As a runner, there are certain habits that I’ve picked up every time I lace up my shoes and push out a few miles. I’ve been running steadily for over a year now and if there is one thing that I’ve found that running grants me, is the time to think. Mile after mile, it’s just you and the pavement. Sure I listen to books, music, and podcasts, but this is also a time to let your mind wonder. For the next 20 minutes, or 2 hours, you don’t have to talk to anyone, worry about anything except putting one foot in front of the other.
This is one of the joys of running – the ‘me time’. I use this cherished time to think about all kinds of things: What am I going to get J for his upcoming birthday, what I’m going to eat for that day, I have mentally gone through my entire wardrobe, putting together outfits for various events I have coming up. These are the kinds of thoughts that get you past any discomfort you may be feeling and into an almost peaceful state.
The same is true when I’m racing. Although I am mentally aware of how fast I’m going, somewhere between mile 2 and 12, I need to focus on something else other than how hard I’m pushing myself.
So a few weeks ago, while running the Strawberry Plains Half Marathon, I started to think about silly stuff – the random guy in front of me running in cargo pants, the banana flavored burps I kept having, then started to put together a blog post in my head – Runner’s problems. Not the serious ones – like blisters, busted knees and torn ligaments – but the random quirky ones. This, was my mental list:
Unconventional Runner’s Problems
Banana Burps. Or any burp for that matter. What is it that causes us (maybe just me, I don’t know) to have to burp when we run? Are we knocking stuff loose? I mean, we are looking rough as it is – all sweaty, our faces twisted in exhaustion – like we need to include belching to our list of sexy qualities while running. Which leads me to my next point…
Bad Race Photos. I’m sorry, but with the exception of Ridiculously Photogenic Guy, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that looks good in these pictures. Me? I’m usually slack-jawed and squinty-eyed. I’ve tried to smile before, it doesn’t help. You’re tired, you’re dripping with sweat, and the last thing you need is a telephoto zoom lens picking up the snot dripping out of your nose as it glistens in the sun.
Speaking of, let’s talk about running when there’s a chill in the air. Leaky nose, anyone? It’s bad enough that every third breath includes an over extended snort, but blowing snot rockets is hardly becoming. Especially when you have to use your sleeve or bare arm to get that last little bit that didn’t make it to the ground. Yeah, I went there. Also, if it’s really cold, I will inevitably get a cough about 3 hours following in which my frozen lungs are attempting to warm back up to my body temperature, or something. People wonder if I’m sick. No, just a runner.
Chafing. This really isn’t all that unconventional but there are places you will get chafed that are. True story, I wore a thong to run in a few weeks ago (I’ve done it before, so NBD) and upon getting in the shower that night, I felt a searing pain right about where the whale tale meets (if you don’t know, Google it). I had chafed on my ass. Not just on my ass, like in the crack. You want to talk about pain? Try ass-crack pain.
And finally, Porta Potties. And maybe this is just me – but I hate the things. I mean, nobody really enjoys porta potties, but when I’m running, I sure as hell don’t want to be entering one of those bad boys just as a fellow runner who got a case of the trots is exiting. I’m sticky, I’m gross, I don’t want to add to it. Give me a bush and a non-poisonous leaf any day.
So there we have it, a compiled list of what I thought about while running a half marathon. Riveting, I tell you, and above all, distracting. Any fellow runners out there have any unconventional problems to add to this list? I’d love to hear them!
Have a great weekend everyone!