Thursday, 5 March 2015


I watched this video this morning.  Then I cried for over an hour. #vegan

Friday, 27 February 2015


I love running.  I especially love running in the early morning - it's invigorating, there's less traffic, it's not too hot, and it leaves you full of energy for the rest of the day.  So why then, can I not make myself get out of bed to do it?  Especially when I know perfectly well that I will have exactly zero opportunity to run during the day for the rest of the week, or over the weekend, unless I use the treadmill?  I have no answer to this.  My week has been one of sheer laziness.  Sure, I got stuck into my study and completed a couple of weeks work in a couple of days, and I did most of my housework (not that you can even tell now), but I have not run since Sunday, and my diet this week has been crammed full of junk.  Blech.  Well, to be fair, it has been interspersed with healthy vegan noms:

Blueberry oatcakes (I substituted apple sauce and tofu for the zucchini)

Chia pancakes with banana and peanut maple syrup (these were seriously amazeballs)

Cauliflower tabbouli, almond, rocket, roasted tomato sauce and cashew tzatziki with zucchini fritters from Misters - my new fave cafe.  I love love love their cashew milk coffees!  Although this time I had a cashew hot chocolate.

Hmmm, maybe not so healthy, but super yum!  Bought this at The Cruelty Free Shop - Botanical Cuisine frozen cashew yoghurt.

Zucchini noodles with a creamy sauce, sun dried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, capers, olives and herbs, and a coconut and raspberry o-ball for 'dessert', from The Raw Kitchen

I usually start the day eating healthy, then it starts to go downhill about mid-afternoon.  Kinda like this:

What can I say?  I like to eat :)

I did have a good run last Sunday that I rather enjoyed despite it being so wet we may as well have been swimming...  We ran from Constable Road to Bethells Beach and back again, about 22km in total with about 1,260m elevation gain, in just over four hours total.  It was a good day for a run.

Berries and gorse

Looking back towards Muriwai

Looking towards Bethells (hidden around the coastline), watching the rain come in

Clay formations

Bethells Beach

Starting to lose the ability to take pictures, because my phone screen and hands are too wet to be able to fully cooperate

Oh look, more rain...

I wanted to get a picture of the cool patterns in the water from the turbulence in the waves, but couldn't get the camera to focus.  It was at this point I decided to give up - the camera lense had fogged on the inside!

Deane is away all weekend on a fishing trip with a few of his mates.  They left this afternoon, and won't get back until Sunday.  I'm a little bummed about it, not because he's going to be away all weekend, but because it means I can't go car shopping until he gets back.  Sad face.

I've become a little OCD recently, since finding out that I can get my very own car all to myself.  Not brand spanking new, oh no, but new for me.  And all for me.  Which means no Deane mess, no food in the car (because I say so), no having to readjust the seat every time, no getting deafened by a ridiculously loud radio stuck on talk back stations whenever you turn the car on, no rubbish collecting in the foot wells, no ever-growing collection of random assorted items in the boot... Oh, I am so looking forward to it!  I have developed a spreadsheet of all the cars of interest on Trade Me, listing the year, make, model, odometer reading, colour, interior type, engine rating, WOF/registration, important features, and current asking price so I can compare them.  It's slightly less obsessive than what I was doing previously, which was keeping numerous tabs open on the desktop and refreshing them periodically so I could a) ogle the pictures of the pretty cars, and b) check to see if it had sold yet.  Yep, I'm a weirdo...  New car, squee!!!

I've also been pretty busy with knitting lately.  Since last post, I have completed a pair of long mittens, two hats, and half a pair of socks.

Boot socks (one of, currently working on the other), knit in Southlander, 'oatmeal' and 'java bracken'.  These are going to be super cozy in winter!!

Up close with the chunky knits! Bella's Eclipse Hat, also knit in Southlander 'oatmeal' and 'java bracken'.  I knit two of these - one for me, and one for my BFF.

So this weekend, since Deane is away and I have no driveable car, there will be knitting, classic Doctor Who (nearly finished the William Hartnell years!), Harry Potter, and maybe a little bit of assignment work.  Pyjama weekend!!!  Bring me all the wine and chocolate!  Have a good one, peeps :)

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Something other than running

I didn't get out onto the trails this weekend.  I got up early on Sunday morning, packed my gear, taped my knee, ate a healthy and filling breakfast, texted Martin to say I was in, and waited.  And waited.  He slept in, and we ended up not going.  I would've gone myself, but I had no other way of getting there.  You see, Deane managed to write off our car recently.  In a car park.  With no other traffic around.  I guess it's not really surprising, considering he manages to fall up the stairs on a regular basis.  The man is special.  But he's my special.  Sorry ladies, hands off, I'm keeping him.  Mostly for the entertainment value ;)

In any case, I'm transport-less for the time being, which has meant more time to do other things such as knit.

I finished these a while ago, but never posted it.  These are my 'vegan' socks, knit with bamboo yarn.  The pattern is Hermione's Everyday Socks, and the yarn was a gift from my friend KJ.

These socks I started just before Christmas, so I had an easy project to work on while on holiday back home.  I just finished them on Sunday, and have already decided who to give them to.  There was no pattern, I just cast on 60 stitches, worked a k5, p1 rib, and did a standard heel and toe.  The yarn was a prize from a Sock Madness competition some time ago - an indie dyer from the US, I've lost the yarn tag so I can't tell you the name :(

Excuse the random knee...

Dustland Mitts, knit with Knitsch alpaca merino yarn in Dorian, from a sock yarn club aaaaaaages ago.

My BFF and I are having a trashy Twilight movie marathon weekend over Easter, so in preparation for it, I'm knitting a little something Twilight-related for each movie.  Yes yes, I'm a total geek...

The first project was two pairs of Alice's Mitts - the top pair was knit in some handspun (maude & me. 'miss misery' spun into about a worsted weight two ply), and the bottom pair was knit in some worsted John Q yarn I had lying around, left over from other projects.  These will be for when we're watching New Moon.  I have a project planned for the first Twilight movie, one for Eclipse, and I'm still deciding on a project or projects for the two Breaking Dawn movies.

 The yarn for the next two projects (Twilight and Eclipse) is wound and ready to go!  I know what I'm doing for the next week or so...

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Some things I have learned through running

  • If you're planning on going for a long run, take a hydration pack, even if you know there will be drinking fountains along the way.  Because chances are, you'll forget to stop for a drink at said drinking fountains, particularly if they are not directly in your path.
  • If you run 22km and only drink two mouthfuls of water, even if it is an overcast day, you will get dehydrated.
  • No amount of water you drink throughout the remainder of the day will get rid of the pounding headache you have developed as a result of the dehydration.
  • You'd be much better off taking some painkillers straight away instead of trying to ignore a headache for the better part of 11 hours, only to concede at 10:30pm that it will not go away just by rehydrating and you really should stop being stubborn and just take some painkillers already.
  • Running 20km on-road, after over a week of no running at all, and nearly two weeks of no on-road running, you are likely to injure yourself.

Essentially what I'm trying to say is, yes, I am an idiot.  You can probably figure out what I did wrong...  Now I am nursing a bung knee (again) and hoping it gets better soon so I can get out and run again this weekend.  Trails, natch.  I will be employing the kinesio tape in any case.  I should probably go clean my trail shoes first though - they're still a little dirty from this adventure nearly two weeks ago.  Wow, I really need to get better at looking after my gear!  It was a foggy, wet day, but a pretty awesome run all the same:

There's some more Waitakeres out there somewhere...

Some of the local native fauna

Ahh, pretty weeds...

Swamplands.  Hooray for boardwalks!


I hope your week is going well.  Mine's been slow and quiet, and it's been pretty great :)  More on that later.  See you again soon!

Friday, 30 January 2015

Tussock Traverse 2015

So, how was this year's Tussock Traverse?  HOT.  Very, very hot (29°C in fact).  Also dusty and dry.  At the end I looked at my legs and thought I'd managed to get a pretty decent tan, but no.  It was just a nice, even layer of dirt.

I will be honest and say it wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting.  I was chatting to a woman on the bus to the start line, telling her I was envisaging something akin to Badwater (jokingly of course - we were running only 12% the distance in half the average temperature.  Okay, I was mostly joking...).  But the wind was refreshingly cool (and downright chilly if you were just standing around - thanks for the heads up Sheryl!) and kept things tolerable for most of the race.  I had to leave my accommodation at 7.20am to catch the bus (which didn't actually arrive to pick us up until 8am - oh well) so used my compulsory waterproof jacket for warmth.  With the start of the race at 10am, that left a big gap between eating breakfast and running, so I packed a banana just in case I got peckish.  I didn't.  I'd settled on the 2 litres of water my pack held, and a 470ml roll-up bottle filled with nuun electrolyte as back up fluid for the run.  That was heavy enough!

The bus ride was slow and bumpy, taking a little over an hour.  Then we had to transfer to another bus at the base of the mountain to take us up to the start line, as the road was pot-holed and rugged, with a stream cutting through it part way along.  Sadly, I got the slowest bus both times, but at least that meant less standing around before the start gun (or in this case, pukaea).  At around 10am, give or take a few minutes, we were off up the hill.  Typically, we started with a 2km climb.  Hooray, trail running! ;)  I had placed myself in the front-middle of the starting pack.  Going on last year's 13km time, I estimated finishing somewhere between 3 and 3 1/2 hours, certainly not more than four.  As we ascended, I slowly got passed by more and more people.  This wasn't surprising, although I naÑ—vely thought I might catch them up a little later on.  Pfft.

Waiting at the start line.  Look, there was actually snow!

Brief stop on the first ascent.  All the runners are out of frame to the right.

I was very glad to get to the top of the hill, after a combination of walking and running (ahem, slow jogging...) and enjoyed a little bit of downhill.  When I say a little bit, I mean a few metres.  Because then there was a bunch of loose rock that we had to be very careful on during a relatively steep descent.  I ended up losing my footing and landing on my butt.  No harm done though, I dusted myself off and kept going.  After a while it was a little more smooth-sailing, and the next uphill wasn't for another couple of kilometres.  By this stage it was quite apparent I would need a gel, as my legs were very tired.  My glycogen stores were on empty!  It had been over four hours since breakfast...

After a bit of undulation, the course became relatively flat for a while and was alternating between gravelly sand and tussock-strewn rock.  There was less wind and it was very dry and dusty, but although I was quite hot, I was being careful to ration my water, taking small mouthfuls regularly.

Then there was the gradual but relentless uphill for about 4km, and more varied undulation for another 4km.  Hard work!  At least it was interspersed with some streams and nice scenery ;)

Looking back...

Can you see the people walking up the hill in this picture?

Here, let me help you find them.  It'll give you an idea of scale:

Yeah, it was a big hill...  I was at least catching up to some of the walkers by now - they'd started an hour before us.

I can tell you that this waterfall was a welcome sight - it meant the finish line wasn't too far away!!

It also meant there were a lot more people to dodge.  Tourists and visitors to the area were out in droves, due to the lovely weather.  Not all of them were paying attention to race participants :/  Still, I was glad to get into the bush area around the Chateau.  Unfortunately, it wasn't as cool as I was anticipating.  From about the 16th kilometre I'd been looking forward to the shade, and a nice cool cider at the finish line.  The shade was the first disappointment.  I would've happily kept running in the exposed rocky terrain - the breeze was cooler.  The second disappointment was the sudden realisation, upon completing the race, that there was not going to be a nice cool cider.  No Speight's sponsorship this year!!!  Major sad face!!  Wonder if this was due to the change in event organisers...?  We decided to gap it, choosing a quick shower and some food over sitting in the sun drinking water and GU.  Sure, we could've gone to a pub and bought a cider, but it just wouldn't have been the same :(  I have grown accustomed to having a frosty alcoholic beverage at the end of races.  I blame Total Sport.

My official time was 3:46:53 (173/250 overall, 59/110 women, 28/44 in my age category), and although this was slower than I was hoping, I couldn't have run it any faster.  The heat is not my friend!  I still had about 750ml of water left even though I was guzzling it in the last couple of kilometres and battling a stitch that was threatening, and didn't need my electrolytes.  I'm glad I did it - the 26km is quite the experience - but I don't think I'd run it again.  Call me a wuss, but it was too hot, dusty and dry.  Give me tree cover and mud any day!

PS: This is what happens when your pack is too heavy - token trail running 'injury', aka friction burn from my hydration pack.  Ouch: