Last weekend on our 1:45hr long run, we decided to ditch our trusty Nathan Fuel/Water belts and run a route that has water along the way (i.e. gas stations). As much as I really do like my nathan belt and it doesn’t bounce around all that much, I don’t love wearing it in the hotter months. It stays in place if I’m wearing a tshirt, but if I ditch the shirt to run in my sports bra instead, the belt starts to bounce.
Anyways, in all my years of running and stopping by gas stations, the attendants have always let me grab a tiny cup of water from the fountain. I know I can’t be the only one that has done that…
50 minutes until our run, Weez and I got to the first gas station (of two) along our preplanned route. We were hot, sweaty, and clearly thirsty-looking runners. No one else was in the station, and I asked the attendent if we could share one small cup to grab some water from the fountain. She looked really bothered by our request and hesitated to say yes.
I was about to say “that’s okay, thank you though..” and leave, when she grabbed a tiny cup (like, one of those litte 10oz. mouth-wash-type cups) and half-filled it for us from a sink near the register.
Weez and I shared the two-sip cup of water, and sincerely thanked her. As soon as we left, I couldn’t help but feel a little dejected. I was really thirsty and wished we could have had another sip or two or ten. I wondered why she gave us so little, and why she looked so bothered by our request.
We decided to try again at the second gas station 10 minutes later. We ran in, I took my sunglasses off to ask the attendent kindly if we could please use a cup to have some water, and he flat out said “no”.
He told us we could buy a cup for $0.32, then get water but only if we pay. We didn’t have any money on us, but we really needed the water. It was 90 degrees that day. We were a hot mess. So I did what any desperate runner would do… I went to the restroom and drank water from the tap.
It sounds gross, but come on, we’re in America. Water is generally safe here (especially in green, straight-from-the-rockies-Boulder). And 50bucks says it comes from the same water source as the fountain or sink in the station.
We thanked the attendant on the way out and finished the rest of our run under the blazing sun.
The whole asking-for-water-at-gas-stations thing got me thinking… have times changed? Is it rude (in America) to ask for free water (and the cup, of course) now? It definitely didn’t use to be that way, at least in all the other states/cities I’ve run in before. Should we have just carried money instead? I don’t blame the attendants – they were just doing their jobs. There’s probably protocol now, telling the employees not to give out free water anymore or something. It’s not the water loss that costs the company, it’s the price for the cups. I get that.
Regardless, it’s changed my mentality about asking for water. From now on, we’ll be carrying cash on us if we don’t want to carry our water belts. Lesson learned, I guess!
Do you guys ever stop by gas stations for water during a run? Have you ever been charged for the cup/water?