Hey there! Wow. I can’t believe it’s now the Term 4 holidays for you people still at school. This whole year has gone by so fast – it’s almost indecent…
Don’t worry though. This isn’t going to turn into some sentimental post about what a year it’s been and how much I’m going to miss everybody in the hall. Haha, that post is definitely coming, but I’m saving it up for a later date. For now, I thought I’d surprise myself and most people who know me, and write about… exercise!
I first want to clarify that I am really not an athletic person. Not in the slightest. For years staunch opposition to physical activity was very much a part of my identity. I was exhausted even by the thought of exercise, let alone the actual doing of it; I used to dread cross country and P.E. classes. My attitude changed a little bit last year, when I signed up for my school’s Harriers club (a cross country running group). My reasoning went like this: I was sick of being a slob. I knew, however, I’d never have the motivation to go running on my own, so by committing to this club I was forcing myself to get fitter. It kind of worked. A few times a week, we’d take the van out and go running somewhere, normally for around 5 or 6k. Although for the first few weeks my calves hurt like crazy, it did get easier and I did notice quite an improvement of my fitness. I felt better for it, less sluggish, more vital. All this taught me that although exercise may be painful while you’re doing it, it is actually worth it (and that’s not just some lie we’re told by our doctors and health teachers).
Fast forward to this year. After what I’d learnt last year, I was motivated to maintain a fitness regime. New life, new and healthier me… Hmmm. This has worked out with varying degrees of success. Some weeks I manage to make time for something active every day, while other weeks the only exercise I get is just walking up the Uni Hall stairs. When I do make the effort, most of what I do is running. I often just head out in a random direction and see where it’ll take me. My runs are mini-adventures. Auckland is still so unfamiliar, and so huge, that I find it quite thrilling to discover a new, previously unknown place. Often I get half-lost (though you can never be fully lost in Auckland when you can see the Sky Tower) but somehow I nearly always wind up in a place with spectacular, sweeping views. Here are a few of my favourite spots to go running:
- Silo Park. I have fellow blogger Bryan to thank for this suggestion. I run here often; it really is the ideal destination for a half-hour run when you just want to take a quick and not-too-strenuous break from study and hall life.
- Mt Eden. From the summit, the panoramic view over the city is really quite breathtaking. It’s particularly great in the morning, where everything has a golden glow to it. I think it also helps that it’s a pretty steep slope up there, so when you reach the top it’s quite a cathartic feeling. It’s roughly an hour run from Uni Hall and back – perfect if you’re feeling motivated for a decent run.
- Mission Bay. This run is around about 15k return and takes me close to two hours (admittedly I am very slow). So it definitely takes quite a bit of time and stamina to get out here, but the run along the waterfront is very scenic and you end up at a sandy beach! How cool is that? Just make sure you plan and leave with enough time. I’ve been known to underestimate how long this run will take and missing the 7.15 cut off for dinner…
- Hobson Bay. This is my latest discovery. I really enjoy this hour run through the Auckland Domain and down along the boardwalk Hobson Bay Walkway. At sunset the views back to Auckland city across the inlet are simply sublime and never fail to fill me with wonder.
- And there’s always… the gym. If I’m honest I’m not a big fan, instead preferring to go running outdoors when I can. I shouldn’t be too harsh though. The gym is easy, convenient, and open most times of day, and while you won’t see any magnificent sunsets in the Rec Centre, on the plus side they do have motivational music blasted through loudspeakers. If you’re living in a hall it’d be probably foolish not to make use of the free gym membership at least a couple of times. On top of a weights room and stretching facilities, the gym has a dedicated cardio room with a whole heap of cross trainers, treadmills and other fearsome contraptions which you can use to get your running fix.
Hope this has given you a little motivation for future fitness! Honestly, with views like these you almost forget you’re exercising. Almost.
Ciao for now,