effing up toward efficiency

stopped mid-run to take this photo in maine last summer. pretty, yes, but i stopped because i felt like i was going to puke.

in the beginning, it took me well over a month to figure out how to prepare myself properly for a run.  before i stepped out the door for the first time in my brand new shoes, i scrubbed the internet for some basic tips for beginners, and read some articles in a few running magazines that were generally helpful.  but how i really learned was by fucking up.  a lot.

and by fucking up, i mean the following:

  • drinking too much water within that “magic window” of time before running and having to stop in the middle of a run to hunt down a restroom like a crazed lunatic on the streets of brooklyn
  • not drinking enough water before that magic window cutoff and suffering an oppressive case of dry mouth by mile two
  • forgetting to put sunscreen on my nose and ending up looking like rudolph for a week
  • wearing the wrong socks and getting blisters on my toes
  • failing to set my running app correctly and realizing at the end of my run that it was still waiting for me push ‘go’ [insert withering trumpet noise here]
  • not eating enough food (or the right kind of food) pre-run so i’d have enough energy
  • eating a giant meal less than an hour before i was supposed to run, and getting a major belly ache.  doh!
  • not putting on chapstick before a long, dry cold mid-winter run

there’s more, but i’ll spare you the sad, gory details.  in terms of tips on what to actually do before you head out for a run?  don’t do those things i did, mind your magic windows, and always double-knot your laces.

so yeah, over the last year i’ve learned a lot about how my body functions, its general inputs and outputs, and mostly what not to do.  before i started running, my body was an achy, out-of-shape mystery.  nowadays it’s predictable, and yet somehow still achy no matter what i do to prevent it.  i’ll never reach the rainbow’s end.  even though i’ve learned a lot, i can never bet on a 100% annoyance/pain-free workout.  if i end up having a particularly bad run, i think to myself there’s always the next run!  this kind of mildly-blind optimism (that i started practicing since day one of my running fuck ups) is what makes me lace up day after day.

2 thoughts on “effing up toward efficiency

  1. :) I have been trying to find the nerve to get off my butt and start. I’ve never been a runner. In fact, in my twenties, I suffered through a series of nightmares about trying to run away from [some unidentified terror]–and being unable to move–so visceral that for years, my body memory insisted, “I can’t run!!”

    So how did you do it? How did you finally step out the door and run?

    1. hi christina! i had similar nightmares, and you’re right those dreams can leave a lasting sensation of paralysis. oddly, what made me feel ready to start running was knowing that i CAN run when provoked in real life situations. you know, for something realistic like a bus, or a train that’s about to pull away (this is a common occurrence for me since i take public transit every day). although i wasn’t yet in good cardiovascular shape back then, i felt something “click” inside of me. the once numb/tingly feeling in my legs from those dreams was quickly replaced with the sensation of the pavement moving under me, my feet and legs making solid contact with the ground. oh, and what made me go outside for the first time to run was really just an act of physical impulse. i just had to get it over with, if anything to get rid of that nervous sensation that had been bubbling in my stomach all day. it’s these kinds of runs that remind me that running is an opportunity to get out of my head, feel present in my body RIGHT NOW, and to forget about the things that prevented me from running in the first place. :)

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