Yesterday I went to dinner to catch up with my buddy from the math department, and he told me this story about how he ran the city marathon in 2 hours, 59 minutes. That’s an amazing time. He was 19th out of thousands.
He was doing pretty well for the first half, but then his ankle started to hurt. He slowed down for a bit, but then this girl he passed before passed him, and he started overthinking whether or not it was awkward to pass the same person multiple times, and, like, what if they small-talked about it? He decided it was better to pass her and stay ahead, so he picked up the pace. A few miles later, he fell in with two dude-bros who started talking to him. Not pleased to find himself in the company of dude-bros, he pulled ahead once again. This continued for a while; every time he got closed to a group of other marathoners, his social anxiety kicked in and he ran faster because he felt nervous being near people.
TL;DR A mathematician ran an record marathon to avoid making small-talk with randos. He introverted his way into qualifying for the Boston marathon.