Dead easy

Dead easy

It’s an easy jog from the Olympic Pools in Newmarket through the Domain and over Grafton Bridge.  Under Grafton Bridge is the remains of a cemetery.  Most of the graves are in disarray, broken from vandalism, tree roots and the shifting ground.

Down into the gully and over a little creek and you’re at the new cycleway under construction. Can’t wait for that to be finished but I’m one of the first to run on it I’m sure. Back up the hill, more of a bush climb than a run and all of a sudden you’re at Governor Hobson’s grave. Signed the Treaty of Waitangi on behalf of Queen Victoria and six months later dead. Aged 49.

Running after the pool was quite hard for some reason so it was the end of K’Road and back.  A cold day, wet and nice to be in a hot shower and in warm clothes. Going out for exercise when it’s cold and wet is hard.  It’s definitely easier not to go out!

As I’ve said before from the movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona, life is short, life is dull, life is full of pain. But it’s not that hard to make something specDSC_0849ial for yourself.

And in the winter where there’s not a honey bee in sight, just rain, cold, and at Grafton Cemetery a stark reminder of how long you’re gone when you’re gone, time to give yourself something simple for an uplift.

Might be a run, a movie, time out with a friend or connecting with family.

An easy uplift for a gloomy winter’s day.

Stephen

Marathon

The commentator for the women’s marathon has just said that if you’re going to be a great marathon runner then you need a great 10k time.  I knew I’d missed something! I remember joking to a friend before my first marathon that it was only four 10k runs – how hard could that be?

Athletes are making history right now and making a legacy to inspire others, including me too, to keep running. Must of us won’t ever make the Olympics, or ever any sort of placing, but if you’re inspired by someone to move, get and stay healthy, then that’s got to be a great thing.

Running a marathon feels like ticking off the kilometre’s one by one,

I’m working on getting back into form again! Are you keeping an eye on the legacy on your marathon?

the five become ten, ten is surprisingly quickly a half, twenty-four, ouch, twenty-eight, and then it hurts. Well it does for me anyway and from thirty-two it’s one or two at a time. But on reflection it’s not the kilometres ticking over I notice, it’s the exhilaration of the entire event and satisfaction that comes from completing a personal challenge.

So collecting things, whether they be miles in a marathon, friends on Facebook or qualifications or whatever, is not what will make the difference. The commentators are now discussing what might be more valuable – an Olympic Gold at London or winning the New York Marathon.  Your resume and history will  be what makes the Olympic marathon the one to go for.

Spending all our days on stuff, collecting things, including wealth is all very nice, but what will your legacy be?  What piece of history will you own that might inspire others and make a difference?

History is in the making at the Olympics and top athletes are making their legacy.  Don’t forget that after the pleasant life, the meaningful life, you’ll want to leave a legacy.  Why?  To fulfil yourself. How? Like a marathon, one piece at at time, but always keeping it part of something bigger.

Stephen

Eight Christchurch Parks

I headed off from Mum and Dad’s place for my last run of the year. You’d hardly notice it in the car but it’s downhill towards the city from near Burnside High School. Like a gentle back wind you don’t really notice it running either, until you turn around. It was a quite a gloomy day, drizzling and quite cool, especially for late December.

First park was Mona Vale, just past 67 Fendalton Road where I remember helping Dad as a pre-school boy when he was a landscape contractor. Well I’ve always assumed I was helping! Mona Vale is beautiful, with well groomed houses on the other side of the Avon – I’m told the Hadlee residence is there somewhere. The Mona Vale buildings are fenced off, wrecked from earthquakes. The gardens are strangely immaculate and the highlight has to be the Gazebo with its beautiful stained glass windows. Out the back of Mona Vale into Christchurch Girls’ High School, where two of my sisters went, though at the previous Cramner Square site which is now just the site, empty, thanks to earthquake damage. Across into North Hagley Park I was greeted with the sign “Watch for Golf Balls”. Okay, I’ll keep my eyes peeled but I reckon by the time I see one worthy of being cautious about it’ll be over rover. So a large park essentially kept as a golf course near the city. My third park was the adjoining Botanic Gardens, scene of many a Sunday visit after Church where the perils of walking too close to the grass edge were instructed, to preserve the lawn, which Dad with his senior position in the Park’s Dept felt personal responsibility for at all times! Exiting the Gardens by the Peacock Fountain, left past the Canterbury Museum – one of the few old stone buildings functioning – and back up and over to Little Hagley Park.

Into Helmores Lane and it suddenly had a Wuthering Heights feel about it. A gloomy day with more than a few now derelict, boarded up houses wrecked by the quakes. Seems to me living by the river isn’t the best thing to do. I got the feeling that the occupiers behind “Resident’s Cars Only” signs might have wished for “Any Car Welcome, just bring some life to this place!”.  Over to Fendalton Road and a lap of St Barnabas Church where the famous and latterly infamous for his bouts of shoplifting Canon Bob Lowe presided. He’s apparently a relative although having updated the family tree while I’m here in Christchurch, he doesn’t appear in the 35 Lowes in the Tree.  Park number five was Fendalton Park with University of Canterbury qualifying as number six. I had to dice with danger by running a taped off area but I survived. Ray Blank Park in Ilam was next. Who Ray Blank was and why he had a park named after him, I didn’t know but you can find out here! The final park was Westburn Park, its claim to fame being a miniature street system complete with signage and road marking for kids on bikes, scooters etc to practice. Feeling the need to signal my last turn at the tiny Give Way it was right then left and back to Mum and Dad’s. See the map here of my 14.5km, and that’s my running done for 2011.

It hasn’t been the best running year, though a couple of marathons with a minimum of training, but I finish feeling more confident of cranking it up over the holidays again.

It’s the holidays. Do what you feel like. I am!

Stephen

Friday night

Someone told me today that I hadn’t done enough blogs lately. It was nice to know that someone was reading. They wanted to know if my boys were comfortable getting mentioned as I do from time to time. I assured her that they were! Or that they got notified and didn’t object. It’s been another busy week ending with the farewell of Wilson Irons, CEO of the Anglican Trust for Women and Children who I have come to know over the last couple of years. As I looked around the room there was quite a bit of sadness apparent at Wilson’s departure.

What really matters then? Tom and Dad were here in Cashel Street six months ago on 22 February

When I get to Friday, if I’ve achieved something of what I had hoped for – which is never enough as it keeps growing – the end of the week is a good feeling. This time for once I’m home during daylight and it’s sunny and bright in my house as I type. I’ve been to Wellington, facilitated a workshop on the 6 month anniversary of the fatal Christchurch earthquake, got ready for another workshop on Tuesday, battled the crazy bureau as you need to do from time to time, spoke to a group of 400 prefects, run a couple of times, made some long overdue appointments for bits and pieces, scheduled a host of programmes and workshops, and promised myself that next week, I really will get through the rest of the stuff.

People spoke of Wilson’s contribution to his work, his passion for the children and the fine leadership he exhibits to his team. None of those things have gone. They all still exist and I reckon we’ll see evidence of them again soon. All of these things are the role of the leader, and if we like the role-modelling from our leader it’s our job to be the model, ready to take the role when needed. There’s some really capable people at the Trust who will do that.

What if I didn’t have to go back on Monday? Apart from the obvious annoyance from my clients to whom I have commited work to, how would I feel? There is no doubt that rewarding work gives us a sense of being and satisfaction despite the occasional or frequent irritations that go with bureaucracies and small organisations alike. I’m more than confident that I would be okay with it. Partly because I like new beginnings and the excitement, cleansing and the refresh that goes with it. Which is why I like Fridays and the promise it holds.

If someone you are close to goes from your everyday world, it’s your job to take what you learned and role-model that to others. Then we all grow. And when it’s your turn to go, you can look forward to a refresh and a new beginning, knowing a lot of you is keeping others going. 

Your whanau are always there anyway, so they’ll be no escape for Tim from these pages whatever I’m doing as family is the most important thing anyway. Nothing else can compare and the six month anniversary of 22 February can remind us all. So Tim, be ready I’m on my way, we’re having dinner tonight together. Can’t wait.

Stephen