20 Things I Hate About Running

It all starts with a 3-legged dog.

As a way to torture me during childhood I was forced to join my dad on 5 mile runs through the woods.  I always dreaded these days because I hated running.  Frankly, I never understood the point of suffering for an hour.  I used to wonder who would be crazy enough to actually enjoy exercise.

My Parents Start Early with the Brainwashing

One day things got interesting before a run.  Right before we began our traditional father-son bonding torture session, my dad told me to watch out for “the 3-legged dog.”  Now he’s the kind of guy who makes up stories.  So naturally I didn’t believe him for a second.  That is until we pass a house and an enormous 3-legged dog comes sprinting after us.

In all likelihood, the dog was probably the size of a Chihuahua.  However I remember it being larger than a St. Bernard with the disposition of Cujo.  The funny thing was this 3-legged dog could really move.  It would take a few steps and smack its head on the ground.  But it wouldn’t give up.

It just coming after us with that eerie cadence…step, step, step, smack…step, step, step, smack.

What’s the point to this story?

This is the first significant memory I have of my love/hate relationship with running.  I eventually learned to enjoy this activity.  But I’ve also had experienced a number of bizarre and annoying things during a run that make me wonder why I continue to do it.  Which brings us to…

…My 20th Anniversary of Running

I love milestones.  In the last week I realized I’ve now hit my 20th year of being a “runner.”  Way back in 1990 I was hoodwinked into joining the high school cross country team.  Since then, I’ve had a number of amazing experiences that came from running.  But we’re not going to talk about them today.  In fact, I’d like to give 20 things that I hate about running:

#1- No World Cup Trophy: I played soccer (football) every year during my childhood.  Naturally I thought this would continue in high school.  However my parents thought I would be good at running, so they “persuaded” me to join the cross-country team.  After signing up, I was told by the coach that you couldn’t be on both the soccer and the cross-country team.  This ended a soccer career which would have culminated in hoisting the World Cup Trophy over my head.  Oh well.

#2- “Run Forrest, Run”: Okay, I get it…I’m jogging.  Just like Forrest Gump did in the movie.  You screaming “Run Forrest Run” outside of the window isn’t that original.  The movie came out sixteen years ago.  Get over it!

#3- Demon Daschunds: I lived in Mississippi for two years.  Between the heat and lack space on the roads, it’s one of my least favorite places for jogging.  And it got worse this past spring when I visited my old friends and decided to go for a run.  It was at this time when I encountered a pack of dogs I nicknamed “The Demon Dachshunds.” 

Close Call with French Dogs

#4- French Farm Dogs: Another dog story.  This past June I went for a run in the French countryside.  It was a pleasant experience until I got chased down by a pair of farm dogs the size of Wookies. Fortunately I came out with only a tiny scratch on my leg.  (See to the right)

#5- Attacked by Deer:  Dogs aren’t the only creatures that like to attack me.  During a college cross country race I had a giant buck run right at me than leap away at the last second.  I know this sounds tame but having a large deer almost run you over can be pretty freaking scary.

#6-Finishing 2nd Place: Winning a footrace is a great feeling.  Unfortunately, I haven’t experienced it very often.  Usually I’m the guy behind ‘the guy.’  In 2001 alone, I finished second place in FOURTEEN different races, in FOUR different states, over SEVEN different distances…all the way from a 5K to a Marathon.  Pretty frustrating if you ask me.

#7- Thrown Objects: Having someone yell, “Run, Forrest Run” is actually better than getting objects thrown at me.  I’ve had glass bottles, rocks, even a piece of pizza tossed in my direction during a run.  I don’t know why a guy running gets such an angry response.

#8- Bangor, Maine: When I was in high school, I went for a run in the woods in Bangor, Maine which is the hometown of horror author Stephen King.  So when I got completely lost in the woods at night, I kinda freaked out.  For over an hour I imagined that “It,” “The Tommyknockers,” and “Cujo” were all coming to get me.  So what did I do?  I decided to swim across a 200 yard swamp when I saw the city skyline on the other side.

#9- Newark Sprinters– One of my pet peeves is when a car makes a right-hand turn and doesn’t bother to look for pedestrians.  My normal reaction is to slam my fist on the hood of the car to get the driver’s attention.  This worked perfectly until I did it to a guy who got out of his car and chased me three blocks down the streets of Newark, New Jersey.  Needless to say I don’t do this anymore.

#10- Sadistic Coaches–  While we’re on the topic of Newark, my college coach would often drop us off in the worst part of Newark and then tell us to run back to school.  Talk about motivation!

A Too-Skinny Steve Scott

#11- Being Skinny– It’s hard to be a good distance runner and not look emaciated.  If you take a look at the picture to the left, you’ll probably agree that I needed to eat a little more back then.

#12- Tripping– Running makes you fatigued.  When you’re fatigued you sometimes trip and fall. Every 4 months or so, I find a way to have a spectacular wipe-out.   My personal favorite is when I turned my head to check out a girl and fell flat on my face.  She wasn’t impressed.

#13- Sweating– I know it’s disgusting, but I have really overactive sweat-glands.  If I’m running on a treadmill at the gym you better not get on the one next to me…it won’t be pretty.

#14- Guys in Spandex Shorts- They just bother me, especially when one beats me.

#15- Marathons– What kind of sadist would create a running event that’s 26 miles long?  And what type of masochist would want to participate in one?  At the end of every marathon I’ve always had a few minutes where I seriously question my sanity.

#16- The Green Mountain Marathon– While we’re talking about marathons, there’s one still haunts my dreams… The Green Mountain Marathon.  Yes, it’s a very scenic run through Vermont fall foliage.  The downside is the designers of the course decided to put a mile long hill at the 24th mile.  This was the longest seven minutes of my life.

#17- Hills- Running up hills just sucks.

#18- Dutch Cyclists– This past week I visited Amsterdam for the second time.  Now if you’ve ever been to the Netherlands, you know it’s populated by really tall people.  And these tall people ride really tall bikes.  Somewhere along the line, they decided that it’s fun to play the game of “run over jogging tourists.”  Now I get shivers whenever I hear tinkling bike bells.

#19-Extreme Weather- I’ve run through 100 degree and -10 degree weather. The same goes for hailstorms, snowy days and even a few nor’easters.  I’ve even come back with my face completely frozen over from an extremely icy day.  Once I got an awesome case of sunstroke.  While it’s fun to reenact a Nike commercial about “just doing it,” sometimes it’s not fun running through extreme weather conditions.

#20- Bruce Springsteen– Some people have wonderful memories of hearing Bruce Springsteen’s music for the first time.  I always think of the time he almost hit me with his car.

It was an icy, dreary afternoon during my run.  I was going down a long-hill when a car barreled out of a driveway and didn’t bother to look to the right (See #9). The guy didn’t notice me until the last minute and braked hard, barely stopping in time.  I slammed my fist on the car’s hood and gave “the finger” to the driver.  He gave one back.  It wasn’t until five steps later that I realized I just the finger to Bruce Springsteen. (He lives in my hometown.)

20 More Years of Running?

20 More Years of Running?

I know this post is a little tongue-in-cheek.  In all seriousness I really enjoy running.  In fact, some of the best memories from my trip through Europe come from the runs I’ve completed in different countries.

So while I’ve had some *interesting* experiences during a run, I still look forward to another 20 years.  Hopefully though…I’ll have less eventful memories.

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25 thoughts on “20 Things I Hate About Running”

  1. Steve, I too hate running. Mainly for the point you made in number 11. I’m a powerlifter, being skinny doesn’t work in my world.

    On another note, it sounds like you have an interesting relationship with all things animal. Perhaps there is some kind of cosmic issue with you and the animal kingdom. Maybe you should watch that ASPCA commercial with Sara McGlaughlin, cry a little, and donate to abused animals (That commercial is incredibly sad).

    It’s almost kind of cool that the Boss almost hit you with his car though. Cheers on a fun post my friend.

    • I am not that skinny anymore. But to try to be “world class” you almost have to look emaciated and starving like that.

      I think any avid runner likely can tell you some interesting stories about animal “attacks”. At least I hope that I am not the only one. Maybe I should just stop running with a juicy T-bone tied around my waist, though

  2. Hey Steve,

    I am guessing you are a very skilled and experienced runner. If I go to the Air Force Academy, I will be running A LOT. Could you please give me some tips on how to run better? Things like good techniques, heel toe for long distance, toe for short( correct me if I am wrong on that), and proper breathing( in through nose out through mouth?), and anything else you think you could tell me so that I could become a better runner?

    At the moment I only run a 6 40 mile. I have run up to 4 miles at a time but no more than that. I really do not like running at all haha, but maybe I will if I learn how to do it better.

    P.S. How also is it possible to keep going for 24 miles+? I am pretty dam tired after 4.



    • Well a few tips:

      1. Like Nike says: just do it. Very basically to improve running 2x a week try to do distance. since you want to improve at 4 do 5 miles for a while bump it to 6 and ultimately 7. One day a week try to do hills (maybe 3 miles to start) try you best run as fast as you can on the ups and recover and slow on the downs. 1 day a week work on speed. Do 3-4 miles on a track sprint strait-aways recover on the curves.

      2. Those should build up strength and endurance. It is a pretty basic routine, but a good one to “start” with.

      3. If you can on one of those distance days try to go really far. Like 8-10 miles. Do it really slow if you have to. Do it at a comfortable pace where you can easily hold a conversation while running

      4. Speaking of pace. You should always run where it is just a little hard to talk. Not so out of breath you are gasping but more than a (talking) pace …unless it is that long run

      as for technique. It is hard to say. do what is comfortable. If you know a runner have them “watch” your run. There are definite techniques, but you need to see how a person does it “naturally” to tell

      Finally… Running in formation is a little different too. It will clip your stride a lot, sometimes making running more difficult too. Just FYI there.

      Basically after saying all of that, the best way to improve (starting out) is just to do it regularly 3-4 times a week at least. Push your self a little on speed some days and distance the others.

  3. I too have a love/hate relationship with running. Mine is usually hate when I start, and love when I finish. I have only ran a half-marathon, but I am planning (hoping) to run the NYC marathon next year if I can stay injury free.


  4. Hi Steve,

    LOL on more than a few of your experiences. You seem to have attracted a menagerie of wildlife 😉 As for the Newark bit, I hear you. When in my psycho weightlifting/modeling/running days I would run at 2:30 in the morning in parts of Plainfield that weren’t so nice. I heard gun shots in the vicinity on more than one occasion.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences and have a good one.


  5. My body is built for sprinting, not long distance running. I was very fast on the football field, but middle of the pack or worse in a 5K. I occasionally lope for 200-300 yards so my body remembers how to run, and I do some short sprints on the tennis court on the occasional times I play that sport, but long-distance running is definitely in my past.

    I salute you for your dedication and success, even if you did get a lot of second-place finishes.

  6. A lot of it is what you train your body for. Some people thought I looked like a sprinter, but I really wasn’t. That would actually be what hurt me in a lot of races. I would save something for a kick at the end and try to compete, but run into guys who could just simply sprint faster than me at the end.

    A lot of times sports and exercise is all based around what you are just good at.

  7. I hate that ‘Run Forest Run’ line! The worst thing is that people think they are so original when they yell it out to you. I wouldnt mind a few insults every now and again as long as there was a bit of variety lol.

  8. For me, I hated cross country when I was a kid. I really hated it. Then for some reason about 10 years ago (I can’t even remember why or when it happened) I decided to ‘do a half marathon’.

    I trained and trained. I even did a reasonable time (under 2 hours) but I didn’t enjoy it.

    Then I joined a running club and I started to make good progress in my performance. But I didn’t really enjoy it.

    Then, I went to Paris. In fact I went to Paris twice in a month and then suddenly I got running. In fact I started to love it.

    I think it must have been the inspiring architecture, the river and the monuments. Something just clicked and I started really liking it. That year I did an 1 hour 40 in the same half marathon.

    The next year funnily enough I ran less, but in a more focussed way. 10 miles on a Tuesday 2-3 miles on Wednesday and 5 miles on a Saturday. Then nearer the race day, I ran a few longer runs.

    That year, I just missed out on breaking 1hr 30, achieving 1hr 32.

    Sadly 2 years ago I dislocated my knee and I’ve only just been able to start to get back into running. Which is a slow process to get restarted.

    I don’t know if my knee will ever let me run a half marathon again, but I’m happy to be able to just build it into my programme.

    One thing I would add about running is that it is so accessible. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever play football (soccer) with David Beckham, but it’s quite possible to be running with one of the great Kenyan or Ethiopian runners (albeit probably not for long)

    • Though I made light of it, I love running and have had quite a few incredible experiences and achievements while doing it. Like many forms of exercises once you get “into it” it can be extremely addicting. Sorry to hear about your injury, right as you were really starting to get good and enjoy it.

      One of the great things about running is that you can be the rankest newcomer and run with the best. Like you said..perhaps not for long, but at least in the same competition

  9. Oh man, you gave the boss the finger.

    This is crazy how many odd experiences you’ve had with running; I’d say keep doing it not just to stay fit but because you never know what you’ll run into (or have thrown at you) on your next run.

    As for running, as you can see, I am a finely tuned fitness machine. Kinda. Not really.

  10. Scott,

    I can relate, my parents did not force me to run but my teachers did and I took part on a few fund raising event when I was in school. I was and still am bad runner! I like helping out causes but walking marathon works better for me.

    You seemed to be doing good running and I know this tongue in cheek post for fun! Keep up great work!

  11. I actually quite like “Run Forrest Run” Steve, it makes me smile. 🙂 The one I find boring is “keep those knees up”.

    What’s your best Marathon time Steve? I noticed you can run a 7 minute hill at mile 24, so I’m guessing it’s quite sharp. 8)

    You must have run in some rough areas, I don’t think I have ever had anything chucked at me?……. I’ve just remembered one time when a bunch of kids were on the opposite bank of a river, and started throwing stones at me. The river meant that I couldn’t get at them, so I walked away with as much dignity as possible. 🙄

    Keep these running posts coming Steve.


  12. Great stories. I’m glad I stumbled upon this site. The 3 legged dog was a classic. My coworkers all gave me dirty looks for busting out in laughter in the office. Ooops

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