As I've mentioned, I belong to a running group and a training one. There is a second training one - at no cost, I might add - of which I'm intimidated. Greatly.
Everyone I've seen from that group during my Old Man Running Group runs, is an excellent athlete.
It's weird. They run in packs. I mean, I think we all start out that way and then natural abilities start to separate us during our run. Not these guys. Yes, guys. 99%.
If you've ever seen a bike race like the Tour de France, how dozens of bikes ride together in some kind of draft - this is how these guys run. Never separated by more than 3" each, and about a dozen per group. Yes, groups. They run in heats, basically, based on your ability.
I saw the other training group, man-buns / shirtless and all, pass by me (opposite direction) after my turn-around. At about my mile 7, a man with an incredible body and an even better stride, blows by me with a speed and gait unseen on these paths. It was amazing to see, honestly.
"Looking Good", he yells to me, as he passes with the speed of the Amtrak Acela.
My immediate reaction in my head? "is he fucking mocking me?".
What came out was - "you too", but I think he was too far past me to even hear.
I get back to the starting point where some runners were hanging out (I went out farther than the rest, but wasn't the last one in......and yes, I felt the need to say that!) and mentioned this guy. The convo shifted into how a perceived compliment can make someone feel, and I ad-libed, "I should have just yelled, 'DICK!'". Oh, we all laughed.
But it's true. The person you see lagging and you want to be supportive, so you say, "you got this!", or the likes, and they're mentally flipping you off. Their perception can be they notice you going slow(er)
I will say to them, "let's run this in, together." And I mean it. I'll go slower just to help motivate. Or hopefully motivate.
Yesterday I passed someone not in either group and just said, "only 1 more mile to go, let's do this". I assumed he was stopping near where I was. But I hope it gave him motivation.
Honestly, I know the runner meant nothing by his comment. It's a pat response amongst runners, maybe even a sincere one. And I really didn't feel "less than". I've worked hard and I'm so much more improved from a year ago. Stud runner didn't know that, but if he wants to go out for a beer, I can tell him about it.
Song by: Fiona Apple