I am not a runner. I am someone who sometimes runs and even sometimes signs up for things like 5K’s or even marathon relays, but I still don’t consider myself a runner. There are a variety of reasons for this, but it’s probably because 1) I don’t usually run on a regular basis (unless I’m training for something), and 2) I am slow as sh*t. I figure if I’m ever going to get any enjoyment out of running, I don’t want to suffer too much…hence I keep a very steady and slow pace just to avoid too much discomfort. Most days I would much rather do forty-five minutes of Insanity than run. Running is just such a constant mental battle for me: Can I keep this up? A car is coming, I’m going to speed up a bit. Seriously, how can that only be 1.5 miles? There’s another runner. Do I give him the runner’s nod, even though I clearly am not at his level? Is he mocking me? Etc. Etc.
Besides, I don’t even have a runner’s body; I have a long torso with short legs. A “regular runner’s” stride equals about four of mine. (On a side note, my body is apparently better suited to swimming. I’ve tried swimming fast. It never happens.) The truth is, running can scare the sh*t out of me. And here’s why: I never know when I’m going to have a great run or a terrible run. One day I could be feeling like a rock star and the next I have such a terrible run that I end up questioning my entire fitness level and abilities. And this makes me angry.
If you’re a runner and you enjoy it, I really envy you. I do. You most likely have impossibly long legs and weigh next to nothing. If you think I hate you for this, you’re probably right.
But seriously… if I really examine where my anger towards running comes from, I’d have to look back at my brief and totally non-illustrious personal history with running. I’ve pretty much narrowed it down to this list:
Runners Who Run BEFORE the Race
There are actually people who go on runs around the course before the race even begins. At a high speed. I am not one of those people. I need to conserve every ounce of energy I have before the race, therefore the walk from the parking lot and maybe a few half-assed stretches are all I’ve got. There is no way in hell I’m going to run a 5K before I run a 5K. Who are these show-offs? They’re runners. These people make me angry.
The Walk-Sprint People, a.k.a. Annoying Children
These are the 5K participants who have not prepared in any way for the race, so they decide to do a combination of short sprints followed by walking. They are usually clueless children who had no idea how far a 5K actually was, so they start out the race by sprinting for about a tenth of a mile, then suddenly realize holy sh*t I can’t keep this up (at least that’s what the foul-mouthed children are thinking.) So they walk. The second I catch up to them, they will inevitably start to sprint again. And then they will walk. And then I will catch up to them, and then they will sprint away from me again. We will play this little cat and mouse game almost the entire time until I finally can’t take it anymore and pass those little bastards once and for all.
Jean Shorts Guy
There’s always some scrawny guy in the race who looks like he rolled out of bed, threw on some jean shorts and some Chuck Taylors and decided, “I think I’m going to run this charity 5K today.” Even though the last year of his life consisted mostly of time spent in front of the penny slots machine, he passes me on the course and beats my time by about 10 minutes. Yup. I just got passed by a guy in jean shorts. And you wonder why running sometimes makes me lose my sh*t.
Incompetent Race Direction-Givers
One time a few college students who were supposed to direct people where to go on the course apparently missed the memo…and I went the wrong way. (Yes, this would only happen to me. As if the actual running part was not hard enough, I now had to guess where to run.) As I passed others who were running the opposite direction, I wanted to scream at the boys: You had ONE JOB PEOPLE!! ONE JOB!! I ended up going about 3.5 or 3.6 miles instead of 3.1. Who knows. All I know is I was suffering badly. But Anne… how does this even happen, you ask? Read on.
Runners Who Run AFTER the Race
So apparently I went the wrong way during a race because I saw some other people way ahead of me…and I followed them. And the direction guys did not stop me. Seems logical, right? Well apparently not, because those people who finish the 5K so frickin’ fast then feel the need to actually go back onto the course and RUN. SOME. MORE. In the wrong direction. In any direction they feel like. So people like me see them and follow them.
Here’s a thought: Once you’re done with the race, F*cking. Stay. Off. The. Course. Want to go run some more? Fine, go knock yourself out. But don’t go back on the course. The fact that I am still struggling to finish while you are doing your “cool down” (at a pace still way more fast than more normal one) only makes me feel bad about myself. Oh, and angry. And here’s another thought: If you like to run so much and wanted to run more than a 5K, then why didn’t you sign up for the half marathon instead? These tiny distances are clearly way too easy for you, and I’d much rather avoid your condescending little looks of encouragement in my direction while you pass me during your cool down.
Despite all my embarrassing running moments, there are actual times that running makes me feel good. And perhaps that’s why I continue to do it…to prove I can. To prove that despite my body type and overall general attitude towards running, I can actually do it if I set my mind to it. Even if I’m angry.