You know the lady I’m talking about—we’ve all seen her, or her male counterpart, That Guy.
They’re the way-too-serious recreational runners who cruise down the local river trail dressed in head-to-toe tech gear: compression socks, arm sleeves, moisture-wicking visors, GPS watches, hydration belts, Breathe Right strips.
In college, my teammates and I used to make fun of them. Of course, most of us were too poor to afford any sort of gear to supplement the oversized sweats and T-shirts we were issued at the beginning of the season. But come on, nothing makes you more legit than running a Division I college cross-country workout in a grey cotton T-shirt that was made for the world’s fattest cross-country runner.
So anyway, now that I have a real-ish job, I have been able to add to my gear arsenal. When someone suggested that I try GU in order to combat the “ugh” feeling that I experience at around mile eight of my long runs, I went to the store and bought a whole bunch of GU packs.
And just like that, I became That Lady who stuffs GU packs in her shorts before long runs.
The only problem was that ingesting the GU mid-run caused an unfavorable reaction in my GI tract. My first thought was, “Shit—did I check the expiration date on that mayonnaise?”
Turns out, Best Foods had nothing to do with my mishap. I had completely overlooked the fact that GU is supposed to be consumed with water. Otherwise, you don’t digest it properly. Rookie mistake.
Soon, I was That Lady who stuffs GU packs in her shorts and plans her runs around designated water stops. I even considered planting water bottles along my routes.
Maybe you’ve been there, too. If you’ve ever Googled “Public water fountains in [insert your town here],” then you most likely have played the role of That Lady or That Guy at some point in your life.
Right around the time when I was researching algebraic equations that could help me determine the water and GU intake intervals that would maximize my energy levels, I realized that I had gone too far.
When I started training for this stupid race, the goal simply was to finish. Once I got a couple of long runs under my belt and realized that I was definitely capable of finishing 13.1 miles, the goal was to crack the top 10.
By the time I was crunching numbers like a tax accountant with a meth problem, I was determined to win at all costs.
The thing is, I’m the kind of person who can drive herself insane over the most minute details of a race—stuff that has nothing to do with fitness or preparation.
The 800 meters was bad enough. During my warm-up routine, my mind was usually consumed by a continuous stream of ridiculous worries. Should I wear tights or not? Is my ponytail too high? Do I have a visible panty line? Is Dancing With the Stars on tonight?
And that’s only for a two-lap race. Multiply it by, oh, 26, and you can see why I so vehemently resist becoming That Lady. My obsessive personality can’t handle That Lady.
Therefore, I’ve decided that I shall henceforth be known as This Lady. This Lady eats GU whenever she feels like eating GU. This Lady doesn’t give a rip about VPL. And This Lady is going to kick some serious ass next weekend.