I always love those days where weak people seem to try to bring others down to their miserable level. During a recent tempo run, I encountered one of those such moments. I was just getting through my first 15 minutes of a warm up run, when a truck of some company that probably does a crappy job, slows down a bit as it passes by me while I run along the trail that parallels the road. A middle aged man leans out of the window with a smirk on his face and yells something at me. To be honest, I never heard what he said. But I do not think he was wishing me good luck on my tempo run!
All I could think about was what prompted him to do that. Not only what prompted HIM to do that, but he was in the passenger side, so the driver was also implicit in the action. Did I forget to put on pants? Did I have a hole in them? Did I have poop on me? Was I doing something I shouldn't? While I continued warming up, I did a full body check. Everything was "secured" and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. But then, I started thinking - was it because I was wearing running tights? I mean, it was 38F and drizzling - of course I'm going to wear running tights! So the only thing I can come up with was that this grown man (and his driver) didn't like that I was wearing running tights, as if that is a crime.
It kind of reminds me of this, recently posted on Steve's blog:
I mean, I'd be lying if I thought that wearing them was supposed to be sexy for other people. But for anyone who is actually a runner, you'd understand that running tights (without shorts over them) is what REAL runners wear because it is the most functional outfit. Similar to cyclists - we wear spandex because it is aerodynamic and functionally perfect for cycling. It's always the non-runners or cyclists that are so quick to judge. Trust me - try it once and you'll never go back to wearing baggy stuff again. Also note - baggy clothes get very heavy when they get wet. See previous note regarding functionality.
Some people may be self conscious about that and I understand that, but if you are actually secure with your manhood, then I really don't think it should ever be an issue. In fact, when I typically see runners wearing shorts over tights, I can identify them as either newbie runners, or people that simply aren't confident enough to just rock tights. My only true exception to the rule is when it is bitterly cold and you need that extra "protection" against the elements. Otherwise, man up and wear the tights.
So going back to my story now, I think it is pretty sad that this grown man and his driver thought it would be funny to yell something at someone who is actually off their butt and getting exercise. As I'm sure you would assume, this guy did not appear to be of the "athletic" build. So was he jealous that there are actually people who care about exercise and taking care of their bodies? Or was he so lacking in self confidence that he resorts to yelling at people who are different than his self loathing life?
Rebecca and I were recently watching a documentary called Parking Lot Movie, which if you haven't seen yet, is hilarious. A line in that movie struck a cord with me during this exchange with my not so friendly truck driver. A guy in the movie observed:
"What is it about people when they are in their big cars that makes them feel like they are of a higher class or better than people who aren't in cars? They don't treat people like that otherwise, but once they get into their cars, they honk and flip people off like they have some rights granted to them for car drivers only."
I think this hits on some of the issue. Would this guy have said anything if I simply ran past him on the trail? Probably not. But when he is in his big truck, moving at 40 mph, he has all the power in the world to behave how he wants. Call it a type of small man complex, where someone tries to overcompensate for something they are lacking, whatever it may be.
I'll never know why he and the driver decided to yell at me. But what I do know, is that I ended up having what I consider one of my best runs of any kind during this marathon build up. Maybe part of it was fueled with anger and motivation, but you can't fudge the stats. I was holding sub-6:30 pace on rolling hills at a perceived effort (and HR), comparable to just under half marathon pace. And this alone makes me happy to forget the incident ever happened, because it confirmed to me that I am fitter than I ever have been and I have PRs that will be going down in the near future.
Let the haters hate - because it only makes me a stronger person (and runner) from it.