The Casual Runner

Don’t Be THAT Guy (or Girl)

Ok Casual Runners, as you know we strive to be an encouraging resource for the running community. We encourage fellow runners on what TO DO to get the most enjoyment out of their Casual Running adventure.

Today, we want to make a slight detour from that. Instead of encouraging you what TO DO, we are going to encourage you what NOT to do. You see, often times, the best way to improve your enjoyment of your Casual Running adventure is to learn from the mistakes of others. Some of those mistakes are quite unintentional, others are very intentional.

In our Casual Running experiences, we have seen (and experienced) a few mistakes. Don’t follow these examples, learn from them, and put yourself in a better position for success!

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5) A sudsy problem.

We’ve all experienced the problems of the smelly running clothes – you know, the ones that are so rank they can practically stand up on their own? The yin in the yang of the universe suggests that for every enjoyable past time (Casual Running) there has to be an equally un-enjoyable chore (laundry). However, when you do your laundry, no matter how rank your running clothes may be, be careful not to use too much soap.

Early on in my running adventures I was out for a spring run – it was one of those idyllic first warm days of the year. I felt great, amazing even, but then I noticed, as I made my way through the streets of the historic village near my house, that I was getting some weird looks. I couldn’t figure out what was going on, until…a few miles down the road I looked down and noticed that I was covered…in soap bubbles!

I must have used too much laundry detergent, which, when combined with my sweating, created a bubbly mess. It was all down my legs and into my socks. Don’t be that guy (which I guess is me). Needless to say, I learned my lesson and am much better – and more observant – at measuring my laundry detergent now.

Mike 2014 Akron Half Pic C

4) Be Warned of Open Gel Packs

When you are running a race and someone hands you a gel pack, you take it, right? Once bitten, twice shy, I learned to always check the flavor because I have found some less than enjoyable ones, which are even LESS enjoyable mid-race.  (Check out our review of some interesting gel flavors).

However, what I did not learn (until it was too late) was to check to make sure that the gel packs are not already OPENED when they are handed to you. You see, at the 2014 Akron Half Marathon, some helpful volunteers opened the gel packets before they handed them out, in order to further assist runners. The problem was, I did not even think to check the packets once i confirmed what flavors I was being handed. (Perhaps I was too focused on following the awesomeness that is the Blue Line?)

So, I placed the opened packet in my pocket to enjoy a little further down the course, and, before I knew it, my pocket became a gooey mess and gel started running down my leg. It was sticky, it was gross, and it was a lesson well-learned. Don’t be that guy (which, again, is me!): check every gel packet before you put it in your pocket or race belt. Just think what would have happened if I would have put the open packet in my Spi Belt when while carrying my iPhone in there!

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3) Sing To the Heavens.

My #1 rule of going to a Disney theme park, whether it be Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or wherever, is to NOT RUIN THE MAGIC for any other guests. The same rule applies for races too. Do what you can to make the race enjoyable for you, but do not do it in a way that annoys or otherwise interferes with the enjoyment of other runners.

During the 2016 Walt Disney World Half Marathon, I had the misfortune of falling into pace with a group of runners who decided to sing…loudly…constantly…and horribly. While I am not trying to pass judgment on their song selection (though I did find it particularly abrasive), the mere fact that they had a group of people running and singing loudly together in unison was not entertaining to their fellow runners, but, to the contrary, was very annoying. No, it was more than that, it was very annoying. Correction, it was supremely annoying.

Several runners politely asked them to refrain from their singing, which was met with rude responses. So let me get this straight, other runners tell you that something you thought was fun actually turned out to be annoying, and when you are informed of this your reaction is to continue on doing it without regard for your fellow runners? Yeah, don’t be that guy.

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2) Dance Like You Mean It.

One of the more inexplicable runner demonstrations I’ve seen took place during the 2015 Cedar Point Half Marathon. While we always encourage Casual Runners to run their own race, two runners in particular took this advice a little too literally. You see, they made the entire race, their own race. 

While in the amusement park section of the course, I fell into step behind a pair of running buddies (a man and a woman) who were wearing giant Beats headphones (the ones that block out any other sound so they could hear nothing). They must have synced their playlists as they burst into a choreographed dance routine throughout the entire park. Clever? Maybe. Funny? Not at all. Inconsiderate of fellow runners? You bet ya!

You see, these dances included large sweeping arm gestures, which, when done in a crowded pack of runners, caused them to strike a few runners, while other runners had to dodge, duck, and dive out of the way to keep from getting hit.

The most offensive part about this? At no point did the dancing queens stop their dancing, apologize for their rudeness, or even acknowledge that they were, in any way, inconveniencing other runners. Yeah, don’t be that guy, or, couple.

Fortunately, there was no such re occurrence at the 2016 Cedar Point Half Marathon, perhaps they finally  got the hint?

IMG_58411) This is MY mall!

Candace and I ran the A Christmas Story House 10k in Cleveland, Ohio. This race takes place in December when it is cold. Correction, it is COOOOOOOLD. Fortunately, the race begins next to Tower City Mall in downtown Cleveland, so race organizers allow runners to stay inside and keep warm prior to the start of the race.

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One runner, who was anything but Casual, decided that he was going to do wind sprints to warm up for the race. The problem was he decided to do so inside the mall, right in the concourse where runners were walking to go to bib pickup.

While the concourse was not particularly crowded, there were clearly other people there, but this guy was so focused he did not care, and he bumped into several of them as he sprinted. At one point he even yelled at people to get out of his way.

If the old adage is true, that Rule #1 in life is to not be a d…er…a not nice person, then this guy definitely failed. So yeah, definitely do not be like that guy. On race day, do you own routine, but if your routine causes you to literally run into and scream at other people, maybe its time to rethink your routine.

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Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!

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Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!

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