Wednesday 19 June 2019

New timetrial PB

After my super birthday run yesterday, I wasn't planning on a spectacular run at timetrial tonight - but I had one anyway!

Contrary to popular belief, a dog clipped onto you doesn't mean a faster run. Said dog likes to sniff and pee here and there, which loses time like crazy. I think that the best time that Rusty and I have had at our local 4km timetrial may have been last week when we ran a 22:40-something - even with a bit of sniffing. That was surprising.

I started running time trials earlier this year. They're held at 17h30 on Wednesdays starting from a local park. It is a tough 4km route.

I've done a low 22 minute on my own, but not less than this. Well, tonight I nailed a 20:20, taking around two minutes off my PB.
(I judge PBs off the last three-odd years, not all time).

I am super chuffed. Now to take this to a sub-20. I haven't done any speed work but I am doing the big hill once a week, which seems to be making a difference. Yeah!

43 Days of Running is up

This year's annual birthday challenge, like that of last year, did not have as much impact on my life as in previous years. When I started this birthday game for my 35th birthday, it was at a time when I needed to focus on running; my schedule was erratic, I was chasing ideas and plans and deadlines, putting in a lot of hours and letting time for me slide.

Every year this birthday challenge has been grounding and a reminder that daily exercise and activity is not only good for me physically, but critical for my mental well-being too.

It was like this until two years ago when I got Rusty. While I may treat myself as second fiddle to other people and deadlines, this dog comes first in my life. And our routine is that we go for a run or walk or paddle or something every evening. We both need the exercise and it is great time spent together. So, even when I have been working crazy hours over the past year, I have still been consistent in my running because I go out with my doggy-girl.

The past 43 days have flown past and like much of the past year are a bit of a blur. Not all of the days were running. There were some paddle days and a yoga day and also some longer walks instead of runs, especially if Rusts and I had a harder run the previous day. I'm cool with that. I definitely think that I need to step up my game for next year - I've got time to decide what and how.

I celebrated day 43, my birthday, with a 10km road run, something that I do not do often.

I had spent most of yesterday on an out-and-back trip to Joburg to collect stuff for work. It actually proved to be a nice day as the traffic was smooth and the drive gave me time to think and just be. Waiting at our suppliers I spoke to family on the phone, responded to lovely messages from friends... I wouldn't have had the same peace at my desk with a full inbox and a long to-do list.

On my return to town, I have my mom a call and asked her if she could drop me at an intersection 10km from town, which she did.

She took the dogs for a walk while I was running. I had an awesome run and, with thanks to the cool weather and the hill running that I've been doing almost weekly for the past 6 months, I didn't even feel the hills.

At 8.5km I met up with mom and the dogs, picked up Rusty and we ran the rest of the way home together.

My day started with breakfast in bed and ended with a lovely dinner with Celliers and my mom.

It was a good birthday day.

Monday 17 June 2019

Hand 'em down to reuse

I like hand-me-downs, items of clothing that are passed from one person to the other.

About two years ago we had a clothes swap here in Parys. A bunch of girls all got together with bags of clothing that they no longer wore / didn't fit / didn't like and we all got pieces that look great on us. It was a fun evening of dress-up. All of the garments that I chose, I wear regularly throughout the year.

I have often, over the years, given away garments that just didn't work for me. I remember a pair of jeans that I never settled into that I passed onto a friend. I thought they would be perfect for her. It turns out that they were. I had forgotten about them and a few months later I visited her and happened to remark on how great her jeans looked on her and where did she get them. "From you," was her reply. They didn't look that good on me!

Other items I have passed on to domestic helpers for themselves, family and children. It really does work just to pass clothing on if they are are doing nothing but hibernating in your cupboard.

With two children in my life, I value hand-me-downs even more because, at 11 and 13, these creatures grow like weeds. They have barely fitted into something when they're already out of it. And many items don't get a lot of wear before they're too small. A neighbour passed on some of her too small items more than 18-months ago for Kyla. Some of the dresses were perfect to a little big and a really cute pair of jeans and a denim skirt were too big but worth keeping for her to grow into. The jeans are now just right and on Friday I put up the hem so that she can now start to wear them.

The children know to put outgrown clothing on the 'Table of Everything' and I pass these on.

Hand-me-down applies not only to clothing, but also to shoes, furniture, appliances, linen, tools, crockery and even spectacles and frames (hand in at an optometrist). Anything that one person no longer uses and that can be used by another.

It was serendipity that I bumped into man from town at the local auction where I was looking for an old wooden ladder. I didn't find anything there but two days later he called to say that his friend was moving and she had an old wooden ladder that she couldn't take with her to her new, smaller home. I picked up the ladder from him a few days later and with a lick of paint it will serve my decorative purposes.

The road to Zero Waste is paved with 5 Rs - Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot (compost) - in this order. Hand-me-down clothing ticks the Reuse box.

Monday 3 June 2019

Why I love watching Netflix

Whether I watch series on DVD or series and movies on Netflix, I love watching tv. Work days are long and stressful and watching an episode (or two) a night is an opportunity to escape. Of course, Celliers teases me that I can never just sit and watch something. My preference is to work on a crochet project at the same time - how could I ever just sit and do nothing!

We've been watching Outlander (currently on the 3rd and last season) and for the past two months I've been working on a blanket. The original pattern is called 'Persian Tiles' by Janie Crowfoot. Another crochet guru, Lucia, saw this pattern and imagined it with more colours, creating the 'Eastern Jewels' colour interpretation from the original. I took one look at this and just knew I had to make it.

The Persian Tiles pattern can be purchased online but the Eastern Jewels colour guidelines only come with a yarn pack purchased from the UK. Prohibitively expensive. So, two months ago, after purchasing Persian tiles online, I spent a very late night scrutinising photographs of other people's blankets and I worked out a colour scheme for my blanket. Yip, 20 octagons (the original pattern has 16, I added another row), 12 diamonds, 14 triangles and 4 small triangles.

How much tv I get to watch determines how quickly the blanket progresses. I work on it for 1-2hrs a night and in the past two months I had two days on weekends when I spent a few more hours during the day working on the octagons. Bit-by-bit it come together.

This past weekend I completed joining each element, added the border foundation and last night I added the first (or 9-10) rows for the border. As each border row is a single colour, it goes way faster than the rest.

That's why I love Netflix. It is a never-ending source of things to watch - series, movies and documentaries; so much that I'll never get to a fraction of what is available. It offers a form of escapism and the opportunity to just sit and to create something with my hands that gives me a lot of joy and reward.

I am so looking forward to a stylish afternoon nap under this blanket and draping it over me while I watch more Netflix shows.