3.21.2009

Running makes you manly

This winter I've been doing all weekday runs on the treadmill because it is too freaking cold outside (WTF, it was snowing yesterday--the first day of spring) and I really only enough cold weather gear to do the weekend long run.

One of the side effects of all this treadmill running is that I spend hours a week staring at myself in the TV on the treadmill. I don't like to watch the TV attached to the treadmill because I feel it will mess up my form, so I turn it off and watch the overhead TVs, forcing myself to lift my head while I run. Also, I don't like listening to the TV while running because it throws off my cadence--or rather doesn't help with my cadence, unlike music.

And what I have learned from this? That running makes you more manly.

Not manly in the sense that I have more chest hair or that I have an increasing urge to fell timber. More in the sense that running makes you real comfortable with your body and you learn to not really care where you are or who is around you when you do something gross.

For example, when I first started running I hated spitting--I thought it was absolutely gross to do in public. I would actually wait until there was no one around--no cars, no people--and hock a loogie politely into the bushes where no one would see it or be able to attribute it to me.

Now, five years later, I don't give a rat's ass about it. I've learned from hundreds of runs that if you don't spit it out it only accumulates and gets worse. It's really not worth holding in. I still avoid spitting directly onto the street or sidewalk--I usually aim for a grassy patch or a storm drain--but really I have no hesitation, to the point that a jogger passed me and yelled "disgusting" when I spat on the storm drain she was about to run over.

Running also makes you real intimate with your bowels--just like the man stereotype in my head. Think about it. When did it become acceptable to use the port-o-potty? As a child I had a immense feeling of dread and despair if I had to use a port-o-potty and avoided it like the plague.

Now? Ha! Port-o-potties are a luxury compared to some of the bathrooms in NYC Parks. You build up some kind of biological mechanism to dilute the smell and you craft some nonsensical scientificesque explanation that it's actually not that dirty.

And never mind the people who do their business in the bushes. That is manly--and brave. I haven't done that yet, but if I was ever in that situation I'd do it--no doubt.

Perhaps the maniest aspect if it all is the boasting. For me it's been subtle. I don't walk around the office telling everyone: "Hey! I ran eight miles before you even woke up this morning! BOo YAHHHHH! Beat that sucka!" (Although it would be hilarious to do so.) But I do find myself sneaking in the "geez I'm tried because I did seven hard miles this morning" into conversations with people who could care less about my running hobby and much less about my current physical state.

Then this week I've found myself pushing onto my coworkers the excitement of my upcoming races: "I just booked the car to go to New Hampshire for my race," "Did you know there is a way to frequent flyer miles so that you can get a discounted ticket (like I did for Cincinnati)?" "I just got a huge deal on my hotel for The Flying Pig Marathon." Part of it is excitement, but there is that little voice that says "these people don't care." Which, in truth, they don't: I'm an oddity in my office--there's only one other runner and she only runs about one race a year.

Let's hope that the further I get into my running career the manliness doesn't progress into d-bagery, because then we would have a problem on our hands.

5 comments:

Irish Cream said...

Ha, I never realized how "manly" I am until I read this post!! Thanks for pointing it out ;)

And seriously, what is with the uncontrollable urges to talk about all things running with people who honestly couldn't care less (especially co-workers)? I really can't stop!!

Actually, I have a theory on this . . . I can small a post brewing!

lifestudent said...

I had to use 3 different port-o-potties during one particular 8-miler ... but I still hide when I have a loogie to dispose of :) Guess I'm not manly enough.

Marcy said...

So I guess I'm more of a man than a woman? Great! LOL

Adam said...

If you start to crush beer cans on your head, I'd worry. Until then hawk away!

I too really make a honest effort to keep my running under wraps. Every so often i'll get the comment that says "how do you stay so small with how much you eat!?" to which I can then respond about running 8 miles that morning :)

RunToFinish said...

welll.. I have been running for like 7 years and I still don't talk about poo or spit or have extra hair on my chest