Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Incident

Thursday, 6/10
AM: 8.5 miles

Wednesday, 6/9
AM: 5.5 miles
PM: 5.5 miles

The middle part of the week was devoted solely to recovery miles, with mixed results. I thoroughly enjoyed Wednesday's easy PM jaunt with Jordan, Jenna and Caitlin through Freedom Park. Despite--you guessed it--my legs feeling like crap, the company was good and the conversation flowed well enough to easily pass the time.

In contrast, my Thursday run was very nearly ruined by an unfortunate Incident with a neighborhood hobby jogger. Now I know that many of my male running friends also have to deal with the situation I'm about to describe, but I assure you that it's much, much worse for girls. I was just stepping onto the bike path near Hillside when the Incident began. This jogger--male, probably mid- to late-20s, average weight and height--was also approaching the bike path from a neighborhood street, and happened to step on about five meters in front of me. From that point on, we were racing--at least, according to him. I was just minding my own business, trying to take care of my Medium Loop and get home in time for work, not in the least concerned with seeing who could dip below the elusive 7-minute barrier first. For this dude, however, the next 30 minutes would be a battle of wills, and it was clear that he did not like the idea of a girl threatening his manly training pace. Every few minutes he would cast a furtive look behind him to determine if I was still there--which I was, of course, trying all the while to block him out and enjoy my easy run. Once he ascertained my presence he would proceed to sprint ahead for the next few steps in an attempt to shake me. Instead of responding, I would continue at my same clip, then watch as he grew tired and slowed down within the next few minutes. This sequence repeated several times throughout Freedom Park, to my increasing annoyance. When we reached the tennis courts near the top end of the park, I was absolutely certain we would go our separate ways. The Medium Loop calls for a right on East and a right on Queens, and I expected him to just turn left at the tennis courts and loop back the way he came. Unfortunately, this would not be the case. Still trailing him by five meters, I watched in dismay as he turned right on East and then right to head up the hill on Queens. The Incident was clearly not finished.

As we proceeded up Queens, it became increasingly apparent that he was running out of steam. Without trying, I was gaining on him with every step. About a half mile up the road I passed him for the first time during our unspoken duel, confident that the issue was settled. Imagine my disbelief thirty seconds later to hear his lumbering footfalls and ragged breathing as he careened his way past me on the narrow sidewalk. I could not believe that he was so determined to be in front of me that he was willing to risk cardiac arrest in order to pass. Unreal. Fortunately we were approaching Selwyn and he didn't turn left, which meant that the Incident was finally over. I guarantee he spent the rest of his wog home patting himself on the back for winning our imaginary race; meanwhile, I was just relieved to not have to share the second half of my run with that toolbag.

So gentlemen, in conclusion, allow me to use this platform to present you with an earnest entreaty: Stop. Bothering. Us. We girls are not remotely interested in watching your labored perambulations on our easy runs, nor do we find it remotely impressive that you can stay within five meters of us at all times. On the contrary, we very much value our personal space and have training goals much more important than toying with you for an hour. Let's just all mind our own business and I promise the world will be a happier place.

Edit: Upon re-reading this post, I realize I should clarify that the preceding paragraph is in no way directed toward the fairer sex's male friends and training partners. We love running with you and having you push us in workouts. We are not at all opposed to the idea of running with dudes. But here's the thing: the dudes who run with us and push us in workouts are much, much faster than we are--but they don't feel the need to assert that every single time we run together. And that is why they rock and dudes like the one from The Incident suck. That is all.