Why do I run?

Ten years ago my relationship with running was a suppressed distant school memory.

Asthma attacks. Curled over my knees after arriving third, from last, in the school cross country.

Only weirdos in too-short shorts run, ’cause they have nothing better to do.

The years ago walking was more my speed. That’s all I needed to do to loose those extra KGs that M&S Carbonara, chips, cheese toasties and UK public transport had bestowed upon me right?

Eight years ago, after walking had progressed to striding, striding to jogs, I started changing out of my suit to jog a full lunch hour.

It started to bite. The nice feeling I got after those jogs. A runners high?

But I still liked to bite. Subway, Carbonara and Buttered Chicken.

Lifting my rolls around my ribs to lie on the couch and being 3-5 sizes over my actual waist size was the kicker. That and realising I couldn’t chase my kids down. I didn’t have the stamina to carry them to the car. Oli would need me to carry him, maybe for life.

It hit hard.

Tamara found a diet and we hit back.

A fortnight of meat only eating and sticking to a strict Keto diet for 12 weeks saw me take a 97kg (213 lbs) to 77 kg (170lbs) dive.

The jog became a run. The run’s became two and three times a week day. The runs became a first Half Marathon, an entry in the Auckland Marathon and then the what ifs started:

  • What if I ran 10k every weekend to train for a half?
  • What if I did 4 days running a week?
  • What if I quit drinking and ran instead?
  • What if I ran for 6 hours (12 would be plain stupid, those idiots)?
  • What if I ran two half marathons in a week?
  • What if I ran every day? (still going, we’re at 1050 days and counting today)
  • What if I got a coach?
  • What if I ran 100k in 12 hours (102k)?
  • What if I ran 120k in 12 hours?
    • I couldn’t. Lockdowns broke the build. I collapsed 50k in. A vomiting, heatstroke stricken wreck.
  • What if I run 100k a week for 12 weeks?
  • What if I could run a 65k trail ultra?
  • What if I could run a 3:20 marathon (3:14)?
  • What if I could run a sub 90 half?
  • What if…

The weight loss aid became an addiction to finding breaking points. Pushing limits. Building discipline.

The training is now almost the thing, the journey being more fun than the races.

It rubbed off a home. “Are you really running today?” has become “Have you run yet?”

Tamara has gone from once, twice to three runs a week. She still won’t give up her treadmill, but man does she get angry if it breaks. Il’ya swims 4 hours a week.

Out of the house it’s worse.

Being found by a group or like minded runners the Night Ninjas just compounded matters. The 5 people I spent the most time with all ran most if not everyday, had 5 inch shorts and snuck out at night for runs. Someone mentions a 50k run and every one goes “You’re nuts. What time do we start?”.

The Ninja warm up: running the 8k course before the 21k run, is a thing. Running triple ParkRuns is a thing.

When normal is nuts, you challenge everything. When a race is 3k longer than you thought, 8 stream crossings, and twice as steep – you laugh and embrace it.

When life throws you curve balls, lemons 🍋, or if things get tough, you fall to your disciple and grind it out.

My running why has transitioned.

I ran for weight loss, to escape, to get somewhere.

I run for the friendships, the discomfort and pain that makes you feel alive, and the ‘what ifs’…

Oh yeah, race report for the Waterfront Half Marathon? I ran the Oxfam 100k two weeks before in ~14hrs so wasn’t sure what to expect. 7 ninjas warmed up and had fantastic runs in great conditions.

I wanted sub 90. I ran 1:29:52 on the day.

Hmm… Hey coach, what if I…

Auckland Marathon 2021

With an extra 6 months of anticipation, Matt, Gene and I headed to the start line nice and early for the 2021 Auckland Marathon in Jan ’22.

The added luxury of a car ride to the start line instead of a bus from Albany meant we missed out on all that nervous tension. That tension that compounds as the bus leaves late, stops everywhere and slows to a crawl on Lake Road navigating around cones and parked cars.

After arriving at the start we found others that still had this nervous tension and were on their third portaloo stop, already wondering what heat the day would bring.

To ease the nerves I headed out for an easy 2k warm up where my watch decided that with sticky buttons, it would reset itself.  I resigned myself to the idea that I might actually be running this race to feel, without my watch to check at all.

Thankfully it rebooted for the start as I met Kate, the other GRG Lydiard athlete trained by Maree and Steff. Kate was super excited to finally put her 100k weeks to use in the half, where she smashed her goal time!

I went over my race plan in my head.

I’d run a 3:07 Yasso workout, a 1:34 half in training but after last year’s vomit 🤮 fest at the Sri Chinmoy 12 hrs, I was still nervous about the heat. Coach and I had talked it through Friday and made the the best plan for me. “Don’t overdo it, go to feel, if good push. If hot, button off but don’t give up.” Simple.

What were my goal times you ask?

  • A 3:15
  • B 3:20
  • C ahead of Bryan in the 3:30 pace group to PB.

With that in mind I entered the start chute. We were delayed 5min, and the banter started with Matt, Gene, PJ, Sean and the others in the 3:15 group. Looking forward it was impressive to see the sea of Ninja orange in the 3 hour pack, knowing the pacer and a few others were incognito in their club kits too 💪.

The first K was slow, it was 10 seconds too fast, but it felt slow, as did the second kilometre. This is good I thought. We were chatting and talked about how good it was that there were people out on the sidelines that you can see with a lot smaller field. Starting at this time of year meant you can actually see the bollards in the centre of the road too, rather than tripping on them or sidestepping last minute.

Sean and I watched Matt start to pull away ahead of us, two stepping us even in race mode, as we headed down to Narrow Neck Beach. I told Sean I’d ease it up the first bit as I knew it flattened off. We could hear Gene and PJ maybe 20 or 30 metres back, as they called out the approaching aid station. We grab a cup, I get two good sips and we head up Lakeside. We’re speeding up, but it still feels ok.

We comment it’s fast and try to contain ourselves, Sean is happy holding back to the pace, I’m happy and it’s not a stretch yet. A short guy next to us joins in saying he’s hoping for sub 3 (😂) he pulls ahead on a hill then comes back to us, saying he should’ve just stayed with us. We drop him in the U turn extension before the second aid station.

I grab the first of my bottles and we smile for Rachel and the other Kellys cheering as we round the corner at Smales Farm. The hairpin is tight and we pick it up a little in the bus way. Sean drops his energy ball bag, seems they’re important so he doubles back and has to catch up.

We discuss the bridge. “I’m in no hurry” was said affirmatively by Sean. I agreed and we try to take the tightest lines until we’re there. Out in the open the sun hits us for the first time, but there’s a cooling breeze, it’s ok for now.

I use the same line I have in the last four Auckland Marathons, “I’m not $#&@ing going to Bash The Bridge” as we approach the sign. We ease off and about 7 or so runners come past us as we head over the bridge slowing by about half a minute for the kilometre. I can’t help myself and half way down the other side I stride out to recuperate 40 seconds and take about 10 places.

I barely feel Shelly Beach hill (nothing compared to Waiwera) and we’re into the aid station for my second bottle.

We start a great rhythm along the flat as I drink the bottle over two Ks. Sean picks up a bottle on either side of the Silo park loop and we enjoy the shade through to Parnell baths. A cup of water down my back, anticipating the heat rising.

As we head over the slight rise near Hobson point, Greg is on the left and lets out a reassuring “Whoa Sean and Nick, go lads”. Sounding like he was surprised at us, a good 90 seconds ahead of 3:15 pack at this stage.

I check in with Sean if he wants to push ahead as I’m starting to feel the heat near Kelly Tarlton’s.  He’ll hold off until the turnaround so we keep at it till then. Like the cricket players Jones and Crowe in ’91, we’d double centuried by now and 6s were becoming 4s. We were still swinging but playing a little safe.

Solid Partnership Mate!

My hamstrings hint at cramps, I really start to feel my calves as Ninjas are appearing coming back the other way. We’re greeting Brent who had a cheery reply for us both by name (he’s looking composed).

(Lads forgive me if I get this order wrong now)

Next is Ben, looking in pain, and pretty silent. We give Seamus a massive shout to make is dad proud. Then Wade, Brad and Mark with some great shouts.

Not much after it’s Matt coming back at us shirtless, and it’s time to let Sean kick ahead from the turnaround at St Heliers.

I can’t kick with him.

I’d spotted my bottle on the way out right at the back of the Mission Bay table. So with noone in the way, I go inside the table grabbing with my right hand then quickly sidestepping around the first volunteer and his proffered cup of water.

That pings all the muscles in my right leg. I walk a couple of steps then settle in behind another runner for shelter, it’s not quite the pace I need but I’m hot, and can’t hear Gene yet.

We round Kelly Tarlton’s, I can start to hear Gene. It’s Okahu bay, I’ve slowed.

He’s in fine pep talk form and eggs me on as we can see Matt, our target, so off we go. I still can’t hold the 4:36 I need, despite the pep talk. My heart’s pounding now (in the 190s) as we head up the final rise at Mechanic’s Bay. I walk a few steps.

Gene and the sole 3:15 pack remainder are pulling away but a friend of Gene’s, who’s out biking is my new cheerleader. “You’ve got this Nick, get back to Gene, use the downhill”. I’m maxed out and have another 10 pace walk and think, get to the aid station. I know my drink is there, it’ll refesh me. I rally.

Gene’s not having a bar of me not making 3:15. He’s standing sentry at the drinks, waiting for me, shouting me in.  He slaps me between the shoulder blades, knocking the “wimp” out if me. I start running.

He’s in full Gene Goggins Mode. Actually, David would take it easier.

  • My form is good he says.  I feel myself pumping my arms and legs spazzing.
  • You’ve got this he says. I’ve got nothing above this gear, I think. 
  • I’m half running with my eyes closed and it feels like a final 800 metre rep.
  • To the corner he shouts.  I push to the corner. In the shade it feels better, ever so slightly.

I tell myself that last drink is giving me energy and I can breathe at the finish. My heart hits 202 bpm somewhere around here.

We zig zag, PJ and Gene telling me “It’s yours, you’re there, you’re gonna smash it”.

We round the final right and someone in the crowd shouts go Ninja. I’m still not sure where the time is. I push, my legs buckle a little going over the planks and I can hear a couple screaming “Go Nick, Go Nick, Go Nick”.

I sprint and look up, it’s a 14 in the middle. Yeahhhhhh I cross the finish.

It’s a 3:14:09.

It sinks in. Even with the heat, I’ve only lost 2:45 in the last half.

There it is, a solid race day, snuck in and not even complete, before we switch back to Red🚦 light COVID norms.

Now, what’s next?

Kauri Ultra 68

Pat, Rich and I jumped into the truck on Friday at 15:30 with provisions, vaseline,  a munitions can and more white powder than Miami in the 80’s.

To translate: our food, anti chaffe, rations container and 2kgs of electrolyte powder.

Steff had already left at midday for his accommodations in Whitianga, so after 2 hours of trying to cross Auckland we were on our way to Thames. The traffic was well past typical Friday thick. My back is getting progressively worse as we sat there. It twinged when I reached down for most of the weekend.

The one up side of all this traffic was that we were able to run through our checklist. Noting we were missing OSM bars and lycra undershorts for Richard.

At around 7pm we pulled into Thames and Richard grabbed some dirt cheap shorts  from a quality specialist red running store 🏬 , The Warehouse (our local bargain store) – what could go wrong with changing something on race day?

Having carb loaded with Steff inspired Ultra Running Fuel (McDonalds) we left and headed up the coast. An uneventful hour of driving in the dark with the coast beside us until we barrel up to a cow in the middle of the road about 10 minutes out of coromandel town. Breaking, swearing, then carrying on, we spend 10 minutes trying to find the school and carpark for check-in. We head to our accomodation.

Pre race banter, a beer and bed 🛏️.

Race Day

4am, we wake and Richard proudly models his new shorts. Quite chuffed with his purchase.

We put our numbers on and start walking with plenty of time to spare to the start.

3/4 of the way there I remember my watch which is still on the charger. 🤦‍♂️. I run the km back down to the start line just in time for the 5:15 briefing and to get my heart pumping.

Turns out we have two Tail End Charlie’s as it’s too far for one to do, which is where it starts to sound ominous. They explain the extra 3k – ish distance today and it’ll be about 68k, a bonus 3k (at the front, thankfully). Yes!

They turn on all of our emergency locator beacons for the first time and explain the I’m lost button and SOS medical emergency button. Then with an air horn to wake the neighbourhood, we’re off up a hill.

Richard heads off with the first group of 4 or 7 and Pat, Steff and I aren’t too far behind starting off ‘easy’ (still way too fast).

We finished this relatively groomed town section and pop out on the road near Driving Creek.  We start up the road to Colville and of course missed the right turn onto the gravel road. We back-track 400m and head up towards old Coville Road.

It’s dawn and Steff spots the first water stop. No food/people but as Steff says right then “Never pass up water”.

About a k  later the first technical part starts where we’re climbing over old railway girders and over streams that seem to have washed away the track. Super fresh as the race director had been out 2 days earlier chopping back foliage and cutting the path. Steff kicks ahead slightly, so Pat and I make our way through trying to avoid twisting feet and knees.

We take turns in tribute, tripping first or watching the other trip. We pass 3 and Pat asks if the older looking one is over 50, reassuring he was dominating his class. (The Japanese dude was in minimal flat shoes and the stones were sharp!)

We hit the first aid station and Steff is there munching a banana. We all leave together around 18 to 24th with three others. It’s downhill here with pine needles cushioning and great for Steff and I, Pat’s getting into too even if he says he’s not for downhills. Across a couple of streams and an airstrip, through some farmland before heading back up to 300m in about 3k.

It’s the White Star aid station.  We hit the same spot on the way back from the beach loop later.

The climb to White Star, pre Bull and Bee

About here, Steff gets a bee 🐝 sting. Neither of us agree to suck it out. Steff calls us names and jokingly questions our friendship . The girl with us gets nervous and drops back…

Steff, post sting looking incredibly unfazed and happy to be alive..

As we jumped the barbed wire fence, another crew are coming back up on the wrong side of it, having run 500 metres into the valley. There’s a whole bunch of swearing and they’re on a mission to get down to the beach. So I lock in and charge down behind the hot stepping first place female, her cadence so fast, jumping the holes and roots as I fumble to find my footing.

We cross the short plain and arrive at the halfway aid station, the beautiful Waikawau Beach. I leave first wanting to eat my sandwich and walk a bit. I’m wondering how good Richard is doing.

NOOOOOO, Richard! He pulls in behind us having added a 30/40 minute Hill repeat to his arrival at the beach. My face said what Rich was feeling apparently. %$#&.

Assessing he was still ok, Rich takes a picture with each of us and then runs up the beach as we walk and his 500m lead extends, He disappears into the stream section.

It’s here as we cross the same $%#!$& stream about 6 times, that Pat tries to remove his lower leg from his knee about 5 times, having fallen and twisted it once on the decent to the beach. After some concerned moments Steff and I, in true “Top Gear” form, leave Pat struggling up the hill, and struggle up ourselves not much faster.

I shout back every 10mins and Pat replies. He’s not too far away when we get clear on the ridge-line. I can see the second place female and a guy I ran down to the beach with (photo above). I figure I might catch them at the aid station. I get there and try to be fast, but my bottle had a hole so I switch it and carry on as Steff pulls in. The four of us are 11-14th and expect Pat’s not far away.

Climb 4, back up to 1000 feet.

Little did we know Pat was trying to loop back to the beach for a k or so, just so he could pass the ‘Japanese flat shoe man’, ‘v boy’ and ‘Bill Oddy’, twice!

I push on and up the clay fire breaks. They go up and down 50 or 100m about 7 times. Some slippery. All of them steep as heck.

It’s hot. I’m out of water and Tailwind at the 4th ascent. I spray cramp stop. I eat Cramp Eaze capsules dry, and get into the second to last aid station 10th. I check and the next three are about 8 minutes in front. The guy at the station says “You’re tall, it’s downhill to the next one. Stride it out, maybe you’ll get them”.

So I do, managing a 5:30min/k and passing two to 8th as I leave the last station. I shouted to the road marshal as I top up with R-line (electrolytes) and he said the next runner was about 5 minutes ahead (Richard, who was actually 10mins ahead). So I down a gel and push up the gravel section thinking it’s the last ‘up’ before the downhill.

It darn well isn’t. Rich is now about 5 mins ahead of me but I can’t see him for the rolling root fest that is the next 20 minutes of hell. Wet, steep, technical stuff with mine shafts either side until the trig.

Little did I know Rich is splayed out on the ground entertaining the female walkers, having cramped as he extended on one of the descents. He’s love/hating it right now. It’s just the stuff he likes and just the cramps he doesn’t need. His new underwear have also rubbed raw what doesn’t need rubbing by now (his attempt to remedy with vaseline on the fire breaks, just rubbed salt in the wounds, literally). 😯.

He picks himself up to high tail it home, pulling up beside 6th who chats then (like he’s only run a half marathon) drops the hammer on him to sprint home.

I’m struggling and Chloe comes past me like a Springbok bounding up and down. Her feet (tiny in comparison) fitting in the footholds as I grab at every Ponga, vine and Manuka tree I can. She is well ahead. We clear the trig and it’s runnable. Yes!

You drop from 550m/1500 feet to almost sea level in 3 kilometers. It’s glorious but so is the pain building in my Quads, back and knees. Double Yes, I see gravel and the road so I give it a last kick to see if I can claw back the minutes Chloe gained on me at the trig. A nice 4:44min/k and as I wade out of the waist deep stream (think I found a hole).

Over the rise I can see her about 100m ahead (with 300 to go) and try to catch her. Too little, too late. I’m 9th, by 23 seconds.

But, a glorious day out. So much fun, So much pain, So much vert. Now where’s that ultra calendar website…

Ultimate metrics
Distance: 68km/42miles
Climb: 2553m/8375 feet
Burn: 7563 calories.
Fuel: Two Gels, Three PB Sandwiches, 5 litres of water and 24 scoops of Tailwind.

Strava link for those keen to explore the map and terrain

Pat, first Vet
Steff, sprint finish
All prepped.
LTR: Nick, Pat, Rich, Steff.

Delegate or DELETE

Athlete, Actor and Artist, Bruce Lee embodied the growth mindset and was always looking for ways to improve and increase his performance. That said, he was ever conscious of the baggage that he carried forward through life. He was constantly looking for ways to remove the unessential. 

“It is not daily increase but daily decrease, hack away the unessential. The closer to the source, the less wastage there is.”

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee applied this idea primarily to his martial art, but he also applied it in life —moving towards simplicity of movement, thought, and being. Cutting away everything that isn’t essential, and restraining our impulse to keep adding on and accumulating.

Running, is all about elimination

Physically, as a runner I always consider the fine balance of lean muscle to weight. The stronger my legs are, the faster I can run. Yet the more strength training I do the heavier my legs get. I don’t skip leg day, but you won’t find me bench pressing 100kgs or even doing heavy leg presses.

On long runs, I take nutritional drinks in my backpack that replace the need to eat, they’re mixed with water, so I process them faster and don’t need to stop for drinks, and I layer so that I don’t have to stop to get changed. A series of optimisations that give me seconds and minutes of advantage on race day.

The last thing we work on is eliminating pain. It’s a constant battle in recovery, with foam rollers, massage and dry needling all having varying degrees of effectiveness. In the race, it’s the nagging companion you do your best to ignore, try to bury, then embrace to drive you to the finish. It’s there where you can finally pay pain lip service and get ready to do it all again.

Watch for shiny things in business

In business a relentless growth mindset and focus on profits can have you chasing the next shiny thing, adding new lead generation platforms, multiple marketing and sales channels, new features and new products for your customers.

Delegate and focus on your expertise

Focusing on what you’re good at and enjoy and delegating tasks that are unimportant will not only accelerate progress, but with the right selections improve your work day. Call it specialisation, or T-shaped knowledge and skills. Keep an awareness of the latest developments and trends in your realm and sphere of influence in order to measure the effectiveness of your delegation then go deep where you can have the greatest impact.

“Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old.”

Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

DELETE the unnecessary

So often we hang on to activities that are giving us results but also weighing us down. Take a hard look at your daily or weekly “To-Do” list and add a “To-Don’t” or two.

Are you keeping a customer for revenues sake who is a pain in the neck, taking up loads of time with support? Are you using a marketing channel that brings that type of lead, just to keep the optics/metrics/growth curve looking good?

Brutal hard deletes like the above are the goal, but maybe some substitutions can get you rolling. Here’s a list of new deletes and replacements that have cropped up in 2020

  • Business trips – Zoom
  • Movies – Netflix
  • Office space – work from home
  • Mailing or faxing documents and contracts – use FileInvite

Do your own review. Let me know what you’ve deleted this year to make space for growth, your family, your business goals, your life goals, and your wellbeing.

Hard And Early, Out Of Lockdown, Game On!

New Zealand is preparing to exit lockdown and return to a resemblance of normality.

We’ll forgo the hugs and high fives we want to give teammates, my pack training runs will have to wait a bit longer, but shops will reopen, and we’ll get back to some of our old routines.

Kids will return to school


But I’ll miss weekday family breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Something we’d never managed to accomplish pre-covid.

We’ve been working, but those who couldn’t work from home, join us.

Retail, services, hospitality and tourism in its new form can start to piece things back together. It’s a fantastic time to reprioritise. Re-evaluate priorities and what will be the new normal.

There’s plenty of opportunity

The world will be watching to some extent, as we’re the class that the teacher let out to play after the rain. Everyones gonna be envious, and looking out the window. If we make it all muddy, the others will blame us for their teacher keeping them back longer. Time to keep it green and impress with our playground moves!

Fundamentals haven’t changed. Solid solutions, to your client’s big problems, still win.

At FileInvite, our Go Back To Market plan is executing on more of the same tech that’s powering professionals to collect sensitive documents remotely. We’re already seeing that barriers are falling globally and that in the software space, being local is less of an issue.

Here’s some thoughts from a marketing perspective

1. Use your Zoom skills, and ability to focus on needle moving activities, to your advantage. The last months haven’t been distraction free at home. Finding big levers to shift the needle has been even more important. I’d also say: chase big wins, even if they’re on the other side of the world, or local clients you thought you were too small to tackle.

2. The advertising space has had a massive shake up. Being one of the first countries exiting lockdown gives New Zealand a great First Mover Advantage. With Travel and Hospo adjusting, I think we’ll see some big changes in ROI.

3. Marketing with conviction and a compelling value prop will be key. There’s going to be a lot of all nighters as the winning teams, the ones that will have money to spend, are going to be busy earning, building their businesses back up they’ll want no nonsense or no fuss solutions.

4. I also hope we’ll see some quality creative and something different to the current loop of: “Now more than ever, in these challenging/difficult times, we’re here for you, it’s about the people, united in our separation, and thanking our front line staff, (who help you buying our stuff)”.

And a little less unprecedented unprecedentedness please.

What about you?

How are you? Can I help with anything? How have your priorities shifted?

Is your Hubspot COS website GDPR/Cookie consent compliant?

Here’s a Google Tag Manager and Hubspot quick fix!

Under the Cookies, GDPR, and ePrivacy Directive – GDPR.eu websites serving EU visitors need to ensure that users opt in to receiving tracking cookies on their device.

This means adding an acceptance or opt out button to your website that will set a single cookie declaring if a visitor has opted out of cookies or not.

Often little or nothing changes when a visitor declines cookies on a website. Cookies are still active, and third-party scripts are being loaded – this level of non compliance, if caught carries a hefty fine.

What are Tracking pixels and cookies?

Tracking pixels allow you to “cookie” or record a visitor to your site. You can learn about their behaviours though analytics platforms, and match their user profile to other platforms or services that offer advertising.

EG, a Facebook pixel on a website allows you to remarket to a visitor and show them an advert on facebook that relates to their visit to your website.

Tracking pixels are best managed through a tag manager like Google’s GTM, as by placing one line of code into your website you can easily manage and control what universal pixels and conversion pixels are fired by what actions or which pages of your website.

Without a tag manager, it can be difficult to track a users journey and to measure conversion to specific goal events – like purchasing a product.

Without triggers, it is hard to switch advertising off, or progress advertising down a path.

Google Tag Manager

In the simplest setup you create tags – a bundled up pixel code, and triggers to make them appear.
A trigger can be as simple as visit any page, or as complex as clicked on a specific link, read an article or downloaded an item.

Google Tag Manager + Exceptions for GDPR

A little handy tool within Google Tag Manager is exceptions to triggers.

If we create an exception trigger, related to our website visitors opting out of cookies, we can then block off all other triggers – therefore remove all other cookies and tracking pixels.

Google Tag Manager + GDPR + Hubspot

Hubspot has a convenient cookie banner module. It allows you to create an opt it banner for your visitors which will set the only cookie you can pass to them, a cookie declaring if they have accepted or opted out of cookies.

Here’s the BUT.

On the back end, the module only switches off Hubspot’s universal tracking codes, so if you have Google Tag Manage enabled, we’ll need to create that exception to switch off the rest of your pixels in Google Tag Manager.

Hubspot’s cookie that’s used to keep track of the visitor’s choice, is an _opt_out_cookie with the value “yes”.

We’ll use this as the exception to block our tags.

Step one, create a new variable in Google Tag Manager that will contain the value of the cookie.

  • click Variables in the left hand menu and at the bottom find User-Defined Variables
    click new.
  • In the pop-up that appears, choose “1st Party Cookie”
  • Give the variable a name and enter the name of the cookie you are going to read

Step two, create a new trigger

The variable we just created will now be used in a new trigger. A trigger listens on your page (or app) to certain types of events: forms that are sent, clicking on buttons, loading a page. A trigger also ensures that a tag is loaded or blocked when certain conditions are met or just not.

  • Under Triggers, choose > New
  • In the pop-up choose the type ‘Page view’ and then choose “some page view”

We set up our trigger as follows:

  • In the first field select our newly created variable __hs_opt_out
  • In the middle field we have chosen “contains”
  • In the right field we entered “yes”

If there is no cookie called “hs_opt_out_cookie” or if the cookie contains “yes”, the trigger will fire as an exception and block the other triggers.

Step three, add your newly create trigger as an exception to all the tags you are currently firing.

As a final check, use the preview function of Google Tag Manager and check your changes with an incognito tab of your browser, where the cookie opt out prompt is still yet to be triggered or set.

Your site should now have no tracking enabled, when a user opts out of cookies.


Auckland Marathon 2019

With the 12hr done, my last long race of the year is the Auckland Marathon. A very different event. Brutal, but fun.

Two weeks out I had a terrible 10k run, was struggling from the second kilometer. I felt tanked coming up a hilly section and had to button off to walking pace. I ground to a stop at 8 k and had to rest before heading back to the car.

I thought I had no stamia for 10k, let alone 42, until I realised that I hadn’t had lunch that day and was running on a series of 5 hours sleep nights.

Pre race week was supposed to be simple MAF/Zone 4 5k runs to Saturday, but… Wednesday felt really great running with the lads for an estuary lap so did 8k at around 4:43 pace.

Start Line

Shape Shifter, In Colour is playing at full volume and I check my watch is ready and see my heart rate clicking up each second. The starter hooter sounds and we’re off.

About 1300 people behind us and 300 ahead.

Out and up the hills feels fine. Left calf is painful, much like it was at the start of the 12 hr. Put it down to nerves. I miss the first aid station as its a mess of grabbing and pro offered cups.

At Takapuna I think of Greg’s Gel protocol and get my first one in the mouth and stupidly swirl with it. It’s everywhere and my mouth is dry as. I try to crack a joke about our Kipchoge slipstream V pacers being missing and everyone’s too focused.

We chop through the new extra bit – pre Smales Farm and I figure I need water so jostle to the inside. Get a cup of water, get two good sips in but doesn’t feel like enough.

I figure I need a good drink before the bridge, so from Smales to Akoranga I kick slight ahead of the pacer to give myself a clear solid grab on a right side water.

I stay just ahead of him until the bridge, cutting the tangents through the corners to minimise distance.

The Bridge

Pacer says we have time on the bridge and we go over at 5:13 pace and I Croft a few on the way to Shelly Beach road, and push ahead to be clear for the next aid station and have my gel.

I swallow mouthfulls and it works loads better but a little dude who’s fallen of his pace ahead of me heads left, then right, then left, then right for the water table in front of me.

I have to grab both his shoulders to save leapfrogging him or getting buried under the pack bearing down on us. I get clear and grab a Powerade.

We’re good from here out and round the shorter section – missing the tank farm this year and we peel left to some thunderous cheers from volunteers and crowds near Victoria Park.

Onto Quay street and the mental “ticked off the half” hits quite a few. I pick up 40 spots before the 25K. Some were almost hyperventilating and I could feel myself starting to pick up my breath in sympathy.

I start to compose, and have another Gel before the aid station pre Okahu Bay. Felling pretty good. Pace is good. I start to decide what I can shout at Mark and Steffan who I figured I’d see any second coming through with the 3 hour pacers . We get out past Kelly Tarlton’s aquarium and I manage a “Go Ninja” for both and go mate for three others I spot before the turnaround.

I clear the turnaround and there’s no dread yet. I feel it coming into Mission bay and looking at my watch (like a rookie) I think I can let the pacer go a little as I gotta nail this aid station. I get a good grip, clamp, sip, get going and keep rolling.

A few shouts to the 3:45, 4:00 and 4:15 pacers – Super supportive, wonderful people, but why do they have to be people I know and need to respond to. I wasn’t up to talking at that point. I fade slightly and it is this segment that costs me 20 seconds.

I get a second wind here as we approach Hobson Bay and the lights. I chat for 5 minutes up and over the little rise with a South African who talks about the Comrades pacers needing to be a few min ahead so the back of the pacer pack makes it on time. I get a boost as he sounds real fresh and I think we can go for 5 together.

I’m about to ask him and he spurts out “I’m done my legs are dead”. He bails and a whole bunch are tanked in the headwinds and start walking.

I add another 20 to the tally from here to the last aid station where my watch hits 41.6 and I think I’ve got 12 mins to do less than a kilometer on my watch (it can’t be more than 2 course KM surely?). I walk through the last aid station and get a two handed grip on a water then choke on a Powerade.


My heart rate zooms as I try to pick the pace back up and stop coughing blue stuff.

I loose two spots here to guys through the aid station and do what I feels like a sprint from the Council (Vodafone) building to the finish, happy that there’s a good partition between the 21k walkers and those running to finish the marathon this time.


3:31:40 on the clock. 3:31:20 net and 43k on my watch. With a PB to the half I knew I’d struggle to negative split so super happy with this and the fact that my Split rank for my last 4 splits was about 40 – 60 spots ahead of my race rank.


Official Results

Waiting to sign up for next year. 😁

Next steps are:

  • Recover
  • Work on aid station speed and cup skills
  • Time gel intakes better
  • Practice cornering in packs
  • More speed work to increase pace
  • More long runs in practice (106k is long but I didn’t get enough 21+ k runs in before the event)
  • Set next race and targets.

PS. If you’re considering the Auckland Marathon half or full next year. Mark Patterson (Stellar bloke and runner) has a fantastic break down of the first 21.1 Kilometers here:


Sri Chinmoy 12hr Race Report

A departure from marketing and management to record one of my recent passions, running.

In July I was invited to join a group of enthusiastic amateur runners, dads that fit running in around their kids, work and life called the Night Ninjas. The orange and black top, I wear with pride. We may not be Eulid, but we sure as heck give running our all.

Day before

The Friday lunch run saw a gamut of nervous pings, cramps and ankle clicks as I tried to get my 5k in for the day early and get off my feet.  I used memory position number two on the standing desk for the first time for a good 5 of the 8 hours at work. I tried to get off my feet as much as possible.
(Number two = sitting. ‘Cause you know, you stand for number ones, sit for number twos. #dadjokes). 

Also picked up some running shorts with linings as I was worried about chaffing.
I heard an ultra audio book earlier in the week talk about how he borrowed some girl pants to meet the mandatory long pants/thermals gear requirement in Europe and the seam (only in girls pants) nearly cleft his pair in two!   😨

Pre race

Beef brisket for dinner, porridge breakfast and into the car to pick up ice for the chilly bin. Heading down the motorway its spitting on the windscreen. S#@%.  I turn off at Constellation Drive and there’s a hole in the clouds over the track 👍. Apart from 30 seconds mid morning, it didn’t rain at all, a blessing from the chafe spirits.

Pup tent up, chilly bin on, food laid out  👍 I say hi to the crazy old walking fulla while he has his pre race cigarette and puts his Bob Marley wig on. 

A moment’s silence for Sri Chinmoy and transcendental running bookends our preparation.

Race Start

We’re off. I keep with Brad Luiten (fellow Night Ninja, super fast half marathoner in recovery) for the first .004 meters and then let him go. He’s running his own race and all.
I Keep telling myself to slow down. (I know I’m slow, but I knew I needed to be slower to last).  I run a 1 hour 50 minute half. 20 minutes ahead of last year (at the 6 hour event) but think ok, I’ll bank the ks.

A pee stop and three kids purees later, 3:55 marathon. 35 mins up on last year and I feel good. I reward myself with a walk for 3 laps, then run a bit more cause I want the 50 in 5. Done. And then mega urge to pee straight after.

Black Tea

Thought I’d been drinking enough at every 4/5k but its brown like black tea. I start sipping electrolytes every 5 laps, then 3, hoping I can clear things up – literally.  
I try to run but feel like I’m going to pee myself. I decide to walk it off and see what happens. Drinking electrolytes every lap helps.

About here I unlapped myself one lap from Brad, once. Was awesome to have him giving me a pat on the shoulder every now and then as he passed, but he’d put in a massive effort and buttoned off, just for that bit, as he hit 60k.

He picked it back up (too fast for me). I eat a kids custard. 
Thomas Watson had slowed enough by now that I tagged onto him to get to 60 kilometers in 6 hour. He’s tall so we took turns as wind breaks for each other, good chat.

Thanks to Daniel , Oscar, Stu-Pj , Richard, Gene and Stuart,  with encouragement, Ninja TV, Pies and Jellytips which all gave energy or motivation to run harder.  👍

65k in I take a long lap for third Kumara and mash and a relieving-ly clear pee. I feel the two toe blisters starting to move around and squishing. Cramp spray every 4k turns to every 4 laps. It’s not working, I start marching.

I call my wife to check on her and kids, while i start to march a few laps.I tell her I’ll be here ‘til at least 10:30pm as I run the numbers and start to doubt I’ll finish in time.

I Get emotional.

Why the heck did I do 12hs?

Turns out he was a real rabbit.

I’m tired. Maybe if I can’t make 100 in 12, I can lap the outside till I get it done, maybe. I said I’d be home around 10:30pm, right?

I see this bunny on the grass inside the track.

I Ignore him. Laps later, he’s still there.

I try and work out if I’m ahead of the female 12 hour racers. It takes me 6 laps to see that on the scoreboard. I realise that I haven’t been acknowledging my counters. S#%, did they get me those last laps? (they did).

Then a lady in front sees the bunny too.  I tell her I’ll take a picture to see if it’s real.

It is.

Dunno if I can, need rest.

75k I eat the pie Richard brought me. Can feel the vegan Sri Chinmoy-ers envy/disdain.
Mince is awesome. Pastry lines my mouth, dry. I down three cokes, sorted.

Might get the 100

I test the legs, cramps still there at top of calves, bottom of hamstrings but I want to see if it flares up or is just bearable. I start doing the maths on marching it out to 100k. I’m gonna fall short, heel blisters squish, but don’t want waist time checking them. I’m thinking: the march is working, speed up a little, keep moving.

If I sit down. I won’t get up. Like those guys there, who were sitting the last three lap.

Can’t do this

The cramps start to ping on long strides.
I try to run a couple, walk a couple around 88 , 90 and 92. Cramps get unbearable with any speed. I’m on pace by my watch but short on lap count by two, I think. I take a gel. March hard. Take 3x the RDA of cramp spray. Take another gel 6 laps later as the first tasted good. 

100k – It’s on

I get a lap count and need ten to get the 100.
Gene counts me in from five and I risk pace. Cramps are building but bearable. I run the final three laps, then and 2 kilometers more to get it done. Who cares if I pop blisters now.

I land after the burpee and kneel for a second. I catch my breath and realise I’m done. I get happy its over. Everything hurts. The cramps are now in my abs, lats, quads, hammys, calves and toes.

Blisters all busted I swagger over to the finish and celebrate.

I then spend 45 mins packing up the tent and gear like 102 is my age.

Sunday. Jandal 5k

I jalk (Jog and walk) out 1.5 kilometers after warming u with a 3 kilometer walk with the kids in jandals to keep my running streak.  
Monday, a slow 5k and its back to #5keveryday and thinking of what’s next 😃




My CPA Calculator For Marketing Activities

If you’re like me and into agile marketing, you might find this tool handy to calculate the true CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) of any marketing initiative.

For a digital marketing initiative there will be a number of figures you will need to consider when weighting up ROI, and working out how much of a priority a certain activity should be.

Typically you will have figures for:

  • Traffic, recipients or impressions
  • Open Rates
  • Click Thru Rates
  • Trial Rates
  • Trial to Paid Rates
  • Cost or CPM (Cost per thousand impressions)

But also remember the frictional costs of an activity, the creative costs and make some kind of calculation around your time spent in the shower coming up with ideas.

You could also use an ICE score to rate and compare the activities beyond just cost.

ICE standing for:

  • Impact
    Could this compound, be replicated, be pivotal, be influencial, be ‘viral’?
    1= one off, 10 = compounding hypergrowth
  • Confidence
    How confident are you in the data and your assumptions
    1 = Faulty Towers, 10 = Four Seasons
  • Ease
    How easy is this to do?
    1 = will take an army, 10 = child’s play

Have a look at what this might look like. Give my calculator a try:



Daily Journaling Template

In work and in life I’ve tried to follow a continuous beta mantra.
Always be testing, upgrading and improving.

\\ This is a sidestep from my classic business and marketing posts, but bear with me.

One thing I’ve been trying lately is daily journaling. I haven’t perfected it and I use an alarm still to prompt me every morning to do it.

It’s a practice that many of the world leaders, smart investors and creatives use to improve. Of those interviewed for Tim Ferris’ book Tools of Titans, a majority had daily practices of: journaling, meditation, waking early, physical activity and shocks to the system (either intermittent fasting or cold water immersion).

The book’s a good read BTW, or digest each podcast for the whole story, uncategorised.

Here’s a little video with the details (sorry if you’ve seen this on IGTV)

We often get quite granular with our KPIs and goals, but how often do we really review what’s working?

Here’s the template I use as a prompt.

Journaling Template

What went well
What am I grateful for and what went well yesterday I can be proud of and replicate.

Today’s three
Things that if I get them done will move the needle

  1. _
  2. _
  3. _

Today’s experiment
What am I going to try today. Something new.

What didn’t work? What do I need to follow up? What can I celebrate? Who should I connect with and connect to someone?

What can I share that I’ve found useful?

Hope you guys find this useful.
Let me know if you’ve got a Journaling tip, habit or continuous beta effort in play.

Versions for you: