When most people decide to take up running, they usually put on their finest tracksuit and think something along the lines of, “Tee-hee-hee, I’m going to start running! Fitness! Open air! Easier than joining a gym!” I used to be one of those people. In fact, I was all, “Tee-hee-hee, I’m going to run a half-marathon! Tutus! Tiaras! Disney World! Magic!” And then life kicked me in the metaphorical balls and I saw that running is actually kind of a bitch. Allow me to elaborate:
1. It ain’t cheap. If you think you can just throw on your two year-old pair of Nikes and hit the pavement, think again. That might work for a 5K, but if you’re planning on doing longer distances (or more than one 5K), be prepared to get some new running shoes. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “No biggie, I’ll just stop by Payless and get some quality sneakers for less than I would pay at some fancy running store! I’m not a label whore, after all! We’re in a recession! Trololololol!” Oh, you sweet, naive thing. I thought the same thing too. A sneaker is a sneaker, no matter where you buy it right? WRONG. Because while Payless sneakers might be good for light exercising and yard work, they don’t take into consideration things such as whether or not you’re a heel or a forefoot striker and overpronation. And if you want to get to the finish line with both of your feet still attached to your legs, you’re gonna have to splurge on some high-end sneakers from a fancy running store, because those sneakers take into consideration all that crap and more. And those sneakers, at the very cheapest, will still cost you around $100. And the money-hemorrhaging doesn’t stop there…
2. You know those fancy new sneakers you just bought? Now buy some inserts for them. Because the inserts they come with are no more than sock liners, according to one of my running friends. And she’s right. Lately I’ve upped my mileage and speed in my training, and I’ve been getting wicked shin splints as well as the overall feeling that both of my legs are going to fall off. Luckily, I bought some inserts to make my old Adidas sneakers last until I was able to get some new shoes, so I just have to transfer them to the new ones. Still, those inserts cost me $30, and those were on the cheaper side. They can run as high as $60. Fun, huh? Oh, and speaking of running shoes…
3. You don’t buy them according to your regular shoe size, BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE TOO EASY. You have to take into account things such as foot swelling and whether or not you want your toenails still attached to your feet. For example, I wear an 8 1/2 normally. The running shoes I bought are a size 10. For real. And the guy who fit me told me that if I were to go down a size, my toenails would constantly rub up against the front of the shoe, and I would most definitely lose them by the race’s end. And just to clarify, he meant “lose them” as in they would be ripped off my toe leaving a horrible bloody mess in my shoe and making me wish I just chopped my whole entire foot off. W.T.F.
4. Fuel belts. Yes, we’re still going over crap you’re going to have to buy if you want to run long distances. I’d say that if you run anything longer than a 5K, you are going to need a fuel belt. What’s a fuel belt, you ask? Well, it’s a dorky-looking belt that has pockets for your keys as well as holders for water bottles, energy bars/chews, and the like so you don’t fall out and die before you get to the finish line. And buying a fuel belt means you are going to have to buy consumables to go in said belt, like aforementioned energy bars and chews.
5. Chafing. This will happen, and it will hurt. Petroleum jelly helps. Someone should have told poor ol’ Andy:
6. Not to be gross, but be sure you poop before you run. Otherwise, you will be making a pit-stop en-route. Or you’ll just shit yourself. Whichever.
7. Runners vs. Joggers. This isn’t exactly tie in with the theme of this post, but this is definitely a thing in the running world. Apparently it’s bad form to call runners joggers. It’s insulting or something. I’ve seen post after post on message boards talking about this very thing, as well as what differentiates a “runner” from a “jogger.” To me, it all sounds like arbitrary B.S., and I can’t imagine a group of people who run marathons and half-marathons for fun would actually worry about this instead of worrying about their legs falling off, but whatever. Call me a runner, call me a jogger, just make sure you’re around to call me an ambulance when I drop dead at the end of 13.1 miles.
So, yeah. Running is actually kind of a bitch. But you can’t stay away from her because she’s weirdly addicting. And when you cross that finish line, all the crap she put you through will be worth it. I hope. I’ll keep you posted.