Things all runners learn… eventually

The following are things I’ve noticed about distance running. Although some of these may be true at 15 miles per week, I’ve especially noticed it as I increased to 30+ miles per week.

1. I work about 30 minutes less per day. Due to bathroom breaks. (Bonus if you take “stretch” breaks).

2. I wear darker nail polish on my toes. I get black toenails so this keeps it from being so obvious. Though, it does suck when I actually lose a toenail.

3. Beer is totally carb-loading.

4. We have our own language. I almost wrote “MPW” in lieu of “miles per week”.

5. You have to run your own run.

6. I spend more $$ on groceries than I used to (hint, hint: they are not nicer; I just eat a LOT more)

7. I enjoy speedwork, tempo runs, etc. But then I’ve always been more fast than long (good thing I’m a girl right!)

8. You will go through shoes like a baby goes through diapers… My running buddies used to make fun of me for having three pairs of shoes. I’m about to buy my fourth. They have one pair that they have to switch out every month or two. And I get to coordinate! 🙂

9. You will always be searching for the “perfect” gear. Just give up, and save the money for #6 & #9. Though #10 is true too.

10. Getting a new outfit or gear is always fun. I have a motto that if I look fast, I run faster too. It works for me… Oh, and having more shoes means more ways to coordinate your outfits.

11. I think that running is making me LESS attractive. One friend of mine gets chafing in her inner thighs and has to walk bow-legged the day of a long run. Another friend breaks out in hives when she runs in the summer heat. Personally- I lose toenails (they turn black first), get splotchy skin (tinea versicolor) on my stomach, chafing on my armpits and bra line, have completely lost my ass, oh, and my hips audibly pop. Runners define a new definition of “beautiful”

12. You will never meet a more dedicated group of friends than runners. I’ve only known these girls a few short months. They have literally ran next to me while I cried over a hard decision; we just keep running while talking it out- as if it’s over a cup of coffee. And if someone will wake up at 430am to meet you somewhere by 6am, they’ll do pretty much anything else for you. Same goes for my relay running friends; if they will forego sleep just to cheer you on…

13. You will pee (and sometimes poop, though I won’t name any names) pretty much anywhere. And make fun of those who won’t…

14. Your stomach gets more and more ironclad (not your abs, read: your digestive system).

15. You will eventually forget about modesty. I am the girl who runs in booty shorts and a sports bra in the summer. Everyone always says “I’d feel so self conscious”… Then they too eventually strip off their shirt.

16. You will try almost anything a fellow runner suggests. Compression socks to sleep in? Yes, please! Oh keep them on under work clothes? Done. Wear the compression socks under boots when going out on a date? Ummm… Already planned on that one! At first glance, that water/ fuel belt looks a lot like a fanny pack. Oh you recommend it? Okay, I’ll try it. Wait, run UPhill and walk DOWNhill. No, no, okay, I got it, I was just making sure I heard you right. Right, it will make me faster. No, no, of course…

17. Yoga is necessary (or some stretch/ crosstraining). For those of you who shake your head- you will soon be injured and if you are, in fact, that stubborn, you may never fully recover. It took an injury for me to realize this. Leading to #18…

18. Your body speaks to you, so listen to it. I never believed in cross-training, and after my second 16-miler last fall, I actually ran my pelvis out of line. Which apparently would have been prevented by adding in some cross-training, pilates, yoga. Really anything. I had just thought Oh my hips hurt. Whatever I’ll fight through the pain… but I later had to re-train myself how to run properly and efficiently.

19. There will be days you don’t want to run when you get out of bed. We all have them; we just try not to dwell on them, so we don’t talk about them. But if you fight it, and go for the run, you won’t regret it (even if it is a minute slower pace than intended and 3 miles shorter).

20. All of it makes you who you are. When you are lapping the town you live in at 6am on a Saturday morning, or running UPhill when everyone else is driving to work on that busy road (hopefully you’re on the sidewalk), or griping about how your body hurts, it’s a part of you. When you run just 3 miles per week, it’s something you do. When you put in the long distances- the I can’t believe I’m doing this, but I’m so glad I am– it’s a part of you. It’s what sets you apart from those who run into a runner.

(I’m not knocking those who run 10 miles/week, because they’re great too. But when you start making sacrifices to fit running in, I think it’s different than someone who runs 2-3 times/week)