super generic girl

the awesomely average life of a girl like all others


adventures in trail running – rangitoto romp

Training for your first long distance trail run means, among other things, no more weekend mornings in bed. This sunday was no exception. I was out of bed at 7am to give me time to have coffee, eat and prepare my trail mix for the morning’s adventure: the rangitoto romp. After a quick stop at the bakery (if a trail run isn’t an excuse to start your day with a chocolate log, then I don’t know what is!), we made our way to the ferry building to get on the 9:30 ferry. The trip takes less than half an hour so we hit the trail just before the clock hit 10am.

As usual, starting was the hardest part for me. The first couple of kilometers were hard and my heavy legs really wanted to run back to the ferry and back home and back to bed. But after that, it all turned amazing pretty quickly. It helps that Rangitoto is a real special place – a 600 year old volcano, so young that raw lava and scoria still forms the majority of the terrain on the island. The loose scoria made for some tricky bits along the run. What you see above is a photo of one of the easy parts, really. A lot of our time was spent watching where we put our feet because, really, breaking both legs would not really contribute positively to our training.

We made it back to Auckland on the lunch time ferry feeling a lot better about running and life in general. My calf muscles were still a little bit sore from Wednesday’s run and so, to try to recover a little bit faster, I hardened up and bought a 3kg bag of ice from the petrol station on the way home. Add icing leg muscles on a cold day to the list of things I don’t like doing.

S. had done this run before on the same day I ran the Whenuapai half marathon and she didn’t exactly have fond memories of it. Fortunately, we changed that today. To make this training day even better, we have now reached $450 in donations, meaning we are nearly halfway to our target! If you haven’t helped out yet, please do so. If you have, you rock our sweaty little running socks off. Gross, I know. I’ll shut up now.


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every kilometer counts and so does every dollar

While out in the Waitakere wilderness on Wednesday (aren’t alliterations just so much fun? No? Ok then), S. and I talked a lot about how motivation plays a big part in getting ready for what will be the biggest challenge of our lives so far. Sure, our bodies need to be fit, but a big part of it (maybe the biggest) is nothing to do with fitness. We’re motivated to push ourselves but that personal goal, albeit massive, isn’t quite enough.

So we decided we needed a bigger purpose. Instead of running 35km in the forest just so we become officially the most badass people we know, we’ve decided to do it for another reason too, and a much more meaningful one at that. After debating about it for a while and coming up with different ideas, we settled on fundraising for the KidsCan Charitable Trust and raise money for children in need in New Zealand.

I don’t want to go all Mother Teresa on you, you see. But I know that when I’m out on that trail, I’ll be as desperate as I will ever have felt in my life and I’ll probably want to give up. Lots of times. No, more times than those. So, in a way, this isn’t completely selfless. Doing this run for KidsCan will mean that, when it gets really, really tough and I feel like I can’t push it any further, I’ll have some extra motivation in my mind.

This is where you come in. We have set up a fundraising page which will be open for donations over the course of the next four weeks, as we prepare for the big day. If you can, please help us help KidsCan. We put the page up last night and already had a few donations come through and I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate every single one of them and how much every single one of those people who have taken the time to support this cause will be on my mind during that run. Each of those dollars going to KidsCan is another reason for me to get out there and run.

So if you can spare a dollar (or a bit more), please head to our page and click the donate button. It’s super quick and easy, every single cent goes straight to KidsCan, and you’ll get about 3456 karma points in return. I’ll think of you as I drag my sorry self up and down those god forsaken hills.

P.s.: For more information on KidsCan, head over here. They explain it way better than me.

P.p.s.: We’ll be posting updates on the fundraising page and I’m probably going to go all trail-running obsessed on you over here for a while. If I don’t die on that trail, I promise to go back to sometimes writing non-running related posts again. Pinky promise!


a last minute off-road half marathon

You know how sometimes you ask people why they do a certain thing and they answer “because I can”? Yeah, that’s not why I signed up for this 35km trail run. Quite the opposite, actually. I signed up because I didn’t (don’t) think I can do it. Which is exactly why I’m going to try.

Today we are exactly one month away from the big day. Am I ready? Not even close. But of all things I’ve tried to do to somehow prepare for this, running an off-road half marathon for the first time in my life yesterday was, by far, the best one.

It was a last minute decision, made after a short night run with S. on Monday after work. We sported some sexy head torches and headed up and down beach reserves along the harbour, when we realised we’d have a public holiday just two days later. I was jet lagged after flying in from the US the day before from a week of very little running and so the idea of running 21km in the forest on Wednesday sounded nothing short of a nightmare. So I agreed to it.

And then came Wednesday morning. We set on the track after grabbing some sugary goodness from a bakery on our way to the beautiful Waitakere Ranges. After stuffing down a strawberry jam and cream pancake while trying not to die on a windy gravel road on our way to the Whatipu car park, we started running.

And then about 1km into it, I stopped (for the nth time). My legs were as heavy as rocks and I was breathing like someone in the middle of a full-blown asthma attack. So I panicked and threw a tantrum, of course. Told S. I’d wait for her in the car, that trail running was not for me and I was done with it, that there was no way I could ever do it. S. did her part and told me to snap out of it. She said I could do it, that it was all in my head. Don’t tell her I said this but, yeah, she was right. She must have been right because we ended up running our little hearts out in that bush and loving pretty much all of it.

It helped that the landscape was breathtakingly beautiful (giving us an excuse to stop every now and then for some photos) and it also helped that the weather was nice.  It also helped that, rather than being the chickens I wanted us to be when we took off, we ended up making the decision of running the whole damn thing (we had the chance to cut it down to 15km at an intersection and still decided not to).

I had to keep reminding myself to breathe properly and yes we did walk when the inclines were too strenuous for our poor little legs. But we also ran. And ran. And ran. And, about halfway through it, I even admitted how much I was enjoying myself, prompting S. to remind me of my little brain spasm at the start of the track.

So yesterday, after a month of training (with a week to forget, training-wise, in the US), I ran my first ever off-road half marathon. I got home with very sweaty clothes, mud and even blood on my legs , I swallowed a bug in the process (whatevs, extra protein, right?).  But S. was right, it was all in my head. And once I convinced myself that I was going to do it, I did it.


whenuapai half marathon recap – a bittersweet PR

last sunday, april 1, I woke up before the sun to some very sad news from home – news you never want to get, especially when you’re half a world away. I had two hours until I had to be at the start line for the Whenuapai half marathon and felt like doing anything but running. Except there was nothing else for me to do because this distance from home is a son of a bitch. So I added a tissue to my half marathon kit and headed out the door and to that start line.

I thought maybe if I focused on what was going on at home it would actually, in some twisted way, helped me get the run over and done with. I was wrong. It was brutal and the fact that all I wanted to do was be home with my family meant I could not get my mind off the fact I was nowhere near where I wanted to be.

So this ended up being my least enjoyable half marathon to date. I wanted to give up a couple of times after the 18km mark, my legs felt nearly as heavy as my heart and the sun felt like it was burning my face. And yet, this was my best time. It was just 2:05, nothing to write home about, and it actually came as quite a disappointment (I spent the first half of the run thinking a sub-2h half would finally happen and ended up getting too tired and having to run a slower second half).

There was a sweet brunch in the sun with friends afterwards that slightly made up for the suckiness of the run but it definitely wasn’t a day I’m going to want to remember.

Still, half-marathon number two for the year (and fourth overall) can be ticked off the list. Bring on the next one!