For the last month or so, I occasionally see a certain woman out running in my neighborhood when I'm going to or coming from home. Every time I see her, I wince. She swings her arms side to side HORIZONTALLY with her whole upper body twisting. It looks so uncomfortable and so inefficient and I worry that she has back pain that she can't understand where it's coming from.
How many of us feel like we are really aware of our running form? Probably not many of us. If you run in a social or training group with people you form friendships with, someone will probably tell you if something looks off. If you don't, how would you know?
But every once in a while I would think about this woman. She always was running in the middle of the day, in the heat, alone. Had anyone ever brought up her unusual gait?
About a week ago, I saw her again while out with my husband. I brought the critique up again and my husband joked that we should just pull up alongside her and tell her. I laughed it off.
Coming home from errands mid-morning yesterday, I arrived at the stop sign at the entrance to our neighborhood and she was u-turning in front of me to go up the street the same direction I was headed. The timing was too perfect, I couldn't ignore this anymore!
I pulled up alongside her and rolled down my window and said, "I'm sorry to bother you. I'm a runner also." She took off her headphones and stopped running. I told her that I do a fair amount of running and know a lot of runners and I've been dying to stop and ask her when I see her out running if she has any back pain while running. She was very cordial, not upset or appearing freaked out, and said, "No, not really". I jumped in to explain how uncomfortable she looked the way she swung her arms and I had feared she might have back or upper body pain. She laughed and said her husband had brought it up to her before, but she has no pain and it works for her. I apologized for stopping her and told her I was glad she was okay and wished her luck. Before I pulled away, she pointed at my Burberry purse (that I've had as a gift for about 3 years and justify it by using it as my everyday purse every day since it was bought to justify how expensive it is), and smiled and said, "I love your purse. I have the exact same bag!" I laughed and said "We both have good taste then!" and she laughed and I headed home.
Only a woman could possibly pull a car up alongside another woman running alone. If a guy had done that to me while I was running, I would have completely freaked.
And only a woman would have ended a total stranger interaction with a compliment about her handbag!
Did I overstep my bounds? I don't know. Maybe. But I know that if it was me, I would want someone to tell me!