Run Like You’re Being Chased by the Approaching Raptors

It’s finally happened; I’ve decided to run a full marathon. Now, okay – there’s probably still at least a 40% chance that I won’t follow through here, but I thought I’d write about the great start I’m having.

1. I bought marathon pants. No, that’s not really a thing, but I’ve found that one way to motivate myself in athletics is to get the right uniform. In addition, to the marathon pants (that I ordered from Australia because they are more epic and legendary than anything the U.S. has to offer), I also decided it’s a good idea to run in pigtails. Yes, I look like a child, but really, I feel like a child too, which is the important part. For softball, I often had the hair in two braids, and that worked for me. Adjusting that just a bit for the running worked on the first training run I attempted with them, because it reminded me that I’m choosing to run. I don’t have to go faster than I want to, or farther. I am like a little girl choosing to give her weekends away to softball. And it’s supposed to be fun.

2. I started with a tablespoon of the chia seeds every morning in water. Kendra has been a chia pusher for a few months now, but it seemed a little too granola to me. After all, she drinks a terribly-green smoothie for breakfast every morning and probably weighs like 45 lbs less than I weigh. Also, chia seeds get slimy and weird in water, and the other options for consuming them seem like too much work. However, after the first few mornings, I got over the texture and realized that they fuel my runs like I’d imagine drinking pumpkin juice, HP-style, might. I even feel better and more awake when I drink them on days when I don’t run. Maybe there’s a placebo-effect going on here, but I don’t think so… I think they’ve made me feel about 500% better than I feel without them.

3. I bought new shoes. I usually spend about $30 on my running shoes, but I went all-out with the $120 Brooks that I paid a crap-ton of money to ship. Also, I went a half-size bigger, because I think I have transferred the female preoccupation with being smaller to my feet, which is a terrible idea, because feet don’t really shrink, no matter how much you diet. I did a short training run in the news shoes, and everything felt improved except for the huge arch-blisters they gave me. I pretty much always tear the hell out of my feet when I run, so I’m going to make it my mission to figure this thing out and protect my feet this running season. Next step: research running sandals. Maybe I’ll go super-tribal because the 5-finger Vibraims improved the way the structure of my feet (bones, I think) feel when I run in Nikes, but I still get horrific blisters if I go more than like 8 miles in them. Also, I’m probably going to buy an unbelievable amount of moleskin next time I’m at the store.

4.I went back to the running without an ipod. Okay, so running with music can occasionally be nice. Also, I like running while listening to sermons sometimes. However, I don’t like that I don’t and can’t pay attention to my body the way I want to when there’s anything in my ears. I can’t hear my breathing or my footfalls. I can’t think about the terrain I’m running on. I can’t push myself as well up hills. So, it’s back to the no headphones for awhile for me.

5. I’m almost finished reading Born to Run (which means you can expect at least one weekly quote from it) and I also checked out three other books on running from the library. Born to Run is pretty much the most inspirational book ever, so here’s your quote for the week. This is just intellectually interesting – not inspiring.

Three times, America has seen distance-running skyrocket, and it’s always in the midst of a national crisis. The first boom came during the Great Depression, when more than 200 runners set the trend by racing 40 miles a day across the country in the Great American Footrace. Running then went dormant, only to catch fire again in the early 70s, when we were struggling to recover from Vietnam, the Cold War, race riots, a criminal president and the murders of three beloved leaders. And the third distance boom? One year after the September 11 attacks, tail-running suddenly became the fastest-growing outdoor sport in the country. Maybe it was a coincidence. Or maybe there’s a trigger in the human psyche, a coded response that activates our first and greatest survival skill when we sense the raptors approaching.”

pp. 11-12 in  Born to Run by Christopher McDougall


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