Tuesday, November 19, 2013

11 Things You May Not Know About Me, Running Edition

In honor (if that’s the right word) of that Facebook meme about “things you may not know about me,” I thought I’d have a bit of fun and mention 11 unusual facts about myself. My focus here is narrower. Of course it’s about running, but it’s specifically about things that others runners may commonly experience that I rarely (if ever) do.

In more than 18 years of running, I have never…

  • Lost a toenail. I get blood blisters, but I’ve never lost a toenail. Haven’t even come close.
  • Puked after a workout. I dry heaved once, but that was it. (My stomach’s pretty strong; aside from nights of bacchanalian excess, I haven’t been sick to my stomach in more than 20 years.)
  • Recorded a DNF. I’ve thought about it, of course, but I have too much pride.
  • Won. I placed third in a few high school races, and I’ve placed third in my age group in a handful of small suburban races, but nothing better than that.
  • Entered a race on a whim. I need to plan -- even if it’s for the two-mile Fourth of July race in my hometown that’s less road race and more impromptu reunion.

And I have only once…

  • Lost time due to an injury. I had runner’s knee in college and took about three weeks off. I wasn’t stretching enough. Now I stretch after every run, as well as on my off days when I know I need it, and as a result I stay mostly pain-free. (Point of order: I typically take about two weeks off after a marathon and did the same for my wedding and honeymoon.)
  • Finished a run with bloody nipples. Suffice to say this is a lesson you don’t soon forget.
  • Skipped a race I signed up for. It was a half marathon a few years ago, and I convinced myself I was in such bad shape that I’d bonk and embarrass myself. Frankly, skipping the race was more embarrassing. (Oddly, since my friend ran and picked up my packet for me, I have the race shirt. It’s quite comfortable.)
  • Done an entire run shirtless. It was a 10-mile race on a 100-degree day. (Why not more often? A doffed shirt makes an excellent seat rag. And I am pasty white.)
  • Run barefoot. For some reason, I did a cooldown after a particularly disappointing high school cross country race with my shoes in my hands. That was pretty stupid.My teammates, to their credit, let me suffer in silence.
  • Run outdoors while wearing headphones. (I was reminded of this during a social media conversation.) I remember it well, actually: Just after buying myself an iPod, I ran a loop around Lake Quannapowitt, plus the mile or so to get there and come home to my old apartment, and listened to Monster. (I skipped "Tongue." My least favorite R.E.M. song.) Music made me run too damn fast. I still listen to headphones on the rare occasion I run on a treadmill, but I don't run with headphones any more.  

Here’s hoping that I haven’t jinxed myself and end up failing to finish my next race (which I happen to be winning despite signing up that very morning) by snapping my IT band so badly that I tear a toenail off and gross myself out so much that I throw up. 

What do you do, or avoid doing, or have only done once, that makes you a unique runner?