It was hot and humid on Tuesday. I ran easily through the streets of my hometown, phone strapped to my arm, listening to inspirational "running" music.
A car approached, driving slowly toward me. the driver, a woman, rolled down her window and said something. Thinking she may need directions, I removed an ear bud, slowed to a near stop and leaned toward the car. To my astonishment, her question was not a question at all. It was an admonishment.
"Slow down. You're sweating," she barked.
Many thoughts went through my mind, but the wisdom of age tempered me and I simply replied, "Thanks for your concern."
Lately, I've taken to stealthfully sneaking back to my home after a run.
After I hit the 'stop' button on my watch, I like to walk for a bit to cool down. And, ever since I sustained a hamstring tear, my post-run walk has been a bit labored, my gait a bit slow.
I have grown weary of the sometimes well-intentioned, "Are you ok?" "I can't believe you're walking," or "I saw you the other day and you didn't look too good."
I have even used my lawn mower to carve a path near the back of my yard so I can slip home unnoticed.
In my first book, Running Shorts, www.muldowneyrunning.com I wrote a chapter entitled, "Why Do They Hate Us So Much."
Why is it that our simply act of running evokes so much ire in folks.
Why are we heckled, scolded, buzzed by vehicles, cursed at, and even the target of thrown objects?
When was the last time you went to a basketball court, a golf course, or tennis court to heckle the people engaged in those activities?
One of the answers is that we, as runners are too "In your face."
Our activity is public. It is not confined to a court a gym, course, or field.
As obesity numbers increase, as people become more stressed with their lives, as texting and other concerns increase, the loathing of us and what we do seems to grow.
Another factor is jealousy. In our busy lives, we always find time for our workout. Our detractors do not. While they sip their $6.00 latte, we sweat. (and get told about it) They may hate us, but they envy us as well.
And when someone who runs dies prematurely, or is hobbled by an injury, folks are quick to pat themselves on the back for their sedentary lifestyles.
So, the bottom line is, simply fly under the radar. Don't provoke the haters. Smile, wave, thank them for their concern, but most of all, remain safe. Get out of their faces and run on trails or the beach when possible.
Now, get out there and sweat!