Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Competitive Dressing

So I finally realized last week what’s been missing from my Friday long runs:  seeing other runners.  I see old ladies out walking their dogs, children on their way to school and drivers on their way to work (who think it’s okay to make right hand turns directly in front of me as I’m stepping off the sidewalk to cross the street – but that’s a rant for another day).  Runners with “real” jobs don’t go long on Fridays, apparently.  Who knew?

Last week’s running schedule was all wack-a-doodle for a variety of reasons and I ended up doing a 6-miler on Sunday, which has recently been my day off.  OMG, there were runners everywhere!  It was amazing!  After the first few went by me, I figured out that they must have been from a local half-marathon training group.  I smiled and said good morning to the ones who were on my side of the street, but the funniest thing happened:  several of them were pleasant enough, but most of them were… dismissive.

As it happened, I saw most of the other runners when I was barely on Mile Two – still on the out portion of my out and back route - and, since it was a cool morning, I wasn’t particularly sweaty yet.  I was wearing my most subtle-colored shoes and a non-branded, plain black tank top with shorts.  Also, because I was only running six miles, I didn’t have anything in my hands in the way of hydration or nutrition.

By contrast, the runners coming at me on what was likely their first double-digit run of the season were decked out in last year’s half-marathon tech shirts, hydration belts or backpacks, branded hats and fancy-ass shoes.  I could watch their expressions glaze over as they took in the sight of me and passed their silent judgment:  just a jogger.

It took more self-control than it is polite to admit in public not to scream after them, “I ran 22 miles two days ago!  I’m doing almost the same mileage as you and this is my shortest run of the week!  I’m training for a 50-miler, dammit!”  I managed to restrain myself, but I’m thinking of getting a t-shirt printed up:

50 Mile Training Shirt

When I got up for this morning’s Easy 4 it was downright chilly, so I grabbed the only sleeved shirt I can stand to run in, from last year’s CIM.  I threw down some negative splits and was finishing up with a smile on my face as I saw an unfamiliar runner with a 5K shirt coming towards me.  I smiled and wished him a good morning and watched as he recognized my shirt.  The look on his face clearly said, “Hey now, she’s a marathoner!

That’s more like it.

Do you wear race shirts while you’re running?  Almost never.  I’m a tank top kinda girl, even in the winter time.

Ever judged another runner by what they were wearing?  Guilty as charged!  When I see someone in cotton sweatpants it’s really hard not to assume they’re just starting out.

17 comments:

Raina said...

Gosh you crack me up!! :) Always!

There aren't a ton of other runners in the middle of nowhere here- but I wear whatever I have clean and handy for the weather. I figure who the HECK cares...Anyone seeing me is either out to go fishing, hunting or driving to work. I just make sure it's flashy enough not to become a roadkill. But- when I get to town to run I like to sport neon. :)

ajh said...

If I see people racing in things like cotton sweatpants I am very judgmental as to their experience. Whack-a-doodle is one of my favorite words. We may use it to describe a kid or two.

ratherthecouch said...

I usually wear race shirts, but only because I'm cheap and never buy shirts. I've never really thought about it, but I suppose I probably assume cotton runners are just starting out too.

I still smile and say hi though. It's surprising how anti-social people are. Some people will look the other way after I wave and pretend they didn't see me. Doesn't matter what I'm wearing. Other people just act surprised and like they don't know how to respond. Only a very few people will actually smile or say hi back. So weird...

Kerrie T. said...

Love this. A while back I wrote a post about being judged on my overly girly running stuff. I try not to judge but I sometimes catch myself.

coach dion said...

I never wear a shirt, but when I'm out for hours on the mountain I take a pack.

Kristin said...

I hardly ever wear race shirts running--I guess I figure people will know I'm a runner because I am out there running! I do wear them to the Y and for casual wear though. Guess that's my way of showing off when I'm not running. I don't judge people by their clothing, although I might think they are newbies if they seem too warmly dressed for the weather. Although I have been known to wear gloves in June, so who am I to say? (My temp rules are, 60s and up, sleeveless; 50s short-sleeves; 40s long-sleeves/half-zip; 30s jacket over my shirt.)

Char said...

I rarely wear race shirts when I'm training. They never fit as well as the ones that I've actually bought for myself. But I'm afraid that I can be a bit of a run snob sometimes. Like last week when I passed those two younger men when I was on my 6th kilometre of an 11k run. I'm pretty sure they were only going 5.

Melissa said...

This is really fun and made my morning! I'm also a tank top runner (random side note/long run musing from the other day: why don't they make a tank top race shirt option?)

Anyway, I rarely wear a shirt with even a short sleeve unless it's super cold.

I hate to admit I am guilty of judgement(usually when the runner is rude) but do try to acknowledge runners that are on my same path regardless of outfit...even though most continue to be dismissive. Like "ratherthecouch" said...the ones that turn the other way and pretend not to see me are the BEST!

Johann said...

I only wear tech shirts when I carry my hydration pack. The rest of the time I run in cotton shirts. They are just better for me. I have hundreds of race shirts that I collected over the 31 years I've been running. I'm working through the piles by year and currently run in shirts from 1997 and 1998 races.

misszippy said...

So funny and so relatable! I judge by shirts and even bumper stickers. And I've been in your shoes, too--out for a recovery run the day after mega miles and seeing the same kind of things. Restraint can be hard!

CautiouslyAudacious said...

Usually when I'm doing my long runs, especially in the heat, I have my head down and I'm zoned out trying to survive so I don't have time to judge the other runners and just pray that they aren't doing it to me. :-) It's funny when someone says they saw me out on a trail I always want to ask them how I looked but don't cause I don't really want to know the answer!

Kate said...

It's rare for me to wear a race shirt; I just prefer my tank tops or plain sleeved tops. I totally know what you mean, though! When I was training for Dirty Kanza (200 mile gravel road bike race), I spent a lot of time on my mountain bike because it was my race bike and I wanted saddle time. Most of the road bike riders wouldn't even speak to me...but I took great joy in giving each one a cheery greeting and counting how many actually responded. I wanted a shirt similar to your idea! :)

Tortuga_Runner said...

Now you have me feeling nostalgic, I am totally wearing sweat pants on my next chilly morning run... guess I'd better start running again soon.

Average Woman Runner said...

50 miler!!! GO P! YOu gotta get the shirt.

Christi said...

Okay, I have been here in awhile so I am surprised to hear you are running a 50 miler. That is awesome!!! You go girl!

Lancer!! said...

Get the shirt! Get the shirt! Thanks for the laughs. So far, the only tech tee I'm embarrassed to run in is from the 2012 Bay to Breakers: That stupid pink gorilla is just annoying; even when I'm not the one looking at it: I know it's there. :-)

26.2 Chick said...

Funny.