On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why you gotta be like that?

First off, Brooke made more of her hilarious photoshopped running products. Please go to her blog and check them out. And imagine me laughing hysterically as I look at them.

I had kind of a funny experience on Sunday. I suspect you've all had this experience, too. And I really, really don't understand it.

To set the scene: I spent Saturday out of town doing something stupid. I'll tell you more about it tomorrow, but in the meantime here's a teaser photo:

Yep. I did that. And I shouldn't have. But more on that tomorrow.

But anyway, Sunday afternoon I felt like I should go for a short little jog. I was taking it easy, running some and walking some while having a pathetic conversation with a friend - the drawn out kind that can only be had via text message. It was a nice day and I was enjoying just being outside.

UNTIL. Until I got passed.

Let me tell you two facts about Tracy. These aren't exactly well kept secrets:

  • I'm slow. This is true. In fact, I passed someone during one of my runs a few weeks ago, and as it was about to happen (which was like a 5 minute build up, because, you know, I'm slow and all), I realized: I had no idea what the etiquette for passing someone is. How wide of a berth do I give him? How quickly do I cut back over after I've moved around him? I don't know!! The punch line of the story is that he was probably about 80 years old. Yes. But man, I totally passed him!
  • I'm not competitive. Not in the least. Once upon a time, I was a highly motivated, very competitive grade schooler. Then college hit, and I relaxed into the apathetic, lazy Gen X'er I am now. (Or maybe I'm a Millennial. See how apathetic I am? I don't even care!)

Basically, point being, I kinda don't care if you pass me. I'm not going to make you a target and ruin my leisurely recovery run to chase after you.

BUT. Sunday. I'm walking and sending a text message, and this girl comes around me and passes me. Cool. A few seconds later, I start running again and it quickly becomes obvious I'm going to pass her. Okay, no problem. Except that this launches a giant game of leapfrog. For over a mile. Every time I pass her, she speeds up to pass me. And then she slows down, because she can't maintain my (SUPER SUPER SLOW) pace. So I pass her again. Finally, she tears off. I can hear her heavy breathing. I can see that she's having difficulty maintaining the pace. It was all just so uncomfortable that I took a walk break and let her have the lead.

Why on earth? I know this behavior isn't uncommon, but I don't get it. Yes, woman in black cotton, you beat me. Relish that victory - you totally beat a tired girl who was run/walking the day after a half-marathon. You're a badass speed demon.


  1. 1. I thought you were taking a break from racing? ;) I applaud being a 'bad girl' and racing a half. ;)

    2. The woman in black cotton: happens to me all the time: not with women, but with guys. Yep, guys: guys feel the need to race me. Okay, yay, I'm on a recovery run and you're doing speedwork: wow, you beat me....

  2. Hahaha, that's happened to me too :)

    The most memorable was at the Brooklyn half - I ended up passing this woman who seemed to find it really offensive.

    So she tears off, can't maintain the pace, and my trudging along catches up with her, and we repeated that for a couple of miles. Every time I passed her, she gave me this horrified look.

    I almost wanted to say "I am not stalking you, I am just trying to finish and we're on the same course".

  3. YES!!!!! I have SO had that happen, too. I just don't get it!

  4. Accidental leapfrog happened to me once last year on a bike path while I was doing a fartlek run. This other guy was clearly doing some kind of fartlek/speedwork of his own, and we kept overlapping and passing one another during our speed bursts. It was absurd and awkward.

  5. Oh gosh. How lame. It's like the car you pass on the highway, only to have them go speeding by passing you... until you pass them again.

    When my husband did his first (and only?) 10K (before I knew him) he was running toward the back of the pack and ran the entire race, but him and his friend kept catching up to this girl, and every time they did, she would speed up. He was so annoyed. It's dumb because it's obvious they're conscious about it.

  6. I HATE when people do that. It used to happen a lot when I biked to work. A dude would pass me just to slow down to a pace slower than I was holding, and then it's like, really? Why???

  7. (And on another note, so weird to post at almost 11am on a WEDNESDAY and the time shows up as 10:49PM on Tuesday!)

    When are you coming to visit?

  8. Oh, Carla, every time I read your blog I daydream about coming!!! I'm going to go price tickets.

    What is the rainy season v. hot season again? And what does the race schedule look like? ;)

  9. My first 10-mile race, I did it walk/run. So when I started my first walk break after a mile, this woman poked me and asked if I was okay. I explained it was time for my walk break and she looked at me like I was insane. Then for the rest of the race, I'd pass her during my run time only to have her pass me at the walk point. When we got to the last 1/2 mile we ended up running in together. The whole time I was thinking it was awkward, but when I caught up with her before that last 1/2 mile, she said, "Can I run with you to the end? It turns out we're the same pace, even though we race differently." It was actually really nice.

    But Saturday was also my first half marathon. And running with thousands of people, very different than running by yourself on country roads. The awareness it requires is kind of annoying, if that makes any sense.

  10. That makes tons of sense. I try to be easier going during races when people are trying to pass me - I attribute it to their race strategy. Although one time, I had this guy doing a run/walk OFF OF ME. Very obviously, he would huff and puff and sprint to get ahead of me and then walk... repeat for well over a mile (these were not regularly timed intervals!).