Been away for a couple of weeks from this hobby blog of mine, and what better way to launch back into it than with a list of the things that annoy me the most when I run, eh?
A quick update then…. The last week I ran just over 73 miles and that is a lot for me. My schedule increases by quite a bit in the coming weeks – the month of March is the one where those of us running in a Spring marathon hit our mileage peaks.
My schedule last week went like this:
Monday – 6mi recovery run AM. 4mi recovery run PM.
Tuesday – 10mi with 4miles run at half marathon pace
Wednesday – 10mi general pace run.
Thursday – 6mi recovery
Friday – 12mi run at marathon pace.
Saturday – 6mi recovery
Sunday – 19mi.
You can go and check out my runs over at Strava if you’re on there and are interested.
Marathon and ultra marathon training, especially when training for a specific event is not just running though. You’d maybe think that all us runners do is run a lot for our training, but it is more than just running. Some sessions are hard, fast sessions where the muscles and joints take a pounding. However, I do a lot of free weights, resistance training and plyometrics. I spend time at the squat rack in my garage, using resistance bands, jumping on and off boxes, working my core in particular and have a stretching and mobility routine that is also a virtual workout in and of itself.
I am fit, energised and well in general as a result, but the day after a long run, I struggle to get up for my early morning recovery run. There are times when I feel royally weary. I am in my 40s, I run my own busy business, have two toddlers at home, and so I forgive myself for feeling a tad knackered on occasion following the really tough days of hard training.
That’s not really a major problem in my opinion though. The odd bout of stiffness, groaning as I get up out of a chair and not wanting to get up at 5am a couple of days a week are all things I have grown used to over the years and strangely derive some comfort from. However, there are a few things that are a bit annoying about being a runner with schedules such as those I follow:
1. Next Day Excuses:
Long gone are my days of cutting shapes to rave music until 4am. My typical phrases are no longer about how late I can stay up, what drinks I’m having next or where the after party is, instead, I now say stuff like;
“I can’t stay late, I’ve got a long run in the morning.”
“I’m not drinking, I’ve got a long run in the morning.”
This is the tip of the iceberg, but Sunday is my Saturday night, if you can call it that. During the hardcore training season, I tend not to drink at all and if I do it is on a Sunday night after my long run. I struggle to do my long runs without good nutrition and a good night’s sleep under my belt, so I don’t go for it on Saturday night’s as a result.
2. Attitudes of Non-Runners:
Recently, as I ran along the sea front at 6am, a couple of youths at the end of their night were smoking joints in their car and leaned out of the window to hilariously utter the words:
“Run Forest, Run!”
This is the single most hilarious, cripplingly funny and sharp witted thing to say to a runner, who has never heard such a highly creative joke as that before. A bit like hypnosis professionals being told “look into my eyes, not around the eyes….” ad nauseum.
Jenny was saying it out of kindness to encourage her friend Forest to outrun a group of bullies, and ever since morons around the world have taken to shouting it at someone who is also running. It officially stopped being funny about 2 days after the release of the film.
It is also what this comment represents though. An attitude towards a runner.
Loads of people complain on social media about runners always talking about running. So what if they do? We all talk about things we like. We all talk about things that make us feel accomplished, why not? If running is an important part of a person’s life, and if that person wanted to go on about it at Facebook all the time, then so what? Is it any worse than constant pouting selfies, photos of a glass of Prosecco or someone’s dinner, or a hopelessly scientifically inaccurate meme by David Avocado Wolfe or sharing of a free prize giveaway from your local butchers?
If ever I forget to apply my Gurney Goo or Vaseline to certain areas of my body during a long run in particular, I am reminded of it when I get into the shower. That stings. I rarely forget these days. Chafing is not cool.
I’m not going into details on this, but I have suffered due to chafing and ensure it does not happen anymore.
4. Hideous Feet:
I live at the seaside. I go to the beach a lot. My wife and I own a beach hut, we love it. It means I go bare foot a lot and people have to see my feet. They are gnarled, with a few toes without nails, some post event blood blisters and thick hard skin that looks like a bunion but isn’t. It would be less conspicuous if I were a Hobbit.
After a long run though, those feet are sensitive and require care. This is unknown to my children, aged 2 and 4. They just want to trample on my lap, headbutt me at full pelt and of course spend a lot of time landing on your toes. However, if you complain or even utter the tiniest sign of an ‘ouch’ they get upset, so you hold it in and they don’t learn.
I was raised with dogs, spent my entire life with dogs around me, I love them. I struggle with two types of dogs that I encounter when running:
a) Dogs that are out of control: Those ones that come and bound up to you, jump up on you and all over you so that your running gear is covered in brown, sandy paw marks. It is made worse in the dark winter morning hours when you can’t see them until they are on you. Many dog owners have LED collars for their dogs now so you can see a bright green floating circle, looking like a mini flying saucer about knee high bounding toward you. My own head torches and hand held torches just seem to be something to run towards to many dogs; they are like moths.
These are also often owned by people who walk ahead of their dogs and don’t actually see the dog taking a crap on the pavement or on the promenade. I am sure to let them know.
b) Dogs who want to bite your balls: Every now and then I run past a sweet old lady with her dinky dog and as I get close the dog stops, squares up to me, bears it’s teeth and then is catapulted by itself in my direction as I run past. The usual retort from those owners is “oh he’s not usually like this” – well I don’t care too much what he is usually like or not, right now he is not being a good boy. These are usually smaller, yappier breeds that have an attitude.
6. Irregular Runners:
These are people who run when it is sunny. Or people who do a single run each week and so are fresh, who sprint past you (me) like I am an OAP who is going to need help crossing the road, and then I run past them again 5 minutes later while they have finished their one mile run, are offing and puffing like Rocky at the top of the steps in Philadelphia, and though I’m 10 miles in, I’ve got another 10 miles to go yet.
Or a really young guy sprinting past you wearing non-running trainers, converse all stars for example, and long surfing shorts with a football shirt, who you then see virtually throwing up 800 metres further down the track.
I’ve not mentioned cyclists. I used to get annoyed at cyclists who would often bomb it past you, hurtling at great speed yet hardly peddling, with the wind at their back. Then you see them again later on in the run cycling at 2mph desperate to get off and walk fighting against the wind. This is usually the men who have all the gear, the Sky sponsored replica clothing, incredibly expensive bike, aged well over 40 and have a pub landlord figure. However, they do not concern me anymore and I’ll tell you why; I have newfound respect for all cyclists. I attempted to get cycling and join my brother doing triathlons but could not cope with the amount of pain and constant battering that my perineum area was getting. I moved seat positions, got cushioned and non-cushioned and it never became tolerable. I admire you guys for putting up with that, well done to you all.
Apart from all that, I love running…..