Running is Hard

One of the things I’ve needed to remind myself of post-injury is the fact that RUNNING IS HARD. Running HURTS.

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Running HURTS. You will push yourself to the brink and then run a little further.  The funny thing about running is that it is often difficult to distinguish between legitimate pain (i.e. injury) and just the discomfort of pushing ourselves hard. For me I knew immediately when I was truly injured. It felt different than the normal aches and pains of running.

Running CHALLENGES. Once you reach a goal, there’s always another goal not far behind it. At first my goal was to run without walking or stopping. Then it was running a certain distance, then it was running a certain distance within a certain amount of time. Then the goal was racing. The challenges and goals were always evolving.

Running is MENTAL. I will think a million times during a run “I can’t do this” and “I want to stop! I can’t make it to the finish!” but most of the time it’s all in my head. It’s a mental block, something in me telling me I CAN’T when I know I CAN. I often tricked myself when I was running and starting to feel that mental block creeping into my thoughts. I would tell myself “One More Mile” or “Just run to that lamppost down the street and then you can walk” and most of the time by I got to that lamppost I had gotten over that mental block and kept running.

Running can be INCONSISTENT. Sometimes the food I ate the night before makes a difference. Sometimes the snack I eat right before the run can really effect my run. Weather, clothing, moods, everything can effect the performance of a runner. The important thing to remember is that not every run is going to be great. There will be ugly runs, slow runs, fast runs, great runs.

Running is NOT FREE. Sure, in theory it could be a super cheap form of exercise. In reality it’s not. Don’t make the mistake of skimping on the gear. Get fitted for running shoes at a real running store. It makes a huge difference for comfort and injury prevention. I am so serious about this one. Pay the extra money for good shoes. Same with socks. Don’t wear cheapo socks that will give you blisters. I like Smart Wool (available at REI, Nordstroms and online) and have never had blisters when I use those running socks.

Running is WORTH IT. The pain sucks. Sometimes it’s really sucky. When you’re running and tired and your legs are burning and your brain tells you you can’t make it, you wonder if it’s worth it. Is it worth it? Totally. Hood to Coast hurt. It was brutal and a lot of it was miserable. I don’t regret doing it at all. Would I do that particular race again? No. But I am happy I did it!

Running isn’t COMPARABLE. Stop comparing yourself to other runners. One thing my running injury taught me was to stop comparing myself to other runners, other bloggers. There will always be people faster than me, or slower than me. If I run a race, I’m a runner–whether I cross the line first or last.  Just because I’m not running a marathon every weekend or continually training for some race doesn’t mean I’m not a runner. I’m more than a runner. I’m a swimmer, biker, hiker, walker, weight lifter. All of those things make me a stronger runner.

“When all else fails, start running!”

-Dean Karnazes

QUESTION: In what way is running hard for you?

You Know You’re a Gym Rat…

I kinda just want to eat a brick of smoked Gouda.

I mean, it’s just sooo good. I’d forgotten how much I loved Gouda until I rediscovered it recently. It goes well on our turkey burgers.

My side was steamed broccoli and cauliflower with pesto. I had a scratchy throat yesterday–probably allergies–but there is no way I’m taking any chances getting sick before my vacation. Raw garlic cure! I slept well Friday night after a good swim and woke up pretty early for the gym. I ate an apple with some peanut butter and then headed out into the downpour.

You know you’re a Gym Rat when the first thing you do on a rainy Saturday morning is go to the gym. You also know you’re a Gym Rat when the girl at the counter recognizes you, says hi to you by name, and you know exactly which treadmills are the best ones to use.

Yeah I’m definitely a gym rat. Especially when I recognize all the other Gym Rats there. 😉 I saw the regulars there this morning but the rest of the place was empty. I was surprised by the lack of people. Where is everyone? Busy with tomorrow’s Shamrock Run?

Despite the place being a ghost town, another gym rat reached the Pec-Fly at the exact same time as I did. I think he noticed that my shoulders sagged with frustration (why aren’t there two of this machine? It is ALWAYS full) so he quickly said “Why don’t we work through together?” I said sure! I went first, did 15 reps on the Pec Fly at 45 pounds and then got up and let him have a go. He was doing about 150 pounds. When he was done, I hopped back on. I had to increase my weights from 45 to 50 because it was getting too easy.

It was a nice change to my normal routine taking turns with that guy. Normally I’d much rather just go to another machine instead of standing there waiting in between sets but it worked.

You might be a gym rat if you have a favorite machine. The Pec-Fly is definitely my favorite. It’s a popular machine too. I focused on the chest presses, shoulder presses, and did some back work. Then I finished up with ab work, stretching and hip exercises.


The time flew by and I burned a lot of calories. I wear the badge of “Gym Rat” happily and proudly. I worked hard to get to wear I am at. During nicer weather I’m much more inclined to skip the gym and play outside: biking, hiking, running. This Spring/Summer should be really interesting. Since I can’t solely focus on running and I’ve grown to love weight lifting so much I imagine I will still be a gym rat in some way. I will need to find a balance with weight lifting at the gym and playing in the sunshine.

Gym Stats:

Time: 1:43

Calories Burned: 792


QUESTION: Are you a gym rat?