Looking good (and fast) while running

Most people when out in public want to look good, even while running. This can include not only the way you dress, but how fast you’re going.

A slow warm-up is a good way to start a run, but it doesn't impress.

A slow warm-up is a good way to start a run, but it doesn’t impress.

Women are especially good at choosing outfits that are attractive and eye-catching. From form-fitting outfits to yoga pants and short shorts, I like it when women dress nicely.

Some guys also have an eye for fashion, but for the most part, we guys don’t make it a priority.

When I run, I choose routes that have little traffic, are uncongested, and it’s often after dark, therefore, I wouldn’t impress many people if I wore a stylish outfit.

However, the long days of summer allow me to get in a run after work when there’s still light. Living in the city, I cross arterials now and then, pass by or through business districts, or cross paths with other runners or walkers.

I get the notion sometimes to pick up the pace if I’m in these situations. I think a runner looks good running at a brisk pace.

If people are around, I like pick it up to impress.

A group of women ahead, and I’m ready to impress. Estimated pace per mile: 5:15-5:20.

However, if I maintain a brisk pace too long, I’ll have a price to pay.

Good thing no one is around on this side street. Estimated pace per mile: 20 min.

Good thing no one is around on this side street. Estimated pace per mile: 20 min.

In some situations where I run a really fast pace for too long, I experience total collapse.SONY DSC

When I really overdo it in these situations, I’m reduced to walking on my hands and knees.

SONY DSC

Since this has happened several times, I carry a medium-sized swatch of fabric in my running shorts pocket. Yes, it’s a strange sight, and embarrassing, but at least people can’t see who I am as I crawl home.

SONY DSC

Greeting other runners

When you see a runner approaching as you’re putting in mileage, what options are there for acknowledging him or her? Or, should you even acknowledge?

This is a trivial issue which really doesn’t need addressing, however, my runners blogging license mandates that I cover this or lose my web presence.

A runner focusing on a fast pace or who has that look that they don’t want to be bothered obviously should not be greeted.

For all others, there are several greeting styles available. I’ve come up with a list of scenarios and the appropriate greeting. Please feel free to add your own twist.

A friendly nod is often the best greeting.

Jim nodding

If you’re running in a rural area where cowboy values hold true, a tip of the hat and a friendly “Howdy” will earn you points.

Jim tipping hat

If you cross paths with that runner who sprinted madly past you at the very end of last week’s 5K race and knocked you out of an age-group award, this is appropriate.

Jim sneer

Some runners out there are just so friendly, smiley, and nice that you absolutely have to reciprocate.

Jim waving

If you happen to run through a neighborhood where gangs rule the streets, random finger positioning like below will show that you’re one of them.

Jim gangsign

If you happen to cross paths with a very beautiful woman, don’t be shy or subdued. Show her how you feel.

Jim happy

Petra needed for home visit

It’s been three months since I suffered a stress fracture in my foot. I’m still waiting for it to completely heal, but when it does, to celebrate, I’d like Petra to join me on my first run.

I wrote in an earlier post about how Petra and I negotiated having a relationship that I described as intense realism, which means being a couple and being fluffy with others.

This blend of wandering and staying put can be an exciting lifestyle, but it’ll only work if the couple has a great love for one another, a recognition that wandering reduces the possibility of a relationship becoming stale, and a priority for each other which exceeds that for the fluffees.

However, instead of intense realism, my daily routine remains the same. Besides my job, a lot of my time consists of:

Working in my garden. It takes up about 2/3 of my backyard.

Working in my garden. It takes up about two-thirds of my backyard.

Going to a coffeeshop to work on the next I Must Run Everywhere post.

Going to a coffeeshop to work on the next I Must Run Everywhere post.

Making my daily dinner - salad with ingredients from my garden. Harvesting, chopping and freezing produce  for winter use also takes much time.

Making my daily dinner – salad with ingredients from my garden, and harvesting, chopping and freezing produce for winter use.

This is okay because I rather enjoy my daily life, however, intense realism would be more fulfilling, and I need to get on the stick.

After Petra and I discussed what kind of relationship we’d like, she wanted a little more time being unattached as her breakup with Byron left a bad taste in her mouth.

It’s been a few months now, and Petra has commented a couple of times lately about getting started, yet inertia has a grip on me. I’ve decided it’s time to act.

I know that bachelor pads are infamous for their clutter and filth, and even though I keep a neat place, I really want to impress Petra. So, I’ve been knocking myself out raising the cleanliness level from good to outstanding.

I scrubbed the oven for hours and hours. Another ribbon for my outstanding performance.

I scrubbed for hours, and the oven sparkles. An outstanding performance that deserves a medal.

I used a toothbrush to scrub the floor and clean the bathroom. Then I absent-mindedly brushed my teeth with it.

I used a toothbrush to scrub the floor and clean the toilet. Then I absent-mindedly brushed my teeth with it.

How's this for multi-tasking. I'm dusting a tabletop and the floor at the same time.

How’s this for multi-tasking. I’m dusting a tabletop and the floor at the same time.

Petra, I invite you to come over. Start me up, and I’ll start you up.

Left side or right side? Your choice. Sheets have the scent of a mountain meadow bursting with wildflowers.

Left side or right side? You get to choose. You’ll catch the scent of a mountain meadow bursting with wildflowers amid notes of tangy citrus and a hint of pine.

Victory is mine in controversial race finish

In mid-June, I attended a wedding on the shore of Priest Lake in North Idaho. The dearly betrothed, Jill Heuer Gilson and Eric Cameron, are active in the same running clubs as myself, which is how the couple got to know one another.jill and eric

I rented a rustic cabin for the weekend to take in the splendid scenery, wedding-related fun, and a 4-mile run/race for invitees on the morning of the wedding.

The wedding was attended by a contingent of fellow running club members, several of whom assisted in preparations. I was asked to set up chairs on the beach for attendees. I enthusiastically agreed, but decided to first explore a lakeside trail.

I spent much time chasing squirrels and putting wildflowers in my hair.jim flower2

When I returned, I still had ten minutes before the wedding started to set up the chairs. However someone had stolen my task and done it.

I was very angry and felt justified venting my rage by throwing large rocks into the water during the ceremony.

It was a beautiful setting. Too bad rocks tossed into the water disrupted the ceremony.

It was a beautiful setting. Now I feel a little bad about disrupting the ceremony.

A few months earlier, I looked forward to the wedding morning 4-mile race, but shortly after I RSVP’ed, I suffered a stress fracture that has not fully healed, and I was unable to run.

 Nick Freese and Eric Cameron, the top two finishers, with Jill.


Nick Freese and Eric Cameron, the top two male finishers of the 4-mile race, pose with Jill.

Amazingly, the night before the race, I had an athletivision. This is a term for a dream in which you win a competition that you were prevented from entering.  Neuroscientists believe events depicted in an athletivision are highly accurate.

Yet when I informed Nick, the winner, and Eric, the 2nd place finisher, that they were being bumped down a place, and I was the true winner because of my athletivision, they failed to take my legitimate claim seriously.

Nick Freese:  Whatever, Jim

Nick Freese: “Whatever, Jim”

Eric Cameron: "Jim, I had to set up the chairs for my own wedding."

Eric Cameron: “Jim, I had to set up the chairs for my own wedding.”

Despite my rightful claim, I was not awarded first place. I rectified this grave injustice after returning home. As I’ve done before after an outstanding performance, I arranged a ceremony and awarded myself a first place ribbon.wedding race winnerIt was a touching moment that I’ll never forget.