Yes, I post a lot about #bitchlife, #fitbitches, and #runfordick. Running is rad. I’m not metaphorically running from anything, but rather it’s the time when I feel most myself. It doesn’t hurt that it’s time to spend with Joey. I’m just now getting used to running with only one leash.
People always ask about time, for obvious reasons. It’s the easiest way to categorize someone in terms of running—if you know how fast someone is, you can decide how well he or she runs. I would argue that, with the exception of elite runners, it’s all really a matter of perspective.
The time the run takes was never really the important number for me. I was about the distance, whether the plan was to run three miles or 20 miles, my goal was to cover the ground and enjoy the space.
This probably explains why treadmill running is so incredibly difficult for me. I sound like 45 when I talk about treadmills. Treadmills are sad losers.
And even though I’m far from what many folks would consider a “good” runner, I’m a consistent one. Over the years, I’ve had new runners ask about my experience, so I figured I would throw a few things out there.
There are a couple pieces of gear worth the investment, namely, the right shoes and the right bra. Don’t just buy shoes that look cool or pledge allegiance to the brand that your favorite football player has an endorsement deal with. It’s really worth going to a specialty running store and getting fitted for the right pair of shoes. Plus, you can learn about neat stuff like pronation—it’s not an alt-right group!
I’m loyal to Asics and Nike when it comes to shoes. I am also loyal to them when it comes to the clothes, with the exception of one pretty rad Brooks rain jacket. Having said that, my favorite running rain jacket is a Nike one and I have four rain jackets for running. Nike has the best dri-fit and their clothing is functionally the most thoughtful for my money.
You may get a little obsessive with the gear if you get into running.
At any given moment, I have three to five pairs of shoes in a rotation. There are good reasons for this, like injury prevention and tailoring the shoe to the type of running you’re on, but also because it’s fun to be a gear whore.
A proper sports bra is paramount. Ask your other friends with boobs. Read the online reviews. I’ve spent anywhere from $25 to $75 on a single sports bra. When I first started running, I had to put Band-Aids around the straps on long runs because the straps were cutting into my collar bones. Bad fit. Sad. Loser.
If you don’t have boobs, you still have nipples, so if you get into distance running, Google “bloody nipples” before you think chafing isn’t a serious issue.
On the issue of chafing, I’m partial to A&D ointment. It’s saved me many times, plus it doubles as a great healing agent for a new tattoo and I love products that multi-task.
Set reasonable starting goals, like running a mile without stopping or training on a Couch to 5K plan. It will be hard and muscles will hurt. Our mouths are about the only thing we never give a rest, so know that you’re gonna wake up muscles you haven’t used in a long while, or maybe never. That’s okay. It does get easier, but the funny part is that the first mile is still always the hardest for me. It takes me easily three or four miles to find my stride on a long run and then, thankfully, I slip into a space where running forever seems possible. Six to 10 miles is definitely my sweet spot and at this point, anything under 15 can be done on autopilot if I’m training properly. It took several years to get to that point. All that Rome wasn’t built in a day stuff really holds true.
Don’t worry about buying some fancy training watch. There are plenty of free apps you can download on your smart phone and track what you want to track. I like the Map My Run site for planning ahead and the Nike Run Club app for real-time tracking.
Cross training is your friend. I really like yoga and biking. Weights are boring to me, but entirely necessary. There’s the meme floating around that yoga, running, etc are the starter and weight training is the entrée. That really only works for me if the starter is a beautiful tuna tartare or some lovely oysters and the main course is a plain hot dog. Point being, cross train. I never run more than four days a week.
You aren’t gonna feel like working out everyday. The folks up the road got it right when they said, “Just do it.” (I feel like I should get paid if I mention the brand again.) That’s training to me, most of the time, just shut up and do it. Tell the voices in your head to get f#cked, make some time for yourself, and just do it.
And finally, your walk is someone’s run. Your run is someone’s walk. It doesn’t matter if you run a seven minute mile or a 16 minute one. You still did the mile. I got comfortable with running because I wasn’t worried about pace. I remember participating in a fairly large 5K race and thinking I would be quite happy to finish in the top 500. The top 1,000 finishers or something had their names printed in the newspaper and I was like, “Yeah, there I am!” A person who’d probably never run a day in her life was surprised that I didn’t place higher or even win, considering how often I ran and how much I talked about running. She didn’t quite understand why that was so amusing to me.
I’m set to do the San Francisco Marathon on July 23. A whole bunch of people will finish before me. I might hit the finish line before a couple people. In the end, it’s about seeing a city a different way and slugging it out. I know there will be moments where I feel like I could pull a Gump and run for days, but there will also be moments where I want to drift off the course and curl up into the fetal position. That’s the beauty of it to me, it’s like every run has an entire life wrapped up in it—sweat, laughs, tears, possibly blood. It just feels so damned good to cross that finish line.