When I got into running I, like everyone else, had an idea in my mind of exactly what I was getting myself into. I had ideas around training. I could envision myself at races. I felt like I had a pretty good idea of who the people were I’d be running into on the road. Now, almost two years later, I’ve come to realize that most of what I thought… was wrong and I’m amazed at what I absolutely did not know! Here’s a list of some of those things you never knew (OK, things I never knew) and believe me, it was TOUGH to narrow these down!
Just how much you will talk about running! Sure, this is to be somewhat expected among your running friends. What nobody tells you is just how much you talk about running to your non-running friends! Lets be honest, we runners have a way of inserting our past time into every conversation possible. Whether you asked or not, you’re getting it. Sorry, but while you were talking about your day at work and what you’re making for dinner, we tuned you out immediately and when you’re done, we’ll tell you what we were thinking about…. RUNNING!
- A drive is no longer a drive, its a quest to find a new place to run. Sure you’re getting from Point A to Point B but whats really happening upstairs has nothing to do with traffic or turn signals. You are more interested in things like road shoulders, hills and shade. The Trip Meter on your car now gets more use than it has in all of your previous vehicles combined. No runner can tell you they haven’t taken a detour to get somewhere just to see if they can find the mileage they need for a training run.
- Once you have run somewhere, you never look at it the same again. Now, wherever you go, if you’ve run there, it is a trip down memory lane. “That’s usually where a water stop is.” “This hill is killer to run!” “Boy it was hot that day.” “Some amazing woman gave me an Orange there!” “I ate there before… after a race!” I’m sure you understand where I’m going with this. Oh, and a non-runner is more times than not, your victim in this situation (See #1).
Challenge Races. This is some sort of joke right? When I started running, the idea of finishing a 5k was laughable to me. If anyone had proposed the idea of running another 5k the next day, I would have had them tested for drugs immediately. Fast forward to present day. The first thing I look at when scoping out a race weekend is if there is a challenge available. That’s right, whats the point in traveling to a race if you cant do at least 2 races, if not more?! I mean come on Race Directors, seriously? Just a 5k and Half? Seems you skipped a 10k in there somewhere!
Running ISN’T cheap! Wait… what? There must be some kind of mistake. I need sneakers, socks would be a good idea, but not mandatory and that’s it. After that I just walk out the door and run. What am I missing here? Runners find a way to cover themselves from head to toe in goodies and gizmos from headbands to fancy shoe laces and everything in between. GPS watch? Check. Water Belt? Got it. Heart Rate Monitor? Of course. Multiple pairs of sneakers for multiple types of running? Yup. A box of god knows what in the mail each month so I can test out new stuff that I didn’t know I needed? Oh hell yes! Sign me up!
- Runners are NOT healthy eaters. That’s right. I was shocked too! I thought I would be surrounded by people that would have me walk a plank if they knew what was in my pantry. I was concerned that if I picked up a beer, it would be smacked out of my hand immediately and I would be handed a V8 right away. Turns out runners are eating machines. After a race, I’m fairly certain that if it isn’t bolted to the table, its considered a post race recovery snack. And lets talk alcohol here for a second. There is more beer at a post race party than there is at an NFL tailgate. Often the first words you hear after a runner crosses the finish line are, “Where’s the beer?”
- Nothing crosses the line when it comes to runner conversations. Have something gross going on? Let’s tell everyone! Blood? Really? Where? Send me a picture! First of all, I had NO IDEA of the pretty gnarly things that happen to your body as your miles start to add up. And I certainly didn’t know that runners love to talk about and SEE these things! Not to mention, many of these things are considered a badge of honor! Black toenails, bloody nipples, blisters, chafing, nasty feet, poop problems… you name it, lets talk about, and send me a picture “so I better understand”!
- See another runner on the road and your mind plays a game of 20 questions. What are they training for? How far are they running? Wonder what their pace is? Are they a new runner or a seasoned vet? Wonder how they like those shoes? So many things go through your mind when you see someone running. Someone, who if you saw them in any other situation, you probably wouldn’t even notice they were there. But now, you want to pull over in front of them and ask them all these questions and more.
- Running is stupid and you LOVE it! That’s right, nobody likes running because running is stupid. “Oh how I love the constant pounding I subject my legs to as I run across the pavement,” said no runner ever. Runners LOVE the ideas behind running. The health benefits, the accomplishments, the confidence gains, the finish line beer. There are so many things for you to get out of running and that’s what keeps runners coming back for more.
And finally, the most important thing I’ve learned about running these past 2 years are that Runners are some of the most supportive athletes you can be around and I am proud to call so many of them FRIENDS. I have played a lot of different sports over the years and I have yet to come across a group of people as supportive as runners. It is so easy to be intimidated when you are compared to others but runners make everyone feel right at home. From the front of the pack to the back, everyone has a common goal: to finish. And everyone is there to encourage each other to do just that. I never expected to meet the people I have and to call many of these great people my friends.
These were some of my favorites that I could think of but I know I had a handful that didn’t make the list and I’m SURE there’s a ton more that I didn’t even think of and I’d love to hear them! Share some of the things you’ve learned as a runner in the comments below or on the Facebook page!