Warning: Lurker in Car Watching Runners on the Road

I had a couple funny thoughts yesterday as I was driving. I was coming up on a local community college (actually before they were stinkers and paved over it in lieu of a giant parking lot, there was a cross-country course that I probably ran the most races on during all of my entire high school school years) and as I was nearing the campus I see a looooong trail of guys running on the side of the road.

Because it’s horribly hot around these parts (actually record setting lows for summer in the Sacto area, but remember I’m a recent Portland, OR transplant, so I’m still adjusting!!) they were shirtless but sporting those heinously long shorts that go to about knee level.

dragon toasting toast

It's too hot and I'm NOT liking the 'toasty weather'

So thought process: these are obviously not the guys on the cross-country team, or if they are they are the first year guys who are still too embarrassed to wear real running shorts. Scratch that, this CAN’T be the cross team because this particular college cut both their cross AND track programs…for shame. Then, as I see this surfer wanna-be looking guy surge to the front, I think, “Oh look, here goes Rocky thinking he has something to prove.” Is it mean that I wanted to actually reverse the car and follow them to watch Surfer Rocky crash and burn and get swallowed up by the rest of the pack?

To Surfer Rocky’s credit I soon realized they were doing those Elephant Runs where the last guy in the line surges to the front. So I figured it must have been the wrestling team because for whatever reason I seem to find wrestlers are always out there doing those Elephant Runs, or they are the guys sporting full on sweat suits and running around the track trying to make weight.

So let’s back track here. The guys were probably at most a half mile from the campus…at most…but I’m sure they felt it was tortuously long. That’s okay, it’s all relative, you throw me on a wrestling mat and I’d crumble to the ground in about two seconds. Wow, I think the little runner elitist in me is showing…I’m being mean, and I didn’t follow them, for all I know they were out there running 6 miles.

Though, if they were I’m sure they were coming back with a mean case of chaffage due to those long PE style shorts. Now, it did take me a while to fully embrace running clothing, don’t get me wrong. I started with soccer shorts and worked to those ‘real’ runner shorts with the liners. And it did take me some time and prodding to wrap my head around the bunhuggers. But once I went there I never went back.

I promised my mom I’d never be a dork running in running tights. Though, the reason was more that I just HATE anything tight and constrictive, I don’t like feeling cased in like a sausage. But flashforward to the first cold-cold day and I was donning tights.

Running clothes aren’t made with the goal of parading in as little clothing as possible, showing off potentially embarrassing shorts tan lines for the guys. They are made that way because they’re more efficient and let’s face it, save us the pains of massive amounts of chaffage. They take us so far, BodyGlide takes us the rest of the way. ;)

Anyways, no, I wasn’t stalking this team out there running I was stuck at a light…but I will admit that I do look at and do a little mental assessment of anyone I see outside running on the road. Am I the only one that does that?

runner on road

If I’m injured at the time it’s with a little bit of annoyed envy, hey, I’m only human. If they are trucking I tip my imaginary hat to them and send them good mental positive vibes to keep it up. If I see them slow down purposely so that they ‘miss’ the light so that they can stop, I shake my head a bit. If I see them packing a camel pack, three water bottles, a gel cartridge belt, and a watch the size of a computer mouse, I take them for a newbie.

I can’t help but look. And I think I’m pretty good at picking out the people who are running because they are runners and those who are doing it begrudgingly (wrestling team). We’ll call it runner-dar. ;)

**Disclaimer: I will NEVER be so low as to roll down my window and yell, “Run, Forest, Run!” I have less respect for people than I do for Charlie Sheen. Finally, I would like to note that I give anyone who is at least out there working out credit for doing it…keep on moooooving people! :)

1) Do you look at and kind of ‘assess’ people you see running on the street?

2) Do you kind of laugh sometimes when you see what certain people are running in or running with?

I’ve talked about this before, but people who run in jeans continue to amaze me.

3) Do you remember being forced to do Elephant Runs in PE?

Yup. There are lots of other names for those I know.

4) Are you just as appalled as I am that this community college not only paved over the cross course, they mowed over the track for a bigger football training field, the cross country team was the first team to be cut, and finally, ya, the track team was soon to follow in being pushed into the black hole vortex of nothingness?

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9 Responses to Warning: Lurker in Car Watching Runners on the Road

  1. Amy

    On the street, in the gym, from their car to the shops – yep I’m a running assessor too. I do not lay claim to being the best runner, heck I know my foot strike is probably in need of serious reassessment and don’t even get me started on my upper body – fail.
    Sometimes I shake my head at the shoes people wear – or the girl at my gym who wears jeans, I am also a minimalist runner, I don’t wear a watch, any technology, or even carry water with me so I don’t understand why people think that they need to carry a Sherpa like load with them when the whole point is to feel free and light :)
    I can’t believe that they cut all the running teams! Especially when running is a gift you can give people for life! You don’t see many 75 year olds playing football, but there are plenty still out there shuffling along the pavement in their sneakers!!

  2. Haha I DEFINITELY am guilty of checking out and ‘assessing’ other runners!! And I always laugh when I see people running in stupid clothes! I mean, a running top with TASSLES?! :D

    • Cait

      whoa, stop the presses…u saw someone running in a tassled shirt?!?! people…are u kidding me?!?! i guess it only would have been better should it have been a tassled bra. ;)

  3. Amy

    Oh darling Cait! I’ve nominated you for the Butterfly Award! Check out my latest post for details :)

  4. Hee I know what you mean!! I always always ‘assess’ other ‘runners’(only to get fierce glares back at me. Boy are female runners so super grumpy :-( ) . And not only runners! I ‘assess’ just about everyone because runners are few. Near my house, the people along where I …jog… are elderly people in loose shorts and singlets having their evening or morning stroll… oh and people who are walking their dogs! I totally observe dogs! Most are super cute :D

    Do you kind of laugh sometimes when you see what certain people are running in or running with?
    I feel too guilty to reply :-(
    :-)

    • Cait

      haha….join the guilty party! ;) yes, i do love cute dogs but i do get really annoyed at people who don’t put their dogs on a leash and their dog either bites at me or runs after me!! :P

  5. I’ll admit it, I assess other runners as they jog by. I feel like you can tell a lot about a runner based on the gadgets and clothes they wear…but not in a snobby way. More of just an interested/observational/ sometimes comparative way. I think it’s natural for people to do that!!

    I’ve never seen someone run in jeans…danggg that must be uncomfortable!!!

    • Cait

      You stated it best, and what i hoped i was able to portary…i’m not being snobby at all just like i love to people watch in general, runner people watching is even better! ;)

      haha…ya, i don’t even want to think about the shower one would take after running in jeans!

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