Temporarily stressful events that occur during runs.
Certain anxiety-inducing events seem to crop up consistently on my runs.
I don’t mean anything big – like monsoon rains, or scary animal encounters, or other runners who inadvertently force you to press your pace – those are all legitimate causes for sustained mid-run tension.
These events are far less worthy of notice. They cause me the briefest flickers of irritation, and then they are finished.
Even so, it struck me today that these “temporarily stressful events” happen frequently enough to merit recognition:
Running by the same people more than once. Oh no, oh no. I already ran by this weird doofus in the green hat who is out doing yardwork. I smiled friendly-like and said good morning, incorrectly assuming this would constitute the entirety of our interaction. Now he’s still out here, apparently just waiting around for me to return. I have to say hi again? Great. Now he will invariably make another comment.
“Shcmdialksdfxl,” Green Hat mumbles inaudibly, grinning ear to ear. I don’t even hear what he says, but now I have to laugh genially. As I’m passing by, Green Hat keeps talking, and talking, and commenting, because now we are best friends. WHAT?! Did I request your commentary? I keep laughing nervously out of politeness as I sprint out of earshot. Whew. That was temporarily stressful.
Green lights at an intersection. When I’m running up to an intersection and I see that the light is green, I immediately snap into “Oh, sh*t!” mode. Because if the light is green now, it will probably turn red by the time I’m ready to run through the crosswalk. OMG OMG OMG. Now it’s turning yellow. GO. GO. GO! SPRINT! I don’t want to interrupt my momentum and jog around at a red light! GO! OMFG, it’s red, but I’m still sprinting across the road like Frogger on crack, because I know I have that one precious extra second before the light will turn green for the crossroad. Whew. That was temporarily stressful.
Clueless drivers attempting to make turns. Here I am, running on the sidewalk all safety first, when I realize I am about to reach a side road! Ah, excellent. And here is Mrs. Oblivious, waiting to make a right turn, chatting animatedly on her cellphone and rendering herself utterly ignorant about her surroundings. She is looking stoically in the other direction, absorbed in finding a break in traffic so that she can make her turn and zoom along on her merry way.
Meanwhile, I am getting closer and closer. It is conceivable that some deranged chiropractor has superglued Mrs. Oblivious’s neck vertebrae into place, because she has still not turned her head to check in the other direction – my direction. My blood pressure is getting higher and higher. She’s not even going to look in this direction! Crud, crud, crud. Now I’m so close I could spit on her car, and it’s decision time. Oh, boy. Do I weave around Mrs. Oblivious’s car and go behind her, or try to dash in front?
Nuts. I don’t want to interrupt my trajectory; I’ve got such excellent momentum. I think I’m going to try and make it in front of her – I do technically have the right of way, after all.
Here I go!
OMG, Mrs. Oblivious found her opportunity to go and has just released her foot from the brakes. She is making her right turn, directly into me.
NOT SO FAST, JERK.
I do a nifty little stutter step as her car noses out into the street, and then I SLAM my hand onto the hood of Mrs. Oblivious’s car on purpose. (Thanks Dad, I learned this one from you). She slams on her brakes all open-mouthed and surprised. THAT’S RIGHT, LADY. Didn’t you learn to look “Left, right, left” in driver’s ed. before turning? Well, now you’ll never forget. You are most welcome, and trust me, that dent I possibly just punched into your hood will cause you far fewer life problems than mushing me with your tires would have. Whew. That was temporarily stressful.
Thoughtful drivers attempting to make turns who wait around for pedestrians to cross the road. Here I am, running on the sidewalk all safety first again, about to reach another side road. This time, a car is waiting to make a turn from the main road. Shoot! Now I have to pick up my pace because I hate being the selfish nimrod making cars idle in the middle of the road as they wait for my punk self to cross. What if there is heavy traffic and they miss a good opportunity to turn because I’m lollygagging my way through the crosswalk? Oh no, now Thoughtful Driver is smiling at me and generously waving that I can cross; I can’t stand it. Go, go, go, pick it up and sprint across so that Thoughtful Driver can make the turn. Whew. That was temporarily stressful.
Am I the only runner overcome by fleeting moments of dread whenever these particular events seem imminent? I think it’s simply that they create a momentary sense of urgency that rips me out of my running-induced happy place.
What are some other common “temporarily stressful” or “temporarily annoying” events that you experience on your runs?