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 :)

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Little things

This post is just a random conglomeration of little things that are on my mind at the moment.  Bear with me:

  • I finished T's Slytherin scarf yesterday.  It was going to be for his birthday at the end of next month, but he was so happy it was finished and wanted to wear it straight away (and for school today) that I couldn't really say no.  I mean, could you say no to this?  So cute!!

The original size was going to be way too big for my little guy, so I altered the pattern slightly by casting on 70 stitches and knitting a 20-2-4-2 row pattern (instead of 90 stitches with a 27-3-5-3 pattern).  You can see the size difference this created with X's original size Gryffindor scarf for comparison:

I used just over five balls of Countrywide Yarns Windsor 8ply for the green (shade 34), and about 2/3 to 3/4 of a ball of Naturally Loyal 8ply for the grey/silver (shade 940).

  • I swapped from my iPhone to a Samsung smart phone on Deane's insistence that it would have a better battery life, and because he thinks I am enslaved by the iMentality (I don't think so, I just like the operating system on my phone because it's easy to use.  And anyway, he was the one that bought me an iPhone in the first place, so really, it's his fault).  And I have to say, the camera is totally harshing my Instagram buzz.  All the photos are blurry and the lighting is terrible...  I am aware that my photography skills are crap anyway, and seriously, what can you expect with a smartphone camera, but still...  Not to mention, the battery life in the Samsung is actually no better than my iPhone - they both only last half a day before needing a recharge.  So I'm going to swap back.  The apps on the Samsung are buggy anyway.
  • I have very mildly strained the peroneal tendons in my left leg/foot (as far as I can tell by self-diagnosis using the internet, because we all know how reliable and accurate that is).  This was most likely caused by running on the side of the road with quite a sharp camber for an extended period of time on Sunday.  Not to mention the whole running 25km in old shoes after two weeks of rest following a marathon blah blah blah.  So this week, again, I am resting.  I had planned on doing a bunch of other exercise but have re-evaluated this based on how my foot and ankle has been feeling over the last couple of days, ie: not good.  I concede, I have an injury.  Boo.
  • Our Foodbox delivery this week is a day later than usual due to Labour Weekend.  We have completely run out of fruit and vegetables except for half a bag of frozen baby peas, a handful of frozen berries and a tin of peaches.  I am not okay with this situation!  Yes, I could've gone to the supermarket and bought a few things to tide us over but I'm trying to spend as little as possible at the moment.  I have considered cancelling my weekly Foodbox order and going back to buying my own produce, but that would likely end up being much more expensive.  I have to avert my eyes when walking (speedily) through the produce section of the supermarket because I want to buy ALL THE THINGS.  Blueberries are $14 a punnet?  Who cares?  FRESH BLUEBERRIES!  Dragon fruit $5 a pop?  YAAAAAY DRAGON FRUIT!  Mangoes!  Raspberries!  Kale!  Sugar snap peas!  Papaya!  Cherry tomatoes!  Watermelon!  Alllllllll the things!!!!  You see my problem?  My kids aren't big on veges.  Deane eats some but prefers dead animals for nourishment.  I can only eat so much, so despite wanting to buy and eat everything, I physically cannot do it, and produce invariably ends up going to waste, which is sad.  And expensive.  Or I need to be better at freezing stuff.  In any case, I cannot wait for today's fresh produce delivery!
  • I recently spent half a day restocking my freezer with single serves of pre-cooked brown rice, chickpeas, beans and brown lentils.  It takes a little organisation (and a lot of mini containers), but the convenience of being able to grab something out and quickly defrost it under some running water (or taking it out ahead of time and leaving it to defrost if you planned ahead) is totally worth it:

  • Extra time on my hands, and a recently completed scarf, brought out the return of the fugly blanket.  It's getting bigger, but I'm pretty much out of colours now, unless I want the rest of the blanket to be green, grey, white and red.  And this photo is fantastic evidence of just how shitty the Samsung phone camera is.  This is the best picture I could get:

  • T was sick all Labour weekend.  He passed his germs on to X who spent yesterday at home, and is home again today.  T decided to make him comfy on the couch before heading off to school this morning:

Ridiculous, but very cute and sweet.  Ah, brotherly love...
  • I'm volunteering at the Auckland Marathon this week - both Thursday and Friday at registration, and on Sunday (race day).  I'm really excited about it!  Hopefully I won't screw anything up :)  I've always admired and appreciated the effort volunteers put in to behind-the-scenes work for running (and other sporting) events, so it will be nice to be on the other side for a change.  The weather over the last few days has been rather wet and miserable (although I thoroughly enjoyed this morning's thunder storm), but it looks like it'll clear up nicely in time for Sunday.  Fingers crossed!  And if you're running in the event, good luck!  I might see you there :)

Monday, 27 October 2014

How NOT to return to running after a marathon

  1. DO NOT attempt to run 30km after a two week break following your first ever marathon
  2. DO NOT wear shoes that have done over 850km and are likely to have worn out midsoles
I managed to hold out a full two weeks with no running.  It was tough, but I did it.  Of course, upon resuming the sport (yes, it is a sport), one presumes one is supposed to ease back into running in terms of distance and speed.  Well, not this idiot.  Such was my enthusiasm for getting back into it, I decided to run a cruisy 30km (!!!) on Sunday with Rob, who is training for the Queenstown Marathon in November.  We met out in Maraetai at Te Puru Park, and headed off on our run at a leisurely 6'30"ish pace through Beachlands and Omana Regional Park.  We met up with Deb at the beachfront after about 12.5km and continued on along the Maraetai Coast Road to Duder Regional Park before turning around and heading back.  By the time we reached Duder, my knees were getting quite sore.  On the way back along the Coast Road, it was fairly evident I wasn't going to make the full 30km - the pain in my left knee was radiating up my thigh and down my shin.  I had to take several walk breaks along the way.  Rob took pity on me and decided to call it quits at Deb's car, 25.8km in, rather than continuing on back to Te Puru.  Brunch was in order at one of the local cafes so it wasn't a complete let down, but I was disappointed to discover that my old nemesis - Runner's Knee - has never truly left me.

Ah, yes... Runner's Knee.  It deserves capitalisation.  Thinking that I had fully recovered from the marathon (how could I not be?  I felt really good, and I hadn't run in two weeks just to be extra careful!) I did not expect to be dealing with this.  Sure, a 5km or 10km run would probably have been a better option, but damn.  Are you kidding me?!?

Today, my knees are a little stiff and sore in various places, and I've noticed a dull pain that extends from the arch of my left foot, up the back left side of my ankle, all the way up to my thigh.  Must. Do. Stretches.

Looks like the next week will be full of yoga, cross training, walking, cycling and maybe some swimming.  I'll see how I feel by the weekend and decide whether or not to go for another run.  Here's a tip for you: do not neglect your strengthening exercises!  Lunges, squats, core work, etc etc etc.  This is a timely reminder that I really need to get back into it.

It was a good run - the scenery was beautiful despite the overcast day (which was actually perfect for running - not too hot, not too cold, and zero chance of sunburn), it was just unfortunate that my body wasn't quite prepared for it.  And I forgot to take my phone with me, so I don't have any pictures :(  I'll have to go back again some time to remedy that, and hopefully complete the run sans painful knee issues.  I am not prepared to call it an injury.  Not yet.  I'm not ready to give up my injury-free year quite that easily!

Sunday, 19 October 2014


How are you supposed to feel after you achieve something you've been working towards for weeks?  Months?  Years, even?

What do you do once you've accomplished a life goal?

I really don't know...

So far, this week has very much been a case of putting my feet up.

Today's view, from one end of the couch to the other.  So lazy.

I pretty much read that whole novel this week.  It's a big 'un.  And, as always, it was amazeballs - Diana Gabaldon sure knows how to write.  I blubbered like a complete spaz numerous times, especially at the end.  God, when did I turn into such a girl?  ::horrified::

I have still worked on my assignments because they're due in two weeks and nobody else is going to do them for me.  Believe me, I considered just not doing them and still getting a passing grade, but that thought was very fleeting.  I couldn't live with that level of laziness.  Plus I've become accustomed to achieving B+ or higher - a C-grade paper just wouldn't fly.  And I know that I'm taking a study break at the end of this trimester so there's really no excuse to be slack about it now.  But I haven't really done anything else.  Cooking was minimal with Deane and X away at school camp for most of the week.  T eats a limited range of foods so he was easy to feed, and I mostly ate salad or cereal or whatever.  My fitbit stats are looking pretty sloppy - I've only done about 42,000 steps over the week.  Pathetic effort.  I haven't done my housework.  Not complaining about that, just quietly...  I've got to the point where I'm scared to even look at my garden for fear it will try to attack me.  Side note: anybody know a gardener-type person that would be willing to put in a couple hours a month in exchange for food or knitted items?  Worth a try.  I really, really hate gardening...

True to my word, and sticking to all those post-marathon recommendations, I haven't run a step.  Well, that's a lie.  I jogged across a road.  For like, three seconds.  But other than that, no running at all.  I've been thinking about it a lot though.  Several times a day.  I haven't been this inactive in years.  It's... unsettling...  I'm trying to hold off until I've finished the assignments, although I'm starting to wonder why.  Or indeed, if I can.  Surely, I could sneak out for an early morning run before everyone got up, without it affecting study time?  I'm pretty sure I'm fully recovered from last weekend unless you count a couple of black toenails.  And really, who would be silly enough to wait for those to heal?  You'd be waiting for months...  I'm seriously considering a long run next weekend, but have to choose between Waitakeres with Richard (hard work, lots of hills) or Beachlands with Rob (easier terrain, but probably longer distance).  I can't decide :(

It's weird.  I don't feel any different for having run a marathon.  Not just a marathon, a bloody hard trail marathon with over 1,800m elevation gain.  I kind of thought I would.  I guess it's the same as not feeling any older the day of your birthday.  I don't feel any different now that I'm 35 either.  I have my race number stuck on the fridge, and my medals hanging on the bookshelf in the lounge.  I like seeing them there, reminding me that I have actually done something I set out to do a year or two ago and have been working towards for some time.  I quite distinctly remember thinking numerous times during the run that I wouldn't be able to do it, and I was never going to do anything this crazy and ridiculous ever again.  But I got there by just putting one foot in front of the other and trying to quiet the negative thoughts, and when it was over I actually felt pretty good.  Now, I know I can do it again if I want.  It's nice to know all those motivational quotes you see everywhere aren't just a complete load of bollocks ;)  I probably need to spend less time on Pinterest though...

One thing that is different is that I am perfectly content to drink alcohol again, knowing it won't affect my training.  I've consumed more wine in the past week than in the last six months combined.  Although just between you and me, I don't really drink a lot, so that's still not very much ;)

Longer term, I have plans for running the Coastesville Classic half marathon again next year, perhaps the Tussock Traverse 26km, and The Hillary 34km.  I'd like Deane and the boys to run the 5km Colour Run with me - I think they'd enjoy it, and the point of that event isn't to run fast, it's to take your time and get as colourful as you can.  Other than that, I'd like to run a road marathon at some point.  Road running and trail running are vastly different, so it'd be good to do one of each.  Trail marathons take longer, have waaaaay more hills, and are pretty rugged, but road marathons are tough too because you're running faster and don't have as many walking breaks.  Also, there are people around watching you walk run.  It's a whole different ball game.

I can't call myself a marathon runner yet, but I'd like to be able to.  Of course, I have to actually run a marathon first.  A road marathon, I mean.  Call me bonkers, but I almost feel as though a trail marathon doesn't really count as 'a Marathon'.  It's hard to explain...

It may be the inactivity driving me a little loopy, but I'm starting to think that running a road marathon and a trail marathon once a year isn't such a bad idea...

Just thought I'd leave you with this wee gem - it's eerily accurate to my usual state of being:

Yes, I stole the picture off a greeting card website, hence the logo.  Sorry.

Have a good week :)

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Birthday marathon - nailed it

As those in the running community like to say, in the words of Sir Edmund Hillary - 'we knocked the bastard off'.

I woke up two minutes before the 4.15am alarm, tip-toed downstairs and jumped through the shower, trying my best not to wake up mum and dad who were sleeping in the lounge.  I guess the hair dryer woke them up though, because on my way from the bathroom to the kitchen I got a 'good morning' from dad.  So I had no qualms about turning on the light and making a cup of tea for the road and a peanut butter sandwich for the run ;)  I had packed everything the night before, so just grabbed my refuel snacks to shove in my pack, filled up my water bottle, said 'see you later' and headed out the door.  Martin picked me up at 5am and we were on the road, stopping at Macca's in Paeroa for a pit stop and quick breakfast.  I was cheeky and ate my from-home weetbix and banana with soy milk, but did at least purchase a cup of tea...  McDonald's is very far away from being my food of choice, particularly at that time of the morning!

We arrived at event base quite early - they hadn't even finished setting up the registration tent!  My nerves had set in a little by then so I got quite friendly with the row of portaloos over the next hour.  After about visit number three we were best buds.  Martin and I made several last-minute checks, had our gear check, received our race numbers and timing chips, then Martin went on a warm up jog while I hung out with my new friends for a while longer.  I was a little annoyed to discover that head torches had, at some point, become part of the compulsory gear.  I am absolutely sure that it was not previously listed as essential, just recommended.  If it was, I'd have been sure to get one.  Y'all know how particular I can be about these things...  Luckily, as we had assured them we would be running the marathon together and could share Martin's torch, they let me off with a 'make sure you have one next time' warning.  (Next time? Ha!  Surely you jest.)

At 8.20ish we headed over for race briefing.  No mucking around this time - as soon as the brief was over, we were off.  With a field of 35 runners in the marathon distance, we settled into a few bunches and kept a pretty easy pace through the first few kilometres of single track.

After the first of several (very very cold) river crossings we all spread out a bit.  I got a bit ahead of Martin for a while, who was not feeling so flash early on.  I started to get worried - whenever I looked back, I couldn't see him.  He was the one with the head torch!!  How was I going to get through the tunnel in the second half of the run without a head torch?!?  We'd been told that they were going to put lights in the tunnel, but I started racking my brain to think of a way of acquiring a torch before reaching it, just in case.  I had thoughts of running through event base at the half-way point yelling 'has anybody got a spare head torch?!?' in the hopes that somebody would be able to help me out.  Thankfully, Marty caught up again a little while later.  He had his own doubts at that point - he checked my race number, and asked if I'd like to swap the head torch to my pack at the first aid station in case he had to bail.  I told him quite firmly 'no, you're finishing this', so he shut up and carried on.  Bless him.

I'd decided somewhere along the way that I wasn't going to stop if I didn't need to.  This meant running through the aid stations - they're supposed to be a back-up anyway, you should have enough water and food to be self-sufficient - but it also meant not stopping to take any photos of the amazing scenery.  And believe me, it was amazing!  I think Martin stopped at each aid station to grab something to eat or drink or have a bit of natter, but I just kept moving, knowing he'd catch up again soon.  I decided to eat something every hour give or take a few minutes, which worked out pretty well.  I had plenty of supplies - date and cashew balls, a power cookie, a peanut butter sandwich, and four gels.  The date and cashew balls weren't quite right for the day though.  I had one after the first hour of running, and it was way too sweet.  After the second hour I had my PB sandwich.  Let me tell you, that was hard work!  I felt a little nauseated but made myself eat it.  My mouth was dry, and y'all know how good peanut butter is at sticking to the roof of your mouth.  I got through it though, and was acutely aware of it sitting in my stomach for the next hour.  From there I alternated gels and power cookie halves.  By the end, all I had left was a gel and the three remaining date and cashew balls.  I'd gone through almost the entire two litres of water in my pack too, there was about 100ml left I think.

Before we'd finished the first half of the run, I was questioning my ability to make it to the end.  I tripped at one point, landing on all fours, and had to talk myself out of a mini pity-party before my eyes started to well up.  Knowing we had to pass through event base, I had the feeling that I wouldn't want to keep going.  The first half was quite a challenge.  Everything already hurt - knees, lower back, hip flexors...  But on our steep descent on the way back towards Dickey Flat campsite, we passed some trampers who had done the marathon in previous years.  One of them made the comment that the second half was a lot more cruisy.  That sounded very welcoming!  By the time we reached the camp ground I was feeling a lot better, and powered through to the second half.

I'll admit it was a little weird running through the base, along the car park area and past tents and campers.  There were cones and arrows, but I still got a bit confused about exactly where I was supposed to be going.  Once we were past that section and back onto the track, it was much easier.  We made it to the tunnel which, incidentally, did NOT have any lighting in it.  If it wasn't for Martin's head torch, I wouldn't have made it through.  He went ahead and I kept a very tight grip on his trail pack!  You could see the end of tunnel, but it was incredibly dark inside and the footing was really uneven and rocky.  I wobbled a bit and had to put my hand out to the side, hoping like hell there wasn't a cave weta or giant spider sitting on the wall!!

We found that the ascent over the second half of the course was indeed cruisy - the elevation map had lead me to believe it would be far more challenging.  Turns out I suck at reading and understanding elevation maps...  Unfortunately though, we settled in to our familiar Waitakeres-training-run-style brisk walk and were so busy yakking that we didn't really notice how long we'd been walking for.  Maybe it was my complaining about how much everything hurt - I was actually worried that my hip flexors were going to fail and soon I wouldn't be able to lift my legs to take any more uphill forward steps.  It wasn't until a group of three passed us, and another guy caught up soon after that we decided it was time to hustle.  We spent the next while alternating between running and walking, and I found that things didn't hurt quite so much when I was running, but a slightly steeper uphill would tire me so I'd slow to a walk again.  We went through the Dubbo 96 intersection the first time without any issue and just kept trucking, enjoying the scenery and chatting away happily.  The downhill, when we finally reached it, was quite hard by that stage.  I had been looking forward to it for a while, but found that my knees weren't enjoying it at all.  Nor were my poor battered toes!  Martin got ahead of me quite a bit in this section, as he found the downhills much easier to handle.  After the second pass through the Dubbo 96 intersection, we knew we didn't have too much further to go.  Having said that, we were quite unsure exactly how far, because our watches had a difference of over 4km in distance covered.  We tried asking somebody else we saw along the way, but he wasn't much help - his watch said he'd already covered 42km!  We questioned aid station helpers to try to narrow it down a bit.  They were pretty vague, but we guessed it was about 8km.  I kept counting down each kilometre and was glad to know that even if I was unsure of the actual distance left, I would be able to run it and finish the race.

Some time later I was surprised and very happy to spot Deane sitting on the side of the track, waiting for us so he could get some pictures.  I was even happier to find out that we only had one kilometre to go then - I was expecting another four!!  From there we ran the rest of the way without stopping (except to climb over the last fence stile), and I could hear the announcer calling out my name, congratulating me on running my first marathon on my 35th birthday.  Apparently he'd been announcing this information for the last several hours, and everyone (well, everyone who was still at event base that hadn't already left) was waiting for me to cross the finish line.  Ha!  X was at the fence stile waiting to congratulate me, and ran most of the last few hundred metres alongside us, which was very sweet.  T was on the other side, jumping up and down.  I could hear mum yelling 'go Jody!'.  It was pretty awesome.  I was waving like a loon, and grinning from ear to ear.  Another surprise was seeing Robbie (my mother-in-law's partner) waiting at the finish line to give me a big hug.  He'd come up for the day, run in the short distance race, and was waiting with a bottle of bubbly.  My boys gave me a medal each - the official one for the race (which was a surprise, I thought there wasn't going to be one!) and one they'd had made for me (because I was disappointed at the thought of not getting one for my first marathon).  Happy happy happy!!!!  By my watch, I had run 46.66km in 7:33:37 (official time 7:33:54, official distance 43.5km).  I was 7th out of 9 women, and 30th out of 35 overall.  Certainly not outstanding, but hey, I did it!!  Life goal achieved!

The boys are running alongside us in the background, you can see T just in front of me, and X behind me.  As always, cheers to Photos4Sale for the awesome snaps

Celebratory bubbly in hand, wearing my two medals (thanks to Sue Davidson from the Hillary Trail Runners group for this pic, via Facebook):

Hmm, wonder what I should do next...? ;)

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Only two more sleeps...

Counting down the hours until Waihi!

I've tried to keep things pretty low-key this week.  Turns out I'm not very good at 'relaxing'.  I end up doing the whole boredom-eating thing and get all morose.  Blah.  It would probably be a little easier to manage if it wasn't school holidays - I could go for a walk into town or study to keep my mind off things... Ah, who am I kidding?  I'd still be eating all the things ;)  Tapering isn't so bad, but I'm really looking forward to Saturday.  I also plan on drinking a few wines afterwards.  Birthday celebration, y'know.

On Monday Deane took the day off work and we headed out to Okura Bay to take the kids for a walk.  It wasn't the best weather, but we were lucky to avoid the rain and the wind wasn't too ferocious.  We managed about 6km all up, and it took us about two hours.  Not bad for lazy kids who didn't want to be there ;)  Tuesday was a blob day, and yesterday I took the boys to Jump.  That was a lot of fun!  I was doing back flips and baranis like I was still 12 years old. It was like riding a bike, my body hadn't forgotten how to do it.  Sadly though, that afternoon and today it is kindly reminding me that I am most definitely NOT still 12 years old.  My lower back is a little unhappy.  Hmm, maybe trampolining wasn't the best idea a few days out from my first marathon...  I don't regret it though, we had such a good time!  You can just tell from this 'after' selfie, lol:

Also, point to note: ladies, don't forget those pelvic floor exercises.  Seriously important!  TMI?  Perhaps...

Today was housework day.  I'd have skipped it, but the parents are coming to stay.  Can't have them arriving to a cesspit now, can we?  Tomorrow, aside from cooking, I'm going to be enjoying a day-long date with the couch and the latest Diana Gabaldon novel.  And lots of pillows.  Maybe some chocolate.  Yes.

I'm completely packed for Saturday aside from the food and water, and have been keeping an eye on the weather forecast.  It's been looking like it'll rain on the weekend, but at last check things had improved somewhat.  Fingers crossed it's not pouring!!  We received the final info email the other day.  Turns out the course has been extended slightly and is now 43.5km instead of 42.2.  Wonder if you could class that as an ultra? ;P  Sadly, there is no medal for finishing this race.  I'm a little disappointed that I'll have nothing to commemorate the occasion, but whatevs.  Maybe I'll make my own...

Alright, time to sit back and relax, get a couple of early nights and prepare for the big day.  Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Holy bleep it's October already

This month is a biggie - my first marathon on my 35th birthday, two more papers filed in the 'done' pile for my degree, the kids' school holidays, not to mention we get to welcome back daylight savings and jandal weather, awwww yeah...

It was actually warm enough at 8 o'clock this morning for me to trek on down to the supermarket in my flip flops.  How's that for a start to October?  That is definitely something I love about Spring/Summer - the casual footwear.  I was in search of the new Lewis Road Creamery/Whittaker's chocolate milk that was due for release today.  The supermarket didn't have it, but the trip wasn't a waste because we needed other stuff anyway ;)  I stuffed the kids full of pancakes for breakfast, then they helped me make vanilla cupcakes with chocolate buttercream icing and sprinkles for lunch, to accompany the chocolate milk (we made a special trip to Farro to get some).  The cupcakes were deemed 'good' (really?  Is that all?), and the chocolate milk 'amazing'.

I know what you're thinking, and I give you free licence to harass me for feeding-my-kids-far-too-much-junk-food-and-rotting-their-teeth-with-all-that-sugar-and-how-on-earth-do-they-still-look-like-stick-figures-when-they-should-be-the-size-of-houses-I-have-no-idea...  Let's just say they don't take after me in that they know when to stop eating.  Sadly, I do not.  Which is why I've already eaten 2 1/2 cupcakes and a jumbo oatmeal raisin cookie, as well as a large breakfast and lunch and it's not even 3pm.  I need to stop baking.  I am a danger in the kitchen.  We've been over this before.  That, or I need volunteers to come and eat all the food I keep making.  Seriously.  Please help.

The boys are enjoying their school holidays - lounge 'sleepovers' and movie nights seem to be the thing for holidays now.  Next week we're going to go check out Jump trampoline park.  T loves trampolines so I think he'll have an amazing time.  We're only booked in for an hour, but I think that'll be sufficient for them (and me) to get all worn out :)  I'm also planning a walk in Okura and a trip down to Wynyard Quarter to check out the New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year exhibit.  Next week will be a quiet one, so I can rest up for the marathon.  Which is next weekend.  OMG.  That's, like, really close.

I managed to run that 35km run last week - the last long run, more of a psychological hurdle than a physical one.  It was quite boring, run around the streets of Auckland by myself, but I did get to enjoy a few installations of Paul Walsh's street art along the way - he paints phone boxes (I thought they were power transformers originally.  Duh.)

 There are quite a few dotted around the city, along with other pieces of his work (and other artists' work of course).  It makes your walk/run just a little bit more interesting :)  I also tried a few new gel flavours - banana berry (surprisingly not gross) and coffee (with 80mg caffeine - tastes like death with about a dozen sugars added to it.  I do not recommend this flavour, particularly towards the end of a long run).  The run started out pretty good and I knew my pace was a little quick, but I was feeling quite good so just kept plodding along, stopping only to refuel, wait for traffic, check the map and make sure I was going the right direction, or answer phone calls.  Ha, that makes me sound really popular and important.  One.  I got one phone call.  Which is more than I usually get on an average day.  Yep, I'm super important.

I only walked a little bit up one hill a couple of times about midway through the run, but I will admit that the last couple of stops were getting long.  At 29km I stopped for about five minutes to down the 'gel from hell', send a text to Martin (which I believe said '29km in to a 35km run.  Dying.') and enjoy the sunshine.  I made it to the 35km mark a few hundred metres from home, and was more than glad to walk/hobble the rest of the way.  Road running is definitely harder on your body than trail running!

It only took a couple of days to come right again, but I bailed out of the 26km trail run on Sunday, opting for a 10km road run instead.  I haven't run so far this week, but have a 20km planned tomorrow morning and possibly also on Sunday.  Next week will be one short run, if any.  I'm nervous and scared, but excited at the same time.  And I'm really looking forward to the rest time afterwards!!

In the meantime, I'm distracting myself by studying - two assignments left, one for each paper.  Then there's only six more papers to go!  I would also like to get out and enjoy the nice weather a little more, although I have to remember to put on sunscreen - last week saw the beginning of the 'summer run tan' ;)  Enjoy the rest of your week!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Marathon training fail

You know that 35km run I was planning to do on Sunday?  Didn't do it.  In fact, I haven't run at all since last Tuesday.  Oops...  I'm trying to decide whether I should head out for a 35km run tomorrow (now that my assignments are done) or just skip that longest of long training runs since we are now supposed to be officially in taper mode.  Thoughts?  Suggestions?  That marathon (which is now only two and a half weeks away!!!) is looming ever closer, and I'm sitting on my butt when I should be out logging miles to train for the inevitable pain-fest that is an eight-hour slog over hilly, rough terrain.  My excuse, aside from having a house full of people all weekend, is that I had two assignments that needed to be written.  Well, they're done now.  I had more than enough time to write them, I didn't stress out about it and freak about how much I had left to write, and didn't get all neurotic like I usually do.  Far less caffeine was consumed this time around and the kids didn't have to deal with 'crazy mum', so there's something positive I guess.

And I have to say, my weekend was awesome.  I got to hang with my BFF (and a few extra people), and Totem was amazeballs.  I expected nothing less from the wonder that is Cirque du Soleil.  I don't care how much a ticket costs to those shows, they are always, always worth it.  Human beings are amazing creatures, and the sheer talent and skill that oozes from every pore of the cast (and crew!) is absolutely astounding.  Every minute of Totem was jaw-dropping in its intensity and I absolutely loved it.  I am staggered by how incredibly well organised it is - the whole process runs like a well-oiled machine.  They are seriously good at what they do.  Photography isn't allowed, and I was a bit useless at getting pics of anything at all over the weekend, but Deane snapped a shot of me and my BFF at dinner:

A little bit blurry, a little bit dark... eh, what can you do?  The weather over the weekend was poop, and we were in a badly-lit restaurant (okay okay, ambient lighting, blah blah...).  But look at my bestie, isn't she gorgeous?  Love her to bits!

I ate waaaaaaaaaaay too much junk over the weekend and suffered the consequences.  Sugar hangover is totally a thing, right?  It serves, once again, as a reminder of why I changed to a much healthier diet.  I have no idea how I survived my 20s...

This week has been much better food-wise (still eating too much, but at least it's all healthy ;P), and I have at least one good long run planned for the weekend.  I'll see how the rest of the week pans out, as to whether or not I manage to kick my own butt into running that 35km, or if I end up just doing all the much-neglected housework.  Whhhyyyyyyyy does there always have to be housework to do? *whinge, moan*  School holidays start at the end of this week, so I guess if I'm looking to head out for that 35km run I'd better do it quick, before its too late.  Yes?  Ugh, I don't know...

In any case, I hope you're having a good week.  The weather over the last couple of days has been much more enjoyable here (there's actually sun, and not much rain, hurrah!).  I should probably get out and enjoy it.  So should you ;)

Friday, 19 September 2014

Random thoughts on a Friday

  • Every time I walk past Victoria Park these days, I feel sorry for the kids.  Their playground has been taken over by adults doing boot camp training!
  • If a store that you only visit occasionally is late opening on the few times you've been there, do you have the right to complain?
  • Spring in Auckland is a little too wet for my liking.
  • I am very glad I have a treadmill (related to previous random thought).
  • There are only 14 weekends left until Christmas.  There will be no knitted gifts for family this year.  I'm a little sad about this.
  • Air New Zealand put up $79 grab-a-seat flights from Auckland to Queenstown for November earlier this week.  Bastards.
  • I made eggplant potato moussaka with pine nut cream for my dinner last night.  I'm pretty sure I could eat it every night for a week and not get sick of it.  It was insanely good.
  • Everything chocolate that I've eaten this week has made me feel a little bit ill.  (Lindt 70% dark chocolate, my favourite chunky chocolate buckwheat granola, gluten free brownies I made for the kids...)  I think I'm going to take a break from all things chocolate for a while.
  • I'm making sauerkraut.  It was way easier than I expected it would be.  Hope it works.
  • I've started a 'kreachr covets' page of all the things I see and want to get, kind of like a shopping checklist that will take a really long time to purchase.  Particularly when it includes a $1,300 kitchen appliance...
  • I am nearly two thirds through my degree.  Wow.
  • I did not get sick once this Winter, despite every one of my family members coming down with colds and spreading their germs all over the place.  I feel just a little bit smug about that.
  • My BFF will be arriving in about four hours.  I can't wait to ambush her with a giant hug as soon as she walks in the door!  I haven't seen her for aaaaaaaaaaaages!!!
  • Only three weeks until my birthday marathon.  Time to route the 35km run for this Sunday.  Next week it's tapering time!
  • Oddly, I'm actually looking forward to voting tomorrow.  Make sure you get out there and have your say!
Now my brain is empty, it's time to work on the assignment I have due next week.  Enjoy your weekend!