You're totally a bib hoarder, aren't you?
Runners tend to operate by self-created rules and regulations — a Runner's Code of Crazy, if you will. Peek into their brains on a long run, and you'll witness elaborate one-sided conversations ("How much farther? Should I eat my gel now or five minutes from now? Didn't I cross this bridge already?"). Of course, not all runners are created equal. But most of them do have recurring habits and traits that might look strange to the outside world. Any of these sound familiar?
Runners become hoarders.
One woman's trash is another woman's prized 5K bib. Or half-marathon bib. Or dozen medals. The point is, runners have a hard time letting go, and this nostalgia even extends to ratty old racing shoes. Sure, the soles might be slick, the heels worn thin, and let's not even talk about the caked mud, but every pair of shoes tells a story. And that story might be "Remember the time I ate it one mile into the race and scraped up my palms but still got a PR?" Who can throw out a reminder like that?
Runners sacrifice good hair days.
If you only ran on days you looked less-than-fresh, well, you'd hardly run at all. (Isn't it hard waking up perfect?) But you must surrender certain vanities when becoming a runner. Anyone who's disappeared for a lunchtime run knows there is a 100% chance you will look markedly different pre- and post-trek. But you embrace that tomato-red glow and frizzy, windswept hair because they're proof you logged some quality miles. (We suggest trying one of these Red Carpet-Worthy Hairstyles to Rock at the Gym.)
Runners stretch like it's their job.
Tennis ball. Lacrosse ball. Doesn't matter which ball. Injury-prone runners know palm-sized sports accessories weren't created for the court or the field; they're the quickest cure for tight hamstrings or easing piriformis pain. This also means if you're looking for a runner, she can usually be found writhing around on the floor, ball under butt, or wrangling her limbs around a foam roller. Don't judge. She's just getting out every. single. knot. (Here are 10 Ways to Use a Foam Roller.)
Runners make instant best friends.
Serge Bloch Illustration
It's happened to you. You're in a group of new people and there's a tangent in the conversation, a little mention of a 10K tomorrow morning, and BAM. You have a new favorite person in the world. Running is the great conversational equalizer. Meet a fellow runner and 30 seconds later you're trading war (er, race) stories, favorite routes, nutrition tips, sports bra brands. These topics can sustain your friendships for years.
Runners discuss bodily fluids with gusto.
What color is your pee? Where's the closest bathroom? Do you poop the night before or the morning of the race? This gross stuff is all old hat to runners, who talk about what goes on behind closed bathroom doors with zero shame and, dare we say, quite a lot of enthusiasm. There's no escape. What other weekend activity comes paired with dozens and dozens of porta potties lined up for eager users? Soccer? Paintball? Picnicking? I don't think so.
Runners dress like the rainbow.
We don't know a single runner whose running clothes are an accurate reflection of their "normal" attire. Maybe the track is where everyone gets their ya-yas out. People will unabashedly run in neon yellow or bright red or any mishmash of prints, but then never be caught dead wearing anything other than black at work. But this is a testament to how transforming running can be: you can quite literally turn into a different person. Dr. Jekyll, meet Mrs. Hyde.
Runners develop tunnel vision.
You'll always notice the landmarks-turned-distance markers ("If I hit this stoplight at 7:15 a.m., I'll be at my friend's building by 7:19...") or the same commuters or pedestrians who walk their dogs at eerily frequent intervals, but sometimes the act of running becomes so routine you forget to, you know, look around. But remember: every run can come with a revelation if you keep your eyes open.