Adventures in Running: What is Wrong with Amanda

As a human I have quirks. As an Amanda I have many, many, many quirks. One of the worst and, maybe at times, also best is my extreme commitment to completing something I’ve said I will do, no matter how strange the thing is. However, most recently my goals have increased to a level where even I don’t understand what I am doing anymore.

I have committed myself to running a half marathon in November.

Let me backtrack a bit and show you the high speed train ride that led me here.

Several months ago I signed up for a 5k (Overzealous goal #1) I did literally no training for it. I had never run a step in my life, minus the forced mile run in 7th grade, in which I walked the curves and ran the straights of the track, so basically never ran ever. I very slowly and awkwardly jogged through downtown Nashville for 3.1 miles, didn’t die and decided I was a runner. I should mention that logic is not one of my strongest qualities. Of course that sparked a weird fire in me and I then purchased the Couch to 5k (C25k for short from here on out), and decided I was going to soon be able to run a 5k in under 30 minutes. (Overzealous goal #2) Exactly one day into my C25k program I discovered a 5k inflatable obstacle course was taking place in 9 weeks, coincidently the exact length of time the C25k lasts. So naturally I signed up immediately because what’s a decision if not made spur of the moment, am I right? (Overzealous goal #4)

I stumbled my way through C25k until the day of the obstacle course. I have no idea how long it took me as it wasn’t timed but I know it was more than 30 minutes. Much more. I almost died of heat stroke and my over-competitive nature nearly made me pass out trying to keep up with a group of Marines. But I finished! And I didn’t die.

So what’s a girl to do once she’s got one 5k and an obstacle course under her belt, you may ask? Clearly she needs to create a new goal for herself. Another 5k? A 10k? Perhaps a different obstacle course? All very logical options. But I’m Amanda, so I chose none of those. Which brings us to overzealous goal #5

One lovely day I was checking my email as normal on my lunch break, reading all my junk mail, and then what to my wandering eye did appear? An email from listing ‘upcoming events in my area’! “We’ll just give it a little looksie,” I thought to myself. “5k, nah. 10k, no thanks. Why, what’s this? The Nashville Marathon, 1/2 Marathon and 5k. Interesting, let me read a bit about it…..okay done. Marathon? running for over 4 hours sounds boring. 10k doesn’t seem very impressive though. Welp, half marathon it is!!” I wish I could say that more thought went into my decision than that, but that would be a lie. In a span of about 15 minutes I decided I wanted to run 13.1 miles when the longest I has ever run was 3.1. Again let me reiterate. Logic is not my greatest attribute.

I then spent a total of 5 minutes looking up a training plan on Pinterest and jumped right on in to the self-inflicted mountain of a goal I had set for myself. As a recent non-runner, I have learned a lot in the last few months. A logical person would have learned these things through countless research, coming up with the best plan of attack, but I am not such a person. I learned through failure experience. And in order to possibly save someone in the future from falling victim to what I will now call Amanda-Syndrome (aka stupidity) I have compiled my most important running tips.

1. Running in 60 degrees is much easier than running in 100 degrees
2. Just because that random girl ran up the giant hill doesn’t mean you have to. Walk up that hill! Don’t feel shame! Walk up that hill with pride! Walking up is better than running and getting to the top with your lungs about to pop out of your chest, only to discover another hill waiting for you.
3. A frozen water bottle may seem like good idea, but a 1/2 mile in, your hand will be in the beginning stages of frostbite. Switching hands doesn’t help either, then you just have two frozen hands.
4. Running and drinking water at the same time is a learned talent. One I haven’t learned yet. Luckily I only try when no one is around to see me spill half of a bottle onto myself.
5. There’s a reason marathon runners put water in their mouth only to spit it back out. No one wants 20 ounces of liquid sloshing around in their gut while running 5 miles. Nor do you want a belly full of spaghetti. Science.
6. Running 8 miles then spending 7 hours chasing a toddler may seem doable in the spur of the moment, but your knees will hate you. They will hate you a lot. You will never feel older than you do in that moment. But bright side! The manufacturers of Aleve will love you!
7. Sometimes you take off your socks after a run to find them filled with blood. It will never not be alarming and it will never not be gross.
8. Bicycles move fast and silently. I’m almost positive that my demise will be caused by being run over by a bicyclist that I didn’t hear say “On your left”
9. 7am on Saturday is when the real runners are in the greenway. They will make you feel inadequate as the entire herd passes you “on your left”
10. Eminem is the most inspirational person alive. The cusses somehow help you forget that all of your body hurts. Only listen to him if you want to succeed in everything you do.
11. If I can run, I’m pretty sure anyone can. I’m almost positive I look like a dachshund taking tiny steps, moving my awkward body and short legs down the path, but dammit, I’m doing it! And you can too!

I’ve still got 9 weeks and 5 more miles to add until my ultimate test. Will I be able to run 13.1 miles? Will I finish before the time limit? Will they have to bring their golf cart to pick up my limp body? Will I make it to the finish line and get my free banana and beer? Only time will tell, but one thing I do know is that I’m sure I’ll come up with a new ludicrous goal immediately afterward.

Heck, maybe I’ll run across the country Forrest Gump style. That seems like the next tier in life for me.


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