Writing and running in Austin, TX.
As an undeniably slow runner, I have a wealth of experience with getting passed. Usually it doesn’t bother me, but on a recent run I had an unfortunate experience with item #6 (garbage truck). This got me thinking that a little online whining just might be therapeutic.
Note: This is my personal list, but feel free to send me some of your own!
10) A fawn.
A baby deer, for you city-dwellers. I know, he looks so cute. How can I hate on Bambi?? Well, we have many many Bambis in central Texas, and let me tell you, Bambi’s mom is never far behind. No, I’ve never actually been charged by a doe. But I swear I’ve had one give me the crazy eye…
9) A cyclist.
Sigh. The tenuous relationship between runners and cyclists will probably be a post of its own one day. As fellow endurance athletes, I want to think of cyclists as kindred spirits. I myself bike to work from time to time. I might even do a tri someday, if I ever learn to swim without drowning.
The problems between runners and cyclists all have to do with shared resources. I, as a runner, am legally required to run on the left side of the road, against traffic. You, as a cyclist, are legally required to ride on the right side of the road, with traffic. I appreciate that you want me to “get out of your bleeping bike lane”, but my other two options are a Ford F350 and a cactus. Frankly, getting hit by you will hurt the least.
8) A city bus.
Being passed by any large vehicle can be terrifying. Buses, usually the largest vehicles on an urban road, delight in using their size advantage to disregard annoyances like lane markers. And just after they run you out of that bike lane and into that cactus, they inevitably stop in front of you, sit for 5 minutes while the driver chats on his cell phone, and spew exhaust in your face if you foolishly try hopping the curb to go around. These vehicles also are particularly good at waiting just long enough so that only one of you makes the light at the intersection. And it’s not you.
7) A mail truck.
Just like the bus, only it stops even more often! (And if you’re not careful, the driver will throw something at you.)
6) A garbage truck.
Just like the mail truck, only it REAKS!!! (And if you’re not careful, something slimy will fall on you.)
5) A truck full of construction workers. (Especially if it’s a small pick-up with 12 guys crammed in the bed.)
I know, I know, I really shouldn’t stereotype. But you really shouldn’t lean out your window and yell, “Work it, baby, work it!”
4) A friend of your ex.
Everyone knows that the best way to get over a break-up is to meet someone new. But until that happens, most of us fill our time with new-found “hobbies”. Like quilting. Or running. This happened to me at a race several years ago. Just as I was starting to believe I was hot stuff (“Imagine if he could see me kicking butt in this 10K! Then he’d regret saying I could stand to lose a few…”), his best friend flew by me like I was standing still. And I’m pretty sure he saw me spill that Gatorade down my shirt. And, if he’s any good as a best friend, he no doubt went back and told his good buddy just how much of a mess I’m looking these days… Damn.
3) An 8-year-old.
Seriously. I thought kids this age were supposed to have the attention span of a teacup Chihuahua. So it’s particularly offensive when one of them not only kicks your butt in a 5K, but also stops to pick up a penny he sees in the road. Would it be wrong to accuse this kid’s parents of abuse? Then again, they probably just want him too tired to use the nice coasters as Frisbees.
2) An 88-year-old.
One of my most closely-held dreams is that, if I keep up my current pace, I will finally qualify for Boston when I am somewhere in the 60-65 age group. So it really irks me when someone who looks older than my grandmother beats me to the line. Okay, I admit, I really and truly admire these people. I just resent having to accept that I’ll finally have a shot at winning my age group when I’m…dead.
1) All the faster people who’ve already made the turn on an out-and-back course.
I will especially despise you if you say any of the following:
“Just 3 more to the turn!”
“Just one small hill ahead!”
“Isn’t this fun!?”
Just keep running, mister. Because if I ever actually catch you, I’m going to have great fun squirting a Gu down your shirt…