The time from the Wine and Dine half to the Disney Marathon weekend has flown by. I’ve walked, run and biked right at 600 miles since August 12th and I’m looking forward to next week. I know I said at the beginning that I didn’t consider myself a runner, but several things came together for me to work through my self imposed obstacles.
1) My training pushed me to do things that I would not have done otherwise.
I never cared for no frills races as an adult. That’s why I got into obstacle racing. I needed something to break up the monotony and something to convince myself I was doing something besides running. Still today, I’m a race snob. If it doesn’t have some kind of twist and/or some rad medal I’m probably going to opt out unless it’s one a friend wants to do. The flipside is that if it’s a unique course with a good medal, I’ll kill myself to reach that goal.
Fast-forward to my training. I’m pulling half marathons+ in the Atlanta hills and there is no medal. No support team. No water/snack stops. There’s just me, my thoughts to keep me occupied and my legs to get me home. Literally. Sharon drives me up into the mountains and dumps me out, so the only way home is to run. Two years ago I would have called you crazy if you said that I was going to be doing 13-20 miles at a time just for kicks. Now it’s just called the weekend.
2) The gear. All the gear.
I have more shoes than my wife. I’ll be wearing four to five different pairs just for marathon weekend. I have winter outfits, rain outfits, fall outfits, and different levels of hot outfits. I’ve got the running watch, the running belt and about 567 pairs of sunglasses. I now stress out about it being 53 degrees because it falls in between outfit types. Stupid? You betcha!
I’ve also tried so many different combos of snacks/protein bars/gummies/gels its ridiculous. Right now my jam is a pack of Clif bar shot blocks and some iced oatmeal cookies on long runs. I have also really enjoyed those soft peppermints that you can suck on.
3) I stopped hating it and embraced the suck.
You know it doesn’t matter how far I go, the first mile is always the worst. Once you’ve suppressed the demons telling you to stay home and your body wrestles them away as it gets going, it’s actually not bad. The majority of time the biggest battle was just getting out the door. I never regretted going out for a run(even when I got injured) but I always regretted not going.
4) I adjusted to running life.
Chaffed nipples is a real thing. I now own a large box of Band-Aids to pre-emptively treat before runs. I also started to heal much quicker. Typically I can be jacked up physically from a long run, but be fine for the most part the next day. I also started getting blisters in weird spots on my toes on long runs.
There is no magical racing moment when you consider yourself a runner.
If you get out and move your body in a forward motion with intention, congrats! You are a runner! Placing in a race or making a certain distance doesn’t magically make you a runner. If you run/jog you are a runner. It’s a simple as that. Honestly the most “magical” moment I had when I realized I was a runner was when I went to the store to buy that big box of band-aids. Sometimes it’s the odd moments in life that show you how far you’ve come.
A quick update on my health. Several people have asked how I’ve been managing my knee and leg/back pain since my injury and the Wine and Dine races that followed. The Dr. told me that I would be living with a good amount of pain that would not go away until my running break in May. I’m very happy to say that through some PT, a bit of medicine and adjustment in my own expectations, I’m now pretty much pain free!