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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The long and short of it

I have a few words of wisdom for those in the market for running gear for their legs. There is a reason that most people wear black 3/4 tights to exercise. There is a reason why rugby shorts are for rugby, and running shorts are for running. There is a reason for everything!

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SHORTS CHAFE!

Yes they do! This will almost always happen at the mid way point on a really long run, you’re a few km’s in and you feel that first little burning sensation on your inner thigh. Too late now mate, those babies will looked like plucked chickens dragged over hot tarseal by the time you get home. Once it starts there is little you can do to stop it, just keep running towards wherever you can get away with wearing no pants for a couple of hours.

Tucking your shorts in to your undies so that you look like you’re running wearing speedos is a method I have used to relieve chafe. It didn’t improve the situation at all, but I felt a sense of freedom running in almost-undies so I left the shorts firmly wedged in there.

Wearing your brother’s old Canterbury rugby shorts to run in is great when you’re starting out. Spot the Southlander careering around Wellington Harbour. The leg holes should be big enough for both legs at once, and the stiff cotton will act like a saw blade. You’ll have a line on your legs so gruesome that the sun will not light anything beyond it.

AVOID BUYING GREY TIGHTS

I love BodyPump. I love it so much that I stand right at the front of the class, every class, and when I hear the music outside the gym I start trying to do rotator raises with butternut pumpkins at New World Supermarket.

Don’t ever buy grey gym tights. The reasons may be immediately obvious to you, but just in case they aren’t, this is why.

When I lay down to do the core workout in the  BodyPump class I thought ‘That’s odd, I don’t remember peeing myself during the class.’ Wait a minute, sweat patches! One nice, visible from space, contrast set to high, crudely shaped like a heart, sweat patch, right in my groin. Complimented by a little sweaty arrow pointing to the spot between my butt cheeks that had acted as a funnel to channel any sweat to the pool gathering a little further down.

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Before and after a run

 Sweat patches are nothing to be ashamed of, they should be aspired to! Peeing yourself is slightly less acceptable, and the two are easily confused.

And the back view

And the back view

Those $15 tights don’t seem like such a bargain now, do they?

 Pick the right equipment for the job

Loose shorts are comfortable, and allow your legs and balls to move freely. Yes I said balls. There has been many a stray nut seen in the gym and the culprit is always that magic combination of loose shorts and no undies. No undies Monday stops when you set foot in the gym. Ladies, same goes for you. Please pick a sensible combination of underwear and over-wear for your bottom half, save the genital flashes for Snapchat.

My advice on choosing leg wear-

  • Pick something with few seam details or different panels of fabric on them. This means fewer parts to chafe and irritate your skin while you work out
  • Dark colours, patterns or horrendously/ gloriously/ heavenly bright tones hide sweat patches.
  • Check that they fit over your thighs properly and don’t sag around your fanny, you’ll end up hoisting them up like panty hose
  • POCKETS! Pockets are great for car keys, energy gels, your ipod and bus/coffee money, all of which you will put through the washing machine in a tired state after your run or gym session
  • Go for quality, if you can afford nice gym gear then do invest. It lasts longer, and there is less danger of it splitting or ripping while you’re in a group fitness class of 100 people mastering a roundhouse kick

 

Side note; I keep running around in these tights intending to get a picture for this blog, so there have been many sweat patches that have gone undocumented, but certainly not unseen. These ones were after a very windy 20km around the Bays in Wellington.