Date: 25 January 2021
Distance: 8km out-and-back
Time: 1:45 going up | 1:30 going down
An invitation came along for a walk up to a hut, which was the perfect opportunity to get my bum off of the chair and do something physical for a change. To be fair, we have started jogging 4km most days of the week for the past month or so to try and get back into some form of fitness and routine. It has been a hard slog, and sometimes a real challenge just to cover those 4km, but we have been going reasonably steady for the past month.
Nina and Dianne picked us up on the way for the trip to (near) Masterton. A narrow gravel road off State Highway 2 winds its way to the Kiriwhakapapa conservation campsite. From here the walk is mostly uphill at a reasonable incline. Not as bad as the last few kilometres up to Powell Hut, or the Rain Gauge up to Jumbo Hut, but still taking us up to 978m above sea level, roughly a 700 metre climb, before dropping down a wee bit on the other side of the ridge to reach the hut.
It is a fairly uneventful bush walk up to Blue Range Hut, which as the name suggests, is as blue as Robert Johnson. Not sure what to make of the colour … It almost feels a bit jarring in the natural forest. It is a small 4-bunk hut with fireplace, a small water tank and long-drop, and a picnic bench outside. Pretty standard. The quirkiest part is all the signage from an old hospital in Masterton, which adds a particular charm to this hut.
We started up our camping stove to boil water for some soup and coffee, had lunch and just chilled for a bit in the sun, before making our way down and back to the car for the trip back home.
While huffing and puffing up the mountain, it struck me again that even though I thought the lockdown and the months that followed were great for mankind, animal and nature, in some strange, perhaps subconscious way, it also got the better of me. In the past twenty odd years, have I never been so uninspired to run or walk or do anything physical as I have been for the last eight months of 2020. We were still going great guns through the lockdown, clocking up 465km for the month of April alone, probably our biggest yet, when next thing I know we weren’t doing anything. That included foam rolling, stretching and strengthening. Not that the latter two were much of a priority before (I know, it should be), but even the foam rolling came to an abrupt halt. The one thing I feel I absolutely have to do to try and keep on top of my buggered hips.
This also resulted in a Christmas and New Year’s spent at home doing, well, not much, apart from tending the garden, buildings a chook house, looking after the animals, etc. Our annual five-day end-of-year tramp also went down the crapper. Even if we could pluck up the courage to pack our backpacks, it would probably have been such a suffer fest that it might not have been very enjoyable anyway.
Which brings me to an issue I’ve been mulling over for some time now – the whole business of inspiration and motivation. There’s the perception that sharing your runs, progress, experiences and advice on Facebook and Instagram (a bit like I’m doing right now) is supposed to inspire and motivate others. Sharing things about one’s own suffering, or progress, or lack thereof, might be a curious thing to follow, but effectively it is of little interest to anyone else. Spilling your guts, sharing your joys and agonies – are these not all just strategies to get more reaction, followers and likes? Otherwise what is the point of it all? This is a question I ask myself constantly about the value of social media. Is it a need for recognition and acknowledgement, affirmation of one’s own competencies or achievements? At the core of it, I think the ego plays a massive part in this. Social media and the likes just make it so much easier to quickly get a like or a word of encouragement, a slap on the back or someone saying ‘good job’.
During my eight month lay-off I had time to ponder and experience the other side. I was still following others in their daily runs and adventures, but I can say this emphatically – looking at or reading other runner’s posts, not once made me feel inspired or motivated to get off my bum and go for a run. In fact, just the opposite happened. I got annoyed, and mostly irritated with the whole business of #runnersofsocialmedia. Even more so if you are injured or cannot run for whatever reason. Which made me realise just how annoying we runners must be for non-runners. No wonder there’s a million jokes poking fun at runners.
That said, I will continue writing my blog stories and posts, which really are just for myself, for one day when I may no longer be able to go out and collect experiences anymore. It is a photo album, a diary of memories to look back on and reminisce about. It probably does not mean anything to anyone else, and I will endeavour to not try and make it ‘motivational’, or ‘inspiring’, as I know now that that is just a crock of crap. At least for me. I therefore apologise for some previous posts that might have come across as attempts to ‘help’ or ‘give advice’ or ‘motivate’.
So this will be my 2021 resolution – to steer clear from the minefield of motivation. I have now said me piece. Thank you and Amen.