Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wheaton's Law for the track

Because I now live in the desert after spending three years in the Pacific Northwest, I am a HUGE fan of working out at the gym. Running outside in 105 degree heat? I'll pass, thankyouverymuch.

Tracks are a lot like roads. Most gyms have the slower traffic keep to the outside while speedier runners get to hug the walls. Unfortunately, you do not need a license or lessons in order to gain access to the gym and therefore some people run like drunk drivers. This makes Eep angry, and when Eep gets angry she gets mean and stabbity.

My experiences at the gym have inspired me to draft up some simple rules in order to keep your running space from becoming a Mad Max nightmare. Otherwise, you never know when you will run into me and the spikes I have started strapping to my elbows.

1) Look before merging into traffic: I can't count the number of times someone has either just walked on to the track in front of me or has tried to pass someone without looking where they are going while I am there. Like cars, an accident between two people when one or both is running can cause serious injury. The walls at my gym are cinder blocks and causing me to fall into that face first will guarantee that (once I regain consciousness) I am going to try to kill you.

So, look both ways before entering traffic and check your blind spot before merging into a new lane while passing.

2) Stay in your damn lane: There is nothing more frighting than a drunk driver swerving down the road and it's just as bad on the track when someone weaves in and out of their lane without rhyme or reason. Despite what Ms. Cleo claims, there are no psychics and the people around you cannot tell when you will suddenly lurch in front of them causing a multi-person pile up. And I don't care how fast you are running--if you can't take that corner without jamming your elbow into my ribs, I recommend that you slow down before my foot happens to find its way between your legs.

3) Run in the lane that is appropriate to your speed and pass to the inside: I will fully admit, I am NOT a fast runner. The first time I pulled a 10 minute mile I wanted to celebrate. Because of this, I keep to the outside of the track, next to the walkers, leaving the inside lanes open for the speedy boys and girls. I am amazed at how often I see slow pokes in the fast lanes causing the sprinters to have to dodge in and out of traffic like a messenger bike. Not only is this a problem for the person who is having to jump around into slower traffic, but increases the risk that they are either going to run into someone else or start carrying a cattle prod to get your ass moving.

4) Don't pollute: I never thought that I would have to include something like this in track rules, but it is something that I have experienced on a regular basis. Listen, gas happens. I have a delicate stomach and am very aware of this. However, there is a difference between one sliding out and crop dusting the entire track. If you find that your tummy is just not enjoying life at that moment get off the damn track and go to the bathroom. I promise that the runner stuck behind you who is slowly turning green will appreciate your consideration.

Up next: How to keep Eep from holding you under water until you stop moving

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