people who find runners annoying, sarcasm, Uncategorized

Annoying things runners say: “We are the 1 percent”

“Only 1 percent of the world will dare to run a marathon.” (Or variation thereof). 

OK-you could say the same about a lot of things — only one percent of the world population endured the movie Gummo (look it up). Only one percent of the world population has fixed its own car transmission. Why do we have the population of THE WORLD in this braggadocios equation? It places the curve unfairly and unrealistically in the marathoners’ favor. So we are including babies and elderlies and invalids and the populations of the most poverty stricken countries (yes I realize Kenya and Ethiopia produce some of the world’s best marathon runners, but only a select few make the running club there. The others aren’t too worried about fartleks or maximum heart rate).

But the reason I most hate this quotation is not its unfair manipulation of babies and invalids. No I hate it because it is bragging by way of comparing yourself to others who have no interest in the thing in which you have an interest. Saying that we, by training for and running a marathon, have done something most “will not dare” is about as dumb as some guy bragging to me about winning a hotdog-eating contest. I would be impressed if he just said, “I am one of the world’s best hot dog eaters and here is my medal.” Wow. Cool. But when he throws in the assertion that you, your mom and most of your friends would never dare undertake the training required to be a great hotdog eater — “You would not be able to continue eating one hot dog after another as your stomach stretches and your heart burns. You must train to endure this and you do not have the guts,” I imagine him saying.

Yeah. Then I’d laugh and call him a jerk.

You ran a marathon? You are badass. You do not need some meaningless stat to back it up. So if I hear you say this, and I will hear someone say this very soon because I hear runners say it all the time, I am going to give you hell.

racing, running, sarcasm

How I almost almost won a non-existent category at the Too Hot to Handle 15K

It is sweltering and the sun is blazing and I’m feeling surprisingly sprite at mile five of the Too Hot to Handle 15K at White Rock Lake. Like I’d planned, I was running easy with a full understanding of how suddenly and how hard the Texas heat can throw you to the ground, make you its wife, and stomp on your soul until it’s part of the sizzling asphalt.

Then I hear some very labored breathing behind me. A woman, a muscular, long legged woman, passes me. She is working so hard, I think. There is no way she can keep this up. So I stick beside her. She sounds like a Russian tennis player, grunting every few feet, but she maintains. We still have three miles to go, I tell her at six. I know, she replies in a voice that seems fairly controlled despite the heaving. We have some conversation: We’re going to get that dude in the yellow shirt, she evilly (and accurately) predicts. The two of us alternate positions a couple of times, and at mile seven I feel like I’m about to crack, so I resign to let her go.

That’s about that time that a course guide says, you’re the fifth female and you’re the sixth, pointing at me, then, right beside me, her.

Damn it: top five sounds so much more bragworthy than sixth. (Mind you, there is an overall female and male prize, and a medal for the top three in each age group—no top-five female, or even top-three for that matter, award). So I decide to battle on. I get behind her and stick close for an excruciating mile and a half. With about 800 meters to go, I throw it into overdrive. I pass my new nemesis, frenziedly pumping my arms and legs.  Now I sound like a tennis player/vocal porn star.

There is a shockingly painful pounding in my chest at this point and, in my head, I can hear the evening newscaster announcing the unfortunate Sunday-morning death of a Dallas runner, just feet from the finish line. I even visualize, for a second, the comments following the Dallas Morning News story: readers overwhelmingly agree that I “was asking for it”, and that I am “an idiot”, and … and they would be right. Not one mention, by the way, of how tragically close was my reach to the coveted and glorious and entirely not officially recognized in any way fifth-place female spot.

But I don’t die. In fact, I see that she is now safely behind me so I slow slightly until I am safely at the feet of a volunteer who places an ice-cold towel across my neck. I love you.    

It isn’t until later, when I look at the official results, that I realize my competitor actually beat me by a good 20 seconds—all the result of a crowded start line and chip-timing technology.

This dude — Chris Stratton who has banished all hot racing from his agenda — added some humor to the whole thing. I apologize for saying the F word to you.
inspiration, marathon, running, sarcasm

Boston Marathon, anyone? Dealing with race week madness

I know a lot of people who will be heading to Boston in the next few days to tackle Heartbreak Hill along with 26 other miles of potential pain (that’s right: the infamous Heartbreak Hill is only about .3 miles at about a 4 grade—I read that in Runner’s World this month).

The following are some tricks I have learned to deal with the madness that generally plagues my mind the week preceding a marathon:

Yell at someone—kids, coworkers, a spouse—I usually like to go off on someone for no reason other than deep-seeded fear that I am going to die, fail or not even make it to the race.

Obsess about the weather—check no less than 50 various weather web sites in the five days leading up to race day at least 10 times each while your career-dependent deadlines take a backseat to the irrational belief that you can somehow sway Mother Nature.

Talk incessantly about the upcoming race—you might find another runner who will actually entertain the subject, but generally I hold an overly generous co-worker or friend hostage while I talk about how tough the course will be or about the sundry aches and pains I have incurred while training.

When they escape, bait conversation on social media outlets—Post “3 more days …” on your Facebook status and wait for one of your poor clueless cousins to reply “until what?”

Apologize to the people I cussed out—thereby leading them into a conversation about why I am so stressed (the marathon, of course.)

Waste copious amounts of time surfing the net—for images, maps, race reports, elevation charts and videos that relate to marathon running. Read training plans too—that way, you can convince yourself that you did something wrong.

Shop for something to wear in the race—because the 13 sports bras I already own definitely won’t work for THIS race.

Now, seriously, if you want something to truly inspire your marathon and your finish, read this short essay by the great George Sheehan — if it doesn’t stir your soul, I dare say you shouldn’t call yourself a runner.