You may not have noticed because it doesn’t really show, but I’m obsessed with running. Yes I am! I think about it even when I’m watching a film or a good show, so when said film or TV show mentions running, I obviously notice it and I make a big deal of it! So I figured I’d start a series of articles about things to watch that mention running although they’re not specifically about running.
The most famous reference to running in cinema is probably Forrest Gump, directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring a very young Tom Hanks in 1994. It is a must-see classic. The story of Forrest Gump is intertwined with the contemporary history of America: he meets Elvis Presley and several Presidents, he goes to Vietnam to fight under the start spangled banner, plays ping pong against the Chinese and is at the origin of several big US companies, including Apple in the fiction, and he also inspired the creation of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co in real life!
Everyone still remembers the famous quote “Run Forrest, Run” from the legendary scene where from cripple he becomes a runner, then a college football star and finally meets the President of the US of A. Not only this scene is very emotional but it is also hilarious, which pretty well sums up the film:
And the end of the scene:
Later on, he goes on running across America for three years. A feat that was probably inspired by the Trans-American footrace created in the 1920s. But since 1994, it is Forrest Gump himself who has inspired a whole truckload of runners to do the same. Although I bet none of them were as influential on American Culture as he was: during this run, he is (fictionally) credited for the invention of the smiley face and for the expression “shit happens”. Not to bad huh?
If you haven’t seen the film yet (shame on you), run to the nearest VHS rental (or simply watch it on Amazon). And just for the pleasure, here’s the scene where he runs across America:
In this blog, I always talk about running like this perfect sport with daily unicorn encounters and rainbows and pots of gold. It’s true that running is a great feeling and has great benefits, but I had a conversation with Mad Cook the other day, and it made me realise that I sometimes hide to myself some pretty ugly things about running. We made a list, and be prepared: it’s getting uglier and uglier! Disclaimer: some links are not for the faint-hearted, and some of them are even NSFW, so be prepared. But the video is perfectly fine, it’s actually a must-see!
Problem: Well, this is the most obvious, running long distances can make the next day a bit hard to handle and walking can become a big challenge.
Solution: Warm-up before a race or a hard run and stretch (a lot) after the run. After a hard run, massage your legs with a muscle pain relief cream or gel. Also, train more and be patient! If you run a marathon but you’ve only ran 10 km per week for 4 weeks, you’re setting yourself up for a very hard week after the marathon, if you ever finish it. Think for the long term, begin with less ambitious races (5K & 10K are great distances to start with) and find yourself a good training plan for these distances. They’re all over the Web. Then slowly build up your weekly mileage and find training plans for the longer races.
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ Watch this video, it’s super funny ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ Watch this video, it’s super funny ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑
2. Nipple chafing
Problem: Running long distances can lead to a lot of chafing, and it can get pretty ugly and bloody in places where the skin is fragile like between the thighs or around the nipples. Don’t search Google Images for that: it hurts.
Solution: To avoid chafing between the thighs and blisters on the feet, I recommend a good anti-chafing cream, the best one is probably Akileïne Sports NOK.
To avoid nipple chafing: don’t run with cotton t-shirts! Run with good running tops: the Tribesports running gear is my favourite. If you know you’re running for a long distance, you may as well go directly for nipple guards. No it’s not a joke! If you need convincing, search for it on Google Images (Ouch!), but don’t tell me I didn’t warn you!
Problem: Yes, this too is a real thing! It even has a scientific name: it’s called onychoptosis and it happened to me. It can be caused by repeated toe-banging inside the shoe. Don’t worry, the nail eventually grows back. Click here for the gross picture (not my foot).
Solution: You can go for the extreme solution like Marshall Ulrich in Born to run who had all his toenails surgically removed (apparently it’s a common thing with ultra runners). You can also run barefoot. Otherwise, you should buy well-fitted shoes that give your toes plenty of room. Make sure to try them and check that your toes are not banging inside the shoe at each stride. Shoes that have a wide toe box (like the Altra One 2) come highly recommended. Oh, and trim your toenails!
A barefoot runner, happy because he’s got all his toenails – Photo by Chris Hunkeler
4. Troubled digestion
Problem: Puking happens. Yes it does. Because your body simply cannot produce the effort required for running and digesting at the same time, you see many runner’s stomachs giving back generously what they’ve been fed for breakfast or at the food/drink stations during the race. No pictures here. No, don’t ask, I said no. OK, there you go.
Solution: Have a light breakfast before the race: don’t drink milk because it is very hard to digest, you can replace it by oat milk or any kind of vegan milk you like best (except soy milk, soy milk is disgusting). Yes, you should carb-load before the race, but give it at least several hours for digesting properly: some runners get up in the middle of the night before the race to eat a big plate of spaghetti and then go back to bed. During the race, you can also have some energy gels. They’re less hard to swallow and to digest than anything you usually find at the food stations such as bananas or energy bars. It doesn’t mean they’re super easy to ingest either: if your stomach still can’t manage them, just try and swallow little by little, over the course of several minutes.
Problem: Runners pissing and shitting themselves are not a rare sight in long distances races and especially during marathons and ultra-marathons. For some disgusting pictures, just follow the link, you’re welcome!
Less extreme than that, it is very frequent for average runners like you and me to have to stop during races (even short races like 10K) to piss while everyone around is looking, which can be even more embarrassing for women.
Solution: Part of your pre-race routine should always include a stop at the loo to empty stomach and bladder, even if you feel you don’t need to. Also, it’s important to hydrate yourself, but try not to drink too much before a race either, and sip slowly during the race. If despite this, you still need to pee during the race, I recommend all the women reading this blog to buy a Shewee, that should avoid you the embarrassment of having to show your pretty buttocks to the general public.
I hope you’re properly disgusted by now and you’re welcome for that. If you’re not, just go visit 4chan or something, you sicko!
Everything is in the title. Just buy the damn book and read it! Seriously, when the Quiet Roman recommended to read it, I only complied because he’s one of my friends and I tend to trust these guys. But I really didn’t want to read it because I usually don’t like non-fiction, my to-read pile was already taller than the Eiffel Tower, and at the time I still hated running.
The narration alternates between facts about running and Christopher McDougall’s quest to find the Tarahumara, the legendary tribe of runners. These guys are unbelievable, at parties they drink to death and then they race each other, running hundreds of kilometres in the scalding hot canyons of northwestern Mexico for up to three days in a row, with hand-made flip-flops.
When he finally finds them, he then convinces a bunch of lunatics, American ultra-runners, to race them in the Copper Canyons of the Sierra Madre. Each of them is madder than the next. I cannot decide who’s the craziest between the hermit who lived in a hut in the Copper canyons for decades just to rediscover this hidden tribe, the girl whose seduction routine is to outdrink men and outrun them the next day despite de hungover, the guy who decides to compete in a modern Ironman with XIXth century gear from the Victorian era and runs barefoot on the sharp stones of the canyons, the guy who runs so much that he had his toenail surgically removed because ‘they kept falling off anyway’, or any other of these maniacs.
The running facts are as enthralling as the main story and some of them left me dumbstruck. I now think there’s a fairly good chance that we were born to run indeed, and I’m amazed that hunting animals by chasing them for hours until they die of exhaustion is probably one of the reasons why homo sapiens survived as omnivore bipeds for 200,000 years in a hostile environment.
The writing isn’t too bad and it’s a real page-turner. This book really got me hooked, it made me laugh out loud and left me in awe, but the reason why it’s so good is that it really makes you want to run and to enjoy it. Why haven’t you bought it and read it yet? Come on then!