The Weird And Wonderful Things About Runners

So I haven’t written any posts on the wonderful act of running lately.  Not that it hasn’t been on my mind OR something I’ve been slowly crawling back into.

I have been back on the road. I’ve been juggling cycling and short runs. In fact, I’ll be doing it very soon this morning.

Last week, I did my first double digit miles in…well… I can’t honestly tell you.

10 miles.  I felt glorious in that tired, exhilarating way that a long run can make me feel. Especially when I’ve not been able to for so long.

I wondered taking off… can I still DO this ?!

Over the past year or so I’ve been walking a fine line with an Achilles issue of doing enough but not doing to much to send me horribly backwards.  I’m not fully fixed yet but I’ve come to a careful balance of “if I don’t feel any worse, it’s a win” .

Actually, I’ve been using a method that is recommended by many running experts which is a run/walk method. It’s great for a newbie to start getting acclimated to running and protecting from over injuries of doing to much to soon.

The same theory works for a wounded runner easing back into it. The idea being not to over do and let your body adjust to the rigors of being on the road again.

If you’ve never done it, it works something like this. You might start off with a strong, brisk walk and do that for awhile, then start adding in maybe, 10-15 second running intervals, then drop to brisk walking again. You just continue to alternate this through your miles. Of course, the plan is a gradual increase in running time.

Mentally, I have to really keep myself in check from not letting myself run to fast or to long. It’s hard when I know what I’ve done and what I’m capable of doing and keep it reined in to my current needs.

All that to say…as a distance runner… it’s hard to not long for that time on the road. It becomes a craving.

distance running

Last week I had gone on a 9 mile jaunt and wondered why I had not just gone the full 10 ( again, baby steps) I know mileage increase needs to occur in small increments to not have set backs or to make injury worse.

Actually I finished with my Garmin saying 9.10… which left me with that thought.. why not have just finished it out to 10?

It’s how runners think.. what’s another mile?

Runners are a weird, wonderful lot.

I never thought that till I became one. It’s funny how you start thinking about things. How you look at things.

Things that start to feel normal to you, but if you speak it out loud to non-runners, they give you that raised eyebrow look or simply tell you that you’re crazy.

Right there is one of those very thoughts…

When you tell a runner they are “crazy” it’s like, one of the coolest compliments you can give us. It means.. you are insane and I’d never even think of doing such a thing but I really admire you for your craziness.

crazy

Mileage. If we are coming down the home stretch to where we will finish our run and realize our Garmin is telling us we have only a quarter mile or less to roll to the next mile, you can bet we are gonna make that next mile roll over.

One does not simply stop running that close to hitting the next mile 😉

We spend more on our running shoes than anything else we put on our feet.

It’s the truth. Not only do we spend more, we will wear those suckers out faster than any other shoes we put on our feet.  And we go right back and repeat the process. If we have a brand and model we love we look forward to and anticipate when they newest model will come out.

Next to shoes, it’s clothes. They can be bright, colorful and sometimes very noticeable. We often wear minimal clothes. Running, that’s hard work and gets your inner heater going. The clothes can be as pricey as the shoes.

running clothes

We view injuries as a total inconvenience to our running schedule, training and future plans instead of worrying about how we may have beat ourselves up.

We view hills as something to overcome and rule over.  If we’re worth our salt, they become a part of our training ground.

hill

I caught myself in this one the other day talking to my husband about my recent 10 miles out…

” My run was only 10 miles”

It’s like… as a runner your thinking shifts and you see some things as perfectly normal and no big deal…

Then it hit me.. 10. Miles.

That is a flipping long way.

True, I’ve gone further. The half, full and ultra marathon were definitely lots longer distances.

10 miles during training for those events was nothing.

But when you casually talk about a cool 10 miles before breakfast…. you realize…you’re weird and that normal people aren’t out doing that.

Your foam roller becomes a new best friend. Or in my case, I now roll out on a pvc pipe. It’s a wonderful “hurts so good” feeling sometime. But oh so necessary to keep muscles loose and pliable.

Some nights my evenings are so exciting watching a favorite tv show and rolling.

Runners willingly pay money to run long distances, in all kinds of weather (cause when you’ve already paid, you run.) We usually get a t shirt, a cool medal to add to our collection and a banana at the end. We push ourselves and if we’re lucky we set a new PR and walk away with the bragging rights for having done it.

banana

Speaking of weather. Yeah, we run in pretty much whatever.  Yeah, we hear you use the adjective “crazy” on us again.

We can’t explain it to you… really… we can’t.

But there is something about running when the weather is less than perfect and you’re out in the elements working against them that makes you feel like… a beast.

rain

It’s exhilarating.  Trust us. It is.

And miles… It’s how our brains now work. Every where we go we measure things in distance of miles. We think about it in terms of speed and arriving to our destination. We know miles to and from our house, around the block, or our favorite running place. Actually, we could probably tell you to the tenth of a mile the distance.

It’s sick. I know. I’m pretty sure our brains go through a rewiring process or something.

Math. I’ve never been into math. I think it’s boring. I never got the complex stuff in school.  I love words more. Yet, here I am in sports that have me thinking of times and splits and mentally measuring pace and distance to finish when I want to finish. It’s constant, ongoing, mental math.

Oh the irony.

People. Wonderful, supportive people.   The running community is made up of the friendliest, most supportive people I’ve encountered.

Fast, slow or in between we cheer each other on, celebrating each others successes and personal bests. Encouraging when we get derailed and set back. Offering help and advice on training, recovery etc.

Weird and wonderful.

But hey… don’t just take my word for these things. There’s always room for one more runner. Come join us 🙂

 

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Things You Never Knew About Running

The other morning I’m in my happy place at Starbucks drinking coffee, writing and pondering new blog ideas when I hear my messenger notification go off. Popping it open I start reading a message from a friend who begins sharing with me that he had been out for an early morning run and how glorious it had been ( I started secretly feeling jealous that he had been out doing it ) but I am proud of him ’cause he’s a new runner and has really been sticking with it.

The next part of his message had me choking on my coffee, almost spitting it out, and then, laughing hysterically.

I am using his message here exactly as I got it….

” But after about a mile, I felt something bad in the lower intestinal area. It was not a desperate situation; the Vikings were not at the back gate with a battering ram but they were fast approaching. I don’t normally need to poop before 6 in the morning but I must have shook something loose. I am sure you wanted to know that. At the very least, I gave you a new blog topic.”

I was dying. It was so his style to fire off something like this to me. I assured him he was right, it definitely added to my blog fodder of ideas… and here we are…. things you never knew about running.

So we’ll begin here since…. he started it 😉 I’m not gonna go all into the poop thing (eww gross) but I told him some runners did have issues with it, sometimes it had to do with what had ( or hadn’t been eaten) or what’s taken in during the run. Some runners just have super sensitive tummys  and they deal with it all the time. It usually doesn’t bother me unless I’m running hard and fast for awhile. I mean honestly all that pounding and slamming your insides around can shake things up. It’s a risk you take running. Some runners develop a good skill of finding trees 😉  My poor friend got some personal experience with it haha…  at least he now knows something else about running….ok… that’s all I’m gonna say on this topic….

run tp

You develop a love/hate relationship with it.  You commit to a run and in that first mile you’re thinking… WHY? and then you ponder the fact running is hard work and that’s probably why everyone isn’t eagerly out on the street doing it and why your friends tell you that you’re crazy. To run requires work… and serious work. And then you realize you feel kinda bad ass ’cause you ARE out there doing it. And you finish beat up and exhilarated thinking of your next run….

run another step

Shoes. You will develop a fetish for new cool running shoes and you will spend more money on them than any other footwear you own. You will become committed to a brand and even a particular style. You will pout like a child when they decide to change up and “improve” your favorite style.

Running clothes. You learn terms like moisture wicking and dri-fit. You make sure those terms are on whatever you buy. You ponder how could a pair of barely there shorts cost that much ??? You buy them anyway ’cause when you know what you like, what you run most comfortably in, there is no guessing game.  You don’t wanna have to think about what is on your body when you’re running.

Cotton garments and baggy shorts are the kiss of death. I wear neither of them anymore.

Gu’s, gel’s, sports beans and the like. You’ve most likely never even heard of these things till you start running. On a stand alone basis, they are almost gaggingly disgusting. Thick, gooey and super sweet you don’t intentionally make a meal of them. However, when you are out on a long run and your body desperately needs sugar and an overload of immediate high octane carbs, they taste like manna from heaven 😉

You will sweat like crazy and smell like a middle school boys locker room.  And there isn’t a runner in the world who doesn’t take that as a sign of a successful run. We are sorry if you have to be around us before we hit the shower.

Oh yeah… showers…… never feel more amazing than when you are dead dog tired after a hard run. Seriously.

You learn to appreciate the aches and pain of sore legs muscles after a long run. Sounds crazy but you feel awesome even when they ache.

You never plan to be a runner.  You don’t. You swear it’s only something your neighbor does or the crazy health nut across the street from you. But one day you’re out there on the road and you’re doing it and you wonder when THAT happened.

You get really, really testy if you can’t get your run in. You don’t really mean to be grumpy about it, but dang it, you want to be out there.

run crazy

You won’t win any gorgeous foot awards. Thankfully I’ve never had the problem of toenails turning black and losing them ( many runners do) also through constant pounding of miles you can build up some serious pads on the bottoms of your hooves. Oh, well. I’d rather be a runner and have those than not.

Entering a race will bring out the competitive beast edge in you. Ok maybe not everyone. I see lots of well behaved happy, chatty, selfie taking people on the race course… and I’m thinking… “really? we’re in a race here” haha

After long runs or races you will feel your legs in ways you never have before. After running marathons I have to walk down TONS of stairs to head back to my hotel. That is a total blast.  What sicko laid out that path for runners after a race?? 😉

stair pic

Running becomes addictive. Relax, I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s a good kind of addiction.

It will build your confidence and empower you like nothing else. I remember after training for and running my first marathon thinking if I could run all those training miles and then do a 26.2 mile race, I could take on anything life threw at me.

marathon idiot

You meet super cool and supportive people. Probably enough said there. Get involved in the running community and you’ll see =)

You will sport interesting tan lines. And you get the interesting comments like… “why are you always so tanned?”

running tan

99.9%  of us know we’ll never “win” the race. However, when you cross that finish line and collect your medal, you’ve won. You’ve met your own goals, overcome obstacles, and have your own triumphs. We deserve that medal as much as the first one who finished.

We are a stubborn lot. Runners don’t give up or give in easily. We run early. We run late. We willingly leave warm toasty beds on cold mornings to go run in the dark. We’ve been known to run in the rain and cold weather. If we’re training… it’s even worse 😉

Running builds your body. Running can carve out some amazing legs, build your butt, lean out your abs and overall contribute to losing weight. It is the best cardio for losing weight… at about a 100 calories burned per mile… it’s a fat burner for sure.

running pain in ass

And not just physically….. running also clears the mind, helps give clarity, brings peace and helps you refocus. I do my best thinking and creative brainstorming when I run.

run relaxing

Ok… so now that I’ve clued you into the secret truths of running…. you’re  ready to get after it, aren’t you ?

Runners…. is there anything you’d add ?

runner reason