A couple months ago when I was sidelined by an injury and couldn’t run, much less race, I voiced some of my frustrations to a friend. I was trying to explain how running is one of the few things in life that I do solely for me–an area where I can focus on myself and my goals and give that annoying overly-competitive part of me an acceptable outlet. But it came out as: “Running is the one part of my life where I can be an a-hole.” Months later, she still likes to quote me on that one.
But apparently I haven’t completely shed my nice old lady persona, since last weekend when I lined up for a 5K I found myself acting more gracious than tenacious. And out of that experience came these five glaringly obvious signs you’re too nice to race like a bitch:
1. You apologize profusely for a little shoulder bump. During the race. You know what? Don’t do that! Just because you’re old enough to be that girl’s mom doesn’t mean it’s your job to make sure she didn’t get a boo-boo from inadvertent contact…er…getting in your way.
2. You forgo much-needed warm-up strides to spend the last few pre-race minutes tying shoe laces in double knots for all the kids lined up at the front. These are typically the same kids who have no business standing at the front of the pack, but no way are you going to be the one to break the news that they don’t actually have a shot at Olympic gold. That’s just mean.
3. You give away all your fruit chews and gels to others who need them, or maybe just to a really hungry-looking spectator, leaving you to race on an empty stomach. But that’s okay, you think, because love will carry you through. Yeah. Maybe. That is, if “Love” is the name of medic who drags your bleeding heart and glycogen-depeleted butt back to the medical aid tent after you bonk.
4. You use the last of your oxygen to impersonate Katy Perry, serenading the struggling tween behind you with a very winded version of Roar. ‘Cause YOU are a CHAMPION…. But really, I’ve caught myself taking up my own precious race time to help out other runners! No good deed goes unpunished by slow race times.
5. Not only do you go out of your way to find a trash can to properly dispose of your paper cup and gel wrapper, you inform your fellow racers that you’re making a trash run and inquire as to whether there’s anything they might like you to dispose of on their behalf. And since you’re already there, might as well tidy up a bit around the trash can to keep the course looking nice.
You might also use fake sweary symbols (B*!@#) in the title of your post because you’re too much of a goody-goody to actually spell it out. I know, I know. I’m like a nice little old lady from Minnesota. “Let’s watch our language, deeeaar. We wouldn’t want to offend anyone, don’t ya know!”
So what did I miss? What other too-nice tendencies have kept you from racing your best? Can you guess which one of these five too-nice-to-race things I actually did in last week’s 5k?
This post originally ran on July 18, 2014.