If you run, consider yourself a runner. Scratch that – call yourself a runner. Hold your head up high and declare “I’m a runner!” Here, we take a look back at what running was like before we became the runners we are today.
My favorite shoes are running shoes
Everyone can run. If you have shoes and can find a path, you can run. I started running three years ago in over-the-counter running shoes and ill-fitting yogaesk pants. Remember when they were cropped and flared? When I registered for my first half-marathon, I knew “real” running shoes were in order. Have you ever gone to a concert and fallen in love with the band? Earlier that day you really didn’t get what all the fuss was about now, after that amazing live experience, you’re their biggest fan. That’s what it feels like to get outfitted for running shoes. Oh, that’s what it feels like to run on pillows of air. Oh, my ankles are not supposed to turn this way and that? I may be running in clearance Target gear but I’ll never run in cheapo running shoes – worth every dollar.
To track or not to track
When I started to run, I manually tracked my progress by checking off the workouts on Hal Higdon’s running schedules. If, like me, you love to check off boxes on a never-ending to do list, this can be a helpful tool. But, as time progressed, I needed more stats to obsess over so I checked out Map My Run. I loved to map my runs. This is before FitBit and all that jazz so I manually (manually!) calculated my pace. Fast forward to the introduction of Nike Running apps (cue angels singing) – I’m not ashamed to call myself a tracking addict. This baby lets me know how many calories I’ve burned. It has built-in training programs and offers generic virtual coaching messages. It’s amazing how helpful generic coaching messages can be when you’re ready to throw in the towel. “HALFWAY POINT. KEEP GOING.” Ok, robot voice, I’ll keep going. Thank you robot voice.
Feed me, I’m rungry
It’s so easy to overeat after a long run. Here are a few dos and don’ts:
Do: eat a lot of protein.
Don’t: eat five servings of chili and cornbread.
Do: drink a lot of water.
Don’t: drink a lot of beer
Do: treat yourself to a cookie. You just ran!
Don’t: eat a lot of cookies and doughnuts.
Some races will really suck
After a successful run, I want to literally give myself a high-five. Yes! I did it! I can conquer my day with a big ol’ smile. Bad training runs are annoying at best and at worst, painful. A bad race? That’s another story. Weather, timing and anxiety can make a so-so race experience turn bad in no time. My worst race (to date) was the 2012 Crazylegs. The weather was dreary, that hill was insane and it kicked my ass. I ran fast to keep up with my friends and in the end, ended up walking a lot and beat myself up mentally. Then, I got passed by someone in a banana suit. Awesome. Jamie, correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t we both been passed by people in banana suits during races? Now, after experiencing highs and lows during training and come race day, I can push through and tell myself to do my best and not to get to wound up about the experience. That’s the beauty of running – if you have the courage to fail you have the courage to succeed!
It’s been eleven years since I first started running. There have been many ups and many downs, and years when I flat out didn’t run at all. The running part has never gotten easier with age, but a lot has changed since I first started out. Let’s take a trip down memory lane….
Discman: When was the last time you heard that word? You probably dropped that vernacular as soon as you started handing over your paychecks to the bank of “All Things Apple.” But yes, there was a time before iPads and iPhones and iPods and Nanos. It was a simpler time. It was a bumpier time. It was the time of the discman. This was in the early internet ages when you could download songs and burn them to a cd…but it would take about 5 hours to complete the whole process. And why would someone want to do that? Because that’s how you listened to music on the go. The real challenge with this? Holding your discman in the exact right way so that the songs wouldn’t skip. Think of how annoying it is to hold a water bottle during your run. Now imagine the water bottle is a cup and you’re trying not to spill it…over miles and miles. That’s just about how annoying it was to run with a discman. But it was WAY better than running without music. So we put it up with.
WAY too much cotton: Unfortunately, the time in which Lindsay and I started running was the age of the “cool” sweatpants. This was right when Juicy couture was becoming popular and J Lo was rocking the velour sweatsuit. It looked cool. But that was an awful workout experience. As a Junior in college, this translated into wearing your college sweatpants or something from Victoria Secret with “PINK” on the butt. Sure, you could pull out your Umbro shorts that you used in gym class, but that wasn’t what the cool kids wore to the gym. Pair that with a cotton t-shirt, your normal cotton socks, and cotton underwear, and you were ready to workout to the point where you looked like a middle-aged man just leaving a steamy sauna. Not a pretty sight. This is also referred to as the “Age of Chafing.”
Garmin Shmarmin: The conversation would go something like this:
Me: Wow, I just ran four miles!
Lindsay: How do you know?
Me: I drove the path yesterday and watched my odometer.
Lindsay: Nice. Can we drive what I just ran? I went from here down to the DQ, up through the park, and over to First and back.
Me: Sure. And then let’s stop at Erbs and Gerbs on the way back. I’m starving.
Lindsay: Ohhhh. While we’re over there, let’s go tanning.
Me: Yes. And then a stop at the liquor store?
Lindsay: Sounds like a perfect Saturday to me!
One thing was for sure, we had our priorities straight. But this is how you figured out your true running distance – you drove it. This was back before you had garmin or mapmyrun.com and any other easily -accessed technology.
The gear doesn’t make the runner…but it sure helps. A hardcore runner might think, “This is all just stuff…you can run with or without any of this.” I totally agree. In fact, I step out of my corporate job, toss my heels to the side and am fine running miles and miles in my pencil skirt, non-supportive bra, tights and accessories…said no one ever. But let’s get real. I’m a wimp. And anything that can make my run more comfortable and enjoyable, is one more thing that will keep me running in the long run.
So I give thanks to my iphone that rests on my arm during my runs, to my dri fit clothes and anti-wicking garments that destroy all forms of chafing, and to technology that allows me to accurately track my whereabouts and keeps me accountable.