I ran the Army Ten Miler on Sunday under a borrowed bib as a last minute addition to my fall races.  After last weekend’s Tower of Terror 10 Miler, I was feeling pretty good.  I started with a group of friends and we start picking off the miles and splitting up based on pace.  I pulled a head for a little bit to enjoy the sites and scenes and the beautiful fall day. 10504800_10204058751863502_8390476140672302023_o

Kate, sorry your eyes are hella closed.

Anyone who runs in DC knows that all of our races follow the same paths:  Memorial Bridge down to the monuments and then back to wherever we started.  I was headed down Ohio Drive toward the Holocaust Memorial Museum with my face happily turned to the sun thinking about getting dinner with MB later {as a thank you for getting up before the sun for yet another race} and what I needed to do this week.  I pulled around a fellow runner with what I recall no malice or chagrin.

“Showoff,” she shouted.

I turned over my shoulder and replied – I’m about to take my walk break and wanted to get out of the way!

“Honey, it’s about the miles not the pace,” she curtly replied.

I almost stopped dead in my tracks.  I had had my first encounter with a rude runner.

One thing I pride runners on is our comraderie and good nature.  Until Sunday I had never met anyone ANYONE on the course or the trails that was anything but cordial, kind and at minimum neutral about their fellow runners.  What has drawn me to and now sucked me in about running is that the sport is literally for everyone regardless of the distance or the pace.  If we want to be there we can get there as long as we are willing to put in the work and support each other.  It’s like an unspoken code and therefore a bond that I thought would be pretty hard to break.

Being called a showoff {and I want to stress I am NOT recounting this story because I really do want to show off – I ran a 2:01 ten miler – that’s a nearly 12:00 min/mile pace.  I was only showing off my love of the run, PROMISE} really struck a chord with me because it illustrated something a little more sinister that I see happening with the sport for those of us that don’t race professionally or competitively.  I feel an underlying competitiveness fueled by jealousy and self-interest rather than a genuine interest in getting better.  Also I sometimes can fee a sense of entitlement and judgment from faster runners aimed at the mid and back of packers that I feel comes to the surface way more than it ever used to.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that a healthy dose of competitiveness is good for everyone and I’m a strong believe that if you want to get better or faster you have to keep better, faster company.  That’s why I love to follow most of the people I do on Twitter and why I’m BRF with the likes of Steff and Coach Jeff, Krissy and Nathan – they show me what’s possible without throwing it in my face.  But I think that following the best and fast has gotten into some of our fellow runner’s headspace in a bad way – eliciting negative comments like the one I heard Sunday when one person passes you who is just on a good 2 mile tear.  Or people that complain about run-walkers or walkers that don’t deserve to race because it’s a course for runners something I sadly heard at ToT.

I think the only thing to do is get over it and be a positive runner – clapping and cheering and high fiving my way through the races and long runs.  I want to be an ambassador for the positive run. This cycle I’m going to put my noggin on how to continue to make running accessible for everyone and keep our sport super fun and positive.  That’s what drew me in originally and there is enough road for everyone who wants to to share it with us.  If you want to run, you deserve a shot and even more you deserve a positive friend to help you on your journey and I want to be that friend to as many people as possible.

Because I don’t get faster by putting other people down.

Have you ever gotten a rude comment on the course?  What are your ideas to keep running positive?

6 thoughts on ““Showoff”

  1. Steffany R. says:

    You are much stronger of a human than I am! I would have given her a reason to call me a show off! I also would have screamed something to the tune of, “you can’t talk to me like that, I know Chelsea Prior!!” Xoxo

    • lnrbailey says:

      I really wanted to tell her to eat it, but then that wouldn’t be nice EITHER. and I’m really about trying to be nice to our fellow runners 🙂

  2. chelseykelsey says:

    I’m shocked and saddened to hear you heard something like that at ToT! I agree running is in general a positive and happy activity full of people competing against themselves and cheering everyone else on. But I think of runDisney as an especially happy place for people of all paces to get out there without fear of judgement or harassment.
    Lame. Sometimes people are lame. I call those people joggers.

  3. Jennifer @ Running on Lentils says:

    Besides just being rude, that runner clearly doesn’t appreciate that everyone has different goals, which, as you point out, is what makes running accessible to everyone. Her goal may be miles. Yours may be pace. I actually feel bad for her that she’s that close-minded.

    I’ve had one bad experience. Last winter, right after it snowed a ton, I was running on a narrow path someone had shoveled in the snow. I was keeping as far to the right as I could when I saw another runner approach me. There was plenty of room for both of us. As he passed me, he shouted, “MOVE!” so loudly that it actually scared me because I wasn’t expecting to be yelled at. I guess he wanted to me to leave the path and go into the snow so that he could have the whole path to himself. I didn’t say anything and just kept running. 😦

  4. Jenereesa @ ScootaDoot says:

    😦 When things like that happen (not that it’s often but you know), I remind myself that their comments are more an indication of how they feel about themselves other than me. It sounds like she was insecure in her run and was using her words to bring you down. That’s not cool at all.

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