Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Exploring!

I'm giving myself until the end of February to live, rest, and explore the rest of Wanaka and the Otago/Southland area of New Zealand. I've got horseback riding, hiking, trail running, kayaking and canyoning as upcoming activities. Surprisingly enough, I don't like traveling much at all if it is in a "tourist" type of way. I prefer traveling in an active way - biking to see new spots of the country, hiking to the top of a mountain, swimming to an island or two. I've never been able to travel as my sister does. She's capable of traveling from country to country, and place to place visiting absolutely everything there is to see. I see far fewer countries, but hopefully that is compensated by the fact that I get to know where I am impossibly well.
For example, I visited this idyllic, absolutely isolated spot just outside of Alexandra on the South Island. To get there, we took an off-road path to the burn, then another even sketchier off-road path to our little rock. This isn't exactly in a guide book. I knew someone from the nearby town who found this place when he was a kid and had been coming here to go swimming, fishing and jumping since he was a wee one. It was the perfect day of relaxation; something I really needed after the race.

However, it hasn't been just lazy summer days since I finished Challenge Wanaka. I'm staying active although some days (especially if it is ugly and rainy, as it is today), I let myself be lazy. More often than not, however, I'm swim-bike-running or doing "alterna-tri" stuff, which I consider to be kayaking-mtn biking-hiking.

A friend and I have committed ourselves to a weekend of awesome fun and racing; it'll be the last weekend in Wanaka before I depart NZ and return to the big city: Melbourne, Australia.

Saturday, February 19: 14.1k trail run on the Upper Clutha River track, part of the Riverrun Trail Series. It's right by my home, so how could I not join? It truly is the most idyllic of spots to go running, with views like this:


It's going to be a great race, and I can guarantee I will see some familiar faces!!

Sunday, February 20: In Glenorchy, 40 minutes drive from Queenstown (and 1h30 from Wanaka), there's a picturesque OFF-ROAD short triathlon (500m-18k-6k), called the Paradise Off Road Tri. Having never done an off-road triathlon, and only been on a mountain bike oh, ONCE in my life... this will prove to be interesting. However, it's in a beautiful location - where parts of Lord of the Rings were filmed, apparently. And it's with a friend who, despite having never done a triathlon (off or on road), is a gold-medal winning Olympian in rowing... so she'll probably kick my butt not even trying. It's going to be great!!!!

I'll keep you posted, and in my next post, I do promise to outline my "real" racing schedule. In fact, this post was meant to be just that, but I must have gotten sidetracked.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I shall be consistent!!

I am going to return to blogging. It's been since September since I last blogged, and that's really far too long. At the time, I had just moved to Melbourne to study abroad for 1 year. That happened. I am now living in New Zealand (in Wanaka, on the absolutely stunning South Island), and it's been 1.5 weeks since I've completed my first iron-distance race: Challenge Wanaka.


I'm not going to re-write and re-hash the race, you can read the race report here. I will say that I am missing training. Well, I am missing being 100% active. On most days now, I am active... but then there are days when I realize there's no need to run my body into the ground while it is still recovering. And it is still recovering, with a resting HR that is about 10bpm higher than normal. There are no post-race blues, as the next season is pretty much planned out and I am excited to have fun staying fit (and not 'training') for the next few weeks, until training does recommence. So what am I doing? Well, I am living in one of the most picturesque, epic places in the world. This is my view every day:

I've got beautiful lakes, valleys, mountains, rivers, trails and sheep. Upon experiencing small town, outdoorsy living, I can never be satisfied with city-living, or even life as a suburbanite. I have to return to Melbourne within a few weeks to complete another semester at the University of Melbourne. I know I'll enjoy my time, but city-living always presents me with a deep-seeded unease. Swimming, biking and running is not full of love and joyfully experiential as it is here. However, I am lucky to have two breaks, both approximately 1 week long, in which I can take a plane hop over to small towns along the east and west coasts of Australia. I'll take full advantage of this opportunity to visit parts of Australia most people skip over on their route to visiting the large city-centers and tourist towns. 

Next post will be detailing my racing schedule up until August 2011. It's gonna be goooooood! Until then, let me just say that I went skydiving for the first time today. Jumping out of a plane at 12,000 feet, with views of the Southern Alps and of 2 majestic lakes... my mind was blown away. It was the most exhilarating thing I have ever done. The best part was the second in which I jumped out of the plane, letting myself fly down for a 45 second free-fall, and only after 45 seconds, ripping downwards at 200 km/hr did the parachute open up. Those 45 seconds were the most vivid of my life. I could feel the wind whistling through my hair and teeth, I could see mountains approaching me at insane speeds I've never even clocked in a car. It was epic and incredibly thrilling. It, however, wasn't nearly as satisfying as finishing a race in which I swam 3.8km, biked 180km and ran 42.2km. Now THAT'S a feeling I won't easily forget.