When I run outside on a cold and rainy day and it feels so darn good, I often think of myself as a real warrior. I am definitely not a princess, until I jump in the hot bath with soothing bath salts after the run; then I’m a total princess, but that doesn’t count. That is completely allowed, besides it is called “recovery”. But I digress…
When I run with my dear friend Stephanie, who is pretty much my warrior hero, we never hesitate to run in the rain or snow, up and down mountain trails, through puddles or streams, climb cliff faces, explore new pathways, dive into a lake or the ocean after a run, etc. There is just no way you would ever label us princesses, bad-asses or warriors, yes, but princesses never! This got me thinking about other runners and I wondered if they considered themselves warriors or princesses. Um, maybe you have never even thought about this aspect of your running. Well then, perhaps it is time to take the quiz…
- Are you a runner (you run at least 3 times per week)?
a) yes – warrior or at least you have potential
b) no – you are not a runner, yet? Come on princess… the gear on, get outside and keep at it and you will be a runner and maybe even a warrior runner someday.
- Do you run indoors or outdoors?
a) indoors – I’m sorry to say that treadmill running just will never make you a warrior; especially if that is the only way you run.
b) outdoors – oh ya, now we’re talking warrior potential; you are at least in the right environment. Smell the fresh air, look around you, feels so good!
- If you run outdoors, do you run in the rain?
a) yes – of course, why would you ever let a little precipitation stop you?
b) no – oh, princess, where do you live, in a desert? If you live anywhere on the west coast of Canada you’d never run if you didn’t run in the rain.
- If you run outdoors, do you run in the snow?
a) yes – now we are talking about real warrior material. Of course this probably also equates to being a real Canadian – we do everything in the snow, right?
b) no – give it a try, but please may I recommend using Yaktraxs or some other grippy thing on your shoes, especially if it is icy, otherwise, you are not a warrior, you are a dumb ass.
- Do you run up mountains?
a) yes – w-a-r-r-i-o-r!
b) no – give it a try – start with running the flat bits and climb hard up the steep bits or practice running with hill repeats or stairs and soon you will be running up mountains.
- Do you run around or through puddles?
a) through – w-a-r-r-i-o-r! See above photo!
b) around – sometimes this is just not possible, especially when you are trail running in the rain and the edges of the puddle are completely surrounded by trees, shrubs, or rocks. Heck, you are already wet, so just go for it, oh and yell loudly while splashing through! If you stop at a puddle and turn around – total princess. However, I do not recommend crashing through the bushes; you could totally wreck your running tights or scratch your legs. You don’t have to be that warrior!
- Do you run in shorts and t-shirts all year round (even in the rain and snow)?
a) yes – w-a-r-r-i-o-r! And I am impressed as hell!
b) no – well, this depends on what you do wear. I prefer to cover up bare arm and legs, myself. Too many layers will have you peeling and wrapping and sweating and cursing that you overdressed. In winter, switch to running tights and technical tops, e.g. smart wool, and perhaps a lightweight rain coat, a headband or toque, gloves and wool socks. For cold weather running you will be forgiven for this small amount of princessness.
- Do you run explore non-designated trails (even when the signs say to stay on the trails?)
a) yes – again warrior! How else can you find out what is over that hill, deep in that forest, or up that cliff? But only if the non-designated trail looks slightly like a trail… no need to bush-whack.
b) no – ah come on princess, live a little, break the rules. Explore – even on trails with “No running” signs.
- How do you deal with the inevitable sniffy nose when you are running?
a) use a tissue or hankie that you carry in your pocket
b) blow a snot rocket
a) use a tissue or hankie – seriously princess. At least upgrade to wiping your nose on your sleeve.
b) blow a snot rocket – this is what all warrior runners do. Here’s how.
- Do you put on fresh running gear for every run?
a) yes – what are you afraid of princess, that you are going to meet prince charming in the woods and of course he will smell like rosemary and cardamom? Not! He will most likely smell like a sweaty runner. You might as well smell the same. It is oh so organic.
b) no – right on warrior, why waste soap on clothes that are only going to get sweaty again and again. But… um, there comes a time when you should know when it is time for a refresh or you risk going beyond warrior into the troll category.
- Do you run at night?
a) yes – warrior for sure, but as long as you do it safely with a light and reflective clothing
b) no – are you afraid of boogie men? OK, this is a tough one… but seriously if you run in your neighbourhood with the right gear and feel safe doing so, there should be no problem. Striking off on a wilderness trail where you have never been been before, on your own, is not smart. But try running at night – with friends, it can be fun and possibly required if you live in the frozen north and only have 3 hours or less of daylight.
- Do you jump in the lake or ocean after a run near said body of water?
a) yes – this is a great way to end a run. It is so refreshing and can really help tired muscles – the science says so even in the winter, in cold water.
b) no – why not? Are you a princess? You don’t even have to take your clothes off – just jump in or at least strip down to your underwear (oh, wait, depends on what those look like or if you are going commando – and that option depends on where you are doing this and/or who are your running partners). Winter water, solidly frozen bodies of water notwithstanding, can take some getting used to, but if you do this, you will graduate firmly from princess to warrior in one plunge (do not wade).
(OK, from here on, forget the indoor/outdoors distinction… outdoors is a given, ’cause if you just run indoors, you cannot or will not ever be a warrior. And generally when, I’m talking outdoors I mean down and dirty trail running. Running on smooth, flat streets or sidewalks, just will never put you in warrior territory! Moving on…)
How did you do?
Too much princess? Try harder, experiment, push your boundaries a bit more each run. Make friends with adventurous runners.
All warrior, all the time? Um, give it a break, no one likes a show-off.
Just the right balance of princess and warrior? Nice, you know how to run to have fun, and to be safe. You would make an excellent Xena, Warrior Princess!