‘Straya Day Weekend


My last weekend in Australia happened to overlap with a national holiday, Australia Day, and gave me a glimpse of Aussie pride at its finest. I kicked the weekend off with my girl Brigette, who Matt met in Aspen and who has taken me under her wing (into her pouch?) since I landed here. On Friday, we had an animal-themed picnic before peeping some local creatures at the Melbourne zoo. Ideally I would have included some kangaroos, koalas, and wombats in the mix, but turns out, there aren’t too many foods that are easily Aussi-fied.


The zoo was incredible for many reasons, most notably the adorable koala ball, shy wombats, friendly wallabies (who incidentally do not like to be ridden), surprise Missy Higgins show, and Bridge, the most koala-fied Aussie tour guide around.


After a Saturday morning track session with the Melbourne Uni crew, I then headed to the ocean for the long weekend. Dave, who I met at Falls Creek and who has been showing me all around Melbourne, invited some friends to his family’s beach house in Blairgowrie, about 90 minutes away on the Mornington Peninsula. Along with his buds Dave G, Kate, Tom, Vince and baby Rafael, we spent the weekend relaxing, grilling, beaching, running, and watching the finals of the Australian Open. Basically livin the life!


We also spent an afternoon at a nearby winery, tasting some local wines and enjoying the perfect weather.


(If you’re wondering why skin-colored tank-tops are trending in Australia, they’re not. I’m pretty sure my tan lines are permanent.)

And of course, there was some awesome running involved. Dave took us to some of his favorite trails and treated us to a dozen wallaby sightings and some stunning ocean views.


I’m back in Melbourne now and am trying to complete my bucket list and see everyone one last time before I head off to New Zealand on Wednesday. The transition should be a smooth one, as I’ve been staying with an awesome Kiwi couple, Neil and Mel (who ironically has a sister who I ran against in Conference USA), for the past 3 weeks. Dubbed the New Zealand consulate for constantly hosting for foreign runners, they’ve been beyond generous and welcoming this month and have made me feel right at home in their adorable pad. Between our barbecues, Doprah watching sessions, restaurant outings (including a complimentary meal due to a beetle in our salad), and water-jogging, I’ve had a blast getting to know them and their cool neighborhood.


One more full day in Australia and then I’m a goner. I’m off to make the most of it!

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