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My goal to pop out of bed bright and early for longer runs hasn’t happened yet. Right now I’m going out midafternoon because that’s when it’s warmest. Yeah, that’s right. It’s nothing to do with early morning sleepiness. Hard to imagine that in a few months I’ll go back to timing runs around peak shade and cool breezes, but warmer days will be here soon.

The increase in cyclists tells you spring is near. I don’t mind sharing the park with them EXCEPT when they decide to hop into the peanut gallery. Just yesterday I received some charming running advice from a guy in what looked like a spandex onesie coasting on a bike. His wise words were… “Don’t stop, stupid.”

I assumed this was directed at me because there was nobody else around and I had stopped. I was about to tie my shoe again (they come undone more often in the cold for some reason), but maybe that wasn’t obvious. It doesn’t really matter. There’s nothing wrong with stopping. Still, I played his words on repeat the rest of the run trying to think of a circumstance when I’d say that someone who wasn’t being chased by something pointy.

This has only happened one other time. I was running on the boardwalk in Brighton with a friend, hopping over loose nails and raised boards, when a severely over-tanned, topless Russian man advised us to go faster as he zipped by. We laughed him off because in his own brusque way he was maybe trying to help.

Granted, coming from the right abrasive friend “Don’t stop, stupid” would probably make me laugh, but not from a stranger. While instructive, “Don’t stop, stupid” doesn’t help. Imagine if the usual encouragements were punctuated with “stupid”. Simple phrases like “Looking strong, stupid” and “Good job, stupid” lose their cheer.

Coincidentally CBS Sunday Morning did a story this week on why negative criticism sticks with us. The expert said we’re all walking around with cave man brains, and back in the day remembering negative criticism was critical for survival. Today our minds still learn more from bad experiences than good ones.

I guess that’s why I double tied my laces today.

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