Earlier this week I had the unpleasant experience of being all too close to the line of fire when a nearby runner decided to clear his throat by spitting on the street. Right. In. Front. Of. My. Feet.
Now don't get me wrong... Show me a runner who claims to never spit on the run, and I'll show you someone who either A - is fibbing, B - hasn't been running long enough, or C - has an elevated sense of social propriety that puts the rest of us to shame. (For more on the pros and cons of the most controversial running etiquette, see Adam Goucher's excellent blog here.)
So, yes, I accept that spit happens.
What I don't accept is that there is any excuse for not looking before you spew saliva. That, mister, is just gross.
So I did what I most love to do in situations like this. I took a deep breath, leaned into my stride, and beat the pants off the offender... chirping a little "passing on your left" at him as I rolled by and left him in the dust. Being good and truly pissed off works wonders for my pacing.
I suppose I could have said something specific to him about his spitting, but that always risks coming across as cranky (particularly when you're still in the rear), so I chose to take my anger out on the pavement.
... now if I could just channel that kind of anger into my pacing on my next race!
(but without the spit)
Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Archive