I was out for a run this morning, the first run in a week that I wasn’t getting drenched. Plenty to be happy about, right? Since it was dry, I donned a pair of new shoes. Even MORE to be happy about, right? But for some reason, I was hating. Every. Step. At one point, I am sure my brain was saying “just keep going, keep moving, pick it up, quit shuffling….”
And I think I heard my body say “SHUT UP.”
Ruh-row, as Scooby Doo would say. 3 miles left to go.
I had no choice but to keep plodding along, so while muttering, “shut up” over and over again, I started thinking about words, words that are essential to a runner’s vocabulary. Oh, I could provide a long list of running-related terms – negative splits, fartlek, tempo run, etc. But I am talking about four letter words that are part of my running life.
This can be used in a variety of ways.
*You’re running with a group of people, you’re at mile 20 of a 24 mile run, it’s hot, you’re tired, and there’s a motor mouth in the group who won’t zip it. She’s singing, playing the alphabet game, telling the group about her Speed Dating experience for the zillionth time……..and there’s strong part of you that wants to shout, “For the love of God, would you just, shut up?”
*The following week on the group run, the same person shows up and says, “I have news for you!” And with that, she announces that she is engaged. To be married. Appropriate response? “shut up,” as in, seriously? you must be joking, right?
One of my favorite four letter words. You can say a lot with just this one word, depending on voice inflection.
*Post run, your running mate dons a warm up suit that looks like something Borat would wear. You cautiously utter “Uh, dude?, ” meaning what were you thinking? You cannot possibly go out in public in that get up, please don’t embarrass me and actually wear that thing, ok?
*Running on a multi-use trail, following the rules (running against traffic, staying on the edge of the path). Some guy who thinks he’s Lance Armstrong is riding three-riders across, and is heading straight for me. I start with the stare down (the silent “dude”), then when he gets close enough to brush me with his elbow, I stand firm and shout “DUDE,” as if to say “you flipping idiot, back off.” Secretly, I hope it scares him enough to make him fall.
The “F” Bomb
I am not a potty mouth – honest, so I save this one for the most serious situations.
*I run in the mornings in the dark on city streets. I have almost been hit a few times by careless drivers who are too busy smoking and drinking coffee to pay attention, are too lazy to wipe the fog off their windows, and are just determined to not see me, even though I am lit up like a Christmas tree. I accept this and watch out for the both of us. But the guy who looked me straight in the eye and then drifted into the bike lane, pointing his car right at me???? He got a loud and pronounced F bomb. I would have punctuated the F bomb with a slam to his car or thrown my water bottle at him, but the gleam in his eye told me to reign it in. I communicated everything I needed to using just that one four letter word.
Believe it or not, I enjoy my runs and am not filled with road rage as these scenarios might lead you to believe. Running just seems to allow me to express myself in ways that aren’t acceptable in other environments such as work, home, school, or the grocery store. And these four letter words seem to perfectly capture what might take, in other venues, paragraphs to express.
So if you see me out on the street, cut me some slack, or you’ll be on the receiving end of one of my four letter words.