super generic girl

the awesomely average life of a girl like all others


That awkward time I ran 5k in a denim mini skirt carrying a purse


Mike Allsop at the finish line of his 777 project

Today, Mike Allsop completed his 7 marathons in 7 continents in 7 days challenge. The man is a legend. There’s no way around it. He also did it all for charity, to help kids living in poverty. He’s as fit as they come (you have to be, to take on such a mammoth task), as crazy as it gets (see previous parenthesis) and apparently a pretty decent human being too.

Mike ran a marathon a day in each of the world’s continents last week, starting in the Falkland Islands on Monday, moving onto Santiago, then up to LA, across to London, down to Casablanca, then to Hong Kong and finally Auckland, today.

I have barely moved from bed in the last 4 days.

It all started kind of turning to custard on Wednesday. First I had one of my old school migraines. Later that day, came the sore throat and the body aches.

On Thursday, I dismissed the cold as “one of those 24h bugs” and ran 21k after work, the final long run before the marathon. I figured if I got worse, at least the last long run would be done and out of the way and I could just focus on recovering. Good thing I decided to focus on recovering because after I got home from that run, I nearly collapsed in the shower and got in bed with chills and fever. “Not dying” achievement unlocked. But I did sweat bucket loads throughout the night, which is a detail I’m sure you appreciate me sharing with you.

On Friday, I could barely keep my eyes open. The world was simultaneously freezing and on fire and there wasn’t a single muscle in my body that wasn’t making a point of telling me it was there. I could walk from the bed to the kitchen without a problem but then the return trip back to bed was a bit of an effort (which isn’t the way you want to feel, the weekend before your marathon). Saturday is just a foggy memory in my head. I remember cups of hot tea, different types of medicine, a whole lot of tissues everywhere, and an entire day watching old episodes of Big Bang Theory, trying not to stress out about the marathon, interrupted by intervals of stressing out about the marathon.

Today was the fourth day of my self-pity party. Then I remembered that Mike Allsop’s team had set up an event for people to join him for the final 5k of his last marathon this afternoon. There was no way I could run it, with my clogged up nose and my coughing and sneezing fits. But I thought some sun would probably help me so made the last minute decision to head down to the Viaduct just to cheer Mike on from the sidelines.

Because I wasn’t going to run, I didn’t bother getting changed from the clothes I had been wearing all day – a t-shirt and a denim skirt because sometimes I wear clothes that aren’t for running. I took my purse with me and didn’t even bother with my iPod or running watch. I got to where everyone was gathered to join him for the final 5k and hung around for a bit to see him run past. I didn’t get a supporter’s t-shirt (those were for runners joining Mike and I wasn’t going to join Mike) and I didn’t pose for a group photo with all the runners because I wasn’t going to run. I was all on track with my being-responsible-and-not-running-because-that-would-be-stupid goal. My plan was to see him there and then walk to the finish line and watch him cross it (he was going the long way around but the finish line was actually only about 1k from where the 5k group was joining him).

And then… well, then I realised I have a problem. Mike Allsop ran past, high fiving everyone, looking like he hadn’t just travelled across the globe running a marathon a day for the last week. Ultrarunning legend Lisa Tamati ran alongside him. Dozens of people joined them for the last 5k and I watched them as they ran into the distance. I stared at my flowery canvas shoes (no socks), my denim mini skirt, and the purse I was holding. I thought to myself “You’re really sick and you’re not dressed for running. That would be really stupid.”

So of course I took off running and joined the group. Let’s face it, this is probably the only time in my life I’ll ever get the chance to run near Lisa Tamati at a pace I can keep up with. I’d rather have this cold linger around for an extra day or two (nothing some extra pills can’t help with) than miss out on running with these two legends.

When Mike crossed the finish line, he shared stories about his last seven days of adventures. He said that, at one point, I think during his second marathon, one of his knees hurt so bad he couldn’t even walk on it. He sat on a rock wondering how he was going to be able to go on. Then his phone alerted him for a message on the project’s Facebook page, from someone telling him that his adventure had inspired them to go out and start running. And that’s all he needed to get off from that rock and keep on going. On top of raising a hell of a lot of money for KidsCan, Mike is also an inspiration to a bunch of other people, runners, aspiring runners and runners who feel like they probably shouldn’t run but can’t stop themselves anyway. I felt almost ridiculous not joining him for a 5k because of a cold, considering how much he had gone through in the last 7 days. My excuse was no excuse, really. Even if I had to be the dork doing it in regular shoes and a denim skirt.


Inappropriate running attire


A runner’s Christmas wishlist

Back in the day, I started running because I thought it’d be the cheapest possible way to exercise. All I needed was any pair of old shorts and an old tshirt, some sneakers (and, with the size of my shoe collection, I had a few to choose from already) and the willingness to get my butt out of the door. No membership fees, no monthly payments, no big expenses.

*pause so we can all stop laughing at how wrong I was*

Like anything else, if you get really into it (and one can say writing a blog almost solely dedicated to running qualifies as being “really into it”), it gets really expensive really quickly. At first, I think, came the dri-fit shirts. I got posh and decided running in cotton shirts was too gross. Then, with the first knee pain, came the doctor’s appointment (another $40) and the medical advice to buy proper running shoes. Hello, $300 receipt. Then, since I had the fancy shoes, I got a little more excited about taking them out. And so came the receipt for the first ever running event (Wharf to Wharf on Waiheke Island), which got me completely hooked onto crossing finish lines. Since then, I’ve been averaging about one official event per month. Some are fairly cheap, others do make me think I’ll have to resort to instant noodles for the rest of the month (mostly because some of these events are out of town and involve travel expenses). Fast forward a few months and I got hooked on trail running. This means mandatory equipment for races, in some cases. Hi, expensive hydration pack with all sorts of stuff inside.

Anyway, you get the point. This stuff’s not cheap. So I’m always on the look out for good deals on running-related stuff. I’ve got a list. I’m pretty sure it’s filled with stuff all runners want to have. So, if you have a runner in your Christmas gift list (or some extra money floating around that you might want to use to start the Super Generic Girl Running Fund), this is a good time to take notes.

gu gels garminnikeshortscamelbakapple earpodscompression socksspibeltnecklacehead torchglovesRoad IDrunning books

1. Gu energy gels are the perfect stocking fillers a runner can ask for. At about $3 a pop, these little things don’t come cheap.

2. Garmin Forerunner 10. Or any Forerunner. Or, whatever, any GPS watch. I’ve been using the Nike+ watch (powered by TomTom) and we have sort of become best buddies.

3. Running shorts. Or any running apparel, as long as it’s cute. Oh and the right material. I suppose that’s important too.

4. Camelbak hydration pack. Especially useful for trail runs or long road runs, especially if you enter events and like avoiding the water stations.

5. Apple EarPods or any good headphones for runners.

6. My Cep compression socks are simultaneously my most expensive and my most amazing pair of socks. Don’t think a runner can have too many of these but, for the price, I think one pair is pretty much enough. Has to be.

7. Spi belt. I bought a hydration belt a couple of months ago and it sucked because there was no ideal way of adjusting it to my waist without it ending up jumping up and down while I ran. I heard these are quite good in that aspect. All I want is a way of not carrying my phone in my hand the whole time.

8. Running necklaces. Down here in Kiwiland, they aren’t too keen on giving out medals at running events. You’ll probably get a medal for a full marathon (and, even then, not all full marathons), but you are very unlikely to get one for anything below that. Some achievements, though, deserve to be celebrated with something long lasting. When we ran our 35k trail run, I headed to The Run Home on Etsy and got S. a customised necklace with her name and the distance and location of that race. Beats a medal, I think… but I still wish we’d gotten medals.

9. These running nutters sometimes decide that darkness isn’t a good enough excuse to stay home. I pack my head torch every time we head out for the trails, just in case. Also good for after work runs in Winter, when it’s pitch black by 6pm.

10. Tech gloves. Because surely I’m not the only one who checks Facebook while waiting for the pedestrian lights to turn green, amirite?

11. Road ID bracelet. If I happen to run my way to afterlife, there are a few things people need to know like: my name, my emergency contact details and that under no circumstances should my obituary refer to me as a “jogger”. Just the basic important stuff.

12. Running-related literature. I’ve got an Amazon wishlist the length of an ultramarathon. Lisa Tamati‘s Running to Extremes is just one of them, among a long list of practical marathon training guides. Basically, anything that’ll make a runner want to keep reading while, at the same time, put the book down and head out for a run.