Blog: The Fitness Zone

You're never too old or too fat to uncover the competitor within. The Nelson Mail's Peter Gibbs helps readers to overcome their fears and discover the pleasures and benefits of being fit.

Oceans apart but we have a lot in common

05:00am 21 Oct 2014


Our Saturday swim training group keeps getting bigger. The post-swim coffee/breakfast threatens to engulf Lambretta's.

One of my friends subscribes to a Brit magazine called H2Open, subtitled Open Water Swimming. He's finished the latest issue, so last weekend he brought it to the cafe for others to share.

It seems they go into it in a big way over there - it's not just a Kiwi fascination.

I took the magazine home and read the whole thing in a very short time.

The world seems to have more of a fascination with non-wetsuit swimming than we do, possibly because the sport became popular in pre-wetsuit days and they haven't updated.

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The body signals it's time for a break

05:00am 17 Oct 2014


This column has had to play second fiddle in the orchestra of life lately.

All those well-planned stories are still being planned. Life's just too busy.

Last weekend started, as they all do, with the Saturday morning swim session at Riverside Pool. They're always intense.

We pensioners aren't built for this sort of punishment and I'm always happy when 8.45am comes around and we can slope off to Lambretta's for the coffee and skite session.

There wasn't long to rest, as we were off to Kaiteriteri, where that afternoon the opening of a section of the Great Taste Trail was being celebrated.

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Computer geeks love the outdoors

05:00am 03 Oct 2014


My friend, Tamara Cartwright, has been doing a bit of work lately on websites. There's nothing unusual in that - Tamara is a self-confessed computer geek. So is her husband, Michael.

Between them they do computer geek stuff with their company, Solid Documents, and a new venture, Kiwi Tracks and Guides. Not only are they both computer geeks, they both love the outdoors.

With this new company they are combining their outdoor life with their technology skills. They like to be outside, use GPS and other tech gear and then create tools to share this information with others. Michael's software development skills and wish to get more from his toys has seen him create mapping tools that make useful and usable maps.

Tamara comes from the United States - she has a background in computer programming and business. Road cycling, hiking and climbing are favorite outdoor pursuits. Michael is from South Africa with a background in graphics software development, which is what drove him to Silicon Valley in the early 90s.

Tamara and Michael met rock climbing in Yosemite Valley, California, back in 1994. After climbing and travelling together for a few years they moved to Seattle in 2000. This is where they discovered the world of trail running.

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It's different strokes for older folks

05:00am 26 Sep 2014

One of the perks of writing this column is that I get to meet interesting people and do things that are sometimes out of my usual experience.

I've known Alan Bryson for a few years. He and his wife Vicki, both accountants, came to Nelson a few years ago and have been involved in many triathlon, duathlon, running and swimming events.

Always a good runner, Alan competed at county level in Britain, but stopped while at university. The couple then spent a few years working in France before coming to New Zealand seven years ago when Alan was 30.

Encouraged by a workmate, he entered the Nelson Mail Team Triathlon. The event opened his eyes to a new set of sporting challenges and he has gone on to compete in many long-distance events, including Challenge Wanaka and Ironman NZ over a six-week period last summer.

His immersion in sport has led him to consider a career change, so this year he's adding to his accounting and management qualifications by doing Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology's Diploma in Applied Fitness course.

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Sea swim series a perennial favourite

05:00am 19 Sep 2014


There was a time when you could set your clock by regular events on the sports calendar, but now it seems the event landscape is in constant flux, with organisers regularly throwing out new challenges.

I have some regrets about this. I used to look forward to doing the Buller Half Marathon or the Rainbow Rage each year, partly to see if I could go any faster and partly because I remembered what a great time I had last year.

Now I'm not competing so much, I seem to be getting more caught up in organising - something I thought I'd left behind.

As an organiser, one is constantly aware of entry numbers. Is this event attractive enough? Why are numbers down? Why are they up?

If I knew the answers to these questions, I could overcome the fickle nature of human beings and only be involved in events which attracted large numbers of happy competitors.

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