Thursday, February 7, 2013

Airport Security and Race Starting Lines

Yesterday, I was on my way home from a whirlwind trip to Atlanta (I literally had my car in parking for 1 day, 6 hours and 28 minutes ... or so the parking attendant told me).

For those of you who have never traveled to Atlanta, ATL is one of the busiest airports in the country, and it takes forever to get through security on a good day. While I was waiting in line, I noticed something.

Everyone was on their smartphones.

This isn't a phenomenon in our country these days. Our smartphones are our safety net. When we are alone, we can bury our noses in them and any and all awkwardness fades away.

But this observation made me think about how running makes everything so different.

Now, just give me a chance to make the connection.

At airport security, we are all waiting to do the same thing ... just like we are when we are at the starting line of a race.

We are waiting for someone to give us the go ahead to move forward on some type of journey.
We are often shedding clothes before we cross that "starting line".
We all have some type of paper showing that we belong where we are.
We leave our baggage in someone else's hands (well ... some of us do anyway).
Many of us are solo, and don't know the people standing next to us.

Really, there are a lot of similarities. But before the start of a race, I inevitably find myself chatting with someone else, if it's only witty comments about how hot or cold it is, where we hope to finish or even whether or not we really like the shoes/shorts/Garmin we are wearing.

There's comradery among runners, and for some weird reason, we embrace that whole-heartedly. I actually get annoyed when other runners don't wave at me as we pass ... but in airport security? Nope. We are perfectly content to stand there in silence.

Maybe it's because we are all nervous that we will get patted down (which, let's face it, is so awkward).

In any case, I guess I just wanted to say ... I'm glad I'm a runner.


  1. Whenever another runner doesn't wave at me and I get annoyed I try and give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they are at mile 21, or 15 or 7 or 1 or whatever is their limit, and just can't raise their arm or nod or smile or anything but put one foot in front of the other. I am a friendly person and I admit to hitting that point sometimes. (To be totally honest in the back of my mind I am still mad they didn't acknowledge me.)

  2. I actually high-fived two guys last Saturday. We were all running in a blizzard. It was OSOM.

  3. I'll take running over flying. The "volunteers" are a lot more cheerful, and they don't pat you down.