What I've Learned So Far . . .

I'm three weeks in to the odyssey that is me "running" and, I'm not going to lie, it is certainly educational. I don't mean to imply I've learned a lot about who I really am as a person or that I'm learning I am, in fact, a born-runner waiting to bust out, or that I'm learning to love the activity. Screw all that. HERE are the lessons I've actually learned thus far . . .

  1. Hydration is key. It may be metaphoric but if something as simple as drinking a ton before running does make a huge difference. If I don't drink enough, my spit gets thick and I'm tempted to actually (gasp) spit in public. To apply this to a larger context - it is not hard to fuel yourself and spitting in public is "skustin" (as my daughter says the word).
  2. Wicking fabrics are urban legend. I get it. Truly I do. The fabric is designed to be lightweight, to reduce friction and chafing, and to move the sweat off your body . . . but it doesn't actually go anywhere from there beside down your back and legs leaving me with swamp crotch and damp feet. I'll stick with cotton. Make this a life lesson? If it ain't broken - don't fix it.
  3. The course matters. Put me on the "grid" of College Hill and I'm fine. I know that streets/blocks are fairly equidistant and I know that it is a half mile between these major roads and a mile between those and I can plan for that (I'm still doing the walk/run thing - less and less "walk" all the time, I'd like to point out) but put me in a park and I'm sorta' lost. There are no real markers and the ones that are there (some races use spray painted trail marks) are confusing. Life lesson here - My brain has an internal clock but not an internal GPS. I need to develop a sense of distance on my own.
  4. It's GOTTA' be the shoes. I am working out with three different pair of shoes. I wear New Balance 1211s for my cross training, walks, and other fitness attempts. I wear a pair of old but barely used before  Asics Gel Cumulus 10s when I am running after rain or in areas where I know I might get dirty (Yes. I said that publicly.). I have a pair of Brooks Trance 11 for my average run. I'm most comfortable in the NBs. I run faster in the Asics. I feel most confident in the Brooks. What's the takeaway? It is all bologna. Run barefoot or in a pair of Tevas. Cut the crap. 
  5. John Mayer Wrote "Heartbreak Warfare" for me. It is as true as "Your Body is a Wonderland" being about Jennifer Love Hewitt's curves, my friends. For it to work, though, you have to have "Me" be my body and the "You" be my brain. And the "love" is running and/or speed. The "him" is people who can actually run. Give it a listen. You'll understand. The point? I'm losing my friggin' mind while running around College Hill listening to my iPod. 
  6. I'm good, thanks. When you see me out there huffing, puffing, and putting feet in front of the other there is NO need for eye contact and/or a smile, a wave from the porch, a peace sign flashed, a toot of the horn, or words of encouragement as you go "on my left" and blow by me. I'm not doing this for you or your approval or support. What's to learn? SHUT UP! Seriously. Do you know how condescending it is to do this to the fat guy? It is on par with screaming slowly while talking to a deaf person or telling people to make a 20 foot wide path for someone in a 3 foot wide wheelchair. Stop it. 
  7. It's quiet out there. I find that the moments just before I get going are very "respectful" (I don't do "nervous" or "scared" - ever). I try to empty my brain, think about the mileage, make sure I'm stretched and hydrated and my iPod playlist is loaded. I just want to get it going and get it done. But then I get out there and I start listening to my every in/exhale and the music in my ears and, eventually, my heart pounding on my rib cage for me to just stop before stuff gets weird. What have I learned? An hour or two a day of solitude is a beautiful thing we should all carve out time for.
  8. STOP signs are suggestions. No. Not for you in the cars or on bikes. You MUST stop. But us on foot, we have the option. It is liberating to just blow through a stop sign (after looking both ways and making sure it is safe). Now "Don't Walk" lights? Those get my respect (and adoration). Point? Rules are made to be broken if you're sure you have a better way. 
  9. Wichita is beautiful. I've always been a walker and a fan of my beloved city. I'm well aware that there are many charms here that outsiders just don't understand but when you're trotting by a house you've past 1,000 times and notice the paint scheme or if you're finally seeing the businesses on 1st and 2nd street for the first because you are at a different pace and desperate for distraction you can see that work is being done here. Pride is being born here. The point? Stop making fun of Wichita.
  10. It feels vaguely good. When I was asked if I wanted to run I thought there was NO way I could do it. 13.1 miles? .1 miles? Either way - noooo chance. I'm putting in 2.5 - 3.x miles per day already. I don't run every step of it (some days are still pretty mixed on the percentages) but - by and large - I'm doing way better than I thought I might and I'm getting far more confident that if I stick to the schedule, eat and drink right, don't get hurt, and stay focused I'll finish all 13.1 miles of the race in October. The point? If I can do it - YOU can do it. Whatever "it" is. 
So, yeah, there you go. My running lessons learned so far. I've gotta' go run, now (I'm kidding - I have a job interview THEN I am going running).