Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My "Special" Running Approach

I can't help but think when I run how much of a rookie I am. Yes, I am still a rookie (or at least I feel like one) even though I've been running since I was like 13. It's because I haven't kept running since I was 13. I think I just don't consider myself a "runner". I don't know if I'll ever be one of those people with an "I ♥ running" t shirt or stickers on my car. I don't ♥ it that much. Plus, I'd feel like a fraud because, like I said, I still feel like a rookie. Running's easy. You just move your feet. Which is probably why I do it. I don't have to go to a trainer and find out how to use my feet properly. I just move them and watch other people to make sure I move like they do. Easy enough. When I run I tend to think of my "special" approach to running and thought you'd really like to read about it. Ha.

I don't like to learn new exercises. I like to be able to just do it. Hence running is for me.

It took me a very long time (and several tries at this "consistent running thing") to figure out that I don't need to run fast.

I get "side stitches" if I run too fast, hence the need for running slower. Oddly enough, I only ever get them on my left side. I think my breathing has something to do with this as well.

I can't figure out how to breathe right. Yeah, for real. I think it's in through the nose, out through the mouth. When I concentrate on it too much I get really out of breath. If I don't concentrate on it I get side stitches. Lose-lose. Help?

I can't run uphill or downhill (slight grades only) or I get shin splints. I learned that the hard way many moons ago.

I FINALLY discovered the joys of running shorts. I guess I've always been under the impression that since I don't work out that much, why spend too much money on clothes to work out in? However, sometimes it pays off. Because apparently there have been running shorts out there all along that I never knew about and finally discovered and rock my world. I was in TJ Maxx (yeah, I still didn't pay a lot for them, but if I had known about these a long time ago before they hit TJ Maxx, I would've!), and picked up two pairs of running shorts to try on. The first were plain black. I went to put my feet through the holes and was like "WHOA WHOA whoa. Is this a men's bathing suit? What is up with the mesh underwear inside? Weird. NOPE." and didn't even try them on. The next pair had a green stripe on the side. So when I went to try them on, and found out they also had the mesh underwear inside… they got a chance (due to the green stripe). And I bought them. And I love them. No shorts riding up on me anymore! BONUS: there are tiny little pockets inside the shorts for a key or something, and the back one I use for my Ipod.

Until recently, and without my super awesome inside back pocketed shorts, I had no idea how to put my Ipod on without it getting in the way. I tried those arm strap thingers (I sweat too much under them and they annoy me). I don't like holding things when I run (plus, again, sweat too much and don't want my Ipod to get all sweaty!). And even now with the Shuffle (that clips on), I still didn't know of a good spot to clip it without my arms getting in the way. I would always find a way to knock it and get perilously close to it flying into the canal. Gross. I am NOT going in there. So thank god for those shorts because they now saved my Ipod as well.

I have a really hard time resisting the urge to mouth the words to some songs when I run. Sometimes I don't resist.

I have to chew gum when I run. This will probably make a trainer cringe, but I'm serious. I also get side stitches if I don't do this. My theory is that because I drink a ton of water on a daily basis, but refuse to carry a water bottle with me when I run because, as we've already discussed, I don't like running with things in my hands, that my body isn't used to going that long (and working that hard) without hydration. Gum keeps me hydrated by way of producing more saliva, I guess, but whatever, it works. It helps. And when I forget my gum? I get stitches and dry mouth and am miserable and don't run for as long. FACT: I also have to chew gum when I sing. I always used to chew gum in choral concerts and stuff and my instructor would always yell at me. But I didn't actually chew it, I just kept it in my mouth so my mouth wouldn't get dry.

I have to keep my hands open and (I guess) above my heart level when I run. I'm assuming it's my heart level - all I know is I have to keep them angled upwards and not fisted. If I keep them by my waist, or even when I'm walking if I keep them down by my sides, my fingers swell up like sausages. So when I'm doing the walking portion of my run (yes, I still have to do that a little), I have to keep my hands pumping or put them on my head. I can actually feel the swelling happening instantly if I don't.

Other people on the trail path probably look at me funny when I'm pumping my arms or putting them on my head while I'm walking. I wouldn't know because I avoid eye contact with them.

I don't want to know how far I actually run. I think it's because if I run 3 miles one day, and 1 mile the next, I'll feel like a failure. Versus if I run to the the fork in the path one day, and only to the red bridge the next, it doesn't feel like that. I only know that I run for about 45 minutes on an average day. Sooo... whatever that means. Yes, I suppose I do like to play mind games with myself.

I like to run outside so I can get some color. I usually wear very thin strapped tank tops to prevent major tan lines. I wish they would make tube tops that stay up while running.

My neighbors are probably going to notice soon that I only have one pair of running shorts. People sit on their front stoops in Manayunk, so I'm constantly running past the same people.

I'm sure this all gives you a fantastic picture of me running down the trail path along the dirty canal with a wedgie, accidentally ripping my Ipod out of my ears with my jazz hands, mouthing the words to "Last Night" by Katy Perry, while wearing a tube top.

I secretly hope that people don't notice my special-isms and think I look like an awesome runner. Or at least that they're not thinking I should be in the special olympics.


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