super generic girl

the awesomely average life of a girl like all others


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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.

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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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Lessons from the Big O 2013 – I’d rather feel like crap than just feel okay

Posing for Mike Tennent's camera, before I knew what I was in for.

Posing for Mike Tennent’s camera, before I knew what I was in for.

I ran the toughest course of my life on Saturday and I’m not even sure I’m prepared to talk about it but if I don’t dump it all onto this keyboard right now, I may never find the ability to talk about it again so, stand back, here goes whatever’s about to come out of me.

The 21km trail I was supposed to run that morning ended up being a 28km trail with brutal elevation (who knew some parts of Rotorua were so close to the sky?) and some of the toughest terrain I’d ever run in my life. When I think of parts of it – and I still do, like some sort of weird PTSD – I just want to use swear words. I’m going to try to choose others and spare you from those but, frankly, I’m so out of energy that I can’t promise much. This will probably be a long one so get a cup of tea or something (and bring me a stiff drink while you’re at it). If you don’t feel like reading this whole thing (why would you?) and you just want to know whether I finished or not, I did. You can leave now.

For myself and whoever poor bored soul has decided to keep on reading, here’s a recap.

I signed up for the Big O on Tuesday after Leah told me she’d be running it in a fairy costume. I thought of my poor tutu abandoned at home and decided that putting some extra miles on it wouldn’t hurt.

Hahaha. “Wouldn’t hurt”. Anyway.

That same week, I got shin splints and a weird 24h bug forced me to work from home the day before the run. Feeling better by Friday evening, I felt too guilty to skip the NZ anniversary drinks of a really close friend, so decided to stop by those anyway (with the race in T minus just a few hours). “Stopping by” turned into cocktails and dancing (because my mind is that weak) and, at midnight, I was standing up in the kitchen separating jelly beans into tiny ziplock bags and hoping for a miracle. I finally fell asleep at 1am, with the alarm set for 5am.

whatcouldpossiblygowrong

Just a few hours later, in pain, sleepy and with a slight hangover, I got picked up by Stacey, a vision from heaven who picked me up with a hot coffee and a muffin. Three hours later (with an intense few minutes trying to follow the America’s Cup because apparently I’m now one of those people who follows boat races), we arrived at the event base in Rotorua. I immediately spotted Mike (who took the tutu photos) and a few other familiar faces and, as the excitement kicked in, I managed to forget about how crappy I felt and how there was absolutely not a single good reason for me to be attempting that run after such a shitty week. Whatever, I was wearing a giant tutu and it was going to be an amazing day out!

Except, not so much.

You see, I wanted to prove to myself that, even under such miserable conditions, I could run a half marathon. The problem is that, even if you ignore the shin splints, the sickness and the hangover, I’m still at the lowest level of fitness I’ve been in the last year. Finishing a half, at this stage, is like a personal Everest. I’d done it the week before on road and I wanted to do it this week on the trail, even though I was feeling even worse.

I know it might sometimes sound like I’m taking the piss when I tell you about how unfit I am and then write recaps of runs a lot of people can’t – or don’t – run. I’m not, though. If you know me, you know I have the eating habits of a stray dog living behind a McDonald’s drive-thru, I stay awake thanks to litres of coffee every day and sleep an average of four or five hours a night. Also, I don’t run nearly as much as some people think I run, just because I keep a running blog. But I have this theory that running is mostly a mental exercise and so, as long as your mind is strong, it doesn’t matter that the rest of you is falling apart.

Just a couple of little issues with that theory: a) it’s mostly bullshit and b) this run wasn’t actually a half.

I had company the entire way – Ruby the dog joined me about 4km into the run and never left me again so we had the chance to bond for a whole 24km of running, walking, sliding down mud, jumping over fences (so many goddamn fences!), getting lost and crying. Yep, crying. Not even embarrassed to admit it. I cried and told Ruby how much of a stupid idea this whole thing was. She listened patiently even though, by then, I had already yelled at her to “stop fucking judging me!” as she stood at the top of hills watching me drag myself up.

I spent hours and hours and hours and then some more hours climbing up hills, negotiating roots and vines, getting my legs cut by gorse. I fought not to let the mud swallow my shoes and tried my best to block out the constant rain that kept pouring for hours. Partly because of how shitty I was already feeling before I started running, partly because it really was that tough a run, I ended up sinking to a level of low I didn’t even know I could get to, a little basement hidden under the basement of the most negative shit I’ve got in me.

Running often does that to me and I don’t complain because it’s part of what I chase when I run: high degrees of emotions, whether they’re happy or sad. Some of the most unadulterated happiness I’ve felt in life has happened during a runner’s high. Some of the deepest sadness has happened during a runner’s low (is that even a thing? I get it a lot so it should be a thing).

The point is, and this is especially true for trail running, I experience feelings at a much higher frequency when I’m out running and that is a big part of the reason I do it. On Saturday, proving that it wasn’t all bad, I rode quite a good runner’s high between kilometres 5 and 9 (when I slipped and hurt my knee). For those 4km, I took close notice to the fact that I was wearing a giant tutu and running alone through a stunning piece of Earth in New Zealand. And fucking hell, I felt lucky. Luckier than you and anyone else around. I had one earphone on and didn’t bother with my usual BPM-influenced running music. Instead, I put on Yann Tiersen’s Amelie OST, which sounded strangely fitting, and spent a good half an hour smiling to myself in the middle of nowhere, genuinely happy. I don’t get that stupidly happy doing anything else that I do in life. Even if I’d not finished the run, it would all have been worth it for that half an hour alone.

But just like that, I also experienced what I now remember as the absolute lowest of the lows, a sort of feeling I find much harder to translate into words. When I got lost, cold, in pain and didn’t know how much longer I had to go, I wanted to give up. I wanted to sit there and cry. I didn’t sit (mostly because stopping would only have made me colder) but I cried and hated running and hated that I’d put myself in that situation.

I couldn’t remember the happy moments anymore and went into a strange dark place in my head where the finish line didn’t actually exist anymore and I was just going to have to accept I was going to be there forever. I stopped the music and went into a weird auto-pilot mode where I kept putting my feet one in front of the other without really hoping to get anywhere. I didn’t care about the cold. I didn’t care about the screaming knee. I didn’t even care about finishing. I was just empty of whatever it was I was supposed to think or feel and, instead, there was just nothing.

Now that it’s been a couple of days, even though nothing will change the fact that I felt absolute hatred for those moments, in those moments, I can see that they’re just part of what I seek anyway. Who wouldn’t want to feel things in such extreme ways?

The problem, you see, is that life is too comfortable. Way too comfortable. We take the elevator and get takeaways, pay extra for same-day delivery, have remote controls, heated car seats and apps for everything. If we plan things right, we can go whole days without even having to move anymore. We do whatever we can to make life as easy and comfortable as we can because we think that’s what we’re supposed to do. We even measure people’s success by how comfortable their life is. And we sort of stop feeling things. It all becomes average. Not quite freezing, not quite boiling, just an in-between temperature that fits no purpose and that is no good but also not bad for anything. We think that suits us just fine but we’re just crippling ourselves and getting through life missing out on actually feeling things.

In long-distance trail running, there’s no room for that in-between. Everything is heightened, enhanced and technicolor. Happy only means happiest and sad only means saddest. Average is a concept that only exists out of the trail, in the weekdays at work when people ask how we’re doing and we say “okay”, the hours we spend commuting, the time we numb ourselves in front of screens and forget to feel things because feeling things is hard work and drains you out.

A long-distance trail run never goes “okay”. That trail on Saturday left me empty, which was exactly what I wanted it to do (whether I realised it on that day or not is an entirely different matter).

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Just about every non-runner I know has asked me at least once why the hell I get out and do these things (especially since the next few days are spent barely moving and bitching about it). I find it such a transcendent thing that I have no skills to explain. I can only hope they assume there must be a really good reason I willingly put myself through the pain I talk about. Because that pain is just the result of a major rush of happiness and genuine feelings are supposed to leave you exhausted. Other runners know. We’re not as stupid as we look. We wouldn’t spend all this money, travel this far, abuse our bodies this much for something average. For that, we have PlayStations.

I’ve written so many words already I’m going to spare you a step-by-step account of Saturday. Let me just leave it here, for posterity, that this 28km trail was way, way tougher than my road marathon (and it took me longer too!) and tougher than any other event I’ve ever run. And I know you’re thinking “well, duh” after I gave you the laundry list of all the things that were wrong with me before I even started but I assure you it would have been one of the hardest regardless.

One of the absolute worst moments came at the 20km mark, when I caught up with another runner as we both slowly made our way up another god forsaken hill, trying to avoid all the gorse (he was smart and wore long pants, I’m currently sporting some really hot scratches all over my legs). I told him “not long to go now!” and he looked at his Garmin and said “yeah, maybe 5 or 6km to go, maybe a bit more” and, around about that time, my heart sank all the way down to the bottom of the Earth.

areyoufuckingkiddingme

“NO! We’ve got 1km to go,” I told him (and I’m pretty sure he could feel the panic in my voice). He explained that the aid station at 13km was the halfway mark (is this stuff in the emails the event directors send out? I need to start reading those) and that we were at least 5km away from the finish. He also said something about elevation and how he thought we should be heading down soon but we were weirdly still going up quite a lot. I don’t know, I stopped listening. I was still trying to process the whole “I wasn’t even ready for a trail half and now you’re telling me it’s more than a half” deal. So I took off and left him, obviously (actually, nothing to do with that, he was lovely, but I was freezing and running was the way to stay warm).

What happened next was proof that maybe freezing but staying near someone else would have been the thing to do. Being the self-proclaimed worst trail runner in the world (a title I embrace with more pride than I should), of course I got lost. We were high up in some crazy ass massive piece of farmland, fog so thick you couldn’t see anything in front of you, one wrong turn and I was panicking in the middle of nowhere and blowing my emergency whistle hoping someone would find me. Turns out the whistle did a bucket load of nothing and no one came to my rescue. I managed to backtrack all the way to the last marker I’d seen and found my way back to the track. Not long after, I spotted the same runner again – who had passed me while I was busy getting lost. Having gone through my little panic attack (of which we shall never speak of again), I decided to stick with him. We had a couple of kilometres to go by then and finally started making our way down. My watch marked just over 28km when I crossed the finish line. It took me over 5 hours to cover those – longer than it took me to run a full marathon on the road.

RIP, tutu.

RIP, tutu.

I wasn’t even close to prepared for what the day would eventually bring me. I know some training, less injuries and some better decisions (like, you know, not drinking and dancing the night before) would have made a difference but I’m glad the difference wasn’t between finishing or not finishing. I sort of still managed to prove my point, I guess. I’m more proud of those 28km than any of the longer distances I’ve ever done before and I’m still stupidly excited for everyone who braved that course that day, especially those legends who set out on a 35km and ended up having to accidentally run an ultra (and I’m super glad I ran the Big O 35km last year, when it was actually 35km).

With Ruby finally asleep in the car, Stacey and I took my bottle of wine spot prize to an Indian restaurant (we made sure it was BYO), ordered the banquet (all you can eat out of pretty much all of their curries, plus entrees), spent nearly $50 in lollies at the supermarket and drove back to Auckland singing our hearts out to keep ourselves awake.

The trail that marked the official start of my training for Tarawera ended up being so bad that it had the upside of making me confident that I can run that ultramarathon next year. If I survived Saturday, the way I was feeling, I can survive whatever gets thrown my way.

Settle down, universe, that wasn’t a challenge.


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A report on a week of morning runs for the love of pizza

VICTORY IS MINE AND IT'S FULL OF PEPPERONI!

VICTORY IS MINE AND IT’S FULL OF PEPPERONI!

Are you sitting down? I’ve got a pretty shocking revelation.

I ran every morning last week. Yep, every single one of those stupid cold mornings.

No, I don’t know what happened to me either. Probably some hormonal imbalance or something, I don’t know. One minute I was chatting along with a friend about this and that and then one thing led to another and I was agreeing to run every day for the following six days for free pizza. Not just any free pizza – Sal’s pizza which, as everyone knows, is the best pizza that has ever existed and I am someone with high standards, who doesn’t go for junk like Pizza Hut (just kidding, I have no standards, especially when it comes to getting free stuff).

All I know is that I spent over two years setting my alarm for 6:03 so I could get a run in before going to work and failed all but about 3 out of those 400+ attempts. It didn’t matter how much motivational stuff I read, nothing seemed to be able to get me out of bed. It became a running joke at home (hahahaha, “running joke”, I’m hilarious) and I had given up on any chance of ever creating this habit.

But along came the Great Pizza Bet of 2013 and my life changed forever (or potentially just for a week, the jury’s still out).

Let’s scrutinise this whole ordeal because this thing was hard and I haven’t bragged about it enough yet (although I’m sure some of the people I speak to IRL would beg to differ. But they can get their own damn blogs). I decided to document the experiment just for you:

Day 1 (Sunday): Running is the last thing I feel like doing (stuff I probably shouldn’t write on a running blog), but I drag myself out of the house in the late afternoon for a 5k. I figure if I am going to have a shot at this thing, I probably shouldn’t fail right on the first day.

Day 2 (Monday): Knowing I won’t be able to run in the evening due to some resemblance of social life, I decide to try to run in the morning. We all know how my attempts at morning running have ended before so I can’t say I like my chances… but then morning comes around, the alarm goes off and, after hitting the snooze button only once instead of the usual 23 times, I actually get out of bed. Once recovered from the shock, I run 5k and come back home in time to get ready for work. I spend the day feeling pretty smug about the accomplishment. I must  be high on endorphins because I announce to my friend that I am upping the bet and, instead of just six consecutive days of running, I was going to do six consecutive days of running with five consecutive morning runs.

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Day 3 (Tuesday): I have an event in the evening that involves running a lap of the Peace Mile in the Auckland Domain but the bet rules clearly stated that each run had to be at least 5k long. Peter, who I made the crazy bet with, runs every goddamn morning so offers to text me to wake me up (he has such little confidence I can do it he thinks he can offer some help and still win this thing). I ignore the text for about ten minutes but then start thinking about how he is out there running and I am in bed being lazy (but also warm). Very much against my will and against everything I believe in, I get out of bed and go for a run. Another day of feeling pretty proud of myself for it, especially considering I have to get back into running gear after work for the Peace Mile. Apparently I’m now the kind of person who runs twice in one day. But whatever, yolo right?

Day 4 (Wednesday): I ask Peter to text me again and at 6:45am he does. I don’t ignore the text this time and, instead, get up and ready to run. For some weird reason, my body feels like it is adjusting to this new morning running thing, and only three days into it. I am two days away from free pizza but, by this stage, that’s not the only motivation anymore. Other weird stuff is happening:

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Day 5 (Thursday): No text from Peter. I wonder if he’s feeling threatened now. I get up and run, unprompted. The crazy thing? I don’t even really have to, if I want to just abide by the original rules of the bet. I have a scheduled 10k night trail this evening so the morning 5k is just torture I choose to inflict upon myself. Except it isn’t torture and I actually enjoy it. Things are starting to get really bizarre now.

Day 6 (Friday): Following on a long line of good lifestyle choices, I stay up until 3am getting some work done (don’t feel sorry – I stayed up until 3 because I started working at 2) so don’t really like my chances of getting out of bed for a run. But it is the final day of the Great Pizza Bet of 2013 and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this but I really freaking love pizza. The only thing I love more than pizza is free pizza and, this morning, I am a mere 5k away from getting exactly that. I am so exhausted when the alarm goes off that I hit snooze and decide that I’m just going to admit defeat and pay for my own pizza. Luckily, the courier comes around and forces me to get up to open the door so my running streak lives another day and my honor remains intact (well, ish). The weather is crappier than it has been all week and my hands are freezing (if I’m going to get up to run in the morning, I only have time to get into shorts and a singlet, there’s no time to think about sensible things like long sleeves or running gloves). But I power through, on my less than 5 hours of sleep. Then I spend the day trying not to fall asleep (and nearly failing a few times). But that’s okay because, on the other side of the these five consecutive morning runs, I scored a free pizza. HASHTAG WINNING.

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I got more than free pizza out of the Great Pizza Bet of 2013, though. I may have actually created a habit. Or at least created the possibility of something eventually becoming a habit (with a little bit extra effort). It turns out, all it takes is some bribery. Some pepperoni-filled bribery.

I don’t think it would have worked out so well if it had been just about the pizza, though (sorry, pizza). The realisation that morning runs turned me into a productivity machine during the day was a massive incentive to keep this going. I can’t be bothered hitting the googles to find out if there’s any actual science behind this but my empirical evidence suggests that starting the day off with a run makes you around about 349% more productive. That is, assuming you sleep longer than 5 hours the previous night.

And then there are the sunrises, those damn fine things that I keep missing out on. And the feeling that you’ve already achieved something before your day has even properly started.

But also, free pizza. Who cares about any of the rest, really?

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(I realise that the fact that the possibility of a giant free pizza was the only thing that got me into morning running sends this blog a further 3405 light years away from the healthy living blogs category. I swear I looked but couldn’t find a shit to give. )


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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!

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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.

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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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Five things Star Wars can teach you about endurance running

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(I can almost sense you rolling your eyes at this but do bear with me because I’ve given this way more thought than I’m prepared to admit.)

I went to see the One Man Star Wars show on Friday night and it wasn’t actually the lamest thing on Earth, which was what I had mentally prepared for. It was pretty funny so if you’re a bit of a Star Wars fan and can go see it, you should. Then you can do the same thing I did afterwards: go out for dinner and figure out how many Star Wars quotes you get into the conversation before it stops making sense (surprisingly, quite a few).

Since there’s absolutely nothing I can’t relate to running these days, of course I’m writing a post relating Star Wars to endurance running. Star Wars is awesome and full of wisdom and it totally relates to endurance running (and not just in the sense that I sound like Darth Vader when running uphill). You might think this makes no sense, and you’re probably right, but be nice and read on because I made a list for you:

1. Endurance running requires a lot of patience

“I cannot teach him. The boy has no patience.” – Yoda

Poor Yoda is a fountain of wisdom but has trouble teaching Luke Skywalker because Luke is a bit impatient. Good thing Luke is a Jedi because he’d be shit at endurance running if he was a regular human being. For us, regular folk, endurance running is about “relentless forward progress” and it’s not something you can get to immediately but rather something you work hard towards achieving. If you don’t have the patience to wait a long time before seeing any big results, you’re better off pursuing an interest that is a little less challenging, like Candy Crush Saga or something. Yoda knows this. Clever little cookie, he is.

2. The harder the training, the bigger the benefits

“Strike me down and I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi

The path to becoming an endurance runner is filled with amazing long runs but also a fair deal of pretty shitty I-might-just-turn-around-and-run-back-home-and-eat-some-cake-instead runs. I know that because I’ve had my fair share of both, and have painful memories of some of the bad ones. Bad runs willl only make you a better, smarter endurance runner (or, at least, that’s what I tell myself). It’s only by making mistakes that you can learn not to make them again. We’ve all been there. We’ve all assumed mint chocolate Gu gels wouldn’t taste like crap. The point is: the tougher the run, the steeper the hill, the more you’ll get out of conquering it. Even if you feel like vomiting your energy gel halfway up the damn thing, you know you’ll be much stronger at the top than you were at the bottom. Easy runs, as nice as they might be, won’t give you nearly as much in return.

3. Believe you can and you’re halfway there

Luke: “I don’t believe it.” Yoda: “That is why you fail.”

It wasn’t that long ago that I used to think that people who said stuff like “believe you can and you’re halfway there” were full of shit but then I went and ran a god damn marathon, which I finished even though I got an inflamed IT band right at the halfway point (that proceeded to drive me to tears for weeks). The run was incredibly hard (not just because I was hurt but also because, in retrospect, I don’t think you can call a couple of slow long runs “training for a marathon”). I honestly can’t believe I actually crossed that finish line and didn’t just ask someone to pick me up from the side of the road instead. If I tried to run a marathon today, I’d fail miserably. That day, however, not finishing was not an option, because of how much I visualised myself finishing, both during the run and the few days before that. When you think about it, it’s kind of ridiculous how little actual physical fitness has to do with it. My point – or rather, Yoda’s point – is that if you tell yourself you’re going to run a freaking marathon, you bet your ass you’re going to run it right to the end, even if your leg hurts so much you feel like you’re crippling yourself in the process.

4. Make your own path

“You must unlearn what you have learned.” – Yoda

There is so much advice out there about what good running is that it’s hard to keep up and for every theory there’s another one contradicting the first. Don’t make the mistake of blindly following advice from magazines or any of those places (definitely don’t take advice from me because I really have no clue about anything, in general). Forget everything you’ve read, listen to your body and do what feels right. If three bags of jelly beans is what you need to eat at 6am to get you through your long run, then enjoy the hell out of those jelly beans (except the black ones, they’re disgusting, throw them out). Who cares if you’re running barefoot or in running shoes? No one cares, really. And you shouldn’t either. Run as fast or as slow as it makes you happy, as often as you feel like it, wearing whatever you want. You don’t have to drink green smoothies or protein shakes to be a good runner or even do a single fartlek in your entire life (you can and should, however, drop the word fartlek into every possible conversation, because why wouldn’t you?).

5. Do it

“Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda

Of course you could see this one coming from miles away (from a galaxy far, far away? Ok, I’ll stop now). The attitude endurance runners have towards running kind of mirrors the attitude people who have their lives together have about life (I mean, I guess. I don’t know. Ask them). But really, the only way I’m going to run an ultramarathon in OMFG 227 DAYS! is by convincing myself that it is definitely going to happen. I’m not going to “try to run it”. I’m going to smash the damn thing, even if I stay on this Whittaker’s chocolate diet I’ve been on and become the first Jabba the Hutt-shaped human to do so. And now I’ve got 227 days to convince myself of what I just said.


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I could totally be a morning runner if mornings started at 11am

A friend of mine succumbed to my constant nagging and took up running a while ago. Great news, right?

Yeah. For him.

Every morning, EVERY SINGLE GOD DAMN MORNING, I get to hear him tell me all about the glorious runs that he goes on before going to work, giving me the opportunity to scratch “feel like a complete loser” off my to do list before I’ve even had the chance to properly wake up.

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Since I apparently hate money, we also somehow had this stupid bet going for a couple of weeks, which involved seeing whether I could make it out of bed for a morning run like him. For every day that I failed, I had to buy him a hot chocolate so of course that meant he got a whole bunch of free hot chocolates (which, according to him, tasted like victory and marshmallows), since not even the thought of having to spend yet another $4 on hot chocolate that I don’t even get to drink was enough to get my ass out of bed.

Luckily he took pity on me and the bet came to an end before I had to start digging any further into my life savings so my future children are safe (and by future children I mean my future 10 cats).

His enthusiastic running reports, however, haven’t ended. Every morning, while I struggle not to throw my hot cup of coffee at his face out of pure jealousy (I know, I think I’m delightful too), I tell myself that one of these days I, too, like any other proper human being, will be able to get out of bed and run before work and then I, too, will be able to stand around the office kitchen telling people about how I’ve been up for hours getting stuff done, instead of getting showered, ready and out of the door in a grand total of about 13 minutes.

Two nights ago, I took extreme measures to make sure there was absolutely no possible way in hell I’d be standing there the next morning, once again, quietly admitting defeat. Here’s a list of what I did to ensure my morning run plan would be successful:

  • I slept in my running clothes.
  • I placed my running shoes carefully by the side of the bed, right where I could see them from my pillow.
  • I put my phone-slash-alarm clock away on top of a chest of drawers instead of on my bedside table, to force me to get up to turn it off in the morning.
  • I changed the alarms to louder, more annoying ringtones, and added really mean self-bullying written messages to show up on the screen every time the alarm went off.
  • I had my running watch and iPod right on my bedside table so they could be the first things I’d see.
  • I left the curtains slightly open so that, if the first few alarms failed to wake me up, I’d at least get up around sunrise and have time for a 5k.
  • I didn’t even read before bed and instead just turned the light off and tried to go the hell to sleep straight away.

It was the perfect plan. There was just no way it could fail.

Fast forward a few (not enough) hours, and the stupid alarm was going off. I dragged myself out of bed, turned it off, noticed I was wearing running clothes, remembered my absolutely fail-proof plan, thought “screw that” and went back to sleep.

So tell me, internet, you with all the answers: what the fresh hell is wrong with me?

It can’t be laziness because I will happily jump out of bed at 5am on a weekend for a long run. Also, I once sat through an entire Nicole Kidman movie and didn’t even try to kill myself so I know I’m tough, I know I’ve got what it takes. So what’s my mental block with runs before work? WHAT THE HELL IS IT? And what do you do to get your butt out of bed for mid-week runs? Did you have to replace your mattress with a bed of nails? Because maybe, just maybe, that’d work for me!

For now, I think I’m just going to finally let go of years of failed attempts at this whole morning run business. It’s obviously not for me and, frankly, if enjoying my warm bed in the morning is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

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Just kidding. I totally want to be right. All the time.

I sort of made up for it a little bit by packing up my running gear and finally going back to the Adidas running club that I hadn’t been to in months. That one is in the afternoon so it’d be hard to come up with an excuse not to go, after the morning’s spectacular failure. I punished myself by running way faster than my chocolate-fueled body can take at the moment and finished the 5km run feeling like my internal organs were trying to squeeze themselves out of my body via my throat. I’m no doctor but I’d say this is a less than desired state of affairs for someone who’s supposed to be training for an ultramarathon. Still, afternoon running is better than no running and I’m happy to report that, after boring the hell out of all of you with my excuses not to run, I’m back to putting some decent weekly mileage on my shoes.

In case you’re crazy enough to think I might not be a complete lost cause, do feel free to share your tricks to make mid-week morning runs a reality. I’ll have a good hard think about all of them, probably while I’m hitting the snooze button from the comfort of my bed.