How Running a Race is Like Running for Office… and How it’s Not

League of Women Voters of California/flickr.com


By Megan Cox

Sooo, those presidential debates are fun, huh? I sit there and try not to laugh at the antics, but really, it’s entertaining. And maybe a little scary. I mean, one of these guys will be running the country for four years.

But I’m not here to give you my opinion on this year’s race for the White House. And yet, in this politically charged climate, I couldn’t help but think that running a half-marathon is sometimes a little like running for office. And in other ways, it’s totally not.

So, with all due respect for our nation’s leaders and wannabe leaders, here are the similarities…

  1. For both races, you gotta be in shape. I mean it. For politicians, the camera adds at least ten pounds, right? Your body has to be fit whether you’re taking on thirteen miles or debating in a roomful of angry townspeople—ahem, I mean, debating in a town hall meeting.
  2. You gotta keep your energy up. Whether it’s two hours of running or debating, survival depends on making sure your body is fueled. Do you think the candidates sneak candy between questions? I know I would.
  3. You gotta prepare. Your mind and body must be ready to run the gauntlet, whether it’s pavement or the campaign trail.
  4. You gotta be feisty. Have you ever felt yourself smushed at the beginning of a race? It’s intense. I imagine politics is quite similar.
  5. You gotta persevere. People pick on political candidates. A lot. As for the runner of a half marathon, mile twelve seems awful lonely. But the payoff is worth it.

Thankfully, these races are different too. For instance…

  1. In a half marathon, you don’t need a power tie. You need shoes, yes, and some comfortable clothes, but your money would be wasted on any designer duds. I mean, unless that’s your look. Which is cool, I guess.
  2. A half-marathoner does not have to figure out how to solve the nations’ deficit. Seriously. That is a huge relief.
  3. In half-marathons, the entry fee is way, way cheaper than the money you would spend on a campaign. I mean, unless you’re running for a really small office, like, uh…hmmm. Nope, entry fees are much cheaper.
  4. Half-marathoners don’t have to endorse negative campaign ads. That’s some good karma for you right there.
  5. Half marathons are generally better for your health. Have you seen those guys in office? They age, like, a decade for every year in office. No thank you! I’m aging fast enough, baby. I’ll take the toned muscles and endorphins I get from my half.

This is a guest post by Megan Cox, an Oklahoma City-based novelist, writer and contributing blogger for HalfMarathons.Net. Learn more about Megan at her website.

Fueling the Run: 5 to Consider for an Energy Boost

Roland Brunner/flickr.com


By Megan Cox

Now that my long runs are over an hour long, it’s time to give my body that extra push when my footsteps go from slow and steady to slow and ploddy. Okay, so I made up the word “ploddy.” Whatever. I’m a writer. It’s one of the perks of the job.

Anyway, I need some energy. I need A LOT of energy. I have a two-year-old, a six-month-old, and a husband. That, my friends, is a job enough. Oh, and I do this thing where I write books. It’s cool, but I find that my mind and body are pretty worn out at the end of each day.

So I’m not the picture of liveliness when I roll out of bed at 5:30ish a.m. to achieve a ten mile run. I would hate the darkness at that hour if I weren’t so glad that it hides my makeup-free face and the fact that my hair looks like it’s playing keep away from my head.

My neighborhood loop is about two miles, so I circle it quite a few times to rack up the mileage. The first time or two I pass my mailbox, I gaze at the house forlornly, thinking about that nice soft bed I’ve exchanged for cold pavement. My running “buzz” takes about four miles to kick in.

Unfortunately, at about the same time, so does my rumbly tummy (did I just make up another word? Or did I hear that one on Winnie the Pooh?).

Now, before I ever leave the house, I chow down on a sports bar, but I’m definitely in need of a boost that’s easy to devour while I’m in motion.

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Baby it’s Cold Outside: Wish List for the Cold Weather Runner

mkrigsman/flickr.com

By Megan Cox

So the weather outside is finally changing here in the Oklahoma City area. Since I moved here over two years ago, we’ve had some sizzling summers and mild winters.

But we do get our frosty days, and that’s fine by me. Generally.

Really, the only time I actually hate the freezing temperatures is when I have to get my butt out of bed around 5:30 a.m. And I am only up at this dark, ungodly hour so I can run before the rest of the house wakes up and needs its mommy.

I’m not a huge fan of running in the pitch black, but I gotta do what I gotta do, right? And I won’t get trained for a half-marathon after two pregnancies by pushing the snooze button.

But now that the air is glacial when I step outside (okay, glacial may be a bit of a stretch—but it feels that way after 100 degree summer temps), it’s hard for me to get the engine revved.

One of the ways I get this girl motivated is by thinking of the chocolate I plan to consume on runs over six miles (more on fueling my long runs in my next post), but I also have to get myself bundled up nice and right so I don’t hate my time in the cold.

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Getting Rid of the Vacation Monkey

lululemon athletica


By Megan Cox

So, I just got back from a four-day trip to beautiful Colorado Springs. Both my husband and I attended college there, and we went back to touch base with old friends and enjoy a small reprieve from our awesome—but exhausting—roles as parents (although, the Medela pump did tag along—oh the joy).

To many runners, Colorado Springs is known for its high altitude, which definitely makes running more challenging. In fact, athletic activity is so challenging that Colorado Springs was chosen as the home of the Olympic Training Center.

When I lived in Colorado Springs as a college student, I was one efficient breathing machine. Now? Not so much. So this was the perfect opportunity to take my half marathon training to the next level. Right?
Wrong.

I was totally in vacation mode the entire time, happy to have a full-night’s sleep and a surplus of energy. I did pack workout clothes and my running shoes, but they never seemed to surface to the top of my suitcase. My husband and I did a ton of walking at the Air Force Falcons game (what a win!), but running? Not so much.

No biggie. Now that I’m again closer to sea level, it’s time to get back on track. The only thing is, after four days away from home, I’m up to my eyeballs in laundry and, well, everything else.

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Misery Loves Company


By Megan Cox

I am so excited! After a great deal of bullying and pleading, I have finally convinced someone to come run the Dallas Half Marathon with me in December!

My journey so far has been pretty solitary, that is, if you don’t count my five-month-old baby staring up at me on the treadmill from his play mat.

Otherwise, most of my runs have taken place during the pre-dawn hours, before the husband, the two-year-old, or the baby is up for the day.

Generally, I like the solitary feeling of a run. I need the quiet stillness (well, quiet except for my huffing and grunting), because I don’t get much of that once the day gets going. But there’s something about having company on race day that really speaks to me. Misery loves company, as they so often say.

So who is this new hero of mine? It’s my younger brother. He’s Air Force TACP, which means he’s pretty tough stuff. He’s also four and half years younger than me, which means he’s still swinging the “twenty-something” label, while I’ve migrated into the land of the “thirties.”

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