Besides the usual accolades about the scenery, and the people, or whatever, here is a varied list of other good things about the trip, in no particular order.
1. Shoes: Salomon Speedcross 3 Very Purple – size 10
I needed a pair of shoes with traction but without metal studs, and these seemed to fit the bill. Little did I know that the Very Purple color would be considered to be SO **bright**, but I guess it is, since the color has been much talked about, both here and abroad. After getting past the color, the grip was admired as well.
I wore them a half dozen times in December, so I knew I could stand them for the trip, and, indeed, they turned out to be the perfect shoe for the varied New Zealand terrain. I had taken my Ice Bugs but never took them out of the bag.
I should note that the Speedcross does not serve me as well on the steeper, leaf covered hills behind my house, so I still need the Ice Bugs for most of the local orienteering maps.
2. PSB Ankle brace – size L
After dealing with ankle issues for the last year, including nine months of physical therapy and four weeks in a cast, I knew that I had to be diligent about wearing ankle support while orienteering.
I have had pair of the PSB ankle braces for a couple of years now, but they were a medium. I was always getting a blister, or was in pain, where the hard plastic piece curved around the side of my foot, but I figured that was just me being a princess. And, despite the discomfort, they were 100% better than anything else I had tried, and I have tried at least six different models.
The PSB pair I had was getting pretty beat up, so I ordered a new pair and decided on a size larger, since I was between sizes and hoped maybe that would solve the discomfort issue. Though I thought I allowed enough time to get them before I left, with the holiday season, and shipment from the UK (VIVOMED), it didn’t seem that I would get them in time. So, I was so excited when the package arrived the day before I departed.
And, the moment I put the larger size on, I knew they were perfect! So, I immediately packed the new pair and left the old pair at home. I wore them for almost every event, and they saw action on all types of terrain, including hillsides, rutted tracks, and a couple of muddy swamps as well. I taped my usual blister spots for the first couple of events, but then stopped after that, because there was no irritation anywhere from the braces or from my shoes, for a change. Yeah!
3. The Ankle
Well, actually both ankles were a concern, especially the right ankle, but there were no issues! Of course, wearing the braces was the key. I had a couple of times when I went partially over, so I was always relieved when I was upright again with no pain.
4. The Rest of the Body
When I decided to go to New Zealand, I said that I would either be whipped into shape during the trip, or it would kill me. OK, “kill me” was a bit dramatic, so perhaps something like “I would have to sink or swim” would have been a better phrase. And, swim I did! Along with the orienteering, helping with the event each day went a long way towards toning me up, especially the upper body. I felt pretty fit by the end of the trip – worn out, but fitter. I did have to slack off a couple of days when my back objected to all of the bending and lifting, but otherwise, things got easier to do as the days passed.
Another thing I noticed, that despite the rural nature of the events, I had little trouble with my asthma and allergies. I used the inhaler before I went out on a course, but I didn’t need it in between at all, and this was on the reduced dosage of Advair.
5. The Orienteering
Ok, my navigation wasn’t always good, and sometimes it was downright bad, but it was loads of fun. The varied terrain, the opportunity to run with the sheep , no ticks or other bugs to worry about, the excellent courses, the lack of complaints from the other competitors – just excellent events put on by all of the New Zealand clubs. Thank you Red Kiwi Orienteers, Wellington Orienteering Club, Hawkes Bay Orienteering Club, and Sprint the Bay! It was a blast!
6. Being part of the Live Results Team
Since I am not very good with idle time, I loved knowing that I had something to do each day that was usually helpful. I learned a ton of stuff along the way, about O-Lynx, about working with others, and about myself. Could they have done without me? Absolutely! Especially the few times I messed up, but I think I still managed to contribute something.
Surprisingly, I did not miss the OE side of things at all, though it helped that I got an event backup after each event, so I could pore over the splits as usual.
7. Losing weight
Losing seven pounds was a pleasant surprise, for sure. I felt like I was always eating or being fed a meal. I think there was only one day when I realized that I hadn’t eaten enough, but otherwise there was always food to be had, either brought along in the cooler or bought from a vendor or cooked at the motel or at the homestead.
The home cooked meals were healthy and tasty! Loads of fruit and veggies of some sort were always available. I appreciated those meals the most, since I know how hard it was to squeeze in home cooking when so much other stuff was getting done.
8. The Shed!!