As you might know, I’ve been getting ready for a summer of obstacle course racing. My first event is coming up soon and with the good weather, I decided to take myself off-road with my training.
After successfully handing over my son to the bus driver, I drove to a nearby park that boasts actual trails that are on hills. I wore my new race shoes (Reebok All-Terrain Supers) to get a feel for them and to have them ready for raceday.
When I pulled into the parking area, there were only a couple of other cars, so I knew that I wouldn’t have to be dodging people right and left. And I ran. It was a great run. Up a narrow trail over rocks and trees, weaving in and out of switchbacks as the elevation climbed. A couple of times I ran through some clearings to have spectacular views of the Delaware River Valley and beyond.
The shoes did great too! I don’t intend to wear them for a workout again. They’re going straight to racing because they are already perfect. And on top of it all, I felt great!
Inevitably I did encounter some people. Three people in fact. The first was traipsing along at a leisurely pace down a hill while I was running toward him up the same hill. He was carrying binoculars, and was dressed in long khaki style pants and sported a booney cap. We could see each other for a long distance as the sight lines were clear. Huffing and puffing up the hill, I managed to smile and say, “Good morning!” (Because it was, indeed, a great morning-- I’ve already covered that, you need to pay attention). The man completely ignored me. No wave, no nod, no grunt. If any emotion was displayed by the man, I would call it disdain.
The second and third were wearing outfits similar to the first guy’s (although I could not determine the gender of either of the last two). I encountered both separately, but both were looking off into the woods with their backs to me as I approached. Now, I don’t like to suddenly BE THERE and scare someone as I’m running up (I run pretty quietly for a guy my size), so I took extra care to scuff my feet along the trail and make just a little bit more noise. I started this about twenty or thirty yards away from the each of the encounters. They didn’t respond. They didn’t jump in surprise. They didn’t turn around and wave. They did nothing.
None of the three even wanted to acknowledge my presence, no matter how fleeting, to their time in the forest. As a strict adherent to The Runner’s Code, I understand that it is considered a major faux pas to not give another runner some sign that you see them. I know that these three people weren’t runners. They were there to look at birds. And I can only conclude one thing: Birdwatchers are assholes.