Wednesday, July 15, 2009


So, this is not a "pet peeve." I am sure we all have little pet peeves, but there is something about those little things that seems to show some smallness of character or an intolerance that isn't attractive. Maybe it is bundled up in the word itself? Petty and peevish.

I try to stifle those little annoyances. So, as I said, this isn't a pet peeve. I wasn't mad at anyone, but as I was running on the track yesterday I found myself wishing that more people knew track rules of etiquette. They don't, so it isn't their fault. It is like anything. I'm sure there are all types of activities that have rules I don't know so I ignore them. Just like the rules of where and when you should use cell phones. I have forgotten what proper etiquette says so I am sure I don't follow it.

Once a friend explained to me a "bowling rule of etiquette" which was -- you don't bowl at the exact same time as a person in the lane next to you. I was quite surprised to learn this because I hadn't realized there were certain good manners in bowling. Still, I have tried to observe that rule when, about every other year, I happen to be bowling -- just in case the people next to me are serious bowlers who recognize good etiquette and appreciate my observance of it.

On to the track. It is basically the same rule as driving -- if you are on the inside lane and someone comes up on you, it is always polite to move over a lane. Everyone who ever ran on a track team knows this rule. In fact, it was considered fine to call out, "track!" as you came upon someone so they would know to scoot over a lane for a moment. It made sense because sometimes someone would be practicing a precise time on a 200 meter run and naturally they would be coming much quicker than someone doing a warm up or the 2 mile. Alas, it would be considered rude or simply very strange to call, "track!" in the ordinary non-tracky world.

Just as there are some who stubbornly refuse to move out of the fast driving lane because "they are going the speed limit" there will be those of you who like to use the track and feel it a violation of your rights to have to move to lane two just because someone else is running faster. And if that is how you feel, so be it. No one will arrest you, but if, perhaps, like me with bowling, you want to know good etiquette, there it is. Inside lane is for whoever is running the fastest. You are under no obligation to move if you are already in an outer lane, and you can walk at a snails pace in lane one if you don't mind simply walking over a tiny bit for a moment when you hear faster steps approaching.

I don't even like to run on a track. I'm surprised how many people do. I always prefer to be out enjoying different scenery on the roads (or preferably trails), but when I am training for something, I try to throw intervals into my weekly runs. Intervals are basically speed work. So, instead of running for distance, you run miles, 800's, 400's, etc. at an uncomfortably fast pace. The idea being that it will help increase your normal running pace. A track is nice for these simply because you can so easily keep track (no pun intended) of your distance.

Anyway, yesterday I was nearly killing myself trying to sprint 400's (once around the track) and 800's. And at every lap I had to run out and around groups of mom's moseying along with strollers along the inside lane. Occasionally even just standing and chatting in groups along the inside lane. I know they weren't intending to be rude. But I was seriously barely making each sprint and it seemed oh so difficult to have to interrupt my goal each time running out and around. I just found myself wishing they knew and ever so grateful to the occasional runner that knowingly stepped to the side to let me pass.

So, now you all know. Now maybe I need a more interesting post seeing as this was boooooring. Probably none of you ever run on a track and have no real need of knowing this tid bit of information. I will tell you this though: "Track!" was such a great word to be able to yell. I find myself wishing I could use it all of the time -- in the grocery store when carts are blocking the isle and not realizing someone is behind them, "track!" I'd simply call and they'd scoot right over. On campus I was always one that preferred to walk quickly to my destination. How convenient to have called, "track!" all along the crowded sidewalks.


Tia Juana said...

Oh, you are so good to inform me of track manners. I, being not so athletically inclined, would have never known. In my mind it makes much more sense that if you are the faster runner then you obviously have more energy than me to move around me. As you know I only recently started even using a track so I never knew any of this. And as you may know I keep track of my laps via MMs so maybe if you just threw M&M's off to the side they would move out of your way and you wouldn't have to yell at them. I know if someone threw M&Ms out for me I'd get the heck out of their way!

Karen said...

So funny that you would post about this today. The RS is out of town and I have decided to drag my kids around the track a few times. Not many sidewalks down by me, so not so much on the walking through the neighbor hoods with kids in tow. So I went up to High School and left since the cheer squad was practicing on the track. So I went in search of some other tracks. Turns out, N.O. Jr. does not have a track. I still dragged those kids around the perimeter of the field. About a 1/4 way into it my oldest says she wanted a golf cart so she didn't have to walk. I think she missed the point.

Anyway, O Jr. has a track and the city that is in has some tracks/trails in the park system. I know the one by us can get quite crowded.

Thanks for the track etiquette. I would have had no idea. I prefer to know how to behave appropriately.

jocelyn said...

i really dislike situations like that. it's hard to not be annoyed even though you know people aren't intentionally being annoying. (or maybe they are, who knows?) i would also like to use "track!" in various other scenarios. i will definitely at least think it in my head now!

Perla said...

i didn't know about yelling "track" but i seemed to understand just from watching or from driving that the inside lane was for faster runners. and because i am always embarrassed to have to move out of anybody's lane, if i am running on a track i usually just run in the outside slowest of slow lanes and then go inside more to pass people. but maybe if i actually ran fast ever then i might go to the inside and scream track as loud as possible at people in front of me.
i just got an idea. you should run with a big flashlight and flash it on and off behind the slowees and maybe then they'd move over.

Amy said...

I find it best to just yell, "Get out of the freakin way you idiot!"

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