Thursday, December 29, 2011

Running's darker side: what They don't want you to know!

If you're a runner and have spent any significant amount of time on the web, you may notice that there's no shortage of how-tos and race recaps and advice ranging from decent to completely terrible—not to mention all those recipes for "smoothies" with horrifying ingredients like lawn clippings and fingernails and flaxseed.

I'm sure they're all well-meaning, that bunch. Or are They? (That's "They" with a capital T, as in that unspecified group with supposed infinite wisdom about everything; as in "Lawn clippings contain lots of fiber, you know, and They say fiber keeps things, um, running smoothly." That They.)

But They leave things out. I already know the basics of being a runner; that Gu works great in a pinch and everyone loves Body Glide and—guess what—ice baths are cold. I am here to share those things about the sport that, previously, were only discussed in hushed tones. Or maybe these things really do only happen to me. Whatever the case, here they are:
  1. Pimples appear without warning in strange places; and by strange I don't mean outside your T-zone. I'd like to think that you're not a real runner until you get a zit on your shoulder.
  2. Those highfalutin sweat-wicking anti-microbial tech shirts will smell like swiss cheese and dead animals even after a good washing. I've had some luck with Arm & Hammer detergent, though it might not be a bad idea to call in a priest.
  3. Compression calf sleeves are a good reason to eek out an extra day of not having to shave your legs.
  4. Little kids on bikes are sent from the devil to ride into your path at the last possible second, forcing you to jump out of the way and come up with a censored kid-friendly version of what you'd normally say when startled. It's harder than it seems.
  5. Your sophisticated, refined taste in music will go down the toilet. Music downloaded under the pretense of "running music" will suddenly creep into regular rotation, and next thing you know, you're requesting "Tik Tok" at weddings.

Oh, and just for fun: here's a smoothie recipe I invented and drink regularly. Guaranteed to not taste like potting soil!

1/2 cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 cup orange juice (the lower-sugar version works well here too if you're watching your calories)
1 ripe banana
1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen

Mix in blender. Pour. Drink. Bing bang boom.