The Types of Runners You’ll See on the Trail

2 Dec

friends_phoebe_runsThere’s an episode of Friends where Rachel takes Phoebe on a run with her. A little bonding between friends never hurt, unless you’re phoebe and you’re running like you’re escaping from an asylum.

Unfortunately, Phoebe’s exaggerated gate isn’t an uncommon site on the path. Hey, I’ve taken issue with my own running style, seeing as how I look like a velociraptor in Jurassic Park. But at least I’m not in danger of hurting anyone but myself.

Some runners you can learn from, but others are best to steer clear from. Here are a few types that you’ll see on the beaten path:

The pro: This creature has been doing cross-country since he was knee-high to a knee-hi. He looks like Matthew McConaughey—no shirt, glistening chest, tiny running shorts. This guy will make you run into a bush because you can’t take your eyes off him. But you’ve got to look away. You’re on a mission, and so is he. He’s only a third of the way through is 20-mile run today, and you’ve only allotted time for four miles. You’ll never catch him, and you’ll just be a sweaty mess as he laps you for the third time. See also: his Jessica Biel-like sister.

The couple: No matter their age, they’re going at the same speed. They’re also not paying attention to to their surroundings, including you. While they’re discussing dinner plans, they’re likely to run you over in the process. They’re not out for a long run, so you won’t have to hear them bicker over bullshit for long. But their constant picking at one another could be the motivation you need to pick up your pace and get away from them as fast as possible.

The stroller brigade: Aside from the pros, these are my fave people to watch. They’ve got their three-wheeler jogging strollers with adorable moppets inside. It gives me hope that if I ever had kids, this would be my life. The only downside is the shame you feel if they should pass you up. They’re pushing a good 20-30 pounds and still lapping you. But just remind yourself that at least you don’t have to clean that diapered mess when the run is over.

The puppy party: The people I’m most jealous of are the ones who run with their dogs. I have a 12-year-old chihuahua who just can’t hang on my eight-mile treks. After about the second mile, he’s ready to lay down. He pees every five feet but just for fun he needs to sniff a spot for a couple of minutes before dropping pheromones. Exercise isn’t one of his top priorities. He likes to stop and pee on the roses; I like to zoom past them. Dog runners have a good companion at their side, but occasionally, those companions do as dogs do and doo-doo all over the path. Watch out for brown mounds. You’re gonna smell bad enough when your run is over.

The group outing: As if the couple weren’t annoying enough, a group of four or more people come along to crowd the path. They’re there for the camaraderie but forget theirs aren’t the only feet pounding the pavement. No matter how much you say excuse me, they can’t seem to hear you over their own blathering. My only suggestion is to yell, “Left!” and barrel down the side. Like birds, all will move after the first clears out of the way.

Honorable mention goes to cyclists. I like to run with my headphones on. A little Biggie, T.I. or Ciara gets me going a long way. Because their beats are so strong, sometimes I can’t hear the tinkling of a bicycle bell coming behind me. And instead of just yelling, as anyone else will do, cyclists will just ride up on your side with no warning. Getting clipped from a cyclists is not my idea of an ideal run. And don’t let them go riding in groups. Cyclists+Groups=HULK SMASH

Who are the people you encounter that get on your nerves?

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