1. Everyone Thinks It Should Be Cheap (I know you are LOL right now)
Most people think that all you need is a bargain basement pair of sneakers and you are good to go. There is some truth to that, at first. However, if you get into racing and want to develop into a more seasoned runner it is going to cost you. You need sneakers that actual fit your stride, underwear that doesn’t tear off your skin layer by layer, hydration packs, proper fueling and clothing that is both stylish and functional for every season. Then there are safety lights for those that run at night and special sneakers if you want to go “off-roading” and run trails. Oh darn, guess what? Those awesome sneakers you just bought have a definitive shelf life and it shortens each time you lace up. They are almost worse than cars depreciating after being driven off the lot for Christ’s sake.
If you decide to join the racing world, you start to discover that there are fees just to do something you do every other day for free. You happily pay these fees because there is no better feeling than crossing a finish line to cheers of people most of whom you have never met. It is like your version of being a professional football player walking back to the locker room after winning at home. You might even raise your hands in glory as you trot over the timing pad in victory.
If you enter a race that has a race tee or even better, a medal, you start to collect them like badges of honor. Rightfully so. You put a lot of blood, sweat and tears in to earning those medals. Well, shoot, now you need to build a medal rack (Cha Ching, Cha Ching).
2. People Who Don’t Race Will Call You Bat Shit Crazy
You will hear frequently how your friends tried running and hated it and they just KNOW that you will too in due time. “It’s a fad” they’ll say and insist you will grow out of it soon enough. They will also question why you pay for this privilege (see #1).
If you are a racer and woke up at what my friend and I call “Stupid O’clock” to run a race you have had these same misgivings. Months and years later they will still question your sanity when you continually spend bank on a big race at the crack ass of dawn, but have no qualms about spending the same amount on one of their “hobbies” like demolition derby, golf or having a fancy salt water fish tank at home. [credit: Rachel B and Megan F. on submission of said extravagant hobbies listed]. Hey at least our hobby improves our overall health and well-being. We may be broke, but at least we will potentially live longer. Well, at best we will outlive our fish. The only benefits to golf I can think of are beer and golf cart driving. I’m still scratching my head on the demolition derby bit.
3. Accountability Can Be a Royal Pain in the Ass
Friends and family will unceremoniously call you out on social media because you post too much about fitness and workouts. If they decide to stick around and not unfollow you for this, some will undoubtedly choose to find every kink in your fitness armor and make sure you hear about it. No cookie, scoop of ice cream or missed workout goes unpunished. Like Sting, “every move you make, every step you take” they’ll be watching you.
4. You Will Hear All the Clichés Ad Nauseam
You Don’t Look like a Runner
Shouldn’t You Be Faster by Now?
You are Almost to the Finish Line
In your mind, you might want to ask just what they think a runner should look like or what magic speed they think you need to “qualify” for runner status (odd because they themselves do not run). You won't open that Pandora's Box of course but you will strongly consider it.
That last one though? The one about being close to the finish line? Yeah, we all HATE it. That never goes away (kind of like Kanye West).
If you were Darth Vader you consider a force choke on the person every time you hear it.
No, really, just don't say it spectators.
5. You Will Become Obsessed
You will read blogs (like mine) about running, become subscribed to lists and join online forums to learn every tidbit of information you can. You research what to eat, when to eat it, and how to plan to eat all week long. You follow other racers on social media to see what shoes they wear and what clothes they have and track down where they got it all. You seek out training plans and join running groups online. You will investigate things like negative splits, sprint works and something called “Yassos 800’s”.
Rest Assured my dear reader, even with these things you will still fall madly in love with your sport. You will be a runner, an athlete. Don’t let anyone ever tell make you believe differently. You may miss workouts or run slower than a turtle on hot pavement but deep down you have one thing the critics don’t – HEART.
See you on the course. I’ll be the one in the cute InknBurn pants and Mizunos. And yes, you bet your ass I will be raising my hands in the air as I cross over that timing pad. Just don’t tell me how close I am to that finish line. I WILL force choke you. My cousin is Darth Vader.