Sunday, May 3, 2009

A 42 km running tour of Rotorua

This weekend we drove about six hours north to Rotorua for Jake's marathon. It was his seventh! And he kicked butt.
A lot of runners have a pre-race routine that includes some stretching, maybe some jogging, drinking water, pushing buttons on their athletic watch. Jake stands around and drinks coffee. 

Here he is (above) five minutes before the gun... and then at the finish line (below). Wow, he makes it look easy, doesn't he? 

The one action shot I have of him is blurry, obviously due to his speed.

So while he was running 42 km (26.2 miles) around Rotorua's lake, I spent some time exploring the town, which is known for it's geothermal activity and consequently is terrible smell (which makes Jake's race even more of an accomplishment). There's a volcano nearby and you can see steam rising from all over the place. 

I tracked one down to its source and check it out -- I found boiling mud! And this is no exaggeration. It was huge pool of brown/grey mud that was burping and gurgling and going nuts. 

I killed more time in a cafe and by visiting a local farmer's market. The market had lots of fresh foods as well as locally made jewelry, soap, music, etc. Looking around, I saw more Moaris (the original/indigious NZers) than I'd ever seen in one place. So I copied the locals by snacking on a couple of tasty lamb skewers for $1 ($.55USD) each. Pretty tasty!

After the race, we drove an hour south to Taupo, where we took it easy for the rest of the day and watched some rugby on the hotel TV from our in-room hot tub. These guys in yellow are our hometown team the Hurricanes. And they're currently in first place in the Super 14, which includes teams from NZ, Australia and South Africa. 

Our hotel was right across the street from Lake Taupo, and we found a mobile coffee shop conveniently close to our front door. 

It's fall here, and you can see it in some of the trees, but most are the kind that don't change color -- I mean, colour.

When Jake ran the Boston Marathon, I encouraged him (okay, made him) go on a walking tour of the city with me the next day. Although he was a good sport, he'd take breaks on the sidewalk benches as I went inside each museum/church/historical marker. I felt guiltier each time I came out and found him asleep. (Hey, it was my first and only trip to Boston.) So this time, our day-after destination was a five-minute drive and a one-minute walk across the parking lot to Huka Falls. 

 I'm not much for reading the touristy signs or literature sometimes, so I can't tell you much about it. Just that it was loud and powerful and amazing. 

That's all for now. Hope everyone's doing well, and we'll catch up with you again soon!


Corey said...

Seriously...we all know where the smell came from....Jake drank Pabst last night.

Jamie Stark said...

And the time of the run?

Jake said...

I believe it was around the 3 hrs and 53 minutes...a little slow than last year's run up in Duluth, but there some pretty real hills on this one. I was shooting for 3 hours and 43 minutes...maybe next year in the marathon in aussie.