Tag Archives: running

“Loan” not “Lawn”!

Sometimes having a Scottish accent can get you into all sorts of trouble in the US. Americans just can’t get to grips with my short vowels.

I just came back from my trail-running group in which I inadvertently managed to insult a Latino guy. I had overheard him talking about work and deduced that he did something involving “loans”. Later, at dinner, I was trying to make casual chit-chat, so I asked him what he did for a living. I said, “You work in the loan industry, don’t you?” and I couldn’t understand why he nearly spat out his drink and gave me a dirty look. He had, of course, understood “lawn industry” and not “loan industry”. In this part of the world, there are a lot of recent Mexican immigants who cut people’s grass or work in construction to get by. In other words, the guy thought I assumed that all people of Mexican heritage couldn’t possibly do anything other than cut grass!

Once I explained, everything was alright, and we had a good laugh about it. The guy was a bit of a dick, though. It turned out that he considers himself a libertarian, and I was quite disgusted. Now call me an inverse racist, but it bugs me when African-Americans or Latinos (and also gay people or women) could even think of being anything other than Democrat. Poverty rates for black and Hispanic people greatly exceed the national average, and Republicans and Libertarians don’t give a shit. All they care about is themselves. How is it possible to belong to an ethnic minority, which has millions of people struggling to make ends meet, and be a libertarian?! Obviously the Democrats leave a lot to be desired, too, but they’re still a helluva lot better than the GOP or libertarians. Oh well. I guess there are selfish cunts everywhere, no matter what their skin colour is.

Besides making an inadvertent racial slur, and having to deal with a libertarian, I’m enjoying being back in a running group again. Running is such a solitary sport, and I already spend so much time by myself, so I don’t really enjoy it if I do it by myself. I wish I hadn’t taken so much time off because there are some people in the group whom I’ve known for a couple of years, who were way slower than I am, and now they’re the same pace or even faster! There’s this one girl who asked what my fastest marathon pace was, and when I told her, she said “Oh, we’re the same pace now!”. Well, I’ll let her think that, but there’s no way this state of affairs will continue. It’s taken her two years of diligent plodding to get to what took me several months of natural talent and total laziness. Just think how fast I could be if I trained hard for once!

I don’t know if this is a bad thing about my personality, or if it’s just the way I am, but I am an incredibly competitive person. There are many things in life which I enjoy but I enjoy them even more if I can potentially kick some ass along the way. It’s very motivating to think about running faster than this woman…and I will (especially because she’s a Republican!).


One margarita, two cabernets…so much for the change of lifestyle

Well, so much for my Ayurvedic-inspired lifestyle change. It’s after 11:00 p.m. and here I am slightly pissed.

I can’t say I feel particularly guilty about it, though. I attended my first ever trail running class today, and it was fun! I’m used to road running, and have run three marathons, but nothing can beat trail running. Midwestern Man and I ran a 10K trail race this summer, and it was interesting how different a reaction we had to it. He found it boring and almost frightening because you have to watch out constantly that you don’t fall over rocks or trip on tree roots. This is exactly what I loved about it, though! I’ve very rarely experienced the so-called runner’s high by running on the road but I totally get into a zone when running on the trail. It’s precisely the risk factor which appeals – there’s no time to “ponder life’s complexities” (sorry, couldn’t resist a Morrissey quote) when you’re taking care not to break your ankle or are admiring the scenery.

Also, even though I know it’s not good for me, I do like the fact that the trail running group goes out for drinks afterwards. I joined a really hardcore running group this January, but I dropped out almost immediately because I just couldn’t deal with the anal retentiveness of the runners involved. All they did was sleep, eat, work and run. I tried to talk to them but every single conversation revolved around running. It didn’t seem healthy to me. This isn’t me. Despite all suggestions to the contrary on this blog, I love meeting people, and I get sad if I don’t. Trail runners have a reputation for endurance and socializing, so this suits me to the tee.

I found out tonight that one of the members of the “hard core” group ran a sub-3-hour marathon recently. This is very impressive for an amateur but, well, it’s still an amateur time, and he had given up his entire life for that! It just doesn’t seem worth making so many sacrifices for a sport which is essentially a hobby. I guess if it makes him happy, I shouldn’t judge but, still, it seems like an empty life to me. A self-indulgent, self-absorbed life, too, because, let’s face it, running is a very individualistic, solitary sport. I have met single-minded, obsessive people before but they’ve usually been artists or writers, and at least they’ve grown intellectually by focusing on their chosen field. Running, though? All you seem to be focusing on is your body.

On the other hand, it did occur to me that I reacted so strongly to this guy because, quite simply, I’m jealous of him. I’m not jealous of his speed because, well, if I trained hard enough I could be really fucking fast. I’m a natural runner, and if I really put my mind to it I could be great. But that’s just the problem, though…I don’t put my mind to it at all. And that’s why I’m jealous of him, because he does try hard and persevere. When I first met this guy, he really wasn’t a spectacular runner at all but now he’s fantastic. Sure, he must have some natural talent, but, ultimately, he succeeded because of sheer willpower, determination and hard work.

There are several things in my life which I could easily put more effort into because I’m good at them – singing, writing and running are the most obvious. And, on top of these main interests there are a zillion other less important things which interest me. There are people out there who are good at multi-tasking or who work at, and succeed in, several fields at once. I don’t succeed in anything! My focus is splintered off into too many areas all at once. I don’t really persevere in anything.

I do still think Mr Sub-3-hour-marathon is an empty shell of a person because running consumes him 24/7. But! But! But! I feel guilty for thinking badly of him because, ultimately, he can do what I can’t: stick at something and excel.

My main talent seems to be sitting on the sidelines to pooh-pooh the efforts of others, and telling myself that I could easily do better if I put my mind to it…without ever getting off my fat arse to try.

Mrs Angry!

ist2_2239262_angry_woman When I was younger, I used to be the queen of the angry consumer letter. I sent off a lot of letters to companies (electricity or gas companies, for example) which had overcharged me or had just been incompetent one way or the other. (There really is nothing I hate more than incompetence!) My friends would laugh at me, and say that I was wasting my time, but I have always believed very vehemently that it’s important for the individual consumer, or concerned citizen, to make his or her voice heard. True, one person probably can’t affect any, or much, change all by themselves, but all these individual voices added together will sometimes have a lot of power. Even if they don’t, it’s still important to speak out about something unjust or unfair.

In recent years, unfortunately, I have tended to let things go, and many of these things were issues which really needed to be addressed. Take, for example, the question of the bad reference letter I got from my Master’s thesis advisor who had promised me a good reference but then sent off a bad one instead! This duplicitous, sneaky, self-righteous bitch really deserves to get a piece of my mind but I’ve never got around to telling her exactly what I think of her. I also need to file a complaint against the woman in my teacher’s certification program who emotionally bullied me for months.

Will complaining about either of these women change anything or make them reflect on how prejudiced and hypocritical they are? No, probably not because if either of these women were caring human beings, willing to reflect on their behaviour and how it can affect and hurt other people, they would never have behaved the way they did in the first place. However, somebody, somewhere has to say something and maybe, one day, if they receive enough individual complaints, they will be forced to change.

I don’t know why I’ve stopped complaining. The main reason, I think, was because when I moved to the US, I got so depressed that it was hard enough to find the energy to survive let alone complain about anything. Recently, thankfully, I’ve been feeling more like my old self, and I’m glad because the world needs people who will stand up for their own rights and the rights of others.

My newfound sense of energy and passion has come at a good time because, today, I was treated in the most cavalier , patronizing and sexist manner by a cop…just because I happen to be a woman. When I was out running, I was nearly run over by a total dickhead who, although the light was green for pedestrians, looked furious that I dared to be on the road and decided not to stop for me. If I hadn’t jumped out of the way, there is no doubt in my mind that I would have been hurt or killed. As a runner and a cyclist, I have encountered many careless drivers who have not been paying attention and who have nearly run me over, but this guy was different. He probably didn’t see me at first but when he did, there was no attempt to stop for me. In fact, he drove straight at me! I, and a female pedestrian on the other side of the street, were left flabbergasted by his actions.

I ran off down the street after him, but obviously couldn’t keep up. However, I hung about in the area because I suspected the driver was looking for parking given that he had turned off a busy road into an area where there were many parking lots. Sure enough, he drove past me a few moments later, and I called the cops. I don’t know why I bothered because the state trooper who showed up wouldn’t listen to my side of the story and, first of all, took the driver aside and let him talk, uninterrupted for several minutes. I, apparently wasn’t “calm” enough to give testimony! Too right I wasn’t! I had nearly been killed by an angry, aggressive driver. I actually had to fight to get my version of events across. In fact, it was obvious that the officer had already made his mind up about the incident before he even spoke to me because the driver put on a very nice little show of being all trite and apologetic. Funny how he didn’t seem quite so well-mannered when he was putting his foot on the accelerator!

When the cop finally did speak to me, he was far more interested in reprimanding me for having called the driver an “asshole” than being concerned that he had nearly killed me. I should add that, at no point, was I rude or disrespectful to the officer. All that I did “wrong” was be upset and give the driver a piece of my mind. I could be mistaken, but I don’t even think I called the driver an asshole in the officer’s presence! I expressed how I felt to the driver before the cop arrived, so he must have made a point of telling the cop I had insulted him. He made it seem that he had just accidentally driven straight at me, and that I was an unreasonable person for not having accepted his apology.

It was clear to me that this officer had no interest in anything I had to say because I was an “angry woman”. I wasn’t taken seriously and I was patronized at every point. I was also lied to because the officer told me there was nothing he could do to this man because he had not hit me. The security guard who helped me call the cops (and who was a retired police officer who had been in the force for thirty years) later told me this wasn’t true, and that the cop could have issued a citation if he’d wanted to.This security guard was actually lovely, and listened to me, and showed sympathy, far more than the cop did. If only more cops were like him but, sadly, too many have the social skills of turds, and are filled with weird, little fucked-up prejudices.

Unluckily for this state trooper and the idiot driver, I’m in a very, very big complaining mood. I’ve already filled out a complaint against the cop, and I will be filing a criminal complaint against the driver at the county attorney’s office, too. I will also be writing a letter to two local newspapers about what happened to me, in the hope that they will get published. Finally, I am going to start a petition and get local runners to sign it, which I hope will strengthen my complaint againt the cop.

Ain’t nobody gonna try run over this angry woman without there being a whole lotta fuss afterwards! I’m sure nothing will happen to either of these men, but I’m sure as hell going to make myself as big a pain in the arse as possible! Huh!

Little dog with a limp

running dog I’ve just come back from a run, and as I came in the gate of my house, a little dog with a limp ran past on the street. This is the third time I’ve seen this dog in the last ten days or so, which, given that it’s running about by itself at all hours without a collar, or an owner, would make you think that it’s a stray. I don’t think it is, though. It’s pretty fat and looks well-cared-for but, most importantly, it’s a dog with a fucking mission. You never see him idling away his time with sad, puppy-dog eyes, hoping some kind-hearted stranger will take him in. Oh no! He’s always running down the street, looking like he’s got somewhere very important to go. I’ve tried talking to him to see if he needs any help, but he always turns around, without even breaking stride, and gives me a “Whatever!” look. Hmmm.

My run was brilliant, especially because it’s been raining, and it’s so lovely and cool outside. When the weather is this mild, it’s like I’m floating through the air when I’m running. I used to go running late at night all the time, but this year I just got out of the habit. It’s probably a good thing, too, as it’s not good to get your body all psyched up at night when you should be trying to get ready for bed. If I could make myself go to bed earlier, I’d go running first thing in the morning, but I’m rarely able to do that. Whenever I have done it, I feel great, though! There is no better way to start the day than with a run. I always feel energized and invincible!

I have run three marathons, but I’m pretty bored of road running these days, and I have barely run at all this summer. I’ve decided to try something different, and so I’ve signed up for a trail running course that starts on Saturday. The goal is to train for a trail race early next year. There are three distance options (25K, 50K and 100K) and, since I’m a masochist and incredibly competitive, I want to do the longest one. I know I can do it. I love trail running. It’s so beautiful being out in nature instead of on some fucking boring suburban road. Trail runners are also more fun than marathon runners; for some reason, marathon runners are all white, over-privileged, Type A, obsessive, neurotic, control freaks with such empty lives that running becomes their everything; some trail runners can be like that, too, but for the most part they’re a bit grittier and don’t take themselves so seriously.

Today was much better than yesterday. It started off very badly with my noon session cancelling on me at the last minute. I cried onto my keyboard at this point because I just couldn’t have handled another day of sitting at home and making no money. Things did pick up later, however, and I saw two clients. They were even nice, which was such a relief, as I was depressed and couldn’t have faced dealing with any bullshit. The first one was a single dad with full-time custody of his kid. Apparently the mother is now a speed addict. Some people think guys who see sex workers are scum (and, well, some of them definitely have issues), but who can really blame a guy like this for his choices? Working full-time and then looking after his little girl, he probably barely has time to masturbate nevermind find some woman to date and have socially acceptable sex with! The second one was a pleasant but very dim-witted twenty-six-year-old who had apparently just dumped his fiancée in July even though they were supposed to be getting married at the start of September. He seemed very insouciant about this. He said his ex was a lazy bitch but couldn’t he have figured this out sooner instead of waiting until the last minute?! This guy was probably a complete arse, but he was so young and dumb that passing some moral judgement on his behaviour would be akin to passing moral judgement on a chimpanzee.

Ah, yes…feeling in a much better mood tonight. Why on earth did I stop running so much this summer?! I know it’s vital for my mental health.