Thursday, August 21, 2014

Decoding your runner (a guide for those who love us)

I grew up in Puerto Rico, speaking español. While we all learned English growing up, I became truly bilingual in third grade when my parents placed me in an experimental English-immersion program at the military school I attended.

As a poor and hungry newspaper reporter and copy editor, I translated English documents into Spanish.

When my oldest son was diagnosed as hearing impaired when he was 3, I learned rudimentary American Sign Language in case he lost all of his hearing -- a real possibility at the time.

What I'm trying to say is that I have some experience translating between languages and the subtleties that entails.

What does this mean for you, dear non-runner? That I'm about to translate your loved one's runner-speak into something akin to plain English. To whit:

When your runner says: "Boy, these running shoes sure are worn down. Should I spend $120 to replace them?"

S/he really means: "I'm going shopping and you are not to complain about the cost of these shoes, so help me God."

What s/he wants to hear: "What did the Runner's World magazine reviewer say about those? Also appropriate: "Do they have them in your size at the local running store?"

When your runner says: "Boy, my calves are really tight and my feet hurt."

S/he really means: "I told you I need new shoes!" Also possible: "Be a dear and go grab that foam roller for me, please."

What s/he wants to hear: "I'll drive you to the local running store right now." Also appropriate: "Let me grab your foam roller for you."

When your runner says: "I could really use a donut."

S/he really means: "I could really use a donut." Also possible: "I want a donut but I don't want to feel guilty about eating it."

What s/he wants to hear: "You just ran (insert number here) miles! Have a donut!" Also appropriate: "I'll split one with you."

When your runner says: "I keep running and the scale hasn't budged. What gives?"

S/he really means: "Holy cow, I may be out-eating my running."

What s/he wants to hear: "I'm driving to Target right now to get new batteries. That thing's obviously not working."

When your runner says: "Should I sign up for X, Y or Z race?"

S/he really means: "I want to do all three."

What s/he wants to hear: "Pick the one with the best location and let's make a weekend out of it." Also appropriate: "Do all three."

When your runner says: "I don't feel like running today."

S/he really means: "I don't feel like running today."

What s/he wants to hear: "Get out there. You'll regret it if you don't." Also appropriate, "Don't. Sit right there while I go grab the box of donuts from the kitchen."

You're welcome, runner lovers.

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