I’ve been training for the mid-life crisis my mother says I’m having (in the form of a crazy adventure race I’m participating in this weekend) for the last two and a half weeks. I started out running on the treadmill and as of this morning I’m up to 5 miles in the actual great outdoors.
I’m pretty sure this is officially the farthest I’ve run. And possibly the longest I’ve ever ‘trained’ for some kind of race-type thing. I realize this isn’t something to brag about. That said, I’ve learned many things in this short amount of time. And of course, as always, I’m here to share my new found knowledge with you. So here are 8 things I’ve learned in 2 weeks about running:
- You should not run like you’re a cat burglar. I’ve always thought proper running form was a fluid, quiet, graceful heel-to-toe placement of your foot. And, well, I’m a big fan of ‘proper form’. My mother always said I had the prettiest freestyle in the pool. My sister lapped me, but boy was my stroke aesthetically pleasing. So I’d been working that heel-to-toe foot placement pretty hardcore until I read Dean’s blog on the subject. That’s when I realized the intense shin and knee pain I’d been experiencing were a direct result of all of the soft-shoe padding I’d been doing up to that point. Apparently you’re supposed to run on the ball of your foot. Which I’ve been doing with a distinct lack of pain ever since. Oops.
- You don’t have the run the whole way for it to be considered ‘going for a run’. I totally thought walking was cheating, but I’ve learned from other running-type people that it’s acceptable to run and walk in intervals. Intervals are my friend. I’ve also been told by judgy running-type people that running on a treadmill doesn’t really count. The rules are arbitrary and confusing, is what I’m learning.
- The worst part about Jason’s indie music isn’t its pretentiousness, it’s the fact that I don’t know all the words so I can’t sing along at the top of my lungs. Because I’m not a super music-ish person, I had Jason load my hardly used iPod with his own selections so I wouldn’t have to listen to only my thoughts bouncing around in my head as I run. Turns out the stuff he likes is pretty good. I just wish I knew the words so I could sing along.
- The internal debate about getting up to run is infinitely more difficult when it’s chilly and dark. It does help, however, to remind myself that running after Jason gets home at night exponentially increases the chances of stepping on a cactus or rattlesnake in the so-very-darkness of my neighborhood.
- You don’t sweat until the very most inconvenient and disgusting moment possible. I don’t totally understand the physics or biology of it, but when you run outside you don’t sweat until the moment you get home and want to tweet and facebook how awesome it is that you just completed your run (because nothing really occurs unless you’ve tweeted and bookedface about it) and the sweat just starts pouring off you into your laptop keyboard.
- Running does NOT make you skinny. In fact, I think I’m getting fatter. It’s really hard to deny myself a lovely piece of buttered sourdough toast for breakfast after I’ve just pushed my body through an hour of non-stop torture. Must a girl have no joy in her life? Shouldn’t the extra 10 pounds just melt away after all of that cardio? No? I have to DIET ALSO? God I feel sorry for those people on the Biggest Loser.
- Dogs think runners look like tasty snacks for ‘on the go’. As far as threats you experience when exercising outdoors go, I continue to be less afraid of people than I am of cars, but MOST afraid of random dogs with no visible owners who are LITERALLY FOAMING AT THE MOUTH*.
- Runners totally wear those tight lycra pants for a specific reason and not just because they think they’re better than all the non-runners and therefore can get away with strutting around in public in spandex. That reason has to do with the relationship between loose fabric and extremely painful upper thigh chaffing. This, I learned the hard way. (Stop thinking about my thighs and chaffing. I’m sorry I gave you that mental picture.) It is yet another reason to worship tight pants (even if you have body rolls), which I already knew because of this:
*Warning to all people thinking about running in the McDowell and Hawes area of North East Mesa today. There’s a golden retriever who looks cheerful from far away, but when you get closer you’ll realize he totally has rabies and will fully eat your face off if you make eye contact. I recommend avoiding his gaze and forcing your heartbeat to remain at a normal pace even though you’re totally freaking out and sprinting past him. It worked for me.