super generic girl

the awesomely average life of a girl like all others


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The big 2012 highlights post everyone is writing too

 

I logged onto Facebook* yesterday morning (I swear it’s not the first thing I do when I wake up… not always, anyway) and it presented me with the option of viewing the highlights of my year, according to Zuckerberg’s fancy algorithms. My first realisation was that the year is, indeed, almost over. The second realisation is that this year was actually a pretty good one. Facebook got some stuff right – my cat’s birthday really is that big a deal – but it failed to mention others. So screw you, Facebook, how about  I decide what the highlights of MY year are?

Well, it turns out that, without fancy algorithms (or proper short-term memory), coming out with a “year in review” post is quite a bit of work. But it’s also a good way to get me to reflect on everything that has happened so bear with me here.

I ended 2011 with an early night in a bungalow on an island without electricity in Vanuatu. By the time New Zealand started letting off fireworks, I was asleep. In fact, I soundly slept my way into 2012, having spent the last evening of 2011 on top of a volcano spitting lava everywhere. That new year’s eve experience is so hard impossible to top that I haven’t even made any plans for this coming December 31. What’s the point? Ryan Gosling could kiss me at midnight and it would still pale in comparison to last year’s experience (sorry Ryan, I still love you).

I went ahead and spent the first day of 2012 with a kastom tribe on the island, making January 1 2012 the best January 1 in the history of January 1. A couple of days later, I flew back to New Zealand and, just a few days after that, it was off to Las Vegas, a trip where I got to see the opposite world of what I’d seen in Vanuatu. Also, my first time flying business class long-haul (full sized bed and unlimited alcohol on the plane? Yes, please).

February was a quieter month and was also the month I ran my first half marathon of the year, the Cathay Pacific Half Marathon, in Auckland. It was a great summer day and I was happy to be ticking off 1/4 of my half marathon goals for the year (little did I know I’d go beyond that goal in the end). March seems to have been a little less eventful on the running front (and I can’t remember what I was doing instead) but, by the end of the month, S. had convinced me to sign up for a 35k trail run in May. Shit was about to get real.

April was all about freaking out about May. It started with a bittersweet PR at the Whenuapai Half Marathon before a first (and non-official) off-road half marathon. I squeezed in a work trip to San Diego (where I got to run in both Balboa Park and along the city’s stunning waterfront) before returning to New Zealand and getting into full on trail running training mode. It was also in April that we decided we needed bigger motivation for this run and so we started fundraising for KidsCan. The response from people we know was amazing and we even got $20 beyond our goal, in spite of starting fundraising so late.

May came and, with it, the final stretch of the big training plan. And then it came – May 26, the big day. The anniversary of my move to New Zealand and the day of the biggest physical challenge I’d had to date, a 35k trail run with a heart-attack inducing elevation chart. It was every bit as amazing as I had hoped it would be. After that, I didn’t think the year could get much better. But of course it did.

The next month, we flew to Wellington to run the Wellington Half Marathon. It was the first time we flew on purpose for a race. The weather wasn’t fantastic and my body wasn’t exactly up for a long run that day but it was still a great experience. In August, it was time to finally head back to the trails and get some mud on our shoes. And our shorts. And our shirts. And our underwear. And everywhere else. It was great.

The really amazing month, the one I wait for every year, was September (I mean, rocktember). I got to finally fly home and see my family and friends again and, this time, the long way around, with the final leg of the trip being done by car (after two flights), via 13 countries in 6 days, in an epic European road trip I won’t forget any time soon.

In Lisbon, I entered my first urban trail race (and a night one, to make it even cooler) and loved every second of it. A week later, I ran the hardest and simultaneously most amazing half marathon of my life, along the waterfront of the city I was born and grew up in, with my family cheering me on. The finish line took a while to get to but the reward was grandma’s tomatada so life was pretty much as perfect as it gets right there and then. Back on this side of the world, later that same month, it was time to finally run the Auckland Half Marathon and cross the bridge in a bright green tutu. People were extra cheery thus scientifically proving that costumes are definitely the way to go.

Then November came and I didn’t think I’d be running any more half marathons this year. Turns out, I was wrong (I was shocked too). The ADRA half marathon in Auckland was a last minute decision but resulted in a PR and one of the easiest and most enjoyable half marathons I’ve ever run. I know the year isn’t over yet but I think I can safely say that I closed my half marathons cycle for the year, with a total of six official road half marathons run this year, two over my initial goal of running one every season.

It was also in November that S. and I decided it was time to bite the bullet and commit to bigger challenges. And so we registered for our first full marathon. Come next March, we’ll be seen running/walking/dragging our asses along the course of the Mountain the Surf Marathon in New Plymouth. It sounds maddening to me still but, then again, so did that 35k in May.

December has been a quieter month, with lots of training runs but less long events. We had an amazing time running from one coast of Auckland to the other and I chased my Christmas spirit in the rain in a santa suit.

There were a bunch of other awesome things that happened this year and I’ll probably write about them as soon as I find the time/patience/inspiration to do so on here (must. record. everything) but this is the recap of the stuff I managed to keep writing about as the year went by. Winning lottery has, apparently, been put on hold once again (your move, 2013) but, all in all, I’m happier and healthier than I was last year. Wasn’t that the whole point to begin with anyway?

***

*Speaking of Facebook, I decided it was time to stop annoying the hell out of my non-running friends with my running-related posts so created a page for the blog on there. It’s actually a secret plot to unleash my running geekery onto the world guilt-free, since I noticed I had to stop myself from sharing running-related links there (remember?) because, apparently, not everyone in the world is as interested in them as I am (whaaaat?). Check it out if you want, like if you like.

P.s.: For a really cool and almost tear-inducing video about this year, check out Google’s Zeitgeist 2012.

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10 random facts about my trip to Las Vegas

mandatory "welcome to fabulous las vegas" sign photo

It’s been a week since I returned from Las Vegas and I’m still not sure what to tell people when they ask me how it was. I don’t want to sound whiny and ungrateful and it’s also not true to say I hated it. But it’s fair to say I won’t be heartbroken if I never return. I guess it didn’t help that I was there for work and it is winter so days are short and I hardly saw any sunshine during that week. That said, with a good amount of money and super low expectations, I can see myself having fun there again. So anyway, here are 10 random facts about my week in Vegas and some random photos from the trip as well.

1. Flying business class is the shit. I know it makes me sound like Karl Pilkington (the one who didn’t want to fly to China and eat toad in case he liked it and couldn’t get it back in the UK) but the problem with being flown long-haul in business class (on someone else’s dime) is that economy class is now forever ruined for me. Seriously, having your own bed on the plane is amazing. Also, unlimited wine. Enough said.

Not a bad sunset on my first day there. Shame it was at about 4pm.

2. When I landed in Vegas and got out of the plane and into the terminal, I saw at least 100 slot machines before I could spot the sign for the bathrooms. Priorities there are just a little bit screwed up.

3. I have apparently become too used to the small scale of things in New Zealand. Everything in Vegas seems built for giants, from the size of the buildings to the size of their drink glasses.

Oh, America...

4. It is way safer than I imagined. Having watched about 34,560 episodes of Cops, I was expecting to have guns pointed at me. Missed out on that American experience, clearly, and met some really nice people instead.

5. The noise of the slot machines can get really annoying really quickly.

Someone get me a "I went for a walk along the Vegas strip and didn't get murdered" tshirt stat!

6. I’m now pretty used to getting electric shocks every time I touch my mousepad or call an elevator. Static electricity also meant I couldn’t wear my hair down without looking like I’d been sticking my fingers into power plugs.

7. I am terrible at packing for a trip on my own and will forget the most basic of items.

Fake Eiffel Tower. Not far from the fake Venice gondolas and the fake Statue of Liberty.

8. Some people’s stomachs can handle getting drunk early in the morning. Not mine.

9. I get why people talk about the fountains at the Bellagio so much. I’ve got no photographic evidence of having seen them at night but it’s okay because I remember it well and it was pretty damn cool.

A curry or a wedding? Decisions, decisions...

10. It is possible to function with only a very limited amount of sleep for days in a row. But then you’ll fly back home and crash and want to sleep for two weeks straight. With that in mind, nap time!