I just entered the sixth week of my personal #500milesin2017 challenge. While I have always loved to run, I have definitely learned a lot more about myself upping my miles to meet the 9.6 miles a week goal:
- Your mind is your own worst enemy. I loathe the first mile and a half of any run. I don’t care if I am going out for a quick three miles or attempting a longer run, my mind invents every excuse possible to get me to stop. It’s too cold. My sock is bunched. My right ankle hurts. I hate the way this shirt is rubbing. What is that smell? My lower back is sore. This road is too dangerous. My left shoe is too tight. I have sooo much to do at home. I hate these jogging pants. It’s too hot. The sun isn’t out and I don’t feel like running in ‘bleh’. I hate these underwear. I hate this song. I hate these ear buds. I should go just go home and start dinner. I’m too tired to do this. The sun is too bright and I don’t have my sunglasses…. You get my point, right? What I have learned is that if you can get past that initial self-induced mind-fuckery, then the rest of the run is a breeze.
- Checkity-check yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self. Every once in awhile, pay attention to and correct your form, if needed. While my high school track days of running with a pretend potato chip in my hand still works like a charm, I have the tendency to tighten my shoulders and arms while running. A “potato chip” in between your thumb and middle finger will prevent your hands from clenching, but I haven’t figured out a way to keep my shoulders relaxed. Every now and then, taking a few strides to shake out your arms, roll your neck, and get those shoulders loose will do wonders to keep from overexerting yourself and wasting precious energy on the non-important. Stupid shoulders.
- Ensure your route is planned accordingly. A touchy subject… If your bowels have a tendency to start getting into your groove around mile three or four like mine do, ensure you have a strategically placed toilet on your route. While I have never experienced an “Emergency Sit Down Head Call” (husband’s Marine Corps term) on a back country road, I did interrupt a turn-over meeting a couple of summers ago with my poo emergency. Imagine my surprise, yanking on the first available unlocked door along my route on base, barging into a large conference room packed with officers in flight suits. All eyes turned immediately on sweaty, leg-trembling, ass-clenched, lip-quivering me. At that point, I could care less about the embarrassment of the situation. I bellowed out “Where’s the nearest restroom!” Five guys simultaneously pointed toward a door on the opposite side of the room, while the other 25 followed with wide eyes and open mouths. I duck-walked, sped through the conference room, ripping open the door and flinging myself into the hallway to find the nearest lavatory. It was a close call, but I made it. It was a lesson well learned and I have yet to make the same mistake since.
- Your playlist can make or break your run. Sigh. I love Pandora, but damnit, why does it seem that the one moment you need the extra motivation it decides to play REO Speedwagon or The Fray? I know they are tempting me with ‘Pandora My Way’, with unlimited skips and replays of favorite songs. Playing garbage music is a way for them to entice me to the dark side. But, come on! By the way… RuPaul Radio offers an amazing mix of music from the 90’s and 2000’s with the perfect beat to kick it up a notch.
- Beware of country road crowns. Strapping on your running shoes, heading out the door and taking off on your run sounds a lot simpler than strapping on your running shoes, heading out the door, jumping in the car, driving across town to the park, parking the car, storing your car keys somehow on your person and taking off on your run. The extra few steps to run at the park beats running on the country roads, in my opinion. The crown of the poorly laid chip and tar puts too much stress on my hips, and I always develop a blister the size of Texas on the inside of my left foot from overcompensating.
- You can always run further than previously anticipated. I can’t tell you how many times I have started out on a run, thinking “oh, I will just get a good four miles in”, only to complete 5,6, or 7+?! It’s a great feeling to be able to accomplish more than what you set out to do, and there hasn’t been a run yet (knock on wood), where I stopped short of my goal. For example, this past week, I needed 3.8 miles to stay on track, but ended up pulling a 7.16 miler. Do you have trouble pushing yourself? Stick to the same route, running a few steps more each time, so you have a tangible goal. Get bored easily? Switch up your route! Also, I like to set my MapMyRun to give me updates every mile: often enough to keep me on track but not so often to become annoying.
- White mouth goo – it is here to stay. Another attractive side effect of a long distance runner. I read that the white stringy goo that gathers at the corner of your mouth during a run is the product of excessive sweating and dehydration. Instead of getting repulsed, I have actually grown fond of seeing how big of piece I can pull off after a run. I mean, I have a friend who says that she likes to do that. Yeah, a friend.
- Long runs are the best time to think. Have you noticed anything about viCARIously Speaking lately? I have been posting a lot more. After that initial 1 1/2 mile mind-fuckery, my thought highway is wide open. I have internal dialogues debating political stances. I plan the week’s meals for the family. I brainstorm craft ideas. I replay confrontations in my head and change the outcome into how I want it to end. And I come up with blog ideas. Some come to fruition, some do not. Running isn’t just a physical health benefit; it is also the reason that I haven’t dove head first off the deep end by now.