Another Day

Ok, what can I say about today's run? Ummmm. Hmmmm. Well, it was 5 KM long, and we completed it in about 30 minutes. We briefly toyed with the idea of extending it to 7 KM, but in the end simply went the 5 KM. Let's see, what else? Ummmm. Yep, that is pretty much it. I guess you can only make blog entries about repetitive runs so interesting for so long.

It was a pretty good morning for a run; no rain, no wind, a good temperature, etc. But still, it was just another run. No dogs chased us, no injuries occurred, no alien abductions, just a boring old run.

I guess I can say that traffic on the road was a little heavier than usual. Generally, when we get up at 5:00 a.m., we're out the door by about 15-20 minutes after 5:00 a.m. At that time of day, you'll see a few cars here and there, but today seemed busier than others. Actually, now that I think of it, we've noticed a pattern where on Monday, traffic is nearly non-existent. Whereas by Wednesday, there is significantly more traffic. The reason I mention this is that the sidewalks here aren't very wide, so in order to run side-by-side, I like to run on the road; quite close to the sidewalk. Whenever a car would approach, I would simply hop up onto the sidewalk and continue along until the car had passed. Then, it is back onto the road. Today however, I was constantly hopping on and off the curb (or Kerb in NZ. Seriously? You spell Curb with a Ke?)

Anyway, that is about as much excitement that I can deliver for today's blog entry on our boring old run.

Slow Down Already

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 20:04 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Today's run, a Tuesday run, is usually suppose to be about 5 KM. But Kristie and I thought we should try to top load the week again, so we went for 7 KM.

Now generally on a run with two people, one person will set the pace and the other will match it, and this run was no exception...although I wish it was. Unlike me, Kristie seemed to have a lot of energy today so she set the pace today. I should add that she set the second fastest pace we've done on our 7 KM route so far! We have quite a few hills in our area, which didn't seem to slow her pace at all. Me on the other hand, I was struggling to keep up today. Even on the downhill part, where you can generally rely on gravity, I was much slower than her.

We finished the run a little better than a minute off our best time, but about a minute faster than our usual time too. Needless to say, I was very happy to end the run today.

And We're Back

Sunday, March 25, 2012 13:53 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments

Due to technical difficulties beyond our control, we haven't had a run since last Tuesday. Well we finally got out for a good run today! And good in many senses of the word: The run itself felt nice, we went for about 14 KM, so it was a nice long one, it only took 82 minutes to complete, so it was a bit faster than normal, and it was a bright sunny day for the first time in about a week!

Right after the run we had to rush off to the Farmers Market to pick up a few vegetables as Kristie isn't content being married to one! See what I did there? I inferred that I was a vegetable, but not a vegetable like carrot or broccoli, more like a mental vegetable! I went from broccoli to self deprecation! You know, they say if you have to explain the joke that it isn't funny...but I disagree!

Anyway after the Farmers Market we headed back home to Skype with Kristie's parents. Then we did the most important thing of the day: Nap!

Nailed It

Saturday, March 24, 2012 13:43 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments

This is turning out to be more-and-more a total crap week!

Yesterday we went to take the dogs out for a walk in the gorge when we noticed that the tire was flat (I talked about this briefly in the last blog entry).  So today we were going to go for a run and then change the tire (or Tyre in NZ) and bring it in to be repaired. Unfortunately, less than two minutes into the run, I started to get back spasms! And because we needed the car ready for today due to a movie and for Monday in order to go to an appointment in Lower Hutt, I had to make sure that my back was in good working order. Therefore, we decided not to chance having my back go completely out of whack (what would you call it if it were only partially out of whack? semi-whacked?), and stopped running for that day.

One of the questions that I have is how the nail got lodged in my tire (or tyre in NZ) in the first place? Have you ever seen a single nail standing straight up, on its own? Drop a nail on the ground several times, say 20 times, and count how often it will land straight up? I'm pretty sure that the answer will be close to zero. So how come it ended up, pointy end lodged in my tire (or tyre in NZ)?

What A Crappy Week

Friday, March 23, 2012 20:55 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
This week started out with so much potential, but then if fizzled out and got pretty crappy.

On Sunday, we had a really nice 10 KM run. We made it a longer run than usual as we were top loading the week because Kristie was going to be in Auckland on Wednesday. Tuesdays run was crappy, but we did it, and then the crap hit the fan.

Kristie went to Auckland on Wednesday, so we knew we wouldn't be running; we actually planned it that way. But then she couldn't make it home after Auckland as there was too much low hanging cloud here in Wellington, so she was stuck in Auckland until after 7:00 p.m. the next day. No fresh clothes, no toiletries, nothing. Luckily she bought some toiletries and a cheap shirt to sleep in from a grocery store.

Since she was in Auckland, we didn't run on Thursday either. We thought we would simply shift the rest of the running load onto Friday. Well that didn't work either as she was dog tired from two 12 hour days.

Then, this evening, we were bringing the dogs for a walk in the gorge, and we heard this thuka-thuka-thuka coming from the back tire. Flat! That means we can't do our waterfront run tomorrow! We're still going to do an 8 KM run around the neighbourhood tomorrow morning, but then we have to bring the car in to get the tire fixed.

All in all, running wasn't in the cards this week. Oh well, luck of the draw, I guess. Why did I use card metaphors when I have a picture of a craps table? Weird.

The Winds of Change

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 14:12 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Wellington's winds can be a bitch! We woke up this morning to 74 KM/hour winds, but even that isn't as bad as it can get here. It is, however, the first time we've really had a run during those kinds of winds. Luckily, it wasn't too bad. For the most part we felt the wind, but were only hit by a couple gusts while running. I have to say however, that when the wind hits you, it virtually stops you in your tracks.

You're running along fine, and then BAM! You're hit with a wall of wind, which is only slightly easier to run through than a brick wall.

Today's run wasn't what I would call one of my best. It might have been because we had checked the forecast the night before and we were dreading it for the rest of the night, but I just didn't seem to have much energy. Usually, after a run, I have the feeling of satisfaction for completing the run: "Well, it was difficult, but I did it!" Today, not so much. The only thing I was happy about after the run was stopping.

Vacuum Conundrum

Monday, March 19, 2012 15:01 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Today (Monday), as I mentioned in my last blog post, is an off day for running. Not only that, but like every Monday, it is an off day from work for me. So Monday's are the day that I use to catch up on housework; you know, laundry, dusting, vacuuming, washing the tub and cleaning the toilet, the stuff that you don't want to do every day, unless you're obsessive compulsive. And if you are obsessive compulsive, then more power to you.

So I finished all the housework about half an hour ago, and I'm looking at the floor that I just vacuumed, and I see a big old hair ball that Walnut shed. As a quick note, Walnut doesn't actually shed fur, but when it gets long, it kind of molts off, so instead of a few loose hairs here and there you would expect to see from shedding dogs, you get this a hairball that would choke most cats. Which I'm sure is why Walnut does it in the first place. Anyway, this molted hairball is sitting in the living room, right by one of the coffee tables as plain as day. But here's the thing: Walnut has been in the bedroom while I vacuumed! So how did that hairball get there?

I suppose it is possible that I missed it while vacuuming, but I really doubt that, because it is a big, black hairball in a sea of beige carpeting! So again, I ask: How did that hairball get there? Clearly, the only logical answer is that these hairballs, knowing their fate when sucked up into a vacuum, have somehow managed a system of locomotion to ensure that they can hide under couches, tables, etc. while the vacuum monster is out and about. Then, knowing that they will whither and die due to lack of sunlight, will again use this method of locomotion to come back out into a sun lit area of the carpet, where they can grow and they do throughout the week.

I'm pretty sure this is the only logical explanation, so I am now looking into getting grant funding so that I can document this, as of yet unknown, form of hairball locomotion. I'm pretty sure that I can be published in Nature once my findings have been written up, as I don't think there is a journal dedicated to the correlation to hairball movement and vacuum is still a young science.

In lieu of the running chart, I have instead added a chart about hairball locomotion.

Evening Run

Sunday, March 18, 2012 21:01 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Today, Kristie and I both woke up with very little energy. We got up, with full intentions of having an early morning swim as usual, but after linger for about an hour over a single piece of toast, it became clear to us that the morning run wasn't going to happen.

We both headed back to bed for a little bit, but we weren't sleepy enough for a nap yet, so we went to the Farmers Market to get this week's veggies. On the way back we stopped off at the grocery store to pick up everything that we couldn't find at the farmers market. Which was a fair bit because hardly an vendors were able to make it into the city today as there was a large accident on the highway that was obstructing traffic.

After getting back from the groceries, we made a couple bowls of oatmeal and a side of toast topped off with a mug of hot chocolate. At that point, we figured we were probably ready for a nap, which we did, for about two hours! It felt wonderful too!

After the nap, we took the dogs up for a walk to Mount Kaukau, and then back home for some lunch, baking and other prep work for the week to come. It was at this point that Kristie said that we should probably do a 10 KM run tonight so as to get in our requisite mileage for our training. Needless to say, I wasn't into it. But as any good husband should I simply replied: Yes dear.

The run itself, for me, started out kind of crappy. We hadn't gone more than about 250 metres and I was already huffing and puffing, but luckily due to our training, the conditioning kicked in not long afterwards and I ended up having a pretty good run. Kristie was a bit tired by the end due to our walk up Kaukau, but she still kept a really good pace. We were about a minute and a half faster than our regular pace.

So there you have it, even though I had resigned myself to not having a run today, we still got one in.

Hopefully A Sign Of Things To Come

Saturday, March 17, 2012 11:16 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Today we woke up a little later than usual for a Saturday, around 6:45 a.m., and kind of lingered over our morning coffee before getting out for our morning run. I don't mind getting a bit of a later start when the weather is like it is today though. It is a bright and sunny day here in Wellington, which is a nice change from what we've had during the summer. Our summer was pretty much a string of crappy, rainy, windy days that were occasionally interrupted with a sunny period here and there. Not that I'm complaining mind you...oh wait, as I read the last sentence, it appears that I am complaining. Oh well.  The autumn weather has been pretty nice so far, so we're hoping that we can keep up the sunny streak for a while.

Like last week's run the waterfront was abuzz with activity (hmmmm...abuzz is actually a word! go figure.). There is some sort of waka (Maori canoes) rowing competition going on, so there were tonnes of people and food carts, etc. on the waterfront. So instead of our regular run of to the ambiguous there and back again, we simply extended our there point to the wind needle at Evans Bay, and then walked back as we didn't want to have to circumnavigate our running around all the crowds.

So our run today turned out to be a bit shorter than we had planned, only around 9 KM rather than the 10 KM we were hoping for. We did get some more exercise on the way back as we did a few fartleks up in the hills. I think we're really starting to notice the benefits of the regular scheduled runs as we both felt pretty strong throughout the whole run.

Mmmmmm Expensive Donut

Friday, March 16, 2012 22:33 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
I flew to Christchurch today to assist one of our staff members there with some computer issues that she has been having. While wandering around the Wellington airport, I saw there was a new doughnut shop there. Doughnuts are not a very common thing here for some reason. You can't swing a dead cat around here without hitting a dessert slice, a Lambington or a Pavolva (their national dessert), but doughnuts are virtually no where to be found.

So, I see this place, and I think: Hey, it's morning, I could go for a coffee and a doughnut!

I get to the counter and the cheapest doughnut they have, which is one the call hokey pokey, which is probably as close to a honey glazed as you're going to get here, is three bucks!  Three bucks for a doughnut? Are you kidding me? Needless to say, I didn't buy one.

From what I remember, they had a Tim Horton's in Afghanistan while the Canadian soldiers were there, so may I suggest that they open up a few branches here. They wouldn't make a cent on their super-caffeinated, brown sugar water they call coffee, but they could freaking clean up on doughnut sales!

In the end it, it was probably good that I didn't have the doughnut as today was an off day for running. So in lieu of my normal running stats, here is a comparative ratio for the price of doughnuts and my likelihood of buying one.

Trump Card Played

Thursday, March 15, 2012 10:29 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Running Trump Card
A couple of days ago, I mentioned that Kristie and I were feeling pretty good during a run, so we decided to extend the run from 5 KM to 7 KM with the idea of reducing another run later in the week if required; a trump card if you will. Well, due to a bout of insomnia last night, we ended up playing that trump card today.

We went to bed fairly early last night; just a little after 9:00 P.M. but even though I felt pretty sleepy, I just couldn't fall asleep. They say that when you can't sleep, you should just bite the bullet and get out of bed and do something productive, but despite not being able to sleep, I was still feeling very lazy! I kept thinking: "Maybe you should do this...maybe you should do that..." Nope, I didn't want to DO anything but go to sleep! So, I laid in bed for about two hours, tossing and turning and then finally got up and did some web searching for things I wanted to address at work today. After I completed those tasks I tried to go back to sleep, but this time, I just took my pillow and blanket into the living room so as not to disturb Kristie.

This time while trying to fall asleep, I kept getting those brain bugs stuck in my head. You know where you just can't get a certain phrase or song out of your head? I kept cycling through three different songs:

Scatterlings of Africa by Juluka
All That She Wants by Ace of Base
and We'll Meet Again sung by Johnny Cash

After a couple of hours trying to banish those thoughts out of one's head, you just sort of give up after a while and succumb to the madness. I'd be laying there tapping my toes and bed dancing to the imaginary music.

I think I finally lost consciousness around an hour or so before I had to get up for the run. As mentioned earlier, due to the lack of sleep, I decided to play the short run trump card and make my life a wee bit easier. Luckily tomorrow is an off day for running, so even if I can't sleep tonight, I don't have to worry about getting up super early for a run.

Four Times The Headbandy Goodness

Yesterday, on my first day back at work since our Hawkes Bay holiday, I took a quick walk on my lunch hour to purchase a few more headbands for running.

I had one headband a while back, but I lost it on the way to the Wellington Round The Bays run. I'm not sure exactly how, as I had it wrapped around my wrist. My best guess is that it fell off when I washed my hands after using the bathroom. So I was headbandless for the 7 KM fun run, but I bought another one about a week later.

What is kind of funny is that each time I went into the sport store to purchase one, there was either only a single headband in the entire store, or none at all. It's like there was a run on terry-cloth headbands! But it isn't like I see a plethora of people out and about wearing them either. It is almost like there is a terry-cloth headband hoarder. Kind of like those people who bought a bunch of Cabbage Patch kids, thinking they would go up in value before christmas, and then they would make a killing.

Well, that guy must have slept in yesterday, because I was able to snag three new headbands! One in Blue, one in black and one in white. In your terry-cloth headbandless face terry-cloth headband hoarder!

Today's run was another of the basic 7 KM runs around the neighbourhood. It was chilly, and dark, but it beats the gale force winds that were forecasted the previous day. Oh, and in case you were wondering, I wore the white headband today.

Feels So Good

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 06:32 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Today's run was feeling pretty good, so instead of cutting it off at the requisite 5 KM, we kept going for another 2 KM. We figured that since we were feeling energetic, a longer run today might let us run a shorterr distance this week if we don't feel the vibe.

And On Monday He Rested

Monday, March 12, 2012 10:56 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Mondays are our rest day from running, and on this particular Monday, I'm very happy for that because it is (or was) raining.

Oh, here is another (gross) story about using my headband for running. During the run, the headband does a wonderful job of keeping the sweat out of my eyes, but due to the way that I wear it (high on the forehead but lower on the back of the head), all the sweat will pool towards the back. Then, after the run, while stretching, because my body is inverted for a lot of the stretching (especially the hamstrings), the water creeps from around back to the front, and I get this constant stream of sweat running out of the headband onto the ground. I told you it was gross. Oh, something even more gross? When I take off the headband, I can quite literally squeeze out about a 1/3 cup of water!

Don't worry, I didn't actually measure the amount of sweat using a measuring cup...I used the good china for that.

As today was a day of rest, in lieu of our regular running chart, here is one that describes my productivity/attention deficit due to coffee consumption.

Headband Bandit

Sunday, March 11, 2012 14:28 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments

I sweat like a pig. After a long run, I am literally drenched from head to foot. This doesn't bother me too much when I exercise as the whole point of exercise is to work up a sweat. But the problem is that if I'm wearing glasses or sunglasses during a run, I have issues seeing properly. My glassess get all speckled and unlike rain water, it doesn't just roll off the glass; because of the salt in sweat, and the heat generated between the glasses and my eyeballs, it gets baked onto the glass. So to help with this issue, this year I purchased a headband; nothing fancy, just one of those elastic terrycloth things that you wear to stop the sweat running in your eyes.

At this point in time, my hair has become fairly long for me; long and bushy. I generally like to have it very-very short as it is quite course and wavy. So now, when wearing the headband, I look very much like John McEnrow circa 1970s.  The fun part about it is that I can yell at the line judges with impunity.

Today's run was only a 5 KM, and back to our neighbourhood hills. I got to wear my new shoes for their first break-in run. They felt a bit stiff at the beginning, but by the end, they felt really good.


Saturday, March 10, 2012 17:19 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Angus and new shoes
Today, on our first day back from our Hawkes Bay holiday, we went for what was suppose to be a normal, done many-a-time, 10 KM run. But when we arrived at about the 1/4 mark, which is at the yacht club, we saw that there were buoys out in the water with hundreds of swimmers going round. Turns out that today most of the waterfront was off limits due to a triathlon that was happening.

Not to be deterred, we detoured (see what I did there? Deterred and detoured sound similar! Eh? Eh??) Anyway, we went as far as we could, which took us around Te Papa museum, and then decided to run up to the Botanic Gardens, which from where we were was up hill the entire way. Actually, that is a lie, the first bit in the city was on the flat, but almost half of the run was up hill today.

We started out running through an old cemetery that is in the heart of the city, then up, and up, and up, and up to the Carter observatory. During the run, Kristie and I got our signals mixed as to when we'd be turning around, and when we got to the point she thought we were turning around, she was a wee bit disappointed that we still had more hill to climb.

The hill was quite difficult and taxing, but I found that after we finally reached the peak, and started running downhill, our legs recovered quite quickly and we were able to complete the run without too much effort. So it looks like the training is going well.

One other good note is that Kristie and I picked up new running shoes today. The ones that we got last time are still in good shape, but with winter coming and the rains that come with it, we wanted to have a couple pair of runners on hand if one got wet. In order to break the new shoes in, we're going to try to wear the new shoes for the short runs, while keeping the old ones for the longer runs.

Mid-Day Runs Are Not A Favourite

Thursday, March 08, 2012 10:19 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Today was suppose to be a wet and wild day in the Hawkes Bay, but luckily, the weather people here can't seem to get very much right lately so we were happy to be out and about for a fair portion of the day. Even though we weren't suppose to run due to the wet, today's run wasn't all sunshine and roses. We waited until about 4:00 p.m. which is around about nap-time, so we weren't happy campers.

We did about a 7 KM stint along the first route we did.

Even though we didn't like it much at the time, we were still happy in the end to have completed it.

The photo above is taken from the path we run on, looking up at a vineyard.

Run Through the Estuary

After our inadvertent 15.4 KM run on the 5th, we decided to take the next day off, but on March 6th, we started at the turn around point from the previous run, and ran towards Haumoana, which is a little village along the ocean, just out side of Havelock North.

The 7 KM route (there and back) wound its way along orchards and farmer's fields, along side the river and into an estuary where it took several twists and turns, and then into Haumoana itself. Many of the paths we took would stop abruptly in the bush, and we'd have to find another route, but all in all it was a lovely run on a sparkling clear morning.

Frisky Cows Are Good Motivation

Monday, March 05, 2012 09:22 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Kristie and I wanted to keep our running routine going while on holiday, and we couldn't have found a better place to do it than in the Hawkes Bay! The place is pretty much made for runners. There are trails everywhere! And not just trails that follow the roads, these are specifically for running and cycling, and they go through vineyards, up foothills, through estuaries, along the ocean, through small villages, etc.

Our first run was on one of the trails that ran between the river and the vineyards in Havelock North. There were some signs at the beginning of the trail that showed various routes and distances, but we just thought we would run until we felt a bit tired, and then come back; we weren't expecting to go much over 5-7 KM. However, before we really noticed it, we had run to Blackbridge, which the signs at the beginning of the trail indicated was 7.7 KM. So with the run there and back, we ran 15.4 KM! That was our furthest run so far, and we weren't even trying to break our record.

Along the limestone path, there were various gates to keep cattle from moving from farm to farm. You can see a photo of one of the signs on the gates. We did run along side various cattle along the way, but luckily, none of them were frisky!

Getting Cool Out There

Friday, March 02, 2012 19:11 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
We didn't have much of a summer this year, so every time we go out for a run lately, and I notice that each morning is getting a bit colder, I get a bit melancholy.

Today's run was another 6.8 KM run and we managed to get it done in under 43 minutes. That isn't as fast as or as far as the 7 KM fun run we did last week, but it is only the pre-training schedule before the 1/2 marathon training schedule. Plus, the fun run was on the flat, and we live in the hills.

We may have to reschedule tomorrows run for Sunday as all of the north island is going into a weather bomb! Cold, wind and rain! It isn't that we're wimps about running in the rain...ok, it's because we're wimps about running in the rain.

Oh, speaking of weather, during the fun run last weekend, the weather was spectacular, but only during the run. We started out the day under dark cloudy skies, and even about an hour before the race it was still kind of cloudy and cool, but about 15 minutes prior to the start of the race, we got mega-blue skies. All through the run it was sunny and pretty much windless and warm! Then after we crossed the finish line and started walking home, the clouds started rolling in.  Why am I talking about this in the first place? Because ever since we've been doing these run over the last four years, they have always had glorious weather! It doesn't seem to matter what the year in general holds, be it hot, cold, rainy, windy...each year they have wonderful weather.  Strange.

Here's the stats as of today:

Late Movie Last Night

Thursday, March 01, 2012 19:37 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
We went to a late movie last night (Wednesday) and didn't get to be until midnight, so we shifted our running day and off day, so we'll run tomorrow. But you can check out the movie review at Maple Glazed Kiwi.