A wonderful day for a run

The only reason I took my phone with me today was to take some photos to share. I didn’t take my GPS watch or wear my heart rate monitor.

Today I wanted to run free of expectations, goals, and self judgement.

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I threw in my luna sandals and drove to my usual start point to tackle the steep section first. There’s a few access points but this is the steepest and I like to start with this one. It’s also at one end of the hill so I can go up, along the top, and back down then along the access road to make a loop. I walked up this part and felt great so I didn’t need to pause halfway up for a breather.

The sun was getting pretty low by this point so I was greeted with it the moment I reached the top of this section.

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There was a branch over the path. This is pretty common, particularly in summer. Eucalyptus trees are well known for dropping branches when they are short on water or are otherwise stressed – don’t ever put your tent directly under one when camping! It was a pretty simple obstacle to get over though.

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I ran along the top, planning a quick half hour loop. But when I got to the next track down, I figured if just run a little more. Then when I got there, I thought that a little more wouldn’t hurt.

I stopped for a photo at an opportune spot, as I wanted to be all arty-farty and get a photo of the view and my shoes.

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by the way, that red band on my ankle is my Road ID. I don’t run or cycle or kayak or whatever without it. I’m kind of scared of finding myself a Jane Doe in hospital while Gary frantically searches for me.

Then I found I didn’t want to get up. I wasn’t tired – it’s just with the quiet, and the evening sun on my back it was perfect and just plain right to sit for a while and think of nothing.

So I did for a few minutes… Until my feet decided they wanted to run again. So I ran.

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I kept thinking “just a little further then I’ll head back. But I kept running. Then the sun started to set so I decided that was my cue to head back down.

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My planned half hour run became an hour and a half of running, hiking, and a little bit of scrambling.

It was fantastic.

P.S. I also saw some kangaroos but they were too far off to get a photo.

Melting

Attention those of you in the northern hemisphere: I would love to trade places. I don’t care how cold and dark it is. Please swap places with me and my peeps right now.

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Today is the peak of our heat wave this week. Now I know some people (Gary) love the heat but I’m not built for this. I’ve got Scottish blood on both sides. Give me cold, give me rain, give me drizzle and fog. I rock it. Winter is my friend. Yes I get cold. But I’m happy when I’m cold. I run better. I sleep better. I’m not cranky and nauseous and feeling like I need to shower every 10 minutes because I sweat so much.

Monday was 37 degrees C and I did a 5km run, calf cramps and all. I had to stop to soak my headband in water and also to have a drink. Then I drank a whole bunch of electrolyte drink when I got home and water and still felt faint and crappy (but good about running… Know what I mean?)

Yesterday was 40 and I couldn’t bear the thought of running outside so I paid the $12.50 for a gym entry and treadmill’d it in the air conditioning.

My body is not happy in the heat. The only thing worse is heat and humidity. Thankfully it’s generally not too humid here.

Anyway, whining aside I’ve been pretty concerned about the doglets. I came home at lunch to give them fresh water and I fill the leaky shell pool when I get home so Zeph can cool off. Her fur is black so I’d say she feels the heat! She even let me hose her off today so she was in struggle town too.

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I made an ice block for the dogs too. I put regular food, some chicken treats and some carob pieces in it. Although I supervised them – it’s almost a week now but I want to be cautious about the whole sharing food thing – they were polite to each other and shared it well. Zeph started it off, then she got in the pool while Ollie licked it and got most of the carob out (it froze into the bottom and was the top when I flipped it out of the container), then Zeph went back for round two. She got her teeth into it and broke it up then they shared the pieces. I popped the last few bits into the pool then Zeph had fun trying to fish them out.

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I think they appreciated it. Ollie isn’t too keen on getting into the water but he did let me splash some on his belly to help him cool off.

I’m going to get some takeaway as it’s too hot to cook, and then I might have a cold beer. Ollie looks like he’s already had a few.

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Things that make me happy: Friday

I must make a confession. I’ve been keeping a secret from you all this week.

Over the past week we have had a couple of meet and greets and been organising ourselves to bring home a new family member.

Meet Ollie.

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He’s a 1 year old rescue dog. We met him on his first birthday last Sunday – coincidence? I think not!

He was surrendered as a lab x kelpie but there’s definitely something else in him as he’s quite big. I fell for him the moment I saw him.

And Zephyr gets along well with him.

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Mind you, she immediately claimed the new bed we got for him.

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He’s big, he’s clumsy and goofy, but he’s smart and loving. He slobbers all over everything, even Zephyr’s head because he’s so busy licking everyone who pats him. He’s wonderful. I can’t even imagine why he would be surrendered or why he was still waiting on a family but here he is and he’s ours.

Zephyr has been our only dog since we got her (she was direct from the pound) but she isn’t getting jealous and it’s hilarious watching them try and work out each other’s play style

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Dogs make me happy. Especially when it’s Zephyr and Ollie.

I’m aware that I’m supposed to be posting one photo a day for this weeks challenge but I couldn’t help myself.

Road trip with Clarisse along the Hume Highway.

A couple of days ago, Clarisse and I took a road trip to deliver her to her new home at my Dad’s house in Goulburn. Gary wasn’t coming as he had work, but I headed up to Dads for a Birthday visit.

Having made the trip quite a few times, and because Clarisse is a metal chicken, I drove while she sat there not doing anything and we made a few stops along the way at some of the more memorable landmarks.

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I did the driving, so Clarisse read a little

Our first stop was at Holbrook.

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The main reason people stop here is because it’s 4+ hours inland and yet there’s still a submarine embedded into the ground, which you can climb on, in, and around. For more information about it, this siteis a good brief history of why there’s a submarine in Holbrook.

Our next stop was Tarcutta.

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It may not look like much, but Tarcutta is the halfway point along the Hume Highway between Melbourne and Sydney. It’s the traditional stopping point for a lot of the truck drivers carting goods along the Hume.

There’s also a monument here, listing the names of Truck Drivers who have died along the highway.

It seems a little sad now that they have finished all the work on the Hume, and there’s now bypasses around both Holbrook and Tarcutta. We always drove through those towns on our way between mum and dad’s house as children so I’m kind of attached to them.

Anyway, we continued on down the road and got to Gundagai. Gundagai is a well known location in Australian folklore. I like it for a couple of reasons. One is the long bridge (seems like about 1.5kms) across the Murrumbidgee floodplains outside the town, and the second for the reason most people know it.

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the dog sat on the tucker box. And the chicken walked on by, uncaring. Because she knows it best not to get involved in such things.

The question of why there’s a dog sitting on a tuckerbox (lunch box) can be answered with the following poem.

Bullocky Bill

As I came down Talbingo Hill
I heard a maiden cry,
‘ There goes old Bill the Bullocky –
He’s bound for Gundagai.’

A better poor old beggar
Never cracked an honest crust,
A tougher poor old beggar
Never drug a whip through dust.

His team got bogged on the five-mile creek,
Bill lashed and swore and cried,
‘ If Nobbie don’t get me out of this
I’ll tattoo his bloody hide.’

But Nobbie strained and broke the yoke
And poked out the leader’s eye,
And the dog sat on the tucker-box
Five miles from Gundagai.

anon

Some sources credit this to Anon, some to an otherwise unknown poet using the pen name Bowyang Yorke. Whoever it was, the poem has been a part of Australian lore for a while, and has been immortalised in Song and with this statue outside of Gundagai. It’s a tribute to the pioneers and early (white) settlers of Australia and the coins people throw into the water are all donated to the local hospital.

We hopped back in the car and headed off. Our next stop was to have a look at the rather impressive wind farms at Gunning.

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There’s something very impressive about these massive wind turbines. They are huge. And they just sit there, on the hill, creating energy out of the wind to power 23,250 homes between them. (I looked that up – have a look at this site for some information about the specs for the farm.)

Our final stop was at the big merino in Goulburn.

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The big merino is an icon of Gouburn. It’s often said that colonised Australia was “built on the backs of sheep”. This is particularly true of Goulburn, which had a strong merino wool industry and calls itself “Australia’s first inland city”. For more information on Rambo, the giant concrete sheep, have a look here

And thus concludes a rather silly way to share some of the landmarks along the Hume highway between here and Goulburn!

A lovely day for a ride.

Me, posting twice in one day? Crazy!

Just wanted to (briefly) share my bike ride today.

Yesterday Gary and I rode together. We got 4kms along and this happened:

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Due to some unfortunate glass Gary got a flat. He switched his spare tube in, and the valve broke. So I rode with him while he ran his bike home, then he got on his mountain bike and took off for the hills for a bit.

By this point I didn’t feel like riding anymore so I did a bit of yoga and stretching.

This morning I definitely felt like a ride. It’s a lovely warm day, almost too hot really but what can you do? (It was around 30 when I left home).

I headed out with no real direction in mind, but as I made my way I decided to ride up monument hill. I rode up the front first and took a photo at the top.

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yes I did put on a lot of sunscreen before I left. Remember the title of my blog?

Then I thought to myself “why not do that again?” So I rode down, followed the road around the hill and climbed up the back of it to the top again.

Then I did a little more rambling though Albury, and took a photo of the rather charming and historical Albury train station.

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If I remember correctly, Albury station has the longest platform of any station in Australia. Albury and Wodonga are twin cities, with Albury on the New South Wales side of the Murray, and Wodonga in the Victoria side. Back in the day NSW and Vic had different gauges of tracks, so people traveling between Melbourne and Sydney had to swap trains at Albury. That’s why it’s so long – to allow room for all the trains they had to have there.
I could be wrong on that, but I’m pretty sure that’s the reason

So anyway then I trundled home again.

35 kms, two ascents of monument hill, and almost 2 liters of water.

Good times.

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zephyr demonstrating how I felt after – please, just let me lie somewhere cool and then maybe rub my belly.

Kayaking

A week or so ago we loaded up our kayaks onto Gary’s car and went for a bit of a paddle. We haven’t gone for ages, and I was pretty keen to be back on the water again.

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We still don’t have a better system than the picture, and until we get racks for the car organised we will need to keep doing this. It’s ok for the short trip to the river though!

We decided on impulse to hop in to Wodonga Creek at the Stock Bridge rather than going a little further and getting in the Murray, mainly because we hadn’t explored that section of river yet.

Me and My Kayak. I haven't named her yet, but Lucy just popped into my head so let's go with that.

Me and My Kayak. I haven’t named her yet, but Lucy just popped into my head so let’s go with that.

It was a lovely day. Sunny, not too warm, lovely cold (read: refreshing and awesome) water and the river is pretty quiet along this section. I’m not at all confident in rough water or particularly fast water yet so we went upstream to the section where it started getting rough and we turned and came back. I practiced my turns and paddling backwards upstream. When I first got my Kayak I couldn’t even paddle in a straight line. Now I can, and I’ve worked out how to turn (rather ungracefully) and I can correct my course. Progress!

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Below is the old Stock Bridge, and in front of it is the new suspension bridge that the council is building. This is great because they get to keep the historical bridge, and make a better, smoother, link so people can use the path through to Albury without having their teeth shaken out across the rough wooden Stock Bridge.

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After spending some time playing about, we packed up the Kayaks and headed home. We keep them off the ground in a storage nets (totally my idea). What we did was get some nets – I think they are to secure trailer loads, etc, and hung them from the roof with some straps and volia!

Kayak Hammocks!

Kayak Hammocks!

Kayaking is good upper body exercise and I generally find my core is a bit sore after we go as well. I would like to go more often however it’s been a bit difficult to organise time. Ideally I’d love to have some sort of trailer for my bike and ride with my kayak to wherever and spend the whole day being active.

I would also like to get myself a life jacket before tackling anything more than a quiet river. I’m more than confident in my ability to swim or float, but it’s better safe than sorry. Another safety note – I never ever kayak alone, and I also text someone telling them where I am and what time I plan on being back. Each year we have some pretty big ad campaigns locally because our river can be dangerous – cold water, underwater obstacles, very fast flow. We’ve had a few locals in danger or killed on the river because they got caught in situations they weren’t ready for. I tend to err on the side of caution and if I’m not comfortable with a section I don’t kayak there.

remember – its good to take a risk and try something new, because exposure to different experiences is how we learn. Just make sure you calculate the risk and be as safe as possible.

More New Zealand photos

I’ve been playing around with the theme and layout again. I’m a little happier with this however I couldn’t find one I liked that could fit my preferred header image in… I will ponder some more and maybe change it again in the next week or so.

I guess if I really wanted I could go all the way into custom themes but I don’t really want to at this point.

Anyhow, I decided to post another New Zealand photo

I swear there's a beautiful view from here.

I swear there’s a beautiful view from here.

I picked this one for a couple of reasons.

First, because the weather in NZ was a huge mix – plenty of beautiful weather (like the day we went to Edoras), gale force winds that brought down trees and powerlines around us (driving from Greymouth to Fox Glacier), and storms that dumped a few metres of snow on Tekapo while we were in the rain on the coast.

Second, because rain never stops us from enjoying our holidays.

This was the first day we had our hire car. We had spent a few days in Christchurch, and then took the Tranz Alpine train across to Greymouth. On the advice of the lady in the fish and chip shop who cooked wonderful veggie burgers for us, we drove up the coast to Pancake Rocks. The road was great – one of those windy coast roads through dramatic scenery where you have to keep stopping to take photos because everything is amazing.
It was dramatic and grey and raining and all meloncholy and it was awesome. I love rain. It makes me either energised, or all snug and content. Either way rain never makes me sad because I don’t let it stop me doing things. We walked all over Christchurch in the rain. In fact it made our city tour so much more personalised because nobody else ventured out into it. Same went for the coast. We booked a river tubing tour which took us down the river, into a cave filled with glow worms, and then tubing back out of the cave in the darkness again. We were the only people there and it was so much fun, AND it included a spa and a beer at the end so that was great.

Anyway we made it to Pancake rocks. They are odd columns of what looks like flat rocks stacked all together, and there’s a few blowholes there as well.
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It was pretty impressive. We were undecided if we wanted to go, especially because we were running out of sunlight, but we figured we were on holidays and we might as well go for the drive to check things out. My photos didn’t all turn out great because it was getting towards dark and it was already overcast, but the rock formations were fascinating.

So yes, it was raining, and yes it was kind of cold, but I’m so glad we did. Scenery often changes with the weather, and I’m glad we got to see the West Coast all wild and stormy.

Besides, how could I not enjoy it with Gary by my side?

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if you want more information about the pancake rocks and Punakaiki (where the rocks are), click here