Every weekend, after spending hours running the neighborhoods of Madison, I cautiously step into the shower because I know it's going to hurt like a sonofabitch. I have a permanent raw spot just below my chest where my heart rate monitor chafes. Another two on my back, same cause. Depending on the top or sports bra I wear, each underarm gets rubbed raw from the constant friction of naked flesh and sweaty garb. We won't discuss my inner thighs.
Needless to say, the second that warm shower water hits my skin -- OUCH.
My feet are callused. Well, let's be honest, my feet are a lost cause to begin with, but when callused, even worse. I still have scars on my arms and legs from wild parsnip burns obtained during my trail marathon in July. When I finish a run in this summer heat, I can -- and DO -- literally wring the sweat from my shorts. I sweat. Like a beast. The clothes I hung to dry last night after a 10-miler were still damp this morning. They smell. My shoes end up just as drenched as every other piece of clothing on my body as the sweat pours down my legs and pools at my feet into my socks and shoes. My car smells like a gym.
My Garmin leaves a tan line on one wrist, while my Road ID leaves one on the other. I wear compression socks in public, a lot, because I don't care, my fucking legs are sore. I fall asleep early. I'm tired. When I wake up in the morning and take those first few steps, things crack and twinge. Waking up is hard. Waking up to run is harder. Coming home to run after a long day is worse. Running is hard.
My running clothes don't match. I'm not cute. Yes, this is a race shirt from four years ago. I'm sorry, is running a fashion show? My socks are stained with mud. They probably don't match. My favorite shoes have a stubborn blood stain leftover from the Cleveland Marathon. My feet bled through my shoes. I still have scars on my feet.
Running isn't glamorous. I love it.