Nothing irritates me more than when people dismiss you and/or your knowledge because you don’t “look like” you would know what they were talking about. I’m a runner. I’m not long or lean but nevertheless, I’m a runner. I don’t run fast but I do run. I’m also a cyclist and Triathlete but this rant is more about runners and our culture. I don’t like running with people because if they don’t have good energy (meaning, if I don’t get the warm and fuzzies when I talk with you, umm, chances are your Chi is off) then I’m uncomfortable and feel awkward. So, I was at a Sunday run and as I was trotting in, another faster runner came back and ran in with me. While I appreciated the gesture, I didn’t want it but remember the hand over the mouth deal with God, so on we went. When the rest of the runners had returned, there was conversation about the gear myself and another runner was wearing. The runner who ran in with me made the comment, “you probably don’t know Ryan” now, I don’t like to embarrass people because remember, I’m sensitive, so I said, chippily, “no, I know Ryan, he’s the pancake guy in the Nissan ads” her lips said nothing, her eyes did the “look up/down” as if to say, YOU know who he is. See, it’s preconceived notions of what constitutes normal that makes me want to roundhouse kick to head some people. When I set out on a journey, I do my research. In running, I have spring/summer and fall/winter gear, shoes, magazines, articles, in other words, whatever my interest at the time, I immerse myself in the culture. Too bad the culture doesn’t do the same. When MLK gave his speech, he should have included the athletic and non-athletic, fat and skinny, slow and fast, etc. Because I ‘clare fo Lord (circa Bernie Mac) just because I don’t look like what you think I should look like doesn’t mean I’m not getting it done. On race day, when it’s 40 below or pushing 100 degrees, we are all the same. Sweaty, funky, grumpy, hungry gazelles, hippos, and giraffes, spitting, farting and jockeying for position to make it back to our pride. My kick may not be as high, my strides may not hit 180 but I am no less a runner. Doing my best Jay-Z — blasting T.I “you might see in the street but remember you don’t know me. Save all the hatin’ and that poppin’ remember, you don’t know me” as I brush you off my shoulder.