I'm the Weird Runner

I've recently signed up for a pretty big race. I really wanted to challenge myself and have carried this goal with me for a while. It just so happened to work out while I'm here in Ukraine, that I have the opportunity to make it happen.

Drum roll Please!!!

In the least obnoxious, ostentatious, or self-righteous way possible ( does the drum roll gif throw that out the window), I'm super excited to say that I have signed up for my first (and most likely only) MARATHON!

I've done a few half-marathons with my father, but unlike him, I've never crossed the threshold to complete a full. So I signed up for one... and what better marathon to sign up for than the legendary run the modern marathon is based on!

Quick History

(disclaimer: This is in no way accurate, Phil (Philoctetes) is not the same as the Pheidippides of this legend, it is just who I think of every time because Greek names are super hard)

The modern marathon came about as a way to pay homage to the Ancient Greeks at the first Modern Olympic Games being held in Athens in 1896. The idea comes from a run made famous in the legend of the professional long distance runner / messenger Pheidippides/(Philippides) . Pheidippides is said to have run from the city of Marathon to the city of Athens to warn the Athenians not to surrender to the Persians because contrary to what everyone had originally thought was going to happen, the Persians were defeated at the Battle of Marathon. He is said to have run all the way there, proclaimed the victory and then promptly dropped dead. ( Some tellings of the legend also have him completing the run stark naked.)

There is a lot of history, and discussions out there as to if this did or did not happen and when it was first mentioned. The general consensus seems to be that it is most likely a combination of a few events. Regardless, over time the legend of Pheidippides' run became accepted as fact as was what the original Marathon was based off of. ( I would highly recommend looking more into this, as the legend, and the job of a professional long distance running in ancient Greece are both pretty cool)

Aaaanyway

I've signed up. Which means I now have to train. So, every morning, I drag myself to the local park for a run. Running culture is very different in Ukraine from what I am used to. Normally, if I have a run scheduled, I'll just leave my house and start running, on sidewalks, trails, roads, where ever. Running here is a tad different.

Outside of Kyiv, I've not seen people running on the streets. I've tried a few times an people look very very confused, and very inconvenienced. (Although I have been told it might be more that I am a girl, running, and wearing a cap.) Whatever the reason, I've decided, in an attempt to draw as little attention to myself to confine my current workouts to the park. I usually go early in the morning and there are about 10 or so other runners. After about 10 am, the park is more for strolling than it is for exercising.

Still wrong!

Yet, despite my efforts to blend in, I'm still running "wrong". How am I running wrong you ask? Well, you see, I run clockwise around the park. Everyone else runs counterclockwise ( the direction one would normally run on a track).

Let me explain to you why I choose to run clockwise. The park in question where i run, happens to have a slight change in elevation. But it is a weird change in elevation. The park is laid out in a rectangle with a wide path along the edge. If one runs counterclockwise, making 4 left turns, both of the longs are at a slight incline and the shorts are at a relatively steep decline.

When I run clockwise, the longs are at a very slight decline, while the shorts are at a relatively steep incline.

The first time I ever ran in that park I ran counterclockwise, just as everyone else did. Yet on my first lap I stopped myself and said

"Self, what are you doing?"

Since then I run clockwise...because why on earth would I want to have the long stretches be uphill and the shorts be downhill when I can make it a tad easier by switching to two. Basically it comes down to the fact that I am lazy and in the very very early stages of my training. I would like to say it is because I am on a training plan that emphasizes training with breath work and building distance over having every workout be difficult (which is true) but I was doing this before I started training for this particular race.

Final thoughts.

All that to say, every time I run, although I'm sure it is 100% in my head, people who are also running or walking look at me with a bit of confusion. I don't think I accomplished my original goal of blending in but that is okay. At this point I'm just glad I am running and no longer worry about what others think!

Well :) That is my little tidbit for this week! Stay tuned for another tidbit of life next week.

Blessings to you all, thank you for joining me on this journey.

xx Katie

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