I grew up in Puerto Rico, speaking español. While we all learned English growing up, I became truly bilingual in third grade when my parents placed me in an experimental English-immersion program at the military school I attended.
As a poor and hungry newspaper reporter and copy editor, I translated English documents into Spanish.
When my oldest son was diagnosed as hearing impaired when he was 3, I learned rudimentary American Sign Language in case he lost all of his hearing — a real possibility at the time.
What I’m trying to say is that I have some experience translating between languages and the subtleties that entails.
What does this mean for you, dear non-runner? That I’m about to translate your loved one’s runner-speak into something akin to plain English. To whit:
When your runner says: “Boy, these running shoes sure are worn down. Should I spend $120 to replace them?”
S/he really means: “I’m going shopping and you are not to complain about the cost of these shoes, so help me God.”
What s/he wants to hear: “What did the Runner’s World magazine reviewer say about those? Also appropriate: “Do they have them in your size at the local running store?”
When your runner says: “Boy, my calves are really tight and my feet hurt.”
S/he really means: “I told you I need new shoes!” Also possible: “Be a dear and go grab that foam roller for me, please.”
What s/he wants to hear: “I’ll drive you to the local running store right now.” Also appropriate: “Let me grab your foam roller for you.”
When your runner says: “I could really use a donut.”
S/he really means: “I could really use a donut.” Also possible: “I want a donut but I don’t want to feel guilty about eating it.”
What s/he wants to hear: “You just ran (insert number here) miles! Have a donut!” Also appropriate: “I’ll split one with you.”
When your runner says: “I keep running and the scale hasn’t budged. What gives?”
S/he really means: “Holy cow, I may be out-eating my running.”
What s/he wants to hear: “I’m driving to Target right now to get new batteries. That thing’s obviously not working.”
When your runner says: “Should I sign up for X, Y or Z race?”
S/he really means: “I want to do all three.”
What s/he wants to hear: “Pick the one with the best location and let’s make a weekend out of it.” Also appropriate: “Do all three.”
When your runner says: “I don’t feel like running today.”
S/he really means: “I don’t feel like running today.”
What s/he wants to hear: “Get out there. You’ll regret it if you don’t.” Also appropriate, “Don’t. Sit right there while I go grab the box of donuts from the kitchen.”
And here’s a cheat-sheet:
You’re welcome, runner lovers.