I think about this often as I wander through my day so I figure it deserves a random post. I've been running since I was 10. I'll be 36 - on Thursday to be exact, so - quick math - I've been running for 26 years. 26 out of 36 years means I've been a runner for 72% of my life. Dang. That's a lot. I didn't run all the way through three pregnancies, and I've taken bouts of time off for injuries, but more or less, 72% of my life I've been a runner. I've competed at distances from a 200m (4X200 relay in junior college) to the marathon. I've run on teams and I've run alone. What does all this mean? Running is constantly in my head. I find myself living every part of my life as if I'm running or racing.
Driving is the biggest one. Especially since we got our PT Cruiser, and I'm not only driving a minivan full of kids and gear. I drive like I'm running a race - sometimes on a track, sometimes a crowded road race. I find myself making sure I don't get boxed in, and feeling the need to put on surges to pass people. If I'm driving a long distance, I look to the pack of cars ahead, and try to rein them in. When I'm switching freeways, I use the onramps as if I'm beelining from point to point to shorten the distance. When I get tired driving at night, I hang with a group of cars and let them pull me along and break the wind.
I don't know how I'd exist without my stopwatch. I time everything. I time my laundry. I time my cooking. I have a separate timer to time my children's computer usage. I time how long my husband runs so I know when to expect him back. I time when I allow my children to play at a playground. I time how long I read and how long I write. I obviously time my runs. I time my splits even if I'm not doing a pace run.
I'm most comfortably dressed in running clothes. It doesn't make sense to wear much else, because inevitably I have to put them on anyway to go for a run. I wear sport sandals and running shoes. Someone I've known for 15 years told me the other day that she'd never seen my in any girl shoes. I wear shorts most of the year - 'cept for a few months when it gets too cold. Then I wear running pants and polar fleece. My closet is overflowing with race t-shirts, and the reason we do so much laundry is because of running clothes.
Sometimes if I can't sleep at night, I play this game. We have a smoke alarm on the ceiling above the bed. The red light blinks every 30 seconds. As soon as it blinks, I count - trying to maintain an even counting pace between blinks, so I get to the exact same number before it blinks again. Then I close my eyes, count, and try to resist opening them to check if I'm on pace until the last second. It's a pacing game, as if I'm running splits at the track. I do the same thing when I'm running 400's - I don't wanna let myself look at my watch until I'm done with the repeat. I'm convinced that somehow magically, avoiding peeking will make me a more successful pacer.
Everything I consume has to be considered for it's affect on running. I think that's a pretty normal runner thing. I used to have a Nike t-shirt that said, "Eat right, get lots of sleep, drink plenty of fluids" and on the back "and Go Like Hell!". Typical runner mentality.
When I walk anywhere I have to consider the course and the water stops (drinking fountains) along the way.
When I'm grocery shopping, I feel the need to weave between carts and not get passed by the same person down the next aisle.
Whether or not I do yardwork or any other form of exertion that requires lifting or muscle use depends on my training calendar. I don't want to be sore for a run.
I plan vacations with a race in mind or what kind of running routes there might be.
Sometimes I think I must be crazy. But it's so familiar to me, I don't remember any other way to be. I eat, sleep and breathe running. I love to run fast. I was so bummed the other day when I was doing a pace run that I couldn't maintain it for any longer. I love the feeling of flying when I'm running. I talk fast and eat fast too. I have all of my life. I wonder sometimes if I'm an anomaly, or if I'm the norm. It makes no difference. It's who I am. I love running. I do slow down sometimes. Like right now while I'm sitting and typing. What am I writing about? Running, of course.