My Romance With Running

Stories about running


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How to run in the wind

The idea for this post came to me, believe it or not, while I was running in the wind. Something happened to me. Something I had previously thought was a physical impossibility, it happened to me.

If you run in Wellington you can’t avoid running in the wind.

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Some runners spit when they run, I am one of those runners. Sucking in air like a vacuum cleaner with a full bag means you get little spittles around your mouth. This is fine, you use your tongue muscles to collect them in to a nice little ball in your mouth, then you launch that ball off the side of the pavement. Look both ways in case any people are near. Look right, look left, look right again. Now you may spit.

Now add in 95km/ph winds that gust and change direction; you realise you have taken the care-free spitting for granted.

Males quickly learn about wind direction as soon as they are out of nappies, so have honed their skills in judging where a stream of saliva (or otherwise) will fly in a projection. Females are not so practiced at this.

I have misjudged the wind a number of times and my target of the pavement has been missed. What I have managed to hit is my legs, shoulder, chest, chin, neck, arm, cheek, and most recently, the inside of my ear. One very large,  and very stringy, 17km’s worth of hard running’s built up saliva spit ball straight in to my ear hole. GOAL! I’d almost given up on spitting in to my ear, thinking it was in the category of ‘kissing your elbow’, but I have finally added it to the ‘Impossible is nothing’ list alongside running an Ultramarathon and never eating bacon again.

Number of times I have spat on someone else: 0
Number of times I have spat on myself: 42 (20months of running, one mis-fire per fortnight)

When you run in the wind, you are either fighting a head wind that makes your eyes water and blows the snot clear out of your nostrils, or flying along in bounds with your hair streaming behind you like a victorious flag. Unless you run in one direction and get a lift back, you’ll have the pleasure of experiencing both.

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A  particularly windy day up on Car Parts trail in Wellington

When I encounter wind I try to lean in to it, like I’m running up a hill. Through teary eyes I focus on not being blown into oncoming traffic, ignore the sea water being blown over me and sniff deeply or employ the help of my sleeve to prevent having a sticky booger face. I put my head down, put one foot in front of the other and remain positive, thinking about the run back with a tail wind and all the energy being generated by those wind turbines.

Tips for being a champion wind runner

  • Tuck in behind someone so that they bear the brunt of it, and you can run in the ‘slip stream’
  • People with long hair- put it in a bun or it the wind will whip yo hair back and forth across your face, ouch.
  • Lean forwards a little, you won’t fall over unless there is a big gust of wind, and that’s only 60% likely
  • Purse the corner of your lips into an Elvis sneer if the wind is hitting you from side on to prevent spit from escaping
  • Don’t fear the wind! The more you get use to running in it the easier it gets.

If you are getting the tail wind, you’re prancing along like an excited pony and you run towards someone struggling against the wind, yell some words of encouragement! Or perhaps just give them a thumbs up in case they have something in their ear.

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Runner’s guide to aesthetics Part 2: Feet

Do you have a favourite piece of clothing? One that you have worn and loved so much that threads are coming away at the bottom, holes are beginning to appear, and oily pizza fresh organic blueberry stains splatter the front?

If you use something a lot, it tends to suffer somewhat in the looks department with all the love and attention it is receiving.

Background: When I was 9 years old at Mararoa Primary School, Jenny the school secretary came to my aid once when I stubbed biggie (my big toe). When I tearfully presented my toe she laughed and yelled in her shrill Southland secretarial voice ‘Lila, LILAAAAH! Come and look at this girl’s giant TOE!’ And so began years of foot loathing and shoving my feet back in to the safe anonymity of my sneakers as soon as possible.

I’ve never considered feet to be an aesthetically pleasing body part. I do love mine for letting me run far and wide but when I wear jandals I’m aware that my runner’s feet aren’t going to be front and centre of a Havaianas poster any time soon. HOWEVER, despite me thinking I have ugly feet, I have garnered a small but enthusiastic following of foot fetishists to my Instagram account. Is it because I have really ridiculously good looking feet? I’m not sure, but I’m avoiding posting foot pictures right now as I feel my little piggies are under close scrutiny.

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Perfect ten

Your precious feet are treated to a variety of ailments when you run, here are the main ones;

Blisters

Sometimes you won’t even know when they appeared, and other times you will feel that blister grow with every stride. Blisters are just skin you don’t need any more. Sometimes it’s painful to say goodbye but you should know that other skin will come along. There’s plenty more skin in the sea?

Sock Tan

Unless you run barefoot you will have some degree of sock tan. Sock tan is sexy, you might not see Beyoncé rocking it but that’s because it has to be earned; money can’t buy a sock tan. If you have a sock tan you are awesome. Sock tan also helps you to define where your leg finishes and your ankle starts when it’s swollen from injury (I’m typing this with one ankle-less appendage raised and iced on a chair).

Toenail death

I like to paint my nails. Like painting a piece of furniture, any blemishes are covered by a few strategic licks of varnish, and if your nails are REALLY bad you can also add a bit of glitter.  Each time you take the polish off it’s like unwrapping a really awful present, and you get to see, for a few minutes while the nails are in their natural state, just how attached they still are to your feet.

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The first toenail I lost made me feel really cool. I pinned it on the wall next to my race numbers like a trophy, complete with it’s sparkly blue polish, there it was glinting on the wall (it’s that dot below them both down the bottom). I took it down because of all the nasty comments ‘That’s disgusting Amanda’. Actually no it’s abject art and you’re all mean.

The question on your lips now is ‘Amanda, how do I become a foot babe and have people leaving adoring comments on my toe selfies?’ Here are some tips for you to try.

  • Use hashtags and keywords like ‘toejam’ and ‘toeswag‘ when you post foot photos
  • Never not wear socks, if your feet look like they could be a different ethnicity to your legs you’re doing well
  • Have a point of difference, like a ginormous big toe, a missing toe, or lots of long and luscious toe hair
  • Just give the people what they want, at the first mention of ‘nice feet’, go ahead and make a full colour calendar with your foot photos.
  • Run! Run on trails, it makes your feet irresistibly beautiful. The more rocks you kick and tree roots you trip over the more perfect imperfections your feet will haveScreen Shot 2014-02-17 at 7.02.32 AM

Good luck future foot babes, run hard!

Amanda (and Biggie) xx