This is not a complaint! It really isn’t. I just thought I’d create a running list (no pun intended) of the things I do for running, that I would not normally do if I was not running. Here it goes,
1. Drink lots of water.
Drinking lots of water is the hardest thing ever. It has become my 4th job behind, well, my job, school, and family. Water water water… it’s exhausting. But the high temperature-high humidity combo of south Florida makes you have to take in so much water you are planning your life (and runs) around it entirely.
2. Pay attention to weather.
Lightning. Storms. Fronts. Thunder. Funnel Clouds. Wind (for bug issues). Temperature. Humidity. I’ve become an unofficial south Florida meteorologist. And I’m addicted to my weather apps.
3. Learn about Florida wildlife.
Lemme see…… first it was panthers. As in my spouse saying “Nooo. No way panthers are an issue on that path you sometimes run.” Turns out, yes, there WERE panthers there (spouse: “I thought you KNEW there were panthers there! There are panthers everywhere in Florida! I just meant that they won’t likely bother YOU.“), so I now disregard all wildlife commentary from the spouse. But, since I can’t leave this alone yet, ok, so the other day I’m asking about a different path, specifically about alligator activity, and the spouse yet again tells me, “Noooo. There is just as much danger on the path you run on NOW as there is on that path that goes between the two heavily concealed bodies of water.” Ok, he didn’t say that last part but he knows the path and assured me it’s just as safe. That was until he rode his bike through the path and came back and said, “On second thought, yeah, they have really let that path get overgrown. I think you should avoid running on it.” Oh yeah? Thanks a heap!!
4. Eat bananas.
They have potassium. I need potassium. I hate bananas. It’s work.
5. Wake up at
4:45am 400am to run on weekends.
The kids sleep til 630 or 7 now. This has taken YEARS to get to this point. As any parent of young kids knows, this is the point where you finally get to rejoice in those extra hours. But no. Not if you’re a south Florida runner! Because it’s blazing hot like on the surface of the sun by 8am. You cannot sleep in AND get a long run in. Not in summertime. No, you are setting your alarm at
4:45am 400am so you can get across town to meet the marathon crew and get a jump on the sun. ‘Course my family and friends love to call and tell me how they’re going out for their run at 8, 9 or 10am on the weekends and that’s wonderful for them. But I have put each of them on a mental call-back list for late January when it’s 75 degrees here and sunny and breezy and I’m having the best runs of my life while they shovel themselves out from under 5 feet of snow.
Update: It’s funny that I was complaining about 445am before when now I get up at 400am to do the long runs. Ugh. Yes, longer runs and hotter temps in late summer have forced us to start earlier. Now we run with lights on and probably get 5-6 miles done before the first bit of light.
6. Wear sunblock all the time.
I’m not a big sun worshiper. Beaches, pools, nah. I’d rather be snowboarding. Which, incidentally, was the last time I used this much sunblock. Only, with boarding, I didn’t rub sunblock into my eyeballs for 2 and 1/2 hours. I save that for running.
7. Make coffee the night before.
Coffee is one of those things you look forward to when you wake up. And in my ideal scenario, I’d wake up and push a button on my $5,000 cappuccino machine and voila! Cappuccino in seconds! But for run mornings, so that I don’t wake up the aforementioned children and spouse with all my banging around, I grind the beans and get everything ready for my $19 french press the night before instead. Sorry if this sounds nit picky but when you’re getting all your 50 pieces of run gear ready the night before, the whole “now get the coffee ready” step feels like the tipping point.
Update: Sometimes I don’t make coffee anymore. It’s just too early and I don’t care anymore. No amount of coffee is gonna help a 4 hour run session. I feel like I’m Tom Hanks in Castaway where he stopped cooking his fish and started eating it raw. You just stop caring about frills and luxuries. You’re too beaten from training.
8. Run with a group.
It’s not a bad thing! In fact, it’s been the best thing ever for my training. But it’s not a normal thing for me. And, as with any group, you compromise on things when it’s not just all about you. Pace. Run routes. Start times. Hey, when you get into serious mileage, you’re stepping out of your comfort zone in a lot of ways.
I think that’s it for now. I honestly wish I could add MORE to this list, but there are things I still haven’t given up for running…. which makes me the poorer runner for it. Maybe one day I will give up things like soda and cheese and finally get down to race weight. But for now, I definitely feel like there are a lot of things I DO do that are solely because of running. And, ok, maybe there are a couple of good things in there.
Update: I actually have given up cheese. *sigh* And all other junk food. Turns out I don’t want to haul a bunch of excess fat on 20 mile runs. I’ve lost some weight already but I still have a bit to go. Wow. I guess I have given up a lot more for running now. Marathon training changes a person. Good changes.