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Runner. Nerd. Relentless reader and documentary watcher. Beer, vodka, and wine lover. Marathoner. Studier. Music Snob. Traveler. Chocolate lab owner.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Four Reasons I'll Never Be A Great Runner, and the One Reason That I Will.

I was told it's time for another blog post by Jamie. He's one of those friends I pretend to have. He's a bad ass and an inspiration. The trails of Maine are being owned by this guy.

1. I don't really like running. Seriously, I don't. It's not that fun. It feels good, and it keeps me sane, but I do get bored as hell. Most of the time I have to force myself to get out there. It's very easy for me to get out of a groove.

This is what my friends are doing on race morning, and I'm already up, dreading the moment I have to lace my shoes up.

--That being said, I don't hate it either. Regardless of how I feel about it, I have an addiction. Love it or hate it, I have to do it. I may not have plans to run forever, but I certainly have no plans to stop. It doesn't work when I do. I don't run and my life falls apart. Yes, it's just as dramatic as that.
Also, the finish line is pretty fun.

2. Speaking of addictions: I'm kind of a drinker, and by "kind of," I mean I am a big drinker. I live in Soulard, which actually means drunkard in French. There are two bars on every corner and we're home to the 2nd largest Mardi Gras Party. I have a bottle of Ketel One in my freezer at all times, and just to keep it classy, no less than 12 cans of PBR in the fridge. One of my favorite bartenders told me that I "run on a quarter tank of PBR." I guess that's fine, as long as I'm running on something.
That's my house being obscured by thousands of drunk people.

It's broad daylight, folks. If you want the truth, it wasn't even noon yet.

I'm not sure if you can tell by the lighting, but it's also early in the day here, too.

Middle of the day...on a Sunday...and these are all mine.

We're students. We're stressed. Don't judge.

--There's really no rebuttal for this one, but in all fairness, I've turned down the drinking quite a bit. The nice part about having bars everywhere, is that you can stop for a bathroom break or to fill up on water. When my friends give me hell for not going out, I say, "I'll come out and drink with you if you go run with me tomorrow." Going on the occasional run hungover is actually good training. You know those hangovers where you're nauseous, every muscle in your body hurts, and you feel like your brain is dried out and rubbing on your skull? Well, that's how I imagine I'll feel around mile 20. I went out Friday night, had a hell of a hangover yesterday, and set a PR today. Booyah. (disclaimer: I'm not actually an alcoholic, I'm just proving a point)

I don't wake up feeling like this every day.

I do happy and healthy things too, like take my dog hiking. I know she's sideways. Don't worry, in real life she is right side up.

Or try something new, like snow-shoeing.

Or take my little bro to a baseball game.

Occasionally I go save lives...but obviously not this one. He's clearly a coworker and not a pediatric patient, but you get the idea.

3. I'm not built like a runner, mentally or physically. I've always had the mindset of do what makes you happy, and accept absolutely nothing less. When running, that often results in me turning around way too early when I plan on a long run. I just don't want to run 14 miles sometimes. That's really boring. I'm not built like a runner. My sister is built like a runner, but she doesn't run. She's long and lean and just naturally small. I'm not. I'm curvy. I have thighs that resulted from years of soccer and cheerleading. Homegirl's got a booty. On Friday a friend told me, "you have a really fun ass. It's not a perfect ass, but it's fun. A fun ass is better because perfect has an expiration date." I'm not sure what that means, but that's the way it is. That may not make me a great runner, but it does mean I get to dance to "Baby Got Back" and "Fat Bottomed Girls" and REALLY mean it.
From what I hear, we "make the rockin world go round."

--Not being able to do something has always served as an incentive for me to do it. There was no way in hell I could have ran a half two years ago. I barely made it through my first 5K, and in all honesty, I whined through the last mile and a half of it. If Grandpa taught me anything besides being a good sport, he taught me to be stubborn as all hell. Signing up for my first half was a challenge to say, "hey, prove it." I hated every second of my first half, didn't run again for months, and I didn't race again for another year. Now I run all the time and am training for my first marathon. So I don't naturally have a runner's body? Well, lots of people aren't natural blonds either, but a lot of them manage to pull it off. Most people don't have runners bodies. We're called "Athenas" and we're just as bad ass as the rest of them. On Friday, a friend was dancing with me and she said, "I can tell you're a runner, feel those quads!"

As the Nike Ad puts it: I have Thunder Thighs. And that's a compliment because they are strong and toned and muscular. And though they are unwelcome in the petite section they are cheered on in marathons. Fifty years from now I'll bounce a grandchild on my thunder thighs and then I'll go out for a run.

4. I get injured. A lot. I have only once been injured while running. In fact, I've only sustained two injuries from sports. I've been to the ER 15+ times. As a child it was due to bravery (it takes courage to ride your tricycle down the stairs), and as an adult it seems that my body just can't handle my sweet dance moves. I was walking home one night a couple years ago and tried to do a dancing leap through a fountain and ended up in the ER with a sprained ankle and a toe sliced to the bone. I tore a meniscus dancing at a wedding in May. I sustained a deep second degree burn the size of a lemon on my thigh last month. I've broken my femur, my left arm twice, my right arm, I cracked ribs, I cracked an elbow, I broke my right wrist, and my left ankle. I was in a body cast as a three year old. I don't know if my body is weak or, like my dance moves, I'm just too bad ass for my body to handle. Either way, it doesn't bode well for marathon training.

In case you guys were wondering, the inside of your toe looks like uncooked sausage. Since you don't all work in the medical field, I decided to be nice and not show you the close up.

Sometimes the night just ends up this way.

I shouldn't be allowed to dance ever again.

This is the night that derailed my marathon training. I guess a summer of dealing with a torn meniscus was worth the fun I had at this wedding.

This burn hurt something fierce, but it was a fun wound to show off.

--Clearly, I'm just a bad ass. To me, a torn meniscus meant I moved my marathon from October to December, and would need a lot more ice and Ibuprofen. When I broke my ankle in college, I actually walked home 2 miles and waited to go to the doctor until the next day. I just don't mind being injured. Maybe that's because I'm used to it. The more I run and get involved in the running community, the more I know that we ALL have some issue. Every runner has a joint, or a muscle, or a general pain that gives them trouble. That's just part of the glorious torture that is running.

It's all worth it for one of these.

There are 1,000,000 reasons that I might not think I'm a great runner. I skip that happy hour to go for a easy 6, I stay in on a Friday night so I can go on a training run Saturday morning, I pass on a lunch date with my friends so I can go run the park, I set my alarm for 4:30 am on race days. If I listened to all the reasons I shouldn't run, I wouldn't make those sacrifices. There are 1,000,000 reasons that I'm not a great runner, and one reason that I am. I'm a great runner because I run, and that's all that matters. My friend Jenn once told me DFL>DNF>DNS (Dead F*cking Last > Did Not Finish > Did Not Start). It doesn't matter if I'm slow, or hungover, or bored, or dragging my ghetto booty across that finish line, I'm still crossing that finish line because I was brave enough to toe the start line.

9 comments:

  1. Great post, Ashley! Very funny stuff. You are indeed a wild woman. Something tells me at some point something will click with you actually liking running... I say that because if you can run hungover, that says something!

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  2. I do like running most of the time, I just always forget that I actually like it until I get back from my runs. I used to hate every second of it, and now it's only every few runs that I say, "ugh, I hate this."

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  3. Awesome post Ashley!! If you don't mind, I am going to borrow the DFL>DNF>DFS..LOVE THAT!! I am also not built like a runner, but all I can think of is one foot in front of the other...and keep doing that. Thank you for your honesty in this. Have a great week!!

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  4. Hey - did you really have to put that picture up?? THis may call for a bad photo war lady!!!

    Great post. And you can bet your ASS I'm gonna be chanting DFL>DNF>DFS all the way through Chicago this Sunday!

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  5. I was not aware that “easy” was an option for 6-mile runs. Had I known, I certainly would have checked that box.

    Fun fact – I get passed (typically in the final 2-miles) by lots of runners with, shall we say, bigger booty than most and now that I think about it THIS may be the reason I enter so many races (you should be playing Queen in the background now).

    Make no mistake, you are a runner.

    Great post!

    Ron

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  6. So many things to say...
    1) Love Jason's cameo.
    2) GROSS on the icky toe picture.
    3) Though I do love that that night ended at White Castle.
    4) Marley would much prefer a steak, medium rare.
    5) Your running cramps my drinking, but I still love you.... and always will.

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  7. Jenn, what's wrong with that picture? You look really happy and fun! Don't worry Ron, Queen is my anthem. Cass, I had been vegetarian for a couple months before I sliced my toe and came home from the ER at 4 am. It was my only option. My running does cramp our drinking, but I love you too!

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  8. Great post! Except for the open toe photo. OUCH!!!!

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  9. LOVE this post!!! :) You are quite an interesting bad ass!

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