Runners' speak

Like most sports, running is loaded with jargon. Tempo, repeats, rabbit, splits, kick, bonk, chub rub, and the list goes on. It's part of the mystique of the sport: a lexicon full of sometimes funny words (fartlek) that usually don't clearly describe what they are meant to describe until you learn the meanings from the running community. Essentially, it's a bit of the initiation--kinda like runner's trots.

Conversely, you have to be well-versed in running to start adding to the lexicon. For example, Nitmos introduced limbo runs and Vanilla introduced chicked. Although I'm pretty sure the latter has existed for a while, Vanilla was just the one who brought it to running.

I've had my own modest addition to runners' speak. Playing off chicked, I coined the far more embarassing geriatricked, meaning to be passed by someone roughly the age of your grandparents while running. It hasn't caught on, which I'm assuming is because being geriatricked is a rare occurance rather than people shunning my creative word play skills.

Anywho, there is another running term that I've coined using my crazy good word play skills: unearned downhill. I came up with this term while I was running the Great Bay Half-Marathon last April--why it look me so long to share I really don't know. In the second mile of the race there was a steep 40-foot downhill drop in the course--however, the course hadn't gone over any hills yet. Technically, I was running a downhill section that was very easy without having to run a tough uphill section first. I hadn't "earned" the easy downhill because I hadn't put in the climb first.

At the moment I found it really annoying because it put a big acceleration ramp before the mile two marker--and you just shouldn't have that on a Half-Marathon course. It either forces you to start burning through your brakes early, or, if you're less experienced, creates a false speed impulse, which is not a good strategy so early in a race.

The other thing that bothered me about this unearned downhill was that I would have to earn it later in the course. I knew the race passed through that very same street on the way back to the finish--immediately after the mile 12 marker. Sure enough, it was killer passing through there so close to the end. And this would be the case with most unearned downhills: you have to earn it later and it's going to suck because you'll always be more fatiqued.

There you have it: unearned downhills. Use it. Love it. Credit my mad word skills for it. Just don't get caught running one.


Jess said...

I like it! I will most certainly circulate the term.

Irish Cream said...

HA, okay I am still laughing about geriatricked--but I like unearned downhill too. I'll definitely start using them both, and of course, give you credit ;)

FLYERS26 said...

Very good, I must just have to steal that one.

RunToFinish said...

geriatricked...omg, that is so what happens to me like every racE!

Nitmos said...

Ha! Here's another example of unearned downhill: walking up the uphill before running down the downhill (see: me, Boston, April 2008)

Adam said...

Wow, how true is that.

BTW - a huge hill on mile 12!? wow, that sucks.

I need to start using Chicked and Geriatricked more often. It sure does happen to me a lot!!