Earning your bad-ass runner stripes

Earning your bad-ass runner stripes

Remember all that snow that Chicago was slated to get this week?  Well, it’s here.  It’s hard telling how much we have, since the city gets rid of it so quickly, but there are probably at least several inches on the ground.  I think the worst of it is over, and it’s nothing like what folks out east got last week and earlier this week.  (If I had a picture to show you, I would… unfortunately, I don’t).

This post makes me laugh because some people hesitate to call themselves “runners” until they can check off certain accomplishments, like running so many marathons, breaking a specific PR, or the like.  I didn’t put a “26.2” sticker on my car until after I had run my third marathon (the first one where I got a BQ) because until then, I didn’t feel like a “real” marathoner.  Friends of mine have done the same or similarly.

Just in the past couple weeks, I noticed something afflicting me for the first time ever in my running career–blisters.  Blisters!  I’ve run 12 marathons, about as many halfs, and countless other races (not to mention thousands of miles), and I have no recollection of EVER getting a blister, anywhere.  I’ve been alternating between pairs of shoes recently, and one pair took some time to get used to… and until I did, I got some weird blisters in the spots where I’d usually just get calluses.  I’ve lost toenails before, have bruised toenails, have had the typical runner ailments like IT band syndrome or shin splints, but never before have blisters surfaced.  I guess I’m finally “one” of us now.

Tuesday morning, it was snowing hard and heavy in Chicago.  I had just four miles on my schedule for the day, and I figured that Tuesday night would have worse conditions than Tuesday morning.  Fortunately, I got lucky and managed to run behind a snow plow for part of my run, though the unplowed parts slowed me substantially.  I saw few others out in the morning (though there were some dog-walkers, other runners, and a biker on LSD), and when I returned home, though my pace wasn’t my usual average, I couldn’t have felt more bad-ass.  Seeing how much snow was on the ground–and knowing that I overcame though–I had to tell C that night that I had earned my bad-ass running stripes.  Colleagues and friends thought I was crazy for doing it (but then they soon recanted, saying “of course you ran in this this morning, why wouldn’t you?”), but I had a blast.  Add “running during a snowstorm” to my running repertoire, haha!

Tonight’s speedwork shouldn’t be too affected by the weather, now that things are calming down a bit, but things could definitely change between now and Saturday when we do 10 in the city.  That’s part of the fun, and the mystery, of this whole process, though…

Do something today to earn your bad-ass runner stripes.  You can do it!

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