Saturday, July 29, 2006

Snappy Comebacks

I'm currently training for my third marathon. I'm fortunate to have a place to run uninterrupted by cars, that is literally right out my front door. This makes it easy to stick to my training schedule. If you've ever trained for a marathon you know that it takes hundreds of miles of training for each one. If I stick to my exact schedule, I will run about 730 miles plus the race itself, from the start of training two months ago to November Fifth in New York City. Yes, I could just go out and run a few miles every week to stay in shape, but that wouldn't be nearly obsessive enough. It's all or nothing for me, so if I'm not training for a marathon or something, I'm lying around eating chips. I have done this a couple of other times, as well as running a half-ironman triathlon. My main observation from that is that a marathon makes a good warm-up for a half-ironman.

With a concrete bike path right out my front door, needless to say, many of those miles have been on that same path. Suffice it to say this ain't my first time around the block. Over time, I've learned things about this path. Like, it's pretty well maintained, and it's really busy on Saturdays. It meanders down along the length of a creek, crossing over it here and there on footbridges, and running up and down both sides of the creek in a loop for the most part. I also figured out that it doesn't really pay to alternate which way I run around the loop, because either way I end up running on the right edge of the path for the benefit of the many bicycles who also share the path. I don't begrudge them this; it is in fact a bicycle path. It's labeled as such on signs, and they don't say bicycle/jogging path or anything like that. As a matter of fact, when training for triathlons, I naturally used the bike path myself for its intended purpose. I also don't begrudge the many walkers who use this path their rights either, even though I have to run around them frequently, and their dogs crap incessantly on and off the path. I've gotten into such a habit of staying to the right that sometimes I even overdo it. If I see someone down the path a ways, I will often step off the path onto the grass due to some sort of weird mental gymnastics going on in my glucose-deprived brain. Even if no one is around, I have a bad habit of staying too far right and falling off the path from time to time; I worry that I will turn an ankle one of these days. I was always a geek in school, but the fact that both brain and muscles share the same supply of glucose sure goes a long way to explain why jocks were so dumb.

Anyway, enough background; on to the main story of the day. This morning, as I was heading out for a twelve mile long run (here under Basic Marathoner), I realized I better get going, because the local running club was having a 5k run on that very same path. While I do run with this group sometimes, I didn't want to this morning because the run was too short and it was too hot to wait around for them to start it. So, I wanted to be off the path when the race was run, because I hate getting in their way, so I usually end up running in the grass or avoiding them altogether if I'm not running the race. As such, I got an early start so I would be on the portion of the path they use before the race, and since I was doing two loops, I wouldn't be back on the path until the race was over. This worked out as expected. However, there were a lot of runners warming up before the race, so nevertheless the path was crowded with runners when I was down there, but the race wasn't on yet so I ran on the path.

I was coming up to one of the footbridges and there were a couple of people coming back the other way, and one guy ahead of me walking on the bridge. I pulled to the left to pass the walker, and just then, I saw a bicycle coming toward me at about twenty miles an hour, and there I was right smack in the middle of a footbridge that has rails going down both sides. The guy I was passing was to my right, so my only real choice was to dodge to the left. The bike saw me at about the same time and ground his brakes as he struggled to maintain only about 18 miles an hour through the pack of runners. The runners coming toward me had to kind of dodge around me and back toward him. Instead of apologizing, he growled "Walk Right!" as he goes by pissed that he is slowed to a mere 17 miles per hour. I shot back, "You run me off the road, and now you want to tell me which ditch I should jump into?" All the runners laughed, and the biker was so embarrassed, he got off and walked.

At least, that's what would have happened if I had been thinking faster (glucose again) and could have come up with that retort on the spot. As it was, it took me about twenty minutes to come up with. What I said instead was, "I wasn't walking, dumbass." I said it pretty quickly, but at his clip he didn't even hear me before he was long gone. And having said what I said just sounded stupid to the other runners, and especially the walker, who probably thought, "Then run right, dumbass." And I didn't come up with my retort until long after all the actors in this little drama were gone, so I still felt I should explain to someone. If I couln't rant to the cyclist, and I couldn't rant to all the other complete strangers, at least maybe some strangers will read it here. After all, what is a blog for, if not to get the last word?

1 comment:

Firepaws said...

Could have, should have, would have...