Written by: Katrina M. Smith, MBA
Date: September 12, 2012
In case you missed it, for the past few blogs, we have been talking about how everyday people perceive runners. Backtrack if you get a chance and catch up on the conversation.
Yesterday, I went to Rancho Cienega (Jackie Robinson Stadium) to assist my teammate at her practice. Her strength coach was unable to attend and asked me to time her. In between her warmups, drills, and recovery periods, I took the opportunity to complete my physical therapy workouts. I hadn’t mentioned this before, but I am nursing a knee sprang. I’m okay and will resume my regularly scheduled practice next Monday. My teammate has an insane workout involving a 2 mile warmup, 10×110 windsprints, 12 drills, 6x500m, and so much more. By the time she was finished, she could barely stand. My workout was not as extensive of course thanks to my knee. For 2 miles I would run 100m, jog 50m, and walk 50m. Once completed, I joined my teammate in 1 lap of 2x150m. This was enough to get my knee back in action (and a tad worn).
This story however is not about our workouts, but about a bystanders observations and attitude towards our workouts. A guy (we’ll call him RJ) walked up to me in between my runs and asked me the most peculiar question. After first asking, “Are you working with a coach? he asked, “can I run with you guys?” RJ was not athletic by any means. He even said so as he explained why he wanted to run with me and my teammate. “I see you guys out here all the time and was just wondering if I can run with you. I’ve never run track before and I have been slacking on my gym workouts for two weeks. I figure since you come out here regularly, I could run with you guys. That’ll help me stay on course with my exercises.”
Run with me? I thought to myself. As he spoke, I could feel my ego rising. I’m a sprinter by birth. Quarter-miler/half-miler by specialty (don’t ask). I could feel my eyebrows lifting and my face scrunch up to express confusion.
- If this guy watches us run, does he not know how much we run?
- Does he not see what we do as work?
- Does he not see us fall out after every practice in pain?
- Does he not see our coach yelling at us and getting on our cases about every little movement?
- Does he actually think that what we do is doable?
My first instinct was to become defensive but I digressed. I remembered my research for these blogs I’m writing and realized this is the type of person I have been writing about for the past few weeks. Instead of agreeing to his request, I gave him two alternatives. “RJ, you know there are running groups forming all over the city. They are really good and meet often. You may want to consider running with them.”
He replied, “no that’s too difficult.”
My head was racing. Too difficult? What do you mean it’s too difficult? Is he saying that these running groups workouts are MORE difficult than our track workouts?????? I smiled, nodded, and pointed towards a personal trainer working out in the stands with his weight loss group. “What about working out with Coach Kenny over there? He does an excellent job at…” RJ cut me off. “No no, that’s difficult too.”
I was thoroughly confused by this point. So I just flat out asked him, “so you think what we do is doable then?” He replied with confidence, “Yes. I could just run along side you. I’m sure I’ll keep up. Just don’t try to run off and leave me.”
I’m…sure….I’ll….keep…up? I’m sure I’ll keep up? What we do is easy? I could not believe my ears. What we do is not work? Right before my eyes my theories about the leisure runner were being confirmed by this random stranger. He acknowledged he knew nothing about track, admitted to not having an ounce of speed AND a inconsistent at working out, and had been jogging in spikes all morning…not sprinting…jogging! As a leisure runner he expressed his attitude and sentiments about track while categorizing our workout as leisure, not work. That his workout similar to our workout. That he could do what we do with ease. What I also found interesting in his statement was that he felt what the running groups and personal trainers do is MORE challenging than any workout us track athletes do.
Perhaps the clash in lane 1 is much more severe than we thought.
More on this tomorrow post…we’ll be talking about the amateur professional next.