“What’s that on your leg?”

By on 5 August, 2013 in Fun, Meg Lewis, Outdoors with 2 Comments

Let’s face it. Running can get gross. There’s a lot of nature that you’re going to encounter on the road or on the trails as a runner. Sometimes the ick factor is going to fly into your face (or mouth!) and sometimes it’s actually going to fly out of you. From loogies to gnats to mud there’s going you’d better learn to embrace the nasty.

First of all, you’re going to sweat. If you’re the type that can’t stand to glisten a little, you might as well hang up those cute running shorts and matching headband and call it a day. You’re going to pour with sweat, especially in August in Montgomery, Alabama. You’re going to learn to love the smell of your own stinky running clothes, because you know it means you just worked your butt off and made progress. Oh, and there’s also that super-icky salt crust that forms around your face and on your arms after the sweat dries and you cool down. Baby wipes or cooling facial cleansing wipes will be your best defense against that. A quick wipe down after your run will help, especially if you keep them in a cooler.

If you run on a trail, there’s a strong possibility you’re going to encounter the occasional surprise mud hole. Don’t wear your new running shoes on the trail… you’ll be so disappointed with the new splatter paint motif they’ll now have when the red mud won’t come out. And don’t forget to take pictures of the cool mud splashes you get on your legs. So cool!

Unpleasant odors are always lurking. Sometimes it’s a dreaded garbage truck cleaning up Friday night’s trash from the bars and restaurants. Other times it’s the decomposing flesh of wildlife on the trail (or roadkill). And let’s be honest, flatulence happens. Just be courteous and move downwind of fellow runners if you know you’re going to leave a puff of green smoke behind you.

Insects also present a both annoying and disgusting challenge when we take to the streets or trails for runs. Gnats are always lurking where you least expect, a cloud of tiny wings waiting to smother you as you take a deep breath, getting stuck in your contacts or worse, between your teeth. Biting insects like mosquitoes and flies light on you no matter how fast your pace is. If you’re especially tasty to these critters don’t hesitate to dowse yourself in bug spray before getting out there.

Even the most delicate flower of a runner knows that there’s few things more exciting than hocking a loogie twenty feet in the air while running at full speed. Sometimes, our efforts fail and we end up wearing that nasty projectile of mucus on our shirt or arm for the rest of the run. The most important rule of spitting on the run is to make sure no one is beside or right behind you to the left or right. Landing a loogie on your running buddy may be an unforgivable runner’s sin.

Black toenails, swollen joints and runners rash are all nasty ailments common to runners that can be addressed with better fitting shoes, physical therapy and chafe stick. Sometimes running is going to totally gross you out. But for most of us, it’s all part of the experience and a small price to pay for the rewards of improved fitness, proven mental determination and fellowship with other athletes.

Meg Lewis is a runner and cupcake baker who resides a smidge outside of the bypass. She regularly makes her rounds through downtown and midtown Montgomery evaluating the beer selections, live musical performances and the social atmosphere of local establishments in the company of a small and close-knit group of fabulous people.

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  1. Natasha says:

    Where are the running trails around here? I just moved and have not found any other than the sidewalks.

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