I’ve been doing this running thing for awhile now. Like over a year, in fact. I know, right? How many of you thought when I first started talking about running I would be over it 10 minutes later?
OK, OK, all of you put your hands down. You guys are kind of hurting my feelings. I might forgive you, but you have to tell me you like my outfit and you’re really sorry for having no faith in me. Go ahead, I’ll wait…
Anyway, I’ve been training for my first half marathon. The race is in less than two weeks and I think I’m readyish. Kind of. Although I have not picked out a spectacular race day outfit yet and I need to get on that. Feathers and fishnets? We’ll see.
The point is, it’s been awhile since I’ve pontificated on running and lately I’ve been thinking about all of the things that have been an impediment to my illustrious running career. So today I have for you:
6 Biggest Natural Enemies of Runners
Who knew this running stuff would turn out to be a total timesuck? Not me. It was all ‘Get in shape, Feel great, Healthy!’ and no ‘Set aside 7+ hours of your life every week to dedicate only to moving your ass’ in the brochure that suckered me into this stuff.
The worst part of it is once you’ve climbed the hump up and over actually getting into good enough shape to make it not the most horrifying, painful activity you’ve ever put yourself through, you have to do it ALL THE TIME just to maintain that ability. It’s not like you can take a break because you’re busy at work or BECAUSE IT’S CHRISTMAS. No, then you’d have to start all over again. It’s like heroin, this exercising stuff. Always looking for the next fix. The first hit is free and then it’s all track marks and scratching at invisible bugs under your skin. You know, sort of.
2. Hot Baths
No one told me this until yesterday AFTER I’d already done it, but apparently it’s no good to run really far and then come home and take a hot bath. Supposedly you’ve broken down all of your joints and muscles and various innards by running, so you don’t want to warm all that gunk up and cause it to get all swollen and bleedy on the inside because that will make it worse and thus HURT MORE. (That’s the technical description of what happens. I hope it wasn’t over your head.) I can personally attest to the truth of this ‘hurt more-ness’ because I ran 13 miles yesterday, took a long hot bath and then couldn’t sleep all night last night because my legs felt like I’d had a transfusion with broken glass instead of blood.
This article my mother sent me this morning describes how what you should really do after spending 2+ hours running is take a bath in ice water. I’m not sure what kind of sick bastard could actually survive a 13 mile run in the cold knowing that the end result is submerging himself in a bathtub of ice water, but I have to think that person did something really terrible in this life he’s atoning for. Like he drowned a sack of kittens or worked for the IRS or something super horrible.
I’m saying you’re not getting me in an ice bath. I’ll refrain from the hot baths from now on in the interest of actually sleeping at night, but I’m no masochist.
3. Jackasses Who Honk and Yell Shit
The first time this happened to me I was genuinely startled. I usually run in my own neighborhood and people don’t honk or try to get your attention unless they know you. So about a month ago when a longer run took me out onto the bigger streets with cars whizzing by and some dude honked, I jumped and instinctually smiled and waved. He must be someone I know saying hi, I thought. Of course my response just egged him on and he whistled and honked a bunch more. I felt like the idiot who is probably going to get kidnapped because I was too friendly to sexual predators.
Since then it’s happened a bunch more times on my longer runs and I’m SOFA KING over people (men, I’m assuming) who think this is a valid form of communication. I’m not even exaggerating when I say I wish the guy who honked and scared me 12 miles in yesterday was standing front of me right now so I could elbow him in the genitals (I read in one of those viral Facebook posts about how not to get raped that the elbow is the hardest part of the body. Although Snopes.com says that post is fake. But I think the elbow part might be true. If it’s not I’m OK with just punching him in the junk as hard as I can.).
It’s not flattering, it’s not funny, it’s absolutely nothing but kind of scary and upsetting so seriously just knock it the fuck off, People.
If my run will take me under an hour, I’ve found it’s an excellent way to clear my head. If I start the run feeling negative about something or hating myself for all of my many faults, it’s generally just long enough to work through a little bit of all of that and feel like a positive person. It’s sort of like a bad feelings enema. I leave the house crabby and come back ready to take on the world.
Lately, though, with these longer runs, I’ve discovered I will eventually cycle back around to self-hatred and misery if given enough time alone in my own head. It’s kind of a weird place in there. There are some nice spots and a couple of parties going on at all times, but if you wander around enough you’ll get lost in the dark sections. I’ve found tunnels in my head where there’s nothing but ‘Idon’twanttotakeanotherstep’ written over and over again in glow-in-the-dark chalk along the walls and on the floor and ceiling. It’s a sad place there.
I probably need to start downloading some more podcasts or audiobooks.
Alright, I know sweat is like a whole thing that just goes with exercising, but I mean really. It’s just gross, right?
Here’s my biggest problem right now: I go for a long-ass run and when I get home I just need to rest for a goddamn minute. So I lay down on the couch and cover myself with two blankets (because I get cold about 30 seconds after I stop running) and wait for the pain and misery to pass. Unfortunately, by the time I rested enough to tackle the stairs and take a shower, I’ve already sweated the entire couch and both blankets all up. I’m going through a lot of Febreeze here, People. What am I supposed to do about this?
Apparently I’m supposed to be hardcore enough that I walk in the door, go directly upstairs and take an ice bath, washing off my disgustingness and sealing up all of my internal wounds with the sludge my blood will have turned to.
I’ll let you know when I learn how to be that hardcore. Please hold your breath.
It doesn’t seem to matter what precautions a runner takes to prevent it, chaffing is going to happen. Usually it’s in some horrible place you can’t even show anyone and get any sympathy about. Two nights ago when we were discussing the upcoming race my dad and my sister were telling horror stories about bleeding nipples and thighs. I almost turned in my ‘Hi, I’m a runner’ ID badge right then and there.
Sunday, even though I was super careful to protect everywhere I’ve chaffed before, I finished my run with these from the zipper of my top:
I think for the race I’m just going to dip my entire body in vaseline and hope for the best.