super generic girl

the awesomely average life of a girl like all others


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Pain-free running and other weird stuff that happened today

I ran this morning. I know it sounds like no big deal especially if you’re on Strava, Nike+ or any of the other 238 apps I use to track my runs, because then you know that I’ve actually been running quite often since I became unemployed self-employed. But it’s kind of a big deal because, for the first time in about eight months, nothing hurt when I ran.

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I got up early even though it was Saturday (now that I’m unemployed self-employed, differentiating between weekdays and weekends is a social convention I no longer feel the need to abide by). I had a coffee, half of a piece of toast with nothing and half of a piece of toast with peanut butter on it (what actually happened was that I felt too lazy to put something on my toast and started eating it and then realised halfway through that having toast with nothing is just terribly sad, even by my standards, so I put my big girl pants on and sorted it out with peanut butter).

(Peanut butter is the duct tape of foods. There’s nothing it can’t fix, even if we’re talking about a disgrace like a half eaten piece of toast. But anyway, this is a parenthesis about a parenthesis and I don’t want this to get too complex so I should probably get back to the main topic now.)

Gratuitous cat photo because it's Caturday and this is the internet. Zara is perfecting her stretching poses. She's a fitness nut.

Gratuitous cat photo because it’s Caturday and this is the internet. Zara is perfecting her stretching poses. She’s a fitness nut.

I had half a banana in the car on my way to this run, which is a bad idea if it’s a stupidly hot day and you’re going to leave half of a banana in the car for the next three hours. Just a little life tip for you, because I’m all about adding value to these posts.

I then started running the same way I’ve started every single one of my runs in the last eight months or so: I had some random overly upbeat song blasting in my ears (could have been Lady Gaga, yes, but this blog is not a place for judgement) and I put one foot in front of the other waiting for some part of my body to start screaming (usually my IT Band or my shin, because I’m a proper runner with proper runner injuries).

Gaga wasn’t even halfway through preaching about my right to live however I please when I started noticing something weird going on: the fact that nothing was going on.

For the first time since about March, not one single part of my body was hurting or complaining about anything. I had enough water and plenty of energy (after eating a gel for the first time ever before a run, which appeared to have taken away my usual desire to give up a couple of hundred metres into the run). But no, oh no, not this time. This time I was all like “yeah, Gaga, you tell ‘em!” and things only really started hurting a bit when I got halfway up the first hill. But when I say hurting, I mean on the inside, in my heart (aww), because I remembered I hate running uphill. Still no physical pain. Like, none.

Are you as weirded out by this as I am? I kind of hope so but, if not, here’s a video compilation of dogs acting like humans. Animals acting like humans is like the 17th weirdest thing there is.

(I didn’t actually watch the video so it might be completely crap, but I did Google it for you when I could have been doing other stuff like eating ice cream or learning cross-stitch so I do hope you appreciate my efforts. And now I went off-topic again, awesome. Potential employers, don’t you all start calling me at once.)

I ended up running about 22km (FIST PUMP!) without even a hint of pain throughout the whole thing.

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All I could complain about was the amount of hills (most of them were actually just gentle inclines but one man’s gentle incline is another man’s Everest and any man’s gentle incline is definitely a mountain by my running standards). And also, the sun frying my skin. I’m not one to exaggerate but that was like the hottest day ever since whenever the last hottest day was. At least.

I took an inception-type selfie to show the weird running singlet tan lines I'm currently sporting. Then I went ahead and posted it here. NEW LOW.

I took an inception-type selfie to show the weird running singlet tan lines I’m currently sporting because of all this running in the sun deal. Then I went ahead and posted it here. NEW LOW.

But, not sure I mentioned, no pain. Eight months of running with pain every single time (it usually disappears during the run but it’s normally always there at some point) makes you forget what it’s like to run pain-free. For the sake of reference, eight months is around about the gestation period of a polar bear or a hippopotamus (another little nugget of wisdom for you). My point is that 8 months is a really long time to do anything, including running in pain. I sometimes wonder how the hell I didn’t just give it all up and channel my energy into a different hobby like Jenga or something. I guess the reason I didn’t give up during these 8 months is a little bit related to how shit I am at Jenga but also probably really good evidence of how much I love running.

Little problem, though: since I don’t feel like I had to tough it out and get over any pain this morning, the whole run ended up being pretty uneventful – less than ideal when you want to write about it for your running blog. I mean, what else am I supposed to tell you about it? I stopped at a dairy and had a Coke halfway through (Coke Zero, because I’m obviously all about healthy choices). But that’s it, really. No major adversity to overcome or anything. Just a nice long run to start off the weekend. I guess I got so used to bitching about pain I’m a little lost about what to tell you about my next few runs. Am I going to even have anything to tell you? Who knows.

Actually, I got a pretty decent sized blister so I’m sure you’ll hear from me again soon.


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Kerikeri Half Marathon recap

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Last Friday was my last day of working in an office with other people for the foreseeable future.

I haven’t figured out whether that’s good news or not so let that sentence just sit there, all neutral.

This whole self-employment thing has been a long time in the making and I’ve had a few months to get used to the idea.

Except, I haven’t yet.

All week long, with my registration for the half on Saturday all paid for and confirmed, I worried about going away for the weekend instead of staying home setting everything up for this new self-employed life. Going away felt silly and irresponsible. But staying would have been some kind of stupid self-inflicted punishment for a situation that I couldn’t control anyway.

So on Friday, after one final work drink in an office full of people, I packed my bag and made my way up to Kerikeri where I could run a half and not think about things all weekend. When in doubt, not thinking about things is always my favourite option.

To cut a long story short because I’m a freelancer now and this post is costing me a shit load of money, I ran the half, walked bits of it whenever my leg hurt (so smart) and then went ahead and had one of the most fun weekends I’ve had in a while, without worrying a single time about how, for the first time in years, I didn’t have an office to go to on Monday morning and would have to start paying for each cup that fills the bottomless pit of my daily coffee needs.

But wait. This is a half marathon recap, not another one of my pity parties. Let me throw in some words about the Kerikeri Half: It’s really pretty. Like, New Zealand-kind of pretty, all clean and green and stuff. It doesn’t have that many runners (about 2000 this year, give or take a few hundred because I can’t be bothered checking the numbers now), and it doesn’t have that many spectators (since it’s mostly through backcountry roads and there aren’t thousands of people up there who can be arsed standing in the sun to watch some idiots go past – no judgement, I wouldn’t either). It’s the perfect road run for not thinking about things, so my plan was, as usual, flawless.

The first 7km of the course included a decent hill or three but, from then on, it was pretty much all downhill (the good, non-metaphorical kind) to Kerikeri Domain. When I wasn’t struggling with my stubborn shin (yes, still), I actually managed to get some happy kilometres in. The pretty views distracted me from the effort of road running, the pressure on the shin and the worries I’d left back in Auckland and, 21km, some beers and a massage later, everything was ok again.

I ran a 2:03 and still haven’t cracked the sub-2h barrier I keep talking about, but I also realised it’s not that much of a big deal to me. Kerikeri was another reminder that running, for me, is all about what it does to my head. Don’t get me wrong: I’ll totally be all like hell to the mothereffing yeah when I get a 1:5X:XX but that doesn’t actually beat what I got from Kerikeri on Saturday.

It was almost a rite of passage. Some people throw parties to mark special occasions, I apparently now run half marathons (just like when, back in May, I ran the Huntly Half to celebrate my five years of living in New Zealand). Kerikeri last weekend was a bit like that seemingly wasteful blank page at the start of any new paperback that seems to fit no purpose but actually acts as a divider between whatever came before and the book you’re starting then.

So running wins again. It’s all the good things I always say it is and then it’s also a really good avoidance mechanism for shit you don’t want to think about. Wait, that sounds bad. Replace “avoidance” with “coping”. Replace “don’t want to think about” with ‘there’s no point worrying about”. Yeah, that sounds better. Leave it like that.

Not running the half to spend the weekend at home worrying about how this new life thing is going to work out would have taken me nowhere useful. Instead, I got another 21km further on my feet and about a billion kilometres further in my head. So, when in doubt, go for a run and don’t think about things. It’s gonna be okay anyway.

(I didn’t take a single decent photo during the half, as evidenced by the only photo I could find in my phone to add to the post, but you can see a bunch of cool shots here.)


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My leg isn’t broken so I’m obviously going to run an overnight relay in 2 weeks

GOOD NEWS, YOU GUYS. The doctor says my leg is fine and I just need to “take it easy” for a while. So I’ve decided to go and take it easy on the road from Auckland to Mount Maunganui in my very first team relay in two weeks time.

Ever since the doctor texted me back an all clear on the x-ray last Tuesday (have I mentioned how much I love how informal kiwi doctors are? Oh, I have), I’ve finally started getting excited about this overnight relay thing.

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(Pause to try to not freak out about how it’s only 16 days away.)

Anyway, I’ve been giving it some serious thought for a while (a couple of days) so, obviously, I feel like I’m qualified to write about it.

The Kura 2 Mount relay starts in Papakura (South Auckland, yo) and ends in Mount Maunganui which, in case you’re like me and maps mean nothing to you, is really freaking far away from Papakura. Like, keep zooming out, it’s further than that. The way we’re going is not even the direct way, of course, so it’s going to be over 300km away, which is what you’d describe, in non-metric terms, as a hell of a long way. Also, since New Zealand is one of those countries that OH DEAR GOD WHY DO THEY EVEN EXIST WHERE THEY DO?, there are mountains and hills and all sorts of weird terrain everywhere, just to make life that little bit harder more fun.

A team of six of us (hopefully along with lots of other teams with lots of other nutters) will start running on Friday morning and finish the next day on the beach where I intend to have the world’s longest nap (Guinness Records official people, you might want to head there for this one).

I had a look at the maps for each of the legs yesterday and, after I finished running around the house shouting WTFWTFWTF! and eating all the carbohydrates in sight (just in case), I sat down and called dibs on the option that’d give me the absolute least amount of hills. But even if you take out the hills (which I did because the other ones were too slow to choose – suckers), it’s still a hell of a long way to run.

So. A bit of a problem: The same person who currently struggles with the idea of half marathons will somehow be running nearly 54km within 24h in about two weeks.

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But anyway, I’m pretty sure I’ve done enough bitching on this blog in the last couple of months to last me until at least 2016 so I’ve decided that it’s all rainbows of positivity around here now. FIFTY FOUR KILOMETRES! YAY! Pain, yay! Blisters, yay! Chafing in awkward places, yay!

I have a feeling I’ll be talking about this a lot in the next couple of weeks (probably not so much about the awkward chafing, don’t worry). But for now, since I’m still figuring it out what the hell I got myself into, fetch your reading glasses and let’s go over what I think I’ve done right so far (don’t worry, it isn’t much):

1. I put together a team that pretty much kicks ass
My relay team consists of both people I’ve run with and people I’ve never even met in real life. They all kick ass in their own way and at a much faster pace than I do. At least half of the team has basically simultaneously volunteered to do the hilliest legs (because being able to feel your legs is clearly overrated in their world). One of them found us a volunteer before we even brought up the need for volunteers. It’s good to have people who are on top of things because then you don’t have to worry about things like pretending to know what you’re doing.

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2. I’ve started getting organised
Even if you only really start organising it 2 weeks in advance, there’s still time to get stuff done (did you hear that? Go put a team together and join us!). This relay is really bringing out the OCD in me, which is great if you’re me, less great if you’re someone in my immediate surroundings. The logistics of this sort of event are a lot more complex than any other event I’ve entered so, obviously, I’m giving myself permission to go fully mental. Think lists-of-my-to-do-lists kind of mental.

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Still, I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing yet. How many jelly beans do I pack per leg? What am I going to have for breakfast once I’ve been on the road for 24h and everything tastes like Gu and feet? What’s the most effective way to remove fresh roadkill blood from my running shoes? What colour of compression socks matches a high-vis vest? About two weeks to go and so many important questions remain unanswered. Except that last one. Nothing goes well with a high-vis vest.

3. I’ve been talking about it
The only thing I love more than running is talking about running (and, more specifically, bitching about how hard running is). An overnight relay with a whole team of runners is the perfect excuse to go nuts on the running talk. These people are going to be running with me for over 30 hours. They’ll be in the van while I’m running and they’re responsible for picking my scraps off the ground if my body decides to disintegrate during the third leg (which is entirely possible). Ideally, I’d like them to like me and I’d like them to know me well enough to be able to judge at what point during the course they need to start throwing muesli bars at my head to wake me up while I run.

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We started off with emails but then realised it wasn’t 2008 anymore so got ourselves a little Facebook group thingy and now everyone sees when everyone sees posts so we can be all WHY THE HELL IS IT TAKING YOU LIKE 20 MINUTES TO ANSWER MY QUESTION ABOUT TOILET PAPER ROLLS? But I’m trying to chill out. Maybe toilet paper rolls aren’t as important to them as they are to me. The key is to understand that my life is basically in their hands for 30 something hours so I better be nice to them. Oh well. Nobody said this relay thing was going to be easy.

4. I’m running again MULTIPLE EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!
You’ve got a relay in about two weeks and you’re sitting there writing about how you’ve got a relay in about two weeks instead of being out running? Well, general consensus would be that that’s idiotic. But it’s not all bad, really. I’ve been trying to get back into my old running routine and, even though I’m not quite there yet, I’m definitely putting some kilometres on my legs. It turns out that signing up for an overnight relay is a sure way to scare you into getting your ass running again.

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I’m going to come back here a few times in the next couple of weeks with some actual proper information (lolz) about getting my shit together for this relay. All I really wanted to do now is tell you about it so you can tell me to stop freaking out. It’s just running, right? It’s one day and one night of doing what I love doing (sometimes), with a bunch of people who love it too. The website tells me it’s “guaranteed to be the craziest 30 hours of my life” and it basically sounds like one big party with a bunch of friends. Except instead of sore feet from dancing, you get sore feet because you’re running an unbelievably long distance that you’re pretty sure you’re not able to run but will try to anyway because what would be the point of trying otherwise?

Now tell me: have you ever done a relay? Or heard of someone who’s heard of someone who’s run a relay? If so, get in touch. I’ve got a couple of questions for you (actually, 352 questions, to be precise. Some of them about toilet paper). Also, join me. No, really!


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Motivational quotes don’t get me motivated and summer brings out all the idiots

Buzzfeed got a bunch of fitspo qotes and fixed them. All the others are here

Buzzfeed got a bunch of fitspo qotes and fixed them. All the others are here.

I’ve ran a grand total of 5 painful kilometers in the last week and a half so, naturally, it’s time to get my rant on.

I’ve been doing what I can to be a good runner and look after my injured leg. And what I can do is not run. Except not running is turning me into a miserable bitch so it’s basically been a choice between a leg that moves painlessly and a brain that isn’t subconsciously working out ways to hurt other people.

Fun times, you guys.

This is all being made even harder because of the timing of this whole injury thing. I’m not just talking about the events I’m supposed to be training for (I’ve got a relay in a month’s time and, at this stage, I’d need a relay team of 24 people just to run to the bakery across the road from home). There’s more.

You see, this weekend is Auckland Marathon weekend. Naturally, people are excited. Excited people talk about things that make them excited. Excited people talking about things that make them excited expect their excitement to be met with excitement too. Getting excited about marathons is hard when you have limbs threatening to crack.

(That said: go you good things! I’ll be cheering for you from wherever I am, probably sitting down feeling sorry for myself.)

Lesson: If you’re going to get a running injury, don’t get a running injury while everyone around you is excited about their marathon.

Also, the weather is getting warmer, which would be great if I wasn’t hating on everything right now. Like all “lifestyle” articles popping up about getting in shape for summer. Nicer weather has brought a bunch of seasonal runners out to the streets, those “trying to get in shape for Summer” types. Regular running Vera would find that pretty cool, yay for people focusing on themselves! Injured-no-running-hates-everything Vera sees them as she drives past on her way home to put ice on her leg and wants to yell at them to get their stinky running shoes off her reserve.

And yes, I judge you if you’re running around the park because Summer is coming and you want to look good on the beach. I judge people who talk about getting ready for “bikini season” because that’s the type of superficial crap that doesn’t help anyone make any permanent change that’ll actually make them feel better about themselves.

The other day, the lady who comes to sell sandwiches at lunchtime asked why I wasn’t buying a cookie with my sandwich. Before I had time to explain to her that I’d been sent some chocolate that I’d been working on all morning, she told me “probably for the best, Summer is coming!” and since I don’t understand why my cookie intake is in any way more related to the change of seasons than to the phases of the moon or changes in tides, I went ahead and bought the stupid cookie anyway.

(Maybe that was her plan all along? Well played, lunch lady, well played.)

The “getting fit for Summer” thing annoys me more than I care to explain. As a side-effect of trying to fit into a bikini that is not their size, some people will get a bit fitter. But fitness is a consequence they’re not even thinking about. They want the thigh gap and the flat stomach that doesn’t hang over their bikini bottoms. Once Summer is over, they won’t see a reason for their gym membership anymore. So their excuse to be out there running around my reserve while I have to go home and cry about how I can’t run is actually pretty stupid. Also, your leg doesn’t hurt and mine does so, naturally, I want you dead.

(I warned you I was bitchy.)

Lesson: If you’re going to get a running injury, get a running injury during Winter, when most people don’t really give two shits about working out either.

To top things off nicely, I’m less than two weeks away from making a pretty massive life change that, on the plus side, will involve the possibility of never having to speak to people again but, on the other hand, will involve the possibility of never having to speak to people again. It’s equal parts exciting and terrifying and, if history has taught me anything, is that I don’t deal very well with drastic changes, even ones I want to make (you’d be nodding along right about now if you’d seen me in the first couple of months of living in New Zealand). I’d usually cope with stress by running it all off but, instead, I’m coping with stress the only other way I know how to: by writing about how much not running is making me hate everything.

Lesson: If you’re going to get a running injury, don’t do it when you’re about to start freelancing from home and you’re so stressed about that life change it actually makes you want to vomit.

I’m finally off to get my xray today. In the meantime, I’ll be staying away from fitness websites for a while because motivational quotes are starting to drive me insane. No, internet, I most definitely should not be running right now. And I’d really appreciate if you stopped trying to make me feel like crap about that.


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Panmure King of the Mountain half marathon recap

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Silly mother nature putting volcanoes in the middle of what could be a perfectly nice flat route.

Here’s the thing about living in Auckland: there are a crap load of volcanoes all over the place (about 53 of them so far, but who knows when others might join the party). We live in constant fear that an eruption will cause us to spill our soy lattes all over our overpriced rugs.

But on the other hand, those volcanoes mean lots of nice views of the city, which is pretty much all you have to look forward to in life when someone decides that one of those beasts should be at kilometre 18 of your half marathon. Like yesterday, at the Panmure King of the Mountain half.

This is apparently a pretty iconic Auckland race (you can read more about it here to save me all the paraphrasing). There was a bit of a hiatus but the race came back this year and, even though I made a solemn promise to never again enter events with “mountain” in the name, I went ahead and registered, for some reason (the reason being that I’ve got the self-control of a lab rat).

It was all a bit uncertain for a while. After the Waitakere Half, I decided to be all responsible and didn’t run a single kilometre for an entire week. Believe it or not (and I can’t blame you for not believing it), I was genuinely considering skipping this half in favour of doing the responsible thing and continue to give my leg a proper rest. But then two things happened: 1. I didn’t have any pain in the couple of days before the event and 2. I randomly got bib #1, which had never ever happened before.

Now you ask “what difference does that make, you fool?”. Absolutely none, of course. But I really wanted to run it anyway so I took the whole bib #1 thing as a really good excuse sign.

And here’s something I don’t often get to say about my decisions: it was a good one.

(Let that sink in for a bit.)

No clue what I was laughing at but here's a photo of my #1 bib because I'm a giant show off.

No clue what I was laughing at but here’s a photo of my #1 bib because I’m a giant show off.

It was a pretty tough half for me but the pain in my leg wasn’t actually much of a pain in the ass, for a change. In fact, it completely disappeared about a quarter of the way through so I can’t even use it as an excuse for my slower-than-usual time. Actually, I’ll half-blame it on it. This bitch of an injury (will give it a proper medical term once I get around to getting the x-ray done, promise) meant that I didn’t get any decent training done in the last month or so and I definitely feel the loss of fitness.

I tried to go slow and not mistreat my leg too much, just in case. For a while, I couldn’t see any other runners anywhere and was fully convinced I was the absolute last person on the course. I had a brief “what’s the point?” moment but then realised that I never race anyone other than myself anyway and so kept going at my slow let’s-try-not-to-make-this-worse pace. Instead of worrying about my time, I focused on enjoying the scenery which, aside from a bit of boring suburban running, was pretty damn nice.

Luckily, the bit I had to run on sand was pretty short, otherwise this recap would include some pretty ugly words.

Luckily, the bit I had to run on sand was pretty short, otherwise this recap would include some pretty ugly words.

I can’t tell you how happy I was to give myself a mostly pain-free half marathon. It was the perfect reward to a week spent desperately wanting to run but choosing to do the right thing and staying home icing my leg instead. I missed pain-free running to the point of forgetting how it felt like. Turns out, it feels amazing, even at  slower pace. So I guess all that rest last week was good for something and if not running for a while means I get to enjoy running again the way I did yesterday, then I’m all over that idea.

So, just so you don’t think you’re wasting precious bandwidth on this for nothing, I’ll go ahead and say it: you were right.


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Waitakere Half Marathon recap

Here’s a little handy tip I picked up a few days ago: if you’re limping your way to the start line, you should probably not be running a half marathon.

But you know, #yolo and stuff.

The truth is that I had no good reason for never having done the Waitakere Half before, especially if you consider it starts about 15 minutes from home and registration is really well priced at $40 (important if, like me, you try to fit every running event into your budget even if it means 50c 2-minute noodles for dinner for 2 weeks).

(Did I mention I’m freelancing now?)

I didn’t want to wait another year before doing this one so decided to go ahead and register, ignoring the fact that I’m barely fit enough to run to the letterbox and back.  It’s pretty amazing how quickly my mind can go from “OH SURE, I can totally do this” as I get out of bed in the morning to standing near that start line wondering what in the name of Our Lady of Gaga I was thinking when I signed up.

To make matters worse, the morning had started with the realisation that I had bought the wrong M&Ms for the half (crunchy M&Ms, since when are crunchy M&Ms even a thing?).

How much worse could things get, really?

Well. A bit worse.

But at that moment by the start line, I couldn’t possibly have cared less about the pain. Or even the crunchy M&Ms.

(Seriously, though, like a cross between a regular M&M and a Malteser. Stop messing with my confectionery, confectionery manufacturers!)

There were hundreds of people on that track waiting to start and I was every bit as excited as they all were. And it started on a track! A track, you guys! That’s as close to the Olympics as I’m ever going to get. Not only that, it also finished in the same spot, with a full lap of the track, and the rest of the course included what looked like some pretty cute trail along the creek. The whole thing sounded like a neat bundle of awesome so the pain was going to have to wait until later because I wasn’t about to miss out on all that stuff.

But then we started running and my enthusiasm for the whole thing started to fade pretty quickly. That secret hope I had that things would magically just fix themselves disappeared and I quickly realised it wasn’t going to be the most fun I’d had on a Sunday morning. Not even 2km into the half and I was pulled over to the side trying to find a way to stretch the leg so it would stop hurting. From then on, I kept running and stopping, running and stopping, running and stopping, running and stopping, running and stopping, running and stopping, running and stopping. And if you think reading that repetition is annoying, try actually having to do it (no, don’t try, it’s stupid and painful and you shouldn’t try it).

At about kilometer 6, I decided that, since the half involved a second lap of the 10.5km course, I’d just turn into the stadium with the 11km runners and be done with it for the day. That sounded smart and responsible and totally like the right thing to do. So, obviously, when it came time to turn towards the finish line for the 11km run, I turned the other way and started the second lap for the half marathon.

The second lap wasn’t as scary as I had envisaged it (as in, I didn’t have to walk the entire damn thing). The downhills that are normally my BFFs were a killer and I actually found myself having to walk in segments where I’d normally try to pick up some speed (but you try pounding a sore shin down a concrete road and then tell me if that feels like a good time).

(Again, no, don’t try that. That’d be stupid. Stop listening to me.)

It wasn’t until around the 17km mark that I fully decided I was going to finish and not just call someone to come pick me up from the side of the road. I thought “whatever damage I’ll do to this leg today will have been done by now” (freelance writer, not freelance doctor. Keep that in mind.) and so I kept on running. Finishing with a lap of the track was actually pretty awesome, as far as reaching finish lines goes, and it was absolutely worth putting up with the stupid pain.

I didn’t break any course records (I know, weird) but I’m still happy I got out there and bagged another half. The weather was perfect for running, the course was great, the volunteers were super nice and I got to catch up with a really good bunch of people who are crazy enough to get up at stupid o’clock on Sunday for stuff like this. I’m definitely glad I didn’t wait until next year to do this one but I also can’t wait to do it again next year.

Now before you start rolling your eyes so much they disappear to the back of your head, let me tell you this: I came home determined to get smarter about this whole running thing.

No, really.

I went to the doctor the following day (more on that once I actually get off my ass and go do the x-ray he asked for) and didn’t even run at all this week. Instead, I rested. I took painkillers. I ate things that made me happy. I tried not to obsess about running. I obsessed about running. I took some more painkillers. I considered a run. Then I didn’t run. I ate some more chocolate instead and tried not to cry myself to sleep every night over a potential break from running.

So there you go, all responsible stuff. Which totally gives me a pass to go run the Panmure King of the Mountain tomorrow. Obviously.


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A list of things you definitely shouldn’t do while dealing with a running injury

Let’s make this quick: the reason I haven’t posted anything in – oh I don’t know, you go and check how long it’s been if you’re interested – is because I’ve been sporting a bunch of really hot running-related injuries. I’m too tired of moaning about them to moan about them here so you’re in luck (my friends IRL, however, are probably calling their cell phone providers to switch numbers as we speak).

Considering even the boy who never reads my blog has noticed it’s been ages since I posted, I thought it was time to come here and say some stuff. First I thought I’d post a photo of my lunch. Then I ate my lunch and forgot to take a photo, proving I’ll never be a proper fitness blogger. Then I thought I’d still try to go for the whole good fitness blogger thing and list all the distances, splits and paces of my latest workouts. Then I realised I couldn’t really give less of a shit about other people’s splits and paces so why would you care about mine?

So here we are. Nowhere useful, which is a good place to start.

Last time we spoke, I’d gone to hell and back at the Big O. Once the physical pain from that was gone (the emotional trauma will hang around for a while), I sank right into the world of running injuries where I’ve been unhappily living ever since. Shin splints on my left leg, ITB pain on my right leg (and occasionally on the left one too, for good measure) mean that I can’t go for a road run longer than 200m before I start reconsidering this whole running deal.

The problem, you see, is that I’ve been running (shit I never thought I’d say). Even though I should just sit at home quietly, both legs elevated and covered in ice, with my chocolate bars handy and Gilmore Girl episodes playing on TV, I have managed to drag myself out for a run every 2 or 3 days. It’s been doing wonders for my mental health (and other people’s personal safety) but very, very little for my injured legs.

I guess it wouldn’t be a massive overstatement to say I’m not exactly smart when it comes to recovery.

(Whatever. I’m a different kind of smart. Just ask my mum.)

(Please don’t ask my mum. I’m not entirely sure where she sits on that issue.)

Anyway. the point is that I feel like I’ve been stuck in a perpetual loop of running injuries for a while now, which is not a great place to be. Ever the practical one, though, I’ve identified the stuff I’ve been doing wrong and listed it all here so you can ensure you don’t end up like me.

1. Running

If you’re injured, don’t run. I’m not talking about tired legs, feel free to run on those, you big badass. But proper pain? Stay home. Put some cushions at the end of the bed, park your ass on it, legs up, 2L ice cream tub in hand. You’re good. Stay there for a while. Running when you’re injured would be very, very stupid, as I’ve discovered.

2. Skiing

Don’t go skiing, that’s stupid. I went skiing a few weeks ago when my left ITB was complaining. You know me, always testing shit out in the name of science. The conclusion, based on the empirical evidence collected during this experiment, is: NO.

brain

3. Bungy jumping

No bungy jumping. Definitely no bungy jumping. I did that last Sunday. At first I thought “SGG, you smart mofo. This is a brilliant idea that will stretch all your muscles and put everything back in its place”. I had this whole theory about how bungy jumps should be the new quick-fix alternative to massages. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good massage as much as the next middle-class white chick with a not-great-but-decidedly-above-average amount of disposable income, but I thought I’d found an alternative that would cost about the same and take way less time to get done. Well, wouldn’t that just be another giant sack of no.

4. Wearing high heels

No high heels. I know, that makes me want to cry too. Except I’ve worn high heels twice this week for two full days and the extra pain I got from those made me want to cry even more. For now, they’ll just have to sit in the closet, looking pretty. So pretty.

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5. Forgetting to ice, elevate, compress, etc, etc, etc.

Ice the shit out of your legs. I get home every evening convinced that I’m going to spend at least a good half hour bonding with a bag of frozen vegetables. Then I sit down and decide that I can’t be bothered getting up again and walking to the freezer for them (a friend today called me “the laziest long distance runner” he’d ever met and I’m afraid he might have a point).

iwanttonotdothings

6. Not listening to the body

I’ve been going through a bit of denial when it comes to all this pain. Most of the time I pretend it’s not even there. Sometimes I convince myself it’s gone. Listen to your body. But listen for longer than a few minutes. I’ve been all “yay, my legs haven’t hurt at all for the last two hours! I must be cured! Let’s go running!”. Yeah… no.

7. Signing up for last-minute running events because I’m weak and can’t help myself

I’ve got a half marathon to run this Sunday, a half marathon to run the Sunday after, a relay at the end of next month and a bunch of other plans for other runs. I’m officially, undeniably, utterly, hopelessly addicted to the rush you get from confirming your registration to an event and adding it to your calendar. I think it’s safe to assume that none of my two upcoming half marathons will help my injuries and it’s probably not crazy to think they might actually make them worse.

I-immediately-regret-this-decision-anchorman

8. Treating my stomach like a dumpster

The problem with being injured is that I’m wasting precious training time for Tarawera. Since I can’t run, I should probably be doing other stuff that will impact my performance on the day, like sleeping properly or eating healthier. Except, lolz. Maybe after this cupcake.

idratherhaveahotdog

9. Refusing to see a doctor

Go to the doctor. Don’t be an idiot and go to the doctor. Don’t be this particular idiot who is refusing to go see the doctor because the doctor will probably say she can’t run for a while and then she’s going to have to punch the doctor in the face and no one wants to see that happening (especially because, in case you forgot, he’s actually a pretty cool guy).

10. Obsessing over these injuries

I spend an average of 92.6% of my waking hours checking to see if my legs still hurt. Hang on a second. Yep, still hurting. Doing this, surprisingly, will not make them heal any faster.

And now that I’ve given you a bunch of hypocritical advice that I’m probably going to continue to ignore, I’m going to sort the stuff for the half marathon I’m running on Sunday. Just me, my shin splints and my retarded IT band.

P.s.: I keep meaning to mention and then getting distract by checking whether my legs still hurt or not (9:18pm update: they still hurt) but, in case you haven’t seen it yet, go check out my article in the Guardian and, if you’re in New Zealand, go grab the latest Wilderness magazine and check out my profile of the amazing Ruby Muir in the latest issue of NZ Trail Runner. DO IT!

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