Harcourts Beach Series Coastal Run

Last week I went for a run with Nick from the Harcourts Beach Series and Jason from Triathletes Corner on the new 8km Coastal Run, which is one of the events at the weekly beach series returning on November 3rd.

The other events are the 5km and junior 2.5km beach runs; 500m, 1000m, 1500m and junior 250m ocean swims; and 1km & 3km stand up paddle events.

The only time I’ve ever run along the coast on the North Shore was a few years ago when there used to be a Run Auckland from Milford Reserve which ran along a section of concreted pipeline at some stage on the course, and further north at Whangaparaoa for the Xterra run at Shakespear, so this was all new ground for me. And it was a lot of fun!

It was a fairly dismal day, overcast and a little rainy, but quite possibly perfect conditions for a spot of coastal running. There’s a little bit of everything on this run: beach running, concrete coastal paths, a water crossing, and a bit of rock hopping every now and then.

The nice thing about the course is it’s not too long and it’s not too technical, so it’s a great place to start if you’re new to coastal running. It’s also a great way to try out and see if something longer like the North Shore or Tawharanui Coastal Challenge is for you.

And being part of a weekly series means you can come back each week and see how you improve over the series, and try the course out under a variety of conditions. The Beach Series keeps a full record of your times over the course and you earn series points; to be eligible for the points competition you need to have competed in at least 10 of the 18 events over the course of the series.

The only thing that might have put me off from entering the series is the drive from the eastern suburbs over to Takapuna on a weekday afternoon/evening, but Jason (coming from St Heliers) says it only ever takes him 20 to 30 minutes to get over there so don’t let that put you off.

To find out more, go to http://beachseries.co.nz/ – entries open on September 1st.

Here’s my Strava activity of the run, and the official course map and some pics below.

Life’s What You Make It by Talk Talk

A couple of days ago I posted up two music videos of the song “It’s My Life”, the first by Talk Talk and the second a remake by No Doubt for their singles collection, after hearing the No Doubt version on the radio.

It was such a familiar song, but the band Talk Talk didn’t sound at all familiar, so I thought I’d better check out their other songs. None of their most popular songs rung a bell except for “Life’s What You Make It”, which I had thought was a much more recent song.


Baby, life’s what you make it
Can’t escape it

Baby, yesterday’s favourite
Don’t you hate it

[Everything’s all right]
Life’s what you make it
[Everything’s all right]

Baby, life’s what you make it
Don’t back date it

Baby, don’t try to shade it
Beauty is naked

[Everything’s all right]
Life’s what you make it
[Everything’s all right]
Life’s what you make it

Baby, life’s what you make it
Celebrate it
Anticipate it
Yesterday’s faded
Nothing can change it
Life’s what you make it

[Everything’s all right]
Life’s what you make it
[Everything’s all right]
Life’s what you make it
[Everything’s all right]
Yeah yeah
[Everything’s all right]

It’s My Life by Talk Talk & No Doubt

I heard No Doubt’s It’s My Life while driving Jamie to his music lesson tonight and knew it had to be a remake, but who? I knew it was something from my youth; Bryan Ferry / Roxy Music was my guess but it turned out to be Talk Talk. Who? I’ll have to go listen to their other music now.

So here’s Talk Talk’s original version:

And here’s the No Doubt version:

Despite the nostalgia factor when it comes to Talk Talk’s original, I think I like No Doubt’s version better (music, not comparing the videos), although it’s a close call as they are almost identical. But then I am always more partial to female vocalists…

There’s quite an interesting story behind the No Doubt version over at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It%27s_My_Life_(Talk_Talk_song)

Stills from Stars Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer #2

Here are some stills from the just realeased teaser trailer #2 of Stars Wars: The Force Awakens, due for release in December 2015.



Crashed Star Destroyer on a sand planet. I noticed when I watched the trailer the second time there’s also a crashed X-Wing in the foreground.


Darth Vader’s mask. Could this have something to do with the plot? Or just a red herring?


Presumably this is Luke’s hand on R2-D2.


When I first watched the trailer, I thought there were two red lightsabers in the battle scene, but when taking these screenshots it’s obvious it’s the hilt seen in the first trailer.


This is presumably the baddie:


Stormtroopers with new armour and masks, and presumably the banner of the baddies in the background.


Ands who’s this dude?


And finally, old Han with Chewie.


All about that bass

No not this one:

This one, much better:

This song really suits some sultry, sexy jazz. What I love about the jazz version is how you see a couple of what look like floozies on the side tapping/swaying to the music. And then they start to sing! Wow!! Oh and that two-man bass is pretty damn awesome too. Whose hands are whose?…

The Hillary Ultra 2015 – My first ever DNF

The Hillary is an 80km ultra marathon, 34km run and 16km run/walk, following the Hillary Trail in the Waitakere Ranges in Auckland, New Zealand. I ran at the second edition of the 80km ultra on Saturday March 14th 2015 but failed to finish, missing the cut off at Piha, and wouldn’t have continued even if I got there in time. This was my first ever DNF at a running event (Did Not Finish); there has to be a first time for everything!

I ran The Hillary last year hoping to break 12 hours, and finishing in 12:21. This year I just wanted to finish, expecting it take maybe an hour or two longer. This lowering of expectations was due to not running much at all since the Tarawera Ultra five weeks earlier because of a) sore feet, b) a melanoma extraction from my neck requiring two minor surgeries and c) having a puking stomach bug the previous weekend. I had self-belief that I could do it, and no expectations that I wouldn’t finish.

The Hillary is a point to point run from the Arataki Visitors Centre near Titirangi to Muriwai, so you either need someone to pick you up at the other end and take you back to your car at the start, or get up hideously early to get to Muriwai to catch the bus at 4.15am to the start line. So my alarm was set to go off at 3.05am for the hideous option! Unfortunately, I couldn’t get to sleep and then kept waking up, so I think I had maybe 2 to 3 hours of disrupted sleep before heading out to Muriwai…

We started in the dark at 6am, but it was going to be a really hot day and was already very humid and warm by the time the sun came up. A course change due to a slip on the official trail meant a somewhat hillier start, and I found myself struggling a bit on the first uphill section.

Towards the end of the first section, a guy called Rupert* caught up with me, and we ran together for the next few kilometers down to Huia and up the start of Karamatura Track, talking about the trail and running etc. Unfortunately I found the climb up Karamatura really difficult and had to stop for a sit down and have a gel. I’ve climbed up that trail a number of times before and never struggled quite like that, so I knew I was in for a tough day.

There’s some nice downhill and then some undulations after Karamatura and I managed to catch up and pass some of the people who’d passed me when I was having my moment, but the climb up the Omanawanui section was another big struggle. By the time I got to the seat on top of the second peak of that section I knew I was going to be pulling out, and sat down for a little rest. The next runner passed me and asked if I was OK and I said I was fine. A couple of minutes later I headed down the hill, walking the whole way down.

About 200 metres from the bottom, I changed my mind, realising that I could just keep on walking instead of running and see how far I could get, either to Karekare or Piha. At the foot bath station at Whatipu, I asked Richard, one of the race managers, what the cut off at Piha was, and he told me it was 2.30pm. I figured I could just about walk and run there in time, so I should keep on going. A few minutes eating food at the aid station and I was off on my way again. At this stage I was about 4h30 and 26km into the race.

There was a lot of walking and not much running between Whatipu and Karekare, but I was in good spirits. By the time I got to Karekare, I knew there was no way I could get to Piha before the cut off and even if I did that would be enough for today. So more walking and the occasional run for the trail section from Karekare to Log Race Road, and then a shuffle-run down to Piha to “finish” 46km in a shade under 9 hours.

So it was my first DNF, but I was happy with my day despite the struggle, I think probably because I was going to pull out at 26km but persevered on and knocked off 46km.

Why did I have such a tough day? I’m not entirely sure, and think it must have been due a combination of factors. It wasn’t simply from lack of training or running recently, because I’d run 50km in the Waitakeres seven weeks previously on a lot of the same trails without much running beforehand, and hadn’t struggled in the same way.

So perhaps it was not enough running, combined with the heat and humidity of the day, combined with having been sick the previous week, combined with lack of sleep. I wouldn’t have thought any of that would have affected me, but perhaps all four factors added up to it. I don’t know.

What I do know is that this failure isn’t going to stop me, and I will do better next time.

(* I hadn’t met Rupert until this race, and thought that I’d found someone I could run with all day, but alas it was not to be. He had only run about 30kms as his longest run over something like 4 to 5 hours and, although I didn’t say it at the time, I wondered how he was going to manage to run 80km in the Waitaks on that training. However I am pleased to see that he finished 13:54:59 – what an amazing achievement – and I look forward to seeing him out there again.)

Ferris Bueller sings Twist and Shout

Right, so I had to follow up the last past with Ferris singing Twist and Shout by The Beatles, given that last video ended so abruptly. Despite being 12 when FBDO came out, I was still under the illusion that Matthew Broderick was actually singing it… As it turns out, it wasn’t even a Beatles song (I literally found this out just now thanks to our friend Wikipedia).

The Smiths – Please Please Please

Feeling melancholic? Well this beautiful song by The Smiths is for you. It was in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off* as an instrumental. (*One of the best movies ever.)

I can’t seem to find a video of this song, given it was a B-Side and kind of old now (yep, I’m kind of old too), so this will do:

And here’s quite possibly the best sequence in Ferris Bueller’s, if you’re an art lover.

Lyrics for Please Please Please by The Smiths

Good times for a change
See, the luck I’ve had
Can make a good man
Turn bad

So please please please
Let me, let me, let me
Let me get what I want
This time

Haven’t had a dream in a long time
See the life I’ve had
Can make a good man bad

So for once in my life
Let me get what I want
Lord knows, it would be the first time
Lord knows, it would be the first time