I have been meaning to write this post for awhile and, since I have recently started running again, this seems like a good time.
Once you start running, almost immediately you become part of the running community. You will actually smile at other runners. You will feel like you are surrounded by friends in a pre-race corral. If you are like me, you may find yourself chatting up total strangers during a race. The running community is a great place.
Once you start running, you will also discover the haters. I am not sure what it is about running that angers so many people, but it does. You will discover that one out of ... oh lets say 20 drivers will beep at you and yell at you to get out of the road. Even when there is no sidewalk. You will hear constant criticism for "running in the middle of the road" when in fact you are running in a breakdown lane. You will get flipped off. Repeatedly.
I have had a group of pre-teens throw rocks at me. I have had a car full of adult men actually pull over and pretend to shoot me. I had one particular fellow drive his motorcycle in my direction, do a wheelie and attempt to kick me in the head. I have had numerous people shout what I am sure they believe are creative insults at me while they drive by at break-neck speed (FYI - I can't actually hear what you are saying, silly drivers).
Like in all other instances, you cannot control how other people behave. You cannot control how they feel. All you can do is control how you react to them. I am afraid that, at times, I react just as badly to these haters. I have flipped off countless cars while running. I have yelled back. I have actually hit a window of a car during a race because I was so bothered by the driver. Ugh. None of those reactions is pleasant.
The guy who tried to kick me in the head...I didn't even look at him. Better. The guys who stopped to shoot me? I gave them a thumbs up and laughed. Much better.
It is hard sometimes not to react immediately and equally to bad behavior. It is a practice. Thankfully, all those running haters out there give me lots of practice.