Monday, September 5, 2011

Welcome to the Hurt

Or "The Painful Consequences of the Insane Pastime of Long Distance Running"
  1. winter training, which includes walking in the front door and being mistaken for the abominable snowman
  2. summer training, which includes heat rash, sunburn, and a serious farmer’s tan (there isn’t a sunscreen I can’t sweat off)
  3. a weakened immune system that invariably leads to a cold at the peak of training
  4. an occasional sore throat, not evidence of a cold but of the amount of time I spend sucking air down my windpipe like a deranged Hoover
  5. a general aura of stinkiness, in my hair, on my clothes, in the laundry basket (a morning shower has never been so important)
  6. 4 a.m. wake-up, because I’d rather run in the dark than have the glare of the sun in my eyes
  7. wearing a visor, which leaves a ridiculous tan line on my forehead and preserves for posterity the salty sweat lines and general dirty dank of my existence
  8. the knee ache
  9. the hamstring ache
  10. the quad ache
  11. the foot ache
  12. the side ache
  13. the head ache
  14. the back and neck ache (many of these have improved as my form has slightly improved...but sometimes when I’m lying perfectly still, I still feel like I’m running)
  15. the bathroom break, which produces a foul excrement worthy of being placed in a brown paper bag and left on the doorstep of Hell
  16. the wall, which I pretend doesn’t exist, but inevitably kicks in when I still have 5 to 10 miles to go
  17. the goo, meant to allow me to avoid the wall but only in exchange for activating my gag reflex...the stuff is nasty
  18. exhaustion, the yang to the runner’s high yin, which causes mild-mannered me to curse like a sailor in the last mile of a marathon
  19. the uphill to the finish line (why do they do that?)
  20. the shakes, an inevitable companion to the finish line; I think it is evidence of muscular post-traumatic stress disorder
  21. the post-race wobble; it looks something like the walk of a 9-month pregnant woman wobbling down a hospital hallway, baby fully engaged in the birth canal
  22. walking down stairs backward for a week
  23. watching my peak fitness fade in mere weeks (you gotta work it to keep it)
  24. the feeling of dread which accompanies the need to find another race (damn addictive hobby!)
  25. the time in between, when I miss the relentless training and well-earned ache...when I miss the hurt
I must be nuts!


  1. Regarding sunscreens, have you tried Blue Lizard? It stays on pretty good. On the cheaper side, I'd recommend Bullfrog too.

  2. Thanks for the tip, Nate. I'll look into. In the meantime, I'm welcoming the shorter days and gentler sun of autumn. Does Kristine use Blue Lizard for her triathlons?

  3. Actually, Tim is using it for water polo. It's pretty good in wet conditions, but he burns easily and has a hard time finding sunscreen that lasts in the water. We usually use Bullfrog spray, it's a little more than generics, but seems to work better for us.