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…


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….



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



Before or After???

Absolutely fabulous

Not the Best of Friends

What’s not the best of friends?..

Asthma and Running.

Running and Asthma.

They don’t even sound good together and together they are certainly not peas and carrots or garlic and rosemary, Mork and Mindy, whatever..

I’ve had asthma since I was 3 years old, so nowadays I have quite a good handle on it and am barely a sufferer. The asthma siege normally takes place when the seasons change or I get really ill. In this case I think it’s the seasonal change and everything that comes with the weather becoming colder. Heaters go on and blow dry air, home dehumidifier goes on and blows built up dust from it’s filter, the workplace is having earthquake repairs so the plasterers and sanders have been working around us.

I don’t get the wheeze, I get the restriction in my lungs, thickness in my throat and a sudden shortness of breath that leads to coughing explosions. Lovely..

Two weeks now and I’m over it. Last weekend it was starting to get me down, I can’t even laugh without coughing uncontrollably. It’s hindering my running as I have a general reluctance to venture too far. Thursday night’s uphill run up the Harry Ell Walkway to The sign of the Kiwi was a nightmare.

As much as I’m over it and with the half marathon 5 weeks away it’s slowing down my progress I did get out this morning with sheer determination to conquer at least 90 minutes of running and a little walking if things got worse. I am proud to say I did two big laps of the parks, 15km in total. Yes there was some walking and there was a kids triathlon in full swing in one of the parks, but I managed to do 15 kms in 1 hour 43 mins. My first lap 53 minutes and my second 50 minutes. I was thrilled to beat my first lap.


The running was good, better than what I thought and when I walked to give my lungs some attention, I was attacked by coughing explosions. I came to grips with the fact that the running was going well and I was only getting asthma when I walked, hence the faster 2nd lap.

I’m happy with the result and I hope next weekend when I do it again, the asthma will have settled.

Asthma is a part of my life, I’ve learnt to work with it so it doesn’t stop me from enjoying life.

However, I wish it would sod off forever..

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. 🙂


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