20150309

Running Without a Care

A subject that I recently came across brought to mind a phenomenon that I don't often think about. But looking back, it has been quite a few times that I have heard about people being embarrassed to be seen running outside.

My running regimen consists of mostly running early in the mornings. I don't make a habit of running near high schools when school is getting out and I don't run around commercial areas with lots of stores and cars. Also, I'm not, shall I say a "hyper-attractive" person. This might be why my experience is different than others, but I don't think it likely is. I'm just a 36 year old guy who runs a lot. And despite my current fitness level, I was not always this skinny and relatively fast. I have spent more than a few days running overweight and slow outside.

I have never experienced any kind of heckling or outward expression from someone attempting to "make fun" or "put me down" while running. The closest I can think of is the occasional car that I believe intentionally passes too close. I usually think these are people who think that I'm on "their" road.  But there has never been yelling or any rude gestures that I can remember. If anyone derided me, I have no knowledge of it happening. I have no way to say what these people did or didn't do upon seeing me and deciding that I was awesome, brilliant, silly or stupid.

I see other runners outside all the time. I do with them what I hope people do with me. If I'm with my kids I say "I see a runner" and my kids usually reply "where?" then I point out where they are and as I pass them I might say something like "good job!" and "right on!" I don't care what their pace looks like, I don't care what they are wearing, I don't care if they appear overweight. After that, they're forgotten about and I don't think about them again.

So I suspect that if anyone is embarrassed to be seen outside they shouldn't be worried about people yelling or anything of the sort. If this does happen, my bet is that it's rare. More often than not, people just don't care and will forget ever seeing a runner regardless of what they look like. Some might notice and cheer and some might notice and scoff. 99.99% of the time runners won't ever know the difference and shouldn't be worried. Chances are, any embarrassment is just in a runner's head.