Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde

I’m a fairly mild-mannered, some would even say timid, person. I was raised to be afraid of strangers from a young age, and so when I’m out walking around in the world I give any odd behavior a wide berth.For example, a couple of months ago I was out walking with my husband and about a block ahead I saw that a cop had pulled over a car and the person was out of the car ranting and raving on the sidewalk. I turned around right there and walked away quickly. My husband was baffled that I would be scared, and it’s not that I’m scared, it’s that I don’t like unpredictable behavior and if somebody is going to snap, I don’t want to be involved or even nearby.

When I’m walking alone with my headphones on I will jump at loud noises – if a loud motorcycle revs its engine I have been known to bodily flinch at the unexpected stimulus. It’s my nature, and it’s how I’ve always been. I give strangers a wide berth when walking in deserted areas, and for the most part I don’t tend to interact in any way when passing other pedestrians – I don’t initiate a smile or greeting, however if the person looks non-sketchy I will return such an overture.

But when I’m out running, whoa Nelly hold the phone! It’s like I’m a completely different person. I am in charge, I am aggressive and I am not afraid of anybody. Something about the physical action of being in motion and working my body hard makes me fearless. And it’s a good thing too, because I encounter a lot of really stupid behavior out of other humans out on the road. I regularly have to correct a stupid driver who doesn’t bother to check both directions before pulling across a driveway. If I’m running and you pull your giant truck into a crosswalk I’m halfway through and nearly hit me I will pound your vehicle with a fist and should “OY! PAY ATTENTION ASSHOLE!” and then cross in front of your stupid chrome grill giving you the “Your mother must be so disappointed” look. If your dog lunges at me and trips me up while I’m running, I will call you out on your lapse and loudly question why you own a dog you can’t control.

I don’t think any of this is unwarranted either. If you don’t look both ways before crossing a pedestrian walkway, you deserve to be yelled at. If you can’t keep your dog from lunging at passersby, you deserve to be called out. But I sure don’t do it when I’m walking, I don’t feel powerful when I’m walking and I’m afraid to provoke a confrontation. For some reason when I’m running I’m invincible. On the flipside, I’m also more likely to smile and greet you with a “Good morning!” when I’m out running than when I’m walking.

I don’t particularly have an opinion on whether this is good or bad, it’s just something I’ve noticed. Something about working hard makes me feel powerful and less fearful of others. Yesterday I saw this article, and maybe it’s related in some way: Want a 9% Raise? Hit the Gym Because everyone knows that climbing the corporate ladder requires aggressive, dominant behavior.

Anyway…6.2 miles today. 85 minutes, ~1000 calories. Now I know I’m ready to run a 10K now anytime I choose to (if I choose to).


7 Responses to “Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde”

  1. stephenedwards425 Says:

    You and my wife must have some eerily common ancestry…any missing daughters in your family? She flinches at loud noises, will go blocks out of her way to avoid possible unfriendly people, and once burst out crying when a police car coming at us on the other side of the road turned his lights on (had nothing to do with us).

    However, encounter the woman out running…and she is a machine. Before a race she is scoping out the women who might be in her age division and looking for possible physical/psychological weaknesses. In a race she will mow you down like unwanted weeds in her flower garden. After the race she will spend days evaluating how she could have improved her time.

    Somewhere there is a behavioral psychologist, with research dollars, waiting to meet the two of you.

    Now lets pick up that 13 minute pace and REALLY get aggressive!

    Be encouraged!

    • Laina Says:

      She sounds awesome! But I wouldn’t want to race her!
      We’ll see about the pace…I suspect that as I continue getting back into running shape it will improve.

  2. Caron Says:

    I walk in a neighborhood where everyone is 55 or older and I’ve walked there for almost four years. People should know me but I still get the cold shoulder when I smile and sing out “Good Morning.” Honestly, the men are worse than the women to turn their heads the other way or march straight ahead as if they did not hear me. I told my daughter that maybe they are tired of being pursued by single women in our subdivision since they are way out numbered.

    I hate to admit that it makes me feel kind of foolish and I try to remember those who will not speak so I don’t make the same mistake twice. So now I read your blog and I’m thinking maybe I look scary or something. I’m sure I’ll never solve the mystery. Sigh.

    • Laina Says:

      I’m positive you don’t look scary. Getting the brush off is another reason I don’t often initiate a greeting when out and about. 😦 But I will always reciprocate! Not to would just be rude!

  3. Andie Says:

    Awesome run!

  4. Donna Says:

    Another reason to encourage young girls in athletics … it gets them hooked on the empowered feeling that comes with physical activity so that they are less likely to fall into timid so-called feminine behavior.

  5. Amy Says:

    I’m loud and aggressive all the time, but mess with me after the gym and prepare to be f%@#ed up! And I agree with Donna.

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