super generic girl

the awesomely average life of a girl like all others


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Poor life choices and other stuff I want to tell you about

It might seem like I’ve got something important to tell you but, contrary to every single other time you hear from me, this time I don’t. However, it’s been a few days since I’ve written here and I know you’re bedridden with worry about the hell is going on with me. Right? RIGHT?

Well, wipe away those tears, I’m alright. Never short of things to talk about, what I’m lacking is the time to come here and write thousands and thousands of words about what’s been on my mind (Nutella crepes and Gilmore Girls marathons, for example). But let’s leave those hot topics for later and talk about other stuff. Running stuff, mostly, much to everyone’s surprise. I’m way behind on posting the result of last week’s giveaway so needed an excuse to wave a metaphorical dust cloth around this place. In the interest of time efficiency (and an obvious attempt at disguising the fact that none of these things relate to each other), I’m gonna go ahead and bullet point this bad boy so we can all go back to our lives.

  • NZ On Screen has a really good documentary about Kiwi running legend Arthur Lydiard. You should watch it if you haven’t. You should also watch it if you have already watched it but need a metaphorical kick in the butt to get outside and run.
  • Speaking of Arthur Lydiard, this happened:
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Someone needs to take away my credit card privileges.

  • Also, lovely SGG reader Matilda Iglesias scored some pretty sweet Pro Compression marathon socks by leaving a comment in my birthday post. Matilda, please email me (the usual: supergenericgirl at gmail dot com) letting me know which socks you want and what size you wear and I’ll make sure the Pro Compression peeps get those to you!
  • Good news for those who didn’t win but still want to get their hands on the good stuff: the code PCBLG will get you 40% off marathon socks and sleeves on the Pro Compression website. It also gives you free shipping if you live in the US. Treat yo’self!
  • But enough about socks. I ran a trail in the Coromandel a couple of weekends ago that destroyed my body (and my will to live) to the point of wanting to give up on that basic feature that distinguishes me from monkeys: the ability to walk upright. I finished with pain on one foot, pain on one knee, scratches on my arms and legs, a bruised knee and a crushed ego. I also didn’t run for a week after that. It was awesome. No, really.
  • Speaking of trails, I’ve now said it “out loud” on the internet:

Screen shot 2013-08-28 at 6.49.10 PM

  • I’ve been doing heaps of running lately and most of it has been in the morning. I’m totally going to write a million words about that soon but I just wanted to use one of these bullet points to brag about it (the secret to becoming a morning runner, I’ve found it!).
  • Finally, when thinking about what to put on here as an update, I wondered what the hell I’ve been up to so I had a look around and the answer seems to be: making myself happy while destroying any possibility of ever being a healthy runner, through poor food choices. As a sort of public service announcement (although more like a reminder), I used my newfound Storify skills and collated a bunch of recent evidence that proves you should never confuse this for a healthy living blog. Storify is being a little bitch and won’t let me embed it but you can see it here.

And now I’ve run out of useless stuff to tell you so I’m going to have a cookie.


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What’s the best cell phone for a clumsy runner?

wasting-money-on-a-new-phone

Remember when my soul got crushed at the Taupo Half a couple of weekends ago? Well, there was some more damage. My phone got wet. I can deal with a crushed soul but how am I supposed to cope with not being able to text anyone about it?

The touchscreen didn’t like getting water all over it (shocker) and now splits its time being either unresponsive or too responsive (as in, it starts dialing numbers and texting people even though I’m not touching it). It’s dangerous, mostly because it might lead people to assume I’m trying to get in touch with them, which is rarely the case.

Instead of miraculously fixing itself, the stupid thing is getting worse (no more texts with the letters ‘o’, ‘k’ or ‘m’, it seems).  And that’s just one of the problems. I’m afraid that if I don’t get a new phone soon, I might have to start interacting with people at dinners and stuff.

So, with the threat of real-life social interaction looming, it’s time to buy a new phone. And this is where you come in, internet.

I haven’t bought a phone in years but now that my glory days (don’t laugh) of tech journalism have come to a halt, I’ve got to go back and join the masses of people who actually pay for this sort of thing – which means I actually care about how much it costs. And since I’m a freelancer now, any expense above $1 needs to be carefully justified.

The new phone doesn’t really need to make calls, we’re not in 2003 anymore. But how the hell am I suppose to judge people’s Instagram selfies if the backlight on my phone doesn’t work anymore? And what do I do when out on road runs if I can’t check my email while waiting for the pedestrian light to turn green?

Since we’re on the subject of running and I always take my phone when I’m out there, it needs to be a runner-friendly phone. For example:

- It needs to be a fairly recent model so I can install all the running apps that I end up never using, like Strava, MapMyRun and all the other ones that constantly email me to tell me I haven’t logged any workouts (STOP IT, YOU’RE SMOTHERING ME). And speaking of apps, it has to be an Android. I’m 29 now and age is catching up to me, I don’t have the mental disposition to learn a new operating system.

- It needs to either not be touchscreen or have a pretty rugged and responsive touchscreen that will work even when my hands are sweaty or dirty.

- It needs to have a pretty decent camera because I sometimes take my mind off the pain of running by stopping for useless photos of stuff I spot along the way.

- It needs to be either made of steel or have a lot of cotton padding around the edges. I have this unique medical condition that causes me to forget I’m holding my phone and drop it on the ground at the most ridiculous of times. I also sometimes drive with it on my lap and never remember that it’s there when I get off the car. If you ever see a chick in some weird position trying to retrieve her phone from under a car, I’d love if you stopped to say hi.

- It needs to be waterproof (obviously, or we wouldn’t even be talking about phones right now).

- It can’t be too heavy or bulky. I already carry enough weight when I run.

- It needs to have pretty decent battery life. Just in case I remember to use those apps again. Also, I often run in places with patchy cell reception (and I don’t mean this because I run on trails in the bush but because I run in New Zealand and you know, bottom of the world and all that). I find that the battery runs out a little too quickly. If I’m ever in an emergency situation and need to Instagram it, there’s a risk I won’t be getting past applying the filter to the photo.

So tell me, internet, what phone should I break next?


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That time I started a race after everyone else and found a new favourite trail

Photo by Allan Ure - photos4sale.co.nz

Photo by Allan Ure – photos4sale.co.nz

XTERRA Waharau last Sunday had all the ingredients to be the perfect shitstorm. Instead, it was one of my favourite trails ever.

Let’s recap and maybe it’ll make sense (although, I’m telling you right now, it’s unlikely).

Due to being on a really tight schedule of not giving a crap about anything that week, I failed to read the organisers’ emails with instructions for the event day and didn’t even check the course map. As a result, I didn’t know the exact length I was supposed to run, not even while I was running it. For someone who’s been entering an average of an event a month (often more) for the last two and a half years, you think I’d have my shit together by now. Nope.

I also failed to check how long to get to Waharau from home until I got in the car in the morning to drive to Waharau. It was 45 minutes to race time (because I’m super talented when it comes to stuff like ignoring my alarm) and the GPS told me the event base was over an hour away. Also, the car told me it had 60km worth of petrol in the tank, which would most definitely not take me to the event base. The 45min I had to do a trip of over an hour had to include a stop at the petrol station where the man behind the counter tried to sell me all sorts of add-ons instead of just taking my card and charging me for the petrol. I may or may not have asked him to “please just hurry up”. And no, I do not want those two chocolate bars for only $2 even though that does sound like a pretty good deal, thank you.

You know where this is headed now, right? Yep, shitsville, that’s where. No matter how hard I tried to make up some time on the road (safer communities together and stuff), of course the race had started by the time I arrived. For the first time in my life (after a very close call at the Auckland Quarter Marathon two years ago), I pinned my bib on my shirt, put the timing chip on my shoe and started a race completely on my own (one of the organisers was nice enough to allow me to start rather than making me wait and do the short course instead, which would start about half an hour later).

I started running seven minutes behind everyone else, which was pretty freaking depressing if you ask me (and I know you didn’t but now you know). But I got over that pretty quickly and found a whole new thing to be depressed about: the brutal hill ahead.

You don’t even want to know the quality of the words that came through my mind as I was faced with that hill right at the start. But they were far nicer words than the ones my mind came up with when I found a whole new hill on top of that one. And then another one. The higher I climbed, the lower my mind sank. The “what am I even doing here? I hate running!” thoughts appeared around about then, probably the result of combining an incredibly hilly trail with running on an empty stomach.

But you know what’s on top of a hill? The start of a downhill. In Waharau, after some rain in the days before, it was the start of a steep technical and very muddy downhill that went on for about 5km to the finish line. And I loved every second of it. The further down I got, the higher my runners’ high reached. In a few minutes, I went from “how am I going to tell everyone that I actually hate running?” to “OMFGWTFBBQ RUNNING IS AWESOME!” again. It wasn’t the easiest downhill course ever but my faithful companions behaved impeccably and there wasn’t a single butt-landing to describe on this post (sorry, not sorry). By the time I spotted the finish line, I didn’t even want the run to end, a giant shift from how I felt about it closer to the start.

After the finish, I got to catch up with a bunch of lovely familiar faces and say goodbye to this year’s famous XTERRA sausages + beer combo, which ended up being breakfast for me that morning (as per usual, seriously hoping you didn’t come here for healthy living advice). The runners’ high lasted a few hours after that and I have now found my new favourite trail in Auckland – one I cannot wait to go back and explore.

See you next year for some more muddy fun, XTERRA. You make my Winter days a whole lot happier.


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It’s my birthday so I’ve got a gift for you

Did you notice how great yesterday was? That’s because it was my birthday.

(Also, little bit of free useless trivia for you, it was also Left Handers Day so, being left handed, I use that as an excuse to celebrate twice as hard every year. Keep that in mind when you think about buying me only one gift next year.)

I kind of love birthdays. It’s like a second chance to start on (and likely fail at) the resolutions you forgot about four days into the new year.

Also, presents and attention. I’m a sucker for both of those.

With most of my friends galavanting around the Northern Hemisphere on their incredibly poorly-timed holidays (those bastards), this birthday is a bit quieter. But it was still pretty good. It included lunch with friends in the sun (with the weather even tricking me into thinking I was having my birthday in the correct hemisphere), cool gifts, flowers, cute cards and a really nice dinner. It also included an early morning run, which even Nike was amazed at.

Weird, I know, Nike.

Weird, I know, Nike.

This birthday morning run was just one of the many responsible grown up things I’ve done in the last few hours. I’m way wiser now, you guys. Like, totally a grownup. For the first time in months, I was in bed before midnight, another “responsible grown up” move I made in the first few hours of this new, wiser age.

But wait, there’s more responsible grownup stuff. Mum gave me full access to her credit card to buy myself a nice gift. Young and cray-cray SGG, given access to this sort of thing, would have been all over the Christian Louboutin site checking the shipping options to New Zealand. This newer wiser version of me, however, didn’t even get to triple digits and spent money on things like running shorts and a new yoga mat. I could almost hear mum’s sigh of relief from this side of the world when I forwarded her the purchase confirmation email.

Oh, and I opened a business bank account. How’s that for grownup? Sure, I have no idea what to do with it and I’m dreading my first tax return filing deadline thingy, but I’m now officially a “solopreneur” which is a really fancy way of saying I’m responsible for finding my own income every month, which is equal parts exciting and terrifying.

(Actually, it’s mostly just terrifying but I’m trying to keep this upbeat so play along and don’t ruin my birthday post, please.)

The other thing that comes with being a much wiser, mature and responsible adult is the ability to accept that other people can have nice things too and it’s ok if someone gets something nice for free and you don’t get it too. Apparently.

I think you’ve noticed I love a bright running outfit. Bright running gear makes me happy and anything that makes me happy should make you happy because otherwise you’re a jerk who wants me to be unhappy and no one likes jerks like that. So don’t do it.

Knowing how much I love my bright Pro Compression socks, the lovely folks at Pro Compression decided SGG readers should get another gift, even though it’s my birthday and not yours. Trust Pro Compression to teach me this invaluable lesson about maturity and selflessness (and missing out on free socks).

One of the lovely people who were patient enough to read this entire post will win a pair of Pro Compression Marathon Socks – a sweet, sweet gift valued at US$50. You get to choose which ones you want but if I see you wearing the retro ones and I don’t have a pair of my own yet, then we’ll have problems (how awesome are those? I KNOW!).

Old photo because I couldn’t be bothered taking a new one and, really, they’re the same damn socks.

I’m going to make this really easy for you. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me what kickass thing you think I should do in the next 364 days before I reach the big three-oh. Did you do anything super cool in your twenties? Are you still in your twenties? Have you got long to go before your thirties? If you said yes to that last one, I don’t think I like you that much. But anyway, tell me everything! I’m going to leave the giveaway open until 21 August and you come back and comment as many times as you like. Each comment is an entry so the more ideas you give me, the more chances you have to win.

Clearly, the older I turn the nicer I become – I bet you can’t wait for next year!

Well, I can, so settle down.

Now, the not-so-fine print:
- Pro Compression is sponsoring this giveaway because they’re awesome. This means they’re providing you with the socks but that’s where the deal ends. They don’t pay me to tell you they’re awesome.   But they are.
- This giveaway is open to anyone anywhere in the world. Yes, even you. I live right at the bottom of the world and their socks get to me which means they can get anywhere on the planet.


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Taupo gave me ALL the feelings!

YOU GUYS. It’s been a while. How are you? Tell me later, we need to talk about me now.

Here’s the deal: I went to Taupo a couple of weekends ago and ran a half marathon. I haven’t told you all about it yet because I’ve been trying to figure out what to say about it, rather than hitting caps lock and using all the swear words I know.

I wanted to run Taupo again because it had been my very first half marathon, two years ago, and since it was about to become number 13 too, it couldn’t have been that bad the first time. You see, there is some logic in all of this.

So I got on the road for four and a half hours on Saturday afternoon, ran the half on Sunday morning and got back to Auckland on Sunday afternoon. In between those two car trips, I had all the emotions.

On one hand, I ran a new personal best (2:02:31). On the other hand, I learned that, if you’re an idiot like me, a personal best isn’t the best result and can actually leave you pretty pissed off. But also happy, because you know, it’s still a personal best. But not the personal best you wanted, damn it. But yay, shiny new PB! But sucks, not the goal PB. You see the mess in my head? Do you get why I waited over a week to talk about this? So many feelings! So much to bitch about!

feel-all-the-feelings

It’s all my fault, really (as usual). I kind of set myself up for that disappointment. My knee still occasionally hurts, I knew from experience that the course wasn’t exactly a fast one and I am at the lowest point of my physical fitness since I started this whole running deal (courtesy of an injury, a fair bit of laziness and a giant bucket of stress lately). This is also the fourth half marathon I ran this year and that I’ve signed up for within two weeks of race day which, as I’ve mentioned before, isn’t exactly something I’d recommend.

None of those things are the real problem, though. I can live with being unfit and stressed – I can fix unfit and stressed. But I can’t fix stupid. Clearly.

This sort of stupidity, for example, involves telling everyone – and myself – that I’m just going to take it easy, while, at the same time, going onto an online pace calculator and writing down a goal time (1:58:59 please and thank you) to get an idea of how fast I’ll have to run to get a sub-2h. You know, just in case.

But dreams are free and all of that. The problem really only started being a problem when, that Sunday morning, while in the car on my way to the start line, I decided to get a pen out and write those goal times on my arm. If you asked me to pinpoint the precise second when things turned to shit, that would have been it. Writing those times on my arm meant a change of attitude. I was admitting to myself (and to whoever looked at my arm wondering what the hell that was) that I wasn’t running for fun but with a goal in mind. A goal I was obviously not prepared to reach.

look_marge

BUT YOU GUYS. I came close. So god damn close it ended up being my best half marathon time so far (only by one minute but I’ll take it). The fact that I came so close when I’m this unfit should be enough to make me happy. So why the hell was I so disappointed when I crossed that finish line?

I’ve given this a bit of thought over the last few days and there’s only one logical explanation: I’m an idiot.

The run itself actually went pretty well, for the most part. I ran my fastest 5km, my fastest 10km and my fastest 15km, all a few seconds faster than the times written on my arm. Then, at 18km, it all turned to crap. My ITB pain made an extraordinary appearance and forced me to slow all the way down to walking pace. I had a friend waiting for me at the finish line with a chocolate donut and not even trying to bribe myself with it made me keep going so that should give you an idea of how painful it was.

I walked a few hundred meters but kept my lifelong decision to never walk across a finish line so made sure to run that final bit. And then I stopped and, for the first time, I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad. So I was both.

We're not talking about whatever it is that is going on with my shorts. Focus on the fact that I have a medal. And I'm not crying (except on the inside).

We’re not talking about whatever it is that is going on with my shorts. Focus on the fact that I have a medal. And I’m not crying (except on the inside).

The good news is that I’m now one minute closer to that sub-2h so all I have to do is actually get off my ass and train a bit and maybe try to aim for a half marathon that isn’t happening in just a couple of weeks. You know, the way smart people do things. I should probably try that.

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