Queenstown, New Zealand
4th June 2020

It has been four weeks since my last blog and the silence has not been from a lack of interesting events. Quite the opposite really, I've been pretty busy recently.

Firstly, the Sunday after my 100km run, I went on a chill trip to Moke Lake with the gang. I'd seen Moke Lake at sunrise, mid afternoon and sunset on my run but it felt very different to spend a few hours there one afternoon, just relaxing. We hiked around the lake and played games in the field.

Speaking of the 'gang', this is what I am calling the group of friends I have made in Queenstown. We have become super close over lock down. I wasn't doing great when I arrived in this hostel and I credit the gang as the main reason why I am the happiest I have been for at least six months, maybe more. I don't tell these ten or so people enough how much they mean to me. For many around the world the coronavirus situation and lock downs have been (and continue to be) very tough. But for me the lock down has been such an amazing and positive thing.

The gang have taken up a new sporting activity. Ultimate frisbee - a game of throwing, catching and bashing into each other. It's very fun! We have played ten or more times now and have become quite good. It's lovely to get outside and run around a field for a bit with your mates. We even took it up a notch and played night-time drunk ultimate frisbee, with glow sticks on players and the frisbee.

I am back at work again. The hotel is quiet but there are people taking holidays to Queenstown now that lock down is over. We are still being cautious but New Zealand now has only one confirmed active virus case in the entire country and life has returned to almost normal. International travel is very restricted, but day to day life is pretty similar to pre lock down for most people. Last week was a national holiday and there was a huge surge in guests at the hotel leading to a pretty mental week at work.

I have been enjoying a series of fun contests I have been having with Ariana over the past few weeks. Ariana is one of the 'gang' - she's from Canada. Firstly we played a game of poker. She won, and I had to do a forfeit - to have a drink using a shoe as a cup. The second challenge was right up my alley. A running race! From the hostel to the top of Queenstown hill. That's a 3km run with over 400m vertical ascent. To even the playing field Ariana got a seven minute headstart. Unfortunately I wasn't able to catch up to her and ended up finishing a minute after she finished. My forfeit this time was a swim in the freezing cold lake. I swam for just two minutes and that was more than enough for me. Even after a 15 minute hot shower I was still shivering. Thirdly we did a cooking contest. This one was really fun. Mystery ingredients, 40 minutes on the clock and no help from anyone. The ingredients were pretty random and putting a dish together was tough. I ended up making naked burgers, with the burger being a fried 'steak' of cauliflower. Ariana made a soup. A panel of judges picked out a winning dish. Again, Ariana won. Apparently it was extremely close though. My forfeit this time was to be her personal assistant for a day. We have more competitions planned - something arty and a debate. I really need to get a win, being three to nothing is really hurting me.

My ultra marathon last month was such a great experience and it has made me so excited for future challenges. For the first time ever I was genuinely impressed by what I accomplished running. My long term target is to break the Isle of Wight Coast path time record, and that was something that I thought was out of my capabilities right now. But actually, if I ran the same as my 100km last month then I'd actually be in contention for the Isle of Wight record time. That's crazy to think about because I have never seen myself as a fast runner. I have never cared about my speed. I hope that I continue to not care about speed, but I see myself differently now. I feel super proud of what I have achieved. I am already planning my next adventure, and it's definitely going to be bigger and crazier than anything I've done before. It has to be, I love to push myself to attempt challenges that I really don't know if I can complete. I need the genuine possibility of failure. But whatever I do will be in July since I am taking it easy in June and keeping my runs short. I am running every single day this month and to avoid over-running I need to sometimes just run three or four kilometres.

I hope that my next blog is delivered in a more timely fashion.

Maybe this photo us upside down? Who knows
Sunset over the Tiki trail
Sunset over Lake Wakatipu
Me having a swim in the lake...
Night drunk ultimate frisbee
Potluck dinner with all these awesome people
I tried something new
Low clouds over Frankton
The Remarkables looking remarkable