super generic girl

the awesomely average life of a girl like all others


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Do as I say, not as I do

A surprisingly large number of people arrive at this little magical corner of the internet by searching for a training plan to help them prepare for a half marathon in two weeks time, which is crazy because I have no advice to give to anyone on anything, other than perhaps some tips on what ingredients can/should have chocolate sauce on top (answer: all of them). Anyway, search terms. This week, so far, for example:

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My thoughts on each of the people who came here after searching for something similar to the above?

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Two weeks to train for a half marathon sounds a little crazy to me so I look at those searches and I judge. Silly people, thinking two weeks is enough. Two weeks is nothing. Even if you’ve run before and half marathons aren’t that big a deal (although, considering you’re searching for a training plan, I think it’s fair to assume you feel like you need some guidance), two weeks is too short to properly train for anything that you’re so convinced you need to train for you even Google training plans for it.

So, hmm, yeah. Two week training plan, bad idea. Funny story: this morning, there was an email in my inbox. It was from the organisers of an event I apparently signed up for a month or so ago. They’re wondering whether I’m planning on walking or running the half marathon, as I apparently didn’t specify that in the form and they’re in the process of posting out the bibs to entrants. I quick hit reply and let them know I’m planning to run it, then opened a new tab and typed in the event’s website to remind myself when it was.

April 21st. Two weeks away.

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For those who arrive here using those search terms I mentioned above, hi. Picture me cleaning up the egg off my face (I’d search for a suitable gif but I think I’ve reached my gif quote for this post). I’m one of you. And I have no clue either.

I guess only one piece of advice comes to mind, and I’m not too sure it counts as a training plan per se but… let’s hope for the best and plan things properly next time, alright?

To all the other sane people who arrive here by searching for other stuff, sorry about the lack of naked Ryan Gosling pictures. Also, any advice on how to train for a half marathon in two weeks is appreciated.

Thanks.

(On the plus side, knee pain update #589357: no knee pain. I’ve run on 7 out of the last 9 days. Short runs but, nevertheless, pain-free runs. You may very well never hear me complain about my knee again. Success!)


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Pro Compression socks giveaway

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No, I’m not giving you my own compression socks. That’d be a little gross. But I’m giving you brand new socks, cooler than the socks your grandma gives you for Christmas!

Alright, you lot, listen up. Having Super Generic Girl in your browser history, as embarrassing and hard to explain as it might be sometimes, might finally pay off.

The good people over at Pro Compression decided you deserved to be rewarded for coming here and, among other things, reading me as I go on and on about how much I love compression socks and running and anything else that may or may not be even remotely related to running. Aren’t they cool? I agree.

Remember how I got my lime Pro Compression socks earlier this month and it gave me extra motivation to go out for a run? I’ve been practically living in those things (fashion tip: lime green goes with EVERYTHING) and getting compliments from a bunch of people (who obviously have great taste). Some people make a distinction between compression socks for recovery and performance compression socks, that you can wear while working out. My compression socks get worn during that really technical period of a training programme commonly known as “whenever I feel like it”. I find that they really help me if I wear them while running, as my legs don’t get tired or feel as heavy. They’re also great for post-running recovery (I sleep in compression socks more often than I’m prepared to admit).

Now it’s your turn to give them a try. Yours don’t have to be as bright as mine, even (but if you ask me, they should). Pro Compression is giving one lucky Super Generic Girl reader a pair of their marathon compression socks, whatever size or color suits you. If you want to go for the more neutral black or white, go for it. I won’t judge. Much.

These socks are unisex and can be worn before, during and after your workout. They are designed and manufactured in the USA using high quality materials. Plus – and this is where my technical expertise comes in – they look really good. So, yeah, you need to be rocking these out while you’re running, cycling, or whatever it is that you do to stay fit.

I’m going to keep it real simple. Since I love my bright Pro Compression socks, all I’m going to ask you to do, to enter the giveaway, is leave a comment on this post telling me what is brightening your day today. Are you having a day off work? Did you have a really spectacular coffee at a place you can’t wait to tell me about? Did you bump into an old friend? Just say it! For a bonus entry, head to Facebook and “like” Super Generic Girl on there, then leave me an additional comment telling me you’ve done so. You can enter as many times as you like by leaving comments over the next 10 days and the more you comment, the higher are your chances of winning.

On January 20, I’m going to announce the winner so, basically, you have 10 whole days to tell me what’s making you happy on that particular day. Sharing positive stuff and all that jazz. Couldn’t be easier, right? Right. In the mean time, get commenting and share the love among those you know. If you already have enough pairs of compression socks (if there is such a thing as “enough pairs of compression socks”), then you should enter on behalf of the special runner in your life and automatically qualify for part of their inheritance.

Hey girl

Not so small print because I’m not even changing the font size: 
– This giveaway is sponsored by Pro Compression. The socks come from them, the opinions come from me.

The giveaway is open to anyone anywhere in the world. This is the internet, after all. World Wide Web and stuff. The folk at Pro Compression get that. I live right down here at the bottom of the world in New Zealand so, if my pretty lime socks got to me, they can get to wherever you are.


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In which I act as if getting out of bed is a big accomplishment

Hey sun, you’re big and hot and stuff but it looks like I still got out of bed before you this morning. Lazy.

Today was my third consecutive running day so, obviously, I’m here to brag. Take some time to congratulate me on my awesomeness.

Okay, that’s enough now.

After running 5km on Monday after work and then another 5km on Tuesday after work, I got up a whole hour earlier this morning (A WHOLE HOUR!) and ran 9.5km before work.

As a result, life is looking far awesomer than normal today. I was fairly productive at work and even found time to not only pack leftovers for lunch but also to coordinate the colour of my bag, jacket and boots (my usual morning routine squeezes in shower, coffee and feeding the cat in a grand total of 12 to 14 minutes between getting out of bed and out the door so outfit choices are hardly top of mind). But, see, mum and dad, looks like I’ve really got it together now.

I stop myself from falling asleep while running in the morning by taking random photos with my phone. It’s a legitimate part of training. I say so.

There are a few (well, five) reasons why I’m finding it easy to stick to a running routine this week and I bet you’re dying to know more about them. Or maybe you just emptied out your Google Reader and ran out of You Tube clips of cats attacking their own shadows to watch. Either way, here they are:

1. Running goals I’ve got another half marathon next month, potentially the coolest half marathon in history. Having a specific race to train for always gets me motivated. By “motivated” I, of course, mean scared shitless. As a result, I run.

2. Responsibility I’m trying to follow a training plan and, along with my friend who’s also running the aforementioned half marathon, I’m back in the Google Docs shared training plan bandwagon (if it’s not a thing, it should be). Basically, if I don’t run and he does, I feel shitty. Works a treat.

3. Longer days Fina-freaking-lly. It is now fairly light outside at 7am and still light around 5:30pm. The countdown to spring is entering single digits and I’m obviously pretty excited to kiss this winter goodbye.

4. Running-related reading It might be a sign of obsession that I spend so much time reading up on all running-related subjects. I don’t care. The end result is that I get out the door and run. Win.

5. People pissing me off As a general rule, punching people in the face is frowned upon by society so, instead, I embrace the rage and throw it all down on the pavement. In the end, I get fitter and they remain losers – everyone’s happy. Well, not everyone – just everyone who matters.

So I guess that’s the lesson I’m taking from all this. No matter what your reasons are, whether it’s happiness or stress, too much cookie-induced guilt or just overall frustration at all the idiots in this world, the real important thing is to get out there and run the Oreos off. And even if it sucked at the start and it sucked during it, you get to see the sunrise and then blog about it anyway so in the end it’s all a-OK.


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What I’ve been missing out on

Sunrises are right up there in the list of things I never expect to witness myself, along with polar bears cuddling baby owls and Nicole Kidman starring in a movie that I enjoy. And yet, I took this photo early this morning. While I was out running. By myself. Before 7AM. Getting goosebumps yet? Because that is some freaky stuff right there! I was out running before the sun was up. And as if that wasn’t already weird enough, I saw a lot of other people out exercising as well (including a couple of old men doing Tai Chi in the park near home). Was this some sort of gravitational unbalance that made us all fall out of bed before we were meant to? We may never find out… but it was enjoyable and I might actually do it again. 2012 is weird.


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halfway point

This year, I’m trying to up my training by convincing myself to go for double digit runs even during the week. I need to get used to the idea that a 10km run is a short run or else I’ll get stuck with the idea that the half-marathon is the longest distance I can run. So let’s practice: yesterday I went for a short 11km run. Except it didn’t feel short at all. It felt long and horrible and I didn’t actually enjoy myself one bit. The throat infection that prevented me from running for three weeks is still not 100% gone and even though I’ve started easing my way back into running after that short hiatus, I definitely feel a lot less fit than I was prior to getting sick. It actually amazes me how quickly your fitness levels drop when you are forced to take a break.

But anyway, I decided to run along the cycleway that goes parallel to the motorway near home. Choosing that route forces me to run a few kms each time because, once you get on the cycleway, you either run at least until the next motorway offramp or you have to turn around and go back the same way you came (which pretty much breaks the lame-o-meter for that run). I chose to head west for the first time and the image above is a blurry cell phone photo I took when I reach the halfway point on my run. I thought it was a good place to turn around and go back because: a) I was exhausted, b) it was starting to rain and c) it’s a road with my name on it.

I’m not sure I’ll be trying this route again. It was boring, scenery-wise,  and the cycleway to the west has some skinny parts that made me turn off the iPod to feel more confident I wouldn’t get hit by a cyclist trying to squeeze his way past me.  But it had a couple of hilly bits which were good because I was told the half-marathon I’m running next month (assuming no more bugs decide to rent real estate in my throat) has some fairly steep bits. Oh god. Another half-marathon next month. Oh god.

Because of the stupid sickness, this was only my second run of the year. By the end of January 2011, I had run over 100km in 30 days. This month will definitely be a much different story.  But that’s okay because I fully intend to kick ass in February. So there’s that.


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2012 running goals – part 1

Last Friday, I went for my first run since the half-marathon in Kerikeri.  I hadn’t actually intended to stop running for a whole six days but the whole week just flew by and it kind of just happened. Today is day five of yet another hiatus (after my last run on Saturday).

Can you even call it a hiatus if it’s only been five days? I guess not but too late now, not hitting that backspace key.

As bad as it sounds, this is still better than the period post-Taupo-half-marathon when I stopped running for quite a while longer (don’t blame me. Blame winter. That’s what I’m doing).

Entering a race every month this year has helped create a running habit and keep me motivated to continue training and I’m afraid that, if one run ends and I don’t have another in the pipeline, I might just get a little too lazy (something I seem to have a natural talent for).

After crossing the finish line in Kerikeri, S. and I lied on the grass and started drawing up the plan for what should happen next. Three days that, we signed up for a short fun run in December (and this will really be fun as it will even include costumes!) and came up with a list of runs we want to do next year. We’ve got three running events planned for 2012 so far and intend to enter a few more (the whole one running event per month idea proved quite successful this year so maybe it’s best if we carry on with that formula).

I want to take this very seriously and actually stick to training plans next year, contrary to what I’ve done this year.  So, to make it official, here are my 2012 running resolutions (part 1 only, as we still have to choose other running events for the rest of the year):

  1. Return to Waiheke Island in January and run the 12km Wharf2Wharf again. It was the first running event we ever entered, last January, and we didn’t know what to expect at all. I’m super curious to go back and see what it’ll feel like this time.
  2. Run four half marathons
  3. Run the Cathay Pacific Half Marathon in Auckland (in February)
  4. Run the Rotorua Half Marathon (in April)
  5. Run a half marathon in two hours (or less)
  6. Run an average of 100km a month
  7. Do more cross-training
  8. Speaking of those programmes, find a good one and stick to it.
  9. Run the Kerikeri Half Marathon again (and beat my current time for that course)
  10. Choose a full marathon to do in 2013

So there you have it. I’ve got put my running shoes where my mouth is. Okay, that sounded gross. Backspace. You get the point.


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a tropical island getaway got in the middle of everything else…

…and it was equal parts terrifying and divine. But mostly divine.

In any case, normal blogging should resume now. I’ve got a handful of posts I want to write about the three and a half days I spent exploring Samoa but, for now, I’ve got to save my words for NaNoWriMo, which I desperately need to catch up on. I haven’t written a single word for it in over a week (which, yes, is making me rethink the whole thing). I logged onto the website for the first time in days today and the little dashboard thing told me that, at this rate, I’ll be finishing my novel on January 13, 2012. Boy, do I have a crap load of writing to get done in the next few days!

I also didn’t run at all while I was in Samoa and had a pretty pathetic excuse for a run today – the final run before the half-marathon this saturday. I had the best intentions and took all my running gear with me to Samoa but sunday was the only day when I actually had free time to go for a run (after feeling sick as a dog on friday and saturday) and I was told jogging/running was not recommended on sundays as it is a rest day in Samoa. I’m not one to offend anyone’s costumes and beliefs (at least not intentionally) so the running clothes came back to Auckland untouched.

Stress levels? Pretty much back to really freaking high. I’m a lot less fit and a lot more unprepared for this half-marathon compared to the last one (and this is a very objective statement) so I can only count on the track and the weather and the running gods to help me out on the day.

And to think that it was just yesterday that I was taking the photo above…


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Inspired!

After my mini-meltdown about the half-marathon last week, I’m feeling a lot more positive about things this time. It may have something to do with all the marathon excitement that populated the internet in the past few hours (with a friend finishing the marathon in Porto – his first marathon!), people I have met finishing the NYC marathon and other cool stuff like finding out that the fourth place belonged to a Portuguese lady (is she fast or what?). I mean, between the article about the couple who got married *while* running a marathon and this great read about the un-sporty turned runner, there’s a lot of running goodness out there on the interwebs right now.

I am sure it this positive vibe I’m getting is also somewhat related to the fact that, after running 6km on Saturday and feeling like crap, I ran 16km on Sunday and felt amazing. Not sure what happened there but boy was that a good run! I think that’s exactly what I needed: a good long run to put my mind at ease and remind me that, yeah, I’ve done it before so I know it’s not impossible.

On sunday morning, in spite of the cloudy (sometimes rainy) weather, S. and I headed over to St Heliers for what we thought would be a 12km (maybe 14km) run. Our goal, when we started, was to run non-stop for 45 minutes, then stretch, turn around and run another 45 minutes to where we’d started.

The temperature was just ideal and all the other runners around really added to our motivation. Once our 45 minutes were up, we decided we could keep going a bit longer and ran another 5 minutes to the port, where we sat on the grass overlooking the shipping containers and had a good stretch. Then we turned around and ran another 50 minutes back, with a total of 16km (according to her app) or 16.25km (according to mine) done. The best part? We felt great afterwards! And may I add this was a mere 30 something hours after my epic running fail when I met up with her, ran 1km (yes, one!) and had to walk home with some sort of weird stomach pain? I was glad to see that hadn’t stuck around.

The half-marathon is now less than two weeks away and I’m feeling a LOT better about it. We’re making a girls’ weekend out of it, staying at a cool hotel and heading to the street party that the town is putting on after the half-marathon too. I don’t know what I’m more excited about but the important thing is that I no longer feel like Kerikeri is the place where I am going to die. Win!

On a less positive note, I’m so far behind on NaNoWriMo it’s not even funny! I wrote about 300 words last night and felt myself hitting a bit of a dead-end in the story so decided to sit there and let it simmer for a while. Time to stop over-thinking it and get that word count up, seeing as that’s what this challenge is all about anyway.


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Emergency two-week half-marathon training plan

Oh heck, I should just accept that this is becoming a running blog, shouldn’t I? Don’t worry, regular broadcast (if there ever was one) will resume soon but, these days, running is pretty much the most important thing in my mind.

You wouldn’t think so, though, if you looked back on my running calendar and saw how little training I’ve been doing. Yes, I’ve gone for lots and lots of runs but they’ve mostly been short ones and the truth is that I haven’t really been putting much thought into the fact that OMG I’m running another half-marathon in exactly two weeks!

To be honest, at this stage, I’m not sure how (if?) I’m going to pull it off.

I was looking at my workout calendar for the past couple of months and the longest runs I could find there were a couple of 10km ones.  I think I got stuck in a “It’s only in November” state of mind and didn’t really get out of it. A couple of days ago, someone asked me when my next half-marathon was and I said “it’s only in November”. Two seconds later, the little “oh shit!” speech bubble was hovering over my head.

I now have basically one week to get ready for those 21km in Kerikeri. I also have an average of 1,666 words to write for NaNoWriMo between now and half-marathon day, as well as a four-day trip to Samoa, a concert and a couple of dinners with friends. Oh yes, and the whole full-time job thing, which means training/NaNoWriMo/social life are a no-go on weekdays until at least 5pm.

This morning, after a 6km run, I came home and drew up this emergency plan. It’s not something I’ll be able to follow 100%, I’m sure. Some days I’ll try to run more than that, others I’ll have to run less but writing this up helped me feel a little more organised.

My only hope is that the flat course and the weather will help will help (they don’t call it the Winterless North for nothing, right?). Also that adrenaline will kick in when I’m at the start line with all the other runners. But I’m not expecting to get a PR on this one.


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Summing up the October blogging challenge

October has come and gone and so has the blogging challenge I set for myself.

I had initially decided to try to blog once a day every day during October which would mean I would get to the end of the 31st with at least 31 blog posts written. I knew it would be a busy month so thought that, if necessary, I would just post some YouTube video or whatever interesting Ted talk I had watched on a day when I didn’t have time to write anything else.

Then I decided that there was really no point in posting stuff like that just to fill up the blank space – the old “if you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all” adage came to mind. After all, this was a challenge for myself, to try and get me into the habit of blogging (and writing) as often as possible. A YouTube video to replace a blog post wasn’t going to help that, really.

I started off well. In fact, I managed to publish on blog post every day until the 14th, when I didn’t publish anything. It was okay because I had published two blog posts the day before and then published another two the day after.

From the 15th onwards, things got slightly harder. I travelled through different timezones to Singapore and worked my butt off so couldn’t keep up with blogging and everything else. Nothing was published between the 15th and the 19th, when I sat on the hotel lobby and posted a quick recap of my Singapore trip. And then another break… travelling back to New Zealand (stopping over in Australia) took a total of 15 hours and I came back to the office with about 3.5 tonnes of work to do before setting out on an overnight hike, which I blogged about four days after the Singapore blog post. The next day, to try and catch up, I published another two blog posts. For some reason, I skipped the 25th and didn’t blog on that day, but got back into it the day after with another two blog posts (one of them fairly long). From then on, I’ve blogged every day until today, the 31st, including two blog posts on the 29th and three today (!).

In total, I posted 30 blog posts in October. I know I’m one short and I could quickly pick a funny cat photo or something else to put up here and get a better result on this challenge. But what would be the point? I don’t think that would make this self-imposed blogging challenge any more successful. I really feel like blogging as become a habit again and, regardless of whether some blog posts are more interesting than others, I’ve enjoyed documenting everything I’ve documented here this month.

Here’s a roundup of the most read posts from October, in case you feel like a trip down short-term memory lane:

  1. Leitch’s Track, Whareorino Forest, New Zealand
  2. lomo love
  3. distance means nothing
  4. crouch, touch, pause, engage!
  5. a photo tour of new plymouth, new zealand
  6. running randoms
  7. a small photo tour of Sintra’s many Sintras
  8. vanilla cupcakes with passionfruit icing
  9. Fado (and other weird expat behaviour)
  10. How much did this run suck? Let me count the ways. 
November will be a very different story. I’ll be focusing on my off-work writing efforts on NaNoWriMo and a lot of the rest of my free time will be taken up with half-marathon training. But I’m sure I’ll squeeze in the time to stop by as often as possible to document all of those things too.