Our first jean-wearing race recap!!

As I’ve said before, I am most grateful for the Runner’s World mention because it has introduced me to a bunch of great people who I otherwise would never have known. Case in point: Josher. He wrote to me saying that he would like to try running a race in jeans, picked the Leprechaun Lope 10K in Salt Lake City on March 17, 2012 to do it,  and would try to get me a picture. I asked if he would like to write a race recap of the experience and he said, “Sure.” I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Leprechaun Lope 10K in Denim

Josher Hansen

Runners are crazy. I really think JoggingJeans.com validates that. Each runner has their own way of doing things. We are all different in the shoes, shorts, and gear we wear. When I run, I wear what’s comfortable to me. That’s the beauty of the sport.

But, while there is this spirit of individualism there seems to be a few lines you don’t cross. One of those seems to be that you don’t wear jeans while running. My only guess is that this was indoctrinated in us during gym class in the 7th grade.

There was always that one kid who wore long pants to gym class. They almost always happened to be the ones that flunked gym class too, because they got docked points for not wearing the proper gym apparel (I may or may not have been this kid). Who says you can’t work out in long pants, right?

Being a Sociology major, I find the reasons why we find it so taboo very interesting. In the past couple of years since I’ve started running religiously, I’ve noticed others that run in denim. I will be the first to admit that I judged them as “non-runners.”

How I have been mistaken since finding this website!

I decided that the only way I could truly understand those runners who run in denim was to run in them myself. So I decided to run a local St. Patrick’s Day 10K race here in Salt Lake City in my denim pants; it was a plan that my running partner, trainer, and family laughed at. Why would I do such a thing?

Why not?

Anyways, I decided to share my experience with those that would understand. That’s why I am sharing my running journal from my race this past Saturday. Needless to say it was quite the experience that with a few adjusts (namely more anti-chafe cream) I would probably do again.

Enjoy my journal. Maybe it will convert you to a denim runner? If not, perhaps it will convert you to a Neil Diamond fan.

7:32am – As I am eating my pre-race meal of oatmeal and a Red Bull. My Mom comes into the kitchen and asks if I am running today. I show her my bib number on my jeans and all she can do is roll her eyes and muster a “oh yeah, it’s your run in jeans.”

7:34am – My mom starts singing Neil Diamond’s “Forever in Blue Jeans.”

7:38am – After getting a pre-race pep talk from my Mom, I’m out the door in route to the race.

7:47am – I start singing “Forever in Blue Jeans” in my car. Needless to say, it will be stuck in my head the rest of the day.

8:06am – I get to my race and text my running partner and cousin while sitting in my car, “OMG! Am I really doing this? Am I this crazy?

8:07am – Response text, “You’re crazier”…she does have a point.

8:11am – I walk around the starting line looking for a friend I am running with. I’m easily looked over because of my casualness. But, I notice the glances as some runners see my race bib pinned on my pants.

8:16am – I get my first comment from a fellow runner, “Are you running in those?” Me, “I am!” Runner, “Do you want me to buy you some running shorts?” I decline the offer with a laugh and thank him for the offer.

8:17am – I reconsider the fellow runner’s offer and wish I had taken him up on it.

8:25am – Five minutes to race time. My friend and I talk near the starting line and notice more people in denim pants, especially Moms with strollers. But they are all running the 5K. Others are probably thinking I’m doing the same. I’m no fun runner!

8:29am – The thought of chaffing suddenly haunts me. I rolled on some Sports Shield, but now I wonder if it was enough?!

8:30am – No time to wonder any longer…the RACE BEGINS!

8:33am – The race begins on a steep incline up hill. I save my energy back with all the Fun Runners and Stroller Moms. Little do they know I don’t belong there with them. As soon as I hit the apex of the starting hill, I take off!

8:36am – As soon as others notice that I am not a Fun Runner, I hear some comments and laughter about the guy in jeans.

8:41am – I pass the majority of the Fun Runners and now have joined most of the 10K crowd. I pass most of them with ease.

8:42am – As I pass those that have starting walking I notice they starting running. I can only think what’s going on in their mind, “Oh man! I can’t let the guy in long pants pass me! I’m more of a runner than he is!”

8:46am – The 10K and 5K/Fun Run route splits and the 10K runners head up a hill in the canyon.

8:49am – A husband and wife with their dog who are running the 10K ask me if I’m in the right race. I respond, “This is the Half Marathon, right?”

8:51am – I’m starting to feel the burn of the uphill course. The sweat starts to build up around my legs looking for an escape.  This is a feeling I’ve never experienced while running because I’m always in shorts.

8:53am – The course gets hillier and tougher.

8:55am – As I am sweating even more around my legs, I started singing “Forever in Blue Jeans” to myself.  Neil always knows how to make things better.

9:01am – I reach the turnaround point. I stop at the aid station for water and roll up my pant legs for a minute. The volunteer holds out a cup of water and tries to offer me advice, “You should wear shorts.” He’s obviously not a runner who’s lost his mind…he just doesn’t understand.

9:02am – I start my downhill descent by picking up the pace. Running downhil is my favorite thing about running.

9:06am – As I book it down the canyon, I start passing other runners. I again notice them picking up the pace after I pass them. If I’m their motivation, so be it. Who wants “That Guy in Jeans” to beat you? It’s a thing of pride.

9:11am – My worst nightmare is a reality. No, I’m not being chased by a pack of midgets with baseball bats and nunchucks. I begin to feel the onslaught of chaffing.

9:13am – I continue booking it downhill, but know that I’m going to be chaffing in places I’ve never chaffed before. There is a burning sensation around my knees and by the calves. I figure I’ve built up too much sweat from my run uphill.

9:14am – I keep running.

9:17am – I run past two officers directing traffic as I exit the canyon. The thought comes to me that if I didn’t have my race bib on I could potentially look suspicious running down an isolated canyon at top speed in a long sleeved shirt and jeans.

9:21am – I try to forget the annoying chaffing feeling on my calves and knees by losing myself in some Neil Diamond. “Forever in Blue Jeans” takes a back seat to “Sweet Caroline.” This is what happens when your parents raise you listening to Neil Diamond cassettes. Yes, cassettes.

9:23am – “Touching one! Reaching out! Touching me! Touching you!”

9:27am – I officially accept the fact I won’t be moving much the rest of the day after the race.

9:31am – The cheering crowds start to gather on the course. I hear one man yell, “GO JEANS MAN! YOU’RE ALMOST THERE”…I think I just got my superhero name?!

9:32am – I make the decision that my sidekick would be none of other than Captain Underpants.

9:34am – I realize that Captain Underpants can’t be second in command since he’s a Captain and all so I accept the fact that “Jeans Man” will be the sidekick.

9:37am – Exhausted and sore I finally see the finish line, but it looks so far away!

9:40am – I. CROSS. THE. FINISH. LINE.

9:46am – I walk around the finish line in my post race daze. My knees and calves begin to itch. I can only imagine how fun the rest of the day will be. I find solace in the oranges and bread.

9:52am – I wait around for my friend to finish and stumble over to my car. I roll up my pants legs and drive home in my makeshift capris.

10:18am – I arrive home to my parents’ karaoking to “Forever in Blue Jeans.” I laugh and realize where my crazy comes from.

Taking pictures of people running is hard!

Major props to those of you taking pictures of people running. I suck at it.

I was out at Pittsburgh’s Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis on Saturday morning looking for people in jeans. I couldn’t dare ask something of all of you and not do it myself, right? So I was out on a sunny but cold December day in Pittsburgh.

I was positioned at about the 1-mile mark with coffee in one hand and camera in the other. In total LOSER fashion, I missed getting pictures of the first two people  in jeans that ran by me.  Both times, I was so excited that I pressed the “power” button instead of the “take picture” button on my camera. So lame, I know. In my defense, I am not much of a picture-taking person. The extent of my photography experience is limited to fuzzy pictures of my old crap that I sell on eBay.

My only “good” shot of someone running in jeans isn’t all that good given that the guy isn’t centered at all and is almost completely obscured by the little girl running with him:

I then went to the 2-mile mark in hopes of catching the people that I losered-out on during my first attempt. No luck. But I did snap a pic of this kid in jeans. I know it is against the rules of this site, but I can do what I want. Pfft.

And then there were these two that, I SWEAR on my dead dogs’ graves, stopped running right in front of me. In your mind, picture them 5 seconds earlier making jogging motions.

I recognize that these pics may possibly comprise the worst race photo gallery EVER. Can you even imagine how bad they were before all the cropping and enhancing?  And who else needs big red arrows to point out the object of the photo? Loser Jill, that’s who.

Being on the sidelines of this race made me a bit sad. At the start of this year, I vowed to run every 10K or less race that touched the downtown/North Shore/Oakland area of Pittsburgh. I ran eight races. The Jingle Bell Run would have made nine. But, unfortunately, I have asthma symptoms that I can manage as long as I’m not sucking in frigid air. With the day’s sub-30 degree temperatures, I had to pass on the race. 😦

Fortunately, there were many things that brought me joy on the sidelines:

1. Holiday festiveness. There were lots of Santa and elf costumes, jingle bells on shoes, cute hats, candy cane striped socks, etc. The best, by far, was Santa WITH A SLED. He played the part by calling out to and encouraging his invisible reindeer. The runner up was a girl dressed as a present (no surprise that my picture of her is so bad that it is un-sharable).

2. Two guys in really ugly Christmas sweaters who screamed “take our picture” or something like that when they ran by me.

3. All the dogs running dressed in antlers and cute Christmas sweaters and outfits. Although this dog wasn’t dressed up, he was the only one with his own race number (his owner had her own number)! I’m going to check the results for a dog name and I’ll report back on his chip time. 🙂

4. And the number one thing that brought joy to me this day – this guy:

Even though he was in this photo, I didn’t notice him while I was stationed at my 1-mile post. But I did notice him at my 2-mile post. He is a big man. The picture above really doesn’t do justice to his size. When he RAN past me at the 2-mile post, I had to choke back tears. Why?

– Because runners less than half his size had stopped and were walking at this point.

– Because, running is hard. It is hard for those of us that aren’t carrying a couple extra hundred pounds. I know his joints had to be hurting from pounding the concrete for the past 20+ minutes, I know he was tired, and I’ll bet he wanted to stop and walk. Yet he was still running and giving it his all.

– Because, unlike so many other very overweight people, he has made a decision to do something for his health, for himself, for his family, and for those that love him.

And while I initially wasn’t going to write about him in this post, when I was looking at the pictures and saw that he was captured in one of my photos, I just had to give him a mention. To you, Mr. AwesomeRunnerInTheGreenTshirt, know that you have the biggest fan out there cheering you on in your continued quest to get healthy!!

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