It all began in standard four with the Our Lady of Lourdes cross country.
I was 10, it was raining and the course was around the soggy back field. I was hooked. Cross country running was ace.
No nasty sprints where the long legged redhead could streak past me, no compulsory rompers, no embarrassing bar moments on the high jump, no having to do chest passes.
Just me, the field and a longish bumpy track.
The words ‘natural’ and ‘talent’ have never been used to describe my athletic ability. But something about jogging in the bush is my idea of a good time, it appeals to my love of adventure and drama. You never know when you could twist an ankle, or a tree could become adversary. And it is a great way to learn lines.
To this day every time I go running. (And when I say ‘run’ think of it more as a jalk -jogging mixed with walking.) I quote Browning.
Picture this, a shortish, chubbish, bright pinkish girl jogging around the dirt tracks of the Palmerston North Esplanade puffing her way through ‘Oh the wild joys of living, the leaping from rock up to rock, the strong rending of boughs from the fir-tree, the cool silver shock of the plunge in a pool’s living water.’
I am sure some people were thinking WTF? I am sure some people are thinking WTF?
Well because about the same time that I discovered the joy of running I decided that I wanted to be an actor and the only way I could really learn the poems for my speech and drama exams was to jog them out.
So now while others feel the need plug themselves into an iPod I give the old grey matter a workout and whip through a few choice picks from the Anthology of Victorian Poetry.
Being the inclusive gal I am, I have also been known to work on a haiku or two as I slog my way up the Karori hill, recite the whole of Kookaburra Sits on the Old Gum Tree as I pass through the Australian section of the Bot Gardens and occasionally the lyrics to Pour Some Sugar as I make my way along the Nydia Track.
The dreams of stardom on the stage have faded but the sweaty trainers still remain.
I can only imagine what literary treats are in store for Dash and Ross on those moonlit nights I am on watch.
With lines like “The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas” chances are Alfred Noyes’ Highway Man will be heard whispering from the cockpit.