To the Stranger Who High-Fived Me During My Run

To the Stranger Who High-Fived Me During My Run

In an effort to get rid of my food baby, I went for a run “with” Jason last week (“with” meaning we left the house at the same time, then I promptly waved goodbye at his back as he shoomed away). I’m heavier and slower than my lean-yet-nightmarishly-tanned version from last summer, but I tried to stay positive as I set out to conquer the hilly 6.5 mile loop.

My pace was slow but steady, and I settled into a decent groove, enjoying the crisp air that was warm enough to warrant running in a t-shirt, yet chilly enough so I wouldn’t overheat. I quickly zoned out into my “zen mode,” where I let the stresses of the day dissolve and let my thoughts wander to and from any number of topics. I used to run with my old iPod “Classic,” but after I left that bad boy on a plane, I got used to running without music and just let my inner monologue keep me company.

I trudged on, totally zonked out, and soon approached the Pagliacci on 10th and Miller. I was staring straight ahead down the sidewalk and wiping some sweat off my nose when I noticed someone standing off to the side. I’m not sure if he was waiting for a bus or getting ready to cross the street, but when he saw me his face lit up and he shot his hand up in the air. Confused, I focused on him and my brain, thinking this guy knew me, searched its reserves for a name. Who is this dude? Is he a TN Multisports teammate? Have I worked with him?

Brain: “Scanning for recognition…scanning…scanning…scanning…”

Me: “…well? Do I know him?”

Brain: “…scanning…”

Me: “Ugh, brain, you are the worst.”

Brain: “Don’t rush me! You’ve got a lot of useless shit in here. Do you really need to know the theme song to The Golden Girls?”

Me: “I don’t need your judgment. And I will not thank you for being a friend right now because you’re seriously letting me down here. How the hell we got through college is beyond me.”

Brain: “Whatever…anyway, yeahhhh, we don’t know this guy.”

After finally establishing I did not know this man who was standing on the sidewalk with his hand outstretched, I hesitated, not exactly comprehending what he wanted from me. My eyes flickered up to his hand, which he held rigid, and he exclaimed, “You rock!”

And then I realized that all this dude wanted was to high-five me because I was out running. I smiled, smacked his hand with mine, and shouted, “Thanks!” As I ran off, he called after me, “You’re doing great!” and I grinned all the way down the street.

Of course, as I replayed the scene back in my head, my warm fuzzies gave way to intense neurotic shame as I remembered one crucial detail:

I scratched my nose to wipe the sweat away, then I used that same hand to high-five him.





And then I couldn’t stop thinking about this scene:

So for the remainder of my run, my emotions alternated between feeling happy over a stranger’s random act of awesomeness and embarrassed by the potentially misunderstood nose itch. But ultimately, my happiness edged out over the shame (barely), so I wanted to author an open letter to the Guy Standing in Front of the Pagliacci on 10th:

Dear Guy Standing in Front of the Pagliacci on 10th,

A few things:

  1. You’re a handsome dude. I have an awesome boyfriend though, so I shall not be hitting that any time soon (well, anything other than the outstretched hand).
  2. Your spontaneous decision to high-five me during what was otherwise a mundane run really made my day, especially since I’ve been feeling slow, chunky, and unmotivated lately.
  3. The world needs more people like you in it.
  4. Thank you.
  5. Also, that was totally a nose itch and not a snot rocket or a booger hunt. Please believe me. Admittedly, I’ve done much grosser things in front of people (like peeing through my tri shorts or accidentally shooting snot rockets onto teammates), but I own up to these disgusting acts, damnit.
  6. Anyway, thanks again. You’re a cool guy, and I hope good karma finds its way back to you soon.


This Mediocre Athlete


5 Responses to “ “To the Stranger Who High-Fived Me During My Run”

  1. Encouragement from random strangers is the absolute best! That happened to me twice on a recent 20-miler and I am not sure how I would have finished without those kind strangers cheering me on!

  2. Vixen says:

    This is an awesome post.. and I can absolutely relate to the internal monologue. Thank you! 🙂

  3. Holly KN says:

    Sometimes those little things make all the difference! He definitely should have some good karma coming his way.

    And I doubt he even noticed the nose scratch…so stop over-analyzing it. =)

  4. danielle says:

    high fives to you for this post, rock star you! some peeps are just cool like that and literally are in awe of human beings that move any faster than a stroll… you probably amazed this guy, and he felt compelled to cheer you on. but okay, i’d totally mind fuck myself as well. things like this don’t happen enough, and when they do it’s easy to think why? who? me? yeahhh girl, you are preachin to the choir – anytime a stranger makes a totally random/spontaneous kind gesture i always think of some sinister or embarassing scene… it must be the asian thing?! i’ll never forget the first time a stranger shouted “good job” at me during a race – i was like, who, me??? really???? yes! i am grrrrrreat! and then wondered immediately if this person noticed my snaught all over one side of my arm or wrist.

  5. Misty says:

    I remember the first time something like that happened to me. i was gleeful all day long, beleiving I was now the member of a secret club.
    I found your blog while my hubby was searching for race reports about the Squak mountain marathon, which I am running tomorrow. In the rain. Great. Did I mention I’m from the desert? Anyway, you rock.

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