May: Meals, Miles, Books and Looks

These last few days have really started to give us a taste of winter and this weekend saw us making the first fire of the year.  It was so cosy having the fire going, the cats were stretched out enjoying the warmth and we were cuddled on the sofa watching the Game of Thrones characters navigate the snow.


The White Lady food truck is quite the local institution and at the beginning of the month we got the chance to stop and grab a vege burger on the way to the Alice Cooper and Mötley Crüe gig.

I roasted up some carrots, squash, parsnips and courgettes I got at the farmers market and had that with some Linda McCartney country veg pies, which are real treat for us this time of year.

The leftover roast veges were accompanied by some sliced beans I got a market and some mashed potatoes and I made a sausage casserole with some Quorn sausages I had in the freezer.  I prefer the Linda McCartney sausages for casseroles because the Quorn ones are more firm and don't seem to give or absorb any of the casserole flavours, but they still taste great.

It was extremely indulgent, but at the weekend we decided to have a full cooked breakfast!  We had Quorn bacon, Linda McCartney sausage, egg, tomato, mushrooms, beans and toast.  It was so delicious.

They haven't all been full cooked breakfasts though!  Look!  I had a lovely fruit salad one day and porridge on another :)

And still very much in the mood for soups, I made a potato and leek soup for lunch one weekend and had it with some sourdough bread.

And I love hazelnuts and managed to get a bag at the city farmers market, but they've all been eaten now. 

Miles: 29.2km

Still working away at the Couch to 5k program and this month I did my first trail race! Ooh those hills!

I haven't been very good at going to yoga regularly, but I'm hoping to make a better effort in the coming weeks.


I managed to finish 4 books this month.  It helps when 3 of them are quick reads!

I finally finished the awful book that is Outlander (aka Cross Stitch) by Diana Gabaldon.  I'm glad it's over.

I decided to go ahead and finish The Giver series by Lois Lowry.  I really liked these books.  I would have liked to have known what happened to some of the other characters that had been introduced, but I guess that's life and you can't know what happens to everyone.


I don't have any looks for you this month except this one of my new Blues rugby hat.  We buy the 4 game pack and each year we get a free gift.  Previously its been a blanket and a scarf and this year its a cap.  Also I added a photo of my cat :)


Oh, thank goodness its Friday.  I have been exhausted all week!

The high of my week was taking part in my first trail race last Sunday, and finishing!  Actually maybe the best part was the free beer at the end!

The low of my week was feeling so completely wiped out that I had to cancel on going to the ice hockey game and postpone my ice skating lesson until Saturday.

A book I'm reading is Double Knit Mysteries by Maggie Sefton, and also I've just started Messenger by Lois Lowry.

For my workouts, I completed 1 trail race, Week 6 Day 1 of the C25k and some exercises that the physio gave me.

The best money I spent was on a new trail shoes.

My plans this weekend include grocery shopping, ice skating, going to the rugby, a birthday meal for my friend, and Choir.

Race Report: Blackmores XTERRA Race 1 - Shakespear Regional Park

Here I go at my first attempt at a race report.

Blackmores XTERRA Race 1 - Shakespear Regional Park

Official Stats

Distance: 6.5km
Elevation: 175m
Time: 1:05:51


I had a friends birthday party to go to the night before so pre-race meal was pizza and it was a bit of a later night that I wanted but my race later in the morning so I didn't need to leave the house until 8am and I could have left it later since we were there with heaps of time to spare.

We wandered around the finish area, picked up our numbers and chip and got a coffee whilst watching the earlier runners that were doing the longer distances run up and along the top of a very large hill.  I felt a bit nervous at this point but also a bit in denial, reminding myself that this was for all abilities.

On The Course

The race is 6.5km, my gps mapped it as 6.7km.

0 - 1km

The horn sounded and the first part of the course was up hill on the road.  Everyone started running but I wanted to start with a walk to warm up and not tire myself out right at the start - I think this was a good choice.  Once we got onto the flat we ran to the electric gate where we turned to go up a bit of an incline between some bushes and we continued to jog until it got too steep.

1 - 2km

We came out into a paddock and we hiked up the hill to cattle gate where we turned left along a dirt road.  It was a small incline and we jogged along until we came to another cattle gate and we turned to run down a big hill.

2 - 4km

We then entered a very nice trail and we had to keep a look out for tree roots and overhead branches and vines.  The path was very narrow in places but we were able to run and keep a nice pace through this section. 

4 - 5.5km

When we came out of the trail we were back in paddocks and heading up hill towards the electric gate again.  We then had the dirt incline between the bushes and back up the first hill in the paddock.  Once through the cattle gate this time we took a right and were heading gently downhill towards the finish area.  A few people around us were saying that this was the last hill and with the finishing line in sight I was feeling pretty happy with my efforts.  However it was neither the finish nor the last hill.

5.5 - 6.7km

We ran along the flat behind the finish line and then it was a crazy massive hill with long grass.  I was feeling tightness in both my calves on and off but thankfully it never got any worse.  Once I got to the top of the hill I was pretty much done in.  The downhill was hell and my muscles were too fatigued.  It was also incredibly muddy and slippery here.  Once off the hill there was a nice flat section which I jogged and then we were on a short section of sandy beach to navigate before we turned off and crossed the finish line.


I got handed a One Square Meal and munched on that while waiting in the grill line.  I went and got us our free Speights and since they didn't have any vegetarian sausages we got a pile of cooked onions and covered them with ketchup and wholegrain mustard - so delicious!

At home, I had a bit of a nap before Choir and the next day I used The Stick on my quads and calves but didn't feel too sore.  I was a bit stiffer on Tuesday but thankfully had my physio appointment and got my calves worked on (which was sooo sore!).

Currently In ... May

Hello dear friends!  We are now mid May and I am currently looking at a beautiful rainbow.  People are starting to talk about cold it's getting and I'm thinking it won't be too much longer before we'll need to make our first fire of the year. 

Auckland SciFi Book Club in May

Reading: I took a break from the knitting mysteries to read Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry and I've just finished that.  I'm trying to decide whether to read The Girl With All The Gifts for the SciFi book club next month.

Watching: Season finales of Agents of Shield, Grimm, Greys Anatomy, and Castle.  And we're half way through Game of Thrones already :(

Listening to: I had a great time at the Alice Cooper and Mötley Crüe gig at the start of the month, but this week its been Dancing Queen, over and over and over again - I have harmonies to learn for Choir and I'm finding it très difficile.

Alice Cooper and Mötley Crüe on 9th May

Eating\Drinking: It's been cold enough some mornings to warrant a hot bowl of porridge for breakfast a few times this month.  I've also enjoyed a few Speight's Mid Ale - it's a 2.5% beer.

Feeling: Happy that I finished my first trail race!

Enjoying a Speight's Mid Ale at the finish line

Working: Apart from my harmonies for choir, I'm also working on my couch to 5k program.

Anticipating: A very busy week ahead full of fun stuff like Ice Hockey, Lions Dinner, Rugby, Ice Skating, Choir, and hanging with friends.

Planning: I've started scribbling down some thoughts on a Scotland holiday for next year and seeing if I can fit in a trip to Iceland and/or Norway at the same time.  I'm also formulating some ideas for our winter mini-vacation.  We really enjoyed our snowboarding Ohakune holiday last year and we're trying to decide whether to go again or go somewhere different.

Needing: to find a way to get stronger for trail running.  I'm not sure how or if I can combine yoga and weights to achieve what I want.  Maybe I need to talk to a coach or a personal trainer or something?

Loving: Running :)

Wishing: A big congratulations to my sister-in-law and her husband who welcomed a new baby boy to their family.

Enjoy the rest of your month!

Couch to 5k: Week 6

It's taken 10 weeks to get to week 6 of this Couch to 5k program!  Here's the rest of the series:

Week 6 Recap

I'm not going to lie, week 6 was HARD.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Warm Up: Walk 5 min Warm Up: Walk 5 min Warm Up: Walk 5 min
Run: 10 min
Walk: 5 min
Run: 10 min
Walk: 3 min
Run: 15 min
Walk: 3 min
Run: 10 min Run: 10 min Run: 5 min
Cool Down: Walk 5 min Cool Down: Walk 5 min Cool Down: Walk 5 min
Total time: 35 min Total time: 33 min Total time: 33 min

Day 1 was awesome and I totally nailed it and really wanted to tell every person I saw that I had just run for 10 minutes .. twice!  I was definitely feeling pretty pleased with myself.

Day 2 was a bit more of a struggle, I managed the first 10 minute run, but struggled on the second one and had to take a couple of sneaky walk breaks.

Day 3 was the toughest, I think I managed about 5 minutes before I had to take a walk break and I ended the run feeling a bit deflated.  A complete turn around from the start of the week.

I also ran my first trail race on Sunday.  Come to think of it, this was also my first trail run - and I did it in brand new shoes and a brand new top.  I'm not sure how many more race commandments I could have broken!!  It all went well though and it was fun (except that giant hill at the end).

Next Weeks Plan

I feel I need to repeat week 6 again, and I might even have to do it again the week after since I don't feel quite ready for that 15 minute run segment.

After my trail race I realise that I need to get some strength in my little legs, but it might take a couple of days of rest and foam rolling before I'm ready to load them up.

Couch to 5k: Week 5

I'm so glad I blogged about running yesterday because I really needed to dig deep for my last run of week 5 and I'm not sure I would have done it without the accountability of this blog!

Here are my previous posts:

Week 5 Recap

The first two runs of week 5 were pretty good.  With the injury and physio it had been a week since my last run so I was very rested and ready for run 1.  And since I didn't want to overdo things it was 4 days after that that I did run 2.  The following day and I did hot yoga and woke up this morning a bit sore from all the chaturanga dandasanas and the glute exercises I've been doing, so I didn't have as much rest between workouts as I've had previously.  It might have been a tough workout anyway with two 8 minute run segments.  The fist 8 minutes went pretty well and I was ready for my walk break when it came, but the second one was really tough and I had to really fight through the last half of it.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Warm Up: Walk 5 min Warm Up: Walk 5 min Warm Up: Walk 5 min
Run: 5 min
Walk: 3 min
Run: 5 min
Walk: 3 min
Run: 8 min
Walk: 5 min
Run: 6 min
Walk: 3 min
Run: 8 min
Walk: 3 min
Run: 8 min
Run: 5 min Run: 5 min
Cool Down: Walk 5 min Cool Down: Walk 5 min Cool Down: Walk 5 min
Total time: 32 min Total time: 36 min Total time: 31 min

Week 6 Plan

With the last run being so tough, I'm really nervous about what's coming up on week 6.  I was hoping to start this on Friday but I may need more recovery time.  I am looking forward to running for 10 minutes and I think I could probably manage that, it's the second one that will be tougher and if that's the case then I will repeat the days until I'm able to do them.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Warm Up: Walk 5 min Warm Up: Walk 5 min Warm Up: Walk 5 min
Run: 10 min
Walk: 5 min
Run: 10 min
Walk: 3 min
Run: 15 min
Walk: 3 min
Run: 10 min Run: 10 min Run: 5 min
Cool Down: Walk 5 min Cool Down: Walk 5 min Cool Down: Walk 5 min
Total time: 35 min Total time: 33 min Total time: 33 min

Happy running!

Couch to 5k: Injury & Progress Update

I started out on my journey with an 8 week couch to 5k program.  However, right at the midway point I injured my hip and the physio found that the pain was coming from my glutes and was caused by weak glutes.  I've been seeing the physio for 3 week and have been doing strengthening and stretching exercises and now I'm getting back into running.

Here are my previous posts:
I repeated one of the week 4 runs and it felt ok so I thought I'd give Week 5 Day 1 a go.  To be honest I didn't think I would be able to do it.  Week 4 Day 3 was run 3, walk 2, run 5, walk 2, run 3.  So that 3 run segments of 3-5-3, whereas Week 5 Day 1 has run segments 5-6-5 and that's a huge leap to me.  I was so surprised and happy when I was able to do it!  I have to confess that I am running at a much slower speed than normal as per my physios instructions, but it feels so damn good to be running and improving!

Yesterday's run segments were 5-8-5 and I couldn't believe that I had managed to run for 8 minutes straight!  What's more is that my breathing was good and my body didn't feel too fatigued, the real challenge was the uncomfortableness of running that caused my mind to keep telling me to stop.  The mind had given up before the body and I had to resort to bargaining with myself to keep going.  I still have one more run to do of Week 5 which looks tough with the run segments being 8-5-8.

A couple of things are on my mind right now:
  • The uncomfortableness feeling will diminish if I lose weight
  • I would feel more confident if I could get into a regular workout schedule
  • I have my first trail race coming up next week
The trail race I plan to mostly walk.  I'm hoping it will help give me an idea of what to expect from the rest of the series while I improve my running and fitness.  As for the other two points, well I'm still working on them :D

My friend and his wife (Red Wine Runner) just ran a 53 mile ultra marathon!  You can read the report on RWRs blog.  Here I am celebrating running for a whole 8 minutes and these guys just ran for 13 hrs 27 min 41 sec and 11 hrs 44 min 7 sec respectively!!

Little joys for May

As I mentioned the other day I want to share with you some of the little and big things I do each month that makes me happy.  I think this post needs pictures but I want to get this up today so I hope you'll forgive me!

While the northern hemisphere is all about spring, Beltane and flower crowns we are enjoying the changing of the leaves, hearty food and autumn hikes.

In Season: apples, beans, pumpkins & squash, chillies, feijoas, leeks, pears, parsnips, swedes, turnips, rhubarb

Eat: porridge, chilli, lentil soup, rhubarb crumble, roast root veg, monkey nuts

Drink: Twinnings camomile and spiced apple tea, spiced apple cider, red wine

Decorate: pumpkins, horn of plenty, apples, corn, wheat, leaf designs, owls, red and orange candles

Smell: pumpkin spice, bonfire, marshmallow

Listen To: Counting Crows, Haim, Lorde, Pearl Jam,

Watch: Game of Thrones, Grimm, Once Upon A Time, Star Wars, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Piñata Survival Island, Final Destination.

Make: Bread, apple sauce, soup, knit or crochet a scarf, fingerless mitts, a blanket, or a headband, leaf garlands

Wear: Flannel shirts, plaid and buffalo check, jumpers, gilet, an autumn bag, boots

Workout: Trail running, hot yoga, ballet, ice skating, gym classes

Go to: Farmers market, Swiss market, rugby game, football game, opera, hiking, cinema

Stay In: Horror movie marathon, Stanley cup games, read

Local Events:

Swiss Market, Blues Rugby, Fifa U20 World Cup, NZ Opera

Other Notable Dates:

4th: May the Fourth, Star Wars Day

This is one for Star Wars fans.  I'm hoping to make some blue milk and watch the movie.  According to Wikipedia the following day is revenge of fifth where we should celebrate our dark side!

5th: Cinco de Mayo

This is a Mexican celebration of their victory at the Battle of Puebla.  Whilst I have no cultural association with Mexico, with the cold nights starting it's a nice way to celebrate spicy Mexican food!  I blogged about this last year when we celebrated by eating chilli and watching the movie Piñata Survival Island.

10th: Mothers Day

My Mother-in-law feels that Mothers day is a made up Hallmark holiday so we've never celebrated it with her.  The UK mothers day is in a completely different month than the NZ one so I just don't even bother with this holiday with my own Mum either.  This is one of those holidays that's just fallen off the radar.

25th: Towel Day 

For fans of Douglas Adams and the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.  I've never taken part in this celebration before but to celebrate you are supposed to carry a towel around with you.  Before I read this book I had actually read an old thrifted copy of the Hitchhikers Guide to Europe in which it talks about the importance of backpacking with a towel and its multitude of uses so when I read the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy I knew exactly where Adams had got this idea from!