Friday, March 8, 2013

Indecent exposure

In a lot of ways, being a distance runner makes me a better person. But there are also a lot of ways in which it just makes me kind of gross. There are many things I do while (or in the name of) running that I simply wouldn't do in any other context. For example:

The farmer blow (a.k.a. the "snot rocket"). It's taken me over two decades, but I have finally perfected the art of the farmer blow. I don't understand the physiology of why the blowing of the nose becomes so essential during a long run, but it's a disgusting fact, and after years of finding myself on the road with no access to tissue, I've learned to let go of decorum and let it fly. (Note: I hope this term isn't offensive to farmers. If it is, I hope that my farmer readers understand that I use this term with the utmost respect for this respiratory innovation.)

I can offer you no rational explanation
for these shorts.
Buy camouflage-print shorts with a 2" inseam. I'm a pretty conservative dresser. I love bright colors, but I'm not flashy, and I certainly don't show much skin. And yet somehow when it comes to running clothes, I am perfectly comfortable in almost anything - short or wildly patterned shorts, ratty old t-shirts, it makes no difference. If it was cheap at the running store, and it's comfortable, I will wear it. To be honest, I look terrible in running shorts. I've never had those great runner's legs, and I've made my peace with that. These legs have taken me all over the planet, running in some amazingly beautiful places, so I forgive them their imperfections.

Walk around publicly in a state of partial undress. As I've mentioned before, I occasionally need to squeeze in my runs on the fly, in the middle of my work days. While changing in the back of your car, or slipping on shorts under one's skirt or a towel are mostly socially acceptable behaviors on the coast (where people are used to seeing surfers do it), I've found that it will raise some eyebrows in town. Pulling my shirt off in the middle of a parking lot is, for the most part, out of character for me. But in the context of a run? A no brainer.

Wear a fanny pack. Not only do I wear a fanny pack on my long runs (okay, it's a SPI belt, and it's a few ticks cooler than a fanny pack ...), I get so used to the feel of it that I often forget it's there and catch myself still wearing it while out doing errands after my run. (Oh and on that note: if I drove somewhere to run, I will almost always squeeze in an errand or two on my way home, with absolutely no regard for my ragged, sweaty, crusty appearance.)

Wave at strangers. And for all of the questionable, socially unacceptable things that running makes me do, this one odd behavior is definitely my favorite.


  1. Haha! I love it. I still have not perfected the snot rocket. One nostril seems to be stronger than the other.

    I did a lunchtime run last week because otherwise I wouldn't be able to get my run in. I gave myself a little sponge bath and returned to work. I thought of it as "pulling an Amy." I thought you'd be proud.

    1. I AM proud! Love it!! (Btw, I recently discovered that there is a shower in the bathrooms at Hera Hub. GAME CHANGER.)

  2. Ha ha - funny but true :) I carry a piece of bounty tissue on every run, or a napkin if I run from work. Blowing my nose is very important :)

    1. For sure! Tissues don't work for me, I'm way too sweaty. (Really painting a lovely picture of myself here, aren't I?) Paper towel is good, but I never think to pack it!