The other night, I was out running (for once), and it dawned on me that I’ve changed a lot since becoming a runner – and not in the ways I might have guessed three years ago.
This post is inspired by a post and subsequent podcast from NoMeatAthlete.com. His was about weird things he does now that he’s vegan. In my post, I will take that idea and alter it to fit my own selfish needs.
On the topic of weird vegan things, though, I will mention that the weirdest thing I do now that I am a vegan is make “cheese” out of things that aren’t cheese. So. There’s that. I have planned a better post about the vegan diet and lifestyle I’ve adopted, but that’ll be later. Just settle down, okay?
7 Weird things I do (or think about) since becoming a runner.
Think about moving to a part of town where there are hills.
I’ve mentioned before that the area where I live resembles an ironed shirt. It’s insanely flat. I went on an 8-mile run in my neighborhood (as much as an 8-mile course can still be considered my neighborhood) the other night, and my elevation change was 38 feet. So in eight miles of running, I went up a total of 38 feet. That’s not a whole lot. I love running hills. They’re challenging and fun. On the west and north sides of town, there are hilly neighborhoods! Some even have really steep hills. I’m not talking a mountain range or anything, but something is better than nothing. When we bought our house, nearby hills weren’t a consideration at all. I think terrain would be a consideration now, were we to move.
Look at my daily planner as written-in-stone assignments (also…use a daily planner).
When I got my training plan for my first half marathon, I didn’t know how to handle it. Here before me were 12 weeks of running and exercising all on one sheet of paper. How was I going to keep track of everything? That’s when I got a daily planner. I wrote my runs in for each day, all the way up to the day it said “13.1!” It was the best thing I ever did. I stayed completely on track for my training. That planner, and those mileages penned up in the corner of each day, made me realize that I had a commitment to running that I couldn’t avoid. It was then that I first started saying things like, “I have to run X miles tonight, so I won’t be able to have pizza right after work.” I have to run – because it’s in my planner.
Think about food from a “what will this do to me when I run 16 miles tomorrow?” perspective.
Friday nights are not party nights because Saturday isn’t a sleep-in day. Gone are the “drink beer and eat pizza” Friday nights. Gone are the “eat anything” every other night nights. I gotta run! Lunch needs to support an evening run, dinner on Friday night needs to support a long run on Saturday!
Ignore black toenails and constantly blistered feet.
My feet are messed up. I never had a bruised toenail ever in my life before I started running. Today, I’ve had disturbing toenail casualties. I painfully lost half of one toenail after my first marathon, watched it grow back – then ran a second marathon wherein I busted that newly grown toenail and bruised the same one on my other toe. Two bruised toenails, but I run on them daily. I also almost always have a blister somewhere. I leave them be because they turn into callouses eventually. So, bruised toenails and blistered/calloused feet. Not all that pretty, but I guess it comes with the territory.
Wear tights in public.
I never used to wear tights (okay, just once, but I wasn’t good at it). Now, I almost look forward to wearing them because they make my legs look good. Also I suppose they keep me warm when I have to run or cycle outside when it’s cold or whatever.
After running a very painful marathon in 2013, I got real serious about injury prevention – a large part of which is strength training. I love to read about methods of becoming a stronger, more physically healthy athlete. I’ve learned about shin splints, achilles tendinopathy, hip flexors, cadence, firing glutes, and all sorts of other things. I couldn’t get a degree in this stuff – and I probably couldn’t explain any of it very well – but it certainly helps me.
Relive endurance events moments before falling asleep.
While it can be really frustrating, this is one of my favorite things. The first time I experienced this was after riding my first century, the Redbud Ride in London, Kentucky. This was a bike ride that had me pedaling in the saddle in the eastern Kentucky countryside for more than six hours. At home later that night, while I was falling asleep, I was suddenly riding my bike again. It wasn’t a dream; I was mostly awake. The feeling was so real I could feel my leg muscles start to burn with exertion. It was pretty amazing, feeling all the sensations of riding my bike again – the wind, the sounds, the textures – just as I had done for almost that entire day. This has turned into something I look forward to after running or cycling for a long time. The most frustrating was after my marathon last October. Laying in the hotel bed that night, I was back on the road, running and running. All the thoughts of cadence and form were going through my head; the long road stretched out in front of me, my feet pounding the endless pavement, I was even counting down miles (I was somewhere around 17 or 18 miles in). It was intense enough to keep me from actually falling all the way to sleep. That was frustrating…but I still enjoy the sensation.
This isn’t as unusual as one might think. Not long after the Redbud experience, I heard an episode of RadioLab on NPR. The episode was about sleep, and one of the guests explained exactly what I experienced! The link is here. If you don’t want to listen to the whole episode, skip forward to 40:52 to listen to hear the part I’m talking about.
What’s the weirdest thing you do (or think about) now as part of a lifestyle change (fitness, diet, daily routines, etc.)?