Friday, 19 December 2014

I wish I was a speed-reader

Ever wondered what super power you'd want if you could choose?  I don't want a super power, but I would like to be able to speed-read.  There are just so many books I want to read, and the list keeps getting longer.  Not to mention it would make studying a whole lot easier...  There is never enough time to read it all.  So I guess, in a way, it seems a little silly to be doing what I'm doing right now.  Every December the Auckland Central Library sets up a stand covered with bundles of five books tied together, with a tag attached to each giving a brief description or genre.  The idea is that you grab a bundle that takes your fancy, borrow the five books and read something you wouldn't ordinarily pick up off the shelf.  The incentive, aside from new reading material, is going in the draw to win a prize hamper full of goodies.  Every year (that we've lived in Auckland) I've looked at that stand of books, browsed the tags, then decided against it since I already have so much on my 'must read' list.  This year?  I decided to just do it.  I picked up a bundle that was full of murder mysteries written by authors I'd never heard of, entered my name for the prize (although that was never the draw card for me) and wandered back home with the books.  I've been reading the first book on the little pile over the last few days and I have to say, aside from the obvious cheesiness - a hotel manager with the surname Steward, a cook called Mrs Hubbard, several alliterative names, and a central character that appears to have no inner monologue - I actually found it quite interesting.  This book, and a few others in the bundle, are firsts in series.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing... ;)

I have finished the Christmas baking, wrapped all the presents and packed them in boxes ready for our departure to Hawkes Bay on Monday, and now I just have to pack.  I knit the boys each a pair of fingerless mitts as requested, but since I STILL don't have a phone (grrrr) I couldn't snap any finished pics.  I also finished the pair of socks in bamboo yarn and have started another pair.  Hopefully I will have a whole, working phone again soon and I'll be able to post pictures of them all.  For now, you just get my rambling text.  I know how much y'all love that, lol :)  Sure, I've been told by a few people that I 'talk' too much - for example my dad just gets the 'highlights' from mum and scrolls through the pictures (so these posts will be of no interest to him at all) but how else am I supposed to remember how exciting and glamorous my stay-at-home-mum life is if I don't document all the fascinating details?  You're welcome ^_^

Here's something interesting for you to look at, in case you were bored.  I'm always astounded and awed by what people can do.  Here's a compilation of some of the crazy/amazing stuff that happened around the world this year.  Enjoy.  Oh, and Merry Christmas :)

Monday, 15 December 2014

Curve balls

Sorry, sorry, sorry.  No, I have not disappeared off the face of the earth, I have just been busy while not actually being busy.  If that makes sense.  Probably not...

Just when you think life is starting to come right, it throws you a curve ball.  While nearly recovering from it, BAM!  Here comes another one.  It's been one thing after another for the past few weeks, and to be honest I'm a little bit over 2014 now.  I think the boys are too - they've been sick a lot in the last six weeks, all starting with the vicious head cold that took us down one by one in early November.  Then T got pneumonia, and X has been sick the last week and a half as well.  I did not get to reap the benefits of the last couple of weeks of school getting last minute things done while they enjoyed slow-paced Christmas crafting and fun games.  No, instead I got a day here or there between one or the other or both boys home.  I'd feel bad about them being sick, but they are just a little too happy about getting to lounge on the couch all day with a computer or X Box in their face.   At least during that time I managed to get all the Christmas shopping done.  We're just waiting on one more gift to arrive in the mail, and then we are good to go.  This week is all about the Christmas baking - shortbread, gingerbread cookies, and peppermint bark are on the to-do list.  Now, where did I put my motivation...?

I have been without a cellphone since last Tuesday which has been very irksome.  I try not to be too materialistic, but damned if that thing isn't useful.  I have fallen into the habit of using it for just about everything - looking up information, organising my calendar, texting and phone calls (obvs), social media, photos, keeping track of random bits and pieces (and, y'know, the time) - I'm trying to be patient and wait for Deane to finish fixing it as I know he is very busy, but I'm starting to get beyond irritated to the point where shouty kreachr is about to rear her ugly head.  I went for a lovely run on Saturday through the Pararaha Valley, up the waterfalls and stream (which included some mildly terrifying rock-climbing and shimmying along very narrow ledges with only jutting rocks to hang on to and a rocky cliff below), waist-high stream crossings (I slipped and dunked myself twice - oops), beautiful bush surroundings, a giant fishing spider, and the usual amazing bird song and west coast views that the Waitakeres are famous for.  But of course I have nothing to show for it because I didn't have my phone/camera :(

My running has been going well in terms of knee issues - there aren't really any now.  But it's going bad in terms of there hasn't really been much happening.  I have become lazy again, and it's bugging me.  However, that irritation is not enough to get me out of bed for an early morning run, despite my love of early morning runs.  Nor is it enough to get me off my butt to do a workout.  Nope, instead I just end up eating all the food in the house, and hunting out delicious treats elsewhere such as the vegan cream doughnuts at Tart Bakery in Grey Lynn.  Yes, that's right.  VEGAN CREAM DOUGHNUTS.  I drove out there this morning to get one for breakfast, and despite my trepidation about the coconut-based cream, it was delightfully scrumptious and I did not suffer any ill effects from it.  I think I shall have to never return to that bakery, for fear of consuming far too many of these delights and growing to the size of a house.  Oh, and did I mention that Il Buco has no less than six different vegan pizzas on their menu?  They are a 10 minute walk from our place of residence.  Although I am overjoyed at the increasing availability of vegan options throughout the Auckland region, it is becoming very dangerous in terms of healthy diet, because I want to go and try ALL THE THINGS.  Vegan junk food - just as bad for you as normal junk food, but without the ethical dilemma.

I think I'll just see this year out and then get my ass into gear for 2015.  Two more weeks of slovenly behaviour and bad eating habits, then back to the grindstone - exercise, healthy eating, and back to studying my degree.  This house could do with a really good clean too...  I've never been one for New Year resolutions, but I guess this comes pretty close to one.

What are your plans for 2015?  Do you have any?  Or is it just too early to start asking that question?

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

The end of an era...

T turned 10 on Sunday.  I no longer have any children in the single-digit age bracket.  I'm okay with that (see this post).  It's time to move on from the 'young children' mentality and on into the pre-teen and teen years.  ::deep breath::  Sadly, he spent all of last week at home with bronchial pneumonia.  I think he was quite happy to live in pajamas for the week and not have to go to school to be honest...

I mean, really, does he even look sick?  He looks too happy to be sick.

Helping out with my 'oh no, I'm running out of yarn' photo

He'll be having his birthday sleepover this weekend.  There are three kids coming to stay.  Considering I barely made it through X's sleepover with my sanity intact, I'm a little nervous about it, but this is what we, as parents, do for our children - endure hours of noise, rough-housing, potential furniture/window/house breakages, things flying everywhere, food all over the place...  Right?  I think I might just take them to the park and wear them out on the playground.  Fingers crossed there are no injuries...

With all that extra time on my hands, confined to the house (Deane was in Wellington for most of the week) I got plenty of knitting done.  I finished the sweater:

Not the best photo I know, but I don't really want to attempt a proper modelling session ;)  The sweater was knit in fingering weight cotton - the natural colour was given to me by a friend, and the green was an exchange with another friend that I made in order to be able to knit this sweater.  The pattern is on the beach by Isabell Kraemer, one of my favourite Ravelry knitwear designers.  I knit the small size, and the only mods were omitting the faux side seams.  The sleeves could have been a little longer, but otherwise I'm happy with it.  I'm hoping the rolling edges sort themselves out, although I'm not holding my breath.  I could try blocking it, but I'm not sure you can block cotton, can you...?

I also knit a doorstop.  Yep, that's how bored I was.  A freaking doorstop.

Wow.  Exciting. ;)  I filled it with popcorn kernels.  Deane thinks they'll go rancid and awful.  I guess time will tell.  I was joking with the kids about how it could be the secret popcorn stash, in case we ever run out and need some for movie day (which is usually every Sunday).  The pattern is from The Knitter's Year by Debbie Bliss, a book given to me by my friend KJ some time ago.  I actually like the doorstop, and we did need one, but it was probably one of the most boring knits ever.  Luckily it only took a couple of days - could've taken one but I couldn't bring myself to continue past halfway on the first day.  I had to go do something else to relieve the monotony.

Speaking of monotony, I've been running all my runs on the treadmill of late.  I haven't run outside for a whole month!  And I haven't run on trails since the marathon in October.  I really need to get out.  I miss my sunrises.  So I'm going to set my alarm for 5am on Friday morning and head out for a 12km run along the waterfront.  That should do it :)  You have to get up pretty early to beat the sun at this time of year!  Next week, I think I'll head out to Okura - Deane has grudgingly accepted that the walkway is safe enough for me to run alone during the day.  Yay!!  Now I just need about three new pairs of running shoes...  My Brooks are nearing 1,000km, my Nikes are over 650km (and I vowed to replace them, like, a year ago), and my Inov8s are shot.  I had the inside heel linings replaced before the marathon, but that 43.5km chewed through them quick-smart.  Must be time for a trip to Shoe Clinic!  Sadly, there is only enough room in the budget for one pair at the moment.  Oh well, one pair is better than no pairs :)

I've been trying out a few treadmill runs lately, and have found one that really kicks my butt (I found it on PopSugar) - it's very challenging, but in a good way.  I'm going to keep at it until I can run the whole thing without stopping, and not have reduce the top speed.  I am no Usain Bolt - 13.7kmph is very hard to maintain for two minutes when your legs are as short as mine!!  On my first attempt I had to stop to catch my breath about three or four times, and the last top speed interval I had to drop down to 13.2kmph so I wouldn't pass out.  I had visions of tripping over and whacking my face on the belt, flying off the end and smashing the window behind me.  Yeah, I'm really good at visualising worst-case scenarios ;)  It helps that I've seen plenty of these videos.

I've had both boys at school this week, but it was raining on Monday when I was planning on going for a run, so being the wuss that I was, I ran on the treadmill.  But Deane and I did get out for a lunch date at least.  I'd heard about Al's Deli via Instagram (social media - it has its uses).  As soon as I knew there was poutine within walking distance of my house - poutine with actual proper cheese curds that I didn't have to make myself or order from the South Island - I just HAD to go there!  So we rocked on in at about 1pm.  I ordered the vegan falafel burger (seriously, how cool is that?  Vegan options are popping up everywhere!  It makes me very happy) and the vegetarian poutine, which Deane and I split.  He had a giant slab of smoked brisket on top of his (he compromised with the vegetarian gravy, bless him), and ordered a burger of his own.  The burgers were brought out first, but I waited very patiently until the poutine arrived, then proceeded to shovel about half of it into my mouth in about a minute.  Soooooooo good!!  The burger was amazeballs too.  I will most definitely be going back!  They had some good vegan sides as well, and some of their desserts, although obviously not vegan, would be something I would consider trying - I mean, really, who could say no to croissant bread and butter pudding with vanilla bean ice cream and salted caramel?  And they have moose ears!!!  Otherwise known as beaver tails, or elephant ears.  Essentially, a flat cinnamon sugar doughnut.  Yum!  I could be what is termed as a 'Paris Vegan' or 'Virtually Vegan'.

  1. The Paris Vegan – Otherwise known as the “Paris Exception” this diet’s poster child is the philosopher Peter Singer who describes it this way, “If you find yourself in a fine restaurant, allow yourself to eat what you want, and if you have no access to vegan food, going vegetarian is acceptable.” Translation? Eat vegan daily, but when you find yourself in a tough spot, don’t beat yourself up for going vegetarian.

  1. Virtually Vegan — This is the category of vegans that don’t eat meat and for the most part avoid dairy. They don’t buy eggs or milk, but if a trace amount of dairy happens to be in their favorite 12-grain bread, they’re not going to worry about it. They also aren’t worried about using honey. You know, if you think about it, honey is a very natural sweetener and bee keepers are very motivated to take good care of their bees. Virtual Vegans probably live a high percentage of their day avoiding animal products, but they’re not going to sweat the small stuff. (via 'Ten ways to be vegan' on Namely Marley)

It works for me :)  I occasionally indulge in ice cream, baked goods or milk chocolate.  Otherwise I'm all about the plant-based.  When your food looks this good, who needs meat?  Amiright?

Lunch plate, when I was in a hurry to eat and couldn't be bothered making something

Snow peas and soba noodles with a spicy miso sauce, and tamari fried tofu

Wholemeal spelt waffles with fresh fruit and maple syrup.  May have had one too many of these this morning...

Most of my yummiest meals get instagrammed.  Yep, I'm one of those people.  But you already knew that ;)

Time to go sort out some dinner and get a little knitting done - I've brought out the bamboo socks again.  I decided on a little darning (which is actually really terrible but I don't care because they're only for me and it's on the inside of the sock so you can't see it) so I didn't have to re-knit the first sock, and knit the ribbing of the second sock last night.  I'd forgotten what it was like working with tiny needles.

After that's done I need to knit a couple pairs of fingerless mitts for the boys for Christmas, and then I don't know.  This year is drawing to a close pretty quickly.  I'm cool with that.  I'm looking forward to getting stuck in to the Christmas baking :)  Enjoy the rest of your week!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Growing up

November is a busy month for us as a family.  Aside from the fact that I like to get organised for Christmas early and usually start planning around this time, we have both our boys birthdays this month.  X turned 12 on Monday, which is a little scary, and a little exciting.  It puts things into perspective, having one so close to teenage years.  Not much has really changed for him, he's still pre-pubescent.  I'm not going to lie, I'm kinda happy about that.  We still haven't entered the stage of stinky boy smells, armpit hair, facial hair, ...other hair... zits (and we know he's going to get those, if we're basing it on genetic history), voice-breaking, girlfriends... oh, that can definitely wait a little longer!  He's still not embarrassed to be seen with me and will happily call out/wave/run up to me if he sees me when surrounded by friends or fellow students.  I wonder when that will change?  I'm thoroughly enjoying the fact that I have completely converted him into a full-blown Harry Potter fan - he's reading the books (just started Prisoner of Azkaban) during school reading times and at breakfast, while I read to him (we're nearly finished - part way through Deathly Hallows) and we watch the corresponding movie after each book.  He had a sleepover for his birthday last weekend, and they chose to watch the Philosopher's Stone movie.  Winning!  Even T is reading the first book on my kindle, and he's already halfway through!  ::fist pump::  X is nearly as tall as me now, yet still comments on the fact that he's one of the shortest kids in school.  Honestly, it's quite daunting going to pick him up on occasion and being surrounded by adult-sized pre-teens.  When did they start getting so huge?!?  Okay, so I'm only 5'1" (fine, 5' 1/2") but still...  X has had a snarky, talk-back attitude for a very long time, so we're quite used to that already.  Can it really get any worse?  I guess we'll find out.  But oh, he's growing so fast.  This time next year we'll be preparing for his move into high school!  Eek!

T's 10th birthday (T E N T H!!!) is just over a week away.  He's still my little guy, much more the size of a six or seven year old, cuddly, affectionate and totally squishable.  Quiet and reserved (most of the time) but with a very cunning mind and a wicked sense of humour.  I can't even imagine what he'll be like as a teen, and I'm certainly in no hurry for him to get there at the moment.  Sure, I look forward to the days when they're all grown up and moved out of home and I realise that sounds horribly selfish - I like my own quiet space, with the freedom to do what I want.  I've never been one of those mums that devotes their entire existence to raising their children - I'm still my own person, with my own plans and goals - but that doesn't mean I love my boys any less.  I couldn't imagine my life without them, and am so very pleased we 'broke the mold' and had them in our early twenties.  We're still young enough to be comfortable with silliness and crazy antics if nothing else.  Being a little ridiculous and joking around can be just what you need sometimes.  Perhaps we missed out on some of the things people take for granted in their twenties and early thirties - socialising, going out for dinner, a weekend getaway just because we felt like it - but I've never been one for crowds and loud noise, and we can enjoy these things a little later in life.  All going to plan, the boys will be moved out of home when we're in our mid-forties.  Yes, we planned it well ;)

Our boys are getting to the age where they're starting to have some rather deep and philosophical discussions which certainly makes for interesting conversation at times, but they still have their favourite soft toys and blankets for bed.  Yep, I think I like the age they are right now.  They're not without their challenges (they never are) but I wouldn't change it for anything, and I'm looking forward (with some trepidation. I'll admit) to the next ten years.  Puberty.  Cars.  Relationships.

Fun times ahead...

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Things I'm loving right now

  • My new kitchen gadget - a spriralizer!!  They were on special for $30 at Stevens (down from the usual $80 or so) so I just had to buy one.  Yay for fresh, raw vege noodles!!!  So far we've tried courgette, cucumber and carrot noodles, and I'm planning on branching out and trying different vegetables like beetroot and eggplant.  It's also fun to experiment with different sauces to dress them in - so far I've tried a spicy tomato pasta sauce and a creamy avocado sauce with courgette, a peanut, coconut and lime dressing with carrot noodles, and last night's dinner was a lemon ginger dressing with cucumber and mint, with roasted broccoli and asparagus.  Yum :)  Look mum, all green!

  • Cold brew coffee - so easy to make.  I bought a packet of coffee filters so I didn't caffeinate my nut milk bags, and I made a small batch using my espresso grind Far East Coffee.  It would probably work a little better with a coarser grind, so next coffee order I think I'll get one bag espresso and one bag plunger grind.  I used this ratio to make it.  Deane and I tried it just with cold filtered water yesterday morning with breakfast.  It was a little weird and took some getting used to (I've only ever had hot coffee) but with summer coming, I think it'll be a regular feature in the fridge for iced coffees.  I had an almond milk iced coffee this morning (1:1 ratio almond milk to coffee mix, with a tiny dash of vanilla and maple syrup).  It was pretty good.  Think I'll experiment a bit with cinnamon and stuff next.  As for black coffee, I think I'll stick to the hot version.  I do have a rather fabulous espresso machine in my kitchen, after all...
  • Fresh berries!!!  Yay for summer fruits :)  Yesterday's breakfast was oatmeal with a dollop of coconut butter (which is also a new awesome purchase) and strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.  Soooooo good!

  • My new dumbbells.  I've been wanting some of these for aaaaaages - I'm not a boot camp kind of person (plus its expensive) and I didn't like using weights at the gym.  I've been pretty slack at strength training and toning over the last several months, which has resulted in that pesky runner's knee reappearing.  Now I have a set of 4kg dumbbells for use at home, along with a backpack shoved full of towels (last time it was full of yarn, lol!) to use as a medicine ball/sandbag.  No excuses now!

  • Nike+ Training Club.  See above point.  It's weird, but I actually think I missed this kind of workout.  I was reminded quite severely of how out of shape my muscles are last week.  I did a 16 minute HIIT workout on Friday, and had very sore legs on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  It didn't feel too bad at the time and I jumped on my bike for 20 minutes straight after for some cardio (since I can't run) but wow.  It definitely had an effect!  I need to do this more often.  I started a toning program using the N+TC app, and did a 30 minute workout on Tuesday using my dumbbells and backpack.  Wednesday was a 15 minute dynamic yoga session (challenging but good).  This morning was a 45 minute workout.  Definitely feeling it, but not to the extent that I was after Friday's workout.  It hurts, but it's a good hurt.  My knee is feeling better, but not 100%.  I'm going to keep resting it until next week just to be extra sure, then ease back into running slowly.  I have so many runs I want to do over the summer and do not want to be sidelined with injury!
  • Warmer weather - I've brought out my favourite summer skirt again, the one I bought in Thailand in 2010.  Fashion?  Bah!  I do not follow fashion!  I wear what I want ;)  Unfortunately, it's been raining a lot lately (Spring is officially my least favourite season, particularly in Auckland.  Too much rain!  I never thought I'd say that...)
  • My new bracelet - I grabbed a little bag of seed beads, some nylon thread and a small needle on Monday afternoon, suddenly overcome with the need to create something quick and easy.  The result?  This wraparound bracelet.  FYI, it's impossible to 'model' a bracelet on your own wrist without looking like a complete spaz, so here's a random weird picture of my arm, just casually draped on the kitchen bench...
Update: bracelet snapped this morning when I was putting it on.  Boo.  Need better materials...
  • Another A+ paper in the bag.  Yes!!  Just got the notification for the results of my third assignment yesterday - 90%.  The other two assignments for this paper both earned 86%, so it's a guaranteed A+.  Just waiting on the results of the last assignment for the other paper, which is averaging an A.
  • Wellington Chocolate Factory.  Recently devoured (over a few days) a block of coconut milk chocolate.  So good!  Not all their chocolate is vegan (the salted brittle caramel bar has organic butter in it), but most are.  It's nice chocolate, ethically sourced and produced, and the artwork on each of the blocks is beautiful.  Get you some!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Injury. But not that injury.

So.  Last week I conceded that I had an injury - a minor strain of the peroneal tendons in my left leg.  Well, those are fine now.  The rest from running did the trick and sorted it out nicely.  I started up a coaching program on my Nike app for a 10km, with the aim of moving on to the half training in time for Coatesville next March.  I had trash-talked on Facebook with a runner friend about what is and is not an acceptable half marathon time, and we'd agreed to run Coatesville with me attempting a sub 1:45.  My PR is 1:45:22, although that was a training run so it's not 'official'.  I figured that in order to get back to that pace level, I'd need a bit of hard work to build up - speed work, fartleks, tempo runs, hill training, yada yada.  The advanced training program fits that all in quite well.  It gives you something to follow rather than just winging it, which is what I usually do, and end up just running a bunch of LSDs (long slow distance) and mid-distance runs.  The week started out well - I ran the suggested 6.4km with a pick up in speed for the last 1.6km on Monday.  Well, sort of.  I was at the tail end of a nasty head cold so my energy levels weren't the best*.  Tuesday called for a fartlek run of 9.7km - 1.6km warm up, 4.9km fartlek running in two minute intervals (I alternated between 9kmph and 12kmph) then 3.2km cool down.  I used the treadmill for that, just to make it easier to alter pace and keep an eye on the timing, stretching it out to a nice round 10km.

Wednesday was supposed to be an easy 8km.  I geared up at 11am with the intention of heading along Tamaki Drive for an out-and-back, but got as far as Victoria Park before giving up and walking home.  Why?  Runner's Knee, back with a vengeance.  I had lunch and fluffed around for a while.  My knee felt much better and I considered doing a treadmill run instead, before Deane put the kibosh on that.  Fine, call it a rest day then...  Mope, mope, mope...

This morning I set the alarm for 5.30am, planning to run the out-and-back and catch the sunrise.  My knee felt perfectly fine.  I got out of bed and started getting dressed when it started to rain.  Back to bed!  After breakfast, sending the kids to school, and generally waffling around (eg: reading this post by Super Generic Girl and watching these videos about Mal Law's High Five-0 challenge and getting all inspired to run), I jumped on the treadmill to avoid the rain and run that 8km.  Guess what?  Big ol' ball o' Nope.  First 200m?  Fine.  Everything after that?  Ouch.  I stopped at 700m.  Lame!  You come to recognise the niggles that will go away and the ones that are going to persist and keep getting worse.  This was the latter.  Sigh.  The really frustrating thing is that it only hurts when I'm running.  The rest of the time it feels 100% fine, like I could just go for a run without any problems.  I guess I could look on the bright side, and see it as something that I've caught early and can fix relatively quickly.  At least I hope that's the case...

Strengthening exercises, stretching, cross-training.  That's what's happening in the next couple of weeks.  Oh, and Coatesville?  Not gonna happen.  Not because I won't be able to achieve that time, but because it's scheduled for the day after The Hillary (which I pre-registered for months ago).  I can't do both, and I'd far rather run 34km off-road than 21km on-road!  I'll try and beat my PR another day :)

Side notes:
My hair is getting longer - can you call this a pony tail?  LOL!!

I'm getting bored with the extra time and having Deane working at home most days meaning I can't take over the lounge and use it as a home gym.  I made the kids mini pancake kebabs for breakfast yesterday:

And I started this light cotton fingering-weight sweater last Wednesday:

I'm not sure if I have enough green to do all the stripes prescribed in the pattern, so I'm knitting the sleeves now to see what's left before continuing on with the body.  I have a feeling I'm going to run short, and the rest of the body (and the corresponding length of the sleeves) is going to be in the natural.  We'll call it a design feature ;)

Have a good week!  I hope your weather is better than Auckland's.  Spring can kiss my butt.  Bring on summer!

*I say nasty head cold, but I fared better than the rest of the family - my illness lasted a few days and didn't require any form of medication (although that could have something to do with my stubbornness), whereas Deane was a complete write-off for two full days, requiring some pretty heavy-duty cold meds, and was a whiney pain in the ass for a day or two either side.  Healthy eating and fitness for the win!!  

Monday, 3 November 2014


I volunteered at the Auckland Marathon registration on Thursday from 11 to 2.30, on Friday from 9.30 to 2.30, and on race day (Sunday) from 6.30 until about 1.15.  I had the BEST TIME!  It was crazy busy but sooooo much fun!  You start to feel like a broken record - you're repeating the same information over and over to all the participants at registration, and congratulating everyone left right and centre after they've finished their event, but it is such a good feeling being there to help people, knowing they appreciate your time and effort.  I must've said 'thank you' about a million times over the past several days.  I was on timing chip collection in the finish chute and saw the whole gamut - marathoners, half-marathoners, 10km and 5km runners/walkers, and all the kids doing their 2km run to finish off their marathons (which they complete over a month or two through their school, doing cross country running etc).  Some people were bummed that they didn't achieve their goal time, others were elated that they'd run a PB, and many were just so relieved and happy to finish!!  I saw some tears (happy mostly), people injured but determined to finish, one guy alternating between dry-retching into a bin and collapsing on the ground for about 20 minutes (he refused medical help), a few people completing their 100th marathon, and kids whose parents had been so obsessive about attaching their timing chip to their shoes it took a good five minutes to get them off!  Crazy ;)

I missed most of the people I knew who were running in the events, the finishing area was absolute chaos for most of the morning.  I did get to see Martin after he finished though, met a fellow Instagrammer (thearcherygeek) and saw a lady I'd been working with on Thursday at the half marathon registration desk.  

We were instructed not to remove timing chips from shoes ourselves (otherwise we'd end up stuck down there all morning doing the same for everyone) but many people were just so exhausted or sore that you kind of felt like you had to.  I would've felt bad making them do it themselves.  I must've removed at least 30 or 40 tags myself.  I was a little miffed at the few people who commented, in a not so nice way, that it should be done for everyone.  I understand their point of view, and this would be fine for a smaller event, but when you're dealing with tens of thousands of finishers it's really not practical.  Not to mention that if you were crouched down removing chips from 8.30 to 1 your back would be pretty stuffed by the end of it!

I also got a snarky look from a lady when I asked her and her group of five to move on from the chairs they'd been sitting in for the last 15 minutes to make way for other finishers.  She wasn't impressed.  I'm guessing she was a little oblivious to the fact that hundreds of people were filtering through and needed the seats, because she and her friends were too busy having a good old catch-up and chatting about the race.  Marathoners were actually standing around and waiting for seats so they could sit down and remove their chips, knowing they wouldn't be able to bend down without falling over.

And OMG the shambles when the kids started coming in - anxious parents everywhere, too impatient to wait until the kids had filtered through the finish chute.  We'd been warned about this (last year the hordes of parents actually broke the fencing!!) but nothing could prepare you for the mayhem that ensued.  Luckily that was fairly short-lived, since all the kids finished at around the same time, and we could return to regular-level adult chaos ;)

Crazy fun, exhausting, inspiring, sad, happy, frustrating, hilarious, entertaining (some of the costumes! Wow!)...  All the feels.  I would happily do it all over again.  Although next year I think I'd like to help at registration and then spectate for race day - I want to make a crazy sign and cheer like a mad woman, giving out high fives to everyone.  It will be awesome :)