Monday, September 8, 2014

How Runners Are Like Toddlers...

Courtesy of this weekend's 15 mile run I had a random thought. Runners are like toddlers.  Bear with me...

Gravity is both our friend and our enemy. Ever watched a toddler run? They are perfect little Pose Runners lifting a foot, tilting forward, and then catching themselves with that same foot, over and over again. Until of course, they inevitably fall down and go boom. A love/hate with gravity. It helps a toddler run, until it becomes too much and they fall. Similarly, gravity helps us run. We love the downhill. But every now and then, it’s all too much, and we go ‘boom’.

We put everything in our mouths. Toddlers explore the world with their mouth. “What’s this toy/hair/shoe/whatever? I’ll put it in my mouth!”  Runners are a little bit smarter about what we put in our mouths, but let’s face it, mid-training, we’re still stuffing anything we can in there. Rungry, anyone?

We awake freakishly early for reasons unknown to anyone else in the house.  I’m not a parent yet, but I’ve heard the endless stories about being awakened at obscenely early hours to find your toddler in bed with you/staring at you/getting into something in the kitchen/shrieking from their bed or crib. WHY are they up so early? No one knows. Similarly, runners get up at obscene hours, usually while it is still dark out so they can dress, fuel up, and go out to either train, or race, long miles. WHY??  I do this every morning, and I’m still not 100% sure...   (credit to @HenryHoward for this one)

We randomly pee/poop/vomit on ourselves. Yup… dirty little secret… runners will every now and then pee while running, barely make it to the restroom, get betrayed by a fart, and vomit. Hopefully not all at once. Toddlers, are obviously tiny tornadoes of pee, poop and vomit. At least runners have some control over things.

We expect to be rewarded as motivation for doing things. Potty-trained a toddler lately? All I hear about is the rewards involved: M&Ms, stickers, toys, etc.  Likewise, we runners like rewards.  Run a race? Medal and T-shirt, thank you. Training run? Beer and cheat food, thank you.

We have mood swings, and occasionally become irrationally crabby. We all know toddlers can go from 0 to full meltdown at the snap of a finger, but have you ever observed an injured/frustrated/tapering/over-trained runner? 0 to toddler with no warning. Marathon training is a delightful display of just how irrational I can be. Thank God my husband is (usually) understanding.

We need sleep. Lots of sleep. When a toddler devolves into an irrational, tantrum-y mess, the first thing uttered usually is, “Someone needs a nap.” Mid-training, plenty of runners need naps. This runner goes to be awfully early as the miles increase, especially since they’re morning runs, and I’ve yet to meet a runner who couldn’t empathize.

We are easily entranced and distracted by electronics. We've all seen the exasperated mom who hands her cranky toddler an iPhone, or plops him/her down in front of a movie so she can have just a few minutes of peace. And it works. The toddler is easily distracted by the bright electronics in front of him. Runners have Garmins, iPods, phones, FitBits, heart rate monitors, and we are fascinated by them! We become reliant on their feedback, and ...  oooh, shiny!

Any to add?  How do you think runners are like toddlers?

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