My first Half Marathon – TICK!

Well Saturday 11th May and come and gone and it was D-day for my first half marathon. We had an absolutely fantastic weekend away and the half marathon was a complete success with me achieving…..

2 hours 2o minutes and 57 seconds

I am absolutely chuffed with my time and so proud of myself for running the entire way. Admittedly I was a little worried about how I would go as my last 2-3 training sessions saw me walking some of my runs. I was really out of grunt. But everything fell into place and one might say ‘my planets aligned’. I had a thoroughly enjoyable run.

The time is for an average runner and that’s me! So I’m pleased that I can say I ran the whole way and now I have a time I can work with 🙂 Chuffed to bits…

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This is how our weekend rolled…

We left Friday afternoon after I had taught a 3 hour class (no voice!) and hit the road for Blenheim. 3.5 hour drive north to the spectacular wine region of New Zealand, Marlborough. World renowned wines come from here and Marlborough turned on a fine weekend for all. I had heard that 1000 runners/walkers had registered from Christchurch alone for the race, so we expected some big convoys on the road to our destination.

We had booked ahead and managed to organise a homestay with friends of friends for the weekend. Jill and Pete were utter gems and laid it on thick for us. A beautiful home, lovely big log burner, our own rooms and bathrooms, a couple of super friendly dogs and the creme de la creme….. a spa pool!!!!! Yusssssss!!!!!! A god send believe me. They were just the nicest people to stay with and it really made our trip so special. It was a million times better than booking a motel/backpackers.

After a visit to a friends for a dinner of pasta and pasta and pasta. Beautifully cooked I might add we returned to Jill and Petes for a spa under the clear skies full of stars. The frostiest night of a chilly 1 degree (Celsius) and tucked into bed for the race the next morning.

Up fresh and bright in the morning for a good breakfast, waited for our other running partner to arrive (who had not registered the night before) and we headed off to St Clair’s vineyard. Sussed out Angie’s registration and freebies and chucked back a gel shot and off to wait in line for the starting gun.

It was a chilly morning with frozen big toes but after 1km that wasn’t an issue. We ran through the vineyard lanes, up stockbanks so you had terrific views of vineyards on either side of you that joined to the snowy mountains beyond. A fabulous day without a cloud in the sky. A little road running and a nice run about the 15-18km mark along the river. By the 2km mark I set it in stone that I was going to run the entire way, I felt so good.

What was fun about this run was the food on the circuit, yes you heard me right, food, gourmet food to be precise… So at the 5km mark there was king salmon on a cracker. Yum but not for this runners tummy, there was no way I was going to carry that in my belly for another 16km. Just to add – behind the runners next off the starting block were the hybrids (run/walk) and then walkers. So I think these treats catered more for them. There was also NZ mussels, mini Bavarian sausages, mini gelato sorbet in a mini cone, swiss chocolate, and then some more! Personally I stuck to the water stations and the fuel electrolyte stations. Oh there were also band playing on corners, pipe bands, brass bands and bongo players! It was a really fun event and it was great to see the support from so many people.

I hit the 17km mark and it suddenly became harder, my will to live was starting to leach out and my emergency positive talk needed to kick in now. 18kms still going but slowing down…… My original goal was to make 2 hours 30 minutes but I changed that to 2 hours 20 minutes on the day. 19 kms it became the mental battle for the last 2 kms, it was really really hard and I nearly gave up. About 150 metres from the finish line I heard the loud speaker say ‘Anyone wanting to get before 2 hours 20 minutes has 10 seconds to pass the finish line’. Argh!!!!!! I wasn’t going to make it, but who cares, its all about finishing. Nearly there and I was so dis-heartened to see a young lass had collapsed 50 metres from the finish line and was being helped by two men. It just shows how hard it becomes near the end. I made it and in a weird delirium I slowed down to a walk and made a bee-line for the water tank…

My good friend Tash finished on 2 hours 7 minutes so she cheered me on at the end. Angie came in at 2 hours 33 minutes and 50 seconds, which I thought was pretty good for someone who had not trained for 6 weeks!

We hung around the event for another hour and checked out all the stalls. Oh don’t forget my bottle of wine!!! Haha. Had a nice chat to a celebrity by the name of Kerre Woodham. She is a radio DJ and comedian and wrote a book ‘short fat chick to marathon runner’. She’s quite inspiring and doesn’t need to look fancy pants to run, she’s just a real genuine kiwi woman.

Here’s a link to her book here

Oh and here’s my photos, my bib number is 1162. The photos aren’t the best. I was struggling at the end!! There’s also 3 videos of me crossing the finish line. Pretty cool!

After the event we headed back to our homestay and had a spa of course!!! It was so lovely. Then a lovely lunch at a beautiful vineyard Rockferry

The evening we had a few drinks with the other girls we met the night before and then off to bed. It was a huge day! I didn’t sleep to well with achy muscles.

Sunday we drove home and stopped at the most amazing natural day care centre in the world. This is called Ohau Waterfall and is located in the northern end of the Kaikoura coastline. It’s an easy walk up to the waterfall (10 minutes if that) and this is a magical place. So…..this is what happens….mama seals go fishing and they simply cannot fish and care for their babies at the same time. Look I know us woman can multi-task but why would you when you can drop your baby seal off at a sublime waterfall to play with 80 other baby seals….

They are so adorable, the are all up the stream and make their way back and forth to the waterfall and the ocean. About 50 or so are in the waterfall diving from it, jumping on each other and sunbathing on the rocks. They are the biggest posers and will pose for photos for you, supermodels of the seal world, they can pull out the moves! Haha. I just love them and unlike adult seals they don’t smell. Oh and it’s free as well 🙂

Photos of course….

Baby Seals

Baby Seals 2

Baby Seals 3

So obvious I’m a tourism teacher, can’t help doing a tourism venture on the trip and completely plug it with passion!

So in summary it was a fantastic weekend with many many highlights and not one single lowlight except that I have to wait an entire year to return and do it again.

My blog post comes over a week since it happened and for a reason. Tuesday came and my dearest friend who has been battling terminal cancer and the young age of 35, lost her life. My heart just broke for her and her family and it was a difficult week last week. She is in my thoughts everyday and I am going to miss her for a very long time. I dedicated my run to her because I admire her strength through her illness and also her grace and dignity to fight so hard. I admire how organised she was and has left so many memories for her 2 year old daughter behind. Not only memories but she set up her daughters future so her life will be filled with quality care and love. RIP Tania, you will always be remembered, never forgotten.

Tania and I

So next goal, we’re thinking the Buller River Marathon. team of 4 doing 10km each as it’s rather hilly. Not till Feb, so we’ll have to find something for October to fill in the gap. Loved the running and I’ve taken a week off naturally but rearing to get back into it this week for maintenance runs 🙂

So in 10 days I’m off to the UK to visit Mr Darcy. I feel like it’s a reward. It’s going to swing by really fast, super excited and looking forward to hauling the suitcase out, getting myself mentally ready for 33 hours of travel time (gulp) and seeing my man and his family, friends etc. Trying not to feel the pressure….

Love

Hayley

Last Decent Run and a Dedication

Today was the day – last day of training for the half marathon. Quite relieved actually as I’m getting tired and know I need the week off to recuperate a bit and because I’m a little over the longer runs and longer training sessions. I am not bashing the training or the longer runs as there have been some almighty rewards throughout this journey to the race. I have shed over 4 kgs and a much needed 4 kgs. I feel so strong, I feel abs and other muscles where I have never seen them before (or it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen them that I’d forgotten what they looked like). I have more energy, it’s so nice not being as tired as I used to be. I have clarity and I’m calmer. So yeh I have every reason to be proud of what I have achieved in my training.

I have not tired of Hagley Park once throughout my training and again I have surprised myself as I really like change. It’s just so close to home and offers a  variety of terrain, with good distances and the ability to twist your runs to make them longer. I’ve watched it go from Summer to Autumn in Hagley and it’s sooooo beautiful at the moment, I love crunching all the fallen burnt orange leaves under my feet. Autumn is my favourite month by far and I must admit I had a twinge of sadness as I went into and completed my last lap. A blessed moment of thanks, thanks for always being there, thanks for always providing a solid grounding for my body and soul to pound. I have had many epiphanies, many emotional thoughts and many releases that are physical and emotional. It has been quite a journey Hagley and my interaction and love for you will never cease. I will be back to shed a couple more kgs!!!

Today when I ran I thought alot about my dear friend who has terminal cancer. She has slipped into a coma now and it’s only a matter of a few days. Thoughts of her over-whelmed me today and I had to stop running a couple of times to get my breath back as I was getting a bit upset. Trying my best to think about pink bunnies and puppy dogs I continued on. Mr Darcy suggested I raise some money for the Cancer Society for my run and I should have. He is so thoughtful and I wasn’t. I really wish I had and next time I will keep this in mind. So realising in hindsight I should have taken Mr Darcy’s advice I have decided to dedicate this run to Tania.

I am dedicating my run to her, to show her us woman are strong and we don’t give up lightly. Not every battle is won, but we fight damn hard to do the best we can in life.

Cancer Society

Oh Tania, I will miss you so much.

Anyhow, I am going to spend the rest of the week leading up to the race next Saturday taking in a bit of rest. Upon saying that I do have a little plan for a couple of activities…

Tomorrow I might do the Rapaki Track. An uphill track within Christchurch that takes you to the top of the Summit Road with beautiful views over the harbour. It’s a 334 metre ascent and 3.37 km in length for which you go there and back. It’s become such an easy walk but a fantastic one to do with a friend and have a good gossip on the way. It’s a popular track in Chch and not only attracts walkers and runners but mountain bikers as well. Mountain biking I love, but give me the downhills anyday, I’d rather be a dare devil downhill than sweat buckets slaving it up to the top! Coming down is lovely as you get a grand view of Christchurch and currently there’s yellow at the top, orange in the middle and green on the bottom. Looks fantastic..

I was also thinking perhaps some yoga on Monday and maybe walk to work on Wednesday. I’m going to play it all by ear. But no running, the running will be saved up for Saturday.

So good luck to all us ladies on Saturday! We’ll drive up to Blenheim (about 3.5 hours north). I am looking forward to the girls trip, the race and the vineyard lunch booked for after. Lovely wine, world renowned! and lots of laughs.

Hey my surname is Vine, so it fits really! Bring on the wine!

Vineyard Running

Vineyard

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Before or After???

Absolutely fabulous

Defining yoga moments

In time, your yoga practice on your mat will teach you to surrender more and more to what is. You will learn to stop resisting what is and to stop trying to change things. Next, you will be able to apply that perspective more in your life off the mat. The peace that comes from being able to accept what is will be great, I promise. – Esther Ekhart

I went to a workshop this weekend focused on sun salutations. Each pose was broken down slowly with full instruction and examples. It was so good to see the studio I attend do this for a change. In our usual classes of vinyasa the poses move with the breath and for a beginner or even intermediate yogi it is easy to slip into something that suits quickly and not consider the bandha’s and internal locks so you don’t collapse in your poses and therefore injure yourself in the long run. Or get into bad habits for that matter..

I was really nervous going as I treated it as part of a step towards becoming a yoga teacher myself and perhaps a defining moment in my decision. I loved it and within the first 10 minutes I wanted to be the teacher up the front giving the guidance and instruction. I received fantastic feedback on my poses and I took away some advice as well. It was interesting to see where you can collapse easily and me being one of many females who hyper-extend I need to be very conscious of this.

When I talk about being nervous I sometimes wonder if it is fear or my intuition kicking in. So I sit with it for a while and if I feel myself contract and go inwards I know that it’s not right for me and the fear is there because it’s a bad decision. But if I expand outwards in pride and excitement from my nervous thoughts I know it’s my intuition telling me to just do it and enjoy it!

I walked away feeling so uplifted and educated in sun salutations that are taught at my local studio. My nervousness was my intuition excited and my decision to become a teacher more solidified. I have to admit my arms were still shaking for 15 minutes after! And today they have become increasingly sore.

But it’s that ‘good sore’, you know what I mean..

The workshop in the weekend felt like a sign, a really positive one. I’ve been asking for new opportunities and changes in my reiki whilst sending love to those in need. So bring on those signs because I’m ready for some change in my life! As I surrender to my mat and I open myself up in my reiki this will also reach into my present life and present the changes I desire.

Words for a Beautiful Friend

The last few days have been a bit rough on me. My daily kriya and yoga practice had to take a sideline (there went my 60 day sadhana) as I came down quite ill. The pain was excruciating on my right side and I suspected my gallbladder was not happy chappy. As I have a high pain threshold and wasn’t sure really what the pain level was and being one not to self diagnose I became concerned, so at 5.30am yesterday I got myself in order to head to the after hours hospital. Thankfully it was empty in the waiting room and I was taken immediately by nurses who pampered and prodded me. I was shocked to be given morphine for the pain, not being a sickly person it was my first time and it seemed rather extreme. But it sure did help! Waited for the ultrasound at 8am and then a diagnosis from the doctor. My internal organs were completely clear of anything so at 11am we (mum) left and the diagnosis was a tummy bug with bowel spasms. So home to bed and man did I want to sleep.

There’s another reason why I attend to these niggles these days. Yes the big scary ‘C’ word that is becoming more and more common in our world. One of my closest friends ignored her niggles for a year and then she was diagnosed in March 2012. She is 35, one year younger than me. She lives in Australia and I have been visiting her twice a year. She has a gorgeous wee daughter who is nearly 2 years old and she married her partner of 4 years at Christmas time, for which I was maid of honour. It was so beautiful, everything encapsulated their love that day.

Wedding Pic

Yes that’s me with the dreamy ‘I’m so happy for you’ look on my face.

Often I put myself in her shoes and the fight she has had to undertake, the decisions she has had to make, the fear she has to face. It breaks my heart and I wonder if I was faced with this would I cope as well as her. I am sure a lot of the time she doesn’t cope and she has an awful lot on her mind. My last trip to see her was really hard, cancer was not just sucking the life out of her, but also out of her family, there was darkness surrounding the home and I felt it take me in and when I left to head home I felt really depressed and mixed up. It took me some time to get my thoughts and feelings back together.

Everyday I send her love and hope. I send strength to her family.

In the year she has been diagnosed she has had her dream wedding, had a family holiday with extended family, had a beautiful honeymoon in the Whitsundays and they are now building a new home so her daughter can live a quality life. I am so proud of her and her courage on this battle to not only try to save her life, but to live her life to the fullest and to love her family with all her heart.

My friend is losing her battle 😦 She has been given a very small time frame now. I was told last week. Two of our friends are heading over tomorrow to see her for five days. I am looking for flights and some time off to go as well. I have been speaking with her on the phone and we have a strong friendship because we are past the “be strong, keep fighting”, “you’ll win” talks. She has stopped her chemo and she is breaking down, so our talks are very frank and she tells me appreciates this, because she lives a real life and what is happening to her is real. I live life real as well, I am honest.

So we talk about love, we talk about death, we talk about her thoughts on the other side, we talk about her partner grieving and her daughter growing up without her mum, we talk about the videos and books she is currently making her daughter and we talk about her husband having a future partner one day. We even talked about her funeral which was a really hard conversation.

I am going to miss her so much

Why did I choose to write about her? Because she rang me yesterday to see if I was alright and to offer me support to feel better. It was so sweet, I have a tummy bug and she has terminal cancer, and she wanted to support me. She has a big heart. Since she is no stranger to hospitals like I am she wanted to check they had checked me thoroughly as she learnt the hard way with not addressing her niggles and then an order to go back in two days if I don’t feel better.

We talked for another hour and I felt closer to her than ever before.

I send her love everyday

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These words are for my friend today, but I also don’t forget the people who live in my city who came to my aid. Numerous phone calls, texts and visitors to help me yesterday were highly appreciated. I have a great support network of friends and family and I am grateful for their support this week. Not only have I been ill, but my daughter HRH decided last week she needed space so moved out to her Dads for a few weeks, this has been hard as she is playing the teenage card against me and her father. I also went running (8km, very proud) but tripped over an exposed tree root and landed flat on my side! A few scrapes and bruises. But all ok none-the-less. Returning from my run discovered I had also locked myself out of the house!! Argh…

It’s all happening for a reason

Not once have I gotten upset or angry over the last few days. I have actually remained really upbeat about it. I believe what is happening with HRH is for a reason and if she needs the space I will respect her. I have raised HRH alone for nearly 17 years. So why not let her father take it on for a while and I can be weekend mum for a change. She’ll come back when she is ready. At the moment I know she is in safe hands with her father, so I can look after myself at the moment and continue to support my friend.

On this note I will sign off with big love for my friend, big love to my daughter, big love to my friends and family and big love to anyone out there that relates to this, whether you are a fighter yourself or a supporter of a friend or family member who is fighting. xxx

Big love everyone xxx

P.S My sadhana will just have to start again when I’m better

Almond Protein Ball Recipe

I really want to share my Protein Ball recipe. I got this from a dietitian some time ago and I find them a god send either before or after a run. The running is going well and my distance has now increased to 6km runs and about 40 mins tonight around the park. It was a bit slow, but I am kind to myself and it’s all about achieving it for me. I’m not trying to be first and I’m hoping not to be last in this half-marathon!

I did stop briefly in Hagley Park tonight to take a couple of photos, because I think Hagley Park is lovely. It’s considered to be the lungs of Christchurch. Slap bang in the central city it’s the place to go to avoid the stuffiness of the CBD. (Well when there was a CBD, but that is in re-build mode now 🙂 ) There are also many events here, lately there has been the World Buskers Festival, Wine & Food Festival, Chinese Lantern Festival. This weekend there is the beer festival (NZers love their artisan beers) and setting up has begun for the extremely popular Ellerslie Flower Show. Anyhow a couple of piccies below..

Hagley park 2 Hagley Park

Here’s my Protein Ball Ball recipe. I have adjusted it to suit me and the products I can source in New Zealand, so if you want the original, just message me and I can add it. 🙂

ALMOND PROTEIN BALLS

1/4 cup malt

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup Vanilla Protein Powder

1/2 cup almond butter

sesame seeds or chopped nuts

Use some muscle and mix together all ingredients. Is it quite sticky! Form into walnut size balls and roll in sesame seeds or finely chopped nuts.

Protein Balls

TIP: Freeze these balls….because you will eat them…..only remove one about 15 mins before you require it…..keep the rest in the freezer. They are yum and a perfect boost. Enjoy!

Heres the details if you’re in the technical side of it all! Please note this is based on the original recipe:

Per ball: 5g protein, 6g carbs, 6g total fat, 1/2g sat fat, 2g fibre

The reward is at the top

So, one of my goals for this year is a half marathon. I’m actually enthused which is rather a strange feeling to be enthused about running 21km. Usually the sheer thought of sweating and talking myself into walking and then talking myself out of walking makes me want to curl up on the bed for a nana nap, it’s mentally exhausting. Running for me is really hard, I always mentally carry my emergency positive thinking with me and have been known to talk to myself while running telling myself how great I am and how proud I am of myself. Mad I know, I even tell myself off, “Get a grip Hayley it’s only a little uphill.” And get a grip I do…

In all honesty it’s a challenge and that’s what I enjoy facing. There is always a reward at the top and this has become a mantra for me. I hike a lot and I have made a declaration recently that I hate uphills and up mountains for that matter, but I still do it. Reaching that peak, that windy summit you suddenly have the best views for miles. Lakes, rivers, more mountains, coastlines and stunning vistas that stretch and stretch. If it’s a hut hike for the night you are blessed with beautiful sunsets and sunrises, the most dazzling stars, satelites and galaxies that are in full bloom and not diminished by city lights. You are away from civilisation, you can think, you can breathe the crisp fresh air and feel it rush through your body, touching your senses and tickling your brain. I always feel grounded when I hike and there are special places I like to go in NZ that make me feel especially grounded and I can feel my spirit heal from within. So with all those beautiful positives I walk up that mountain and I carry extra emergency positive thinking with me because I know where my reward lies.

P.S I have recently discovered that if I take Mr Darcy with me (who is quite a mountain goat and looks rather hot hiking) he sometimes carries my rucksack for me. Bless, he is a gem.

So I am tackling my half marathon a lot like I tackle my hiking and utter dislike for uphills. The reward is at the top, well in this case the finish line and the bottle of vino you receive for finishing, which will certainly deserve a glass or two after!

So, I have been running, walking and cycling. I also do yoga, which I love, but I will talk about yoga later on. I have about 15 weeks to go till the marathon and my running is up to about 3km. A little lame at present, but I am not pushing myself too much just yet. My weight has dropped a little which is another goal within this goal, kind of like a bonus goal. I ran today and it was 32 degrees outside! Melted a little but it was good and I got into a nice rhythm.

I also see these journeys in my students, I had a lovely chat to one of my students today about her goals, not only with the course but within herself. The conditions she has developed for herself due to her barriers. She has her mountains to climb and it’s a pleasure to be there with her on the journey. With kind words, commitment and focus she will find her rewards as well.

I will blog a lot about my training for the marathon, but in the meantime here is a lovely photo of my most recent hike up to a hut called Mueller Hut, which is based in the Mount Cook National Park. We stayed the night and were woken by the warden at 5.30am to watch a sunset that could take anyone’s breathe away. Beautiful Mount Aoraki/Cook is to the left.

Be kind to yourself on your journey, the rewards are only a mountain away

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