Monday, February 18, 2013

10 Things I Learned The Hard Way As A Runner

When I started running four years ago I literally had no clue about anything related to running. Fueling, paces, gear, training were all unknowns to me. I’m not going to lie – there is something refreshing and pure about being so na├»ve. Yet, my ignorance definitely led me down some unfortunate roads. Here are a few things I’ve learned and I didn’t even die along the way.

1. Mucous Happens. A Lot. I had no clue when I started running that my nose would constantly be dripping while I ran. It never fails that the snot faucet gets turned on when you start to run. This has a name (who knew?)– Exercise Induced Rhinitis - and happens because of increased air flow through the nose. Cold weather can also make the problem worse. Thank goodness for snot rockets.

2. Food Will Hurt You. Pizza, chicken wings and two Bass Ales the night before your (my) first half marathon might pose a problem at mile 5…and mile 7…and mile 9.2…watch what you eat the night and morning before a race. Experiment beforehand. It matters.

3. Things Get Crowded. If you tell your family you will just “see them at the finish line” of a race that has more than five people in it, you will not find them for 29 hours. I crossed the finish line of my first marathon (Rock and Roll Phoenix) ready to fall into the arms of my adoring family while I cried tears of joy. Instead I spent the next hour trying to find them. By then all I wanted was a stretcher and a beer.

4. Unlocked Doors Are Trouble. If you forget to lock the porta potty door, someone will come in. I was once actually trying to clean myself up when someone barged in. I think he is still traumatized.

5. Clothes Are Not What They Seem. You should always test out a new piece of clothing before you wear it for a race. I bought a new running skirt for a marathon and never wore it the day before the race because I had worn that brand before and thought I knew how it fit. Nope. I spent 26.2 miles with my crack showing. Running clothing malfunction.

6. Injuries Lurk Everywhere. Racing with “kind of” an injury will leave you with a flown blown major injury. In my first year of running my foot hurt really badly (like I could not run ten feet without pain), but I ran the Boulder Back Roads Half Marathon anyway. What’s the worst that could happen, right? I did finish the race, but I didn’t walk back to my car. I had to be carried. Because I had a stress fracture in my foot. Bad, stupid runner.

boulderhalf

7. People Leave Them On. If you forget to double check that the treadmill is actually not moving before you step on it, there is a chance it will be “on” and you will be flung across the gym. I was.

8. It’s Possible to Run Your Face Off. There is such a thing as Runner’s Face and I think I have it. It’s when you get actually lose fatty tissue in your face and start to look kind of wrinkled and gaunt. Here are some tips to prevent it.

9. Pee Happens. Again and Again. No matter how much you go before getting to the start line of a race you will always have to pee when you start. And, while you’re racing. This is because there is increased blood flow from the cardiovascular workout can speed up other body systems as well, including your kidneys’ production of urine {source}.

10. Water Does Stop Flowing. Sometimes races run out of water. I never believed this, but at one especially hot race in Boulder a couple years ago, there was not a drop left. Carrying a fuel belt may not be such a bad idea after all.

What’s something you’ve learned the hard way as a runner?

SUAR

46 comments:

  1. Don't forget Body Glide. Ever. Even when you think you don't need it.

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  2. Leaves do not make great blister pads.

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  3. This is one of your funniest posts ever! Thanks for sharing... and brightening my night when I finish a presentation due in 6.5 hours (it's 1:43 am here) - ahhh the life of a student :)

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  4. I always bring a few squares of TP with you even if you think you won't use it.

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    1. Absolutely agree with that one Lisa! Also addresses the snot issue :)

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  5. Being injured CAN be a good thing....http://carpcorner.blogspot.com/ I just blogged about this today!

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  6. Four years? Well that explains pretty much everything....

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  7. I am still amazed that now when people ask me questions about running, I can give them a pretty good answer without doing research first. This is a great list! I had to look up runner's face lol!

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  8. Leaves aren't so great as toilet paper, especially the dry ones. Runner's face!! omg I thought I was just getting old,wrinkly and kind of skinny!

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  9. Chafing happens. Everywhere. Places you don't expect it. Use body glide, and carry vaseline with you. You just never know when you'll need it. Again and again...

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  10. OMG, this is one of the best posts I've ever read. LOVE LOVE LOVE this.

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  11. -Remember your Body Glide.

    -Sometimes, the race distance markers LIE.

    -It's important to know which shops/eateries have back doors near the bathroom, so you can pop in without walking past the cash register...

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  12. HA! This may be the ONE time it's good to have a kidney disorder that results in a VERY slow filtering kidney. Oh, and on roadtrips. I never have to stop.

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  13. Some cars won't see you no matter what you are wearing, carrying or flashing. Be prepared to jump out of the way.

    The Kidless Kronicles

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    1. YES!!! i could sound a bugle outtah my ass and cars still don't care!! I wear this bright flashing light and bright vest and bright everything and cars do not care! it's kind of like riding a motorcycle. they don't see you and never will so run like it. I am constantly aware.

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  14. I've learned # 3 & #6 the hard way too!

    I placed 3rd in my age division in my very first race E-V-E-R and no one was there to see me finish! (I finally found my family still pilfering the bagel tent!!)

    I also ran my first half marathon after popping 800mg Motrin and 1000mg of Tylenol because I had been battling a "sore calf muscle" ...it was a tibial stress fracture :( But I did finish!

    Totally agree with the Body Glide too! I

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  15. Well I'm currently living #6. I just got diagnosed with a stress fracture in my 5th metatarsal. It's been hurting for a month and I've run a half and 2 trail races on it. Smart move.

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    1. Nooo! Don't do that (especially trail races)!! I promise that metatarsals heal, but not if you run on them!

      [Trust me, I've been there. I have one that snaps if I look at it funny, it seems...]

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  16. Use slide clips on your shoelaces. Makes for a really quick adjustment in the middle of a race/run. And don't pay the big bucks for "running" slide clips. Get them from the camping section at Walmart - about $1 for a pair. Buy several in case you lose/break one.

    Buy a neck gaiter for cold weather running. I use it as a hat. With the top open, your head can let off heat. Roll it down to use it as a headband to keep yours ears warm. When you get too hot to wear it, you can stick it in your waistband with no discomfort or distraction.

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  17. Your marathon pace is NOT your 5k pace.

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  18. The number of times I have told people not to do anything stupid before their big race, and the number of times that they did... Then it's the same old story, but.... I didn't know it could effect my race. Stupid is as Stupid does.

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  19. Great post! And I've read them all. You have a real knack for writing. Keep it coming.

    Hey, everyone, take note of #6. Been there. Done that. Don't go there.

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  21. I am with you on the mucous thing...I am like a 1st grader with slick sleeves and snot rockets are a common occurrence. I am pretty sure this is the reason for dehydration because my sweat to snot ratio is definitely off!
    And I would like to thank you for giving me another reason to worry about my face! UGH! As if aging wasn't enough, now I am running my face off.
    Sigh...
    I am guessing snot may be the actual cause of this as well, they just don't want to admit it! ;)

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  22. Socks are an important part of your running attire. I did NOT know this when I started running. I do now.

    The snot thing makes so much sense to me now! I wish I could find a way to carry a big ol' box of tissues with me when I run.

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  23. Illnesses (both yours and your kids!) will derail your training plans. Build in a cushion so you can make up for lost time!

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  24. Funny (but true!!) stuff!
    Although, I'm amazed that someone would actually get off of a treadmill and walk away while it was still running - people never cease to surprise!!!

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  25. Runner's face! That would totally happen to me -- I could run off every ounce of fat in my face, but the stuff around my butt and thighs would be with me forever. =) Great post.

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  26. That it's possible to get chafing between your butt cheeks. I'm still not really ready to talk about it. Also, if someone asks to borrow your Body Glide, they're not using it right. See previous statement.

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  27. Bleeding nipples anyone?
    That chaffing pretty much starts when you realize you have no Glide.
    That its ok to go when you gotta go, when there's no porta potty insight.

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  28. Compression post race expedites recovery. Wear it.

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  29. I learned some runners will not greet other runners passing by.
    I also learned that running, by itself, is not a guarantee to lose weight.

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  30. I learned lesson #10 at the La Jolla Half Marathon in 2008... 90 degrees. The mile 10 water station was EMPTY. I was carrying my own handheld bottle, but couldn't refill it until we reached the beach (drinking fountains) a mile later.

    Carrying your own water is a good rule of thumb.

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  31. I am walking a half marathon in May - still suggest Body glide??

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  32. WOW! This is my first time hearing about runner's face! I am totally freaked out.

    Pizza before race day is always a good idea for me. I swear it's my magic fuel.

    All good tips!

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  33. Haha, I have broken the mold and tried something new on two occasions now the night before a half marathon! But I don't recommend it- I've just developed an iron stomach after having a kid ;)

    One thing I definitely recommend for everyone though is to never count on getting enough sleep the night before a race! Something - whether it's a cranky kid, mound of chores, or simply nerves - will inevitably keep you up. So try to sleep well TWO nights before the race.

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  34. To wear panties underneath my running skirt...

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  35. men's nipples can bleed through a white running shirt.
    I now use nip guards.
    Art
    http://fitatfifty-art.blogspot.com/

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  36. The older i get the more the pee one rings true. I consistently think holy cow I am sweating like a mad woman how could I possibly have anything left to need to pee!

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  37. RUN YOUR FACE OFF!! Holy crap, I had not heard of this before. And the pee thing is so, so true.

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  38. 'Run your face off' is proof positive that you simply cannot 'spot reduce' fat! If that worked, the fat would come off the belly & hips & thighs but not the face & boobs.

    My solution to nipple chafe has been Under Armour compression tops - both heat gear & cold gear. Pick dark colors or the show through is awkward. Sort of spandex for guys.

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  39. yeah the run your face off bit is so true. Running ages people. not only the lack of fat but the elements outside do a number of skin- the wind, sun, etc.

    I am a new runner and when I first started I new NOTHING! I learned pretty quickly that wearing cotton in july while running is BAD. and chafing. oh the chafing. ouch! my skin under my boobs was raw!!! all because i didnt wear the right running bra.

    also, I learned how much anemia can affect running. once i started an iron supplement I got much faster!

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