Friday, 30 May 2014

Getting a handle on it...

I've submitted another assignment, the morning of the due date.  At least I didn't have to submit it at 11.59pm... (cut off at midnight).  The course work for this paper is complete, and the next assignment isn't due for three weeks.  I think I can manage it okay.  No rest for the wicked though, I have two weeks to produce the next assignment for my other paper - an hour-long PowerPoint presentation complete with full notes, and a 1,000 word newsletter article on the benefits of performing an information audit in an organisation with information management issues.  This particular course doesn't have much scope for student interaction, and I'm starting to wonder if I'm the only one that feels totally overwhelmed by the requirements and is completely freaking out about it.  I'm still averaging an A- and I've finished all the course work, but the sheer size of the assignment tasks is causing me to teeter on the edge of an abyss of hysterical panic.  This trimester has really been a challenge in terms of time management, and although this is a career path I'm quite interested in following, reading the course work is so boring I really struggle to stay awake at times.  It's so full of technical jargon, I don't think the information is sinking in at all... that doesn't really bode well for future job prospects, does it?

The next decision I have to make is whether I sign up for two more papers next trimester and try to do better at managing study and 'real life', or whether I relieve the pressure, revise my goal of finishing the degree and just sign up for one?  This would give me more time to focus on the paper I'm doing and (in theory) achieve a better result, as well as free up time for home life, family time, and hobbies.  The down side is it'll take an extra year to complete the degree.  I guess an extra year isn't a huge deal.  The boys will still be in high school, so there's no hurry, right?  I don't know...  As usual, I can't make up my mind!

Since I've been getting stuck in to course work and assignment completion, and because Deane was away in Sydney and X was home sick for most of this week, I haven't run since Sunday.  I had considered an early morning run a couple of times this week, but with temperatures at about 2°C I opted to stay in bed.  Probably a wise decision, but now I'm starting to feel lazy!  Which is why I've decided to participate in TempoFit's 50 Days of Winter Running - it'll be a good way to kick my own butt into action over the winter months, so I can stay on track for the XTERRA series and train for my trail marathon in October.  Every day I'll be tweeting something I've done during the day to work towards improving my running for the spring season - a run, some cross training, yoga, whatever.  Even rest days and 'recovery meals' count!  The goal is to do something every day.  Want to join in? :)  Just use the hashtag #50DaysofWinterRunning on either Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and you're good to go.  Ooh, and let me know if you are, so I can follow you and we can share our progress!  If you want to follow me, social media links are up the top right of this page :)

I'm actually really excited about the Waihi trail marathon, and only mildly concerned that I won't be able to run it.  Some longer trail runs are definitely going to be needed in the lead up to it though, just to be sure I can manage it.  In a few weeks Martin and I will be heading to Rotorua for the Double Rainbow Trail Run - only in it's second year, I'm not expecting hoards of people, which will be nice (although there probably will be).  We'll be running the 25km, which is two climbs up Rainbow Mountain.  Should be fun ;)  Not so fun is the early morning drive to get there... I'll be setting my alarm for about 4.15am, eek!  At least the drive will give me plenty of distraction and will, fingers crossed, allow me to avoid the usual gurgly tummy issues.

That nearly completes my race calendar for the year, although I'd like to add a couple more events - my friend Zoe has asked if I'd like to join her for the Taniwha on the 8th November - I'm thinking maybe the half marathon run (and some members of our running group are keen too), and my mother-in-law's partner has requested my presence at the inaugural Queenstown Marathon on the 22nd November, which looks and sounds amaaaaaaazing!  I'd love to do both, but I have to get sign-off from the head honcho (aka Deane) before being able to commit to either.  Wish me luck! ;)

Monday, 26 May 2014

Fun with friends and family - what a weekend is all about

In an attempt to drag our kids away from electronic devices at least once a weekend, we have decided to start searching out some of the walks and park areas in and around Auckland to explore.  This Saturday, despite the less-than-sunny weather forecast, we bundled the kids up in the car and went for a short drive to Oakley Creek in Avondale.  I have driven past this so many times and never noticed it was there, but found it earlier in the week while searching for walks with waterfalls in Auckland - it was listed on PlanMyPlay (I site I will be revisiting frequently, I think).  Naturally, the boys (well, X) put up quite a fight about having to venture outside and away from the screens and controllers, but eventually we managed to have all four of us physically in the car, and away we went.  Only a ten minute drive from our house via the motorway, it wasn't long until they were actually enthusiastic about exploring the outdoors and we were off on our walk.

It was a surprisingly lovely, quiet spot.  There were even ducks!  The boys enjoyed bouncing around all over the place.  We ended up at Heron Park and they played on the playground for a while until it started raining, which was our cue to leave.  I had a laugh at the toilets there - they talk to you, and play Burt Bacharach instrumental music while you're peeing!  Classy ;)

Deane was keen to stop in to a restaurant for lunch, that he'd been wanting to visit for a long time - Love A Duck in Mt Eden.  Not bad, but the name is kinda weird...

I spent the afternoon sewing a pair of pajama pants - I'd seen a pic on Pinterest and followed the info to a book by Amy Butler called 'In Stitches', which I borrowed from the library.  I had enough of one fabric print that I'd bought in Thailand years ago to make a pair, and here's the end result (terrible photo, sorry - it's been instagrammed):

They're big, wide legged, and super comfy.  Although it has a drawstring, I may put elastic in the waist instead.  Or make another pair with elastic, because I luuuuuurve them.  However that would require buying more fabric...

We watched 'Over the Hedge' after dinner before putting the boys to bed for the evening, to finish off our family day.

The alarm went off at 6am.  Actually, I woke up before the alarm and turned it off before it started beeping.  It had been pouring with rain overnight, so I was wondering if our run would be called off.  I got up and sorted out my trail running gear, ate a banana and had a cup of tea, then waited patiently for Martin to come pick me up.  We met a bunch of others at Piha, and the weather had cleared enough that we decided to head off for Bethells.

Piha Beach, 8am

My photos came out a little funny because I had my phone in the waterproof cover and I wasn't very good at making sure the camera lens had a clear shot.  The waterproof cover wasn't really needed because it didn't rain, nor did I slip and fall during any of our stream crossings.  However, if I didn't have it, both would've been likely to happen, so whatevs.  Next time though, I'll probably take my phone out before taking pictures.  I had some good shots that were blurred, streaked, or blacked out on one side from the cover :(

That's not important though.  We had a great time, although there were some hairy moments with slippery mud sections on some of the downhills (and uphills) - several of the group ended up with muddy butts from slips.  I managed to escape relatively unscathed in that department, although managed a few short slides as well.  The highlight of the run was definitely Houghton Track - plenty of tree cover, the trail is mostly underbrush with lots of tree roots to prevent mud buildup.  There was a bit of a muddy patch in the middle, but we all managed a pretty quick descent.  By the time we got to Bethells, Marty and I decided to skip the return run - he'd been battling a head cold all week, and we were both hanging out for coffee - so we all piled into cars and headed to Swanson Station Cafe for lunch.

Deb, Richard (we met that morning), Marty, Ant, Rob and Jane, at Bethells after our 17km run

All up, a pretty good weekend in my opinion :)  Now, it's Monday and I have an assignment to get done.  Best get on to that, it's due Thursday!  Enjoy your week!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

XTERRA Riverhead race recap

Sunday morning dawned, chilly but dry.  This turned out to be a good combination for the first XTERRA Auckland series race in Riverhead Forest.  I was prepared to get dirty, knowing it had a reputation for being muddy, and because we'd had a bit of rain leading up to the weekend.  I got up at 6.30am and decided on a light breakfast of granola with a cup of tea, but my stomach was true to its nature and I didn't get to drink the tea.  I packed a banana and a nut bar for later, as well as a bunch of Shotz gels for the run.  I've come to the conclusion that my best option is probably to not have breakfast on race mornings, and eat after I've left the house.  I'll be trying that next time!  I had to pick up a fellow runner whom I'd never met - she's also participating in the series but has no transport.  My timing was perfect, as she stepped out the front door just as I pulled up.  We introduced ourselves and got chatting straight away - the conversation was a good distraction from any nerves.  As usual, I didn't feel nervous about the run, but my stomach had its own opinion.

We arrived with oodles of time to spare - my race briefing wasn't until 8.45am and it had only just gone 7.30!  Plenty of time to mingle and catch up with friends that were also early, get our race bibs and timing chips sorted, meet some new people, and visit the portaloo (always fun ;P).  I also had plenty of time to scoff the banana and not have to worry about it coming back up mid-race.  We were lucky to be able to park really close to event HQ, so I didn't have to do a gear bag drop - we just left our stuff in the car.  Yay for being early!  Finally 8.45am rolled around, so I stripped off my outer layer, donned my trail pack, and headed off to race briefing.  Then spent the next 15 minutes standing around chatting because Marty and I were so far at the back we couldn't actually hear what they were saying.  Race briefings are much the same - look out for your fellow runners, be courteous, if anyone's hurt check on them and alert the nearest course marshal, stay on the marked trail for your own safety, yada yada...  There's always a rundown of the course that I'm sure nobody ever remembers or even pays attention to, and since I'm no speedster there's always people and/or markers to follow anyway so I'm unlikely to get lost - I assume ultras would be the only exception to this, but there's no chance of me running one of them any time soon so it's a moot point.

Although Marty was running the super-long we had the same course route up to about his halfway mark, so we stuck together until then.  The first 2km or so was a slow uphill on gravel road, then there was a bottleneck to get onto the single track into the forest.  Within minutes the bottoms of our shoes were muddy and covered with pine needles.  The mud in the Riverhead Forest is very sticky and I found the squelchy noises rather entertaining at times.  What I enjoyed most about the course though was the fungi.  So many varieties, it was like running through a fairy tale woodland!  I was gutted that I didn't have my phone with me to take pictures.  Luckily there's another XTERRA race in Riverhead later in the year, so I'll try to get some pics then.

Being conscious of the fact that I'd only eaten a small amount, I downed a gel at about 5km.  Well, more like 5.5km, since the 5km mark was on a slippery downhill section.  My coordination isn't exactly top-notch, so I thought it best to wait until I was on slightly flatter terrain before trying to suck goop out of a foil pouch.  I had planned to have another at 10km and at 15km, but decided that was a little bit overkill.  By 10km I was still going strong and didn't feel as though I needed one quite yet.  Having said that, there was a rather steep, slippery uphill section shortly afterwards that sapped a bit of energy.  Climbing a steep uphill is hard enough, but when you add mud into the deal it becomes just that little bit more challenging.  It was slow going!  Marty and I parted ways at around 12km and I had my second gel not long after, just for the hell of it.  It gave me a good excuse to take a walking break on the boring gravel forestry road ;)  Thankfully the road section wasn't too long, and we headed back into the forest soon afterwards.  I ran most of the last section alongside a lady that had very interesting hair - it was a short cut in her natural greyish-white, but with splashes of hot pink and black all over.  Not your average hairstyle!  We had quite a few laughs while slipping and sliding in the mud - the trail was quite narrow in parts, and slipping was unavoidable much of the time.  I nearly face-planted once, tripping on a tree root that was hidden in the mud.  I managed to narrowly escape a full body-slam by landing on my hands, and got a handful of tiny prickles for my trouble.  They bothered me the rest of the run, as I couldn't close my fist or touch anything.

The course, which was supposed to be 19km, turned out to only be 17.  All of the courses were shorter than stated, but I don't think anybody was complaining.  I crossed the line in 2:05:04, smack-bang in the middle of the pack for my age division (20-39), and 20th out of 37 women overall for the long course run.  Okay, but not great.  Meh.  As always, I'm not out to win (because that would only ever happen if the entire field mysteriously dropped out), but I had a ton of fun.  The scenery was beautiful, the mud was perfectly muddy (although the next Riverhead run is going to be a lot slipperier I think), and I got to hang with my friends - 'the usual suspects' and a few new ones.  I lined up for my cider (because beer is ick) and non-sausage (I grabbed a slice of bread and some fried onions with tomato sauce, lol), used a sticky plaster to pull the majority of tiny prickles out of my hand, and waited for Marty to finish.  He had a little trouble on a slippery steep part of the super-long course and injured a calf muscle, so he was a little hobbly when he crossed the line much later than we expected.

Beginning of the race, nice and clean

Nearing the end - yay for mud puddles!

Check out the mud on those legs :)

We decided to stop somewhere for lunch on the way home, which probably wasn't the best idea.  We struck out twice before finding somewhere that had room to seat all eight of us, and it took over an hour for our food orders to arrive.  Coffee afterwards took another half an hour.  Not good when you're rungry!  We weren't sure if it was because it was Sunday, or because everything is so laid back in Riverhead.  There did seem to be a large number of people about...  Still, the food (and the coffee) was good despite the wait, the atmosphere was relaxing, and we enjoyed just sitting around and blabbering whilst looking horribly out of place in our various running attire.  Most of the mud was hidden under the warm clothes we'd covered up with, thankfully...  The rest of the day was rather uneventful, as expected.

Monday was spent getting stuck in to housework that hasn't been done in I don't know how long, and Tuesday was all about drinking buckets of coffee in order to try and stay awake while studying.  I'm pretty sure it was the reading material putting me to sleep, and not the 5.20am wake up for a rather fantastic 15km run before sunrise:

Halfway turnaround point of the run, about 7.5km from home.  This is the best my phone camera could manage - you can sort of make out the Sky Tower in the middle of the picture...

End of run (or rather, 4.2km from the end of it if you want to be pedantic)

There was fog that morning, and I felt it before I saw it.  Being still rather dark it was hard to tell, but the air temperature dropped quite noticeably when I neared Okahu Bay.  Once I got out from under tree cover and had more street light, I could see the layers of fog hanging in the air across the road.  It was fun listening to the cyclists chattering about it on their way past.  I turned around shortly afterwards to head home so I could get the boys ready for school.  The homeward leg was faster than the outbound, partly due to the time constraint, and partly due to the absolute joy I felt in running while watching the sun come up.  I hadn't taken any gels with me that morning but didn't feel the need for them at all.  It's become a habit, I think, to have a gel every 40 minutes or so during a run.  That's okay if you're going to be out for two hours or more, but for anything less than that it's probably a waste of time (and $3 a pop).  It felt good to just run.  So I'll be leaving the gels at home for future early morning runs, unless they're of the longer, slower trail variety.  We're planning a run in the Waitakeres this weekend - some of the group are running Piha to Bethells, and others are continuing on to loop back to Piha.  The plan is for me to be in the latter group - all up it should be about 30km.  I'll definitely be needing some gels for that!  And a banana, and some PB sandwiches, and probably some nuun...

I was very happy to get my assignment result back on Tuesday as well.  Remember that horrendously long, 15 page assignment that was kicking my butt a couple of weeks back?  I got 80% for it.  Soooooooo relieved about that!  Of course, now I just have to worry about the assignment that's due next Thursday for my other paper that I haven't started yet.  I'm trying to work through the course materials, if only I could stay awake while reading them...

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Breathing space

I am writing this post in the tiny bit of time I have available between finishing one mammoth assignment and embarking on the next.  Gosh, this semester has been a challenge!  So much going on, the workload is heavier (two Level 6 papers, whereas I've been completing Level 5 papers previously), and there just doesn't seem to be enough time in the day.  How I ever managed to keep my house clean and tidy, the washing done, family fed, study ahead of schedule and keep up with running and cross-training workouts last year I have no idea!!  It's certainly not happening now, let me tell you...

I've reverted back to early morning runs before the boys get up for school, and I'm remembering just how much I love running at that time of day.  It almost feels as though running before 7am doesn't require the same amount of effort that running later in the day does.  As though any kilometres clocked before the sun rises doesn't sap any energy.  I will admit that making myself get out of bed anywhere before 6am has been harder than I remember it being before, but once I've laced up and hit the streets, the feeling of happiness comes flooding back, and the tiredness melts away.  I adore this time of day, more than any other, and I absolutely love catching the sunrise.  Last Saturday was nothing short of magical:

I love the early morning light, and watching it change over time.  Don't you just love how the light reflects off the water?  Beautiful.  I suppose I could just go out and sit in one place to watch it (and I have before on numerous occasions throughout my life) but running in the crisp morning air... there's just something about it.  That particular morning was made just that little bit more special by my catching sight of not one, but four fish jumping out of the water.  I'd never been quick enough to see that before, only hearing the resulting splashes after they'd jumped.  I arrived home very happy that morning, and it totally made up for missing the sunrise the day before.

Here's a few pics from yesterday morning's run too:

Every morning is different, despite having the same 'scenery' to look out at.  I didn't have time to hang around and see the sun peek up over the horizon yesterday morning, since I had to get back home to get the kids organised for school.  Sunrise at the moment is just after 7am, and that's when I need to get X out of bed for breakfast.  As you can see from the first pic, it was still quite dark at 6am.  Before anyone starts freaking out about my safety (Deane), there are already a large number of boot campers, runners, cyclists, motorists and cleaners out and about at that time of the morning, so you don't have to worry ;)

As I mentioned, I have just finished an assignment.  A 15 page formal report based on a four page case study of an organisation (fictional) with serious (also fictional) information management issues.  It was hard.  Mentally draining.  I'm only hoping what I've submitted actually makes sense to someone other than myself, and I am awarded a decent mark for it.  It took daaaaayyyyys to write.  The lecturer even called earlier today to remind me that it was due, and check to see if I didn't need any extra time.  Apparently he wanted to be sure I did well, since my first assignment was 'pretty good' and he thought I had the potential to improve.  Jeez, pressure much? ;)  I assured him that I was (at the time) at the editing stage and it would be submitted before midnight.  I ended up sending it a little before 2pm, and have spent the hours since then doing very mindless stuff - a little cooking, a little knitting, a trip to the supermarket, some Pinterest browsing...  Tomorrow morning it will be back to the grindstone to catch up on course work for my other paper in order to be able to complete the assignment due two weeks from now.  The only thing keeping me sane at the moment is the thought that I'm halfway through my degree, and there's only about two years to go.  I can do this, right?  ::trying to stay calm and not freak the hell out::

Coffee is my best study friend at the moment, and I'm very glad to have a supply coming from our friends in Gisborne at Far East Coffee Co.  Their coffee is awesome, and they're super quick with delivery - can't complain about that ;)  It's good to be able to support New Zealand business, especially when it's people you know.  I've never liked strong coffee, and always needed milk to cut down the bitterness.  But laziness and impatience prevents me from steaming and frothing the soy milk every time I want a coffee, so long blacks it is!  I'm so happy I got my espresso machine for my birthday last year, it's become a well-used everyday kitchen appliance.  And I call myself a tea drinker... ha!

Gosh, it's getting late.  Think I'll wander up to bed and read a little more Sense & Sensibility before I nod off, so I can head out for a run early tomorrow morning before starting the next round of study.  Wish me luck!  Next post will be the first XTERRA series race recap :)  Until then, enjoy the rest of your week!

Friday, 9 May 2014

"The only workout you'll ever regret is the one you didn't do"

How very true this is.  Last night I grabbed my running gear and left it in a pile by my wardrobe door, set the alarm for 5.15am, and went to bed with thoughts of a 15km run with the sunrise peeking up just as I was arriving home.  I'd been thinking about it for hours, despite the rain (and at least one thunderclap) of the evening and expected wet forecast for the morning.  I woke up at 5.10am and made a split-second decision that I was too tired and could just go for a run the next day instead, turned off my alarm and went back to sleep.  When I got up at 7am and looked out the window, not only was it not raining, there was evidence of an amazingly beautiful sunrise that I had just missed.  This was confirmed with several stunningly beautiful sunrise pictures popping up in my Twitter feed as I scrolled through it over breakfast.  Add to that the chatter on Facebook of my friends completing 18km (Dan) and 34km (Marty) runs this morning, broken up by an hour-long boot camp session in the middle, and the guilt and disappointment in my complete laziness really set in.  I very much regret not getting up this morning and running that 15km.  I'm pretty sure the sunrise was beautiful just to spite me.

See?  Just look at it.  Look at it, people!!!  (I stole this picture from my Twitter feed - it was taken by a Ms Barbara Cuevas.  Because I was too lazy to get up and see it myself.  Yes I am bitter.  Yes, I am aware that I only have myself to blame.)

With so little running happening of late due to the demands of study (assignments looming) you'd think I'd be bounding out of bed, particularly since I ran an early morning 11km on Wednesday and loved every second of it (sadly, there was no spectacular sunrise because it was overcast and foggy).  Note to self: never pay attention to 5am kreachr, listen to the one who thought things through at a more reasonable hour of the day.

I intend to get up early tomorrow morning and run that 15km.  What's the bet the sunrise is horribly disappointing, just to piss me off?

Let's look at some other pretty things instead, shall we?

This was an amazingly delicious breakfast I had a few weeks back - bircher muesli topped with fresh figs, apple, walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds.

This breakfast I had the other day - quinoa porridge (made with quinoa flakes) topped with fresh figs (love them!), blueberries, chopped pecans and maple syrup.

This was a ridiculously ginormous 'pancake' I had for breakfast last Saturday.  I was tricked in to ordering it after a run session with 'the usual suspects' - we ran a 4km route planned by Dan, then did 2.1km of sprints in four parts, devised by Marty just to torture us.  I ended up running my fastest kilometre (3'36") and fastest mile (6'05"), so I earned it! ;)  It's the 20 minute pancake from Dominion & Ayr Cafe in Parnell - amazing, but not something I'd tackle alone again.  Phew!

Proof that I can wear something other than running gear and sloppy, raggedly-looking trackies - got all dressed up for our friends' wedding last Friday.  Dress by Turet Knuefermann.  Love those shoes!  Horribly uncomfortable though... And yes, I'm still terrible at selfies ^_^

Our friends Ben and Lichelle, getting married after 11 years together - aren't they just perfect?  Deane's reading a poem he wrote for the occasion.

Sunset, looking out from Mudbrick on Waiheke where Ben & Lichelle got married.

The view from their accommodation, the morning after.  We stayed somewhere else that had crappy views.  No biggie, we were only there for about seven hours to shower and sleep...

Deane and I enjoying the last few hours of our kid-free 'date week', on the ferry back from Waiheke after the wedding.  It was super windy.  Those are not my sunglasses.  And is it just me, or does Deane's head look monstrously large compared to mine...? 

I missed these crazy nut bars and their weird and wonderful faces!

While they were away I got to visit some friends in Wellington I hadn't seen since we left four years ago, and I had the best time walking around the place and remembering all the stuff I loved about it.  Hot chocolate from Scopa (I have never found another that even remotely compares) and coffee from Mojo at the Old Bank Arcade was high on the list, as was breakfast at Leuven (I recommend the Belgian porridge and the sugar waffles - Deane always gets the potato cakes), and a run along the waterfront where I used to run regularly.  I did manage to fit in some study while Deane was busy working, although probably not as much as I could've done if I'd stayed home.  Although it was just as likely I'd have procrastinated terribly and got nothing done at all...  It took me an age to get in to the assignment I'm working on at the moment.  It's due next Tuesday, and is a 15 page formal report.  15 PAGES!!!  OMG!!!  And I thought the 12 page assignment was hard!  Ugh.  I am making progress though, with the help of my good friend Mr Espresso Machine who resides in my kitchen.  This is also the reason why I'm only able to run early mornings or not at all for the foreseeable future.  Once this assignment is completed, I have to jump straight in to working on another one for my other paper which is due a week and a half later, and I'm behind on course work for that one.  It's an uphill battle.  But I'll keep chipping away at it and hopefully will manage to get through it in one piece.  I'll be honest and say my brain is pretty sludgy by the time 2.30pm rolls around.  My place is a giant filth-pit and the gardens are getting horribly overgrown, but we're not starving so there's a win in there somewhere.  I am very thankful I discovered the laundry service, let me tell you!  Now I just need a gardener and a housekeeper...

Next weekend is the first XTERRA Auckland event - not sure I mentioned it, but I've signed up for the series.  This year there are seven events from May through to September in different forest areas around Auckland.  I've entered the 'long' series, so each race is 16-20km.  The first up is at Riverhead Forest, and is an estimated 19km.  Should be fun!  I'm looking forward to it :)  I'm also looking forward to the rest of the series, which will keep me motivated throughout the winter months - mud, rain, freezing cold temperatures (well, as cold as Auckland can get anyway, probably not quite freezing) - it's gonna be awesome!!  So if you don't hear from me over the next week, you can at least expect a race recap after next weekend.  Fun times ahead!  Oh, and it will also be good training for my first marathon.  XTERRA Waihi, on my 35th birthday.  Trying to rope in as many participants as possible, or at least spectators.  Not only will it be motivation to actually finish the race, y'all will likely get to see me looking horribly exhausted at the end.  Who doesn't want to see that?!?

I didn't enter the Auckland Marathon, or the half marathon.  I'm thinking I might volunteer for it instead, so I can cheer everyone else on and hand them useful things like water and stuff.  Also, Deane has mentioned that he was considering running the half with a couple of mates, so I want to be there to laugh at him cheer him on from the sidelines and offer encouragement :)  There's still six months to go, so I guess it's possible he'll manage to fit in enough training beforehand to get up to the level of fitness required.  This should be interesting... ;)

I must away now, I have dinner to cook and a brain to scoop back together so I can continue to write this seemingly never-ending, very challenging, incredibly boring 15 page assignment on information management.  Have a great weekend, get out there and run (hopefully at least one of us will manage it), and if you have a mum, spoil her for Mother's Day.  I dare say she's earned it :)