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Friday, May 27, 2011


"Run, Forrest, run!"

If you're a runner in any kind of populated area, you might have heard someone yell this at you at some point in your running career. You'll be out for a distance run along a busy-ish road, and some high schooler in a pickup truck yells it out the passenger window while the four guys in back laugh hysterically, as though they are the first ones to ever think of such a clever line.

For a while, this really irritated me beyond belief. I'm not bothering you, driver, so don't bother me. When you yell at a complete stranger like that, it belittles the person and whatever activity it is they're doing. And you're not even being creative about it!

In my recent return to running, I've had a few cars yell a few different things at me, and I've given a little thought to why, now, it actually doesn't bother me at all. Maybe I've just gotten older and more mature. Maybe, since I'm running entirely on my own choice these days, I'm in a much better frame of mind when I hear it. Or maybe, just maybe, they're getting more creative.

Just look at the signs that show up along marathon routes for great examples of what to yell. "I've got beer at the finish line!" "Run! Someone's chasing you!" And my personal favorite from the Austin Marathon, a cardboard cutout of Justin Bieber. No explanation. No reason. They girls holding it didn't even seem to be happy about it. There were many signs with far better slogans that I cannot remember due to my unbelievable state of exhaustion in the race. Someday, I'd like to get a little tiny recording device that I can take with me on runs to record amusing moments and ideas for posts. Today, though it wasn't hard to remember the moment that stood out.

As I began the last two miles of my 8-miler this evening, I was almost out of gas. It was 98 degrees and I was running in direct sunlight. Great for my tan, horrible for my energy level. I walked a couple blocks of it, but only for short amounts of time in the shade to give my body some level of recovery. As I pushed through the heat, someone yelled as they drove past, "Yeah, you really do need to lose some weight!"

It surprised me, to say the least. For a moment or two, I was irritated, and then I started to laugh. I was running without a shirt, no doubt blinding passing motorists with my white chest, and I have lost some weight during this season, so I imagine that, with how heavy I was breathing, you could probably see my ribs. I wondered whether the guy was trying to be a jerk, but I made a quick decision. I decided that he was giving me a compliment with an ironic taunt. By yelling about my weight, I told myself, he was congratulating me on going for a run in unbelievably hot weather, and (sure, why not?) wishing me a happy and healthy holiday weekend.

So thanks, for once, drive-by conversationalist. You brightened up my brutal last two miles. And if you really feel like yelling at me in the future, you can always try a "great job," or a "way to go." If those don't suit you, you can always try to make me laugh.

Just keep it witty.

Friday's Run:
98 Degrees / Sunny
8.11 Miles
1 Hour, 3 Minutes, 33 Seconds

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