So Drew and I decided yesterday afternoon that we’d run our town’s Halloween 5K today. We’ve run it pretty much every year for the past four years, and it’s a fun and fast course. Drew’s coming back from deviated septum surgery, so he felt like he wanted to go try out his new nose. I decided to tag along. I laughed on the way back home that, because we signed up so late, we paid more than a dollar per minute for the privilege of running. At least it was going to a good cause!
We parked and jogged on over to the starting line. It’s a fun race and folks really get into costumes (I don’t know how they run in some of them!). It’s always humbling to be passed by a dude in a full banana suit or chef’s costume (complete with hat!). Keeps you grounded. So, we also knew from past experience, that we needed to line up in the front if we wanted to have any chance of running the first half mile at all.
It’s a beginner friendly, fun race, so folks of all ages and abilities sign up. I love that aspect of the race, but I also know better than to park myself too far back in the corral. Too often, I’ve gotten stuck in the log jam, as Drew likes to call it, and blown any chances of getting a PR. I really wanted to push today to see how my fitness was doing, so up we went, dangerously close to the front of the pack. Drew kept edging up and edging up until finally I said I wasn’t moving any closer to the front. He motioned toward several ladies ahead of us in full princess costumes. I said, “OK, let’s move a teensy bit forward.”
Off we went! Everything was going swimmingly and I was keeping pace with my pack. I thanked Drew for moving us up closer and quickly found my groove. I didn’t have to dodge anyone or run around anyone and it was glorious! I passed a few people, but no one passed me, so I felt good about my placement at the start. I tried to push the limits of my pace without over-doing it and I felt good about my overall effort.
I lost Drew about a mile and a half in (His new nose is working very well, in case you were wondering!), but was still feeling pretty good about my effort. I wasn’t overly concerned with time. I just wanted to put out the best effort I felt I could. It was about miles two that it happened: my biggest running pet peeve…
Let me preface this by saying I’m sure something I do annoys someone out there. I try to be as un-annoying a runner as I can be, but, hey, we all have our pet peeves! Mine is the sprint walker. It drives me absolutely crazy. Let me paint you a picture:
Imagine, here you are working on your pacing. You’re doing well and keeping yourself on pace, not slowing or speeding up too much. You’re trying to keep yourself in a nice, even groove. You’re watching your line, so you don’t weave and get in anyone else’s way. Enter the sprint walker. He sprints around you at 7:00 or so minutes/mile, pulls right in front of you and, without any warning at all, stops dead to walk right…in…front…of…you. Now you’re just doing your thing, keeping your pace, and suddenly there’s a person right in your way, forcing you to veer hard right or left or sloooow down suddenly. Now you’re out of your groove. Now you have to fight to get back in it. Now right about the time you go to get around this person, he dead sprints in front of you again. And he stops short AGAIN. Rinse and repeat for the next mile….
You can imagine the frustration. You can also imagine the frustration when said sprint walker beats you to the finish line with these shenanigans by less than a second… UGH. Am I salty? Maybe a little. But this crap drives me nuts. Either run a consistent speed, give notice you are stopping, or get the heck out of people’s way. Any of these things are acceptable. But, please, for the love of everything holy, don’t sprint around a person and stop right in front of them. If you do it once, fine. We’re all tired. You are forgiven. But when you do this repeatedly for the better part of a mile, now you’re on my naughty list.
Anyway, despite the sprint walker (I wised up after a few times and prepared myself to dodge!), I still managed a 5K PR today and felt pretty good about my overall effort. I’ve still got a few miles to run today and then a whole bunch of miles to run tomorrow, but for now, I’m feeling good in the neighborhood!