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Common “healthy lifestyle” and/or running habits I fail at. (Alternatively: why I’ll never be a health-blogger or a good runner).

My recent foray into the blogging world has made it especially easy to compare myself to others, and has consequently made me painfully aware of a few shortcomings I have in the arena of health and/or running. So here we go:   

This is actually almost what I look like when I do yoga. Except replace the contented smile with a twisted grimace, and add in a continuous stream of profanity-laced grumbling.

Normal people emerge from their yoga experiences cloaked in a self-actualized cocoon of serenity and clarity, feeling enlightened and empowered. I rage out with smoke pouring from my ears ready to punt kittens off of a cliff because I just wasted 60 minutes feeling outrageously uncomfortable and stretching. Which reminds me: 



It's criminal to be this ecstatic about a weird combination ankle-rolling/hip stretch.

 Nothing to see here folks, ‘cause I don’t do it nearly as much as I should. Moving along. 

Hydrating on long runs.

To everyone else, "Amphipod" is a brand of ritzy athletic gear. Perhaps my aversion to fuel belts is rooted in my prior knowledge that an "Amphipod" is actually a teensy crustacean that populates marine waters by the billions and looks super creepy under a microscope.

Who wants to run 22 miles with a water bottle in your hand or a freaking fuel belt around your waist? I’ve had enough awful dehydrated long runs that I should really address this issue, and some good advice in the comments on the horsefly post has renewed my enthusiasm for giving it a shot, but for some reason, I just keep banging my head against the proverbial wall with the whole adequate hydration thing. (Of all the things on the list, this shortcoming really does need to change.)



Amount of cross-training (Hint: it severely reduces my running mileage).

I did a Google image search for "cross training" and the erg actually showed up. Complete with a fitness model who has probably never taken a stroke in her life, but who nonetheless manages to look far cuter than I will ever look while on this machine.

Contrary to my world-record marathon delusions, I cross-train too much to ever be a good runner. Namely? I row (or, well, erg). A lot. I’m convinced that, physically, rowing has absolutely nothing to do with running. This infuriated me in my college rowing days because I could find no rhyme or reason to successful erg scores – I could beat these girls by 10 minutes in a 5K run, and yet they’d be pummeling my ego into the ground on our erg tests . Now that I don’t care what scores I pull anymore, I relish the reality that erging a lot doesn’t seem to tire me out for my runs at all, allowing me to get in lots of extra sweatiness without the joints-hatin’ I’d get from too much running. But the rowing is a contributor to my next “good runner” faux pas. 



Like this rhinoceros, I may not be able to keep up with the super-svelte-and-speedy sprinters of the savannah, but if push were to come to shove and any pushing and shoving were involved, I'd come off the better.

Rowing is not conducive to being a slim, twiggy runner. I’m carrying around a lot of weight in my shoulders and hamstrings that I probably don’t need for running. I’m also carrying around a less desirable type of weight in my midsection that I probably don’t need for much of anything, unless a famine hits. But this probably won’t change, because I like rowing. And I like chocolate. And peanut butter. And cookies. And chocolate peanut butter cookies. Speaking of which: 



My favorite food. Just add half a jar of peanut butter and a pound of chocolate chips.

I’d hazard a guess that oatmeal with peanut butter is not the ideal dinner. But toss in a mushy banana and a hefty handful of chocolate chips, and you’ve got my evening meal of champions. As my mom says, I basically turn it into cookie dough and then pretend it’s a perfectly reasonable and balanced meal. This faux-healthy oatmeal dish (in various forms) comprises a good 30-40% of my daily food consumption.


There are other things I should add to this list:

  • Speed work. As in, I don’t do it enough.
  • Strength training. Ditto the above. I like to pretend that rowing is kind of a mix of strength training and core work, but this is sort of a lie.
  • Running footwear. Are racing flats worth investing in? Or at the least, some kind of running shoe with a heel that isn’t quite so large? Ever since I read Born to Run, I’ve felt increasingly guilty about my weak, Nike Air Pegasus-spoiled feet, and I get little spasms of worry over whether I’m setting myself up for reduced running longevity by wearing huge ol’ trainers that keep my feet wimpy. I have no aspirations of jumping on the barefoot running train, but do you guys have any thoughts on more minimalist-type footwear?
  • Racing. I don’t race nearly as much as I want to, which probably impedes my running gains. Why not? Because racing is freaking expensive. I can’t justify spending $25 to run five kilometers.  How do you decide which races to spend money on? Do you have any strategies for racing on a budget?

 Truthfully, this list could go on and on and on, but I’m late for lunch. I’m interested to hear if others have any habits that might be counter to their running or their healthy lifestyles.

Happy Saturday!

13 Comments leave one →
  1. 07/10/2010 17:24

    hahah i feel like this post describes me to a t! i kept nodding my head up and down 🙂

  2. 07/10/2010 19:49

    you still erg? voluntarily? What. Kind. Of. Crack. are you smoking? Outside of my brief stint with master’s rowing, I dropped that shizz like a bad habit after college.

  3. 07/10/2010 19:50

    also, word to the running v. rowing build. totally mutually exclusive. except the time when i was a lightweight rower and i was a bag of bones. now that was an attractive season for me.

    • 07/10/2010 21:47

      yeah, sheesh, the lwt thing can be a whole different level of diehard nuttiness. ooof.
      no idea why i still erg. in college i used to have internal hissyfits over erg tests. but now i can just paddle along with the screen down and not give a d anymore. gives the knee cartilage a break from running, i suppose…

  4. jbf permalink
    07/10/2010 20:03

    As suggested before: bandit races. It’s legit. Unless you’re all into the awards and recognition afterward, which you can’t really participate in if you didn’t pay your arm-and-leg entry fee. Especially for little rinky dink things like 5 and 10ks, I don’t really see the problem.

    • 07/10/2010 22:02

      i did enjoy banditting that one time. i still regret not snagging one of those signs.

      however. there’s something inexplicably alluring about picking up a cheap age-group medal here or there.

  5. 07/11/2010 16:10

    hahaha. this is kind of everything but the kitchen sink here!

    i think we are on the same page. i happened to do yoga this week though. it certainly isn’t a regular habit! the only time i ‘stretch’ is when i actually do yoga, and i hate carrying water on runs too.

  6. Murdoch permalink
    07/12/2010 08:12

    Re: Minimalism

    Its great in the right amount. Our feet have been protected so much our whole lives most people can’t, or shouldn’t, just start running barefoot all of the time. I started around sophomore year doing like 2 laps on the infield a couple of times a week. Im now up to where Ive gone as far as maybe 3 miles to finish a run but could probably do a whole 7 to 8 if I had the space or desire.

    I’d start by doing just maybe 5 minutes twice a week at a track or field you know that doesn’t have rusty nails in it and go from there. For whatever its worth I was never injured in college and I feel a lot of it was the strength of my ankles and feet from barefoot running.

    • 07/12/2010 23:00

      Yeah, a little while ago I started doing two minutes at the end of my runs in CT because the grassy lawns are convenient. The challenge is definitely in finding the non-rusty nail turf…

  7. 07/12/2010 13:50

    ahhh, still so amusing. thanks for posting and writing, cbal! 😉 your blog makes me smile and miss you more!

    • 07/12/2010 23:07


      not to be creepy, but this thought process occurs often while i’m running:
      “this would be a good place to run with dspa and chat about life.”


  8. 10/19/2010 13:33

    LOVE rowing machines. (Had no idea it was called an erg, though that’s a great name for something – and yes, I do realize it’s short for ergometer.)

    Don’t know why, and hardly get any opportunity to use one. I have fantasies about someday having a rec room, and that would be top of my list for equipment to stock it with.

    Love them, love them, love them.


  1. I did a speed workout today. No, really. On the track and everything. « Sweaty Kid.

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