Thursday, July 12, 2007

Running update: "Work!"

Runners are a different breed. The kind that was not, generally, bred to smile.

Of course, I didn't know this as I started out my meek little running career on the streets of my neighborhood. And you know no one told me. So I've just been running around at my ultra slow pace smiling and "Good morning"ing other runners like a damn fool.

First it was Mr. Ultra Marathoner in his whippy red running shorts, breathable wicking blue top, wraparound reflective shades and mesh ballcap who utterly ignored my offensive "Mornin'" and jaunty chin nod by shooting past me (going the wrong way in the bike lane I might add) as though I were a stinky dog donut on the sidewalk. Which is where I understand pedestrians (of any speed) are meant to travel.

I won't lie, it burned me up a little bit. I mean, who is he that he's so fancy and good that he doesn't have to return a friendly 'hello'?

Ass.

I still hope he meets a cyclist head-on one of these days. Those fuckers can really move. Unless you're driving up the Santa Cruz Mountains, of course. Then they're really slow and like to ride in the middle of the lane and get all pissed when you try to pass them even though they're moving at, like, one mile an hour and look like they're going to tip over.

But this is about my gripe with Ultra Douchebag and his lack of manners. Just because you're running does not mean you're outside the laws of common courtesy. And don't let me catch you in that bike lane while I'm out running errands. I'll clip ya.

During the first Long Run of my 1/2 marathon training, when I'd had the nerve to venture beyond my safe six mile loop to add on the dreaded seventh mile, I met with a frightening creature.

We'll call her The Devil in Green Shorts.

I'm quite sure she would have knocked me straight down had I not carefully held my (slow) pace and avoided eye contact. I had gained enough Runners Intuition at that point to know that any greeting I offered would go unrequited, so I didn't even try. I focused more on how friggen fast she was moving and how little her bare tummy giggled as she did so.

Remarkable. A mid-section that moves not during rigorous pavement pounding.

Never seen anything like it. I must have one.

Either way, as I stared through my sunglasses at the Tightest Belly on Earth, I watched this speeding beast rip past me without an inch to spare and, I swear, kick turn at the corner and speed off in another direction. All but leaving me in actual dust. If she could have flipped me the bird while kicking me in the face at the same time, I don't doubt she would have.

It's also possible that she was a Cyborg. That'd at least explain the abs.

Anyway, after these two interactions and a handful of fun moments when other runners pretended I was either invisible or dog poo, I stopped offering any manner of greeting altogether. I stopped waiving, nodding, peace-signing (sometimes I do this if I'm feeling extra whimsical) and looking in the general direction of any being moving at more than your standard walking pace.

I was going to be hardcore, too.

I don't want to be mistaken for an amateur after all. I mean, I *have* run a full 10K and everything. Plus, PLUS, I am training for a 1/2 marathon. Come ON - that's gotta count for something. I'm not just out here trotting from one Starbucks to another. This is serious business.

So, last Saturday, I steeled myself.

This Long Run would be my debutante ball of Running Like an Asshole. Because, people, this is not a game. I've got eight (!!!) miles to tackle here, I'm adding mileage, I'm prepping for a real race - this is no time for socializing.

I looked at no one. I greeted no one. I wandered off into my mind's own world and pretended I was running fast and wearing tiny shorts that whipped around my tight muscular thighs instead of stretchy black capris that hugged my jiggling ass.

"I'm so hardcore!" I told myself over and over.

I think I was actually starting to see this activity through the eyes of UltraDouche and The Green Devil until a tall buff chick in tiny orange shorts rocked past me, clenching her fist (but smiling) and said,

"Work, girl, work!"

Teehee, ok :)

That one instance alone has ruined me for ever becoming a Real Runner. If, indeed, a Real Runner is someone who ignores other runners as though they are dog donuts and can't say hi.

Because after that tiny moment of like-mindedness with this very accomplished looking runner lady who DID NOT act like I was slow moving dog doo unworthy of the sport of running, I was uplifted damn it!

I pulled my shoulders back, loosened my clenched fists, relaxed my face muscles and, seriously, increased my pace.

I arrived back at my doorstep in record time - 80 minutes. That's, hello, a 10 minute mile pace. For eight miles.

I am so hardcore.

14 comments:

  1. You *are* so hardcore.

    (And you rock, too!)

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  2. jessica in rome7/12/2007 1:16 PM

    Hey Finny thanks for your comment on the funny Italian commercial. I love your blog!!! You are going on my everyday reading list :)

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  3. I would have definitely shot you the peace sign, and smiled about it afterward. Or maybe you would have caught me singing Missy's Work It!

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  4. You are working it girl, and you are doing so with a smile. I try not to let the other grumps slow me down. There are several runners who every single week i greet without a response. At this point, I do it just to see them squirm. Three cheers for friendly folk!

    p.s. you are so going to kick the 1/2 marathon's ass.

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  5. When I walk or run (some time ago now for the running) I am like you - smiling and saying hi and yes people get kind of weird. I don't care and I don't think you should either. Sounds like you do better when you just are the way you are. Keep up the work

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  6. Yeah - work, girl! I love that. Let me tell you, people are just as hardcore *walking* at the park. I feel somehow obligated to smile at everyone, and 99% of them look at me like I popped up to greet them in their bathroom window. Sor-ry! We live in a society, you know!

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  7. You go girl! I finally hit the 2.5 mile mark today for the first time in....years. I used to run cross country in high school and did pretty good I might add, and now I feel like a friggin slug. I'm starting towards a 5k and have some work ahead of me. Keep up the good work!

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  8. I'd smile. I might even say hello, if I could still breathe. But given that your running 10 minute miles, you'd be kicking dust in my 14 minute mile face.

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  9. Seriously, you are SO hardcore. And that 10-minute/mile pace? Awesome. By the way, there is this great NYTimes article on how young, hip people are crafting their little hearts out these days. I blogged it, but you could also find it in the Fashion & Style section of nytimes.com.

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  10. I think all those pissy runners come from a common misconception in our society. Too many people believe that if you look like you're enjoying something (like smiling and being friendly) that you can't possibly be working hard enough.

    Sounds like you are, though.

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  11. Lera - I bet you'd say hi to me! Thanks for the badge of honor - it's on my list of to-blog topics :)

    Jess - As are you on mine. Love that commercial. My laundry is NEVER that fun.

    Sara - See - that's awesome. I'm going to start singing along, too. That oughta piss some people off.

    AK - If it doesn't kick mine first,yes.

    Sharon - I agree - I always feel better when I get home if I've been cheerful along the way. I have a thing for the neighborliness.

    Meg - Perhaps we should start popping on on them in the bathroom window. I mean, then they'd have a reason for being such pills.

    Kristen - WOOT! You know I started just trying to get through a 3 mile run without stopping to walk. I never thought I'd get past that point. Good thing AfricanKelli kept pushing me on. You're doing great!!

    Tinkerblue - Don't think there's anyone out there more surprised than I that I can run 8 miles at all. That 10 minute pace has to be a fluke.

    Christine - That IS a great article. Love! What is your blog? I can't get to it from your profile and I wanna read!

    Wendy - I couldn't agree with you more. It's like smiling at your desk at work - you can't be working, you must be watching YouTube. NOT ALWAYS TRUE. Only sometimes.

    Meanwhile, when I run, there is no YouTube, so it's all legit smiling.

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  12. Well, I'm glad you're feeling uplifted, but you are in the WRONG SPORT. You say you never see runners smiling - why would they smile? They're working hard and having no fun. Try walking. You see the neighborhood, you rarely trip, and you DON'T SWEAT.
    I walked the LA marathon a couple years ago. It took me awhile and I lost 2 toe nails, but could I run it? Never!
    Jenny

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  13. smelly dog donut? no. Those people are so boring and tight. I bet they went home and practiced algebra after a logging all of their miles in a composition book.

    That is one thing i LOVE about running in Montana....nearly everyone (there are some jerks) smiles and sings "hello."

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  14. Oh sorry, thought I included a link... my blog is http://unspeakablevisions.blogspot.com.

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[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.

Cheers.