Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Arrogant runner guy strikes again

It seems like pretty much every Tuesday night my speedwork recap includes a comment about the general unfriendliness of the "veteran" runners at the session. Tonight is no different. Tonight we had the option of 500 meter or 600 meter repeats and were working on our finishing kicks. We were supposed to run the first 400 meters of each repeat at 5k pace (which for me is about 8:30/mile) and then kick it into a higher gear for the last 100-200 meters of each repeat. I chose to do 500 meter repeats because 1)It was what fit with my schedule and 2) I didn't really feel good.
That said, I was one of the slower runners out there tonight. I'm really fine with that, seriously I am. I run to beat my own best times and am not out there to prove myself to anyone else. I really admire the faster guys out there (the sub 5:00 milers) and almost all of them, unequivocally, are class acts. They are all complimentary to the slower crowd and try to really encourage not only each other, but also the rest of us "average joe and janes". Those guys, I have no problem with. It's the other runners...the ones who think they're speed demons but really aren't more than thirty or forty five seconds faster than us 8:30 milers. I've got a problem with one jackass in particular.
This guy has never spoken to me before tonight, but every week I see him out there dogging other runners, and every week I think what a jerk he is. Tonight...as I was running "shorter and slower" he chose me as his target. I'm sure he thinks his sarcastic "encouragement" is helpful, but it's not. Don't worry though, I set him straight.
He told me that "You need to run faster and give more effort. It looks like you're taking a leisurely jog out there. This is a speed session." I was dumbfounded and speechless for all of thirty seconds at which point I told him exactly what I thought about him.
Slightly paraphrased my reply went something to the tune of: "I'm out here giving 110% every week, and that's all I can ask of myself. Maybe my fastest time is something that you would be embarrassed to pull on a slow day, but it's good enough for me. I have nothing to prove to you. I'd rather be the slowest runner out here, but a genuinely nice person than a speed demon who's also a miserable human being like yourself."
Fortunately, quite a few people overheard this exchange and even though he's one of "the cool kids" and most of them find his brand of humor enchantingly funny, there are other people out there like me. One of the other guys stopped me as I was leaving and told me that they were pleased that someone finally stood up to this jackass, because "he's had that coming for a long time".
Unfortunately, the whole experience has soured me on formalized speed sessions with this particular group. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about speedwork from now on. Part of me wants to keep going to this group just to show him that I won't be intimidated or bullied, but part of me wants to switch to the Thursday night group, or just complete the last four workouts on my own without the group. I'm not sure which I'll do yet.


Anonymous said...

I think you handled yourself well. If you want to keep going at the same time don't let him stop you.

Firefly's Running said...

I think you did very well. That guy was a big dumbass for acting like a jerk. Way to go!

Danielle said...

I hate people like that, good for you on standing up to him. Isn't that usually how it is too though, the fastest people are great, it's the just above average that need an attitude adjustment!! I'd say at least go one more time, see how it is and if you don't feel comfortable, do it on your own or go to a different night.