Whenever I’m in my car driving to and from work, or driving to and from the donut shop and I see a runner, I always get this tremendous urge to yell something encouraging to them. “Keep going!” “You can do it!” “Great job!” Fortunately for all you Denver based runners out there I usually manage to smother that urge. I realize that the runner won’t know that I’m also a runner, will think I’m mocking them, or won’t hear me over their iPod anyway.
I’ve had people shout things at me occasionally from their cars while I’ve been running, usually things like “go faster,” or “good job,” or “hey, that track’s not open to the public!” More often than not it happens when I run past the high school and it almost always annoys me more than it motivates me. Why then do I feel so compelled to yell at fellow runners when I see them? Perhaps it’s because when I see someone running, I wish that I could be out there running instead of whatever is taking up my time at that moment. Perhaps it’s because I feel a sense of kinship with the runner and want to encourage them to give it their best today, or perhaps I’m just an emotionally stunted jerk who enjoys making others miserable.
Most days when I’m on my way home from work I drive past a lady running up this really steep, long hill. It seems like she’s always out there running, and she always inspires me to get out and run if I haven’t already. A few weeks ago, I arrived home from work early (unless my boss reads this blog in which case it was definitely a Saturday) and I decided to go for a run. I was running down the aforementioned hill (because Momma didn’t raise no dummy) and I passed her coming up. I didn’t realize that it was her until we were already passing each other. We both smiled and nodded politely and I almost wished that I’d stopped her to tell her that she was an inspiration to me, that I always saw her out running this hill. Upon further reflection, I was glad that I didn’t have a chance to say anything. I probably would have fumbled for the right words and then ended up getting a face full of pepper spray when I said “I watch you run everyday and wanted you to know that you arouse me... wait, no... inspire, I meant inspire…”
I guess I’ll just stick to smiling and waving at fellow runners, but if the blond chick with the ponytail who always runs the big hill east of the golf course happens to be reading this, then just know that you arouse me.
Despite the title of this post, Half-Fast does not endorse shouting at runners from your car no matter what your intentions are. Also, please remember that when you see someone running from your car, you’re probably driving on the sidewalk.