Monday, 10 August 2015

Karen writes: Vacuum cleaning, puddles and destruction

I met up with a cousin on Saturday, multi-ironman, super-fit person. That day he was off for swim-squad, and cycling, and preparing for proper triathlon events where people actually go with the intention of pulling off personal bests or winning.  He may have been a little bemused when I said I wasn't even thinking about swimming or digging out the bike for months yet. I am inspired by such people, but do tend to see them as something quite apart from me, same vague animal genus, entirely different species.

I do consider these things as I potter along.  But I also reflect on almost everything else which as previously described is the big contributor to why I will never get any better.  Like I was out running the other day and there was a man standing in the thigh deep water out past the wharf with what looked like a vacuum cleaner.  Vacuuming the sea? When I looked more closely I realised he actually had a metal detector, who knows what he was looking for in that spot that looked exactly like every other spot in the bay. Personally though I preferred to think he was vacuuming, I wasted a couple of km dawdling along concentrating on making up a story behind that particular bit of strangeness.

That same day, bit of rain and lots of puddles and coming back along the coast road there is a patch of road that can end up with some deep water over it, cars push through with a great bow wave and much spraying of the wet stuff.  I saw a motorbike coming along the road, heading right towards the big puddle at a decent clip, I automatically did the urgent slow down motion with my hand. Turned out I had just suggested a police officer slow down, I hope he associated my action with the road hazard rather than cheeky runner. Oh well, I was pretty incognito, I think.

This weekend I finally got back up into my lost paradise in the hills behind Maraetai, those wonderful mountain bike trails and tracks that have been out of reach for much of the last year because of logging.  Of course I knew at some level there would be changes, but it was a bit of a shock when I saw the extent of the destruction. I picked my way over the smashed small branches on the through roads and where once acres and acres of tall forest had stood there was dirt, bare dirt.  Is that hill really that small, I remembered it as so much bigger when I couldn't see through the trees.  So I ran carefully through that wrecked landscape, I did notice that there were still some positives, one patch of newly planted trees that had been tiny when I was last there were now taller than me, I admired the healthy flowers on the prolific gorse, and took the opportunity to pause and have a look at small rivers and other features of the land I had never had a chance to see before.  It was funny to see traces of old trails winding around the hillsides and how they related to each other once exposed. Not sure if I want to go back in a hurry though, I suspect it will be hot without the tree coverage, and it all made me feel a bit sad. I spent so many hours spent playing in that forest, the shady pine-needle covered tracks just made for hard-out down hill efforts, the hidden secrets around corners exploring unfamiliar forest trails...all gone.  For now.

Anyway, the next event is just next week.  Down to short runs for now, and I've been a bit silly and I'm trying modifications to my eating (oh again), of course that is exactly what I would do a few weeks out from an event, could I come up with better sabotage? Otherwise I'm getting ready, starting to put aside gear as it is washed and scrabbling around to find the gels and things left over from the last event, there is no excuse to buy more really when I know there is still a pile of my least favourites somewhere. Might as well get rid of all old stuff then I can have a fresh start leading up to oh goodness, another Ironman, it's only 6 months away.