We run faster, stronger and longer when there are other people around. For example, the guy getting his mail from his mailbox is a reason for us to speed up and put on a more determined expression…even if he looks like Earnest Borgnine. We pick up our shuffle a little and look a bit more focused. We might even spit as we kick on by – anything that creates the “bad ass runner” mystique. We bear down even more when we see another runner coming toward us. A gentle, knowing nod is the only exchange that transpires during passage. There’s something about a crowd, or even just one person around when we are running that creates a little more motivation. Give us bells and whistles (or just simply acknowledge us) and we’ll run a little bit better. Thanks.
We pee outside. We pee outside, often. Honestly, you wouldn’t believe how much we pee outside…in broad daylight. Sometimes we try to hide behind a tree, but usually we just drop the shorts and go for it. Fast, furious, covert. And no one is the wiser. See that runner flying by you while you rake your leaves? She probably peed while you had your head down momentarily. Did you see her do it? No. No, you did not. If a runner pees on the side of the road and no one is there to see her do it, did she really pee? Yes. Yes, she did. Also, here’s a quick fun fact: many of us run commando. You heard me.
We are gear hoarders. We have 10 different pairs of running socks, yet we only wear the 3 we like – and that third pair is a last resort. We have GPS running watches, running apps on our phones, and ID bracelets. We have head lamps and reflective vests. We have funky headbands and waist belts. We have high quality ear buds. We have tiny little water bottles that click in to our belts, or we carry water in packs on our back. We carry GU and gummies. We have Trigger Point foam rollers and a list of hamstring exercises. We have something called body glide. We have all sorts of compression everything in obnoxious, neon colors. Our running bras cost more than a fancy dinner out for two, complete with cocktails. We have special sunglasses. We have piles and piles of tanks, race T-s, leggings, skirts and shorts. We have at least 4 different pairs of sneakers and that’s a conservative estimate. We carry pepper spray to fend off perverts and wild animals. We could have our own TLC show called “Runners Hoard, Buried Alive” and it would be a heart breaking, but accurate portrayal of our illness/obsession. Our running clothes out number our regular clothes and we don’t throw anything out. Why? Because we are hoarders.
Our thighs are little bit bigger than yours. It’s not bad or anything, but it’s not fun either. It makes buying jeans difficult. It’s just a side effect of running regularly. We must remind ourselves that strong thighs are sexy thighs, and these bigger thighs of ours do the work to power us up some brutal, punishing hills.
We don’t really like running. At all. None of us do. Just the thought of scheduling a run or planning out a week of training sends shivers up many a runner’s spine. We do, however, truly love the way we feel when we’re done. Nothing beats a good run, and that’s what keeps us on the road.
The first mile sucks for every runner. It sucks for Paula Radcliffe and it sucks for Kara Goucher. It sucks for Shalane Flanagan and it sucks for Catherine Ndereba. As they always say, if you can run one mile, you can run five. If you can run two miles, you can run ten. Actually, I’m not sure who says that, but it sounds true so I’m saying it. Also, every runner is a little nervous at the start of any race. Every runner. It’s called adrenaline, and it forces out the “bad ass” competitor that lurks inside every runner.
One of the reasons why we run is because we like to eat carbs and drink beer. We especially like to eat, drink beer, and gather tons of free swag after a race. In fact, the better the swag, the better the race. Unless the t-shirt really kicks ass, we donate it, so just stop making the crappy t-shirts. Give us a great t-shirt, or don’t give us one at all. Also, cookies are perfect after a race. The banana is great and all, but give us a cookie and we’ll probably sign up again next year. Oh yeah, and the beer tent is always a draw. We like rewards.
We may or may not listen to hard-core rap music when we run. And for some of us “fragile flowers” the more awful the lyrics are, the better. In fact, our favorite sing-along classics are the ones that praise ladies with ample booty. We like the ones where they encourage “giving that big booty a slap” or “dropping it like it’s hot” or something, anything, along those lines. Those tenderhearted rappers really do understand us gals. They know how to spit rhymes and mix a beat to keep our legs churning and that’s all we need.
We “collect and display” all of our bibs, medals, and running photos. The runner who doesn’t do this probably has them stored in a “special box” somewhere so who is she kidding? One thing is for sure…in a box or on display, they don’t get thrown away. Every race, every bib, every medal is an accomplishment. Another one bites the dust. Plain and simple.
Once upon a time, we weren’t runners. We couldn’t even fathom becoming real runners. People may look at us now and say, “oh she’s a runner” but it wasn’t always that way. When we discovered the power and beauty of running, it was “game over” for many of our other activities. Especially if we are able to remain injury-free. Yes, it is nice to dabble in other types of physical fitness activities, and we do enjoy our “cross-training” with some yoga mixed in for sure, but runners know that RUNNING is the shit – the creme de la creme, the Queen Bee, the supreme ruler of them all. The trump card, if you will. Running feeds us. It feeds our hearts, our minds, our bodies, and our souls. To put it simply, it gets our juices flowing, and keeps our spirits high. It resets our minds, and keeps our souls surging with optimism. This is what running does.
Of course this is my list, and I really can’t speak for all female runners, but there’s one thing I know is absolutely true: Runners are made, not born.
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