Friday, 31 August 2012

Good intentions

I had intended to knit Deane a pair of socks for Father's Day, all sneaky-like, without him knowing.  Because, y'know, presents are supposed to be a surprise.  When I came up with this idea on Tuesday, I thought Father's Day was the following weekend.  I discovered on Wednesday that it was indeed this weekend.  So far I have one sock done, and ten rows of the second:


Giant man sock, knit in Tri-Coterie 'Jack Harkness' - scored off a knitterly friend (in a very sneaky way).  Pattern: Mr Pitt's Socks (aka Dad Socks).

It is very hard to knit a pair of socks in a matter of days when you're trying to keep it secret from your Significant Other.  I would have no problem achieving this if a) he wasn't around, or b) I could knit them in front of him.  But a) he's actually been coming home from work at reasonable hours this week (typical!!), and b) it wouldn't be a surprise if he knew I was knitting them.  Obviously.

It is now Friday mid-day.  He wants to spend Saturday doing something 'as a family' (trail run through the Waitakere Ranges, anyone?  Just me?  Okay, y'all can walk then) so I'm pretty sure I'm going to run out of time.  Unless I lock myself in a separate room tonight and tomorrow night and knit like a mad-woman... hmmm...

As for my dad's Father's Day present, it's been sent.  I decided to put in a little home baking (although I'm not sure why, mum always bakes good stuff) - people seem to like my shortbread, so I thought I'd go with that.  But I tried a different recipe this time - brown sugar shortbread.  The first (largest) batch was in the oven about five minutes too long so they're a little toooooo brown.  The second batch came out okay.  I taste tested some from each batch (rather thoroughly, just to be extra sure ;-P) and there doesn't seem to be much difference in taste, but next time, I think I'll stick to the tried-and-true.  Oh well, hope he likes them anyway.

One thing that has been going right at the moment is my running.  I did manage to go for a run whilst away in Napier.  Two in fact.  A slow (7'41" av. pace) 5km on Saturday with my bff and her dog.  There was lots of walking involved, and I ended up leaving them behind to finish the last 2km, then jogged back to meet them.  She wasn't looking too healthy to be honest.  I was worried she would keel over if she kept trying to run!  She, and her dog, made it home okay, but was pretty sore the next few days.  Oops.

To make up for the slow run, I went for another 5km (5'51") the next day as well.  Then a slightly faster 5km (5'50") on the Monday.  I had intended to go for a longer run in the morning, but was disappointed to discover when I got up and dressed at the usual time of 5.45am, that I had left my running shoes in Napier.  So I hopped back into bed, and used that excuse to go out and buy a pair of trail running shoes that day.  And of course I had to break them in, hence the run for the third day in a row (I usually only run two then have a rest day).  It was in the afternoon though, so was shorter than intended.  Turns out I'm not good at running in full sun any more.

On Wednesday I decided to give the new shoes a good test, and went for a longer run.  This time I managed a pretty decent 13km!!  I was rather happy about that, and I felt really good too.  The pace was a pretty slow 6'23", but I was stoked, and felt like I could've kept running.  I had to get home though, to get the kids sorted for school.  Deane completely missed my text at 6.45am ("I'm running a bit late, haha, can you get the kids breakfast") - his phone was on silent.  And he sleeps like the dead.  I managed to get a good sunrise pic though - this was taken seconds before the sun peeked up over the distant hills:



This morning I managed a slightly quicker 10km, at about 6'15" average page.  And I have decided that next week, I'm going to give 16km a go and see how that feels.  Which means I'll need to get up at 5am.  Oddly though, this early-morning-run-before-breakfast thing seems to really be working for me.  I'm loving it!  I find now that I'm awake before the alarm in the mornings, even on a rest day.  There's definitely something to be said for being an 'early bird'.  Having your exercise out of the way before the day even starts is just a really good feeling.  Plus you have more hours in the day to do other things.  Like knit giant man socks.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

The List: Revisited

It occurred to me earlier today, as I was knitting yet another item not on The List, that I should probably check my progress.  So here we go:

THE LIST (In no particular order, just to be clear)
  • fingerless mitts for X in black
  • fingerless mitts for T in green
  • fingerless mitts for mum, because I forgot she wanted some for Mother's Day, or maybe these
  • scarf for _________________ (shh, it's a secret!)
  • shawl for mum (the original size is too small) - just an extension, not the whole thing again
  • sweater for me
  • socks for X (no pattern required)
  • socks for T (no pattern required)
  • socks for school librarian (again, no pattern required)
  • socks for Deane (haven't decided yet what pattern, so many to choose from!!)
  • fingerless gloves for Deane (maybe. I'm still a little annoyed about the $2 shop ones)
  • armwarmers for me
  • sweater for me
  • kindle covers x 3 for mum, MIL and bff
So not really much progress made since the last time I checked.  Oops.  I think there's a couple of things I'll be taking off this list, and possibly more stuff I'll be adding on.  I'll get back to you on that.

I went for another run this morning - only a 6km one, but it had hills.  Lots of hills.  And I ran them all without stopping, which I think is a first.  I've been on this route many times before, and always walked the last hill.  Not this time.

And this afternoon, I signed up for the quarter marathon.  Yep, I'm gonna do it!  Hopefully this year, I'll have people to cheer me on at the finish line.  I at least have a friend to meet - she's doing the half (good on her, crazy woman!) so it'd be nice to be able to say congrats at the end.  That's if I can find her in the crowds!  I figure I'll be finished well before her (the half starts 15 minutes after the quarter, and is twice as long (obviously)) so I can hang around and be there to cheer her across the line I guess.

Well, I'm all set for tomorrow morning - I'm winging my way down to Napier for KAN (Knit August Nights).  It'll be a great weekend!  See you on the other side ;-)

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

It's the little things that make life good

This morning I headed out pre-dawn again - as expected, that sunrise is creeping up a little earlier each day.  I got a good pic this morning:


It made me happy.  But what kept me smiling the whole way was a memory.  While running through the viaduct towards the beginning of my run, I came across an elderly man out for an early walk.  Just as I was passing him, he said "Go for it".  So you know what?  I did.  I ran 10km this morning.  And I smiled a lot.  It was a good run.  So thank you for the encouragement, elderly man.  By the way, I loved your hat.

One morning earlier this week, as we were getting ready for the day, T came up to me and handed me a tooth.  Calm as you please, no forewarning, just all of a sudden - ta da!!  A tooth!  His first one.  I didn't even know he had a loose tooth before that - I'd asked a while ago, and he never mentioned anything.  And no issues with gaps either, as the new tooth was already hiding behind the old one, ready to take its place.  Sneaky.  The tooth fairy was very kind, and gave him a $5 note.  The look on his face the next morning when he discovered this $5 was just fantastic - he was a very happy boy.  It was pretty cool :-)

Right, time to get on with the rest of my day - the not-so-cool stuff like washing awaits.  Still haven't found that housework fairy...

Monday, 20 August 2012

That elusive sunrise...

I hit the pavement at 6am and took my phone with me in the hopes of getting some pictures of the sunrise.  Instead, I got a couple of piss-poor snaps of not much.  At my turn-around point, just as I reached the part of Tamaki Drive where the footpath is right next to the water (Judges Bay, just past The Strand), I stopped and pulled out my phone to get these:


This photo makes the sky look deceptively light.  It wasn't really.  So I took this (blurry) photo in the other direction, to show that it was actually still fairly dark:



I think I've mentioned before how crappy a photographer I am.  Turns out I'm even more so halfway through a run.  Not surprising I guess.

At any rate it was a nice run, and in my attempt at catching that elusive sunrise, I ran a little further, clocking 9km.  Should have a 10km under my belt by next week.  Unless my upcoming trip to Napier this weekend interferes.  I'm trying to decide whether I should cram my running gear into my one available carry-on bag for the trip.  I suppose it would give me even more incentive to not buy stacks of yarn at KAN...  What I should really be asking myself is will I have time for a run this weekend?  I mapped a course from my bff's house to my parents', and it's about 6.1km.  Fairly decent 'weekend away' run I suppose.  Perhaps I will pack my gear :-)  Can't guarantee I'll fit the run in though.

Simple projects will be packed for the weekend - I'm thinking the Hitchhiker scarf, with my scrummy Wollmeise yarn I won in Sock Madness.  Seems to be a popular project choice for this weekend, as it requires very little brain power which means people can natter and imbibe to their heart's content, and be in little danger of screwing up their work.  In theory, anyway.  We'll see how it goes.  I'll be keeping an eye out for other knitters' wonky hitchhikers ;-)

Wow, only four more sleeps to go now!  I love knitting weekends.  I love them even more when I know I'll be unencumbered.  The boys are staying here this weekend with Deane - yay!!!  With dinner planned for both Friday and Saturday night, an a movie squished in for good measure (Magic Mike - hurray for eye candy!), plus a class on Friday and Saturday afternoon, I think I have the weekend pretty much covered.

What will you be doing this weekend?

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Still plodding along. For now.

I didn't get up ridiculously early this morning to go for a run, but I did go for a run, waiting until the boys had gone to school before heading out the door.  I managed a fairly decent 7km, although my pace was a pretty slow 6:30 average (that's 6 minutes and 30 seconds to run each kilometre).  I put that slow pace down to being sick.  I'm glad I managed to get out though, and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  However, unsurprisingly, I'm a little lackluster this afternoon.  Might skip exercise tomorrow to give myself a little more time to recover, and hit the pavement again on Friday.

For now though, it's pouring with rain, and what better excuse to sit and knit?  I started a new project this afternoon (yes, yes, I already have three projects on the needles, but they're what I consider to be non-urgent) - my friend KJ, bless her, send me some lovely yarn so of course I had to delve right in!  I'd love nothing more than to squidge up on the couch with a blanket and knit quietly for hours.  Sadly, I have to cook dinner and remake the bed.  And the boys are home from school now, making boy noise.  Poop.

At least in a few hours they'll be asleep.  I might manage to keep my eyes open for a little while after that to get a couple of rows done...

Don't you just wish sometimes there was a special housework fairy that would swish through your domicile and wave her magic wand, and poof!  Everything was done so you could carry on with your own selfish endeavours?  Alas, no such fairy exists, and the kitchen beckons.  So for now, au revoir.  Stay warm and dry people, and healthy!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The common cold

Damn you!!!  ::shaking fist indignantly::  You have ruined my plans for this week!  I was going to run 8km yesterday.  I was going to go snowboarding on Thursday.  Instead, I spent yesterday lounging about feeling icky, and today I have little energy to spare to get the housework done (although I did manage to use what energy I did have on a one hour ice skating lesson.  Perhaps that's my fault...).  I have a pile of unfolded washing positively glaring at me, and boy-mess-covered bathrooms that seriously need cleaning before the family is inflicted with some other unsightly virus or disease.  Gah!!  I can't even use the Olympics as an excuse for not getting things done, since it is now over for another four years.  Very sad.

I had considered going for a run anyway, but past experience and Sunday's arduous walk home from knitting indicates that this may be foolhardy.  Alas, I shall have to wait until this lurgy subsides.  Last week's efforts were for naught.

Chin up though, I managed to finish my Ravellenics projects in time to cross the 'finish line'.  Just.  The Rossling socks weren't too bad, I finished them on Sunday night:


The twined knitting was rather laborious, but I'm quite happy with the end result, and have learned another new technique courtesy of Sock Madness.  That group is fit to burst with amazingly creative and talented people!  This pair was knit with Shenanigans Long & Strong Sampson in the colourway 'Daffney Gillfin' (I think, it's hard to read the writing) that I purchased from Sip & Knit in Maitland, Florida.  It has the same look and feel of Knitsch yarn, but with 10% nylon content, which I hope will allow them to stand up to a little more wear.

As for my other project, the Bellevue sweater, I literally finished it while watching the Closing Ceremony, and sewed the buttons on at the last possible minute - 11am Monday morning NZ time which was the cut off date for finishing projects.  Phew!  Close call!  I'm very happy with the resulting sweater, and have worn it all day today - it really came in handy at the ice skating rink.




Yes, I am aware that the garden needs tending, but a) I am sick; and b) I hate gardening and will find any excuse to avoid it until the last possible moment (which is why reason a) is really handy right now, even if it is annoying and gross).  This sweater was knit with yarn that I've had in my stash for about three years - it has made a cabled scarf, a hat, some socks for dad, the epic aran afghan for my MIL last year, and now this sweater.  And I still have over a ball of it left.  Will I ever be finished with this yarn?!?!?  Perhaps, in hindsight, I over-bought.  But then, for $2.60 a ball, how could you go wrong?  Right?

Update: The washing has been folded.  However, it is now sitting in nice neat piles on the lounge floor, as I cannot summon the energy required for multiple trips up the stairs to put it all away.

I finished assignment #1 for my current paper (Archives Management - surprisingly interesting).  Glad that's over, now I can carry on with the second part, although some revision may be in order, since I put off studying all last week because of the Olympics/Ravellenics/I was too far ahead.  Next year, I'm definitely going to do more than one paper per trimester!

I am determined to go for a run tomorrow, even if it's only a short 5km and I spend the rest of the day comatose on the couch.  I'll let you know how I get on...

Friday, 10 August 2012

Conclusion

Thanks everyone for your comments on yesterday's post.  I ended up managing to make myself get up early this morning and go out for a run as planned.  Alarm went off at 5.40am (quiet thank you to Deane for buying me an iPod/iPhone alarm clock dock that doesn't make an awfully loud, invasive noise).  Took me ten minutes to make the commitment to actually get out of bed when I realised it was still completely dark out.  I had dug out some running gear the night before and made a mental note of where my hat and sportband was, so I figured that since I'd made the effort to be organised, I might as well beat the feet.

I got out the door just on 6am, sans iPod (for safety reasons - it's better to be able to hear traffic/other people etc pre-dawn.  Don't want any crazies springing a surprise attack on me ;-P).  Firstly, birds are freaking noisy at that time of the morning!  Secondly, I was astounded by the number of people that were out  and about - I passed two large groups of runners with about 30-odd people each (they move fast!), as well as quite a lot of individuals or pairs.  Plenty of cyclists too.  Not to mention the amount of traffic.

Pros:
  • There's something about the crispness of the early morning air that is rather appealing and invigorating
  • Less people around (despite the fact that there were more people out than I expected)
  • Being able to watch the sun rise.  Although I had to turn my back on it before it had risen to the point where I could see it this morning, the sky was beautiful, and the sun will rise earlier the closer we get to summer
  • While still pre-dawn, it's quite nice to be able to look around and see all the stars and the city lights.  I often wondered what night running would be like - I guess this is much the same 
  • Getting a run out of the way early means you have the rest of the day to get other stuff done
Cons:
  • The cold air gives me earache (although that should be easily fixed with a headband or ear-covering hat)
  • Having to get up super early and drag myself outo of my nice, warm, cosy bed
  • Going to bed earlier to counter that early morning rise
So I have made some decisions:
  • I think I'm happy (at this stage at least) continuing to run by myself.  The lone runner ;-)  Seeing those groups out this morning kind of sealed the deal for me.  I wouldn't be able to keep up with their pace.
  • Early morning running is something I will continue to do, but not for every run.  Variation is good, right?
I enjoyed running without music - the early morning sounds of the city can be quite relaxing.  And I managed 7km, yay!  A break over the weekend, and I might go for 8km on Monday.

As for entering events, I'm still undecided.  Probably not at this stage, might leave it for now.  Might change my mind again tomorrow.  Is it weird that I like to run alone, but want to enter events with a friend?  Do I need people I know cheering me on at the end, or should I just pretend the strangers are cheering for me?  Do other runners do that?

In other news, I have completed one Rossling sock and am up to the ankle band on the second sock, and I managed to knit half the sleeves on my Bellevue sweater yesterday.  If I put in some hard yards knit-wise, I might actually make the deadline.  Then again, I may just be kidding myself...  I have until 11am Monday to get them across the 'finish line'.  Challenge accepted ;-)

Thursday, 9 August 2012

kreachr contemplates running

A few years ago, just before my 30th birthday, I decided to start running as a way to get fit and stay healthy.  Since then, my running has been up and down - at best, running 10km, and once even 15km; at worst, going for months at a time not running at all.  At the moment, the roller coaster is on it's way up.  I ran 5km on Monday, and 6.5km on Wednesday.  I'm considering going for a run tomorrow morning at about 6am.  (I usually run at around 9am, after the boys have gone to school).  And I'm hoping to get back up to 10km in the next few weeks.

One of the things I'm contemplating at the moment is the fact that although I quite happily run alone, it would be nice to have other people to run with.  Not just for social reasons, but also because they would spur you on to run faster and further, and help with setting, training for, and reaching personal goals.  It's always good to have goals, right?

There doesn't appear to be any running groups that head out at 9am (except on weekends) - they're all early morning (hence the 6am trial run tomorrow) or in the early evening, which is unsuitable for me both because running at that time makes me ill, and I have children to feed and put to bed.  So do I want to get into the habit of going to bed early (which will probably annoy Deane) in order to get up and head out at 5.45am so I can run with other people?  Or do I continue to run alone?

The other thing I'm contemplating is whether or not to enter events - not to win (clearly!  I'm far too slow!) but just to participate.  The idea appeals, but when you're running alone, and there's nobody at the finish line to cheer you on (at least nobody you know), is there any point?  For me, it would be a form of motivation - a reason to run during the week, a goal to work towards.  But other than that, it seems a little pointless.  Pay money to run with a bunch of strangers who are going to get in your way at the start, and beat you to the finish line?  Hmm...  But then, I'm thinking that I'd like to do the quarter marathon again this year (see reasons above), and there are three events leading up to that - a 6km, 7km and 8km - designed to be 'training races' for the QM.  Or I could just enter the 5km fun run rather than the QM, and just try to get a good time.  I don't know.  Damn my indecisiveness!!

Side note:  Just so you know, this rambling post is my way of avoiding knitting the Rossling socks that are taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r.  Which seems silly because a) I like knitting, and b) the Ravellenics finishes in a few days and I'm running out of time to get them done, and finish knitting the Bellevue sweater as well.  So I really should be knitting more, not less.  Stupid brain, fixating on pointless circular dilemmas...

Right, I'm off to knit again.  Feel free to (please please please do!!) leave a comment, with your thoughts on what I should do re running.  Join a group?  Continue to run alone?  Enter events?  Or not?  I need some help to decide.

Please and thank you.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Go Kiwis!!!

OMG, how fun is it watching the Olympics?!?  Our guys and girls are doing fantastically well, don't you think?  So far, we have three golds, a silver and four bronze, with the men's 49er skiff sailers looking very likely to win silver.  For a little country of 4 million, I think that's pretty awesome.
I absolutely love watching the Olympics, and as a bonus, it has inspired me to get back into exercising regularly.  I'm thoroughly enjoying my weekly ice skating lesson, and still haven't hit the deck - only one lesson left at the moment, not sure if I'll sign up for more yet.  Might just go along to the odd public session during the day when it's quieter and practice.

I went for a run on Monday morning, and managed a fairly decent 5km - considering it was my first run since the 2nd April, I'm pretty happy with that.

I'm thinking a snowboarding lesson is in order - it's been eight years or so since I've been on the snow, and then it was only a day and a half of boarding, so what little skill I learned will be well and truly lost.  Looking forward to getting into it though.

I've been keeping track of my calorie intake and output via a snazzy wee website - Fatsecret New Zealand - really handy for keeping you on track and honest ;-)  I'm notoriously bad for tucking into the ol' junk food and lollies.  I have a serious sweet tooth.  Trying to replace junk with fruit now - we'll see how long that lasts ;-)

Trying to get stuck into my knitting too - less than a week left to finish my Ravellenics projects!!!  I've finished the back and front of my sweater, and have the sleeves and collar to go.  The socks are a little behind - only one and a bit cuffs dones, still have two whole socks to knit!!  Better get cracking...