I run…therefore I am

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D’ NZ Jaunt

Te Papa Wellington City City Centre

It’s been almost 2 weeks since I landed in windy Wellington so I’m still trying to process and take in all the sights and sensations I’ve experienced in this surprisingly fascinating place.  What I expected to be a fast-paced cosmopolitan lifestyle turned out to be a very relaxed and ‘really take our sweet time’ moments to re-bond with my brother and his family.

Santa Parade along Lambton Quay

The 2 nephews we practically saw grow up before they moved and lived here 3 years ago while the niece shoot up overnight within that period, easily adapting to the new environs, taking in a new Kiwi accent while still shifting easily to the native tongue when needed.

A view to a thrill: Sunset by my brother's house with Ayesha

While I’ve sworn to continue with my running here (3x on weekdays and a long run on Sundays), the sloping terrains had been a major obstacle.

long & winding: my run route when the sun would come out...

Add to that the cold morning weathers coupled with gusty breeze and one would rather opt to stay home and enjoy the ‘bed weather’.  After a few attempts, I was finally able to take off – having adjusted to the cool climate and winds and electing to wear ‘flexible’ running outfits.  Yep, running can get tricky here when inside, you’re sweating and heating up while the outer shell is constantly battered by cold winds.  So while I’m wearing my long-sleeved running shirt, a sweater is wrapped around my waist – ready for use once the temperature drops and the cool sea breeze suddenly swoops from nowhere.

out and about along the state highway (when the running becomes boooring..)

Wellington is a haven for runners, walkers and all forms of nature lovers – trails, sidewalks, bike lanes are everywhere.  The routes are clean, well-lit and safe and the views – oh the views.  Endless green mountains, hills and hillocks everywhere you look.  Even in a middle class community of my brother, decades old trees abound.  While houses are precariously perched on rolling terrains, most of the original pine forests are left intact on the surrounding peaks.

Fanghorn forest?

Less than 30 minutes away is the city center where shops, galleries, museums and restaurants abound.  One would never run out of options whether combing the retro shops, eating a Turkish falafel, strolling the many open public spaces or enjoying the views of the seaside Queen’s wharf.  As described by Lonely Planet (which recently chose Wellington among the top 10 destinations for 2011), the place is compact but brimming with art, merchandise and everything a traveler would love to sink his teeth on.

Sails of Glory: Queen's Wharf

the old and the modern...

I’ve spent many days around Lambton Quay and Cuba St. combing stores and shops for books, magazines, CDs, furnitures, artworks, prints, running shoes & socks and a lot more for some retail therapy.

in the middle of the road...

Other days are spent just getting lost in the many alleys and streets.   Many of the old buildings have been properly restored and are being utilized commercially while standing side by side with 21st century metal & glass structures.  It’s in these areas where Wellington really shines – a modern city with an old world charm.  Do enjoy the images, mate…

New Zealand is not a small country but a large community – Peter Jackson

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The Oriental Bay Run

The Oriental Bay run

a view to a run........

Yesterday, the weather was near perfect (more sun, less winds by the afternoon).  So after a morning of scouring the shops of Lambton Quay and Cuba Sts., I decided to do my first city run in Wellington.  The outfit started with double-lined jogging pants over running shorts, sweat coats over the running jersey, peeling away little by little once the heat started to be a bother.

stripped down but not quite...

I started near the port area passing through the City Center and circling the Oriental Bay along the Oriental Parade.  Maybe it was the shoes (I used a flat trainer), or the winds and the cold.  But it was not a really enjoyable run.  I thought I’ve finally adjusted to running conditions here in New Zealand – sunny but windy and cold.  The terrains are mildly ascending and varies from smooth asphalt to loose pebbles to pine planks on the pier area.

the waters are cold but why were kids jumping off and doing somersaults from the pier?

the dude just outrun me....grrrrr.

lovely day, lovely day....

Once the heat kicked in and I’ve stripped to my basic running gears, I started to rev up, averaging 7 minutes per kilometer.  I even tried racing with the other Kiwi runners who as expected just left me eating their dust.  Really amazed with the leisure (!) runners here (though my mind would like to think they’re all professionals).   They can really give any visitor runner a run for their money.  Maybe, it’s the early athletic conditioning or the challenging terrain or the more scientific approach.  No matter, running in New Zealand will definitely make one stronger and faster.

Installation artworks everywhere for the weary runner...

if this were in Manila, _____________ (complete the sentence)...

Now, I’m really thinking of moving over here.  What with its clean and healthy environment, breathtaking views, oh-so-friendly, cool and polite people (runners and bikers have little to worry of being sideswiped), numerous safe and proper running lanes/trails and a very relaxed and less stressful lifestyle.

Marist School in New Zealand!

8 kms upon reaching St. Patrick’s School (Marist school), I see the giant speedometer needle.

one giant wind velocity measuring device at windy Wellington...

I cool down a little before going to the Aquatic Center where I finally got to swim (1 km) in a community heated (!) pool.  It’s been years since I last dip my toes in a lap pool so you could just imagine the struggle I had in the water but that’s another story…

this little guy was waiting for me at the finish line...with a haughty smirk.