Since my motivation is roughly that of a plankton, I’ve been making an effort to run with other people, hoping to shame myself into speed and effort.
I found a local running group that does and out-and-back run for 50 minutes every Monday. How hard can a 50 minute run be? I thought. “Runners of all levels!” proclaimed the website. I figured that even if I was at the end of the pack, I’d be okay at this “all level” run.
Let’s not get into the specifics of the monstrous hills the running group decided to do that day. (“We’re doing speed work on hills today!” really isn’t the first thing you want to hear when you awkwardly wander into the preppy local running store.) We’ll also not mention the part where I rushed to my car after the run when everyone else was doing planks. (“Sorry, I know people who shop at the Wegmans next door!”) Instead, let’s ponder the local flora and fauna of running groups.
The Track Girl
This chick shows up in bike shorts and a local high school track shirt. She tends to be extremely thin and fit. She end up completely outpacing the slightly out-of-shape group run leader, sprinting ahead then jogging casually back to the group at a 7:00 mile pace. When everyone else is tired after horrible hill repeats, she goes “Come on! Just a few more! It’s not that hard!” You hate her.
This middle aged dude thinks it’s his job to make sure everyone stays together. He does this by running from person to person like a hyperactive squirrel, spouting things like “Don’t stop running!” “Keep it up!” “We can do this!”
The Encourager is most irritating when you lag behind the other runners and try take a little walking break, or drink water becuase you can’t drink and run without spilling on yourself. No matter how far away he is from you or how much you think you’re out of his line of site, The Encourager will teleport next to you and go “No walking! Don’t stop running!” You want to trip him after punching him in the face.
While it can be enjoyable to have someone distract you from the torture of sprinting hills, The Talker is not this person. They attack when you are at your weakest, asking probing questions when you can barely sustain oxygen to your lungs. Talkers vary in methods of attack, but most Talkers share some of the following characteristics: Long pointless stories, asking you questions breezily while you are wheezing, and, conversely, trying to tell you stories while they are completely out of breath.
That last sign leads to conversations like this:
Talker: “HI! *HUFF PUFF HUFF PUFF* Constance! *HUFF PUFF* You?”
Allison: “*Gasp wheeze* Yay! Constance! Constance in running! That’s deep!”
Encourager: “Don’t stop running, ladies! Hey, what’s your name?”
Talker: “My name is Constance!”
Anyone else encounter terrible stereotypes in group runs?