If my subscription to Runner's World has taught me anything, it has taught me that there is a mystique around runners. Everyday, common runners like me find ultra-marathoners fascinating. Non-runners can't understand why some seemingly regular person would forego a Friday night of beer and bars because she's planning on waking up at 7am the next morning and running 11 miles.
I also think that there's an impression that running is glamorous. Books like Born to Run, movies like Chariots of Fire, and inspirational stories that come out of popular marathons like Boston create an aura around running that make it seem like an exclusive group.
Well, I'm here to tell you that it's not glamorous, it's not mystical, and it certainly isn't pretty. All of those inspirational stories are fueled by hundreds and thousands of ugly early mornings when that person didn't want to get out of bed, didn't want to put on sneakers, and certainly didn't have a cute neon outfit to put on.
I'm highly motivated by neon performance wear. Sue me.
So for your enjoyment, here's my list of wonderfully ugly things about running. Try to forget that these things are on my list because they've happened to me. Okaythanks.
It's hard to run when it's any colder than 50° and not get thick saliva phlegm in the back of your throat. This poses a conundrum - do I just let it hang out or do I do something about it? Well, I can't stand it so I've gotten really good hocking a loogie over my shoulder and also making sure that any stray saliva doesn't create an icy spit string across my face.
I warned you about this list.
This is certainly derivative of the spitting, but definitely a stand-alone ugly problem. Snot's funny because it comes in so many forms - runny, gunky, you name it. My management technique is borrowed from one of the few things I learned while watching my brother play baseball for fifteen years - "The Field Hanky".
Plug one nostril and then blow your nose over the opposite shoulder. Watch for potentially passing runners so you don't snot all over them in the process. Repeat for other nostril if necessary. This technique should eliminate your need to wipe snot on your neon performance wear.
And I'm not just talking about the time between the end of your run and the beginning of your shower. Any runner who runs more than twice a week inevitably has to repeat some running outfit pieces between loads of laundry.
God, I hope this isn't just me.
That means that when the third morning I run rolls around and I go to slip on the same neon green vest that I wore for my past two runs, neither it (nor I) is smelling like a bed of roses. The best word that I can find to describe it is funky.
Let's just say that these are not the mornings that I decide to stand in a crowded Starbucks for my morning coffee after I finish my run. I would never subject innocent patrons to that funk.
Ugh. The absolute worst. You know they make products specifically for this problem?! I did not.
My chafing tends to manifest itself in the form of a searing red line right where my sports bra band is. I'm normally pretty good anywhere up through six miles, but if I ever go farther than that I get increasingly worse chafing lines there.
I also made the classic mistake of running a half marathon in Florida in shorts without knowing that Body Glide or similar products existed. It's stunning that perfectly comfortable running shorts will turn on you at mile eleven.
My dad also just discussed (in graphic detail) some kind of chafing problem involving leg hair. I will defer to any comments that he chooses to leave on this post, since I have no experience with this problem.
But that's what this post is all about!
PLEASE. What kind of ugly running problems have you encountered? Have you found good solutions for them? I want to hear!!