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It’s November. Yikes! Triple yikes. Less than two months until Christmas. Just over three months until the Kathmandu Coast to Coast. And then another week on top of that until Challenge Wanaka. Which reminds me, must start swimming…

Image Credit: Mt Hutt

The last five weekends have gone by in a blur of skiing (extremely poorly), biking, running, swimming (not really, let’s call it doggy paddle, see the first paragraph) and kayaking. It started with the Peak to Pub, an event I have always wanted to do, but while competing I was quickly reminded why I hadn’t done it before. It’s been a tad too long between skis. If I am to do it again (if), I plan on heading up the mountain at least once before the race. Oh, and practice running over rocks in ski boots. Yeah, that was a real killer. You can check out my blog about the event here.

The following weekend saw me head south and compete in the South Canterbury 12-hour Rogaine in a team with Jacqs and Caeley. It was a long day, but we had a blast managing to come away with the win in the female category. We had mostly clear skies and mint views, managing to avoid the snow dumps both before and after the event. You can read about it here.

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Image credit: Clarence Bridge 2 Bridge

In the middle of the madness, I headed north to compete in the Clarence Bridge 2 Bridge event, opting to swap the sneakers for my mountain bike. It was a 40-kilometre course which took us up the south side of the Clarence River, before turning around, crossing a bridge and making our way home on the north side. It was raining as we took off, which made for very slippery conditions and lots of mud. The perfect ingredients for good fun. I bought a shiny new Giant Liv Intrigue mountain bike a month or so ago, one that fits me (no, it’s not a child’s bike but it is as small as they come) and I can’t believe the difference. I am loving my biking now and can ride far more than I used to. Telling myself I am not allowed to get off until I fall also helps; it’s surprising what I manage to ride if I just keep the legs turning.

It was a challenging course, with some good steep uphills followed by some very rewarding descents! I had to stop once to put my chain back on and again when I took a wrong turn! As I headed up a hill, I watched everyone behind me sail on by along the correct flat road below! Damn. It was just the motivation/frustration I needed to take back the lead and consequently, the win (female category). It was a great community event, raising funds for the Kaikoura Hospital. I highly recommend giving it a go next year!

The following day was spent enjoying Bluff Station!

Labour weekend took me south again (my adventures do take me to beautiful parts of the country) to compete in the Meridian Twizel Hard Labour multisport event. This event is entirely different from the rest of events I compete in. Instead of it being one race, you enter each individually, and if you compete in all three (kayak, mountain bike and run) you qualify for the Hard Labour category.

Scott and I headed south on Friday night, loaded up with bikes and boats on his not-so-trusty Coon. The first event starting at 8am on Saturday was the Steve Skinner Canal Kayak. It covered 20 kilometres over Lake Ruataniwha and down the Benmore Canal and ended at Ohau Sea, which included two portages around the power stations. Once a year Meridian allows boats on the canal, this race being that one time, so a unique experience. It was a picture-perfect day with a good frost to kick it off; the fingers took a good half hour to unfreeze. But once we reached the top of the lake and turned around, heading down the south side, it was well worth it. I’m not going to say I loved it, but it was good to get out in the kayak for a decent amount of time (that wasn’t on the Avon). Those portages, though! I had been warned, but there’s nothing quite like experiencing it for yourself. At the first power station, I managed to get out, up the bank, over the fence, down the steep bank, across the paddock, over the next fence (wtf) and into the water without too many problems. It was the second portage that was not so much fun!

Out of the kayak, up the bank, a solid (at least) 600-metre walk/run down the road, all while carrying the kayak on my shoulder, before getting to the bottom, across the grass, down the bank and back on the water. About half-way down the road two people in front of me had a bloody good idea and were dragging their boats along the grass. My dead arms, bruised hips and shoulders and general ‘I’m over this’ attitude thought this was a great option, so I did the same. It wasn’t until we got home that Scott noticed my rudder didn’t work! But the final leg of the kayak was short and I managed to cross the line in 2 hours 20. We were off to a good start.

A quick turnaround was required with less than 45 minutes to have some lunch, unload the boats and load the mountain bikes before we needed to be at the race briefing for the Dusky Trail 40-kilometre mountain bike. Nathan had joined us for the bike section, so the three of us headed off for the start and race briefing.

It was a good course, just a matter of keeping the legs going. The first section was on the road beside the canal before turning off and winding our way over a very rough farmland track to the base of the foothills. It was a gradual climb, so I was not fast, but I managed to tuck in behind a guy and stick on his tail (much to his dislike as he kept trying to drop me by continuously changing wheel tracks!). It was worth the effort to stay in his draft, though!

I was so proud when I managed to ride a steep section that everyone else got off for (around me anyway), passing plenty on the way up. Admittedly I was just about dead once I reached the top, but I was not going to let it beat me!

Finally, I crossed the river at the top, turning in the opposite direction and heading for home. I managed to swallow a flying creature too (clearly a sign of sucking too hard for air) and spent the next couple of minutes coughing and spluttering in an attempt to dislodge it from the back of my throat. One person passed me at this time and commented later that he thought I was about to hoick on him. Good motivation for him to pass I suppose!

I crossed the finish line two hours and 20 minutes after I started (not a typo – turns out I mountain bike exactly twice as fast as I kayak!), very happy with how the day had gone but equally as glad that it was over! It was time for food and rest before the final event the following morning, the Pyramid Run half marathon.

Waking up with a tired body. I downed two coffees and some chocolate while making my way to the start line. It was another great day weather-wise, slightly cooler than the day before but still offering incredible views of the surrounding mountains. It had been a while since I had run a half marathon – even though technically they are finished quicker, the pace is faster, and I find them mentally harder than tackling longer distances.

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The run course was the last part of the bike course, just in the opposite direction. So, unfortunately, I knew how long the hill was, but I also knew the second half was mostly downhill. Wahooo. I managed to tuck in behind a guy (again) and stick to his pace the entire way. I doubt I would have gone that fast if I was on my own, but I hung on right until the end when I managed to pass him over the last kilometre. Yes, I hate people like me, but it’s so great when it happens this way around.

I finished the run in a time of one hour and 48 minutes, with a total time of 6:33:03 across the three events. I was glad when it was over, and we still had a day up our sleeve before heading back to Christchurch and work (magazine work doesn’t count here). It was nice to have time to be a tourist in my own country.

The final event in October Madness was the Enduranz Events Mission Mount Somers marathon, which Say Yes to Adventure magazine also sponsors. I had done this last year in its inaugural event, so knew what I was in for. In all my time racing, I don’t think I have done a race where two years are so completely different. Obviously, the course is still the same (slight change this year actually to avoid a swollen river crossing), but the weather was the polar opposite. Last year it was nor’west; warm, windy and completely dry under foot. This year – snowing, freezing and the tracks were a continuously flowing river. We did have sections of a brilliant blue sky as well, though!

This is as true as you can get to a mountain marathon, while still being in proximity to civilisation. Starting at the Stavely Store, we headed up to the Sharpland Falls carpark before heading on up and crossing the front face of Mount Somers. Here the views were magnificent; it would have been rude not to stop and take photos! I wasn’t in to win it, instead just get to the finish line and enjoy it, so I didn’t mind taking my time and capturing the views (or lack of!). I managed to make my way to the Woolshed Creek car park bang on the three-hour mark, and just under halfway distance-wise through the race.

Feeling good I managed to run most of the way to the hut before the long slog began up to the saddle. Once I reached the top it was snowing heavily (top effort to the Search and Rescue volunteers), making the downhill very slow and slippery. I seemed to take forever as I tried to reduce the number of slides, and consequently, falls. Thankfully no lasting injuries and it’s always a relief to get to Dudley’s Knob knowing there is only one more downhill to the road.

That last five kilometres of flat to the finish is such a killer, and just as horrible as I remembered to be. I was doing my best impersonation of a penguin trying to sprint when the heavens opened and hailed pelted down, turning the ground around me white in seconds. At least with hail you don’t get soaked quickly, they were all just bouncing off! I crossed the line just a fraction under seven and a half hours, half an hour more than the previous year.

As good as it gets – hail everywhere and the finish line is digger!

As good as it gets – hail everywhere and the finish line is digger!

It will go down as one of the most memorable races in New Zealand to date due to the weather. But that’s not a bad thing and exactly what you get when you sign up for a marathon in the mountains combined with the unpredictability of spring weather. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year!

On a side note – I am officially the unluckiest person when it comes to spot prizes. (Who doesn’t love a spot prize!) Over the five weeks of racing, I was eligible for eight different events (Hard Labour counted as four) and DID NOT WIN ONE spot prize. Scott the tinny bugger won one at every event he was entered in, and two at Hard Labour! Typical. I couldn’t even win a shit bag, and let’s be honest, if anyone needed to win a shit bag it was me!!!! (True story – Scott won two at Hard labour).

“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.”   Katharine Hepburn

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There are events out there which are run as a business with the aim to make a profit. Then there are events which are put on purely to provide an opportunity for people to explore our amazing country and push their adventure limits. While I have no issue with the first (we all have to make a living somehow) the South Canterbury Adventure Race 12-hour Rogaine falls into the second category. To be honest, it’s one of the best. For $60 each, we discovered a stunning part of New Zealand while running and biking across private land on Glenmore Station, located only 15 minutes from Tekapo township, plus a hearty meal to finish off the day. When it comes to adventure racing, you couldn’t ask for more.

Arriving at Mum and Dad’s after work on Friday, Scott, Grant and I loaded up Ernie (campervan) and headed for the Mackenzie Country to meet up with the rest of the team members – Jacqs, Caeley and Nathan. Split into two teams, the girls made up ‘Say Yes to Adventure’ and the boys ‘Hot Tigers’ – that’s what you get when you put me in charge of entering. Needless to say, the boys weren’t too fond of their team name, my mature mind, however, thought it was spot on.

Registration at 6am the following morning meant we didn’t have to arrive by a particular time, taking the pressure off leaving work too early. Mum (the legend) had loaded the fridge up with a delicious lasagne for dinner, salad and some Tatty’s Chew (Scott’s request) to fill the baking tins. After the usual fluffing that goes with getting ourselves sorted for these events, we were all tucked up in our beds not long after 10pm. Scott drew the short straw (debatable) and was outside in his tent.

There’s no need to set the alarm when you’re in the company of Scott, who arrived dressed and ready to go at 5.45am, putting on the kettle and making us all a cup of tea as we slowly emerged from beneath the covers. With registration sorted we then picked up our maps at 6.30am and quickly sat down in our teams to come up with the most logical route. We had a time limit of 12 hours, and a set of markers to collect either on your bike or running. You couldn’t combine the two – those marked with a B had to be collected while on the bike section, and the same for the R markers on the run. There was, however, one marker with an X, which could be collected on what you considered to be the most logical section.

We knew our strength was running, definitely not biking, so we decided to do the run section first, collecting the X marker on this stage too. We didn’t need to use a compass (phew), but a sound knowledge of map reading certainly helped. Race briefing was at 7.45am with the starter hooter going off at 8am. Even with a 5.45am wake-up call we weren’t quite ready in time; I had my sneakers off applying Gurney Goo to my feet (essential), and Caeley was plaiting Jacqs hair! Not an ideal start, but we quickly sorted our gear, packs were thrown on our backs and off we went, not before a quick return to collect the map!

We were only five minutes max behind the boys, who were headed for the same first marker as us, so a jog up the 4WD track meant we caught them just before the checkpoint. After this they headed for a different marker, while we set off for marker X. Rosie Shakespeare’s team had the same route plan to us, and for most of the day we ended up playing cat and mouse. They were a lot wiser than us, though; we would race off before realising that the shortest route does not always mean the fastest! At one stage, we were waist-deep in matagouri and Briar bushes, while they were walking up a clear ridge only 50-metres away. It was entertaining if nothing else.

Rain showers came and went throughout the morning, which meant our jackets were pulled on and off many times. As we gained height the views became even more spectacular, made even more dramatic by the storm clouds rolling down the valley. From the very top (Mt Joseph, 1682 metres) we could see for miles; Lake Tekapo, Pukaki and Ohau filling our vistas. And if the clouds weren’t covering her, I imagine we would have seen Mt Cook too. After a long slog straight up and some more markers collected, it was time for the decent. Following a 4WD track meant we could run to the bottom, picking up valuable time. We had one last marker to collect, which we could see from the top so it was a matter of navigating our way to it once we hit the flatter ground.

Thankfully we managed to find every marker almost immediately; If you were in the right place they were easy to find, unlike some races where the markers can be well hidden. With all the run markers now collected, it was a matter of getting back to base camp for the second half of the day – the mountain bike. Coming over the final hill, we could see the woolshed, the campervan… and the boys!! We thought they would be long gone, so our gentle amble quickly turned into a sprint. We weren’t going to let them get away without seeing us. We needn’t have worried; they heard us coming before they saw us! I don’t think our joy of seeing them was reciprocated.

We had a quick chat, but they were off, leaving us to sort our gear, have some bacon and egg pie for lunch and get on bikes. Usually, markers in a Rogaine are point-loaded – meaning the harder ones to get to are worth more. This wasn’t the case this time, so we decided to collect the closest makers, and if we made a good time, we would then head to the last marker up the Cass River to Waterfall Hut, at least a 30-kilometre round trip up the valley.

There’s a reason why we chose to do the bike section last; Jacqs was on her mum’s bike, and Caeley was on my Dad’s! They had both been on their bikes only once before when we did a mission up to Lake Coleridge a few weeks ago. Both were hardtails (no rear suspension) and neither had clip-in shoes. I take my hat off to those two; they were absolute legends! It was rough ground, especially going around the face of the main hill section, with some long bumpy uphill that would have been a nightmare with no clip-ins. We had all fingers and toes crossed that Caeley didn’t get a flat tyre too, as she had no spares! It would be fair to say our admin could do with a bit more fine-tuning. There were some sweet downhill sections (for me anyway) but on one of the river crossings I didn’t quite make it all the way across. Thankfully it was followed by a steep uphill with lots of pushing so getting cold wasn’t an option.

We knew we had to reach a certain point on the map by 5pm to give us enough time to arrive at the Waterfall Hut checkpoint. But the uphill slog took us longer than we had predicted, so we made the call that we were here to enjoy the day and not to be rescued by the event organisers. Once this decision was made it took the pressure off as we knew we would come in with plenty of time to spare. We were also getting very over our bikes, with Caeley declaring she was “never fu*ken mountain biking again,” after falling off in a huge patch of mud. Jacqs and I were full of support as we stood there laughing. Rosie’s Team had caught us again at this point, and we happily waved them off as they turned left to get the final checkpoint, while we headed in the opposite direction for home. With no more markers to collect, we were dreaming of comfy clothes and a beer in the sun while we waited for the boys to return.

Powering along the 4WD with only a couple of kilometres left, we passed another female team who were running. We presumed they had collected all the markers (their team name was GodZone), so we were in no hurry once we got back to hand our cards in. It turns out presumption is the mother of all fuckups, and we ended up winning by a mere three minutes over them, ending our day after ten hours and 50 minutes. Lucky I didn’t make the girls stop too often for photos (well worth it, though!).

The boys came in about 20 minutes after us with big smiles on their faces, having collected all of the markers. This was Nathan’s first ever foray in multisport – taking on a 12-hour race with two of the fastest people I know, you don’t make it easy for yourself! Who said you have a mid-life crisis when you hit 40!?!? As always, we debriefed the day, both highs and lows, all agreeing it was a fantastic event over some incredibly beautiful country.

After a hearty dinner and prize giving (unfortunately they miscounted our markers, and we were called out in second place, typical!) it was back to the camper for a few wines, a bottle of port (well-earned) and an entertaining game of Cards of Humanity. It’s a good thing we are all so PC. Jacq’s we won’t forget the ten beers you still have to consume…

Thanks to Will and Em Murray, who let 70 people explore their property for the day. We still have marker B5 to collect from Waterfall Hut, so hopefully we will be back one day! Thanks to Sharon and the crew from the South Canterbury Adventure Racing Club who put this event on every year, each time at a different location. You can almost guarantee it will snow, but if you are looking for a challenge, then I can’t recommend this race enough. 12 hours with good friends exploring New Zealand’s stunning great outdoors, it doesn’t get much better.

Go. Make something happen – Seth Godin

Peak to Pub

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I knew the skill wouldn’t have left me, but getting back on two planks after a very generous break (I’ve been up to the mountain once in the last 16 years) was always going to be interesting. I’d managed to  borrow some skis and boots from a friend Alex, which fit me surprisingly well. Turns out she has midget feet too!

After a week of blah weather on the East Coast to New Zealand, the weekend was looking good, with a nor’ west set to blow a warm 20°C over the Canterbury Plains and a much-appreciated tail wind.

I hosted a Jungle Ultra presentation on Friday night in Ashburton, which went really well. No technology malfunction like the previous week and everyone seemed to laugh when they were supposed to. You could have heard a pin drop after I played the For Rangers video; every time I play it, it makes me proud to be doing what I can. Every little bit helps. Thanks to everyone who came, I appreciate your support.

A full house at Mum and Dad’s consisted of Bids and Grant, Scottie (girl) and Scotty (boy) and myself; a good mix of competitors and support crew!

Due to traffic management up at Mount Hutt, the race started at an extremely leisurely time of 2pm for the boys, 2.10pm for the ladies and 2.20pm for the teams. Scott and I had booked on Mt Hutt shuttles, who for $20 provided a shuttle and pick-up of gear service. An absolute bargain if you ask me, and they were fantastic (all my gear came back no problem!). Highly recommend them if you’re doing this race next year.

Leaving the Blue Pub car park just after 11am (we may have held them up slightly) we headed for the first chain station up the Hutt road for registration, before slowly winding our way up to the top car park. A lot of good banter was exchanged, with no one around us having  done this race before, which I decided wasn’t the most reassuring sign!

We had plenty of time to sort the gear, go back to the bus to search for lost sunglasses, and head to the bathroom to ease the pre-race nerves. After a quick race briefing and Scottie had helped me sort out my boots, we were allowed one practice run before the event started. Skiing is like riding a bike – it does come back to you – but nerves were a lot more abundant than they were 16 years ago. The old pizza turns got a hammering!

Before too long I watched as a girl in cowboy boots and a skirt blasted her shotgun and the boys were off in a hiss and a roar, running 100 metres in ski-boots over snow and rocks to get to their skis and head down the mountain. No one told me about this run part! And it turns out I am terrible at running in ski boots!!

You know that taste of sick you get when you go too hard. Well, I had that within the first minute! My legs were aching, and I   appeared to be standing still as people kept powering passed me. Slowing to a walk and thought ‘Bloody hell, this is going to be a long race!’ Finally arriving at my skis I managed to click in no problem and headed off for the two kilometres down the hill. It wasn’t the best line; there were a few wobbles with one ski in  the air, but somehow I managed to get to the bottom with legs now felt like jelly! Scottie told me it would take me one and a half minutes to get to the bottom; I think I laughed out loud at one point. If only she could see me now! It ended up taking me over seven!! Lesson One of the day – 16 years is a long time between skis.

I hauled my skis up to the first transition, and because I racked my bike on the other side of the transponder recorder my transition time was recorded in my bike section. But it makes for a lightning transition! Thanks to Chris who saved me and helped me get out of my ski boots – I think I’d still be there if you hadn’t shown  up. All sorted I jumped on my bike, and I was off, with some serious time to make up.

A few weeks ago I bought a new mountain bike (one that fit me), and it has completely changed my mindset to mountain biking. I loved the 18 kilometres of downhill, a few skids on corners but nothing that I couldn’t eventually get under control. I did, however, see a few people who weren’t so lucky, blood-covered faces and the odd flat tyre. Pink raddle on the main stones and pot holes helped, and lines on major corners gave you plenty of warning on sharp corners coming up.

I knew some of the team competitors would pass me, but was stoked to make it to the last section of the gravel road before only one overtook me. A fast flat peddle down the tarmac finished off a great trip down memory lane, with my watch clocking a max speed of just over 57 kilometres (only 21 shy of Grant’s top speed of 78 kilometres. Yikes!).

A quick(sh) transition into my run gear, a much-needed drink and a mouthful of banana bread and I was off, over the fence and quickly settling into a good rhythm with only 12 kilometres between myself and the finish line. We headed down a stony riverbed for the first few kilometres before popping out onto farmland and turning down a never-ending road towards Methven. A well-placed drink station half-way down the road was a welcome relief! I realised I am not used to running without a pack with water during a race!

Slowly I was picking off fellow competitors; it felt great to be passing people and not being passed for once (team competitors passed me, but I wasn’t worried about them!). Just over a month ago I went to a run clinic with Richard from Complete Performance. It was only an hour, and to be honest I only took away one thing – to stand up straighter – and I can’t believe how much of difference it has made. Since going to his clinic, combined with Bids’ exercises, I haven’t once felt the niggle in my IT band. Long may it continue.

Turning off the road, we followed the RDR (Rangitata Diversion Race) for a kilometre or so before opting for a dip in the fast-flowing water (you could run an extra 1.6 kilometres and cross a bridge if you didn’t want to swim). A childhood spent swimming in these meant I knew how swift it was. Missing the rope to pull me out wasn’t going to be an option, so I dived in a few more metres up than everyone else. Mum, Dad and Scottie were on the far bank yelling when I came up for air, quickly opting for breaststroke to get me across. I pulled in higher than the rope, with dad helping me out which meant I avoided the bottleneck as others struggled out of the water and up the bank.

The fresh water woke up the tired legs and provided a much-needed energy boost for the final kilometres as we snaked our way through pine trees towards the finish line at Methven’s iconic Blue Pub.

A tradition of the race are obstacles to complete once you have crossed the finish line. This year they were a slippery slide along your tummy, a cold crawl under a cargo net covering a pile of packed down snow, or a climb over a few hay bales. Of course, I was directed over the hay bales, but it was a great ending to another extremely well organised local event. With record numbers, it’s great to see so many people out there supporting these type of races.

Grant and Scott both smashed it, with Scott recording the third-fastest run time of the day after stopping on the bike to help a fellow competitor who had unfortunately got a little too up-close-and-personal with a rocky bank. You’re going to make a fearsome team come Red Bull defiance!

My October-madness month has begun, and while skiing can do with a lot more work, I am stoked with how the rest of the race went. Thanks, Mum, Dad, Bids and Scottie for once again being an epic support crew!

It’s not the feather, it’s you! You can fly. Forget the feather. It’s time to dive.” – Mark Tyrrell

So What’s Next?

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It’s always the second question I get asked, followed closely behind “Have you recovered from the Jungle? It sounded awful.” Then they smile, which leaves me wondering if they read my latest blog. The answer – Kathmandu Coast to Coast 1-Day. I’m a sucker for punishment, but a few things have fallen into line lately, and an opportunity has come up to race in the 2017 event.

I have joined forces with Kathmandu, which is super exciting, and I will be documenting my adventures as I lead up to the race. It’s very fitting really, as the reason I initially started this blog was because of my first Coast to Coast mission, the 2-Day in 2014. Kathmandu has had a shake-up recently and has some exciting things planned going forward, so I feel it’s a great opportunity for me to grow both my magazine and my personal brand alongside a well-known adventure brand. Plus they’re naming sponsors of Coast, which is still my favourite event to date.

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My goals are the same as they were two-and-a-half years ago (Jeez how time flies!); to enjoy it and do the best that I can. I have a bit more experience on my side this time, but I’m giving the 1-Day a crack so know it will be an entirely different race. It will be fast, it will (most likely) be lonely, and it will be long. So soz support crew – family, if you’re reading this, you’re support crew! Ha, but it will be great, because, just like last time, I will do everything I can to ensure I am in the best condition, mentally and physically, heading into the race.

I’ve teamed up with Richard from Complete Performance to help me with my training, which I’ve been doing for a few weeks now. It’s keeping me honest; I feel like a naughty school kid when I don’t do my training! I’ve never actually worked with a program before, but so far so good. I’m feeling good with my running and over the weekend I pulled out my road bike, washed off the bird shit, peeled off the old Coast to Coast sticker and pumped up the tyres, making her ready to hit the tarmac once again (which hasn’t been used since the final leg of Coast in 2014!). But kayaking is a whole different ball game. I am still to get to the bottom of the Waimak without falling out, so I need to work on getting my confidence up again (or just some faith to begin with!).

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I’ve also visited Bids from Motus Health for a Movement Assessment, to ensure I am firing on all cylinders correctly and moving efficiently. This was surprisingly interesting, as I discovered a weak glute was the reason for a slight IT Band niggle. I’ve been instructed to do some quite boring exercises (don’t tell bids!), and I’m working on getting this corrected. We will see how long the enthusiasm lasts!

Training has slowly begun; Volume Six of Say Yes to Adventure is now at the printers and due out at the start of next week, which has taken up a fair bit of my time over the last month. But with a good break since the Jungle, and spring just a few days away, I’m excited about the next five months of training.

On Sunday I hit up the Port Hills 6-hour Rogaine with Scott. It was an absolute boomer day weather-wise, and we had a great run around the hills. I can’t believe all the new tracks I have discovered; goodbye my usual Rapaki and Harry El, you’ve been downgraded! Our rule when doing any Rogaine is that we have to collect all the 100-point markers on the map. This means we don’t pick the most logical route to collect the most points, but we do cover a fair bit of ground. We found 100% of the markers we went for too, always a relief. We made it back with 15 seconds to spare (a minute on my watch), I’d say that’s damn near perfect time management (and maybe a little luck!)! I’m getting more confident with the compass too (even if I did forget mine on Sunday!), when I say better, I more often than not head in the right direction now. My Landscape Architecture background has given me a good understanding of map reading, although this will be interesting in a month’s time when I do the South Canterbury 12-hour Adventure Race with Jacqs and Caeley, and we don’t have Scott double-checking our direction!

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Volume Six will be posted to subscribers this weekend!! It’s another great edition, so many wicked stories. I have written a story from my travels, but I left it to Sam to recount our adventures from the Jungle. If you read his last story about the Marathon des Sables in Volume Two and enjoyed that one, then you will love this one. Foul language and all! I’m also making him famous by putting him on the cover! If you haven’t got a subscription, you can pre-order your copy here to ensure you are the first to read it! www.sytamagazine.com

Also if you haven’t had a listen, I was interviewed by Paul Schmidt from The Pursuit Zone, where I talked about my Jungle experience. You can download it here.

In my experience, when life seems to be falling to pieces, it is usually falling into place. – Beau Taplin