“Don’t Judge Us” originally appeared in the Sept/Oct 2013 issue of Level Renner.
by Muddy Puddin’
Let’s face it. We’re all a little long in the tooth to be composing the age-old, back to school, five hundred word essay How I Spent My Summer Vacation. In fact, a simple dissertation such as this wouldn’t be very interesting at all for we know how all members of The Legion spent their summer—running! Yet, though we are dedicated harriers, it is just not physically feasible for us to run 24 hours a day. At some point we have to bite the bullet and, after maybe showering and definitely rehydrating, melt back into society and deal with “them.” The others, aka non-runners, are a wide and diverse cohort of individuals whose only requirement for membership is non-ambulation. To be sure, at some point this summer, you were forced to attend backyard BBQs, birthday parties, and family gatherings. Undoubtedly, during these revelries, you were judged by a non-runner. This person most likely, at some point during the conversation, had a comment for you about running being detrimental to you, or perhaps they even gave you the smug half-smile and brief head shake that implies: “you’re crazy” or “you’ll just get hurt.”
This frustrating experience can be difficult to handle. Although they are brief and usually non-antagonistic, these repartees can grow quite tiresome over the course of 2-4 hours in a partially shaded backyard. Although I’m trying not to stereotype stationary pupils, (I’m constantly trying to teach my three children not to judge anyone), I need to vent. This has been building inside me all summer, nay for over a decade, so I apologize in advance. Chances are you’ve endured similarly frustrating encounters as well.
…So, seriously you sedentary slugs, the next time our paths cross, please don’t judge us. Don’t judge us because we run “all the time” and talk about running half the time. Sorry, but we’re gregarious by nature and quite knowledgeable and passionate about the subject that is most near and dear to our hearts.
Don’t judge us because we run doubles. Nothing says fitness and fun like a hard morning effort followed up by an evening shakeout. We’re sorry for the massive loads of sweaty running laundry but not sorry enough to stop. We’ll take the blame for that one but still, please try not to pass judgment, especially since you don’t wash our shorts.
Don’t judge us because we turn down that extra beer, cognizant of our impending brutal track workout at sunrise the following morning. On the other side of the coin, don’t judge us because we do have that extra beer (or three) given that we already killed our workout earlier in the day. And while we’re in the realm of ingestion, don’t judge us because we turn down double cheeseburgers and fries and instead opt for grilled salmon over salad. And please don’t be shocked when we have that latter meal but also chase it with those two burgers and a generous amount of fries and possibly some ice cream. We’re fresh off a 20 miler and despite feeling like a million bucks we’re also paradoxically a glowing furnace, starving for fuel.
Don’t judge us because our bodies are constantly worn out and beaten down. So what if we have purple and black toenails that are disgusting yet somehow badges of honor? Sorry but we’re still going to wear flip flops to the party because that’s what renners do! Instead, just be happy that we’re not lying down sleeping in a comatose state, with a bag of partially melted ice attached somewhere to our bodies.
Don’t judge us because we spend an obscene amount of money on race entries and running gear. Shoes are a given but we also need shorts, compression socks, tech shirts, BodyGlide, GPS watches—the list goes on and on. And if it seems like we are constantly clad in old race T-shirts, it’s because we are. If this makes us appear as wandering vagabonds who care little about their appearance, look at the bright side: at least we’re not bumming money from you or mooching food. We’re a self-sufficient bunch, trained to make it on our own… you wouldn’t happen to have any ibuprofen would you? 600 mg should be fine.
Don’t judge us because we have toned muscles and low body fat. We have worked and continue to work, very hard for this. In all honesty, most of us are not working directly towards these morphological goals, they’re just ancillary benefits. Our ultimate goal is fitness first, sexiness second. But I suppose if you do have to judge a little bit, do you like the way these pants fit over my sculpted quads?
Before I become too nasty and turn into a monster of adjudication, please just don’t judge us, the legion of runners. Instead, come for a run with us. We’re not judging anyone then. We’re not smug and we’re never condescending. We’re encouraging, helpful, supportive. All we’re doing is gaining fitness, making friends, chiseling our bodies, strengthening our muscles, lowering our PR’s, improving our cardiovascular efficiency, increasing our flexibility, adding years onto our lives, and just being all around awesome. But you probably already cast your verdict didn’t you?
Muddy judges no one except himself. To read more of his articles, peruse through our back issues. Muddy is always a good read.