There's an old adage that I try to live by. If you've got nothing good to say, say nothing. So this column is not about farming.
The recent Farmstrong Fit4Farming cycle tour of the country focused on the importance of physical fitness for mental wellbeing. So this column is about fitness.
Two of my Newstalk ZB colleagues, Kerre McIvor and Niva Retimanu, have written books on overcoming their physical demons and running marathons. Anything McIvor writes is well worth a read. She is the Queen of self-deprecating humour.
Retimanu is a newcomer to the literary world and the newsreader with the silky and sultry voice has a great story to tell in her just-released Leading from Behind. I'll let her tell her story but I thought I'd tell mine, in the hope that it might inspire even one of you of the couch.
I retired from senior rugby at 32, when my injections from fullback were starting to have the net effect of slowing down the Riversdale backline rather than speeding it up. My early flirtations with golf confirmed my lack of temperament for that sporting pursuit, so I had to find another. "I know", I thought, "I'll run a marathon".
So there I was in my early thirties, rearing to go. How hard could it be? Quite hard, as it transpired! I'd continually break down in training with either a dodgy hip, dicky knee or shin splints. This pointless pursuit carried on for a dozen or more years.
Then I had my Eureka moment when I finally figured rather than thrashing myself six days a week I could reduce training to just three days but run longer, slower and smarter. Sunday afternoons became a religious lonely vigil. Just me and 21 kilometres of Murray Deaker on my radio Walkman to keep me company.
The other catalyst was some farming mates of mine running the London Marathon in 2005. One of them in particular, was a real inspiration. Ken Dykes, aka the Heddon Bush Playboy, was rumoured to have a permanent indentation on his sofa from his post-lunch siestas. Dammit, if Ken could run one, then so could I.
Before I knew it I was lining up for the 2006 London Marathon. My confidence on the morning of the race was not helped by having breakfast with the most negative marathon-running Pom on the planet. When I fessed up and admitted to lying about my projected finishing time (I'd cut an hour off it so I could start nearer the front of the field than the back) he told me, "you'll get trampled to death by fast runners lad".
At the start line we were corralled into race groups based on speed. I was close to the front. Would I indeed get trampled? I was lined up beside a Dalek from Doctor Who. Surely I could keep up with a man dressed as a robot?
Bang went the starter's gun and we were away. The first few kilometres were a fast blur. I was caught up in a heaving, sweating tidal wave of humanity, pausing only briefly for two nervous pees in vacant lots because I'd over hydrated on the train out to Greenwich Park. This marathon running wasn't so hard after all.
Tower Bridge marks the halfway point of the marathon. I ran past a couple dressed up as a bride and groom. They paused briefly on the world's most iconic bridge while a pastor presided over their wedding ceremony. There was Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Elvis impersonators by the dozen. There was even a centipede made up of about 20 runners under one long canopy.
Just past the half marathon mark, trouble struck. I felt stuffed. How could this be? I'd run this far 100 times on Sundays in training over the previous two years. Salvation presented itself in the form of a slice of pizza. A man dressed as an inverted triangle, took me under his mozzarella-clad wing, his eyes but peepholes in the pepperoni. As a former competitive marathon runner, he told me he now got his kicks from running in an increasingly outlandish and physically challenging outfit.
And just like tough times in farming, the despondency eventually passed, and I was away with a second wind and a wet sail thanks to some inspirational words from a piece of pizza.
While I finished the marathon, I'm not quite sure how to finish this column. But, as my kids would wearily attest, there's bound to be a life lesson in there somewhere for you. Good luck getting off the couch.