The Complimented Runner: Why numbers will always trump words

What’s the ultimate compliment for a runner?
Good form.
Stellar kick.
Awesome smile atop that podium.

I guess that works too! ;)

I guess that works too! ;)


A little old lady remarked to me as I set off on my run this morning, “You look cold.”
“I’ll warm up fast,”
I replied.
“You look cute though!” she then yelled at my back.
I thought to myself, “Okay, well, thanks, I guess?? But really, wouldn’t any runner rather hear: ‘You look fast’?”

Admittedly I know I didn’t look fast today, so maybe she was just scraping the bottom of the barrel in regards to compliments and could only come up with ‘cute’.

The thing is, sure, aesthetics are nice and all that jazz but there really is nothing better than the compliments that come from the watch, you know?

Well HELLO there, Mr. PR! DAAANG, I like what you’re spitting out, keep more of those kind words numbers coming!!

How about chugging through an endless set of intervals, each one faster than the next, sure the countdown to the last one started three prior, rounding the bend of that homestretch you’re swearing on your life that THIS is going to be the last one no matter what…and then you finish, look down and BAM yet another negative split!! Booyaah, that recovery jog, the lactic acid cripple shuffle, goes by way too fast but with that validation compliment from the watch you’re taking off with as much gusto that is humanly possible for yet another interval.

runner on track

ACK…another interval! Well, you knew you were going to do it, regardless of what you promised during that last repeat.


Words are nice. Words are great. I’m a writer so I’ll even go so far as to say words are fan-freaking-tastic. But you want to know something?

Numbers, namely the RIGHT kind of numbers, to a runner are way freaking better.

There is no validation compliment like a PR.

1) What’s been one of the best compliments, in terms of being a runner, that you’ve had yelled at you?

2) What’s the oddest thing someone has yelled at you?
I once had, “You look like a praying mantis” shouted at me from a car.

3) Why can numbers speak more volume than words sometimes?
They quantify. Runners are all about those digits…distances, times, miles, are all concrete. Words can be ambiguous and iffy, not numbers.
best running shirts

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21 Comments

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21 Responses to The Complimented Runner: Why numbers will always trump words

  1. Kim

    One day as I was finishing a 20-mile run (less than 1.5 left), a guy pulled up next to me and offered me Diet Coke. He was very out out that I wouldn’t take it.
    One day these kids kept yelling, “Run, Forest’s mom, run!”

  2. its funny what people tell you while you are running.. :)

  3. I run freakishly early so I don’t often get things yelled at me, thankfully. I have been hearing from friends lately that I am motivating them to get out and run or be more active in general. That, to me, is the best. Once someone standing outside a bar smoking started applauding me as I ran by him in the pouring rain. That was fun too.

  4. Where we live is pretty out in the middle of nowhere and I have to run on a busy road…people usually just honk and I assume they think I’m crazy running in the cold and snow. But I tell myself they like my butt in my running tights…it makes me feel better ;)

  5. Sam

    The best: “You’re on fire!”
    The oddest: “Run, fatty, run!” – a derivative of Run, Forrest, Run? I have the typical long-distance-runner’s build. I think they were trying to be funny.

  6. Numbers all the way! I love that pic about “you were going to do it anyway”. So true! I have made a million false promises to myself in those final steps of an interval, tempo or hill!

    I must live in the most boring city in the world. I don’t think I have ever had anything yelled at me when running. I’m a wall-flower runner :(

    PS – I don’t think you could look anything but fast gal!!!!

    • aww, u’re too sweet, thanks! and i’ll toast to the false promises and lies…the only things that keep us moving on to the next interval for sure! :P

  7. Please tell me that you’re going to make that drawing into a shirt???? I want to be a fast bitch! lol

    I’ve been slacking on my training but I can always find some running inspiration over here :) I love numbers and times and PR’s!!!!! I have never had anything really weird shouted at me…..although I did run with music while I raced holding spatulas….so who knows!!!! lol

    • DANG girl, i love that u put the actual racing with spatulas cartoon to work!! that’s awesome! :)

      and no joke, i wanted to make a shirt with that, but then i got feedback from people that it may be ‘offensive’ and i wouldn’t really sell that many. my response was, “wat?!?! there needs to be more funny profanity on running shirts!” ;)

  8. Hey girl! I’m all about numbers. I recently got a power meter, so now I have even more data. :-) I also started blogging again, so feel free to check it out.

  9. I’m super slow so no one yells at me. I do get offered rides. I suppose I look like I’m about to fall over. No outdoor winter running for me. I’m just not confident enough. And I hate the cold.

  10. Amy

    I don’t know that I’ve had any compliments yelled at me, and when I’m training in the gym I don’t think anyone really wants to get that close to me since I’m usually sweating up a storm – I just don’t sweat cute, it doesn’t happen, I sweat like a man and I’m okay with that.
    The oddest thing was probably when my sister and I were out on the road together and two guys leaned out the side of their very umm….. dilapidated car and screamed ‘oh yeah baby’. Ummm….hell no!
    Some weeks the numbers are what keep me going. Just a few more miles to run, just a few more calories to tick off the list, just another hour of cross training. Then, there is the hour of sleep as a reward – now that’s a nice number :)

  11. Jen

    This wasn’t a while-running incident, but I love skirts and tutus and well… CUTE stuff for races. My friends and I tend to coordinate, doing team themes and I get matching knee high socks and cute arm warmers, etc. Anyway, apparently strangers and other runners sometimes think a cute little package can’t possibly run fast, because someone who takes care with their outfit and does their hair probably cares more about THAT part than racing, right? At Cafe Rio after running St. George marathon, some chick was looking at me as if I were one of ‘those’ runners and my friend barged up to her and say ‘don’t let that fool you, she is going to Boston in April’ – and I am =D I love it when guys think I won’t keep up, most of them don’t last 10 miles much less 20.

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