All runners are liars

22 November 2006

Back when I began to experiment with pushing my running boundaries, I joined two runners for a 14 mile, Wednesday run. Though inexperienced with the ritual of the mid-week long run, I was stoked. The course was new to me, and midway through, we came upon a pretty decent hill. I blanched. My friend, noticing my anxiety, simply stated, “Don’t worry, we don’t go all the way to the top.”

About 50 feet before the top of the hill, we turned right.

So I thought… “Did this guy purposefully lie to me? I mean, we’re basically at the top of the hill.” Maybe he was trying to train me, you know, trying to be my own personal Burgess Meredith.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have been taken aback. We hadn’t actually reached the top. In a Bill Clintonesque sense, he was technically accurate, just not very helpful. Strike that. Even the prototypically moronic WWE referee could see that it was a lie. So you’ll understand my skepticism when my friend then said, “It’s pretty flat from here.”

“Pretty flat” apparently means “consistently rolling terrain for 5 miles.” I now call this “a complete distortion of the facts.” Incidentally, the run ended up being 12.5, rather than 14 miles. We’ll call that an honest mistake.

The definition does, in fact, prove my point.

Consider another experience I’ve had with runner dishonesty.

My running partner, a more accomplished runner than I, promised a slow, causal run (The first sign of trouble). As we ran, I noticed a gradual yet inexorable increase in pace. I kept up, and it occurred to me, “We are accelerating. His promise is fiction.” Gradual acceleration became outright fleet-footed jaunt. We ended, shall we say, rather vigorously.

I had been a part of the running sub-culture for less than a year when it hit me: I think I’m surrounded by liars.

Don’t get me wrong. I mean this in the most endearing, delightful way possible. I love runners, the scoundrels. I love them when they innocuously perjure themselves; even when they resort to outright fabrication. I love them.

Of course, I may be lying.
White Space

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