If you’ve been running long enough you’ve encountered a situation where you’re the only lady among a group of runners. That means you’re running with guys, perhaps a lot of them. On the face of it, it sounds like no big deal, right? We go to school with guys, work with guys and live with guys. We’re always around lots and lots of guys. But running is different than the classroom, the boardroom, the kitchen, and even the bedroom.
Below are 5 types of running guys who just might show up at your next running group date. You might never encounter one of them, but we thought you might like a friendly warning of what’s out there. And if you have come across one, please share your experience in the comments so we can enjoy a good laugh at his expense! Running with guys: it can be tricky (and hilarious)!
1. The Awkward Conversationalist. Running causes many people to talk about things they might normally be uncomfortable talking about. It’s kind of like the cliche of the dad loading his young teenage son in the car to discuss the birds and the bees. This normalized lack of eye contact is like truth serum to some. Add in the intimacy that comes with sweating half naked together and guys sometimes start spewing really weird stuff. This comes in several forms. There’s the running-induced lack of self-censorship, which might cause some men in your company to say things like “did you see her rack?!” when passing a well-endowed woman. He might also come in the form of the guy who confesses his testicals are very sensitive. Ask Cinnamon about that one. My best encounter with an AC occurred several years ago when I was running with a dude who I had run with many many times before. Out of nowhere he said, “I wish my girlfriend was more like you.” SCRATCH! Um, needle off the record, dude! We still had several awkward miles back to the car during which I blabbered about any and every dumb thing that popped into my head to avoid giving this dude any more awkwardness-inducing airtime.
2. The Inadvertent Crush. I don’t have personal experience with this one [hi honey!], but I know others who have. Sometimes the tables turn and you might catch yourself thinking that you wish your boyfriend was more like the guy you’re running with. (Um, keep it to yourself. Don’t drop that bomb mid-run!) It’s bad enough that an inadvertent crush could ruin a good training partner situation that you’ve got going on, but WAY worse if you have a significant other at home! You wouldn’t be the first woman to fall prey to the inadvertent crush, as a running relationship tends to be limited to short spurts of conversation that just as easily can frame someone as way greater than they really are, and this can take a turn for the horrendously awkward. Remember, everyone looks more attractive from the side eye and when your relationship is limited to 90 minutes of sweating together. Take any romantic feelings for your running dude friends with a grain of salt!
4. The Guy Who Can’t Admit You’re Faster than Him. The close cousin of the Macho Man is the GWCAYFTH. This guy isn’t faster than you, but boy does it bother him and boy will he do whatever it takes to live in denial. Last summer Pepper and I did a lot of track workouts together and every so often a guy would show up. He was nice enough, but he wasn’t in great shape. Nevertheless he insisted on trying to do our workouts. From go he’d hang on our shoulders huffing and puffing in our ears. We nicknamed him heavy breather. Sometimes we’d purposefully try to show him how easy it was for us by chatting during our intervals about how easy they felt. Other times we’d take bets on how many reps before he fell off. He was surprisingly persistant and always managed to breathe heavily in our ears long after we thought he’d die (or wished he would for some peace!) We never had the heart to do anything about him. Frankly, unlike the Macho Man whose ego appears bullet-proof, there’s something a bit pathetic about the GWCAYFTH that seems to make it impossible to break it to him that he’s just not fast enough to hang. If you have a tip for dealing with this one, let me know!
5. The Windbreaker. I’m not talking about the guy wearing the threadbare outdated running clothes (although they’re certainly out there!) No, ladies I am here to warn you about the class of men who are not conscious of what they eat the night before that long run. The type that could stand a few doses of probiotics. Ladies, beware the windbreaker, he who audibly or stinkily passes copious gas – like for the entire run. A toot here or there is fine. It happens to the best of us. But when the entire 2 hour run smells like the port-o-potty or sounds like a toy tuba recital you know you’re in the company of a windbreaker. There’s not much you can do about it, but perhaps a case of beano compliments of the running club might be in order to prevent future abuse.
This post was inspired by 2 groups. First the Letsrun Trolls! Hi Domitian and friends! Second is the wonderful Nittany Valley Running Club who so kindly hosted Cinnamon and me for their Saturday group run. And for the record there were no awkward conversations, none of them donned irresistible silver tights, no one was either a Macho Man or a GWCAYFTH and they were all very discreet with their bodily functions. They were great and we can’t recommend running with them enough if you’re so fortunate to find yourself running in the State College, Pa. area! THANKS Marty, Mark and Marv et al!