I went to my first race expo yesterday for the Marine Corps Marathon and 10K (I am participating in the latter…). Yesterday from 4-8pm was the first day of the expo, and I decided to head there early, thinking that 4-5pm on the first day would not be super crowded. But with 100,000 expected attendees, there really isn’t a moment when the expo would not be crowded. So after picking up my packet smoothly, I decided that I was there already and I would wait it out. Being a newbie blogger, and attending the expo alone as my friend isn’t able to go until Saturday, I did not take any pictures 😦
I guess being there made me feel like such a wannabe runner – I wear the same shoes to run, to lift, to crosstrain, and to trek across foreign cities in; I only wear free t-shirts and booty shorts for all active situations; I own no headbands, don’t know what compression anything is, and carry my keys in my hand when I run. So I picked up my race shirt and some free lotions and gels I had no idea what to do with and headed through all the vendors selling things I really had absolutely no use for but wanted badly to purchase!
I felt like I needed everything – from The Stick (which is actually quite awesome), to a belt to store my crap when I go on a run so I can bring keysphonechapstick and not have to choose one of the three, a water resistant jacket for Sunday when I run a 10K during a hurricane, a headband so sweat doesn’t drip into my eyes and hair is out of my face, the list goes on! I ended up talking myself out of buying anything because 1) I am very very very indecisive and like to compare options and prices, 2) I felt like things were overpriced at the expo because it’s a giant arena full of runners excited for a big race, and 3) I really didn’t need any of those things.
But do I? I’m also frustrated because I’m not feeling 100% before the race. Cardiovascular-wise I could run for ages, but parts of my body keep aching in the you-should-really-stop way. My knees for example, hurt after I tried jogging a few miles today. I stopped but still needed to struggle and limp home to post-run yoga and ice. I don’t understand why my physical body isn’t able to handle what I can cardiovascularly.
I have a complicated relationship with running – it’s a little more than just love-hate, because I never hated it. It just never loved me back! I ran and ran and poured my heart into it, and only came out injured (stress fracture, shin splints) and disheartened afterwards. I gave up and kept it as just a hobby, only to want to be the runner I was more and more. So I was smart this time (or so I thought) and slowly increased my mileage by 10-15% each week, cross trained, strength trained, and befriended a foam roller. Still my knees hurt! Still my goals of just running a measly 10K are being tested right now. I ran an 8K untrained, after running less than 50 miles all year last December and did it after standing in the freezing cold for 30 minutes after a late start. Why is this time so different?
I’m frustrated. Do I need those expensive toys and gear to become a good runner? Do I have to love oatmeal and carbs and sweets (things I never crave: carbs and sweets)? I just want to be myself – my meat loving, weight lifting addicted, booty short wearing self – and be physically able to run! I was tempted during the expo to sign up for longer races, because I was so drawn into the supportive, friendly culture, but I’m not sure I’m ready. Spending all Saturday icing my knees in hope that they’ll cooperate on Sunday.