Thursday, March 22, 2012

Allies on the track

Competitive Runners aren't well understood by most people.  I mean, how much do you know about a pigeon?  It flies, it craps everywhere, and it isn't terribly worried about you being near it.  In fact, it's usually expecting that you'll feed it.  Runners are a bit like this...If you're one of them, you can think of the reasons why, as I won't let my own strange metaphor derail me here.  ONWARD!

One of the greatest challenges as a competitive runner is finding a track where you can do a workout in lane one.  Depending on the night and the nearness to a residential area, you'll have any number of activities occurring at a track, and the soccer/football field inside of it.  The chaos can be just aggravating.  Yes, there are rules posted, on a sign,  indicating that walkers/joggers(slower moving traffic) are supposed to use the outer lanes(4/5/6).  Of course you'll find a large number of people persist in using whatever lane they choose, with no regard for anyone else' use of the track.

Despite all the best intentions, and the clearest requests for someone to stay out of lane 1(the fast lane) when not running, they often persist casually, if not brazenly, ambling along with a slow-motion reaction when you're shouting "LANE ONE! LANE ONE!".  They get annoyed because they think you should warn them sooner, but they don't stop to think, "hey, maybe I should just stay out of lane one, these folks are doing some serious running here!"  We've got little wind in the lungs to spend repeatedly asking them to walk in a different lane. Don't get me wrong, I don't own lane one, but you gotta' leave space for people to go by, not block lane 1-2-3 as you stroll during your rest breaks or leisurely walk.

Strength in number is a real thing in these circumstances.  Try going to do an interval workout solo, you'll get no respect at all.  This past Tuesday I ran a workout with a large group.  They were doing something separate from what I was doing, but the volume of fast moving runners helped to keep lanes 1/2 clear for most of the run.
But like Ringo Starr sang, "I get by with a little help from my friends".  Mark Gartenberg of RVRR was out there, doing his own workout, and taking the time on his recovery jog to tell these Lane-one-loafers to watch out for the faster runners.  Mark keeps it light, friendly, and polite...  He's a true Ally on the track!
Mark...this one's for you!

1 comment:

  1. I am nowhere near the runner you are Mike, but I know what you mean and last night was as bad as I ever saw it at our local track, partially because of the crazy weather.

    There were numerous parents who wanted to get closer to the lacrosse practice so they lingered i the first lane with their cell phones and lacrosse sticks and whatever else.

    On at least one lap I wound just enough room in the first lane to run inside people lingering on the outside of lane 1. Definitely strength in numbers.