Holy smokes, I Live in New Zealand.


How My Run Went in Wellington.

I forgot to tell you about the run!

I ran next to the Wellington Marathon Suit Guy for about five minutes before he pulled away at the 6k mark.  I am so glad I was not in frame for the picture.

As for “how was the run,” it was 11 and rainy for 15k out of the 21k – I could’ve used boots, my feet were soaked through by 6k.  I was running a 1h40 pace through the 8k mark, but then I was clear soaked through and the nipple chafing began (remember that The Office episode where they did the Fun Run and Andy taped cotton balls to his chest?), then my iPod broke down due to wet and cold and I lost my pacing ability, and then the gusty winds picked up on the return leg (so much so that I felt more stationary than barely moving from 12k through 16k).

  • My first 10.5k I finished in 50 minutes – 303rd out of 1400+ runners and on target for 1h40!
  • My last 10.5k…yeah, 1h01 – 850th out 1400+ runners!
  • Overall 569th at 1h51m19.

It must’ve been one of the most positive split times of the day.  That’s a bad thing, by the way.

I threw away my running shirt, it was so wet and bloody across the chest.  No way that stain was coming out.

I also won (as a spot prize) a $150 “consultation” at a local gym.  I traded it for vouchers at a shoe store, which I gave to a coworker here because she always asks me questions about running.  Maybe this’ll get her started (or at least into professional race-walking).

Overall, I am actually really happy with how the run went.  If I had done a better job of eating in the days before the race (and not working until 10 PM four of the five nights that week) and had the weather been more favourable (on days like Sunday was, I don’t normally even go outside), I betcha I’d’ve made my 1h40 goal.

I am so looking forward to not doing any serious running for a month (Sunday mornings only, and probably only if weather permitting, and one night a week MAX).  I look forward to dominating in Barrie in a little under a month’s time.

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The Hoser Begins to Reminisce.
June 23, 2008, 11:32 am
Filed under: Happenstance | Tags:

I just got off the phone with a librarian at North Shore City (suburban Auckland/where I am living now) who is going to send me some floor area calculations this afternoon.

After she made that promise, I gave my typical reply: “Beauty.”

I will miss saying this like “Beauty” in New Zealand and basking in my awesome foreignness afterward.


Cold Houses.
June 9, 2008, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Happenstance, In the News | Tags: , ,

Trip over. I’m back at work now.

I’ve been preoccupied, however, with one very very very VERY significant cultural difference between Canada and New Zealand. People are beginning to fuss (as they do every winter, apparently) over lowering lake levels and the imminent effects those will have on electricity generation. Yeppers, the electricity conservation calls have begun here.

Here, peak electricity consumption occurs in the winter (June through mid-September) between 6 pm and 8 pm at night. Just like home, calendar-wise. The issue is that everyone gets home and turns on their stoves, lights and space heaters all at the same time all over the island.

Space heaters?

I have a brilliant idea to help out with energy conservation in New Zealand. And as always, I have to explain it in a roundabout manner.

See, no houses in New Zealand are really insulated. At all. None of the windows are double glazed. I haven’t seen the Pink Panther anywhere. There are no central heaters/furnaces (but all sorts of mysterious “heat pumps” and “air reticulation systems”). As such, heat leaks out of houses like a sieve…and cold floods in like the tide. Best of all, once the house gets really cold inside, it’s tough to get it warmed up. Think of it like how a Canadian house gets impossibly stuffy during the summer if you don’t have AC.

In a country that barely gets to 35 degrees in the summer, how on earth could nobody have thought to make warm houses a requirement? Even in Queenstown, the ski capital of the South Island where I was last week, nothing is designed with warmth in mind. New Zealanders who have been to Canada or know someone who has lived there ALL say that nobody is ever cold inside a house in Canada.

Naturally, a few more layers in bed cuts most of the problem (except for those three nights back in April when the temperature “fell” to 6 above zero). But the air is so cold that it compromises everything else. I want a longer, hotter shower. I turn lights on to bask in the waste heat. The space heaters keep on churning and churning.

Yet nobody is talking about putting better insulation in houses – although I did catch a news clip tonight where insulating the roof was discussed as an energy saving option (???!!???), which was dismissed by the homeowner being interviewed as “too expensive.”

I get kind of cold at night here. I don’t like this part about New Zealand.

(Edited to add: Mark, I totally get it.)



Crocs.
May 7, 2008, 12:22 pm
Filed under: Happenstance | Tags: , ,

Vinay Menon has been granted a humour column in Toronto Star effective today, which is good news.  He makes an observation that I can regurgitate here because:

  1. It is true.
  2. I don’t have to rewrite it that way.

“Of course, our athletes have to wear this [Olympic] gear; possibly at gunpoint, likely under the threat of forced relocation to Moose Jaw, definitely while sobbing on the inside and sheepishly befriending members of Team New Zealand who, equally inexplicably, will be padding around in those godforsaken Crocs.”

Yes, the NZ Olympic Team will include Crocs as part of their uniform.

 



Amazing Sun Facts.
April 30, 2008, 9:26 pm
Filed under: Happenstance | Tags: ,

The shortest day of the year in Auckland (June 21) sees 9h, 37m and 33s of sunlight.

The shortest day of the year in Guelph (December 21) sees 8h, 56m and 22s of sunlight.

Therefore, the shortest day of the year in Auckland is “only” 41 minutes longer than Guelph’s.

Tomorrow, the next great residential move of my life is happening.  I am off to Auckland’s North Shore.



Anzac Day.
April 24, 2008, 9:35 pm
Filed under: Happenstance | Tags:

NZ Friday is Anzac Day.  It’s exactly like Remembrance Day, only with fewer poppies on lapels (they have those here, but they are not nearly as ubiquitous as they are back home).  It commemorates the (for British Empire forces) disastrous attempt to secure a supply route through the Mediterranean to Russia.  The initial Allied invasion was April 25, 1915.

It was the first major military engagement for the new Australia and New Zealand Army Corps – or Anzacs.  Of interest, Newfoundland regiments were also involved.  For the Anzacs, it was a disaster.  Over 10,000 Anzac troops died, with another 25,000 wounded.  The defeats rocked the confidence of a young Australia and a proud New Zealand.  Sort of how like Dieppe might sound to people who care about history in Canada.

April 25th is a national holiday in both Australia and New Zealand, and are national holidays.

To remember, I am going on another vacation for three days to the Great Barrier Island.  I will be back in three days and will try and post accordingly.  But I also have an 18k run planned and Canadian work to do, plus I’m behind on my New Zealand work hours as well.  Plus, I need to take another stab at the 20 minute 5k on Tuesday and Henry Rollins is in town on Wednesday.  Should make for an interesting week ahead in my life.



$30 in Free Pizza.
April 21, 2008, 10:10 pm
Filed under: Happenstance | Tags: ,

As you probably do not know, I have been on a door prize drought at Tuesday Night Run Club (“the Loaded Hog 5k Race Series”) for four months now.  As you should know, we have a radio on most of the time in our open concept office.

When the bosses disappear during the day, I am apt to make repeated phone calls to local radio stations in vain attempts to win a prize of some sort.  I usually don’t know what I’m even trying to win most of the time.

Today, my luck changed.  After my usual accomplice in calling had left for the day, the Five O’Clock Knock Off contest on The Rock came on.  Here, the radio station plays two songs and the first caller through has to guess what theme the song is communicating.

And I won.

The song was Green Day’s “Holiday” off of the fantastic, essential-to-own, modern rock opera American Idiot.  I figured the theme was that the morning show team was away on holiday for the week, but the phone kept on ringing so I put the call out to the office, “Hey, who’s on holiday this week?  Did somebody’s vacation start?”

After about ten seconds, our newest hire mentioned that most school students started a school holiday this week, which would explain why I’ve been seeing more teenagers around lately.

To my shock, the radio station actually picked up and said, “So, mate, what’s the theme?”  I said, “It’s a school holiday!”  I was right.

I won $30 in pizza vouchers to Hell Pizza, which is like Little Caesar’s I imagine (we have Domino’s here).  They should arrive in the office mail on Thursday.

Hooray for me.  In other news, my cellphone is still on the fritz.  I’m not impressed that my provider has yet to mail through my new SIM card to me.