Pass me and you’ll eat pavement

Ever been on a run and tried to catch up and pass a bicyclist, or keep pace with one? Usually cyclists are too fast, but there’s been a few times when I was feeling really good, and I’ve passed cyclists.

I lived in Japan when I was in my early 30’s, and during one evening run I was feeling great. I was slowly catching a couple teenage boys riding single-speed bicycles way ahead of me. One looked back, and I heard him say to his friend, “Mite, hayai!”, which means, look, he’s fast. I soon caught up, said hello as I ran past and then picked up the pace. I left them in the dust, but my pace was unsustainable. After a half mile or so I had to let up, but I didn’t see them again.

A very good runner I know once told me he didn’t like it when he saw another runner ahead of him. People would think he was the slower of the two. He pushed it until he was ahead and made sure to stay there.

Like him, when I pass another runner while on a training run, I consider it bad form to be caught and passed by the same runner, so I always pick up the pace to make sure it won’t happen.

However, I’m not quite the runner I used to be, so I rarely think about trying to run down a bicyclist, and it’s not often I happen upon a runner that I can catch up to and pass. These days, I’m the one that other runners chase down and leave in the dust, which has led me to develop a new skill set.

Anyone trying to pass me will find themselves unexpectedly taking a fall. I’ve developed very effective tripping strategies.

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