Surprises, mental fitness and great views

The latest "adventure" from Ugly Footed Cinderella

Fitness is often surprising. Sometimes you're surprised by being fitter than you are but for me (more often than not) I'm surprised I'm less fit that I thought. Not my favourite kind of surprise anyway. But I'm happy to report that this weeks running has been more of the good type, but that it's my mental fitness that's letting me down.

Had a blazing run on Tuesday. For those of you familiar with the Papamoa Hills track, you'll know that you get no warm up (unless you want to do a lap of the carpark - who does that anyway) but otherwise you're right into stairs and then a steep uphill climb. I knew I had to do this run, with less than two weeks until Spirited Women I needed to test myself. And to be honest I really surprised myself and made 98% of the run without stopping to walk. Even taking the long loop.

This is one of my favourite runs around the Bay of Plenty area, up through pine trees (mmmm Christmas) out to open farmland which the track splits and weaves itself up to a Moari Pa site and Trig Point. The tracks are good quality, a little offroad and on the main track really well maintained. The Loop track involves jumping over fence stiles and a farm track which has views all the way out to Maketu Beach, along Papamoa to the Mount and as you come up the far side the Tauranga harbor stretches out to Matakana Island. On your way up there are a few obstacles, after all it is a working farm. There are often sheep mines, cow pats and a rafter of turkeys (yes that's what a group of Turkey Birds are called) to negotiate. And no, I tested it, these birds don't gobble back like these ones. Don't take your brand new white shoes. They won't be white by the end of it.

The hills are long and winding. But it's worth it. As you reach the flat before the last climb to the top of the Pa the wind might get you so hold onto your cap. The 360 degree view it the top is totally worth it. Makes me appreciate the area I live and that often the mental toughness comes once you've reached the top. You might not have it on the way up, you may argue with yourself the whole way about not stopping and not letting the lady in the super cute pink outfit beat you, but you know that once you start the run down you're in a better place than when you started.

So here's hoping I can find some toughness and mental fitness for the first weekend of April.

Today we received a heap of information from the organisers, we don't get the maps until the night before, so who knows where we're going, if we'll make and what we'll find on the way. There's even a mystery activity to complete on the race which is adding to the unknown. I've not done the best prep for this with such short notice so I hope to boost the spirit of the team by being goofy and hopefully being able to read the map. Now to go find a compass...
View across to Mount Maunganui from the Papamoa Hills Regional Park

Photo Credit: C Wickman

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