Running and looking up

I haven’t been up the Peak for a while. Always an excuse: my run buddy’s busy, haven’t got time, too unfit, too bloody cold. Easier to do a quick run around the reserve and tell myself I’ll get back on the Peak tomorrow.

I went today. It was hard. I was on my own and unfit but it was a pretty beaut winter’s afternoon — couldn’t complain that it was cold. I had my head down on the steep bits.

When I looked up, there were a couple of eyebrows lifting over the Peak, elegant as Judy Garland’s. Paragliders. Drifting on some warm air cushion that rises up under the cliffs on the other side of the hill. They belonged up there in the air, lazily cruising the blue.

It’s good to stop and look up. There are lots of reasons for running, far more than there are for not running. Paragliders on the Peak is one. I’ll remind myself of the others as I get back out onto the trails.

The running graph

Optimism for over the hill runners

You’re born, you run, you die.

Somewhere in the middle there’s a peak when it all comes together: age, training, body, everything adding up to the perfect run where you hit the hills and can run for hours. God, I miss it!

I will never run that well again. I am over the hill, as it were.

So what’s to do? I’ve never been one for analysis. I don’t record my times and speed, I do different trails all the time, always off-road. It’s difficult to compare times when the track’s washed away or the dog’s decided to avoid the zigzag and go cross-country for a change. But even so, it is hard not to consider that once I ran Te Mata Peak, fast and furious, without falling over. Obviously the sensible thing, as we age, is to continue to run, consistently, patiently, accepting the fact that as you slide from “peak you”, every run will be that little bit less. “Good for your age” people will say, but it will be a challenge just to stay on the path of steady decline. Look, I’ve drawn it for you:

Continue reading “The running graph”

Running the Oromahoe Traverse

and killing characters on the run

I’m on a bit of a roll with my running around Paihia series. Here’s a good, one way, one hour run. The Oromahoe is a ridge-line run through the Opua Forest which ends in Paihia. It’s a little over 6km one way, with a few short, sharp ups and downs. You can’t get lost.

I went early for a gorgeous start to the morning. There are a few glimpses of view through the trees, but no real lookouts to the spectacular Bay of Islands, tantalisingly out of sight below. Continue reading “Running the Oromahoe Traverse”