

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We only did a passing visit today but will definitely spend a day or two here in the summer months.

Back at home the kitties continue to settle into their new country well. They love being able to go outside but are a little scared of the other local cats and tend to run away to watch them from the safety of indoors. They’re also getting a little too comfortable with sitting on our bar stools and have to be escorted away when it’s take away time!

 

Five Weeks to Go!

Unbelievably, there are now only five weeks left until we move to Christchurch, New Zealand. This blog post is rather delayed as it was actually ‘five weeks to go’ last Friday but we’ve been so busy that I’ve not had chance to write.

The last week has been a mixture of moving jobs and family visits so has been extremely busy but very enjoyable. All service companies have now been called and end of contract agreements have been organised and planned for. The import permit application for the cats has been sent off and they were very brave during their first round of parasite treatments yesterday. The majority of household items are now sold so all in all it’s been fairly productive on the job front.

We had wonderful weather this weekend which made for a very enjoyable family visit from Adam’s dad, brother and partners. We enjoyed wandering around the streets of The Hague together, ate far too many delicious meals and the girls even managed to squeeze a pedicure in whilst the boys went to the Louwman Museum to admire the cars.

The Hague has always been a super place for family catch-ups and it certainly didn’t disappoint this weekend!

20180506_221152On Sunday, temperatures hit 26 degrees which was great for the family who were chilling out on the beach. For me and Gill though, it was race time!

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We signed up to the Aramco Beach Run after the high of completing our first half marathon and thought it would be a simple 10km ‘fun run’ as advertised, but it turned out to be the hardest run we’d ever done.  Blazing heat, soft sand, hilly dunes, no breeze and way too few water stops made this very challenging and I don’t think either of us will sign up for another beach run in a hurry!

We made it to the end though and were extremely proud to cross the line together and to add another medal to our collections. I’m going to miss my running buddy in New Zealand and as hard as it was, am very pleased that we managed to squeeze in a final run together.

c1f4d0c7-ade3-45af-b3ad-b85ec786ea11Our final visitors, Adam’s mum and her husband, arrive tomorrow so we’re looking forwards to seeing them. It’s a bank holiday here and the weather is looking pretty good so there will be plenty more day trips and opportunities to over-eat no doubt!

Rotterdam Marathon 2018

It’s a beautiful day here in Rotterdam. The sun is shining, the weather is warm and the music thumps away in the background as we clap the runners past.

This will be Adam’s last run in The Netherlands before we leave and as I type he is currently just over 20km of the way round.

I’m supporting from the sidelines for this one as it’s a business sponsored run for him but I’m loving the atmosphere.

I’m also loving the amount of free food and drink one can access on a business run ticket!

It will take him a little while to get back yet and seeing as he’s left me in charge of his wallet, I think I’ll hit the excellent Rotterdam high street now and while away a little time…