I love running. Otherwise, why would I have started this blog? However, I can’t run this week, and it remains to be seen whether I’ll be able to run next week, and I need something—anything—to make me feel better about this pitiable situation.
So, without further ado, the 10 Things I Hate About Running, in reverse order:
10. No more “wild” parties on Friday or Saturday nights.
I’m no spring chicken, so it’s not like I was out every Friday and Saturday night at the club, drinking vodka by the quart and dancing my butt off.
However, I did have a pretty active social life before I started becoming more serious about running. Now that my Saturday and Sunday mornings involve early morning runs, one of which is a long run, that means no partying on the preceding evenings.
A couple of years ago when I was training for a marathon, I made the mistake of drinking a few glasses of wine the night before my Sunday long run. The next morning, I developed the sudden and uncontrollable urge to go to the bathroom on the floor of a mini-mart I happened upon (the owner wouldn’t let me use the restroom). That would not have happened if I hadn’t overindulged the night before.
My running partner started imagining we were going to have a Bridesmaids-type situation:
Fortunately, a kind woman who lived by the store let me use the bathroom in her house even though I was a complete stranger.
I learned my lesson, though. No more parties. Or, if there is a party, I’m the designated driver.
9. Despite how hard you try, natural talent will kick you in the ass.
My coach gave me this hated item, and it’s true. As much and as long as one trains to qualify for, say, the Boston Marathon, a newbie could show up for her first marathon and get a sub-3:00. Argh.
It can be frustrating, but isn’t that life? Some people are just naturally better at things than others. A good way to prevent this from irritating the crap out of you is to just compete with yourself.
8. Being spat on or the target of a snot-rocket.
One unexpected “perk” of running was unveiled to me during my second half-marathon, when a man I was passing turned his head and unleashed a hearty snot-rocket in my direction. It was disgusting, but I was little surprised by my reaction. I think I said something like, “Hey!” and just kept running. I didn’t want it to affect my pace.
Since then, I’ve been spat on in at least two races. It’s gross, but it’s not the end of the world. For some reason, my reaction to having it occur during the race is completely different than what I would do if it happened to me if I was just strolling along one day, walking on a city sidewalk and window shopping. You know? Weird runner thing.
7. Porta potties.
I never knew that running would involve so many run-ins with porta potties. Race porta potties are generally awful unless you are an early bird and use them before the crowds show up. A tip: don’t touch anything in the porta potty unless you’re using a toilet paper hand-shield. That includes touching the hand sanitizer dispenser.
6. Gaining weight.
I hope I’m not the only one who gains a little weight when I up my mileage. If I’m running 30+ miles a week, I should be losing weight, right? Wrong. Usually I over compensate and start eating way more candy.
Since I became a runner, candy is my best friend. Specifically, Swedish fish.
5. Inability to talk about other subjects.
A lot of runners, self included, like to talk about running. A lot. As in, sometimes almost all the time. I caught myself doing this last summer, and seeing my non-runner friends’ eyes glaze over, so I started making a concerted effort to stop talking about running so much. I think my efforts have been successful, but you’d have to ask my non-runner friends. They might still say this:
One risk of getting into running is going overboard about it. Those who run know it can make a huge difference in their lives, and I think the desire to share comes from wanting their friends to join in on the fun, but also wanting to share the reasons for their happiness with those they care about.
I’m not a fan of the 26.2 stickers or the like, but I have posted a photo or two of my race medals on Facebook. I don’t think I was bragging. I posted them because I felt like I had personally accomplished something that was important to and challenging for me. Just like if someone posted that he or she had won an award, or was promoted, or had a baby.
Needless to say, I disagree with the guy who wrote that well-publicized Wall Street Journal article about runners and what he perceived to be their constant need for attention.
But then again, I do have my own blog.
4. The encouragement of obsessive personality characteristics.
What is it about runners? We love to obsess. Or am I generalizing?
Whether it’s obsessing what shorts to buy, what shoes will fit the idiosyncrasies of their feet, what races to run, getting into a race, what to wear for a race, what the course elevation profile is like, what pace they should run, or what the weather will be like, runners love to think and obsess about the aspects of running. I swear to God I checked the race day weather forecast at least four times a day in the days leading up to the New York City Marathon. I know I’m not alone in this obsessiveness.
Don’t believe me? Just check out the forums on Runners World and tell me I’m wrong.
3. Tolerating negative comments and advice from non-runners.
Heard any of these before?
- “You shouldn’t run. Do you want to have a knee replacement in your 40s?”
- “I’ve heard running marathons is actually really bad for your heart.”
- “Running is so bad for your back.”
- “You should stop running so much. It’s not good for you.”
- “Don’t you feel bad spending all of that time running, rather than with your kids?”
Ugh—I GET it. You don’t run marathons. You don’t run. And you assume you know what’s best for me and/or my family.
Running helps prevent heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and a myriad of other diseases or health problems. Running is meditative and helps me get out of the house and into my own head several times a week. I am happier when I run, and in turn am an easier person to be around. The injuries (see below) aren’t great, but I’d rather put up with those now and then than stop running and be where I was four years ago.
2. Spending too much money.
I remember reading somewhere that running was an inexpensive sport, because one could just grab a pair of running shoes (from a bargain bin somewhere, I’m supposing?), tie ‘em on, and run out the door.
My reaction and the reaction of all of my running friends: “Hahahahahahahahahaha!”
I spend plenty of money on running. Whether it’s apparel (Lululemon running capris at $98 a pop), shoes (approximately $110 every four months), other gear (the new Garmin Forerunner 220 is $249), or race entry fees (anywhere from $50-$275 for a marathon), money gets spent! Oh—and don’t get me started on destination races!
For the past few months, my husband and I have been scrimping and I’ve been extremely judicious spending money on my running. That’s why I haven’t registered for any races other that Newport.
Not enough money for gear and races = #firstworldproblems
Injuries are the worst. And all too common. According to several sources, about 50% of runners are injured annually.
We hear all sorts of professional advice about how to avoid injury—cross train, don’t build our mileage by greater than 10% per week, lift weights, develop our core—nobody is perfect. We don’t always follow this advice, even though we know we should. And even if we do follow this advice, we can still get hurt.
I was injured for several months last year and it (1) completely destroyed my plan to run the Chicago Marathon, (2) prevented me from running for several weeks, (3) cost me well over a thousand dollars and dozens of hours of my time to treat, (4) derailed my ability to train adequately for the New York City Marathon, (5) caused my body to become deconditioned, and (6) seriously bummed me out.
I am currently dealing with another overtraining injury—shin splints (argh!)—which has been bugging me over the past month or so. I do not want this to destroy my chance of running Newport, so I’m resting this week before restarting running at a slow and easy pace.
2014 is supposed to be my year without injury. So far it’s not starting out too well. But there are 11 more months to make it my year.
What do YOU hate about running?