You hold it in your hand with your damn headphones in your ears, because “I just can’t run without music!” You’re weaving all over the place and I’m tripping over you every time we round a corner. But you know what? I’m okay with that. I’m totally okay with you jamming along to C&C Music Factory because I get that some people really need the extra burst of joy that happens when you let the rhythm move you. And even though you can’t hear me coming and get pissed off at me when I pass you while trying to take a tangent, your headphones are relatively harmless. I don’t have to listen to your fave Hootie tracks, after all.
But then … then the unthinkable happens. You remove the phone from some crevice of your running outfit, check the screen, poke at it and say, “Hello?”
Inside, my annoyance becomes a molten lava pit of rage.
You answered your phone? YOU ANSWERED YOUR PHONE DURING A RACE??
How does that conversation even go? “Hey Julie, what are you up to?” “Oh hey girl, just racing this 5k … Hang on sorry, this loser who was trying to race just bumped into me. It’s totally her fault even though I can’t hear her trying to pass me because my headphones are in and I’m not paying attention.”
Or like … texting? During a race? I mean sure, it’s not quite as bad as texting while driving, but only because you’re not operating heavy machinery. I’m sorry to break it to you, but this whole not-smacking-into-each-other thing is a two way street, babe.
Oh, and the selfie people. Really? Really. Can’t you put away the social media for a few hours of your life and have a gahdamn experience? This is a race. Maybe try racing it. I am trying my damnedest and running as fast as I effing can, and here you come with your phone in your hand taking pictures like you’re out for a Sunday stroll. It’s not just stupid, it’s not just annoying, it’s insulting.
Go F* your selfie.
Nine times out of ten, the race provides photographers. If you love looking at yourself so much, you can just buy a photo! It’s got to be worth the $70 if you’re willing to make that much of an ass out of yourself just to get one, right?
“May I speak to Jennifer please?”
“Speaking!” pant pant
“Hi there, I’m with Comcast. Have you considered upgrading your cable?”
“Oh you know actually, [pant pant] I was going to talk to you guys about switching to the faster Internet speed, because my husband got really into House of Cards [pant pant] so I’ve been having trouble streaming cat videos on Youtube. [pant pant] But I’m in the middle of something, [pant] can you give me the number to call you back?
Think about how it would feel if you were seconds off your goal time and some asshat was right in front of you fiddling with her phone. You’d want to grab it out of her hands and throw it as far as you could. I want to do that. I really do. But I don’t because I have a little more respect than that for other runners at a race. Except for people on their phones, I guess, but dammit, I lost my train of thought!
Oh yeah! The real reason I don’t do it is that I’m working too hard at the thing I came to do: running my fastest possible time.
Look, you don’t have to be there for that reason, but at least be courteous. At least have some regard for the efforts of the people around you. Sure, racing is supposed to be fun, but for many of us fun is a byproduct of having an excellent performance.
So please, people. Please. Put away your f*ing phones for half an hour of your life. Or an hour. Or four. Or however long it takes you to finish the race. Pack it away in your fuel belt and save the battery so you can brag about your big PR on facebook, or text your friends to find out how they did, or take a dumb selfie biting your dumb medal, or sext with your boyfriend. I really don’t care what you do with it, as long as you’re not doing it in front of me while I’m trying to race.