Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Bike in Lane One

A Story of Patient Indignation

I’ve been trying to be more patient lately. For me, this requires a lot of practice. I get frustrated if there is a delay when shifting from Park to Drive before the Drive function engages. Sometimes I rev the engine until it kicks in and I dangerously zoom out of my driveway in the morning, car careening over the dip between the driveway and road, kids banging their delicate heads into the sunroof, and neighbors fleeing back to their porches leaving their newspaper and coffee twirling in the air like Witch Hazel's hair pins.

My TV does this annoying black screen for about 1.5 seconds when you change channels. Before it goes black, it displays the destination channel for a millisecond as a tease before removing it. I can’t tell you how annoying that is when I’m trying to check a game score “real quick” when switching off some crap reality TV program. I’ve trained my eyes to stare at the location where I know they put the score on the screen so I can catch it during the millisecond tease.* I’m just that impatient. I’d hate to have to wait an additional 1.5 seconds to see that score.

Which is why I’m congratulating myself today for the incredible amount of patience I displayed last evening at my local high school track. It was 800’s night! (Not 80’s night otherwise I would have worn my Hall and Oates concert t-shirt, quoted hilarious lines from Magnum P.I., and debated anyone about whether Rambo could take on an alien invasion all by himself (answer: he could))

I’m minding my own business doing these 800’s when some teenagers show up. Teenagers in baggy jeans. Isn’t that fad done already? When are the parachute pants coming back? One of them drops his mountain bike on the edge of the track so his back tire is covering lane one. The lane I’m running in. I spot this coming around the final turn and get immediately indignant. C’mon, dude, move the bike. Have some respect. And pull up your pants. I might even have thrown in a Sheesh, kids these days. Indignation was swirling inside my head.

Surely, as I pass, they’ll see the problem and move the bike. I pass by patiently moving into lane two. I round the next turn and look to the side. Nope. The little s.o.b’s aren’t moving the bike. They continue to jump the hurdles set up in lane seven (while holding their pants up with one hand.) I’m hoping the loose fabric catches the top of the hurdle and one – or more – of them go home with a skinned chin. Or a broken wrist (fingers crossed!)

I come around again. This time, I’ll make more of a show of this to prove the point. I’d love to time it just right so I can bump the tire with the tip of my toe as I jump just enough to send it spinning furiously. The rapidly revolving wheel would certainly illustrate their shame, right? Fearing a humiliating fall, I decide at the last moment to jump over the tire completely, stick the landing on the other side, and proudly bound off down the lane like a gazelle over a road side fence. Even this group of motley, slack jawed pimple poppers could grasp the symbolism of that action.

They don’t seem to notice. Or care. Or both. Instead, they mock me further by standing next to the offending bike and yuck it up about – what I can only assume – is their future plans to become Burdens to Society while I continue to circle a half lap away. By this time, my generic every day indignation has turned to seething indignation, which is a few steps up on the Indignation Meter (one step above righteous indignation). I’m mentally shaking an angry cane at them as I approach the fallen bike again. “Move the damn bike, you little punks. And pull up those pants!”

Instead, I say nothing. I’m not interested in getting beaten up by a gang of beltless youth. I quietly move into lane two and complete my last few laps.

Did you know that seething indignation is a decelerator? My final two 800’s, once the bike appeared, were the worst so far this SOS2. I spent so much of my time plotting out different scenarios in which I could get the idiots to move the bike that I completely forgot about my leg turn over, relaxed breathing, and focus. They robbed me of my 800’s just as they’ll rob me of my future tax money.

Let's’m not a triathlete but it dawned on me, with the intrusion of the bike, that I might have just completed my first “brick” work out. No!? I don’t know exactly what a "brick" is but I’ve heard tri folks talk about a bike/run work out to prepare for their races. If that’s the case, consider my brick cherry popped. You know what? It wasn’t that hard.(t.w.s.s.)

The hardest part of the brick seems to be finding a douchebag teenager with baggy jeans to leave a bike as an obstacle for your run. Physically, it’s not to bad. The bigger challenge is psychologically. Can you balance your patience/indignation?

As I left the track and started my one mile cool down run home, the little troublemakers flopped down onto the infield grass as if their general malaise and asshattery had worn them down to exhaustion. No doubt they wanted to get an idea on what it’ll be like sleeping outdoors on the ground after their parents kick them out one day.

I felt oddly triumphant for not giving in to my (strong) desire to step on and bend the tire rim. My patience won the day! I was tired myself from the three obstacles: the 800’s, the bike, and dealing with their nonchalant, vaguely threatening attitude.

Then it occurred to me: did I just complete a steeplechase?

Happy trails.

* This skill also comes in handy during spontaneous celebrity nip slips that occur randomly on TV. Practice, people, practice.

Everyone congratulate Sun Runner for the BQ in Cleveland!!


Xenia said...

Did you do 800s instead of 400s just to freak Viper out? If so, you are my hero.

Way to go not taking on those kids. I'd hate to see you end up in hospital. :)

Society of Women Engineers said...

Are you my lost twin brother? Although, I think I have even less patience, but less humor about it.

Spike said...

I know those kids, I've seen them around. I also failed to confront them, but I did think about throwing a stick into their spokes and watching them flip over. score the big mental victory

Vava said...

You have a sunroof? Very snazy!


X-Country2 said...

See, I'd have done the showy hop to prove my point too, and I promise I'd catch my leg and go flying into a broken pile in the long jump pit.

Al's CL Reviews said...

I have the douchebag father who lets his 5yo ride his bike all over the lanes, and the stupid Boot Camps who leave their shit on the track. I just run on it. But a bike, I guess you can't.

I would be peeved too.

RazZDoodle said...

"Surely, as I pass, they’ll see the problem and move the bike."


Welcome to my world.

Kristina said...

Whenever I'm at a loss for blog fodder, I just go to the track. Without fail, there's someone there to elicit my righteous indignation and sarcasm---perfect for the blog!

der5er said...


That's an awesome word right there. It perfectly sums up so many things about the teenage-baggy-pants-wearing mind.

It also makes this one of the best posts ever, and I believe all future posts should contain this word.

Sun Runner said...

If you had TiVo you could capture various wardrobe malfunctions permanently, to be watched over and over.

Re: dickwad teenagers: Those are the people who will be running the country in 30 or 40 years.

Now how's that for a nightmare scenario?

Vanilla said...

I'm with Kristina, a night at the track is always good for blog fodder. There's always some idiot there doing something wrong. Congrats on bottling up your rage. I can't wait for the post where you finally let all that pent up energy out on someone.

Lauren said...

What kind of asshat would think that Rambo would loose to an alien invasion? I would say you'd win that arguement, but there's obviously no logic in those guys' world.

Secondly, I exhibit general malaise every day, and let me tell you, it is exhausting.

Last, Hammer pants ARE back:

Jess said...

Haha what loser punks. Glad you made the best of it and get the 800's in!

The Laminator said...

You're a much better man than I, Nitmos. I would've had a major throw-down and challenged those punks to a 800m race for the rights to lane 1. If they win, they get the lane, if I win i get their bike! Haha!

Yeah, I always imagine myself in a throwdown race when I'm doing interval workouts...can you tell?

The Laminator said...

You're a much better man than I, Nitmos. I would've had a major throw-down and challenged those punks to a 800m race for the rights to lane 1. If they win, they get the lane, if I win i get their bike! Haha!

Yeah, I always imagine myself in a throwdown race when I'm doing interval workouts...can you tell?

tfh said...

So that's a brick.

I always thought it was the object I carelessly tossed through people's windows while hoisting up my baggy pants with my free hand.

Jess said...

They were jumping hurdles for fun? Shouldn't they be hanging outside a 7 Eleven and asking people to buy them cigarettes? Kids these days.

Mike G said...

Sometimes when I'm running on the indoor 2 lane track at the gym, and some oblivitard speed walker steps into the fast lane without looking at who might be running in it, I just clip the bitch. My momentum carries me cleanly though and I don't usually even need to say "oh I'm sorry I didn't SEE you in my lane", although of course that would be my defense if the jerk tattled.

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

Wonder if this would work.

"Hey kids, your pants are falling down! Maybe you should ride the bike to the mall and buy a belt..."

Ted said...

I haven't see anyone wearing bell-bottom pants lately. Man - I love the way you write this post. This is like the Woody Allen type post I love the best.

P.S. I am with you about the remote control when it comes to TV. I have the same issue. Irritating huh?

joyRuN said...

I wish I could say I'd be the vindictive one who stomps on the bike tire on my way, but knowing me, I'd be the clumsy one to get all tangled up in the tire & fall right on my face.

Running and living said...

Those are the same teenagers that block the bike path where I take my rides, and have me spit a lung while yelling "On your left" only to see their heads turning toward me in slow motion while I step on the brake so as to not crash into them (as I would like)! Ana-Maria

Beth said...

I get upset when walkers at the indoor track walk side to side, 4 across so that there is no way to get around them. Each time they act surprised that I would like to pass them. Maybe they know the baggy pants kids...