Friday, May 23, 2014

Why I Run

While I was thumping along the trail the other day, hating gravity, feeling the tightness across my shoulders from a couple too many lat flies that morning, and generally wishing for the run to be over and done with, I thought about why I run. Because most people would say, “Well if you hate it so much, why do you do it?”

First of all, I’m a runner. That’s why I run. I can’t seem to stop running. It’s kind of a problem.

Then there’s the same old trend of well, I run because it makes me feel good, I run because I can, I run because of…yadda yadda yadda.

I also run because I really really really like food. And if I can eat that ice cream guilt-free because I did a five-miler that morning, then awesome.

But ultimately, I run for the bragging rights.

That sounds really bad, I know, but I do.

Running is one of the few things in my life that a few misspoken words can’t take from me. There is no denying the awesome that is the 91.7 miles that the seven half marathons that I’ve done, not to mention the miles of training that it took to get to them. No one can say a blithe comment that will erase the memories of my legs burning, my lungs screaming, and the self-satisfaction at the end of a long, hard run.

There is no self-doubt when I run.

There is no judgment.

The road sure as hell doesn’t judge you.

With running, the only people who could possibly say belittling words with any justifiable condescension are running more than I am and know just how much it hurts and how hard you worked to earn those miles and would never ever say those words to another long-distance runner. Those others who might try to say belittling words about my running are easily countered with, “Really? How far did you run today?” and abruptly, they no longer have an argument or an insult.

Running is the only thing in my life that I don’t irrationally compare myself to others with, that I don’t worry about, stress over, or put myself down about.

Because anyone who can run is awesome.

(For the record, there are awesome people out there who can’t run to, I’m not saying that.)

If you ran that god-awful, painful, heart-wrenchingly wonderful 10k or half marathon or full marathon…or yes, even that 5k…you get bragging rights.

And, honey? You look damn good with them too.

Because nothing says awesome like, “Look how far I ran today.”

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cheap Sport

My favorite running misnomer to look back on and laugh at is my dad once telling me that running is the cheapest sport in the world.

There is some truth to that, all you need is a decent pair of shoes, some shorts or sweatpants, and a t-shirt. Especially if your jaunts are limited to a couple miles a week.

Running is a relatively easy sport to commit to. You don’t have to sign up for any teams, pay any dues, or buy super expensive equipment to start out. You can test the waters without blowing your budget. However, once the waters are tested and confirmed, things get spendier.

That’s neither here nor there though. This blog is advice for runners, whether you are getting started or already are and just like reading things like this like I do!

Find what makes it “easy” for you. Not long ago, there was one of those forwarded messages that circulated among me and some runner friends that was “75 things a runner thinks while running.” The one the jibed most closely for me was one that said something along the lines of “Shoot, I’ve gotta do 5 miles. Well, that’s only 2.5 miles out and then turn around. And that’s really just a little bit more than 2 miles. I can do two miles.”

For me, breaking down a run like that is what sometimes gets me through it. If I’m doing an out and back, it’s very easy to think “well, if I keep going for another half mile, then when I turn around I’ll get a whole extra mile in…I can do a half mile, that’s not that far. That’s like 5 minutes of running. I can run for another 5 minutes.” Bethany gets through it by going faster – the whole: the faster I run the faster I’m done mentality. She usually kicks that mantra into gear on hills and when she wants a snack.

I also find that with the gym in the mornings – more so than running, because running I always need a little more morning prep time than weights – if I sleep in my sports bra and workout top so all I have to do is roll out of bed and put my pants and shoes on I manage to get myself out that door before my brain has registered what I am doing. And then of course once I’m in the car on the way to the gym and out of bed and all that, there’s really only one thing to do: go to the gym and work out. I just make sure my headphones and water bottle are prepped the night before and on the table so I can just grab them as I go past, and then you’re there before your brain can get awake enough to say, “But…!”

Just find what works for you and go with it.

My other advice is to find your fuel. The best I advice I ever got from another runner was, “You know that nauseous feeling you keep complaining about? That’s your body telling you its hungry.”

Changed my life.

I have runner friends that swear up, right, left and center that they could not now nor ever eat (and sometimes drink!) on a run because it makes them feel terrible. I have found that sometimes I don’t need fuel, but most often, I do!  And I’m faster, peppier, and feel better with fuel!  The key is to find the one you like, however. Some people like the Jelly Belly Go Beans or whatever those are, some people like Gu, some people like powder in their water…I’m a ShotBlock girl.

It motivates me to know that I get a snack every couple miles, and it helps that they’re fruity delicious goodness fruit snacks. That somehow only taste good when I actually need them.

I just got Amy hooked on ShotBlocks, and she eats them differently that I do – only chewing on a block or maybe two when I’m wolfing down three, but she was surprised to notice what a difference it made to have a snack every couple miles and have water that she carried with her. She’s told me several times, “Oh man, I didn’t think I was going to make it through that run I was having such an off day, and then I had a ShotBlock and all of a sudden…wow! Makes so much difference!”

Here's a good quote to live by:

"You must listen to your body. Run through annoyance, but not through pain." -Dr. George Sheehan

Sunday, May 4, 2014


One of my favorite running quotes is:

 “A fifteen minute mile is just as far 
as an 8 minute mile.”

I hope you feel inspired today :) Now go do some lunges!


Friday, May 2, 2014


There’s an art form to living with another human being.

I’m not talking roommates, though there’s an art form to that too, but it can devolve into something a lot more passive aggressive and it’s perfectly acceptable to just be living with a roommate for the convenience of cheaper rent.

If you have a crappy roommate you just hide the good kitchenware, put your name on all your food, and keep your areas as clean as you prefer them. I had a friend who had a “Caution” Tape area where he would stack his roommate’s dirty dishes and they would just stay there for weeks and the rest of the kitchen would be spotless.

Living with a human being who you care about, share a bed with, wear a ring for…well, that is a different sort of art form.

We live in a world of “I can’t believe people used to…” and I think premarital living arrangements are one of those. People still do wait to live together until after marriage, and holy moly, more power to them.

While we have never gone to bed without apologizing or at least cooling down a bit, and while in the same house never made the other sleep in a different bed (or on the couch), there were some times that I’m pretty sure the only reason we stayed together was because we didn’t have to. I’m also pretty sure that doesn’t sound the way I mean it.

With marriage comes a sense of permanence and inescapability. It’s not a bad thing, and it soothes my soul and makes my husband more confident that I won’t leave him if he has a particularly mephitic evening. But three, almost four years ago when we first “shacked up” there were times that those particular constraints would have driven us past our breaking point. By having the opening we would never take, we learned and developed the art form of living with each other.

The years that we have lived together we have learned to adapt. We have learned to compromise. We have learned which battles are worth fighting and which shall be left alone.

Because I swear to God, I will never understand how the man can go to the kitchen for a glass of water and manage to leave every single cupboard door open. But now, I follow behind him, sometimes muttering quietly in aggravation, and close them all, because it’s not worth the fight. It shouldn’t even be a fight, though it was on occasion.

I promise this is not a negative post, though I’m realizing it might sound that way. It was supposed to be humorous.

There is an art form to living with another human being.

I have learned that in the mornings I shouldn’t speak, or be too chirpy at my husband. I’m a morning person once I’ve committed to being awake. He is most decidedly a person who prefers sleeping to all else – I have never seen a greater commitment to napping from anyone other than our cat. So in the mornings, when he is forced to wakefulness, he is a silent, sullen, and easily-grumpified person.

Kind of like me when someone is making me do an activity I don’t want to do.

I have learned that if he is in a mood, I must stifle my natural instincts to discover, cheer up, and cure the mood. Me pestering him about it or trying to fix it, nullify it, or cower away from it will simply make things worse. I have to just act like nothing is wrong, go about my business, and wait for him to move on and come to me.

He has learned that sometimes I just get grumpy. Sometimes I yell for no apparent reason. Sometimes I’m just out of sorts and there’s probably a reason but it’s not usually the reason I’m upset right now. He’s learned to hug me when I’m ready, fuss me out of the mood, and let me cry.

He has learned that my cleaning is sporadic, spastic, and odd. I believe in piles and in “from a speeding horse.” Meaning that so long as all the clutter is neatly stacked in a place that makes sense and that the dirt and dust is not obvious unless you’re looking for it, we’re good enough. Though I will go into “deep cleaning mode” on occasion and usually out of procrastination, and will deep clean random spots of the house and totally, obliviously miss other spots.

I have learned that I should always try to sort the silverware when putting it in the dishwasher, and he has learned to always try to remember the toilet seat. But we no longer battle it out. We save our energy for fights that actually mean something.

We are still learning every day, still growing together, and still both have meltdowns and misunderstandings. But that is why living with someone who you care about is its own particular art form.

How have you adapted to the person in your life?