Sunday, August 24, 2008

Track Bullies

Today's workout: 10 second argument x 8, repeat every 2 1/2 minutes

Honestly, I wish I would have handled myself better, and I even said as much to Kiera.

Me: "Say you are on the track, walk/running your dog with a leash..."
Kiera: "What am I doing on the track with a dog? That doesn't make any sense! Who runs their dog on a track?"

I continue with the story about me having an argument every lap and a half with this particular gentleman, who for some reason is intent on occupying most of lane two while his dog takes up all of lane one. Both are tethered together with one of those expand-o-leashes. ...And yes, of course he's wearing headphones. There's also a giant metal sign attached to the fence around the track and playing fields at the school which prohibits dogs.

"On your left", I call the first time, and the dog mercifully grants me passage on the inside while the owner ignores me. "Excuse me", I call back to him while looking him in the eye. Next time around he's ready for me, but as I call "track" again he starts to squeeze against his dog and move INSIDE as I'm doing the same thing. Harsh words are exchanged about "common courtesy" from both parties, and I'm left shouting back to him that slower-moving runners should move to the outside lanes when faster runners come through. This startles the poor guy I'm coming up on next, who jumps from lane 5 to lane 8. I apologize to him and give a breathless synopsis of my situation and he seems to understand my plight. Next time around headphone-dog guy is somehow running backwards and yelling about faster runners moving to the outside and we hash it out again (though he has moved over to lanes two and three at this point). I yell that dogs aren't even supposed to be on the track, but that either doesn't sink in or he doesn't believe me. The angry mutterings and arguing repeats roughly every lap and a half, and I'm stressed, hot and pretty pissed off by the time I finish.

This episode took place during miles 14-16 of my long run, which was supposed to be a marathon pace (with adjustment) workout where I ran the first ten at 6:50 pace and the last six at 6:20-6:25. After the first ten went well I figured I could run the second half of the six miles of effort on the track to collect some data on how I'm handling the pace in the latter stages of a run. The data below shows how adrenaline, impatience and surging blood pressure affects a run.

17.5 miles, 1h54m(ish)
10 rolling miles at 6:47 pace and 142HR, then 6:15(153HR), 6:16(157), 6:13(161), then three on the track at 5:54(168), 5:49(172), 5:53(172)
Sleep: 5h 5/10 (sore throat kept me awake)
Legs: 8/10
Weather: 82 degrees, 59 dew-point

In short, I ran past the purpose of the workout. Afterwards I ran a mile and a half home, but what I should have done is run alongside this guy and explained my position. I should have apologized for raising my voice and turning it into a shouting match, as that's certainly not the way adults should behave. Instead I left in a huff, and he'll go home thinking he's right and that I'm an arrogant tool. Meanwhile I'll go home and google "track etiquette" and find solace in the fact that the tubes of the internet agree with me. No one wins.

Aside from failed track diplomacy, it was a good week:
Mo: 12 w/6x40 second bursts
Mo: 5 slow
Tu: 10.5 w/4 mile evaluation in 6:09, 6:18, 6:20, 6:17
Tu: 5 slow, plus weights/plyometrics
We: 12 w/6x40 second bursts
We: 6.2
Th: 16 very hilly
Fr: 12 w/6x40 second bursts
Sa: 11 w/7 miles at 156HR (5:50-6:25 pace)
Su: 17.5 w/10 at 6:47 pace, 6 at adjusted marathon pace
Total: 107 in 10 sessions

I cut out a planned weight session and one double, which seemed to leave space for the increased time around marathon pace as well as the preliminary speed-work. Now if this sore throat doesn't turn into whatever sickness the kids have I should be fine. Enjoy what's left of the weekend.


keith said...

it's bad enough when people have their dogs off-leash in on leash areas but on a track?!

I agree, adults aren't supposed to act that way, but it'd be tough not to get a little hot in that situation.

better luck next time!

PS i can't believe you ran that far on a track. i would have fallen asleep.

Mike said...

I ran the first 13 on the roads, so it was only 3 miles of arguing/running on the track. I'm lucky that we live less than a mile from it, but I think I'll avoid the track on Saturdays and Sundays just to save myself the aggravation.

Greg said...

I'm still not getting the premise. There's a guy walking a dog on a track? Really? If the dog did 10x800 in 2:30 w/ 400m rest, what could he run for 5k?

mainers said...

I feel your pain Mike- I'd have reacted exactly the same!

Grellan said...

What a complete and utter Bas&*@d! No other word for him.

running faster with the ALIEN LIZARD said...

I am never ceased to be amazed just how; stupid, thick, arrogant,some people can be! Are we really all from the same human race!
I run in a park which has massive signs saying "NO DOGS! yet you still get some stupid idiots running there dogs free in there, whats even more annoying is the beach is only minutes away for them to let there dogs run ON !
Each of my mile reps is disrupted by two little dogs yapping at my feet, I resist the strong temtation to kick the dam dogs [ I know, I know its the dog owners fault, not the dogs],

running faster with the ALIEN LIZARD said...

P.S. I have a dog myself and the thought of walking her round a running track is the most ridiculous thing ever!
The guy is a figin NUTTER !!!

Marc said...

Not only should the dog not be on the track, but it shouldn't be wearing headphones. Very dangerous.

I think we have all had similar situations where we wish we could have gone back and apologized, explained, made ammends.

Perhaps there should be signs at the track explaining track etiquette. Prior to reading blog posts about this I would have never known of this and could very well have been the guy you encountered. Sans dog of course. I am not THAT ignorant.

Sean said...

I've encountered a similar situation in the past. A women was walking with her dog at the track. At first, I got aggravated because the dog was peeing on the track. At one point, she let the dog off of the leash, and it jumped at me the next time around and chomped at my arm. I didn't yell at her, though I wish I had. I just left. Thankfully, I never saw her again.

Blaxabbath said...

I know you didn't specify the age of this person but in my visualization of the story, I see him being an 50+ fellow.

In which case I think you should have probably just started screaming about Social Security/Medicare and then knocked his headphone off. While he was picking them up you could unleash his dog and then when he had to chase the dog around you'd have the track to yourself (on which you could run/scream about FICA).

Greg said...

Well, anyway, nice workout and nice week.

The guy was probably listening to Starcrunch which is why he was so oblivious to the outside world. You should cut him some slack.

Thomas said...

Chances are, had you tried to run alongside this guy and explained your position, he would have blown you off. You definitely shouldn't feel bad about it - he's the one in the wrong, not you.

Phil said...

And you expected some moron running his dog a track understood what TRACK meant? you crack me up.

Of course, if you ran up behind me and yelled TRACK, i'd jump 10' high. You're a whole lot taller than most.