Thursday, April 8, 2010

What I've learned from running

It’s coming up on a year since I ran my first ‘race’. It’s funny to say race considering there is no chance in hell that I’ll ever win and I’m most certainly not fast. But I guess it’s a race against yourself and your world. And the person in front of you who you have been trailing the whole time.
My New Year’s Resolution in 2009 was to train for and run the Philadelphia Broad Street 10 Miler. What a game-changer that was. In the past year, I’ve run two half marathons, a 15K (9 miles), a 5 miler and thousands of training miles. I have more running pants/shorts than jeans and far more sports bras than regular ones. I just bought my fourth pair of sneakers since starting. I can't help but reflect and smile at the great adventures and lessons this silly hobby turned passion has brought me. I think I shall share "What I've learned from running."
  • You can, in fact, sweat from every pore in your body. And it doesn’t have to be hot outside to do so. And it can feel awesome and gross. Mostly gross.
  • There is an option on the iPhone called “Shake to Shuffle”. Turn that off before throwing your iphone/ipod/camera/gps into the river because it won’t stop changing songs! Oh, the anger, the anger, I felt for months. Months.
  • Feet are nothing but dead layers of skin just waiting to rubbed off. They say pain is weakness leaving the body. Apparently, the most popular exit is through the feet.
  • No one cares if your outfit matches. I do, however, care if you don’t do the obligatory wave or nod as we pass. Yeah, you can be rocking the cute capris and tech tee but if you’re on my side of the road and don’t move or even make an effort to move, you’re just a jogger.
  • Just because you run up a hill does not mean you will run down a hill. You may run on a flat surface before going up a hill and even if you turn around, it may still be a hill. However, for every downhill, there is an equal uphill. Especially in Tyler State Park. I find this whole concept to be very symbolic.
  • TMI alert- Running keeps you regular and in a regular fear of about 70% of all foods.
  • Not everyone understands or gets running, but everyone respects it. And, once you tell a guy you run, you will inevitably hear how fast he is or how he can run far too. It’s like an instant competition. Or if he’s not fast or can’t run far or fake it -- he’ll instead just tell you how awesome he is at some other sport. “I hate running, but I can play basketball all day.” Great, I like having good conversations with interesting people, but I'm talking to you. It's the same thing. Women will always say, “Wow, I can’t even run one mile!”
  • Bears, however, really don’t care if you can run six miles in sixty minutes and that you couldn’t do that a year ago. Nope. Bears are not good motivation to run because if you are ever running at the butt crack of dawn on a foggy winter’s morning and you see something large, black, and ominous in front of you, it really does not matter if you’re faster than your friends. Because they’re not there and you’re breakfast.
  • Same scenario as above, “Thriller” is a terrible song for your iPod shuffle to play.
  • If you can run three miles, you can run five. Now, this is not a physical fact, there is no science to support it. It’s a mantra and it works. If you can run 3 miles, you can push it to 5. You have it in you. If you can do 5, you can do 6. Once you hit 7 miles, you can do anything. Anything. The “If/Then” theory of running will infect your life and push you do to things you never thought simply because you can run 5 miles. If I can get my ass out of bed a 5:30 am in sub zero temperature to shiver through a six mile run, I can write a 10 page paper in four hours after an 8 hour day in the office of hell. If I can run through shin splints, I can rock stilettos. If I can let strangers at a gym watch me sweat until my clothes are drenched with sweat, I can eat in a restaurant by myself. If I do, then I can.
  • Over the ear headphones prevent you from looking like you’re trying to tell the guy on first to steal second on the next pitch. Small ipod shuffles that hide under your clothes prevent you from looking like you’ve been shot in the arm while trying to adjust whatever contraption is hooked onto your arm.
  • From Runner’s World: “You rarely regret the runs you do. You ALWAYS regret the runs you skip.” Truth, my friends. Truth.
  • “Random Shuffle” on an iphone/ipod can be either the bestmotivation/distraction/support or more painful and discouraging than getting lapped by a 70-year old. I swear my shuffle just knows when to play “Just Fine” by Mary J. That is my favorite song and gets me smiling and moving. And if I’m really not in the mood for running or cranky about something else, it will play every heart breaky country song, or that one, ONE flipping classical jazz song that I don’t even know how it got on the list. It’s like it just wants to mock me.
  • Broken hearts and sports injuries heal about the same rate. They can be reoccuring, brought on by bad habits and dumb mistakes. But both serve as great, though painful, sources of motivation. And your ipod will always play the song that reminds you of that heart break at the time when you need it the most or not.


  1. Good job, Linds! I loved it and I don't even run. It makes me want to though. :) My favorite part is the "If/then" theory. I've used that before but have forgotten it over the past couple years. Thank you for that reminder of powerful motivation.

  2. NICE! I totally agree with the Runner's World quote... And bears... don't mess with them. They are why I never want to run with you around my house. I am now the slow friend... not sure how i feel about that. i will fix that then invite you to run with me. Good job! Can't wait to watch this blog grow...

  3. "Because they’re not there and you’re breakfast."

    Laughing my butt off right now. You are hilarious. Love this post! Keep it up.

  4. So much truth in everything you said. Especially the "If I can do ______, then I can do ______"'s so so so so true. Skip Thriller on a solo run and go with You Rocked My feel-good...I am pretty sure that running helps you navigate a broken heart's healing process. You run, you cry, you pray, you laugh at yourself, you ache...but it's yours, its all yours and you own it. Can't wait to run Rutgers & BSR with you...and yes, I did my 10 miles today even though I had to switch treadmills because they automatically shut down after an hour...jerks.