You can file this under WTF, because sometimes life is weird.
At a really inconvenient time last month, I decided to get sick, and then decided that running would be the perfect way to deal with it. Check my logic: If you have a cold, running will make your body hot = burn off the cold! Genius, right?
So I started running at the pace of a sick person. One of the key things about running is to prioritize distance over speed. Find a good pace that will allow you to go farther every time, or at least a good distance every time.* I have a tendency to go too fast because I become impatient, and then I burn out before going very far and fail at life. It’s a mental game you play with yourself: distance first, speed comes later, so slow your ass down.
You pass by some trees, you eat up a little road, and then you come to a moving obstacle: another jogger. What to do? Here’s the thing: if you are running, and the person in front of you is running, and you get closer, then you are probably running faster than the person in front of you.
I would describe this person as a middle aged male. Now here’s what happened: I paused for a phlegm break. I wasn’t going all that fast, but it was slightly faster than this guy, so I went over to his left to pass him – that’s what people do, right? – and he increased his speed to match mine, effectively blocking me from going around him. I ran slightly faster, and he sped up too. Just to be clear, it was snail v. snail, but like I said, maintaining your pace is key. You know what’s weirder than running thisclose to another person? Running alongside them. You’re in hostile territory.
At some point I fell back behind him so other people walking towards us could pass, and he turned around to check if I was still there and then slowed back to his previous pace. When I tried to pass again, he increased his speed to block me, and I started to wonder – are we racing? Seriously? And that etiquette question – is it insulting if someone jogs past you? When was the last time I have ever given a rat’s ass if someone passed me? Answer: never.
So the stand off ended when we came to a downhill portion, and my nemesis sprinted to the end of the block, u-turned, and ran back the other way. Double win: he never let me pass, and I kept my intended pace and kept going, phlegm be damned.
* Do I ever check my distance? No.