“Doesn’t Run Well With Others”
When I was in Pre-K, I was never the kid to get sent home with a “doesn’t play well with others” note on my Spongebob sticker-covered report card.
My parents would never let me forget that I was the class distractor from day one.
If I had a penny for every time I was separated from a friend in class, told to focus in the middle of a lecture, or yelled at for laughing in the back … well, let’s just say I’d make a lot of rare coins collectors quite envious.
So what does not being the “doesn’t play well with others” kid and my inability to keep my mouth shut in math class have to do with running? As it turns out, a lot more than you might think.
I might’ve played well with others, but I never ran well with others.
Hi, my name’s Till, and I’m a “doesn’t run well with others” person.
If you run in any capacity, you’ll know the type of person I’m talking about. No matter how many times you tell them about your running group and no matter how much you try to entice them with a post-run coffee or an in-run gossip sess, they just won’t stop running circles around your offer.
You might think it's you, as I imagine some of my friends might have, but I promise you, for the most part, it isn’t. It’s them, not you — and unlike after your pseudo-dramatic middle school breakup, this time that statement is for real.
Every “doesn’t run well with others” person has their reasons — here are mine:
1. I can’t keep my mouth shut
It’s really still an issue. Pre-K Till and I have a lot more in common than one might think.
What I really want to do on a run is just shove my earphones in, play some highly-unnecessary, high-intensity dance music, and zone out. No matter what I try, I just can’t seem to do that when I’m running with someone else.
The whole run just feels like one long awkward silence mixed in with the occasional off-hand comment or meager attempt to make conversation through labored breaths.
‘*Ahem* Nice long run we’re having today, huh? And the weather, whew, couldn’t have been more lucky, am I right?’
2. When I run with you, I run for two
Just like a pregnant marathon racer, I’m a bonafide runner for two.
If we go on a run together, you’re going to be running around in my head a lot. Here’s a little insight into my thoughts on a partnered run to give you an idea:
‘Am I running too fast for them, or am I setting the pace too slow? Are they liking the route we’re on, or should we avoid that hill up ahead? Jesus, I wonder if they’re as tired as I am right now.’
It’s not your fault — really — but there’s just no way I’m going to be able to zone out when I got two pairs of running shoes on my mind.
3. I run weird.
No, I don’t mean form-wise — although I’ve been told multiple times by multiple people that my running form is all kinds of whack.
Choosing to ignore those comments, I approach my runs a little bit … differently than I imagine the average runner would. For one thing, I don’t really plan out where I’m going to go, how far I’m going to run, or what speed I’m going to run at.
Sometimes I end up setting out on a 20-minute run only to come back an hour and a half later. Other times I set off for a long run downtown only to end up stopping halfway to do a mini-workout, obnoxiously using a park bench as workout equipment like all the other annoying fitties.
In short, I run weird, and I don’t know a lot of people that would want to put up with all this nonsense.
So that’s all I have to say about being a “doesn’t run well with others” person. I’m glad I got it off my chest and that I can finally live my truth at long last.
Parents, if you’re reading this, I was born this way, and no, it’s not a phase.
To any other “doesn’t run well with others” person out there reading this: I see you, I feel you, and I promise to never, ever ask to run with you.