super generic girl

the awesomely average life of a girl like all others


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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:

Screen shot 2013-09-02 at 10.00.13 PM

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.

daria_pizza

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!

feel-all-the-feelings

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

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

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

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

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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

chewbacca

(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.

notcranky

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.


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In defense of lazy days

It’s obviously pretty hard to maintain a running blog when you’re not doing much running at all but I thought it was about time I logged on to clean up some cobwebs around here, while I procrastinate on some actual paid writing work I have to get done.

I was even supposed to have a race recap to write today but I didn’t actually start the race. Sad, I know. I was too. Then I heard it was all on loose sand and now, frankly, I’m not feeling quite so bad about it.

Still, this morning, I got up early to run the XTERRA run in Woodhill. I got dressed and ready to get out and head over to the forest for the run. About 15 minutes into this weird auto-pilot mode, I realised there was no way in hell I was going to drag my hungover ass for about 15km up and down that forest, after a very late night at a friend’s birthday party. I mean, I do some pretty stupid stuff but we’d be trying to redefine stupid right now, if I’d done that.

Since I was already in my running gear, though, I decided to punish myself with a road run. I managed not to throw up for the entire 10km but did feel like I was sweating vodka (lovely, I know), which confirmed that my decision not to head to Woodhill was a wise one. Wise decisions aren’t something I’m known for so excuse me while I pat myself on the back for that one.

As bad as I feel about this morning’s DNS (only my second ever since I started entering running events at a rate of about 1 per month for the last 3 years), I know it was actually a smart decision and, you know, you gotta know when to stop do what’s best for your health and all that. Jesus Christ, I’m such a freaking grownup sometimes. 

But also, I just haven’t really felt like running much lately. And you know what? If I feel like sitting on my ass instead of running for a few days, I’m gonna go ahead and sit on my ass and you’re not going to make me feel guilty about it, internet. Did you hear me, people on Pinterest? Get off my back with your motivational crap.

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Oh dear. Now I really hope you didn’t come here looking for some running motivation. Put your pyjama pants back on, you’re all invited to my pity party.

It’s not all bad, though. Things actually started changing again this week and the mileage of the last few days is almost back to the usual levels but the truth is that the graph for this month’s mileage looks pretty damn miserable. I didn’t actually run at all for the first five days of the month. Five entire days without running, for no reason other than “meh, running schmunning”. I allowed myself a break because, well, I felt like it.

That five-day hiatus was, however, broken mostly because I was (not so) kindly invited out the door for a run because I was apparently getting a little too grumpy to be around other human beings.  I was about to start a “WHO ARE YOU CALLING GRUMPY?!” speech but immediately saw the point and proceeded to dutifully lace up my running shoes. Off I went to get my sweat on and, of course, a mere half an hour later, the world was full of rainbows again. I hate it when other people are right.

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My point still stands, though. Sure, running is amazing and stops me from wanting to murder people. But I shouldn’t feel pressured to run, or I’ll risk falling out of love with it. The thing that helps you deal with stress should never be a cause of stress. It can be just a phase and it’s ok to allow yourself a break. I mean, if I’m going to get all stressed out about how I’m not doing enough of what helps me deal with stress, then there’s a really serious flaw in my plan.

And I’m not the only one who thinks that. The company I technically still work for even though they made a bunch of us redundant (TOTALLY NOT BITTER!), arranged for us to have this “outplacement support” sessions with a coach who’s supposed to be helping us find a new direction and gear us up for our next job and understand the meaning of life and all that stuff. I had my first session this week and the lady talked me through the stages of grief in job loss. Since I’ve got two sessions to go, I’m not going to say a damn thing about what I think of it. No, no a word. Stop insisting. But in any case, the lady showed me a list of things people do in order to deal with grief and stress and asked me what I was doing and what I normally do to deal with a stressful situation. So I told her. I told her about the running, and the bikram and the baking sessions and how I haven’t really done much of any of those things lately and have, instead, replaced it all with a giant load of nothing, while getting angry at people who say I should be doing something (like, you know, running) because doing nothing is suiting me just fine right now thankyouverymuch.

I realised the level of my bitchiness as soon as the words came out of my mouth but, by then, it was too late. She was lovely and understanding and even managed to find a way to praise my decision to slow down, calling it “responsible”. HAHAHA, “decision”. Oh lady. There was no “decision”. There’s been a lot of sitting on the couch with a family-sized bar of chocolate thinking about how I should probably-maybe-perhaps-who-knows be running instead. Next thing you know, it’s midnight and the next day comes again and I find myself “deciding” to sit on the couch with another chocolate bar. I’ve been talking myself out of runs with the same ease Lindsay Lohan talks herself out of rehab. And you know what? That’s fine. Well, for me, not for Lindsay. Get your shit together, Lindsay.

The point is: I don’t need your stupid guilt, Pinterest. I’m not interested in your silly fitspiration, internet. Am I even saying it right? Fitspiration? I don’t actually care. Making me feel guilty about not running is not going to make me head out for a run any faster, it’s only going to make me feel bitter about running, which is the last thing that can happen because then who’ll populate the internet with angry posts filled with annoying animated gifs (other that, you know, everyone else)?

But I now feel like I’ve gone through my bout of chocolate-fueled laziness and, if this week is anything to go by (excluding the DNS from this morning), I’m ready to up my numbers again. I even managed one morning run before work, a true sign that my commitment to this whole thing is coming back.

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In the mean time, while I make sure my running mojo is back to stay, here’s some cool running-related stuff, in bullet points because I really need to move over to the next tab and get writing about the stuff I’m actually being paid to write:

Cliffy was on TV here last weekend and it’s a really lovely movie. Not entirely sure how anyone as badass as Cliff Young can be so sweet but he’s so cute I just wanted to put him in my pocket. Metaphorically. Calm down.

– Just in case you’ve been living under a rock or took a holiday to a different galaxy, the Oatmeal posted his best comic ever this week. Of course it’s about running. In case I’m speaking to the only person on earth who has not read it yet, go read it like 3 or 4 times in a row right now.

– My little Portuguese heart nearly burst with pride when Carlos Sá won the Badwater Ultramarathon this week. A few hours later, my little adopted-kiwi heart got all happy again when kiwi Amy Campbell crossed the finish line of the same grueling race and set a new NZ record for that course.

– While I was busy not running and not writing about running, I somehow got into this Reader’s Choice list of Top 100 running blogs, which includes a long list of blogs written by people who’ve actually been getting off their asses.