Having the Memory

Six months I’ve been back in the country and thats not to say I haven’t enjoyed the time. I’ve got myself a new shiny road bike, caught up with old friends but the truth is it’s just the same as when I left these shores for the ones of New Zealand. Nothing has really changed. I returned to my parents and I’ve tried to settle back in and get a job, boy have I tried to get a job… Its not that there isn’t any out there, its just whats the point of getting bar or supermarket work, when thats not what I want to do?

Anyway once again I wander of the path. The one subject that has been on my lips since the plane touched back on British soil, was how great New Zealand was and how it was right for me. In truth I think I have turned down or selected certain decisions on the fact that I want to return back to Wellington… Why move out of the parents and sign up for house when another visa could be in the post. At least at the folks house I can pack up and go straight away.

Yes everything has been about getting back. Well before Christmas that opportunity came in the the form of a Bunac IEP visa. Did I grab it with both hands? No, I said I would think about it. Why? Why indeed. I think in my hearts of hearts I know maybe its not to be, I always said I wanted to live and move over full time and if I had got sponsorship first time round that would be true, however I didn’t and now many of my friends have moved on, whether back to their own countries or else where in NZ.

So maybe my love and thoughts of returning is trying to hold on to a dream, a bygone era, if I go back its going to be different and maybe not the way I remember it, am I prolonging the prospect of growing up in the UK, settling down with pension, house, car, the white picket fence life? Is New Zealand somehow me running away from my responsibilities and life in the UK. Sure I was happy over there, maybe the happiest I have been, but are my memories clouded. There were times I felt low, I had no job for three months, no money to my name for one of those but yet the memories are always off Burger Fuel, nights out at the Embassy, craft beer, the beach, the friends, the pals, the fellow travellers, the one who have now moved on. Was it the city, the country I remember or the people I shared it with… Why do I feel so strong about the place.

The place is really quite different. Sure I have NZ mates, who were born and bred in the city, but most of my network were fellow travellers who’s relationships were built in the hostel we all sheltered in before we made our lives in the capital city. Sure I could go else where and be a traveller make new friends a new life in a new town, but whats the point if in a year I have to pack it all up again, knowing that I will only ever return for holidays if and when my wallet will allow.

So now I have the opportunity I find myself again, worrying and becoming scared if taking the visa is the right idea, but unlike last time, I won’t be stepping into the unknown, and some how that terrifies me more than not knowing what is to be expected.


The Graveyard Shift

Let’s begin with the update. I’ve been in kiwi land for 5 months now and after doing quite a long spell as a WFA (woofer) which stands for Work For Accommodation, I finally succeeded in getting a full time job, all be it in the very hostel I was residing in and following the traditional path of past applicants for the role. By that I mean I was a traveller who was a WFA who had a birthday and then shortly after began the 8 hours of mindless boredom that is the graveyard shift.

However a graveyard shift as the name implies does not describe the role in an accurate way. After all it’s a hostel, so there is plenty of travellers who require special attention once they’ve returned from the bars of the city or just need special attention full stop. It still amazes me how the majority managed to make it this far.

There are still people to check in, floats to balance, reports to check, fill out and print, checkouts and house keeping lists to prepare, banking, cashing, rolling over the system, the role is if anything more of a relaxed walk in a park on a Sunday afternoon rather than tedious boredom.

However this post is not to inform you of the requirements of the job, I’m not that bored that I feel it necessary to give you my job description, no the real reason is the issue with sleep. It’s not for the lack of it, or getting to the land of nod but more the issue of when to start counting those many sheep over the fence.

Let’s explain my normal sleep pattern. I would normally go to bed around 11pm or midnight, thus waking at 8am the following morning. Do a days work and relax in the evening. However in my new role as night reception, I find myself retiring at 8am shortly after I finish and waking at 5 or 6 pm, leaving 5 hours to kill before the 8 hours of work which begins at 11 pm.

My point is that if this was a normally job, I’d never go to bed at 8 in the evening, so am I doing it right, or should I remain awake until midday? In other words should I carry on as normal but just reverse the day and night.

Oh well off to bed.

The Smell of the Hunt is losing its Odour

So I’ve been in New Zealand now for going on four months, and in month three I began the task of job hunting. An easy task I hear you say, but myself and several other residents of the hostel would tend to disagree. I have dropped more CVs off in shops and bars than I care to think about, I feel that between us we could have destroyed the forests of the South Island with our constant printing of resumes.

Even locals are finding it hard as every business is looking for long term, and long term is more than 2 years. Who picks bars or retail work as a career? No one stays in these positions long term unless you want to climb the ladder or have to as it’s a second job, uni work or fits around your life choices. The biggest beef is when I’m asked for my experience. Sure I have experience but it was ten years ago but it’s still experience and with my other employment industry I should be a valuable asset to any team (in my humble opinion). I have managed 45,000 performers dancing in front of a stadium of 70,000 people and a live television audience of a billion people where my job was to make sure they entered in cue, I have pressed the buttons to detonate pyrotechnics that could injure performers… After that I feel I am able to cope with pouring a few pints on Saturday night or selling some jeans.

The job hunt is proving hard, and for someone with my work experience it’s starting to get frustrating. But in order to get a job, you need to have had experience in the role what seems like yesterday and are willing to work longer than your work visa allows.

What pisses me off is the fact that it’s retail and bar work, and not to rock boat but these professions are the easiest and rarely need experience… Off course you can be good or bad at it but at the end of the day it’s pouring a pint or putting a jumper in a bag. This is why for many it’s the first job. What adds insult to injury is that the signs for work remains up in the windows for many weeks after I’ve dropped my application off… And all within this period I’ve received no knowledge of the receipt of my CV.

What is starting to get to me is the fact that I’m unemployable… And that is not good for the soul.

Three Weeks Tomorrow.

Tomorrow will be Sunday and in three weeks, I will be racing the Manchester Marathon and I am shitting it.

Training has not been good. But next week I will be doing a nice temp run in Langdale with some good hill walking before I begin to taper and spend those extra hours where I would have been running to concentrate on core and do some cross training.

I need to squeeze one long run in again and maybe doing a 15 miler at speed just to convince myself that I am ready.

Oh well off to what has been distracting me and preventing me training the way I wanted to. Thats right Work.

A letter

To Thomas,

I know you enjoy it and you read all the mags and articles on that world wide web thingy. I even know you have that race coming up and that you are determined to break some PB in a couple of months time. But I do beg you to listen to me.

I enjoyed the two weeks off that I had and really enjoyed taking it easy but you must remember I am not a car. I can’t be started up and driven long distances, I need to warm up and get back in the game.

After this week, and I will be the first to admit the mileage is very little and the work load has been on the small scale but I am feeling it. Feeling so much that come Sunday I may refuse to play ball at the start line and if I do play along I may throw in the towel in the last 400 meters.

So if you don’t want a DNF on you record then may I suggest you spend the next two days giving me a rest. Giving me some TLC. It’s all well and good running long and hard and doing hills and speed work but like you I need time to recover and the harder you train the longer I need.

Off course you are able to help in this matter. Some more protein, seeds, nuts, fruit. Less bad fat and chocolate. Plenty of stretching after the runs. At least half an hour. You use to be so good at your warm downs now you seem to think a poxey five minutes with the foam roller will suffice. Well have I got news for you… It won’t.

Like a car I need the correct fuel and maintenance. If you spend time looking after me I will perform and keep on performing for many years to come. I’ve shown my worth in the past… Looking how your PB’s keep being smashed. Look how far I have carried you. The speed I have travelled.

So please take note. I’m tired, and I really don’t want us to fall out over this as I know how happy you get when pounding the streets. But you won’t be happy when I can’t carry you forward and get an injury.

I hear from Left and Right Foot that you treated them to some new socks and trainers. They pass on their gratitude. Now if you can only show me the same respect and give me some rest. The miles I am use too. The new training scheme of hills and speed is something I need to get use to, and this needs time. Heart and Lung do their best, but over the years I’ve adapted to long distance and need time to adjust. And I’m not just talking about in training. Recovery is when I grow and repair myself and at the moment you are refusing to give me that time.

So I beg of you Thomas. Please surrender the trainers until Sunday and allow me and your body to recover.

Thank you for your time





An Update….

I get bored with thinking of titles for my blogs so this one I have left blank. Well, not completely blank as you can see as I have named it and for once it is a name that could be printed on the side of a tin or on a box. It does exactly what it says on tin you could say. It’s an update!

So as the bell struck midnight I was busy snoozing as the rest of the UK was seeing in the New Year. While I do not really make resolutions I promised myself that this year would be the year that I would break my running PB’s and really try hard to stop drinking the red stuff and finally get myself off to New Zealand even if it’s just for a holiday.

So how am I doing? Well I have not had a drink since the 1st and feel fine. I have also started to eat more healthy and while I may not be eating 5 meals or even three a day I am snacking more wisely as the share holders of Cadbury will notice when they see the sales of their confectionary come the end of January. I have been hitting the gym on an almost daily basis and mixed my running up with the bike, weights and cross trainer. I have also been using the gym to do my speed and hill work on the old treadmill. All of this has seen me loose the bloatedness of the Christmas belly and has seen the weight fall back to what it was before the annual gorging we call Christmas. To tell you the truth the weight has actually fallen below 13 stone for the first time since high school and while I can now fit into a 34″ waist there is still a lot to go.

No doubt as I keep up the weights, my weight will bounce back up, but for now I am feeling good. That feeling however was not to last. Today saw me go on my long run for the old Manchester Marathon training and while in my head I said I’d settle for 10 miles I really wanted to bank 13 and possibly 14 if my legs were feeling up to it.

So I set off with a bottle of water and no gels. After a very light breakfast and not too much carbo loading through the week, I found that mile seven had a little wall for me. I carried on and while the tenth mile was comfortable the final three saw me digging deep. I can’t believe that I did this run. I knew by mile five that I did not have it in me and should have stopped, it’s not like I am new to marathon training but today seemed to display that I had not learnt from past training mistakes and maybe I should do more homework before embarking on this athletic milestone. I’m hoping that this set back will be quite the opposite and will urge me to take on the training with even more planning and authority, but I am following a schedule that see’s me running 16 miles by the end of the month and if I really want to break that 3:30 mark I need to get the miles in my legs quick.

In other news I actually planned to spend over £1000 on plane tickets, until a job prospect came up… I have spent the last three days thinking about this job and the trip to NZ and think that come monday I will be making the call to the travel centre to get myself two tickets to New Zealand.

Oh well onwards and upwards. I have work in two hours that will see me working through to Sunday morning making sure that Sunday becomes a day of rest… But I might sneak a little trip to the gym in or a cheeky 5K in the evening.

See you all soon.

End of the Season

Well after my last race the ‘Conwy Half Marathon’ in Wales the place where I seem to always get PB’s and the races that I most enjoy it was also the end of the season. Well the end to my running season and what a fantastic year it has been. Now as my physio puts it, it’s the time to take it easy and concentrate on any niggles and injuries and make sure I correct them and not carry them over into 2013 which will see me run Manchester Marathon again, The Island Race which is a half and Manchester 10K. There will be more I am sure, I just need to find them and book them.

So as I am resting the blog will go a little quiet so don’t worry it’s not that I have died while I am out on a run. I will be back in the new year. I will be back in a couple of weeks doing a round up of my year and what a running year, two marathons, three half marathons and 4 10K’s and a 10 miler all with new PB’s and more weight lost.

I will proberly also be back to have my annual snipe at Christmas as I really really love that period of the year… NOT. But that for the next couple of weeks is all from me partly as I will be heavy in desiging several Christmas shows back to back so won’t be able to run and won’t have time to play about on WordPress.

See you soon. Hope you don’t miss me too much.