July 22, 2014

Day 51: Five Types of People on Every Running Trail

the Chicago Lakefront Trail at North Avenue Beach
No matter where you go in the world, there will inevitably be some degree of culture shock.  Sometimes the culture shock is minor, and sometimes you move from the murder capital of the U.S. to a place where men strap babies to their chest on the way out to a bar.

But one of the many great things about running is that the running community is consistently consistent; for better or for worse, the length of male running shorts spans the length of the globe (but unfortunately not the length of the average guy's thigh).

This struck me particularly hard yesterday when I realized that apart from the sick, torturous joke of a hill from Rosslyn to Court House, there really was no difference between my new Arlington running path and my beloved Lakefront Trail.

And the reason for that is simply that a running trail is a running trail, no matter where you go.  Specifically, there will always be at least five types of people you will find on any running path at any given time.

1.  Speedy Stroller Man.  The guy who defies all physics, pushing his child's stroller at such a blistering pace that you want to follow him in case the toddler goes flying out the top.  The only problem is that you can't keep up.

2.  Really Old Guy.  Really old guy's running short length is inversely proportional to his age, which would be a lot funnier if it wasn't also directly proportional to his pace... which again, is twice as fast as yours.

3.  The One Who Doesn't Get It.  Comes out every day surprised to find people running on the right side of the path.

4.  Overly Thorough Bike Woman.  Overly Thorough Bike Woman signals her arrival a quarter of a mile out with her bike bell, which she continues to ring until she is close enough to warn you that she is indeed still arriving with five rounds of "LEFT LEFT," which she follows up with the commonly accepted hand signal for "I have arrived and am passing you on the left, as previously mentioned."  Redundant, annoying, but God bless her preparedness.

5.  The Creepy Meander-er.  That guy with the suspicious smile and questionable tube socks.  Somehow, he just makes a tempo run feel right.

It can be a motley crew, the running path community, but it's a family who loves each other enough to look the other way when someone's peeing behind a bush.  And if that's not the sort of family you want to be a part of, well I just don't know what else there is to say.