August: Meals, Miles, Books and Looks

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Whilst July was a bit of an off month, I feel like I've been slowing gaining some momentum in August.  I started some spring cleaning and almost instantly felt better, with a clearer mind and sense of accomplishment.  I kept going and started to build on my morning and evening routines to keep the messiness away.  It is known that I hate to cook in a messy kitchen, but now it's always tidy and clean so I cook much more and we have home made lunches almost every day.

Meals

 

1. We started off the month with a delicious pancake breakfast.  Also this month the supermarket had maple syrup on special so I bought 4 more bottles and every time I go into my pantry I see them all lined up along the shelf :)

2. I made mulled wine.  Not technically a meal, but still delicious!

3. Baguette with mozzarella pearls, tomato, lettuce and balsamic vinegar.

4. Pizza baguette topped with home made pizza sauce, mushroom, red capsicum, corn, pineapple and cheese and served with hot chips and salad.


1. Nachos: Corn chips topped with cheese and chili beans, a salad in the middle topped with salsa and sour cream and then dressed with jalapenos.

2. Pizza! I cheated and bought the bases then topped with home made pizza sauce, mozzarella pearls and our favourite toppings of mushroom, corn, capsicum and pineapple.

3. After a trip to European store where we bought a packet of Knorr Fix W├╝rstchen Gulasch, Kane made this delicious meal using quorn sausages.

4.  We've had a couple of these pasta bakes lately.  Its a jar of sauce, a jar of water, dried pasta and then in the oven for 25 minutes.  Top with cheese, return to the oven for 10 minutes and done.  It doesn't require any attention so I set a timer and get stuck into another project.



1. Ploughman's lunch: 2 different cheeses, 2 different types of pickle, pickled onions, egg, salad with balsamic vinegar and baguette.

2. Quorn fillets in BBQ sauce, corn cobs in a home made lime and chili butter served with peas.

3. Grilled cheese sandwich with an orange for lunch.

4. A cherry chocolate from the chocolatier.

Miles: 30.8 km

With a 6.3 km trail race coming up on Sunday this will push my monthly mileage up to it's highest since I started doing these posts last October.

Earlier this year my yoga studio joined up with the gym downstairs from it so I get a free gym membership with my studio membership which is great!  The way my schedule has been working it's easiest for me to go at lunchtime to either a yoga class or to use the treadmills.  However, sometimes I'm held up and end up missing a class or a run and this is frustrating because I definitely prefer structure, but I'm trying to be more easy going about it.

Books

So far this is shaping up to my second month in a row of no reading!  I started reading Mort(e) last month but then abandoned it when it got to a bit where a man was cruel to animals. 

I've currently got Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain that I saw recommended on Lisa Valinsky's blog and whilst I was in the library I picked up another of those cosy mysteries with a pun-tastic title. 

//Image from Google Search

Looks

As is usual, I don't have too many looks to share with you.  I should probably just come up with a different section for here.

Anyway, this month we met rugby star and All Black Jerome Kaino.  It was an evening event at St Kentigerns college in the style of a relaxed chat between rugby commentator and media personality Scotty Stevenson and Jerome Kaino with questions for Jerome from the audience that was made of mostly parents and children of the school.

We also attended the All Blacks v Australia game.  The atmosphere was outstanding, the game was amazing, seeing them win the Bledisloe cup was awesome and then watching the retiring players receiving awards was emotional.  My blurry picture is of the haka at the start of the game.

 
My only real "look" of the month was the outfit I wore out for drinks with my friend.  You can't see it in the picture but I'm wearing tan heels - yes, heels two months in a row!  I used to wear heels all the time and now I hardly ever wear them but I'm gradually changing that :)  I'm also wearing a silver brooch.  I tend to wear brooches more than any other jewellery and my favourite pieces are all vintage - this one is of the Maeshowe dragon and was gifted to me by mother-in-law which had been given to her by her father and I'm especially fond of it.
 
//Image from Ola Gorie Jewelley
And my final picture in the set is at the finish of my most recent race. The tights and gray long sleeved shirt has been racing uniform this year but now it's starting to warm up I'm going to switch to a running t-shirt (with optional rain jacket!), but I'll stick with the tights for now.
 
How has your month of August been?

 

Race Report: RunWalk Series Race 3 - Devonport

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Race Website: Run Walk Website

The third race in the RunWalk series which was held on Sunday was the 6k event.  This was at Ngataringa Sports Park and naval sports facilities.

Official Stats:

Distance: 6 km
Time: 0:43:57
Pace: 07:19 min/km

Pre-Race

Dinner the night before was spaghetti with quorn Swedish meatballs in an arrabiata sauce (which is my favourite sauce!)  And we watched national lampoons Vacation. 

Kane and I had both seen movie posters for Vacation but we didn't get that it was anything to do with the old Chevy Chase movie until we were looking through the cinema website and saw a different poster with the main character wearing a Wally World t-shirt.  At first we were dismissive of it as we thought it was a remake but after watching the trailer we realised that the main character is Rusty, the son from the original movie.  Anyway, this prompted us to watch the original movie again.

After the movie it was off to bed but even though it was a good sleep, it was a hard to get up in the morning.  I had to step over the cat who was sleeping on the floor and he buried his face further into his paws when I opened the curtains.  I was pretty envious of him right then.

Azzy sleeping on my books

I had already laid out my stuff the night before so it was easy getting ready and then I made breakfast, but by the time it was ready we really should have been leaving the house.  We ate quickly and grabbed our bags and headed out.

I was feeling rushed now and for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to listen to Eastbound & Down from the movie Smokey and the Bandit.  (If I get a speeding ticket then my defence will be the song made me do it!)

We got to the race start with about 15 minutes to spare and I then spent that time in the queue for the toilets.  I got back to the start line seconds before the gun went off.
 
Auckland Harbour Bridge
 

On The Course

0-1km

I had been running for aaaages and my app hadn't told me I had passed the 1km mark yet so I had to look to see if it was set properly.  I was both horrified and disappointed that I had only been running for less than 5 minutes and had gone 0.65km!! 

However, it was a beautiful day and I enjoyed the way the light came through the trees and I saw a pukeko doing his thing amongst some marshlands.  Too much rushing meant that I just couldn't settle myself though.

1-2km

Once out of the park there's a left turn and a very steep and narrow uphill in a residential area.  I walked this as did mostly everyone else around me.  There was only room for 2 abreast on the path anyway but then it turns again and we could run on the road and into another park.

2-3km

I quite liked running through this park but then on the downhill out of the park was a lot of loose gravel and I was a little nervous running through it, but it was ok, I just look a bit crazy running over dodgy ground.  Once out onto Lake Road, this was a long incline but there was a water station just before the 3k mark.

3-4km

I still couldn't quite settle my mind and as a result I just couldn't get into a good rhythm.  I really struggled to keep running for any length of time however it was a little before the 4k mark that I spied my friend Jude who was running the 12k distance (2 laps of the same course).

4-5km

At 4k I passed Jude and then it was nice downhill section back into the park.  I wasn't sure how I was going compared to last year and I wanted to beat last years time so I tried to concentrate a little better.

5-6km

My app told me my time and pace at 5k and I realised that I could beat last years time with a little more effort.  There were cones placed along the last 1km so I used them to run fast, jog, walk the last section to the finish.

At the end I saw Kane pointing and directing me but it was confusing.  Me and the lady behind me tried to follow his directions and we slowed down and went the wrong way then had to correct ourselves.  I was pretty mad at the lost time.  Kane has now been instructed that if he wants to do something, he stands at the finish and cheers like everyone else.

In the end I was 14 seconds faster than last year.


Me, Jude and Carmy post race

Comparison with Last Year

20152014
0:43:570:44:11

Post Race

We waited for the others to finish and for our friend Kelly to come to the park.  Kelly had a sinus infection so Jude had taken her place in the race.  We had a bit of a catch-up and headed back to our cars.  The rest of the afternoon was uneventful with me making lunches for the week and having a nap and Kane mowing the lawn and having a nap.

It was far from a perfect race and I can see that I've got a lot of work to do.  The weather has got to the point where I can ditch the long sleeved top and wear t shirts now.  However the weather for each race has been exactly the same as last year so if it continues the next race is going to be extremely wet and windy!

Also in this series:

Race Report: RunWalk Series Race 2 - Alexandra Park

Currently in ... August

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Here we are halfway through August and I bought some Halloween decorations at the weekend.  I've been doing a lot of mid and long range planning lately so it's quite nice to stop and look at what's happening in the present.

Reading: Nothing! I'm in a bit of a slump at the moment but I'm waiting on Quiet by Susan Cain from the library so perhaps that will get me back into the habit of reading.

Watching: just Suits since True Detective has finished and I watched all of season 1 of Community.  I'm looking forward to watching season 2 and also the next season of Fargo when it comes out.

//Image from Den Of Geek
Feeling: much calmer and more productive since I tidied up my house - it's like I decluttered my mind at the same time :)

Thinking: about what I want to do for my birthday that's in 2 weeks.  Almost certainly birthday breakfast pancakes!


// Pancakes from earlier this month
Anticipating: the 6k race on Sunday - I'm a bit nervous about it as my training has been a little haphazard lately.

Listening to: lots of podcasts; Starr Struck blog, Radiolab, Dear Sugar and This American Life

Planning: on doing some redecorating but I don't know where to start!

Working: on my to do list and routines.

Wanting: Santa toilet seat cover and bathroom set.  I've wanted one since last Christmas and I even dreamed about it last night!  There's also reindeer, snowman and other winter and Christmas themed ones - I want them all!!

//Image from Amazon.com
Needing: a nice relaxing night in, maybe with some good food and wine, to enjoy a warm fire and the last bits of winter.

Loving: that Spring is right around the corner and I get to put away my winter coat and boots yay!

Grateful: that even though my problems cause me stress, in the scheme of things, they are really very small.

Wishing: I'd been able to go snowboarding this winter, but I've actually had a really good winter.  Maybe we'll go to the indoor snow sports centre in summer instead haha.


What's your favourite thing to do/eat/drink/etc. on a relaxing night in?
 

Scrubbing away the stress

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Early last week, as I was already running late, I was trying to find clean work pants only to find that all of them and all of my run kit were in the wash!  Thankfully I had a clean skirt but I had to make do with a yoga outfit to take to the gym with me and I rushed out of the house eating my toast.

Later, when I got to the gym, I realised that my phone holder was also in the wash and my earphones hadn't been plugged into the charger properly and were dead.  Oh well, I pushed on with the run anyway, only to find out that these yoga pants don't like to stay up when running and I spent the whole time pulling at them! 

All this stress just because I didn't have time to do the laundry at the weekend!


Laundry hamper bursting at the seams, a dirty dishes in the kitchen, overgrown garden threatening to take over, a desk I haven't seen the top of for quite some time, and ancient wall paper begging to be removed.  I've lost my groove and I want it back!

By strange coincidence, I've just started listening to Starr Struck Blog podcast and the first episode is about how to maximise your morning routine, then I refound the flylady.net website which is about house cleaning and organisation and includes morning and before bed routines as part of its system.  I think the universe is telling me I need a morning routine makeover!  So I was in the process of making a new morning routine by adding some tasks into my to do list, but still feeling like this is impossible because I have to leave the house so early, when up pops a new blog post by Amber about morning routines and there in the comments are people who are up and at them way earlier than me!  Ok, no more excuses.

Yes I wish it was like one of those TV shows where a team of experts come to your house and renovate, redecorate, landscape your garden and then give you a free car but that's really unlikely to happen!

//Image from Hyperbole and a Half

Over the weekend I resisted my instinct to CLEAN ALL THE THINGS as I knew that would lead to burn out but as it turned out it only took an hour to get all the main areas of my house clean and tidy.  Laundry got done and put away, cupboards are full of groceries and my kitchen sink is shining!  And I feel so much more in control again!  My garden is still a wild thing to be tamed, but that can wait a bit longer until the weather becomes more conducive to what's going to be an epic endeavour!

So in order to keep from feeling overwhelmed, I'm adding in some small tasks to my morning and evening routines and it's working.  It's only been a couple of days so far so lets see if I can keep this up for the rest of the week!

How do you fit in tidying and cleaning?  Have you mastered clean as you go or do you set aside a day of the week or do you do something else?

Race Report: Blackmores XTERRA Race 5 - Waharau Regional Park

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Race Website: Blackmores XTERRA Race 5 - Waharau Regional Park

Official Stats:

Distance: 5.4 km (I measured 5.83 km)
Time: 1:14:20
Elevation: 250m

Pre-Race

I was dreading this one all week.  It was listed as a tough, technical course with a 4/5 toughness factor.

It was forcasted for heavy rain over the weekend too and I didn't fancy another mud bath like the Riverhead race, so I had already planned my excuses to bow out of this one.

We still went through our night before rituals of having a pasta dinner and Kane made an excellent wine, cream and mushroom sauce with spaghetti.

In the morning we woke to the sound of rain and I was ready to spend the morning wrapped in a nice warm quilt, however the rain promptly stopped and the sunny skies evaporated my excuses.

I made us some porridge and coffee for breakfast and then we set off .

We arrived with a few minutes to spare and we grabbed our series numbers from the box - there were heaps of numbers left and I think most people decided to give this one a miss.  I checked the elevation profile again and wished I had too.



On the Course

We pinned on our numbers and attached our timing chips and before we knew it we were off.

0 - 1 km  We started running and it was long low incline and perfectly manageable but too quickly it got a bit steep and most of us just started walking at this point.

1 - 3 km We got a little bit of a downhill that we too advantage of and ran a little but then it got very steep very quickly and then it was just straight up.  I had a great idea, Kane thought I was delirious, but I still think donkey first aid transport (Donk-bulance) could be the next big thing.

I cannot express how hard I found this horrible hill and every time I thought I had reached the top, there was a turn and it carried on up some more.  I thought I was in an Escher painting or something.


3 - 5 km My calves got a reprieve from climbing, but the downhill was just as steep and it was time for my quads to suffer.  On two downhill sections it was a little muddy and a bit slippy but not too much trouble.  We then got onto a nice narrow trail and we were able to run through the trees for a short while before having to go down stairs.



5 - Finish I was conserving energy for a hill that I was expecting towards the end, but the loop came out after the hill and we had a nice downhill run to the finish line.  I had plenty left in the tank so managed a sprint finish to the end!

Post Race

The finish area was a complete mud bath!  I nearly lost a shoe while removing my chip and race number!  We got our Speight's and watched some children diving into the mud and throwing mud at each other.  I was going to get a massage but the wait was going to be too long so picked up our bag from the gear tent, which had gotten muddy in there (Kane was not impressed) and headed for the car.  I learned my lesson after Riverhead and had towels, jandals and a change of clothes in a bag, just in case I needed them!

At the time I wasn't sure if I was glad to have done this race because the uphill was quite torturous!  But now I am glad that I did it, because in comparing my time to others that we've finished close with in other races I can see that I was quite a bit slower and I think its because I psyched myself out and built it up to be a scarier beast than it really was.  I finished the race with plenty left in tank which means that I could have given more on the way back instead of conserving energy for a hill that never came!

Other races in the series:




 

 

 

 

 

Race Report: RunWalk Series Race 2 - Alexandra Park

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Race Website: Run Walk Website

The second race in the RunWalk series was held on Sunday and it was the 5k event.  This was at Alexandra Park which is home to Auckland's harness racing.

Official Stats:

Distance: 5 km
Time: 0:39:21
Pace: 07:52 min/km

Pre-Race

I made pasta salad with avocado, surimi with seafood sauce, lime juice and a bit of paprika and cayenne.  It was really good but I forgot to take a picture of it, oh well I'll just have to make it again :)

It was raining when we woke up and we weren't sure what the weather was going to do.  Kane opted for shorts, long sleeved Helly Hanson t-shirt and the supplied race t-shirt whereas I decided on tights, short sleeved t-shirt and a rain jacket.

The event time had changed to be an hour earlier and we arrived about 15 minutes before hand so we weren't waiting around in the cold for too long.

On The Course


0 - 1km

The first kilometre took us along the grass and then across the horse track and out of the park, then we turned and headed through the back car park and then out onto the street.

1 - 3km

We were out onto the quiet streets and I was trotting along a slow but steady speed.  My graph shows that I picked up a bit of speed before the 2.5k mark and I can't recall speeding up but I think it was a downhill and I just tried to keep very steady.  At around the 3k mark there was an uphill and I had to walk a few steps but also there was an amazingly bright, perfectly formed rainbow and I felt really happy to see such a sight.

3 - 5km

Between 3 and 4km was where I got cramp last year and this year I felt a tightness and freaked a little but thankfully it didn't come to anything.  Maybe it was just my mind placing tricks on me, but I've been stretching like crazy since this race!  I was happy when I saw that I had finished the loop and was on the last kilometre but it ended up really dragging.  Once we had ran back through the carpark we were onto the horse track again and this time we ran around it to the finish.  Again, my "sprint" finish could use a little work haha.

Comparison with Last Year

20152014
0:39:210:36:26

Post Race

The course was a little different this year due to some building works going on and I measured the course to be a little long and so did Kane.  All 3 of us who did this race last year ended up slower this year too.  This is a little disappointing considering how well we did on the first race of the series.  But I can't be too disappointed because I know that I just haven't been doing as much work as I did last year and this is the kick in butt I need, and I've now got just under 3 weeks until the 6k!
 

Also in this series:

Recipe: Sweetcorn Egg Drop Soup

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Here is my recipe for sweet corn egg drop soup.  It's quite easy and quick to make and fun to experiment with.  There are other recipes that add surimi or chicken but I used this recipe as a starting point and went from there.


Ingredients:


1 can (400g) sweet corn kernels
1 stock cube (I used Massels Vegetarian Chicken Flavour)
2 Eggs
Water as needed (about a litre)
3 heaped tsp Corn flour (corn starch)

Method:


Drain the corn, then take about half to 3/4 of the can (or all of it if you wish) and rough chop in a food processor.

Put about a litre of water in a pot, put on the heat, and then crumble in the stock cube and add the chopped and unchopped corn.  Bring to the boil.

Turn the heat down to a simmer and in a separate bowl, beat the two eggs.

Then stir in eggs into the pot so that they form strands.

In a cup, mix the corn flour with a little cold water to form a paste, bring the pot back to a boil and stir the paste in to the pot to thicken.  And now it's ready to serve.

Best enjoyed with warm prawn crackers.


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