Monday, August 28, 2006

The close runner

Running this past weekend was pretty routine. On Saturday, Sharon and I ran 13 miles in Forest Park. On Sunday I ran by myself for 8-1/2 miles on a loop from my house that took me down to the Willamette River.

There was one stand out memory from the weekend. Our run in Forest Park was a loop that connected Leif Ericksen with Wildwood and back to Leif again. Sharon and I were running along Leif, back to the trailhead, chatting away, with about 3 miles to go. Suddenly we noticed that there was someone right behind us. We hadn't heard anyone approaching. Turns out it was one of the cross county boys we had seen earlier, training with their coach. They were running an out and back on Leif.

This part of the trail is about 10-15 feet wide and the boy could have easily passed us. Nevertheless, after noticing him, we moved to the far right and gestured for him to pass. He responded, "I'm not passing", and proceeded to hang right behind us. Okay. This feels awkward, I thought. Here we are on a wide trail with no one else in sight and he decides he'd like to run 2 feet behind us. Its a good thing he was just a young lad or I might have felt threatened. And unless he had just seen The Graduate, I'm pretty sure he wasn't trying to hit on us.

My next thoughts turned to the lessons on trail and running etiquette that his coach obviously hadn't taught his pupils. Rule Number One: Respect other's space. Our sudden silence didn't give the kid a clue, so we had no choice but to start up a conversation. We asked him about his team, his training, blah, blah, blah. Finally, he turned and noticed some of his teammates approaching and his competitiveness got the better of him and he was off.

All we were left with was the thought that we had just experienced something akin to the Close Talker (ala Seinfeld).....the Close Runner.


Sarah Elaine said...

Clearly, this is a sad and lonely boy... and you did a good thing by lighting up his world with some meaningless conversation.

I dunno though... I bet he really WAS hitting on you! ;-)

carrie said...

Yeah -- someone needs to tell the kid (his coach maybe) that as a male, running up close to two women on a trail when there's room to pass is just too close for their comfort.

'Course those are the things I think about when I'm out running at 5-dark-othirty in the morning....

Ryan said...

To funny...that would freak me out if someone ran that close to me! Sort of a similar thing over the weekend I had some mountain bikers tail me, they wouldn't pass, I actually had to stop and say please go by, they wouldn’t pass finally they stopped to rest, it was weird. Anyway enjoy you're taper, the McKenzie River trail run looks like a great course! Good luck!

Jack said...

Sounds like a lonely boy, or maybe he was trying to pick up some tips from some experienced runners.

backofpack said...

I think you guys were just looking so good, he thought you were his own age! Once he realized his mistake, he was in awe that two "older" women could a) run his pace and b) talk while doing it. I am sure you left him stunned - and he learned a valuable life lesson about being active even when you are "old". That's my take on it!