Saturday, September 14, 2013

What I'm Running To (the unintentionally Australian edition)

I never used to run with music. I trained for a marathon entirely music-free (though I did listen to the occasional audio books courtesy of Hannah - The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is a great accompaniment to a 4 hour run, for the record).

These days, however, one of my favourite things about running is that it's the one time of the day that I truly listen to music... I don't just treat it as background noise or something to be groaned and eye-rolled at (I'm looking at you, gym, and your insistance on playing Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke on repeat for days at a time).

I like running with music because it's equal parts inspiring and distracting. I like to run to all kinds of music when I run (and in general), but it generally tends to fall into one of two categories: it pumps me up, or it calms me down. The former for obvious reasons, the latter because sometimes I need to be lullaby-ed into a rhythm and encouraged to stop overthinking everything ("Am I lifting my legs high enough? Am I breathing too fast? Too slow? Should my heart be beating this fast? Am I having a stroke? What are the symptoms of a stroke? Oh god, my stomach just made a noise! Am I going to be sick? Oh wait, I think I'm hungry! What if I pass out because I'm too hungry? What if I pass out and fall and hit my head and nobody finds me and I die here?!")

...being me is stressful.

After the above, you will probably not be surprised to hear that I have a kind of obsessive, addictive personality. As such, I tend to cycle through the same few songs on my runs - usually for about a month or two until I cannot handle listening to them ever again. Hooray for ruining things for yourself!

Anyway, here are the songs I'm currently fixated on for running purposes. Some of these I've been running to for over a year, suggesting that they're either a) really good, or b) I'm getting slower at ruining stuff for myself. They are unintentionally all by Australian artists. Probably because artists from other countries would subliminally encourage me to run on the other side of the road, and safety is my #1 priority.

The Preatures - 'Take a Card' and 'Is This How You Feel?'
The Preatures cause me to do that really unattractive white guy dance where you slow-shake your hips and rotate your shoulders and inexplicably have to make guns with your fingers while biting your lip with your eyes closed. OH WAIT that's how I dance anyway. Nonetheless, they are some my faves for running... though I'm sure one day I'll leave my eyes closed just a bit too long and run into a car. ROCK N ROLL!

Vance Joy - 'Riptide'
Rapidly becoming so, so overplayed (sometimes OTHER PEOPLE ruin songs for me, too!), but it's still basically the ideal running song (and not just because it has the word 'running' in it). Nine out of ten scientists agree that it's impossible not to have a good run with this playing.
(the other one never liked running anyway. Or music, life, sunshine, rainbows or happiness.)

Andy Bull - 'Keep On Running' and 'Baby I Am Nobody Now'
Continuing my theme of enjoying running to songs that explicitly describe my activity because apparently I have no imagination. 'Keep On Running' is near flawless for running purposes. I listened to it for approximately 70 minutes of the Bathurst Half Marathon. Both it and 'Baby I Am Nobody Now' require some seriously passionate lip-syncing and were probably written with the intention of providing an outlet for all feelings of rejection, neglect, or general displeasure with society and/or life. That's a big job, and I have HEAPS of feelings of this nature. HEAPS. And when I don't, I listen to these songs and create some. So thank you, Andy Bull, for filling this void so graciously and contributing to me being so insufferable to live with. I think I'm a hell of a find, too.


RUN-LOVING PALS: tell me your current favourites! Sooner or later I'll exhaust my tolerance of these and will need a back-up plan!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bathurst half marathon 2013 - AKA the only race I have ever really LOVED

Let me do my best to remember this many moons after I actually ran it (it was early May. So.. uhh....over three months ago. Whooooops).

This race was about three weeks after my previous half marathon, which was awesome timing because it involved minimal additional training, and for somebody who likes running long distances, I am super, suuuuuper lazy.

I signed up for the Bathurst Half Marathon on a whim, just a few days before the race. My decision was heavily influenced by the following things:

1. Close to where my parents live, so I could turn it into a weekend visit, and stay with them either side of the race itself.
2. Really cheap entry free.
3. Start time of 9AM. I've never started a race later than 7, so the thought of a sleep-in appealed to me big-time.
4. The promise of "the best free sausage sizzle in New South Wales". That is a big call, my friends, and I was ready to see if it lived up to its reputation.

Let's just cut right to the chase... THIS WAS MY FAVOURITE RACE EVER.

Honestly. Gosh. Wow. I loved it.

I stayed with my mum in a hotel the night before the race (we had an absolute FEAST at an Irish pub on the Saturday night, and followed it up with enormous ice cream sundaes). I got up at about 7 on Sunday, did some dynamic stretches and foam rolled/trigger point massaged myself, ate avocado on toast and drank some coffee, and walked the kilometre or so to the start.

Tip: this is how you correctly fuel before a race.

It's a really small event (less than 100 people in the half marathon, I think), and everyone was above and beyond friendly and helpful and accommodating. I loved how EASY everything was with so few people. Once we arrived at the start, I picked up my bib, used their bathrooms, etc... all completely line free. Oh heavens it was wonderful. I made my way to the start line and had no problem getting a spot right where I wanted.

The event consists of a 10km and a half marathon, with the half marathon course basically just two-and-a-bit laps of the 10km course. It's a BEAUTIFUL course, running along the river, then through farm land (at one point there were horses galloping along next to me. It pretty much made my life. Except that they were much, much faster and graceful than I am, which was a little upsetting).

I was so impressed by the really cool, supportive vibe of the race (and this is from someone who hates the word 'vibe', so it's a big deal). As the race leaders passed us lowly slow plebs, they were cheering for us, encouraging us to keep going, and one even offered me some gummi bears. What a champ (in every way). Despite being a small event, there's some pretty tough competition - a lot of pros who grew up in the area come back to run their 'hometown race', just because it's such a great atmosphere.

I kind of feel like writing about my running itself is irrelevant, because pretty much as soon as I started I knew I wasn't feeling up to anything ambitious - my legs were just TIRED and so, so heavy. My whole bosy felt a little wrecked and I just wasn't able to pick up any speed. But that was pretty okay with me, because once I realised what a fun, nice race this was, I just kind of wanted to enjoy it.

My game face was not very fierce that morning. My legs felt like my phone looks...

That said, I pretty much just cruised on around 5:25 minute kilometres the whole way, with a few breaks due to some majoooor blister issues. I HATE having to stop.. especially to do something as annoying as sit on the ground and do makeshift first aid on myself. But given I'd kind of written this race off as 'just for fun', it didn't bum me out as much as it normally would've.

The weather (cold, foggy morning that gave way to perfect blue skies - AKA all the best bits of autumn) and scenery were gorgeous and the course is pretty much all flat, and a great mix of road/foothpath/dirt. I think that if I were to do it again - and I plan to - I could run some pretty good times on this course. I do, however, mentally struggle ENORMOUSLY with races where the groups break apart - seeing the 10km people cross the finish line while I had to do it all over again bummed me out like you would not believe. And with my feet such bleeding mangled wrecks, I really, reaaaaally wanted to turn off, cross the line, and hope they'd let me count it as a 10km race. But I didn't, and once I got into the second lap, I found my groove a little more and became kind of immune to how much my feet hurt.

The second time through just FLEW by. I loved how few people were running - there were stretches where I couldn't see anyone in front of or behind me, and it just felt like a solo run in the countryside AKA it ruled.

There was one annoying lady who kept overtaking me, then stopping to walk. So I'd overtake her. And then she'd overtake me.....and stop to walk. What? Anyway, with a kilometre to go, I downed half a Gu (why didn't I do this earlier?!) and blasted her. I wish there'd been photography at the race, because my majestic (pained, desperate) sprint finish would've been worth sharing I think.

I loved, loved, loved having my mum there to hug at the finish line as well. She's never been able to come to any races before, and there is nothing quite like a mummy-hug when you're tired and wrecked and over-emotional (except maybe a daddy-hug - which I was lucky enough to get when I finished my first - okay, only - full marathon).

The other untold perk of this race? The best post race snacks ever! I will never accept measly apples and bananas again.
I finished in 1:57:22 - my slowest ever half marathon. But given how many times I stopped and performed roadside surgery on my feet, I couldn't believe I finished in under 2 hours. Also? Given the small number of entrants, I still finished 23rd female, which sounds pretty respectable and more impressive than it is ;)

No medals at this race... but a DIY finishers certificate where you write in your own time. Big mistake. According to me, I ALWAYS set a new world record.

The event is followed by the aforementioned sausage sizzle (which I felt too Gu-gross to try, but my mum gave it the thumbs up) and a raffle for all entrants with prizes donated by local businesses. I really wanted a stick mixer but alas, it was not my day.

 I think many people were very grateful to this pair of gloved hands.

Afterwards, I went with mum to the local RSL club for a delicious greasy lunch (my appetite came back... very passionately) and drove home to their house, where I surveyed my damaged feet and napped for the rest of the day - AKA what seems to be my post-race ritual.

I apologise for this in advance. Please don't puke. I tried to make it into a cute little collage to make it more aesthetically appealing!



I tried to take pre-emptive action against blisters after my last half... note: this is not a particularly effective strategy. As I'm sure you've figured out.
(And yes, I do travel with my foam roller and baseball everywhere I go.)

Aaaaaaaand that is that. I haven't run any races since, but have a couple kiiiind of semi planned for later this year. And you'll all be pleased to know that I have invested in shoes that don't make my feet roll in/completely destroy them - my Innov8 shoes have totally changed my life. Who knew that hardly any support would mean my feet stayed in a better position? Not me. That's why I'm lucky to have a very clever personal trainer/bedmate ;)

So: all in all, Bathurst half marathon was the bomb. I can't wait to go back next year, to either do the half again, or perhaps the 10km. And I encourage you all to road trip with me... I promise we can get sundaes the night before/morning of ;)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Just some stuff and a few things and then a bit more stuff.

OKAY SO HI. I have several things I've been meaning to post haven't got around to for one reason or another. So this is just a post to let the world know I'm alive and/or try to remind myself of how cool blogging is so I'll post more often.

SO. Either way, hello. I hope you are all just swell.

Here are the things I've been busy doing:

1. Work. WHAT THE HELL. WORK. Ugh. When I'm not at work being busy I sit at home being busy thinking/planning/worrying about work, and wonder what would happen if I just decided to...stop having a job. Then I remember that I like having food to eat and a place to live. And it's really not that bad. I just dislike being busy doing things that aren't of my choosing - I LOVE being busy doing things I like doing. But doesn't everyone? Anyway, place to live, food to eat...

2. SOME FUN LITTLE TRIPS AWAY! Firstly to my parents' house for a Christmas in July extravaganza where I made Angus wear a matching festive jumper with me so we could look ridiculous/adorable. Then we went away to the snow where I attempted to learn to ski for the first time. My instructor was a massive tool but I enjoyed the following snow-related activities: wearing a beanie, drinking hot chocolate, toasting marshmallows, eating the snow, taking pictures of the snow from the safety of the lounge room.

3. Making a different variety of macaroni and cheese on average 5 nights a week. Not kidding. It's pretty much all we eat in this house.

4. Thanks to #3, I should also probably add "gaining weight" to this list. Ha.

5. Doing yoga again - after a massive and unnecessary hiatus driven purely by laziness and a desire to be in my pajamas by 8pm every night. But since I've started going again, I feel stronger/taller/better postured and those are all good things. And so I will persevere, despite the siren song of my couch.
Besides, yoga clothes are about as close to PJs as you're gonna get, so it's not so bad.

6. Seeing lots lots lots more of my darling and delectable friends. Often I don't see any of my friends for months at a time, due to mutual busy-ness, laziness, disorganisation and... forgetfulness? I guess. Anyway, I'm making a real effort to be a lot more social, and it is exciting and lovely to spend more time just hanging and talking shit with the people who appreciate my particular brand of shit-talking the most.


Here's an awkward Christmas family photo for your viewing pleasure.

Things I am intending to do soon/sometime/maybe:

1. Go to the snow again. Despite a very traumatic first experience (thanks to the aforementioned dickwad of an instructor, my own inability, and some mighty scary snowstorms), I am making my triumphant return for a few days over my birthday. This time, I will be accompanied by this hot piece of booty and her manbeast, as well as MY manbeast (I intend to make them dual to find who is the manliest and beastliest) which I think is a recipe for wonderful times ahead.

2. Learn German. I used to speak semi-well when I took classes in high school, and I would like to learn again. Mostly because Germany is such a bucket-list destination for me and I want to be able to... do it in the most convenient, easiest way possible? I have grown accustomed to my creature comforts, such as a shared language with everyone around me.

3. VISIT NYC. Not booked yet, but definitely on the horizon. Hit me up if you want to be my internet-friend-turned-real-life-Central-Park-picnicking-friend.

4. Run some more races. I think I want to do another marathon OOOOOH. But this is ambitious seeing as I rarely run more than 5kms at the moment but I feel that there is another one in me and it is brewing and festering and it's gonna get out somehow. Besides, an extra 37kms on my usual is no biggie, right?

5. Start eating food that isn't pasta in cheese sauce. HA. Just kidding. That is probably never going to happen, ever ever.

6. Singing lessons. I write an assortment of little songs to myself every morning in the car to work, and I would like to make this experience more enjoyable for myself/any passengers accompanying me.

7. LEARN TO RIDE MY BIKE PROPERLY. YES YES YES I KNOW I AM ALMOST 26 YEARS OLD SHHH. I have made modest progress, but until I can actually be trusted unsupervised, I will not be content. I have a feeling 2013 is my year ;)

Ummm okay, that's all. I promise I will post things on a more regular basis (no i don't). But don't ask me to share my mac n cheese recipes. That won't ever happen. I'm no sucker.
(ps... I update my Facebook and Twitter a million times more regularly than here. There are also many more pictures, which if you're anything like me, is your primary motivation for visiting blogs. Go!)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

6 months' worth of life, plus a kitty paw.

Before I write another race recap (because that seems to be the most substantial thing I have to post about lately), I thought I would write some other things that have been going on in the 674378634 months since I last properly/regularly posted.

I spent Christmas and New Years in this absolutely pimpin' house. Housesitting sometimes does not suck. My dad was sick in hospital in Sydney over Christmas (boooo), so I flew there for the day, crying my eyes out on the plane there and back, because I'm a massive sook, and came back that night for the best recovery/therapy: homemade pizzas, and blasting great music and drinking scotch in the spa until the wee small hours with my two best boys. I mean 'boiiizzz'. I feel like that might be my new Christmas night tradition. Hopefully without the ill parent/being the crazy crying chick on the plane bit next time.
While there, we also had a fabulous NYE party (with permission, I should add. And nothing got broken!), after which I found out that my approach to choosing a sleeping position seems to be 'face-plant into the nearest soft object'.

I began to enjoy running again. As evidenced by the aforementioned race recaps. After injury after injury after injury and a massive amount of fitness lost, I finally managed to begin running regularly again. Not long distances or impressive times, but regularly. And man oh man, it was hard. It is hard. I don't remember much about how I started running (in 2006-07), but I know I wasn't good right away. Duh. I remember the early days of just trying to run for longer bursts between walking, and then [Y^%#GDIUSG-MEMORY BLANK-^%@$63*] and then I ran a marathon. Soooo being back in that mystery in-between time has been a surprise. Not necessarily a good one. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? I am learning the very neglected [by me] art of enjoying things you're not good at. Because sometimes it's the 'getting better' part that is fun. And sometimes it is the sunshine, the exploration, the music, the getting-lost-then-finding-your-way-home, the gallons of sweat, the glass of water afterwards, the hilarious tan-lines, the racing cars and dogs and bikes and people.. Huh. Who knew.
(if anyone uses MapMyRun, feel free to add me. I log most of my runs - outside, at least - there)

I have been cooking a buttload. Mostly of the baked good variety. Lots of bread and cakes and pies and quiches and crumpets and pancakes. Seeing as I live with fellow who is gluten intolerant (and I quite like him and want him to be well-fed), these have all been gluten free, which has been slightly challenging. But I'm willing to go out on a limb and say that I am now The Greatest Gluten Free Baker Of All Time. I am seriously contemplating starting a separate GF baking blog. Except my readership might dwindle when I repeatedly refer to my readers' medical conditions as 'being wheatarded'.

[insert beautifully photographed baked goods here. I cannot take pictures of food to save my life. They always come out looking vaguely rude. I don't know why.]

I went to Melbourne with said wheatard-boy to see Paul Simon in concert. It was kickass. I cried in about 3/4 of the songs and longed to meet him backstage so I could tell him that my name is basically Betty and I would not mind one bit if he called me it. But that didn't happen. But other highlights include: staying at the Windsor and feeling like I was in a murder mystery, eating at a lot of really good restaurants, and befriending the utterly charming doorman.

I got a new job. I quit the new job. I went back to the old job. If I didn't fear it'd come back to bite me in a major and unfortunate way, I would share the details of this - including some priceless, majestically stupid quotes. But inevitably it WILL come back to bite me. So I won't.
...until I make a habit of drunk-blogging.
..... or it all appears in the TV show I'm attempting to write about the ridiculousness that is life working in an office. No, it's not The Office. 

I've been planning a trip to the U.S later this year with Angus. And possibly meeting a couple of our friends from other parts of the world while over there, which would be mental and out of control and awesome. At the moment NYC is the only definite, but if I get my way, there will be a detour to New Orleans, San Francisco, and Disney World. Finances permitting (which, at the moment, they don't). I am off the charts excited, but hating the 'saving money' thing that has to occur first.

I've been sick with tonsillitis and now some kind of flu/virus thing. Which has been massively bumming me out because it a) stops me from enjoying running, which I am doing again, in case you missed that point above. And b) inhibits my sparkling and dazzling social life. Or what I imagine would be a sparkling and dazzling social life if I wanted it to be. And c) is generally just BALLSSSSSS. But on the upside, I become so bored stuck at home that I do useful things like cleaning, and cooking, and gardening... ie. I do all the things other people do day in, day out, without complaint. And then feel like I'm somehow special. And then I complain when I don't recover from my sickness instantly, despite ignoring everyone's advice to STAY IN BED AND STOP STANDING OUT ON YOUR FREEZING BALCONY IN THE WIND, POTTING DAFFODILS, YOU IDIOT. Ohhhh. See? I'm several types of annoying.

And that is about all. Here is a picture of a sleeping kitty's little sleepy white-socked foot. Just because. Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Canberra Half Marathon 2013 - recap, pictures, blabber.

 Uhh hi. So I haven't posted for like.. half a year. And here I am, crawling back, writing about a race I ran (AKA the most boring topic to anyone but me, most likely) about a month ago, in the most verbose way possible? Yep. Let's just all SHHHH.

Canberra Half Marathon 2013

FIRST UP: this was the best race I've ever run. It was not my fastest. I was not well prepared. There were times when I had to stop and walk. But overall, this was the most fun I've ever had, and I went into it with the best attitude (enjoy myself, support my friends, challenge myself and be proud of whatever I can pull out on the day).

I signed up for this race on a whim, and trained for it in 5 weeks. Background: I used to run a ridonkulous amount, marathons, etc. I then got injured/stress-fractured/totally burnt out (and a bit bored), and had to take a few years almost entirely off. I've only just got back into running semi-regularly (a couple of times a week, maybe), so I knew this would be... interestingly challenging.

My one main training slip up was accidentally running 19kms - my peak distance - one week out from the race (it was supposed to be a 10km run, but I decided to explore a new area and got totally, hopelessly lost. Yep. This is why you should never let me navigate for you. Anywhere). Probably not ideal - I prefer to peak 2-3 weeks out - but it motivated me to spend the week before the race recovering like a CHAMP. I slept, I ate well, I stretched, I foam rolled, I dedicated hoooours to self trigger point massage. Apart from a knee niggle that had me worried for a while, I felt rearing to go for this race.

The day before I spent extra time foam rolling/massaging the HELL outta my legs (hip flexors, quads and bits-where-my-knee-joins-my-calf, which my boyfriend/personal trainer/life coach diagnosed as responsible for the knee woes). I also baked an enormous cake, went out for chilli cheese fries, took a nap, painted my toenails red (to make me go faster), did some shopping, and generally had a pretty cool day.

Confession: this is not a food blog. I am not a food photographer. I know this may come as a shock to you, after seeing this appetising masterpiece of a photograph.
Dinner consisted of more less-than-stellar food choices, but I simply couldn't bring myself to take this race too seriously (because I was already stressed about my knee, and worried that I was unprepared/not recovered enough). Besides, my half marathon PR happened after a dinner of KFC, cereal, ice cream, and Pringles. This time, I went for a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches, some corn chips, and the aforementioned cake.

I stayed up waaay too late (perfecting my race playlist/perfecting my race outfit. Yeaaah), but still woke up at 5:15am feeling pretty energetic. I loved watching the sunrise from my balcony, and it was preeeetty darn obvious it was going to be perfect running weather: clear, cool, no wind AKA perfect autumn AKA the best season AKA yessssss.

I wish the sun rose at 11am (my preferred wake-up time) so I got to watch it more often.

I had my usual Berocca with beta-alanine and glutamine, and black coffee. Did some foam rolling/dynamic stretches to start getting warmed up. I wasn't very hungry, but had some toast with butter, Vegemite, and a bit of avocado, as well as an apple (this is fast becoming my go-to combo. I can't handle some of the things other people swear by - peanut butter and banana just ruin me).

Game-face ON. Killer outfit ON.

My manfriend drove me to the race and we arrived at about 6:45. I met up with some friends who were also running and we pep-talked the shit outta one another. I dumped my stylish outerwear with Angus, and made the last minute call to take my iPod (it's on its deathbed and the battery was almost flat, so knowing I wouldn't get much use out of it, I wasn't sure if it'd just be annoying), which I'm really glad about, and we took our places.

 My playlist was rockin'/ridiculous. It'll be getting a lot of future use, letmetellyou.

I originally planned to latch on to the 3:30 marathon pacer (there weren't any for the half), and hope he could help me get me around a 1:45, which felt slightly challenging for my current fitness level, but still pretty realistic. Unfortunately, I couldn't get through the crowd to him, so ditched that idea and decided to stay with my friends, who were near the 4:00 pacer anyway.. so I just figured "go a bit faster than him". Ha.

 An assortment of my beautiful pre-race facial expressions. Ignore Madam Cranky-Boots to the left. Not everyone can be filled with this much enthusiasm at 6:45am.

The gun went off a little after 7 and I probably went out too fast. I lost my friends after about half a kilometre and tried to focus on getting into a challenging but sustainable pace. I passed the 1km mark at 4:46, and the 2km at 9:48, which was putting me right on track for about a 1:45, as I'd hoped.
The steepest part of the course (not even particularly steep, but a longggg incline, which I hate - give me a short, sharp hill any day) really slowed me down, and I felt how undertrained I am on that kind of terrain. I remember finishing kilometre 6 at 30:01, 7 at 35:03 and 8 at 40:44.

And theeeeeeen I got hungies. And started to fade. I walked through every water station and took in a bit of Gatorade, but was bummed to find that no gels were available until the 15km mark. POOR PREPARATION ON MY PART. Next time, bring some!!

Some blissful downhills let me finish 10kms in about 49 minutes I think, then let myself sloooow right down to a not-much-more-than-walking jog.

 Run for your lives!!!!

For the next few kilometres I managed to find a slower pace that was comfortable(ish) and consistent, and just let myself stick with that, speeding up on any downhills to make up a bit of ground. I still felt super slow and plod-y through most of the middle part of the race, and just focused on enjoying the atmosphere and trying to keep my spirits up. I chatted to the other runners, high-fived some kids, and had a really good time with some AWESOME spectators who were above and beyond supportive/hilarious/generally kickass. I tried to bargain with a guy on a bike to dink me to the finish, but he wasn't interested in my broken sunglasses or chewed on water cup in exchange for a ride ;)

At 15km I finally got the energy gel I was ready to sell my hypothetical firstborn for. I typically hate gels but was mega grateful for this one, even though it made my stomach feel really unsettled for the rest of the race. Like I said, lesson learnt: I should've brought my own fuel so that a) I could've had it earlier into the run, when I first needed it, and b) could've opted for jelly beans/snakes/caramel popcorn/something infinitely more delicious. But it did the job and I started feeling a bit better (other than my sad, sad tummy).

Around this time my iPod's battery finally died, which was a tough point for me. Sometimes, I cannot stand to run with music, but other days I need it to distract/motivate/keep me from gouging my eyeballs out (and the eyeballs of everyone around me), and this was the latter. This part of the course was boring, kinda ugly, and hard (again with the long, slight inclines), and I really wanted to be able to focus on music instead of my sore legs and feet. My breathing was also all over the place, and sometimes music helps me with this (other times, I try to breathe in time to the music a little TOO much... pro-tip: Britney Spears' 'Toxic' does not a happy respiratory system make).

Sorry, - my photos were not nearly awesome/hilarious enough for me to justify purchasing them this year.

The last 3 kilometres wrecked me. I was beat. My quads were absolutely TRASHED (probably from sprinting down any and all downhills, no matter how slight), my energy was dropping again, and I just wanted to be done. I ran into my friend's dad, who was also doing the half, and tried to stick with him, before dropping back and walking a little more. My brother coincidentally was riding his bike past the course, so a shout out from him was a cool distraction, and got me running again for a little further.

As we got near the turn off to the finish line, I stopped to walk again (trying to rest a tiny bit to be able to sprint to the finish - and hopefully get a killer finish photo ahahha AKA my only real goal for this race). Another lady running actually YELLED at me to keep going because I was so close. I realised she was right and picked up the pace again, gurgling thanks to her (THANK YOU, LADY. I feel really bad for overtaking you at the finish :\).

I sped up in the final 100 metres, and crossed the finish line in 1:54:27. Faaaaar from the PR I secretly wanted (desperately. And slightly obsessively), but I was actually stoked with my time - I felt like I gave this race my all, and could not have possibly gone any harder in my current level of fitness/amount of training. I was, and am, very proud. I really felt like I ran my guts out in this race, and if I hadn't had the stops and walking breaks (which I don't regret at all), I would've hit my goal of 1:45.

I saw Angus just as I crossed the finish line, and was so, so excited by that. I'd never had him there for any of my other races, so it was lovely to be able to have him here for this one (yes, I got a bit teary... crying occurs at least once every time I race, so I'm glad I held it together until the finish this time).

I was the first of my friends back to the start, so I got my medal, some water and fruit, and wandered around the recovery area until my legs started feeling slightly more like they belonged to a human being and not a marionette puppet/Flubber. I was genuinely SO EXCITED to see all my friends finish - I've never really done a race with many people I know before, so it was really lovely to share it with them all and hear their experiences. I could not be more proud of all of us.

This guy absolutely rocked his first half. Beyond stoked for him.
[less proud of myself. I clearly don't know what cups are for, or which way around medals go...]

At home I ate a lot more fruit, drank a buttload of water, stretched and rolled a little. Before going out for lunch, I took off my shoes to go have a shower, and discovered this bad boy...

The Holy Grail of blood blisters. Bow before me.

OHHH so that's why my foot was in excruciating pain for most of the run! I get it now! I ran in my new-ish Adidas Boost shoes... which until now had been a super comfortable and blister-free experience, so I don't really think it was the fault of the shoes. It seems more likely that my slightly-rolling-in feet have recently become a lot worse (but only when I run?), so some work is going to need to be done on this.

Overall, I had a great day, and I loved training for an event again - and it just reaffirmed my love for the half marathon distance.

A lil bit about the race:
  • The Australian Running Festival is a well-organised, small-ish event, with a few different distance options (5km to full marathon) over the weekend, so it's got preeeetty much everyone covered. 
  • The course is pretty scenic - around the Parliamentary Triangle and Lake Burley Griffin, so you see a lot of Canberra's landmarks - and it's at the best time of year for Canberra to show off: autumn here means enormous blue skies, sunshine, and some absolutely bitchin' colourful leaves. 
  • My only really gripe is that I wish the course was one, larger, out-and-back course, rather than two (or one-and-a-half) laps. But that's just my preference, and I know a lot of people who prefer this format. 
  • I wouldn't call the course 'flat', but it's definitely not hilly: it's undulating, and while the 'hills' are my most hated sort (long and slight - basically false-flats), they're offset with some pretty badass downhill sections that will restore your will to live. 
  • I love that this event isn't as massive and claustrophobic as a lot of its big-city counterparts, where the hassle of finding a parking spot/getting public transport at sleep-deprived-o'clock, finding the start-line, and braving the crowds is enough to turn me off altogether. 
  • Unfortunately, the smaller size means not so many of the perks of bigger races: fewer pacers, no real 'loot'/goody-bags, not so many aid stations/fuel options, etc... But those are definitely not deal-breakers for me, so I keep coming back every year.

In short: running is awesome, blisters are not, autumn is the best season, dressing like Rainbow Brite will forever be cool, cake is great, official race photos are overpriced, call me if you want an awesome race playlist.

Oh, and let's not forget the importance of cross-training. Thanks to my personal trainer/love of my life for sending me this one, with the subject line "How do I love thee? Let me count the chins."

I am in the market for a new boyfriend/housemate. Any takers?

Monday, January 07, 2013

Eight New Year's resolutions I would like the fashion industry to make for 2013.

1. We no longer like mullet tops. We don't like mullet anything, for that matter! The only kind of mullet we care for is the fish variety.

2. We're done with head-being-weighed-down Sailor Moon-esque hair buns. Do you get that you look stupid, Lauren Conrad? Do you? We've realised we led you astray and want you to expect better of yourself this year. Next time you want a large landmass on your head, we advise you to consider a little-known option sometimes called 'a hat'.

3. CIVILIANS: there will be no longer any need for ugly ass hooker shoes! Let the people rejoice! If you are a hooker, disregard this message.

4. No ugly pastel shades of lipstick. We don't know what we were thinking, either.

5. We are done with neon. It is to colour what Tara Reid is to high society. We're sorry.

6. We will stop glorifying and encouraging poorly-executed balayage and just-plain-shithouse dip-dyeing.

7. Tops/dresses with this frilly piece of crap going on were all just a joke. We knew all along that they would look terrible on everybody on the planet. LOL SOZ. WON'T DO IT AGAIN.

8. We're going to stop printing everything on fabric. Just because we can, doesn't mean we should. This applies 300-fold for stretchy fabric. Never again.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Great expectations: the rental property edition.

The feedback I expect after a rent inspection:

'Dear Elizabeth,

Thank you for allowing my visit this morning. I don't say this often, but visiting your property was truly a pleasure.

In my line of work, I see many houses every day, but rarely do I come across a true home. The exquisite and uplifting - yet still comforting and warm - atmosphere you have created from meagre beginnings is inspirational. Many times during my visit today, I found myself frozen, staring at the surroundings, mouth agape, unsure of how much time had passed.

Your keen eye for design is evident in even the smallest touches. Your ability to balance contemporary, thought-provoking - and, yes, at times shocking -  elements with a deep respect for the grace of classic interior design is really something.

I also find your profound understanding of the perfection of imperfection admirable and enlightening: a rug slightly askew, a way the sunlight catches a thin layer of dust upon a picture frame. These things matter to every real estate agent. I thank you for sharing them with me.

Finally, I want to touch on the remarkable time and effort you clearly invested in the lead-up to my visit. While your extensive and thorough scrubbing, polishing, vacuuming, and deodorising seems somewhat secondary to your natural aptitude - no, talent - in the medium of 'apartment', I must comment: one would think that anybody can clean and tidy a house, but what you have achieved has changed my feelings about this. I never imagined I would describe someone as a 'visionary' for their use of a mop and oven cleaner, but in your case, Elizabeth, I'll make an exception. Nothing else seems apt.
(on a related note, do you work out? The shine on that bathroom mirror suggested some serious strength and cardiovascular endurance.)

Once more, thank you for providing me with such a memorable experience. To repay you, you will live rent-free for the duration of your tenancy. You will also be paid a modest - though sufficient - allowance, to ensure your career does not interfere with your artistic pursuits. This agent owes it to you. Society owes it to you.

Sincerely and humbly,

The feedback I actually receive after a rent inspection:
'Fire alarm needs new batarry [sic]. Thx.' 

Monday, August 27, 2012

25 things I should probably remember for the next 25 years.

Yesterday was my birthday. There was a little teeny gathering that turned into a moderate sized party! There was cake! There were lolly bags! There was music and sangria and food and friends! I'm pretty sure somebody challenged somebody else to a duel! There was a boy whose jeans zippered open on the butt and if anyone had any doubts about his sexuality, they were put to rest right then and there! There was a lot of laughing! And I felt very pleased to know the people I do.

Twenty-five felt like an important birthday to me, for reasons I'm not yet quite sure of. I felt very reflective. Then I felt inebriated. Then I felt sick. And then I felt reflective AGAIN.

So, as many many many people on this internet-box seem to be doing, I wrote down a list of things I feel most proud of learning (present tense. Work in progress) in the last 25 years, partially because I'm a self-indulgent little shit and partially because I don't take anything seriously unless it's written down, and I could probably do with taking my life a little bit more seriously, sometimes.

(also, have some party pictures I stole from people's facebooks.. shhh. ps. if any Canberrans are interested in the lolly buffet, it's courtesy of my beautiful friend Jenny and her business, Lolly Trolley. Go get yo-self one!)

(an average pace of one/year)

1. Your mother was right when she would always tell you 'everything feels worse at night'. She wasn't just talking crap to make you go to sleep! It's actually true! So take a deep breath, calm down, drink some hot chocolate - and maybe eat a bowl of ice cream - and go the fuck to sleep. If it still feels sucky in the morning, then we'll deal with it then.

2. Just because you live alone and CAN eat cereal for dinner every night, it doesn't mean you SHOULD. Sometimes it's really nice to cook yourself a fancy, elaborate, time-consuming dinner, and sit down and take your time and enjoy it.
[okay so this is no longer true. I do not live alone anymore, but when you're at the stage in your relationship with your boyfriend where your can happily go 3 months without shaving your legs and are WAY too comfortable crying in front of him, it's unlikely you've changed your cereal-eating ways]

3. Find something that makes you feel classy and stick to it. That might mean 'no sex on the first date' or it might mean 'take yourself out for a nice breakfast after having sex on the first date'. Whatever it is, do it and own it.

4. Exercise your brain and your emotions as much as you exercise your body. Then stretch it thoroughly. And - like your body - give your brain and your emotions recovery days. You'll be a bangin' hot person in no time!

5. You hid behind your humour and your smarts for many, many years. Now, you don't really have much to hide, so treat these things as assets, not armour.

6. Asking for help is important, but don't ask for advice you don't want to hear. You're wasting EVERYYYYYBODY's time, so cut it out. Seek help when you need it, and do it with an open mind and a genuinely willingness to l-i-s-t-e-n.

7. Be honest with people, but draw a line between 'being honest' and 'divulging your entire soul'. It's a good idea to keep a little to yourself. Don't give away anything you wouldn't be happy not getting back. Or seeing spray-painted in a public toilet. Self-censorship is important.

8. Some girls (and grown women) do not want to get along with other girls (or grown women. Or me, whichever of these categories I fall into). This is not your fault. They will say things like "oh girls just don't like me!" and make you out to be the bad guy. This is a trick! Do not fall for it! Do not let other people fall for it!! 99.879% of the time, they do not want to play nice with the other girls.... or with me.


9. You are not really a party animal and that's okay. It is completely fine to stay home on a Saturday night and listen to 'Purple Rain' on repeat for four hours. But sometimes it's also important to remind yourself of what the outside world is like - so go out and live it. Worst case scenario: it sucks, and you can go home assured that your one-woman singalongs were the right choice after all.

10. Take other people's book/music/movie recommendations seriously. Yes, yes, you think you know everything, but you WILL be surprised. Even if you hate it, you'll know the inside of that person's brain a little bit more. Indulging somebody you care about is a very important part of relationships.

11. When opportunity knocks, answer the door naked.

12. People show they care in an assortment of not-always-ideal (to you) ways. Sometimes, this lack of playing by the rules is unacceptable and heartbreaking. But sometimes you will feel, deep down, that it's okay regardless. Trust this feeling, even when your friends tell you it's not right that your boyfriend didn't buy you flowers or your parents say your friends should've phoned rather than instant messaged. Trust it, and go with it.

13. Bring a jacket. Goddammit Lizzi, please! Please! Just always bring a jacket. No excuses. It's never a waste!

14. You are not a movie star. Your entire life does not require a soundtrack, assigned number of sex scenes, series of alternative endings, various costuming choices, or a gag reel. Enjoy your lack of grandeur, glamour, and stunt double.

15. You were built for comfort, not speed.

16. The way your dad loves you is completely incomparable to the way anybody else will love you, ever.

17. The things you don't like are just as important as the things you do - don't be ashamed of them. Seafood, gin, bad manners, citrus fruit, duck (but not ducks!), Kimbra, neon colours, wine, tomatoes, beer, Madonna, watching TV, most David Bowie songs, team sports, superfluous hugging/cheek-kissing/physical contact, Deep Purple, nail polish, green tea, calling celebrities by their first names only, sparkling water, other people's pets..... These all seem to be unpopular things to dislike (popular things to like? Popular? Tautology? YEAHHH) in several circles I've been floating around in lately. That's okay - just quietly dislike them anyway. No biggie.

18. Internet stalking people you already dislike will only make it worse. Same goes for internet stalking ex-boyfriend's new girlfriends, or current boyfriend's ex-girlfriends, or the girl who scored the job you wanted, or your high school best friend's new best friend, or your baby cousin's douchebag boyfriend. Just let it be and we'll all get along juuuust fine.

19. There is a happy in-between balanced place between physical self-confidence and physical doom-and-gloom-pit-of-despair. Don't be ashamed of your boobs or your back-fat or the dimply bits on the sides of your thighs or the fact that your head is the size of a medium sized planet or that your cheeks make most squirrels feel inadequate. No need to fuss over this junk. But also don't feel like the only cure for feelings of shame is to get the aforementioned boobs, back-fat, etc. out at every opportunity. You can be quietly, privately content, if not proud. No need to fight fire with fire. Or insecurity with back-fat.

20. Never flirt just to make somebody else (ie. not the person on the receiving end of the flirting) jealous. This is just bad for everybody, including yourself

21. Always strike up a conversation with taxi drivers. They know eeeeeverything. Including the best place for a kebab in a foreign city right through to what you should do with the rest of your life.

22. You really - REALLY - like carbohydrates. Don't fight it.

23. Not everyone wants to be your friend. Not everybody wants to be your friend and this is COMPLETELY OKAY. We don't all always need to hold hands and sing Kumbayah and make the world a better place. It's not a reflection on you. It's not your problem. Don't sweat it.

24. It's easy to feel too cool or mature or 'moved on' for a certain book, blanket, necklace or pile of essays from when you were 15. Don't be so quick to disregard this stuff - don't be a hoarder, but hang on to some of it. You'll regret it - a lot! every day! - if you don't. Memories matter.

25. Never be that person who leaves drops of urine on the toilet seat. A last minute check before leaving the cubicle is never a waste of time.

Let's all say it together kids: never leave drops of urine on the toilet seat. Happy birthday to me. Thank you for being friends with me and my back-fat.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A post so you don't forget I exist.

This post is the blog equivalent of:
"Mum mum mum mum mummmm muuuum mumumumum mum MUM MUM MUM MUMMMM!"
".... nothing."

I have absolutely nothing to say, but I'd like to make a bit of noise so you remember I'm here.

Do you like pictures? I do. I like words, too, but I have a really short attention span so sometimes visual is all I can deal with. HOPE YOU'RE AS DEVELOPMENTALLY CHALLENGED AS ME ....cos pictures is all you're getting, suckerrrrsssss.

I went to Melbourne for a work trip recently. I love Melbourne. I love that even when it's cold and dark and rainy, it's still buzzing with LIFE! And fairy lights. Mostly I just love that there are fairy lights eeeeverywhere. I also love that even when it's cold and dark and rainy, you might wake up to the most glorious sunny day and feel like an absolute player for choosing a hotel right on the water.

BUT work trips are bittersweet and lonely, because there's no one to share the fun with. Which is why I ended up doing things like eating mutliple tubs of Ben & Jerry's all by myself in my hotel room (it's not available where I live AKA hello the greatest tragedy of my life). I also ate a lot of other delicious foods, most of which I didn't photograph cos they were a) ugly and b) in my face before a camera could get anywhere near them. I went to Lord of the Fries 3 times in 4 days. Not because it's THAT spectacular or I'm vegetarian or vegan... just because I feel the need to support anywhere that includes a pun in its name.
ALSO I have a loyalty card that I get stamped at Walker's Doughnuts every time I'm in Melbourne. Which is roughly twice a year. Meaning that in 10 years, I get a free coffee and a doughnut! YES!

Other stuff I did while in Melbourne: saw the bike of my dreams (it delivers bacon and egg rolls! and coffee!); rocked out in the hotel gym to Billy Joel with this fat, old man in a sweatband, who didn't have headphones for his iPhone so just blasted some sick tunes for all the rest of us; got cute photo messages from Boyus McGee (did I tell you we're now living together? we're now living together! it's adorable!); and soooo muchhhhhhhhh and ended up with soooooo manyyyyyy blistersssssssssss (plz excuse my ugly ass feet. callouses are god's way of telling us we're tough and capable human beings); made my nephews pose with happy birthday signs for my dad (which they then tore up...champs); and later took photos of them sleeping (and maybe satanic hand gestures) to display at their 21st birthday parties (fave aunt, right here).

Did you notice my bandass band-aids? They've been getting put to good use around these parts, because I'm a spaz and fall over a lot while running, and because my dad figured 'shark bite' is a way cool explanation than 'heart surgery'.

Speaking of running, I am doing more of it again (okay, not more frequently... only 1-3 times a week, but incorporating some longer 10k+ run). I doubt I'll ever run marathons again but I'd like to do a few more halfs + some 10ks etcccccc. Plus I finally caved and bought new shoes, which are already different colours because I like to splash in mud. Awesooooome. FYI my fave bit of running is lying on the floor afterwards, with the door to my balcony open, and feet outside to keep cool (the day after this GORGEOUS day in the photo, it snowed. Yeah. Wtf Canberra you are a joke).

ALSO it is my birthday on Sunday and I'm having a party for the first time in like.... 14 years. Not kidding. I'm over-the-moon excited and am loving planning the food, drinks, music, CAKEEE, and LOLLY BUFFETTTTTTTT. Writing a monster 7 page shopping list was an awesome way to spend a paid workday! KIDDING! (mostly.. it's really only 5 pages long lolz). I also spent wwwaaaay too much money at The Essential Ingredient (aka my fave place on the planet) buying a few birthday presents for myself.

Finally, here is the best picture ever of my cat. It's my phone's wallpaper and I look at it 8347863 times a day. THAT'S MA BOY!! Sittin' on a chair like a PRO!