In a recent post, we discovered that I’ve been holding myself back in my personal and professional life due simply to the bullshit narratives that I’ve adopted [see: “What Else Have I Been Lying To Myself About“].

Reflecting on my life a bit further through the allegory or lens of being a runner – a more bourgeois way of saying that upon calming myself down after getting way too upset about someone waddling and taking over the entire sidewalk], I realized that the are so many ways in which one might be able to cross-stitch the fabrics of running and fundraising. Well, at least 15.

If you’re a runner and a fundraiser in any capacity, you’ll find most of these points self-evident in their translation to running a fundraising program. If you aren’t a runner, well, then, either read another post or at least:

  1. What’s the best way to improve your running overall? Run more often. Stop focusing on running faster then the next guy, further than the next girl, just get out and run more often. When it comes to that time whereas you want to improve your distance – run more. Want to run faster? Run more.
  2. It’s going to suck sometimes. Some of your runs are going to be shit. Every day is different. Some days the easy 5K will feel like a marathon, some days the 15K midweek run will feel like 20 minutes.
  3. Pride is a deadly sin? Fuck that. You should definitely have a bit of pride in yourself for your dedication to such a higher ideal. You will deal with bloody nipples. Walking bowlegged since your fatty little thighs are chafed raw. You learn to never foolishly trust a fart. Or you’ve almost shit your pants for this personal best. You get the fundraising metaphor here, right?
  4. You don’t need all the frills – it’s about the investing in the fundamentals. All you really need is a good pair of shoes for the type of running that you’ll be doing. You don’t need $200 outfits from Lululemon, $20 moisture wicking socks, polarized sunglasses, a breathable running hat, body glide, gels, a GPS watch, a smartphone, a heart rate monitor, bluetooth headphones, compression socks, handheld bottles, a hydration vest, electrolytes, a Strava subscription and foam rollers in all shapes and sizes… hell, if you are running ≤ a 5K, you can even just use a cotton tshirt and walmart shorts.
  5. Novice runners lust to run downhill as much as possible, with the wind at their backs. Experienced runners know that consistently running downhill might seem to be the path of least resistance, it is actually the path of greatest resistance to achieving your goals – it’s a quick way to injury, muscle imbalances, false metrics, and a self-reinforcement of mediocrity.
  6. Hills are speed work in design, even if you’ve got to slow down your pace a bit. Forcing yourself to do hills will quickly teach you the difference between being physically unable to continue and just giving up.
  7. Like me, are you past your prime when it comes to actively training for podium spots – instead, you’re in it for the benefits of the work itself? Then there’s no need to kill yourself to shave off a few seconds each run. Slow down, you don’t need to be constantly chasing the PB dragon each run – why hate every second of a 5:15 pace run when you can love every second of a 5:45 pace run?
  8. Rain, shine, snow, cold, humid, tired, early, late, out of town, burned out: You run. Beginning is always the hardest part. Consistency creates habits, and habits create the results to want to achieve. Everything is easy after the first 3K.
  9. After a few races, you will be a master at knowing what you can eat the night before and the day of, when you should eat it, how much water to drink, when EXACTLY to take a piss before the race starts, etc – you will learn the benefits of mindful preparation, especially as it relates to hydration. Stop it with the reliance on water stations – if you are running a half-marathon or less, you don’t need to stop for water. Don’t stop for water.
  10. My favourite! Non-runners will often cite some overwhelming amounts of peer-reviewed research papers results that go in depth about how terrible running is for you [especially your knees! why would you do that to yourself?!] NOTHING BUT THEIR SHITTY UNIFORMED OPINIONS in order to convince you to come back to there level, on the couch. Keep running. If training, work out problems before running. Thinking distracts the focus from a hard work out. Earn that guilt-free shower beer and 4th motherfuckin’ slice of pizza!
  11. You are going to find yourself watching other runners while you aren’t running. You will begin to critique them to your non-running significant other. You will judge. You will want to run that moment. You will want to show them how you crush a PB.
  12. You like to think that you are part of a certain cabal or in-group of Runners, but some of them aren’t going to even acknowledge you with a reciprocal head nod or smile when you pass each other. They might be in the zone. They might be assholes. Do you. Keep running.
  13. You’re going to have to learn the art of spitting. Without getting it on yourself. Or hitting another person behind you.
  14. You aren’t competing with anyone but yourself. And this doesn’t mean that you need to always being going after better and better PBs. You can, and probably should first focus on improving your form and breathing. Novices and seasoned runners alike.
  15. You find yourself always looking towards the future routes/paths that are available to you. An anxious excitement when you are able to blaze a new one that you’ve never attempted before – you might get stuck somewhere far from the comfort of your home. You’ll start to gain the confidence and experience to be able to accurately predict distances down to the 16th of a kilometre.

I don’t usually explain the header images relation to the post, I like to think of it more as a fun game for readers to put one and one together, however this post’s image is of “The Blerch” from Oatmeals’ “The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances” which both runners and non-runners alike will enjoy. You can read the entire thing for free here

May you continue to cultivate the joy of giving, bloody nipples be damned.