I never, ever reach any sort of runner’s high or clearing of the head while I run. Instead, my head is full of conversations with itself since there are no other distractions. On my last long run I mulled over these amazing topics and many, many more. It’s very circular and all strangely related. I do run with music when I run by myself and have my interval timer in my headphone, but I very rarely ever hear the music.

A peek inside my running head:

I’m running pretty slow, I should speed up. But if I speed up, I’ll be tired. Am I running at 180 steps per minute. I really detest that guy running up the hill at me while I run downhill. He looks so flawless. I’ll smile at him and see if he smiles back. He didn’t smile, I wonder if he thinks I’m not a real runner because I smile. Why do runners and walkers in Seattle rarely smile? In Sammamish, they smile. I should drive to Sammamish. There’s no water on the trail and I always run out of fuel. Maybe if I park in the middle of the train and lap my car. Why am I always the only one wearing a fuel belt? There’s that guy again. How does he keep passing me running uphill. He must run a 6-minute mile. I hate him and his fast miles.

Animosity from runners. The more popular 5ks and 1/2 marathons get, the more animosity I see from other runners. In 2010 when I started both running and running barefoot, the web/blog/tweet-o-sphere was busy bashing barefoot runners. People would tell me to put shoes on or mock me. Now they all ask where I got my huaraches or minimalist shoes. In 2011, it was all about running without headphones. I saw many rants about how annoying people who run with headphones are because they can’t hear oncoming traffic/runners all the way to how the gait of someone carrying a phone/iPod/music player changes noticeably. (That one made me laugh by the way and I wish I had the blog to link to.) There was so much anger and vitriol spewing from the screen that I almost didn’t run with a music player again just to avoid the expected flames from the sky. Last year (2012), it seemed most of the angry was directed towards people who get swept and then accept the medal anyway and whether they should even be allowed to get that medal. I wonder if that woman who complained so vehemently about running with headphones is the same woman who was complaining about accepting medals. They both have dark hair. I should stop reading blogs. I say to each his or her own. It is all this bitterness that makes me do frequent and long intervals of no social media. If I spent my life on Twitter, I would hate humanity and never ever smile.

Thinking about the progression of rants about other runners, the same people who suggest running with a music player changes the gait noticeable when running behind the person probably wouldn’t say that about a fuel belt. Running with a fuel belt changes my gait. It makes me slower too. Or at least it does in my head. I feel heavier. I enjoy my runs less. This makes me run faster so I can eventually run some crazy pace that wouldn’t take me 20 minutes or more between fueling stations. Running faster while training makes me thirstier, which means I have to carry that darn belt.

And why can’t I run faster? My short little legs will only take me so far and all this weight bearing me down. Why have I gained weight (and inches and body fat should you think it might be muscle) and not lost weight running? Everyone keeps telling me if I keep running all these miles that the weight would just melt away.

I’m tired of everyone suggesting that I eat whole foods. I spend my whole paycheck at Whole Foods; I have CSA delivery. I don’t eat chocolate and except for my small lapse of Taco Bell after a few Sounders Games last year, I don’t eat fast food or processed food for that matter. If it comes in a box, it doesn’t belong in my belly. I’ve had fired food exactly twice in the last 12 months. I don’t finish meals at restaurants. I eat a whole ton of vegetables and count my protein grams. I don’t eat meat at home and rarely while out. And yet, I keep gaining weight. Being 30 pounds overweight changes my gait.

Look at that guy running by me looking all Quasimodo…his gait is awful. And he’s faster than me. Look at that girl kicking her butt with her foot each step. Looks at that guy who is heel striking during his crazy long stride. He’s lapped me three times. And that woman pushing her baby carriage with her knees pointed outwards. And that guy with the bunny hop. Ugh, I spend so much time obsessing over the perfect gait and all these people are faster than me.

IF I ran faster than I would like running more and I wouldn’t miss TV shows. I miss Gossip Girl. Who watches Whitney? Why is that guy sticking his head in trees? Is he looking for the bald eagle nests? Now he’s staring at me. Is he just old or homeless and going to kill me? Why do the people walking around this lake all look homeless or have on skinny jeans? How is that woman wearing knee-high boots with 5-inch platform heels going to make it around the lake? I wonder if the Nordstrom’s boot sale is over so I can go shopping again? When will I find a pair of boots that fit over my large calves? Why do I need boots when I hate wearing shoes? What the hell am I going to wear on my feet when I run in the snow in Norway? I must be faster if I’m going to run in Norway in the snow….

And so it goes…

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