Running Quirks & Other Oddities
Humanity is a strange species. We spend a great deal of time through documentaries exploring the fascinating natural world around us, but our own behavior is equally odd and quirky. Even as far as humans go, runners are a strange and quirky bunch! Perhaps I’m just projecting my own quirks onto the community at large, but I doubt it. You’ll back me up, right? You’re willing to admit your own strange behaviors, right? We all have habits, superstitions, tricks, and other behaviors we engage in at some point in the running experience that would probably get us committed if we were to repeat them in our everyday lives. This post is a shout-out to all the quirks and oddities that make runners such a wonderful, fascinating, and intriguing sub-species 🙂
Now, one runner’s quirk is another runner’s tradition, and odds are you probably haven’t even considered the various little things you do during training runs and races as strange. After all, they are happening while you are running. You have context for them. However, image if your best friend or partner could ride alongside you during your entire run. Even better, imagine they are riding on Marty McFly’s hover-board…because why not, right? What would they observe as you pounded the pavement or trails? I’ve thought about many of these habits, and attempted to pay a bit more attention to my own quirks over the past few weeks, and several come to mind.
1. Lubing Up: Outside of the bedroom, I don’t think you’ll find a more lubricated group of people! I swear by BodyGlide when I’m heading out for a long run, but Vaseline works in a pinch. Just make sure you know the difference between Vaseline and GU when friendly spectators are handing it out at a race. I speak from experience!
2. Expelling: As soon as I put on my running shoes, it’s like being given a license to spit all over again. I’m never more thankful for my ability to generate saliva than when I’m getting rid of it in strategic positions. This obviously becomes more touchy when you are running in a group. However, my friends will (hopefully) attest to my skill at avoiding them.
3. Left foot/right foot: I’m not sure why, but I always put on my left shoe first. This only applies to my running shoes, and I do it without even thinking about it. It’s like the superstition I never knew I had, I suppose!
4. Stopping on the Mile: When I began tracking my distances while training, it was very important that I end my runs on the mile. My Garmin needed to give me round numbers, and I would run around cars, parking lots, or groups of people to make sure it happened. If a race was short, I’d keep running! I’m not quite as committed to this as I once was, but I always think of Jamile, a wonderful friend, when I’m close. She’s more committed to this quirk than anyone I’ve ever met! 🙂
5. Avoiding puddles: At first, this doesn’t seem so strange. However, my aversion to getting my feet wet and dirty will lead me to carve out some rather interesting routes. This is, of course, ridiculous, especially when you love the trails as much as I do. However, you’d be surprised how clean I can keep my shoes, even after 50 miles through the woods!
6. Everything is a tissue: For the life of me, I can’t seem to master the runner’s snot shot. I just seem to cover my chest in shot, and then wipe if off with my hands anyway. You’re loving the visual right now, aren’t you? Needless to say, everything is fair game as a kleenex. My allergies keep my nose running, no matter the weather or location, and actually carrying tissues just results in a soggy clump of paste.
Luckily, we are part of a sport that celebrates all of our quirks and oddities. I find it very gratifying to know than anything you think gives you an advantage or helps you succeed will be celebrated, no matter how strange it may seem to others. Just do a quick Google search for “running nutrition” and you’ll know what I mean. Thus, I’ll leave you with another image from a wonderful ADIDAS ad campaign that exemplifies the crazy that makes us wonderful. What quirks and oddities are a part of your running experiences? Let’s hear them all!!