On Wednesday I went to pick up our race packets for Sunday's New Charles River Run. Katherine and I are running the 7.5 mile race and Amy is doing the 5K. I offered to pick up the packets for all three of us since I had to go downtown for errands anyway and you know, birds, stones, etc.
I waited behind this girl who seemingly could not remember her friend's names when she tried to pick up their packets (she was totally just trying to make off with the free t-shirts and Snickers Marathon bars), and tried not to be annoyed at the pretty but not very intelligent boy who was helping out with packet distribution. (He managed to spell both "Katherine" and "Kristen" spectacularly wrong and I think I saw him struggling with "Amy.")
Eventually, after many confused phone calls on the part of the girl in front of me, it was my turn.
"Hi," I said to the woman working the station, "I need to pick up three packets actually. One's mine and two for my friends who are registered."
"5K or 7.5 mile?" she asked me.
"Two 7.5 and one 5K" I said.
She looked me up and down with that elite runner appraisal, "You're the 5k." It wasn't a question.
"Um, no," I said, preparing to get all snotty if need be, "I'm a 7.5."
The "bitch, please" was implied.
"Oh," she said, barely keeping from rolling her eyes and huffing in the direction of the 7.5 boxes.
Perhaps I'm projecting. Perhaps she wasn't really looking at me and thinking, "Right. You're gonna run 7.5 miles? Sure you are." But frankly, she seemed a little judgy.
Look, I know I don't look like a typical runner. Not yet anyway. But I'm getting there. I'm semi-tall and my catcher's thighs are transforming with every mile, making my height more apparent and making it seem as though I'm taller than I am. My famously wide ribcage is shrinking which thing I NEVER thought would happen (do ribs get smaller?) and instead of being a straight stovepipe, I've gotten curvier. I bought shorts a few weeks ago because I figured I couldn't face another summer of jeans and New England humidity. Me! Shorts! This is madness.
I guess my point is, we're all a little judgy sometimes, especially when it comes to sizing up other people. Judging people is one of my favorite pastimes. But I try really hard not to do it when it comes to running because I know what people must be thinking when they look at me. And I do like proving them wrong. Amy calls it "pulling a Merrill." Taking someone's negativity - real or imagined - and using it to fuel me. She's got a point, I do that frequently.
Regardless, I hope I see that Packet Girl again on Sunday. And I hope I smoke her.