I don’t know why, but the other day I thought about a post I read on a running message board a few years ago. When I read this post I immediately copied it and pasted it into an email to myself because: (1) It is one of the funniest and most insane things I’ve ever read, and (2) I (correctly) assumed it would soon be deleted off of the message board.
Crazy people–I love them. Especially when they have no idea how crazy they are. In this case, I made a smart ass response to the original post sarcastically agreeing with the author, and she quickly replied with a sincere “thanks for the understanding”. She really had no clue that I was just making fun of her.
I’ve protected the author’s name to save her further embarrassment, but this just has to be posted publicly somewhere. No, it’s not my original content, but she obviously wanted to be heard. Here’s her chance…
From: S******* C******
Category: Places to Run
Date: 29 Jan 2004
Remote Name: xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx
WARNING- DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RUN AT THE INDOOR TRACK AT THE PIGEON FORGE RECREATIONAL CENTER IN PIGEON FORGE TENNESSEE!I joined the center in October and paid my yearly membership fund so that I could utilize their advertised indoor “running track.” I have been running for 14 years and have placed in every race I have entered in the past few
The first rule of persuasive writing–establish authority. In this case I’m not sure if she was trying to build credibility or just tell us all how fast she is. “Real” runners shouldn’t have to put up with the abuse she endured as described below.
I generally try to run outside if it is 40 degrees or above because that is what I enjoy. However sometimes it is impossible to run outdoors, which leads me to my warning… Since being a member at the Rec Center I have had to dodge unattended children playing on the track, even though employees were in full witness of the event and doing nothing to prevent it. I almost ran head on into one that was running the wrong direction so I finally went and complained. The kids were removed from the track. Since that date I have constantly had to slow down (sometimes to a dead stop) to get around walkers that are taking up the full track four abreast.
Kids playing? People walking? At a rec center? Just who the hell do they think they are?!
On Wednesday of this week I attempted to pass two overweight ladies who were utilizing the entire track while talking and paying no attention to their surroundings.
Hold the phone. Not paying attention is one thing, but being overweight is quite another. See how she coaxes the audience (all readers of a running message board) to her side of the argument by emphasizing the fact that the walkers and talkers were overweight?
It says, “they’re not like us” without actually saying it.
I yelled out “track” twice and they finally looked behind them and moved over in the nick of time.
It is well known in the walking community that “track” means to move.
I went around the track several times, each time having to slow down and ask them to move over to the right. Once they didn’t move over in time and it resulted in a large bruise on my left elbow from scraping the wall as I tried to pass them without hitting them.
The first fallacy of this essay–no bruise on any elbow can be very large.
I went back around the track, still hoping that they may eventually start to follow the posted track rules (walkers to the right, runners on the outside lane).
Pay attention here. The “rules” are an integral part of the rest of this post.
As I came around the corner I realized that once again I was going to hit the wall because they weren’t getting out of the way. To prevent from hitting the wall (or running over her) I reached over and gently pushed her over to the right by her arm. I went on around the track and thought that would be the end of it.
“Gently” pushed her–that’s key. She didn’t slap the lady or trip her. She just pushed her…gently.
As I passed her again she yelled out something that I could hear over my headphones. I slowed to a stop and turned around and asked her what she had said. She said “Don’t touch me. Just ask me to get out of the way.” I told her that I had repeatedly tried to do just that, and would she rather that I had just run over her? I explained that it is very hard to stop when you are training and running a 6.5 minute mile.
Actually, I bet she would have preferred that. Any woman I’ve seen who does training runs at 6.5 minute miles on an 1/8 mile indoor track must be pretty low on total body mass. I bet this overweight walker would have gotten a real kick out of you trying to run over her.
I told her to please just stay on her side of the track (as the posted rules stated) or I would have to go complain at the front desk.
I continued to run again. Everytime I would pass her she would then stop, face me and make remarks. I tried to ignore her realizing that she would probably soon tire and leave the track.
She must tire out soon…she is overweight…remember?
She finally did. I didn’t complain on her when I left because I didn’t won’t to start any trouble. The next evening I was working out in the weight room minding my own business when I was approached by the Rec Center manager (S**** B*******)who told me that he had received a complaint on me last night that I had “shoved” a lady on the track. I attempted to tell him that it was totally untrue and tried to tell my side of the story.
Uh…I thought you shoving her was your side of the story? Oh, wait. You didn’t shove, you “gently pushed.” It was nice of you not to start any trouble by complaining on her though.
He didn’t wish to hear my side of the story, or see the bruise on my arm, or acknowledge that I was in full complaince of the posted Rec Center track rules.
Full compliance of the rules–because there isn’t a rule posted that says you can’t gently push people.
He did not wish to give me the name of the lady that complained. I told him that in addition to this episode, other runners had complained about similar incidents. I told him that other incidents had occurred in which individuals refused to comply to the posted track rules.
Complained to him, or complained to her? Were these real runners, or just voices in her head? How can we be sure?
I told him the night before there was also a toddler (2-3 years of age) that was also wandering the track. The manager told me that he didn’t have enough employees to monitor the track (even though they have cameras on every corner of the track). I asked him if he was telling me I couldn’t run there anymore. He responded that the track was actually a jogging/walking track, not for running and that it was perfectly okay for people to be walking the way they were (even though posted #3 rule stated “Please Limit Walking Patterns To 2 Wide).
The rule says it plain and simple!
He told me that I run “too fast” , even though I usually interval with 8 minute miles!
In other words, “You don’t know what fast is! This stuff I do in your rec center is Mickey Mouse compared to the times I clock when a wooden plaque and gift certificate to Smoothie King are on the line.”
I told him that the Rec Center advertised it as a running track when I joined and reminded him that Rule #4 stated “Walkers please stay on the inside of the track, RUNNERS on the outside.”
The rule says it!
He continued to argue with me and tell me that during January and February I should probably just run elsewhere or during early morning hours.
Wait. I’m confused. Was he arguing with her or was she arguing with him?
I told him that I wanted my money back if I couldn’t utilize the track when I needed it. He said okay “let’s go downstairs and get your money”.
Sounds like we have an agreement.
By then I was beginning to lose my cool. After all I had obeyed the rules and done nothing wrong.
This is where she lost her cool…not before. And because there isn’t a no shoving pushing rule, she obviously hadn’t broken any.
I looked at him and calmly said “Just keep my fucking money.I don’t need it and I won’t be back.” (I probably shouldn’t have said it, but he had pushed all my buttons by this point.I said it only in the presence of him.)
At least she remained calm. And by the way…she still hasn’t broken a rule at this point. It’s not posted anywhere that you can’t curse at the staff. The only part I don’t understand is why you would second guess yourself at this point. She asked for her money back, and he agreed to give it to her. It only makes sense to start dropping F-bombs and refuse the money.
He looked at me and said “That’s it! Your out of here right now or I am calling the Police.” I couldn’t believe it. I was in shock. I told him to go ahead and call the police because I had done nothing wrong and obeyed the rules.
The rules. Again.
I also told him I would be getting a lawyer. He did call the police and had me escorted out. I did not receive my membership fee back and it was a great embarrassment to me (especially
since I did not violate the rules).
I thought she told him to keep her f-ing membership fee? Was she embarrassed by his actions, or hers? Did I mention that she didn’t break any rules?
I intend on getting a lawyer and was hoping one of my fellow runners could suggest a good one since I will be going up against the City of Pigeon Forge. Thanks for listening to my story and any input you may have would be appreciated. In the mean time, please choose your running tracks carefully, if you are really into fitness training.
I wish I’d pursued law, just so I could offer up my services and meet this mental specimen. I’m left with only following her advice carefully because I am really into fitness training.