For those of you who don't know by now... I live in an urban area, which means I run in an urban area. I run on sidewalks and deal with cars, pedestrians, cross-walks, leashed dogs, bums, and other runners on a daily basis. It's good, actually. Well, it's good when I'm not throwing up the middle finger at a jackass driver who almost runs me over when I have the right of way. And it's good when I'm not running from a bum who is yelling at me. But generally speaking... I like being a city runner.
Even with the crazies that are out at 5-7am, there are almost always lots of other runners around and I enjoy saying a friendly hello, giving a smile or nod, or my personal fave... the ole hand wave to my fellow running peeps.
And now that it's the new year, that means there's an onslaught of new runners on the roads. And I feel like now is a good time to reiterate some basic running courtesies. (Because it's come to my attention that some of you new runners are some rude sonsabitches).
First, sidewalks work like the road. Stay to the right. Maybe some of you newbies are european and you're used to running on the left or left center and maybe some of you are rude europeans who don't make room for others while you are running on the left. In the grand scheme of things this isn't a HUGE deal... but's something that I constantly notice.
Second, when you run with your group of 12 people (thats YOU Vandy ROTC) or when it's just you and your running partner... be aware that common courtesy is to either single file it or at least make an attempt to run in the grass or something when you come upon another runner. I mean, seriously... isn't this common sense? Nothing pisses me off more than to be ran off the sidewalk by some self-obsessed, not paying attention pack of pricks.
Third, I have no issues about being passed. I realize that people run at different paces than me and even different paces on different days. No big deal. (This is one of those reasons that staying to the right is a nice courtesy). But what does piss me off is when someone runs past me and then immediately moves right in front of me and slows down. WTF? If you are going to pass me... pass me and keep going. Don't pass me and slow down. I had a dude do this to me this morning and it was like.... he FLIES past me... moves over to the right, right in front of me and then slows down to where I'm forced to pass him. Why???? If he were doing some sort of intervals... then he should pass me and stay to the left. Not pass me and then essentially cut me off. Bastard. I hope you enjoyed me drafting you for the next half mile that I went out of my way to do. Don't mess with my pace, bitches.
Fourth, if you have to stop and stretch some random body part every tenth of a mile... then maybe you should take your ass to the track. Seriously, I understand if you are Ramboing it and trying to work out an injury or whatev. I feel ya... but, good lord. You're wearing me out with your stopping and taking up the WHOLE sidewalk while you stretch out your calf or whatever. And then I have to pass you, and then you pass me and stop and stretch again. Ugh. At least move it to the grass. Ya know?
Fifth, I love dogs. I do. But if you own a dog and you run with that dog or even walk that dog on the sidewalk, then keep it's leash at a shortish distance. Don't give the dog 15 feet of leash to work with so that he come over and sniff my shoes and make me dance around him like an idiot to keep from stepping on him or getting tripped by the leash. Your dog is safer on a short leash... trust me... some of those bums look hungry.
I'm sure from time to time we get into our zones or whatever and forget common courtesies (me included), but in general... the world is an easier place to exist in when people take the time to think about OTHER people sometimes. Overall, my running experiences are awesome. Most of the other runners are friendly and courteous... but it's those few who aren't who give us all a bad name.
Anyway, to all you new West End/Hillsboro Road/Belmont Blvd runners... welcome! And be careful to watch out for the Blue PT Cruiser.
Feel free to peruse various other postings I've done on the subject of running in the city...
Memo to Nashvillians
Does Whistling Ever Work?
My First Finger (same link as Blue PT Cruiser).
I promise I'll quit complaining at some point...