I've discussed before some of the various ways running isn't pretty, ways that apply to everyone. But today, as I put in my long run for the week, a 12-miler, I pondered the grand forces of the universe that conspire to make MY running less-than-beautiful to behold.
One aspect of this - not the gruesome aspect - is my mode of dress. At best, I'm not a snappy dresser. And though I'd never characterize myself as a slob, or even sloppy, I have a tendency to show up in jeans where khakis are better suited. And when I do show up in a dress shirt and khakis, my belt rarely matches my shoes. Keep this inability to dress well in mind.
I woke up this morning at 8 a.m., having gotten in bed last night before midnight. It felt great to have a real night's sleep! I took my time getting ready for the run, allowing my body to slowly come to alertness, revelling in staying in bed an extra 20 minutes listening to NPR. But, duty calls, and I had to get a run in while the sun was anti-meridian, as the post-meridian held other plans (since cancelled).
Thinking back to Wednesday's cold run, and hearing the temp was in the high 50's, I took my inability to find my running shorts and tech T as a sign to dress warmer, and put on my running pants, a cotton T, and my hoodie.
Big mistake. Remember that axiom about not changing anything major right before a race? How about not changing a whole bunch of stuff all at once before a long run?
After a tough warmup run to the park, I was sweating heavily and realized I'd overdressed. Also, I was carrying way too much shit and just needed to lighten the load. I stopped at my favorite tree and crammed my water bottle and gel flask into its hollow, then stuffed the hood of my sweatshirt in, too, leaving the rest hanging out. If there was ever a "free stuff; steal me" sign, that was it. Well, I reasoned, there's a water fountain in the park if my stuff disappears. (I needn't have worried. The athletes in Prospect Park are, for the most part, honest people; I often get "hey, that's a good idea" feedback from people who see me stop at my cache for re-fueling and hydration.)
So there's me, already half-soaked in sweat, tucking my t-shirt into my running pants, hiking the pants up to my waist, and rolling the top down a couple turns, a practice I also do with my shorts. Why? Package control, my friend. Ladies have boobs, men have other parts that aren't good to have bouncing around.
The upshot is, I look goofy dressed like that. My white socks blaze out like I'm fresh from nerd boot camp and I look most emphatically un-cool. Other runners manage to look good; even graceful, in their sweaty things. Not me. To top it all off, I ran with music again, and my cord management system is a knot in the middle of the cord, fastened with a safety pin to my shirt.
Why do I obsess over the appearance issue? I don't really; if I did, I'd change the way I look. Fact is, I'm simply stalling for time and avoiding talking about the real reason running is not pretty. I'll get to it eventually.
Besides, I haven't even touched yet on the mouth boogers. You know what I mean, right? That junk that builds up on your lips from drinking and licking your lips and breathing through your mouth... not that that is real visible, but still, I have to deal with it.
Three difficult - but not terrible or overly stressful - laps of the park later, I gathered up my stuff and took a minute to fueld and hydrate before heading out of the park. Another mistake. I should have just grabbed and run. To finish my twelve, I had to run on down to my old abode, which also allowed me to pick up some mail. But my legs at this point had had it and weren't too happy with being asked to do another .9 miles.
Overall, a good run, even if I am a tad sore. Not in a major way, though, and I was conscientious about my stretching before and after, so I don't think I'll suffer like I did two weeks ago. I think that with a nice easy couple of runs mid-week, I should be ready to go for the Staten Island half.
12.8 miles total: