Saturday, September 7, 2013

Excuse me, but I am about to drop some knowledge.

I've been thinking. There sure is a whole lot of criticism of runners. I have mentioned before that I have struggled with the conversation with non-runners about how stupid running is, and how anyone can run a marathon. I was talking with a co-worker this week about the running tights controversy. Then today when I was running, I passed three teens who were walking down the street. I was minding my own business, this girl in the group started laughing at me. She made some snide remark that I couldn't clearly hear, but the tone of voice made it clear that she did not approve of something about my running. Maybe it was my running tights! Maybe it was the water bottle I was holding. Maybe it was my form. I don't know, but there are some things that I do know.

According the to CDC, 69.2% of adults in the United States are overweight or obese. Adolescents are broken down into categories, with 18.4% of children 12-19 years, 18% of children 6-11 years, and 12.1% of children 2-5 years old falling into the obese category. I don't know about you, but that sounds like a problem to me. I also happened to look up some numbers on running. Only 1% of the US population has completed a half marathon, which is the most popular race distance in the US at this time, and 0.5% of the US population has completed a marathon. That's right, the half marathon is the most popular distance, so even when you look at 5k and 10k numbers, still less than 1% of the population has completed a race of that distance. I know which statistic I want to be a part of.

Running tights. Here's the thing. Sweat and friction cause chaffing and irritation. You may not like my running tights, but here's the thing, I am out there doing something about the way my legs jiggle when I run, so anyone who has a problem with that can take a look at the statistics above and keep their comments and critiques to themselves. Running tights are made of a dry-fast or moisture wicking material. They also don't ride up like running shorts do, so therefore, they are the most comfortable option if a person with my body type is going to be running any kind of distance. I used to be pretty self-conscious about wearing running tights, but once I thought about it in the terms I just explained, I realized that I should go with function over fashion to make sure I would achieve my goals. So you know what? Sorry that I'm not sorry.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Holy Humidity, Batman!

Ahhh, I had an up close look at what the phrase, "it's not the miles, but the humidity that kills you," really means. Ok, so maybe that's not exactly how the saying goes, but I have never been so aware of how true that saying really is until I set out for a 16 mile run this morning. For the first 7 miles I just kept thinking that running shouldn't feel so much like swimming. The first onset of that, "Ehh, maybe I'll just quit," feeling was at half a mile. Yep. I didn't quit even though I pretty much wanted to every step of the way. My body just kept moving forward.

Falls Bridge over the Schuylkill River
I had a rough start to my run, and I tired to shake it quickly, but the issues to start off with weren't the biggest problem of my run. I started at Lloyd Hall on the Schuylkill Loop in Philadelphia. It is full of runners, walkers, cyclists, and the guy that I saw today who danced and shadowboxed his way up and down the path. I love passing by people who simultaneously put a smile on my face and make me look a little more sane. I looked extra psychotic today due to my discomfort. I only know that because any person who happened to actually make eye contact with me showed a change in expression that went from, "hello there," to "Should I call 911? Nah, I think she's gonna make it, and on the off chance that she is going to try to attack me, I think I can out run her." 

Matt's reward for waiting around while I ran
was this gem of getting to see me fall over
while I was trying to use a lamp post to stretch.
Turns out that they weren't kidding about blocking everything off for the Made in America concert. I turned around at the blockade, which I was actually a little thankful for because I decided that I should go ahead and use the public bathrooms at Lloyd Hall. Well, they are locked until 8 in the fall. It was not even close to 8 am. I used the nearby porta-potty, which had no toilet paper or hand sanitzer. Yeahhhh. It was a nice start. I also very quickly consumed a gel because I could tell that the weather conditions were really dragging me down. The only problem was that I had just eaten one when I got out of the car, and they were both caffeinated. That didn't turn out well. I was having slight heart palpitations and chest pain for the next 5 or 6 miles after that. 

Matt and I had a conversation the day before about how long it would take me to run 16 miles. Neither of us
was right, really.  Well, I thought it would take me about 3 hours. I was at 1:30:34 after finishing mile 8, which was pretty freaking good because I walked SO MUCH. Gah. I was just dragging. I was so annoyed that even though I was moving forward, I kept slowing to a walk. I just could not find a rhythm today, and I seriously wanted to give up. I knew that I could just run the last half, then I would prove Matt wrong, but that didn't happen. And although it didn't take 4 hours, it was way too close for my liking. At least I know that I could do way better in sightly more favorable conditions.