Melbourne…An Aussie Christmas Carol

G’ Daaay from Down Under!…🇦🇺

Just for the record, very few people actually say this here.

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So, I’ve made it to Australia. Quite literally the other side of the world, yet strangely it doesn’t feel like that. And hello sunshine! Right in the middle of the Aussie Summertime, there will hopefully be no lack of vitamin D over the next few weeks. Bring on the beaches!

Sunday 24th December 2017

Christmas Eve! I can’t believe it’s here already. Obviously it goes without saying, I miss family and friends from home and all that goes with it, especially at this time of year when you do tend to think about your nearest and dearest that little bit more than normal, but I haven’t really been struggling with home sickness all that much in the grand scheme of things. I am super excited to take in the festivities in the sunshine.

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Todays priority though, the return of the long run. And I can’t wait! I think it is probably my favourite session in the week.

Activities over the past week or so made it very difficult to get the time to fit the Long Run in on Kiwi Time so I wanted to make sure I got those miles in the legs today. 14 miles done as laps around the Tan Track in Albert Park. Yes, I guess at times running laps gets a little boring, but it’s away from the biz of the city without any road crossings or traffic to contend with. With a long run at an easier pace I guess this is less crucial but it’s good for effort sessions and speed work when you’re trying to pick up the pace without all the start/stop.

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What was to become my playground for the next few days…

My legs felt brilliant. Obviously rested a little more than I would have liked from the slight reduction in planned volume over the last wee while. Working off the Queenstown/ Fergburger excess got me 14 miles in the bank with an average pace of 9:23 and it felt great for easy pace in the heat, where the increase in perceived effort usually increases the heart rate a little more too…bonus that I was feeling so good given the conditions!

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Lovely as it is to have company and meet fellow runners (genuinely one of my favourite things about being part of this wonderful community), I love the peacefulness that solo running gives your mind or my mind least, and at risk of sounding like a true geek, I do think that the joy of exploring new places by foot and feeling the freedom in the rhythm of your own pace each day is something pretty amazing.

Stretches and a little wander round the park with a supermarket stop on the way home to decide what would be on the menu for Christmas dinner.
Oh, I wonder…

Tonight, I joined in with the Hostel activity of the ‘Rooftop Bar Crawl’. I hadn’t really had much in the way of time to speak to people and thought this might be better than doing my own thing. In hindsight I kind of wish I had. It was good but a little flat. Some of the bars didn’t allow any kind of Christmas costumes, Santa hats included (what’s that all about?!) and not even the slightest sound of a single sleigh bell from a Christmas song was played. Bah Humbug!

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Monday 25th December 2017

M E R R Y    A U S S I E    C H R I S T M A S!

I still cannot quite believe I’m here! Me, here, in Australia for Christmas Day.

This is special.

A beaut of a 5km run this morning, complete with Santa Hat. Perfect start to the day.

Then off to St Kilda Beach to meet up with Hannah (who I met on the Kiwi bus) and some of her friends for festive celebrations and drinks. It was so surreal to be there on the beach (which was pretty much packed with British expats). It wasn’t quite the quiet ‘Barbie’ on the beach that I had in mind (I’ll just need to do it again another time!) but it was great fun all the same and it definitely beats the miserable cold of Scotland any day of the week.

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In Melbourne, this is how we Christmas!…

Trams in the city are the most popular and easy option to get around, the great thing being that in certain zones you can travel within the city centre are free. Smashing! Today was lovely as both trams to and from St Kilda featured sing-a-long Christmas songs and Carols from the passengers.

Tuesday 26th December 2017

Another super sunny day meant I would delay my interval session until later in the evening when it was a little cooler. The only problem with this being that even when it cools a little, you still have the heat of the day circulating, which still makes it feel pretty toasty even at sun down.

A chilled afternoon in the park with my book and a picnic lunch, making sure I was taking in plenty of water in advance of tonight’s session and a wander around the beautiful grounds of the Botanic Gardens. Lots of people were out running in the evening, maybe trying to work off some of the Christmas excess.

Melbourne is a very cool, hipster-style city and one of my favourite things about it is it’s amazing coffee culture. There are galore of coffee shops and bakerys on pretty much every street in the city. I’ve definitely become a bit of a coffee snob since I’ve been travelling and Aussie coffee now takes my number one spot, but more about that later. It could be a whole blog post all of its own!

Today’s session felt really tough in the first block in the heat so I ended up adapting and doing another easy run with the plan to pick up the threshold session early tomorrow morning.

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Wednesday 27th December 2017

In hindsight I am so glad I left the effort session until this morning.

Warm up, 3×10 minutes @ 10km pace effort (target 8.00) and then a cool down.

Even though I felt like my legs were starting to fatigue during the last set of ten minutes, especially as it was already pretty warm, I felt so much better than last night.

My last afternoon to enjoy wandering around the city, it has definitely not been long enough here. With all the festivities, I don’t think I left quite enough time for sightseeing and to enjoy the city as a whole.

A lovely and unexpected message from an old school pal, Marc meant we were able to organise a wee meet up drink and catch up at Arbory which was a nice bar right by the river. Strange how it feels like no time ever passes when you meet up with old friends. Great to catch up and hear all of his chat about how life is treating him in Oz. Thanks for a lovely evening!

Thursday 28th December 2017

So long Melbourne!

Like most other places I have visited already, I have greedily wanted extra time, and this is no different. I’m not quite ready to leave here either. Still, I am super excited to head a little further North towards Sydney.

Today I’m taking a Greyhound bus from Southern Cross Bus Station to Canberra. Mostly to break up the journey between Melbourne and Sydney but also because although I realise there isn’t much there, it is still the capital city so I feel it’s a little essential stop off on the way.

I said after my experience of the Greyhound in the States that I wouldn’t be traveling on another one, but having thought about it, I decided an Aussie one might be different (plus it’s still super cheap) so we will give it a try!

Eight hours with not much in between to look at from the window other than bush, bush and more bush.

Aussie adventures continue…

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