Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Polite Runner

I ran 4 miles today (445 miles). After running the half marathon I was excited to get back on the trail to start training again. A few minutes into the run my enthusiasm declined as I struggled to keep my pace. When I set out I felt great but once on the trail I could feel the effects of Sunday's run. I can only describe today's run as being similar to meeting an old friend that I forgot was really annoying! I tried to run 5 miles but between my fatigue and the wind almost blowing me into the river I settled on 4 miles and a promise to try again tomorrow. I took some photos along the run to show how the river landscape is changing as summer arrives. The other photos are of Skender in his early days of learning how to skateboard.  Isn't he a cutie!

Participating in Sunday's run helped me get over some of my anxiety about passing people during a run. I have never liked passing people on the running trail and at the duathlon in April I found myself feeling even more anxious when in the position to pass other participants, particularly the women from my Just Tri-It group.  Not knowing if there is some special runner's etiquette for passing people, maybe a secret code like a nod of the head or a key phase, I opted just to say "sorry" every time I passed someone. I thought that if there was any ill feelings towards me, the other runner would know that I was taking no personal pleasure in leaving them behind.  

Being a researcher I decided to ask other runners how they felt about passing people. The responses were wonderful and some very funny. A number of runners told me that they give words of encouragement as they pass someone, such as "I'm sure you'll pass me later" or "keep going, you're doing great."   Others told me that because it is "a race," passing everyone else is the central goal so they don't think about passing people, they just do it! Among this group was a number of competitors who explained with great enthusiasm how much they enjoy passing other runners. Specifically those individuals in their 40s and 50s described how much they love passing runners who are younger than them.  "Eat my dust!" is the most common descriptive phrase used by this group of race demons :)  

On Sunday's run it was impossible for me not to pass people and I probably passed well over two or three hundred people throughout the run. I was also passed by an equal number of runners. In a field of 2,000 with 13 miles to run, I quickly shed my politeness, put on my competitive wings and tried my hardest to make it across the finish line ahead of as many other runners as I could! My shyness and politeness left at the start line, I did not utter "sorry" once on Sunday's run, but some might have thought they heard, "Beep! Beep!" as I left them in my dust :)

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