Saturday, December 18, 2010

Running Neuroses

Today: 18.6 mile long run, 2:29:29 (8:02 pace)

Sometimes I wonder whether runners, in general are neurotic, or if I am simply a neurotic person that likes running.  In the 13 years I have been a running, I have developed a lot of habits around this hobby, and over time these habits have been so fixed in their practices that they can certainly be characterized as neurotic behavior.

In fifth grade, it was determined that I was nearsighted, which I wasn't really surprised about because both of my parents wear progressive lenses.  I got glasses, and dutifully wore them throughout the day.  When I started running, I used my glasses.  However, when I started high school, and it became clear to my parents that I would do cross country and track, they decided it was time for me to get contacts.  This was probably a good decision because the cross country courses were typically technical trails, and if my glasses moved around on my face it would make it hard for me to see.  I also skied a lot, and putting ski goggles over glasses is a real pain in the butt.  Anyways, I started wearing contacts roughly 10 years ago.  While I like my glasses and don't mind wearing them for almost any occasion, I never wear them to run.  In fact, in the past ten years, I have probably gone running in glasses less than ten times.  The idea of running without the contacts is so unthinkable to me that I have literally skipped or postponed runs because I did not have them with me.

The watch
I have previously discussed my love of the digital running watch.  I am pretty neurotic about knowing how long and how far I ran.  Frankly, I am willing to estimate the distance when necessary, but I don't like to estimate the time when I can just as easily use the handy chrono feature on my cheap-o watch and get it down to the seconds.  Fortunately, there is little risk of me forgetting my watch, because it almost never leaves my wrist (except when I need to dress up all fancy).  However, I am definitely that neurotic runner that is stopping the chrono timer at every red light, stop sign or cat that walks in front of me.  If I forget to restart the watch (which is a rarity, but has been known to happen), I agonize over how to estimate the now lost time.

The direction I run
This is by far my strongest running neurosis.  Let me explain.  I have a variety of running routes.  Many of them involve loops.  I have very strong opinions about the direction that those loops should be run.  There really isn't a standard, it isn't like its always clockwise or counter-clockwise.  Nonetheless, each loop must be run a certain way.  It's usually the same way I first run the loop, but sometimes it changes.  Further, the idea of reversing the direction on any running loop is downright atrocious to me.  For example, when I run around the golf course near me, I always go counter-clockwise.  But, when I run around Town Lake, I go clockwise.  Fortunately, I almost always run by myself, so I don't have to explain this neurotic and illogical thinking to a running partner.  Boyfriend is pretty new to running and just lets me lead, so I don't think he even notices how crazy I am about this.  Hopefully he won't read this post...

So those are the things I can think of thus far.  However, if I notice any other neurotic running behavior on my part, I'll do a part 2 post.  Finally, here is something interesting I saw this week:  I was running in the evening through a pretty ritzy neighborhood.  The streets were very residential, with big houses.  One of the houses was having a party, I assume for the holidays.  They had valet parking for their guests!!!  At their home.  Which they paid for.  So people didn't have to park their own cars.  Furthermore, parking was completely legal on the street.  It was very strange.  It always amazes me what some people do with their money.

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