Full disclosure: I’ve never been much of a runner. A tough sesh of Crossfit or a 90-minute hot vinyasa flow class? Count me in. But jogging to a vague destination without any promise of a cold beverage waiting on the other side doesn’t exactly have me leaping for joy. I get it — running is a sport that takes serious mental stamina — the kind I don’t possess. I know there are plenty of folks out there who get positively high off of the endorphins and even use running as a meditation, a way to clear their heads. I am not that person.
Remember that episode of HBO's Girls when Hannah and Adam had just gotten together and he took her for a run? And she ended up throwing off her shoes and visiting the ice cream truck? She and I are kindred spirits in that sense. Just getting ready for a jog takes a lot out of me — I have to pick the appropriate clothes and shoes, make sure I've eaten just the right amount of food, and have a perfect playlist ready. But even if I do manage to kick off fully prepared, there's a strong likelihood something will go wrong and every inch of me will be begging to abort, go home, and drink a second cup of coffee.
There have to be others who share my sentiment, especially judging by the miserable look on their faces when I drive by and witness them in their fourth mile. Here are the top 13 worst things about taking your running routine to the great outdoors.
1. When You Get Thirsty
Am I the only one who gets outrageously thirsty 20 minutes in? Unless you've got a bag strapped to you with a bottle of water in it (dork), you're out of luck. I'm not brave enough to touch public water fountains and I always forget to tuck a few bucks in my sports bra, so sometimes I just end up going home early out of sheer thirst. What? Totally valid reason.
2. When You Get Catcalled
There is no such thing as a nice catcall. In fact, it's a form of harassment, no matter how much men try to frame it as a compliment. It totally makes me anxious — even angry. I've tried to respond in a few different ways, but I can't escape how icky I feel afterwards. Unfortunately, when you run, it only seems to make things worse.
3. When Everyone Is Judging You
At least, that's what it feels like to me. I may be paranoid, but I swear everyone has to turn their head and see how fast I'm going and how far I've gone. I don't even like it when people watch me do things I'm fairly good at; imagine my discomfort knowing they're watching my sad attempt at exercising.
4. When You Have To Pee
This always happens to me, no matter how many times I run to the bathroom before I take off. Have you ever jogged with a full bladder? It isn’t fun. It’s even less fun when you can’t find a public bathroom or a secluded spot far enough away from the neighborhood playground.
5. When You Run Into Someone You Know
I hate this awkward game of small talk, especially when I’m panting and sweating in an unattractive manner and the other person is groomed and fully clothed. I used to try to run in the opposite direction when I saw a friend or acquaintance, but they literally started chasing after me.
6. When Your Knees Hurt
Most of us run on sidewalks, which is bad for the knees and can often lead to injury. Unfortunately, that's one of your only options, particularly if you live in a city. Asphalt is a bit more forgiving, but Dr. Bob Adams, Chair of USA Track and Field's Sports Medicine and Science Committee, says it's best to crosstrain and run on different surfaces. Eh, I think I'll stick to the treadmill.
7. When It Starts To Rain
Out of nowhere it starts pouring, and then you have to make your way home sopping wet. I hate that squishy sound the socks make inside your shoes, but the real problem starts when you arrive home and have to strip immediately to avoid a flooded apartment. Hopefully you don't have any workouts planned tomorrow because your sneakers won't be dry by then.
8. When You Lose Your Keys
This makes you feel like a complete fool, because you probably have to trace your steps and search in the grass on hands and knees, hoping nobody will drive by that knows you. Once, I searched for my keys for a full hour, only to arrive home and see they were in my door. Sigh. A solution? Keep them hidden under a potted flower or somewhere safe.
9. When You Drop Your iPod/Phone (Again)
It's Murphy's Law at its worst — the only thing of value you bring on your run is the one you drop and crack in half. It's a horrible transition from happily bouncing along to Katy Perry to quickly realizing you've just trampled on your iPod mini. It can be traumatizing, trust me. Maybe invest in an armband that securely straps it onto your body?
10. When You Cramp Up
Whether you get an intense side stitch or a charley horse in your calf muscle, getting a cramp can put you on your a**. You have to sit down on the sidewalk and stretch it out and try not to cry in front of the cute guy with his golden retriever passing by.
11. When Your Nose Gets All Snotty
This most likely happens when it's a bit chilly outside. When it starts, it's nearly impossible to stop; it impedes your ability to run because you keep reaching up to wipe away the snot. If you didn't bring tissues — who does that anyway? — you'll have to use your sleeve.
12. When You Get Lost
I have a horrible sense of direction. I could run on a track circle and still manage to lose my way. On a run, I have been known to use the GPS on my iPhone to get myself to a certain destination. At least this is when running with friends comes in handy — if you get lost, you can always stop by a cafe and replenish with a blueberry muffin.
13. When You Have To Run Back
I mean, really, this is just cruel. I came all this way, and yet I'm only halfway done? That's one thing I love about running in the city, though. There's always a subway line or a bus or, better yet, a taxi that can carry me safely home.
Images: picography.co/Pexels (1); Giphy (13)