I love Charleston. People come from not only all over the Lower 48, but the world to see our Colonial styled houses and cobble stone side streets by way of one of our carriages drawn by our very weak boweled horses. For any readers not familiar with the downtown area, the main shopping strip is King St. between Calhoun St. and Queen St. It's a little over half a mile of clothing stores, cool places to eat and an Apple Store. Year round, the foot traffic is heavy and the street itself is hardly wide enough for the two lanes it bolsters, making a wait at every light. The sidewalks are made of large, uneven flat stones that look like they were placed in the same fashion you waste time flicking a deck of cards at a cup. Watching the girls who decided to keep their heels on try to walk home after a night out on these stones is perhaps one of my favorite pastimes. Wobbling like a newborn fawn, trying to keep up with "Alexis" or "Madison" they look like they're walking on chopsticks.
"She's got it, she's got it! Wait....wait.... DOWN GOES FRAZIER!"
Why then, would this stretch be one of the most popular places to jog? Without fail, if you stand anywhere on this part of King St you will see runner after runner jog by in their brand new, neon color coordinated outfits and matching shoes. There's a part of me that wants to give anyone respect who can run in July at 4PM. In South Carolina. But, the other part of me, the part that likes to make fun of everything that moves, finds it ironic that these runners find it necessary to run here.
As a runner myself, this idea sounds like a nightmare. When I run, or attempt to, the last thing I want is to be around people who are going to judge me on everything they see, kinda like I do. Top that off with a narrow street full of drivers from Ohio and Texas who are only used to sharing the road with white tail deer and the occasional opossum and uneven, chopped up stones for a running surface and it's starting to sound like something out of Dante's Inferno.
My only conclusion is that runners who choose to brave all of these perils have one, non-fitness oriented goal in mind; to be seen. Why else would you run down King St? There are miles and miles of smooth streets with little to no traffic that provide the exact same opportunity to fight off dad's genetic gift of heart disease or sweat out last night's bad decision to mix a copious amount of PBR and "Ok just one more fireball shot." Just ask me, I know all the good side streets to run on that are as far away from people as possible that could see my stride and what looks like someone getting shot with a taser gun and stumping their toe at the same time. Plus, I'm usually singing word for word some upbeat song that keeps my mind off how much I want to quit, like......Hanson's "Mmmbop."
Say what you will, once you get past the embarrassment of the fact that you know every single word, that song will shave at least 45 seconds off your mile time.
Ok, maybe not for this guy.
I guess if I spent $80 on a pair of shorts at Lululemon then I would want to show them off too, and, as ridiculous as it may seem to run down King St. at least these people are running. They could be in a coffee shop, hipster watching and writing in a blog while housing cup after cup of iced tea, so kudos, or whatever.