If you know me at all (or happen to follow me on any form of social media) you already know that I’m a runner. Beginning in my high school years as a track and cross country runner and continuing now in my early 20s as I run 5-6 times a week for fun (yes, I said fun) and race in a 5k once a month.
Throughout my years as a runner, I’ve certainly encountered things that make my blood boil. If you’re interested… read on to find out exactly what those are.
I live in Lakewood, Ohio, a very active city on the West side of Cleveland. There’s people running, biking, walking strollers and dogs at all hours of the day and night. That’s one of the many things I love about this city that I obsess over. But, you would think by now people would have a clear understanding of what to do if a runner happens to be running towards them.
Pet peeve #1: The “dance.” You know what I’m talking about– when two people are walking (or running) towards each other and both parties keep switching sides at the same time, thus causing them to be running into a head-butt type situation. Why does this happen? Runners seem to have this under control. It’s the WALKERS/random pedestrians that can’t seem to wrap their mind around the concept that you ALWAYS walk/run/skateboard/crawl/fly down the RIGHT side of the sidewalk. What side of the road do you drive on?? The RIGHT side. This isn’t Europe, people. Get your shit together.
Pet peeve #2: Unnecessary commentary. Why is it that people feel the need to yell/whistle/honk at runners? First of all, half the time we have our music up loud and we’re in a runner’s trance so we don’t hear you anyway. I almost showed some 14-year-olds the pavement last week as I ran by them and they made sarcastic well-wishing comments. Stupid skateboard punks. And, believe me. It’s not just teenagers. I’ve had grown men make comments and gestures as well. Is it supposed to be funny? Do you think you’re cool? Not quite sure of the reason, but it’s annoying. So stop it.
Pet peeve #3: Almost getting hit by cars. There’s a reason there’s a thick white strip across the road by any stop sign or stoplight. Can you figure out why it’s there? OH, WAIT. It’s because YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO STOP BEHIND IT. So tired of almost being killed by drivers who think it’s acceptable to roll through stop signs. I’m just out running and minding my own business. I see a car approaching the end of the street, but I think “hey, they have a stop sign. I’ll be okay to cross.” NOPE. I’m going to start carrying a bag of rocks around with me when I run. If one of them hits your car, you’ll know that you didn’t stop behind the white line.
Pet peeve #4: Dogs. Please don’t misinterpret this one. I LOVE dogs, and all animals for that matter. But when I’m running down the sidewalk, and you have your dog out for a walk, have some common courtesy. This has only (thankfully) happened a few times, but we all know that dogs get excited when they see new people. They forcefully run towards the person and yank their owners’ arm almost out of its socket. A dog lunging towards you while you’re running or biking is not very fun and can cause one to jump suddenly towards the opposite direction (many times which could be into the road). Pull your dog in a little tighter when a runner/biker/other walker is passing by.
Pet peeve #5: Blowing smoke. I mean this in the literal way. In Lakewood, there’s a ton of bars that I pass by on any route that I choose to run. People stand outside, taking a cigarette break, and enjoying the weather. While I don’t have a problem with the person smoking (I’m not a smoker for the simple reason that I like my lungs/body/life), I would appreciate if they could hold that puff of smoke in their lungs just a seeeecccondddd longer so I can pass by. I’m out there, being healthy and trying to enjoy the weather. If I wanted cigarette smoke in my face, I’d be standing with you instead.
Although I could probably go on for another 2,000 words, I’m going to leave you with my top 5 runner’s pet peeves for now.
With the rant, I do have to say that there are some really smart, considerate people out there who understand the rules of the road (sidewalk). Let’s take a moment to recognize you:
- The people who turn their lawnmower to the side as runners/bikers pass so they don’t blow grass blades all over the passerby’s feet.
- The dogwalkers who pull their energetic dogs over to the side and allow the other person to pass without getting dog-assaulted.
- The drivers who are carefully looking to see if pedestrians might be crossing in front/behind/or beside them.
- The drivers who always make eye contact with pedestrians, and allow the pedestrian to safely cross without confusion.
- Those super-smart Americans who understand that the right side is the correct side to be walking on.
Thank you to those who follow these unwritten rules. And to those that don’t, well, I suppose you may see a rock flying your way soon.