Hey You, Novice Runner!

RunnerSo, you’ve been running with some consistency. You can run a few miles, maybe more. Perhaps you’ve even ran in a few races. You’ve probably underestimated the activity though.

Did you realize how it’s going to change your life? Not only are you going to lose that baby fat that you’ve been hiding and feel better about yourself through your everyday routine,  you should know too that characteristics of your usual days are about to be altered significantly.

Being a runner changes your life, attitude and even your style. You will gain traits, habits and idiosyncrasies that only your new fascination can be blamed for. Allow me to explain.

Now that you’re a runner, you’ll start enjoying the color neon yellow. Don’t fret. You didn’t think you liked it before. You thought it always seemed strange that athletes wore reflective clothing; maybe they were actually trying to be safe? Well, that’s a myth. In fact, the interest in the color will be engraved into your genes as you continue to run. You may have a preference to whether it’ll be neon yellow, orange or pink but either way, you will look like a walking highlighter. And you’ll be proud.

Split shorts. I know you want to rebel already. “No, it’s never going to happen Katrina.” I can hear you but I have faith in you. You’ll get through it. We all go through that rough patch of falling into the liking of the awkward split shorts. Spandex too- that’ll lose its embarrassing aspect as well.

Even though you wear the split shorts and a loose wind breaker, you’ll most likely start wearing gloves. It won’t make sense, but your legs will burn up and you’ll hands will stay cold and you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do regardless of how odd and unbalanced it may look. It may feel as strange as wearing a vest which is just ridiculous if you think about it.

You’ll know the maximum amount of your pain killer medication and may start chewing handfuls of aspirin (is that even legal?)

You’ll probably invest in one of those belts that hold water bottles. You might just talk about buying one for a few months but then you’ll finally give in. You will no longer make fun of fanny packs because your running belt will look very similar (although cooler) than fannies.

You may even download a running app for your smart phone but I doubt you ever use it.

Now that you run, you’ll start using bazaar words such as “Fartlek.”

You’ll stop caring if the shower is out of hot water. Soon enough, you won’t even notice as you fill the bathtub up with ice water anyway.

You’ll start splurging on Runner’s World Magazine and Recovery Gatorade, which you won’t really like but will drink anyway.

You’ll start paying the extra thirty cents for the vitamin boost at your favorite smoothie shop. You may even ask for an extra energy shot (now that, for sure, can’t be legal.)

You’ll run on the road and you’ll have to explain to your friends who pass by but don’t understand. It’ll seem simple to you but unusual to non-runners: the sidewalk is made of concrete which is four times as hard as its asphalt counterpart and you’ve been working way too hard to allow the convenience of the cars to get in the way of your workout.

You’ll love carbs and you’ll start taking eating extremely seriously. You’ll determine the best time for you to eat before a workout. And you will love eating more than you do now. You didn’t think that was possible but don’t worry, I am here to set the record straight: nobody likes eating as much as runners.

Now that you’re able to run just about everywhere you go, you’ll calculate your mileage and realize how much money you could save on gas.

You’ll go six hours without seeing your reflection but you won’t care. The pride of working out will be enough to drown out any insecurity. You will shine while you grocery shop having just ran.

You’ll create a music playlist of Dubstep, Journey and Lil Wayne.

You’ll get really good at snot rocketing and spitting while running. You’ll challenge your friends to having a sweatier back after a workout. You won’t even care that these aspects are embarrassing to other people. To you, the runner, they are necessary and far too enjoyable to stop participating in.

Your new hobby will consume so many simple aspects of your life.

Your tolerance for cotton mouth will increase. In fact, you might actually start to like it.

You’ll panic when you can’t find your watch.

Your first thought when you look at the weekly weather forecast revolves around preparation for workouts.

You’ll lose a toenail but you’ll insist “it’s not that bad.”

You’ll use Starbucks more often for the restroom than to actually buy coffee.

You’ll drink out of a water bottle even at the dinner table.

You’ll start having dreams about showing up to a race late or not wearing any clothes.

At least one of your website usernames or email address will have the word “run” or “runner” in it.

You no longer will hate porta-potties. In fact, you’ll find yourself often glad to see one.

You’ll start to wonder why they don’t make all running socks a dusty brown color.

You will begin to get more phone calls around 5:00 AM than at 5:00 PM.

You’ll learn to be proud of your feet calluses.

You’ll rotate your running shoes more than you’ll rotate your tires.

You won’t watch Tom Hanks run as Forrest Gump with the same trivial level of admiration again. What a man.

You’ll start carrying your money around in a zip lock bag. The store clerks don’t appreciate when it’s sweaty.

You’ll run up the stairs but walk down them.

If you’re single and you meet someone of the opposite sex, you’ll see:

  • A potential team.
  • A potential race director.
  • A potential pacer.
  • A potential search and rescue team.
  • A potential source of race entry fees.
  • A friend who will embrace your weirdness.

As a runner, you’ll race and you’ll say “never again” but as your heart pounds drained and your head spins, you know that you don’t mean what you say.

Your ideal birthday will be running your age in miles with fellow crazies.

You’ll run with your spouse and your kids will learn to see the fun of running while observing your passion.

Call it a cosmic paradox or galactic retribution, but somehow I became a runner. What I learned was one doesn’t need to strive to have all these aspects of runners to be a one but most of them will come within time. Your sanity will tell you to fight the style but your passion will have you tangled within the characteristics.

If you want to be a runner, then run. It doesn’t matter how fast you go as long as you never stop. Runners are not exclusive. But they are wonderfully weird.

If you stick with running, you’ll fall head over trainers.

And as running begins to consume ever more of your thoughts, you may even find yourself writing about it.

About Arran Gimba