Friday, 29 November 2013

Thursday, 28 November 2013

All the idiotness are belong to me

Note: I googled 'idiotness' and it is listed in the Urban Dictionary.  Therefore, I am totally accepting it as a word - one that is particularly appropriate for this post.

So you know how I had a teeny little injury and I kind of ignored it for a while?  (For those of you wondering (yes Sheryl, I mean you ;P) I have pulled the adductor magnus muscle on my right side - very similar to the injury I sustained while snowboarding on Whistler in February).  Then I went on a nice long run one early morning (which was awesome by the way.  Oh, I've already mentioned this?  Carry on then...) and it made things worse?  I've been (sort of) good at resting it, taking anti-inflammatories, and practicing some nice gentle yoga stretches.  After a week it was feeling better and getting to the point where I was considering heading out for a short run in a couple of days.  It was improving so well that I thought it was a good idea to carry on with the yoga - that calm, relaxing, good-for-you-in-a-holistic-kind-of-way yoga - and start to stretch things out a little more.  As you do.  Because, you know, physiotherapists always give you stretches to do to help heal and strengthen muscles.  Right?  Wrong, you idiot!

BIG MISTAKE.  BIG.  HUGE. (Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman is totally stuck in my head right now).

I went a little too far with the stretches.  I didn't notice it at the time, but soon after.  Which of course is too late to do anything about it like, for example, stop doing yoga :(  For some reason this type of injury is not a sudden thing for me.  It's more the 'carry on, everything is fine, I'll wait for a few hours and then start being really annoying' type.  Now I'm going to have to rest it even longer before I can go out running again.  Gah!  The frustration!!!  It is a multi-faceted frustration covering anything and everything.  For example:

  • Why can't my body just heal quicker?
  • Am I really so old that I need to carefully ease into everything
  • What does this mean for my trail running ambitions? (because I'm pretty sure I did this when zooming down the hill trails a few weekends back)
  • Just go away already so I can run!  I miss running :(  And I'm supposed to be training for Tough Mudder.  I'm going to run out of time!  (Not really, TM isn't until April.  But I like to be prepared.)
  • Ouch that hurt.  I hardly moved!  WTF?  Stop it already!
  • Why didn't I start running years earlier when I was all young and indestructible?  This probably wouldn't have happened.
  • Oh crap, I'm running out of anti-inflammatories.  I'm going to have to stop taking them soon anyway, I think they're starting to cause side-effects.  DO NOT CHECK WEB MD.  (Yes I am a self-diagnosing hypochondriac.  In case you were wondering.)
  • How much of this is actual pain/injury, and how much of it is me just being a wuss and needing to suck it up and get over it?
  • I have two brand new pairs of running shoes, damn it.  I want to be running in those shoes!  They're too new to just be sitting there not getting dirty!
Ah, the dilemma...


Walking seems to be mostly okay, so I'm still going to happily traipse around the 21.1km course on Saturday night for Walking Stars.  Also, I have received the first information-filled email regarding our Hillary Trail running expeditions telling us the sections we'll be running and the gear we're going to need.  I've been looking forward to this for a looooooong time and there is no way I'm missing out on that action!  Injury be damned!!

Quick question - do you think two half-marathons in two consecutive weekends will be too much?  I really want to do the DUAL in March, which is the weekend after the Coatesville Classic.  I'm kinda hoping my body won't have completely fallen apart by this time, and I won't accidentally kill myself while running the Coastal Challenge.

SO MUCH FUN!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Downtime

Some runners cross train when they can't run.  Biking, swimming, core workouts, whatever.  Or they rest fully and eat less to compensate for the reduction in daily calories burned.  Me?  I sit on my ass and eat ALL THE JUNK FOOD.  If it contains copious amounts of nutritionally deficient simple carbs it must end up in my stomach.  Recently my diet has consisted of salads, grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and soy.  This past week was breads and sugars.  Apparently I lack willpower when it comes to crappy foods.









Yes, this is actually how my brain works.  Feel sorry for me.  Most of the crappy food in the house is for the kids (did I tell you how awesome I am at parenting?)  So by my reasoning eating healthier would be a lot easier if I lived alone.  Probably.  Of course, I could just be a little more disciplined, but we all know how well that's worked in the past ;)

What does one do to counter this current eating frenzy and relieve some of the pent-up energy?  One signs up for more off-road events!  I am now officially a participant in next year's Coastal Challenge.  I have signed up for the 17km event, because the 6km  and 11km sounded a little too easy, and the 22km and 33km sounded too hard.  I can swim but I'm not a strong swimmer, and the idea of trying to cross a river with a potentially strong current didn't appeal.  The 17km event is a nice 'in-between'.  If it goes well, maybe I'll attempt the 22km the following year.  After lots of swimming practice perhaps.

I've compiled quite a list of events for 2014 already!  Although I've only signed up for three so far - the others aren't open for registration yet.  Except Tough Mudder.  I'm still thinking about that one.  I'm 99.9% sure I'm going to register for it, but I want a band of crazies to do it with me.  Sign ups are now open for the band of crazies :)

As for this year, there's just one event left on the calendar - this weekend's half marathon night time walk.  I'm really looking forward to it!  My bff arrives at the airport early Friday evening.  We have our fairy wings, ruffly skirts and feather boas all ready, with an arsenal of glow sticks and bracelets.  I have hydration packs and trail mix, head lamps and anti-chafe.  I think we're good.  She's freaking out a little at the whole concept of walking that far, but I know she'll be just fine.  The atmosphere and the camaraderie will carry her around the course, and you can even stop for a cup of tea at the 13km mark.  We're totally going to be doing that.  A spot of tea always brightens the mood :)  And I am pleased to say that I reached the donation target of $150, then passed it by another $110.  Thank you friends and family!!!  Y'all are awesome ^_^

This weekend is also my baby's 9th birthday.  Here he is the morning after his brother's birthday sleepover (which explains the mess he is surrounded by - boys are not tidy creatures) - he's impersonating a slug and playing XBox.  There's a controller in there somewhere:


Damn, that kid is cute.

Right, time for study and a spot of lunch.  I think I'll have the salad...

PS: I found a recipe for vegan lasagna that tastes amazing, and (dare I say it) better than the original.  I made a half batch which turned out to be a good idea, because I ate that half batch in two days...  I've always been a sucker for lasagna.  I topped mine with vegan parmesan.  Yum!!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Queen of procrastination

That would be me:


By today, I mean yesterday.  I just didn't get around to posting about it until now (ahaha, see what I did there? ;P)  To be fair, I did clean the bathrooms, and the dusting and vacuuming had already been done for the week.  I felt it was totally okay to spend the afternoon meandering around the Auckland Botanic Gardens by myself for a bit of quiet relaxation (and very slow exercise, since I can't run at the moment).  They have a Sculpture in the Gardens exhibition on, and I knew the boys would have zero interest in going to check it out.  You're not allowed scooters or any other wheeled form of transport (aside from push chairs and wheelchairs) in the grounds, so they would be even less interested.  So, what better time to go than when I should be studying?

It was a beautiful day, and the gardens are really lovely.  I particularly enjoyed being able to stop and admire the flora:


And fauna - this may look like a video of tree foliage, but if you listen you can hear some beautiful tui song.  I love tuis:




When we moved from Wellington to Auckland I was a little saddened by the lack of tuis in the area.  To be fair we'd moved into an apartment and there is nowhere for a tui to reside in the central business district.  Now that we're a little further away from the city centre we have tuis living in the trees around the neighbourhood.  This makes me very happy.  I am a little jealous of the suburbanites that have moreporks living in their area though.  I wish I had the chance to hear them at night.

But the reason I went to the gardens was of course to see the sculptures.  They were quite fantastic.  Here's a few of my favourites:

Atta Mediae by Samantha Lissette

Carving up the Land by Michael Klaja and Gordon Smith

Home Sweet Home by Jeff Thomson


Tree Man by James Wright


7 Days by Jane Downes - these were really quite beautiful

This sculpture is not part of the exhibition, but a part of the permanent collection within the gardens:

Bird Lady by Jamie Pickernell - People's Choice winner of the 2012 Sculpture in the Gardens exhibition

Fascinating, yet creepy.  I also rather enjoyed this one:

Turn by Richard Mathieson - the trickling water made such a lovely sound

I got a little snap-happy while walking around the grounds, but it really was such a lovely afternoon.  The gardens are very well looked after and made fully accessible.  The staff do such a wonderful job:



Dr Seuss tree!!

All in all, a rather excellent way to waste an afternoon ;)  Although Marthe Troly-Curtin once said, "Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time".  I think I'd have to agree.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Sad face :( Happy face :)

No Hillary Trail run this weekend - my friend has been under the weather so has postponed it for a couple of weeks :(  I'm a little bummed about it, but also a little happy.  This works out quite well for me, since I have a slight injury that I'm mostly pretending isn't there yet can't ignore completely because it's just being so damn persistent.  I'll have time to rest it and get it mostly under control before tearing up the trails and likely re-injuring myself.  At the moment I'm taking NSAIDs and... nope, that's it.  I'm quite terrible when it comes to injuries, let's be honest.  I never wait the full recommended rest period before hitting the pavement again, and I start out doing all the stretches with good intentions, then get bored with them and stop.  I'm just too impatient.  I get antsy.  Rest and stretches just doesn't compare to getting out on the road.

Tuesday saw me launching out of bed at 5.20am for a 16km run.  I have this amazing ability to wake up and open my eyes, look at the clock, make a split-second decision, then jump out of bed and get dressed within the space of a minute and rocket down the stairs and out the door.  Go on, be jealous ;)  I absolutely love the fact that I can get up that early in the morning and run that distance, enjoying the sunrise and the crisp cool air, and get home before anyone else has woken up.  Even if I wake up a little tired and bleary-eyed, it's worth making myself get out of bed and go for a run - I feel so energised and happy when I get back home and the day just goes so much better.  And really, how could you not love these views?






Unfortunately, it was this run that really cemented the injury in place.  Before that, it was more like a niggle.  Damn it.  Ugh, this year has been riddled with injury.  Moving on.

I printed out the entry-level Tough Mudder boot camp training workout so I could start preparing for next April's Tough Mudder - the Mudderling boot camp is a 40 minute workout incorporating exercises designed to get you prepared for the obstacles that'll be on the course, and you slowly work your way up to the 60 minute Tough Mudder workout - by which time you should, in theory, be prepared to complete the 3-4 hour course.  Well I managed to complete the 40 minutes, but I nearly died in the process.  I am not as fit as I was in January - I blame the aforementioned 'year of injury'.  Suck.  I find it odd that I can go out and run for two hours quite happily, yet a 40 minute training routine has me gasping for breath and dripping with sweat, arms like jelly and legs shaking.  Tough Mudder I ain't!  At least not yet, I'm not giving up that easily ;)  I guess when you're running you sort of get 'in the zone', an almost meditative state with the repetitive, rhythmic forward motion of your feet and only the thoughts in your own head to distract you or motivate you onward.  It really is quite relaxing.  Boot camp?  It's all beeps and jumping and pull ups and squats and push ups and burpees and OH MY GOD WHY THE HELL AM I DOING THIS?!?!?  We're all a little crazy I suppose, in our own special way...

Let's move away from the slightly depressing subject of exercise - or lack of, for the foreseeable future, at least until this injury heals - and onto salads and oatmeal.  Because y'all know how much I love my salads and oatmeal ;)

Let's go in meal order and start with the Oatmeal Trials (aka breakfast):

Cranberry almond oatmeal - mine looks a little anaemic because I used blanched almonds, but it was rather delicious

Kiwi, green apple and pistachio oatmeal - I was pleasantly surprised by this one.  I didn't think I'd like it.  Turns out it's actually pretty good :)

Then we have the slightly more visually appealing and always delicious fruit salad, which begins our lunch section:

Banana, strawberry, gold kiwi fruit and blueberries.  Yum!!

Next up in the visually appealing/lunch department, we have this salad consisting of cos lettuce, tofu, avocado, sun dried tomato and pumpkin seeds:
 
I may have enjoyed this salad a little more without the sun dried tomatoes.  The rest of it was awesome.

Now for dinners, and something on the compete opposite end of the scale in terms of eye candy.  I've never understood the vegetarian's need to consume 'faux' meats (btw, for clarification and for the purposes of this discussion, I do not see tofu as a meat replacement).  If you're not eating meat, you're not eating meat.  Replacing it with meat-flavoured or meat-shaped things seems a little counter-productive.  Meat replacement items on the supermarket shelves have never appealed to me - they look seriously dodgy.  Having said that, I was quite intrigued with a vegan sausage recipe I found the other week.  It had a perfectly palatable list of ingredients and looked dead easy to make, so I thought 'why not?  I'll give it a go'.  Yeah... they still look dodgy, even when they're home made:


Pretty scary, huh?

Had I not just made these myself, I would be unlikely to eat them.  They look... unappealing to say the least.  I mean, really.  Would you eat these?  But seriously, they taste amazeballs.  I ate one sliced up straight after steaming (which is why there's only three in the picture instead of four), then sliced up half of another for my dinner:

Green tea soba noodles with pan-fried vegan sausage, broccoli, red onion, snow peas and tomato

Deane scoffed two when he got home (thief!!) and I had the last half in a salad today with cos lettuce, carrot, tomato and avocado.  I forgot to take a picture.  It was yum.  I'm still not going to go out and buy seitan, TVP, quorn or vege dogs but I think I'll make my own sausages occasionally for a salad or pizza dinner.  I'll know what's gone into them, much like the vege burger patties I love.  Next time I might try smoky maple sausages.

Dinner for me this evening will be vege tofu stir fry (and if you happen to notice the tofu is prepared in such a way as to be 'more meat-like', yes I am aware of the irony).  The boys (or probably just Deane) are having Jamaican goat curry.  Urgh...


Sunday, 17 November 2013

I've lost the will to knit

I think it's finally happened.  My knitting obsession has come to an end.  Don't get me wrong, I still like knitting and I will continue to knit, but the near-crazed 'must-knit-all-the-things' feeling has abated.  Maybe it is my current project that has doused the fanatical flames of knitterly madness (it's a meh project).  Perhaps it's the loss of the weekly knitting get-together with friends.  Could it be my year of yarn dieting that has brought about this lack of desire for all things woolly?  Or is it something that has just run its course?  Whatever the reason, there has been a substantial reduction in my list of things-I-must-knit.  I'm more than happy to say 'nah, I don't need to knit that', or 'sure, that's a pretty yarn colour, but I don't need to buy it'.  There are no knitted Christmas gifts going out to friends and family this year and I'm okay with that.  They'll still be getting baked goodies at least.  I wonder whether this feeling will perform an about-face with the arrival of autumn or winter next year...?  Only time will tell I guess.  Until then, I shall focus on other things.  My Business Communication paper over summer (studiously ignoring the fact that I have to do a seven minute presentation to fellow students and lecturers in February - why oh why do they make us do these things?  Introvert hell, I'm tellin' ya!) and, of course, running.

Oh, running.  So much fun to be had!  I spent some of this week gathering together bits and pieces for trail running.  I'm getting prepared for the upcoming Hillary Trail run (next weekend, I can't wait!!  Not the whole thing, just 20km.  I'm not completely crazy), January's Tussock Traverse, and depending on how these runs go (I'm optimistic) I really do think I'll be signing up for some, or all, of the XTERRA series runs over winter.  What a way to stay motivated during the colder months!  I received my mark for the last Statistical Analysis assignment earlier in the week, and discovered to my delight that I had achieved another A+ paper (woohoo!!  Two in a row!) so decided to reward myself with a new trail running pack from Wiggle (btw thanks Rachel for the recommendation in your blog post - that site is awesome!) and a Road ID bracelet, which I think will probably become a near-permanent accessory.  You never know what can happen, and I have to admit I have run out in front of a car/bus/truck on more than one occasion.  I have no excuse because I don't even wear headphones!!  Of course, I'm so special I don't even need to be running apparently...  If you're a spaz like me and think that easy access to your contact details would be helpful for others in an emergency because you're an accident-waiting-to-happen, use this link and I'll score a $10 credit ;)  These ID bracelets would also be really useful for kids when you're at an event or out somewhere with large crowds where you can easily get separated.  You can have the child's name, and your name and cellphone number on the bracelet so people can call you and return your child in one piece.  I've only lost a child once and it was a bloody scary experience.  Add to that my kids don't know our phone numbers (yes I know, worst parent ever right here) and T's tendency to panic when he can't see us, an ID bracelet makes perfect sense  ::end sales pitch::  Other purchases have been little things like first aid essentials, a thermal top (required for Tussock Traverse), emergency poncho, electrolyte tabs, etc etc.  I am well and truly prepared for all things trail-running.  I'm a freakin' Girl Scout ;)

I took my new trail shoes out for a test drive on Saturday.  I had planned on running the 5km ParkRun then continuing on around Cornwall Park and up One Tree Hill, taking the sheep trail speed-descent option to give the shoes a real workout and trail test.  However I found myself a little disorganised that morning and ate breakfast only 40 minutes beforehand.  This meant my body couldn't decide whether food digestion or exercise was the more important task, and about halfway through the run chose digestion.  I felt like I was trying to run through superglue.  Surprisingly though, it was a course PB for me, so yay.  I decided not to keep going and called time at the 5km mark.  My trail shoes didn't get quite the outing I had planned, but I ran enough to know they're comfortable and sturdy, and will likely serve me well for future adventures.  And I was wearing a pair of my new favourite socks which made it even better ;)  I think I'll do the same for next weekend's trail run.  And in case you're wondering, the breakfast was totally worth it:

Fronch toast from PPK - 100% vegan, 100% awesome

The kids ate it too, oblivious to the fact that it wasn't 'real' french toast.  This morning's breakfast was pretty awesome as well - caramelised cinnamon pear waffles with maple syrup (using this recipe but with pears instead):

Also 100% vegan/awesome

 X had requested waffles for his birthday breakfast (OMG MY CHILD IS ELEVEN!!!) and I wanted waffles too.  These were ridiculously delicious and the subbed pear instead of apple worked beautifully.  The down side?  They stuck to my waffle iron rather horrendously:


Winners of the world's ugliest waffle competition, no question.

At least the first batch was somewhat photographable.  As delicious as these waffles were, I don't think I'll make them again, I'm too lazy to clean the waffle iron after every batch!  Perhaps it would be better if I went back to oatmeal...  I made some pear and blueberry baked farro with pomegranate and walnut the other day.  Not the most visually appealing breakfast perhaps, but rather delicious:


Deane enjoyed it too, although he added extra agave syrup to his.  I've added the recipe to my recipe page if you're keen to try something a little different.  It's fun trying new and unusual combinations - yesterday's lunch was a tofu and tabbouleh wholegrain sandwich with carrot and hummus.  Weird perhaps, but rather tasty.  As for tried-and-true foods, I have recently come to the realisation that I am completely irresponsible when it comes to chocolate and cannot be trusted with it in the house.  I'm not sure whether eating copious amounts of it is a good thing or a bad thing, particularly when I'm seriously considering training for and entering next year's Tough Mudder.  I don't know why I want to do this, I just... want to do this.  I think.  I'm pretty sure.  The whole electrocution/small spaces/fire thing is kinda freaky, but then people are always saying you should face your fears.  Yes?  No?  Which side of the fence are you on?  Will you be encouraging me and cheering me on, or telling me I'm being ridiculous and talking me out of it?  Wanna join me?  Huh?  Huh?  C'mon, it'll be fun ;)

Thursday, 14 November 2013

SOLD!

Am I the ultimate consumer?  Perhaps.  Do salespeople see me coming from a mile away and start rubbing their hands together greedily?  Quite likely.  Do I care right at the moment?  Not so much.  Want to know why?  Because I went for a 15.5km run this morning wearing a pair of my new Injinji socks and ooooooohhhhhhhhhhhh my gosh they are comfortable!!!

Injinji socks (Shoe Science stock them) and Inov-8 Roclite 315 trail shoes bought at High Beam.  $145?  Score!  Can't wait to try these out!!

I am in love with these socks.  I want a hundred pairs in every colour!  I got two pairs yesterday so I could try them out and I will definitely be buying more of these in the future.  They may look a little funky and feel weird to start with, but they are insanely comfortable when you're running and you get used to them really quickly.  New socks combined with new shoes (my Brooks) made for an awesome early morning run.

I set a reminder on my phone for 5.15am.  Not entirely sure why I do this to be honest - my phone is always on charge overnight and just vibrates without sound so I wouldn't notice the alert anyway, but as luck would have it I was awake before then.  I had set out my gear, shoes and Dextro tabs the night before so I got out of bed and got dressed and ready, and was out the door by 5.20am.  Y'all know me by now - I was happily snapping pics along the way:

The promise of a good sunrise, away in the distance

Tamaki Drive, at the beginning of the run (4km in)

The beautiful colours that were hiding around the corner, just past Ferg's Kayaks.  This really put a smile on my face.  It was a lovely surprise.  Kind of makes me want to run 15km every morning...

Near the turnaround point.  A beautiful reason to get out of bed in the morning

Tamaki Drive, near the end of the run (4km from home)

Sadly, the phone camera just doesn't quite capture the full beauty of these sunrises.  I'm trying to share it with you, but its not the same.  Even if you only do it once, I really, really recommend you get up and out of bed early one morning just to enjoy the dawn.  It is worth it, trust me.

Just for good measure, here are some pics from Tuesday's run which was slightly shorter at 12.5km.  I didn't quite get around that corner past Ferg's to see where the real pretty colours were hiding!:



Obviously not a sunrise, but I see a lot of this on my runs too

Tuesday's turnaround point - the split pohutukawa


Sometimes that early morning run is the best part of my day.  Today was kinda one of those days.  When I got home T was already up.  Not entirely unusual - he regularly gets up somewhere between 6.30 and 7.  I got him breakfast, then went to have a shower.  I hadn't even had a chance to jump in before I heard a quiet tap at the door.  He'd been sick, so I cleaned it up and he happily went back to eating (that's the thing about T, he just gets on with things).  Unfortunately for him, and for me, that was only the beginning.  For the third day this week, he was home from school.  Monday and Tuesday was because of a yucky cough.  Yep, its been a pretty slow and unproductive week.  Luckily by mid morning he was feeling better and had stopped vomiting, and by afternoon he was a box of birds, bouncing around the house full of energy.  Hurrah, school tomorrow!  Can't wait ;)

I did get some good news today - the result for my last Accessing Information assignment came in.  92%!  Which means I have successfully achieved an A+ paper!!  Woohoo!!!  So happy ^_^  Still waiting for the result of my last Statistical Analysis assignment.  Fingers crossed for tomorrow...

Gosh, the next few weekends are going to be busy.  It's X's 11th birthday on Sunday.  My oldest boy is turning 11!  Wow.  Two weeks after that, T will be turning nine.  Its a little scary!  My boys are growing up, getting closer and closer to those teenage years that I'm looking forward to but dreading at the same time.  I think I need a cup of tea...

Monday, 11 November 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

After four days hard slog at the old sewing machine, I managed to churn out the bigger-and-better Christmas stockings for the kids, as per Santa's request.  Jeez.  Demanding much, Santa?  Hmmm?  I'm still deliberating over the naming or initialing of the cuffs, but otherwise they're done, and I'm pretty happy with them:


They're much bigger than the previous stockings, so they should fit plenty more in them.  I'm still not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing...

I did manage to tear myself away from the sewing machine a few times over the weekend.  On Saturday I conned Deane into letting me have my Christmas present early.  My favourite Asics are at the end of their life after having clocked over 700km since last Christmas.  My trail shoes, while having done less kilometres (about 460), are half a size too small so although they're still fine, they give me black toenails.  With the trails I'll be running in the coming months, this will just not do.  Then there's my Nikes which served me well for the half marathon last weekend (gosh, only last weekend?  Feels like ages ago now) and for this weekend's run (more on that later).  They've already done over 300km since February and they're really only suitable for short runs.  So, what's a girl to do?  Buy new ones of course!  I'm getting some Inov8 Roclite 295 trail shoes - they're designed to handle everything from gravel to forest trails to mud and clay so they'll be perfect for the Tussock Traverse in January, and the XTERRA series I'm considering doing during winter next year.  I haven't got them yet though, they didn't have my size in the store so they're ordering some in for me.  But yay for new shoes!  Not content to just get one pair for trails, I also got a road pair to replace my Asics.  Behold, my swanky new running shoes!


Brooks Glycerin 11, in one of my favourite colours!  Perfect :)  I'm itching to get out and test them on the road.  I've read quite a few reviews for these shoes and the general consensus is that they're comfortable, responsive, great for long-distance runs and general road running, but they wear out quicker than other shoes so will likely need replacing sooner.  Well, I guess you can't have everything...  I'm trying out different brands of running shoes to see if any are better suited to me than others.  I found it quite interesting watching the footage of my running gait on the computer screen at Shoe Clinic.  Wearing the Brooks, my running was dead straight, ankles straight, everything was perfectly bang on.  Then I tried a pair of Mizuno Waves and my left ankle was rolling in, my right ankle was rolling out, and everything was all off-kilter.  It felt fine at the time, but the footage showed a completely different story.  Proof that it is very important to carefully select the right shoes!!

I can't take these bad boys out for a test drive just yet however.  A day or two of rest is in order after Sunday's epic run, which my quads are feeling today.  I met a small group of runners that I was invited to join at Orvieto Cafe on Mt Eden Road, and the five of us headed off at about 7.30am, my friend in the lead.  Straight off the bat we went up a steep hill in the Big King Reserve, after which we had a quick break and photo op:


L-R: Ant, me, my friend Martin, and Deborah, standing on Big King Hill.  Dan's taking the photo.  You can see the Sky Tower and Mt Eden in the background

After that we headed back down the hill, through the streets and on to Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill - my second run/walk up that hill in a week:

The view was quite different to Wednesday's beautiful blue skies and fluffy white clouds.

The Sky Tower and Mt Eden, still quite far away in the distance, from a completely different perspective.  This time, the Sky Tower is to the right of Mt Eden

Then it was on to Mt St John.  I did not know this hill existed before Sunday.  I could say the same about Big King Hill.  It's amazing the places you discover when you're running:

View of One Tree Hill from Mt St John

View of Mt Eden from Mt St John

Martin and Dan bounding down the stairs like a pair of wallies

The final hill of the day was, of course, Mt Eden:

To be honest, I'm not sure if this trail was on Mt St John or Mt Eden.  They're all starting to run together...

I think that's Mt Hobson (left) and Mt St John (a little further back).  I don't know.  I'm a little lost...

View of One Tree Hill from Mt Eden.  So far away!

View of the Sky Tower looking across the crater of Mt Eden.  Much closer now, isn't it? ;)

After that, we ran down the hill and headed up Mt Eden Road back to where we started, near the Big King Reserve.  We took our time and enjoyed a leisurely run, but boosted it down the trails on the hills - so much fun!!!  I felt like a speedy mountain goat ;)  All up, we ran a little over 16km.  The pace was much slower than I'm used to, but it was a lot of fun running with other people and seeing so much of Auckland I hadn't seen before that I totally didn't care.


We had breakfast at Orvieto Cafe afterwards (well, I had morning tea since I'd eaten breakfast at 5.45am.  My body clock has adjusted to 5.30am wake ups surprisingly well).  I later discovered a couple of blisters in interesting places.  The combination of speed on the downhills, the length of the run, and less-than-perfect footwear will have contributed to that.  I'm wondering whether it would be worth trying out some Injinji socks for longer runs and trail runs...

In a couple of weeks, we're going to run a 20km section of the Hillary Trail.  I can't wait!!  I'll have to put together a bit of a first aid kit to take with me as it's a non-negotiable required item ;)  Fun times ahead!!

But wait!  Before I go, what kreachr post would be complete without some foodie goodness?  I must share my latest noms:

Continuing on that popular salad theme, here's Friday's garden salad with tamari fried tofu.  Yum!!  I love this tofu, and it is so quick to make!  Slice tofu.  Heat pan with a drizzle of oil.  Add tofu and sprinkle with tamari sauce.  When browned flip over and drizzle with more tamari sauce.  Remove from pan and eat.  Crazy easy.

Saturday's breakfast - buckwheat pancakes with banana and maple syrup.


This morning's breakfast - tofu omelette with grilled tomatoes and fresh avocado.  I inhaled it in about one minute.  So good!

And hey, here's a sunrise for good measure.  This one was taken from my kitchen window.  I'm just waiting for the Teletubbies baby sun to pop up...


It's Monday.  I'm supposed to start my Business Communications paper, but T is home sick today.  So I guess I have no more excuses for avoiding my housework.  All good things must come to an end I guess.  But first, a cup of tea.  Have a fabulous week :)