Sunday, January 26, 2014

Run, Pass, Walk

Yesterday was Saturday, my day of the long run. The last few have been arduous, trekking through ice or snow and running against the wind. So Friday night, I put it into my head that I'd go to the local inside track for Saturday's long run. I knew it would be difficult to run around in circles for at least an hour, but on the other hand, I would be able to wear shorts, an item I haven't been seen in since October.

The run itself wasn't difficult. I had plenty in my head to keep me from going too crazy (a new story idea jumped out at me) as I ran around and around, but the heat inside the track slammed me every step of the way, and the sheer number of runners and walkers amazed me. (Who else gets up early to run or walk on a Saturday morning? Apparently more people than I imagined. I guess I now know where all the people were the last couple of Saturday mornings.) And those people? Not so up on their track etiquette.

So let me tell you how it should go. When you have three lanes, and they are labeled RUN, PASS, and WALK, you are to follow those directions. You run in the one labeled RUN; PASS in the one labeled PASS; WALK in the one labeled WALK. That should be easy for you if you are running or walking alone. However, if you're exercising with a group of people (as women who walk tend to do), then you must be careful of how far your group spreads. You cannot, unless you are the only ones on the track, take up all three lanes. ESPECIALLY when you are simply walking. (Sure, you can do that if you are very careful to always glance over your shoulder and make sure to move when the other runners or walkers want to pass. But most of you don't do that. So please, don't walk in the RUN lane.) Because what you are doing is this: you are not abiding by the track rules of RUN, PASS, WALK. And right there, you force the runners who are in the RUN lane, to 1. slow down and wait until you've noticed them, or 2. slow down and ask you politely to move.

I'm not a fan of doing either of the above options. I don't mind having to ask someone to move from time to time, but when I run on the track, in the RUN lane, I will PASS a slower runner in the PASS lane, and then go back to the RUN lane. And when I'm done with my run, I'm very careful to merge into the WALK lane for my cool down minutes. Mistakes can be made, as I've made my own before. But please, for the sake of all the people on the track, let's use some common sense.

As for me, it will take a monsoon or hurricane or exceptionally strong blizzard before I head back to that track again.


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