As most people who follow me on Twitter and Facebook may have seen, I am currently training for a half marathon. I got excited about the Disney marathons (they look so FUN!) and the Princess Run particularly. I mean, you guys, you get a freakin’ tiara medal at the end. A TIARA!!!!!!!!
I started training in March–and keep in mind, the most I’ve ever run before this was MAYBE 2 miles. On my best day. I’ve gotten as far as 7 miles in one run, but I’m closer to running a comfortable 5-6 miles right now in my training. I run at least three times a week with two of those being more leisurely 3 mile jaunts and at least one being a long run which I try to increase by .2 miles each week.
So….the thing about running…you have a lot of time to think. I mean, A LOT. Especially when you run as slow as I do. Five miles takes me somewhere around an hour to run. So, when I start getting up to the 8, 10, 13 mile range, that’s gonna be A LOT of spare time to just let my brain wander.
Here are a few of the things I’ve learned during my runs:
1) Running blows.
Yeah. It’s not fun. I mean, it’s also not horrible, but I’ll never understand those people who just adore it and can’t live without it. I run because I really, really, really, really like cupcakes. And brownies. And cheese. And basically every food that is bad for you. And running helps balance the side effects of that.
2) Other Runners Will Not Wave At You…
Hell, they won’t even SMILE at you. And they’ll look at you like a crazy person when you wave at them. Now, maybe this is just a NYC thing. Maybe in other parts of the country and the world, everyone is friendlier. But I had these delusions of grandeur that running was like some kind of club. Like a group of people who were so high on endorphins and loved running so much that the mere sight of other runners would send them spiraling into a sea of melted candy canes. Yeah….no. Do you know how hard it is to smile at a passerby when you’re drowning in your own sweat and panting like the oldest horse on the tracks?
3) Running with a Dog Does Not Make it Easier. Or More Fun.
Sean and I recently adopted a new dog–he’s still a puppy, at only 6 months. He’s got energy coming out of his wazoo. Which makes him a pain in MY wazoo. So, naturally, I thought that by taking him running with me, we’d bond, expel some of that crazy energy, and (stupid me) thought that having a bouncing puppy at my side would make the whole process more fun. Exciting. Enjoyable. Ummmmmmm, no. No, no, no, and no. Running with a puppy is like trying to run alongside a toddler who just ingested battery acid. The take off is wild, running faster than you can ever keep up with. Soon, they need to stop and poo. Then you’re left carrying said bag of poo until you pass a trash can. They switch sides constantly, freak out at the sight of any bird, squirrel, dog, human, blowing leaf. Then after a mile, they’re exhausted and you’re basically dragging them the rest of the 2-3 miles. It’s a nightmare.
4) I Never Just Listen to Music Anymore.
This was one of my greatest epiphanies and quite possibly the only reason I keep running. How often in my life do I have time to listen to music while doing nothing else? I mean, yeah, okay, I’m also running, but still. Usually, I listen to music when cleaning or cooking or occasionally I’ll listen while I’m writing. But I’m only half listening. While I’m running? I am FOCUSED on that music. It helps my rhythm, my pacing, my breathing. I’ve heard more songs in the past three months than in 2013 combined. And I love that. I’m actually going to include some audio books as well. I don’t get to read nearly as much as I should and I think audio books are a great way to make that happen!
5) Bad Socks and Underwear Can Ruin Your Run. And Your Week.
I learned the hard way. The wrong socks can cause some horrendous blisters. And the wrong undies? Shit on a brick–the wrong undies can create chafing in some of the WORST areas imaginable. Invest in good socks. And runderpants (yep, it’s a thing).