On turning into a grumpy old fart (or maybe just remembering the good old days)

Since today was the 4th of July, Chuck and I headed up bright and early this morning to run the Pacific Palisades Will Rogers race. This was the 33rd year for the race, and I think five or six for me, and who know for Chuck. It’s advertised as a neighborhood run, but over time has grown and now even has timing chips. And herein lies my story.

I’ve been running races for, well shoot, 34 years or so. Over the course of those years I’ve seen a lot of changes take place in the running and racing world. It’s been a bit seesaw-ish, sometimes running was replaced by aerobics, or rollerskating, or disco dancing as the happening way to get fit. But over the past ten years or so there has been a steady increase in the popularity of running (and racing). That’s a good thing, right? Sort of. The downside of it is that there’s been a real trend away from serious racing to a more casual let’s just go out there and have some fun, take the kids and heck even bring the dog(s)! And don’t observe even the most common of courtesies and get out of people’s way. Stuff like that.

Take today for instance: and I have to, at least to some extent, blame the race organizers. As I said, they advertise this as a neighborhood race. You have a pretty big ass neighborhood when 2,500 folks show up, and you use timing chips and charge $45 per head to run. But that’s cool. What’s not, in my mind anyway, is that the organizers persist in letting people with dogs and people with strollers mix it up with the general running population. The first two miles or so of the race are pure mayhem where the main goal is to stay upright and not get run into. Two years ago (this isn’t a new problem) I was shoved to the ground in the first 50 yards, and the idiot who did it just kept right on going. Because he was so going to win that race! (Not.) Grrr.

I know, I should shut up and just enjoy the race or quit doing it if it’s so annoying. I think that’s what we’ll do next year, or find a local race that nobody know about (and then I won’t write about it). I also realize that I am really sounding like an old grump in this post. Argh!! Not only that, I’ve become a SLOW grumpy old fart!!