I hate classes and group activity or people who shout at you to work harder and ‘feel the burn’. Shut. Up. It makes me want to punch them and I cannot believe there are people out there who would pay for that. This is how I came to the conclusion that the only exercise appropriate for me is running – safe and solo. For an added bit of motivation, in a moment of madness, I signed up for a half-marathon in October.
Unfortunately, running is not as safe and solo as I thought it was. You see, to avoid boredom on a treadmill I choose to run outside. When I say outside, I don’t mean running through parks, I mean pounding the pavements of the streets of London. Now, I like to think I’m a considerate runner. I plan my run to avoid the street’s rush hours, say thank you when people let me pass and so on but regardless, there are times that people make my blood boil.
This is London people – the pavements are big enough for everyone! If I approach you from behind and you cannot see me, clustered in your group of three/four/six/fifteen – yes, I’ll happily step onto the road and run around you. However, if you see me running towards you, don’t ignore me. I have seen you look at me! We established eye contact and still you don’t make space. Seriously? Next time I will run through you, no matter how important you look in your suit/with your pram/in your uniform.
I like to think that I pass people without provoking them, perhaps even entertaining them briefly with a ‘God, her face is red’ moment. No doubt that will fade two seconds later. It’s inevitable that seeing someone running may spark a little guilt about how you live your life. I know this because it has happened to me. Regardless of this, you smokers who are lighting up in the middle of the street – I don’t care if you have had a long journey or worked for 15 hours straight – do not purposely exhale in my direction when I pass you. It is disgusting.
On another note, when I run, I am red-faced and sweaty. It’s a fact and I don’t really care because it is only a temporary state of being. After a shower, I’m clean and sweet-smelling again. Stick me in a dress with a touch of make-up and I might even scrub up well. That’s when you may pay me a compliment. When I run past you, red-faced, trying to control my pace and breathing, I can do without your leery comments, thank you very much.
Lastly, the one that topped them all happened last week. I was running on the pavement, the white van driver was on the road. We’re going the same way on a straight road. There was absolutely no need for us to cross paths or even acknowledge each others existence. That was until Mr. White Van Man (now I get why you are universally despised!), decided to drive through a large puddle so close to the curb that he had to swerve dramatically in order to skim the surface in order to drench me. Now that’s a proper shitty thing to do. I hope you were laughing so loudly, you drove into a lamppost.
Image by Ed Yourdon courtesy of Flickr