As someone who runs every day, is often training for a race, and coaches others to run, I find myself thinking about running a lot. In fact, even when I’m not thinking or talking about running, my running language somehow still seems to permeate my conversations. This doesn’t bother me, as I hardly notice it, but I wonder if non-runners are able to understand me perfectly. Some examples:
Bell Lap – A while ago I was attending a series of meetings over four days. It was a long and tiring week for everyone involved. On the last day as everyone was having lunch, preparing themselves for the final two-hour meeting I said “okay guys, Bell Lap!” I’m sure most people understood the term, but for me, Bell Lap means more than just the fact that we’re close to the end. It means pick up the pace and finish strong – no slogging through – you can turn a bad race around here or make a good race even better. Hearing The Bell gives you a shot of adrenaline, and you need to give it all you’ve got.
Tuck in – Sometimes in life, as in running, you just have to tuck in and let the pack and your momentum carry you. When a friend is going through a rough patch in life or work, the best advice I can give is to just “tuck in” and conserve energy. It means you don’t quit or stop, but you don’t have to be at the front charging ahead and doing all the work. Sometimes in life, as in running, you just have to tuck in until you feel ready to push again.
Bonk – I don’t bonk that often in runs as I try hard to prevent it by fueling and training smart. However, I regularly ‘bonk’ while doing other things. For instance: the five errands I was supposed to run on my way back from my meeting? I bonked after number three and just couldn’t get the rest in. The three loads of laundry I told myself I’d fold? Bonked after the first. It’s just so perfectly descriptive of my state of completely running out of energy and mojo for a task.
Kick – In running I’ve never been known for my kick, but I have managed to pull off a few well-timed finishing kicks. I hold a great kick in high regard. It’s such a dramatic and precisely planned way to come out ahead. The same is true in anything. It’s the short but effective burst of energy which brings you from behind to finishing first. Behind the rest of your class in getting your term paper in? A well timed kick the night before it’s due can fix that. It’s Christmas Eve and you haven’t done any shopping yet? Just kick it in, baby – if you’re good you may still be the hero. Hosting a dinner party in two hours and your house is a mess and you have no food? Good thing you have a great kick!
Running jargon is just so perfectly descriptive for every day use. I may get some quizzical looks from people who don’t quite understand, but personally I can understand and describe life better through a running point of view.