Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Running and Smelling

I'm not talking about the way you may smell after a run, that's a different post. I'm talking about the various smells you may encounter on your run. Kind of like running and craving, but now we're talking directly about smells. Sometimes the smells cause cravings, other times they make you never want Chinese food again.

Bonfire good

Like I mentioned in "Running and Craving" some smells, like tea olives are good. Tea olives are my favorite thing to smell on the run. Then there are times when you've forgotten that it's garbage day for the next street over from your house and you're desperately searching for an out but up playing tag with the steamy garbage truck for a quarter of a mile and then want to burn the skin out of your nose with bleach. So here they are, good and bad, the many scents I encounter on my runs.

Tea olives - you already know this one, my favorite and it makes me want a Snapple Peach Tea.

Bonfires - Usually good, sweet, and earthy, unless it's too close by and you're actually breathing in smoke.

Cigarette smoke - Speaking of smoke. Who wants to breathe in this junk when they're running? It mostly comes from passing cars but sometimes walkers or bike commuters. I occasionally cough loudly to point out what a nuisance they are, I'm sure they don't care.

Car fumes/road work - I don't run my the highway very often, so I only get this when a stinky car or truck is on residential roads. A good reason to run trails.

Poop - Surprisingly, poop is one of the least offensive of the bad smells. When you're running you get away from it pretty quickly, so while it's gross, it's short-lived. Unless it's human poop, that's worse and the idea of it lingers much longer than the actual scent.

Grass, usually good
Rain - Some people don't get this, but there is a smell in the air when it's going to rain soon. I love it. When it's already raining the smell isn't as good, but still not bad, unless there's a dog around or something. Plus, rain has the added benefit of suppressing other odors.

Sweat - Okay guys, I can kind of understand when you already smell sweaty at the start of a race, you've done a warm-up or something. What I don't get is when you smell at the start of a group run, it's terrible and no one wants to be around that. If it's after work and you sweat a lot at your job, go take a shower, spare us! Run at the back of the pack, run alone, change your diet, do something!

Unless doing something leads to...

Cologne/perfume - Never good on a run, people who put perfume or cologne on before exercise usually do way too much. They are usually trying to cover the smell of their sweat but end up smelling like perfumed sweat, which is worse than either on their own.

Detergent, bad
Detergent - This starts heading into the area of me having a super sensitive nose. Sometimes I can smell detergent/fabric softener on people I'm running with. This usually falls into the bad smell category, not that the smell itself is bad, it's just overwhelming. I can also smell detergent of fabric softener coming out of people's houses in my neighborhood. It's usually the cheap brands that are the hardest to deal with.

Freshly cut grass - Who doesn't love the smell of freshly cut grass? I used to have a perfume that smelled like it. Unless it's blowing in your face and upsetting your allergies, this is a good smell.

Chinese food, bad
Food - Food is one of those smells that can go in either the good or bad column. It depends a lot on if I've ate or not and how I'm feeling. If it's a morning run, a hard run, or I'm hungry, food is usually a bad smell, no matter what it is. Other than those situations, it depends on what the food is. There's a retirement home right around the corner from our house and the smells coming from their cafeteria are usually bad. When I can smell someone cooking a steak on their grill, that's usually good, unless they burn it, then that's very bad. Chinese food, pizza, fried foods = bad. Roast, spaghetti sauce, chili = mostly good.

New shoes - Another weird one, I know. When someone in the group has new shoes, I can usually smell them. Even my own new shoes bother me. I normally like the smell of new shoes, but when I'm running it's just too strong.

Nature - I don't really know how to name this one. I'm talking about the various plant/dirt/air smells you encounter on trail runs. These are 99% good. There are some areas I run in though that have a urine smell and I don't know if it's actual animal urine, something a hunter sprayed, or a plant that smells like urine, but it's not good. There's also this lemon cleaner type smell I get a whiff of sometimes that can be both good and bad.

Nature, good
Rotten fruit - This one may seem random, but there's a paved trail I run on fairly regularly that is line with some kind of fruit trees that no one seems to care about. The fruit falls off and rots on the ground, I don't know what it is but they smell terrible. This smell is right up there with dead animal and I try to avoid the area when I realize it's the "fruit rotting season."

Dead animal - Usually armadillos, sometimes possums. It's bad and it lingers and it's rarely cleaned up until some scavenger animal carries it away.

I had another good one in mind, but I can't remember it after changing this baby's poop!

Oh! Pool chemicals! Surprisingly good, since it's a nice, clean smell. Unless it's the pool at Trousdel which smells like dirty gym socks or a sour mop/public restroom to me. Private pools usually smell good.

What odors delight you on your runs? What smells make you want to vomit on your runs?

1 comment:

  1. Well, I am super jealous of your sense of smell. I have hereditary hearing/smelling and tasting loss. It takes some very strong odor usually in quantity for me to smell, something. Having said that, my favorites are newly mown grass, impending rain and a local coffee roasting company really lets loose at times and inundates a local rail trail and sometimes I will just stop and deeply inhale.


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