Monday, September 12, 2005

My running club

I’ve been getting up at 6:00ish every Saturday for the last few months to pound out my long training runs. It’s a great time to be running because the temperature’s cool, the lakefront trail isn’t clogged with pedestrians, and Dubya is usually out cheering everybody on and passing out FEMA directorships to the runners who don’t spit on him.

And even though I quickly get lost in my zone when I’m doing these runs, a few other runners consistently pop out at me week after week. They’re like members of a running club that’s so secret, they don’t even know they belong. And the cheapskates NEVER pay their dues.

Anyway, I‚d like to introduce you to a few of them:

The co-workers. There are two women in my office training for the Chicago Marathon and hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon (which means they have to finish Chicago in an inhumanely fast time determined by their age and gender). I see them EVERY TIME I go running, and I’ve logged a good 10 or 15 miles with them over the summer. And even on the hottest, muggiest days, they’re always cheerful and chatty and too perky for their own good. (I think they might be robots.)
The other co-worker. He’s training for the New York Marathon. I see him only once in a while—usually at the free Gatorade stations sponsored by the totally cool people at Fleet Feet. (I think he might be thirsty.)
The Great Dane. Tall and lanky and handsome in a quirky European way, the Great Dane seems like a hardcore runner … who needs a gay best friend. He wears this cheap sun visor, see, and he has this terrible short-on-the-sides, long-on-the-top haircut that pooches out of his visor like a bleached sea anemone. And everyone knows that sea anemone are, like, soooo ’80s. (Just ask the Sturgeon General.)
Cap’n Gaspy. This Rastafarian-looking dude is always sprinting at the speed of light in an oversized T-shirt, heavy track pants and a massive set of dreadlocks that look hotter than a wool blanket in a tanning bed. And he always sounds like he’s about to hurl a lung.
Circuit Boi and the Abinator. I assume these two are a couple. I always see them together, and—bless them—they almost always have their shirts off. Circuit Boi is your standard-issue handsome muscledude who won’t make eye contact. The Abinator is tall and muscular and so unbelievably ripped he should really come stamped with a government label saying “Warning: Contemplating my abs can induce eating disorders in grown men.”
The Abercrombie Twins. These guys have it all: well-defined muscles, tiny waists, smooth skin, nice, even sheens of sweat, faces so handsome they borderline on being pretty, and a turbo pace that leaves me plodding along in their dust like a pregnant camel on a broken skateboard. I usually see them four times on a run, which means the fuckers are clearly running the course twice every morning. They’re the Hottie McHotHots you love to hate and the serious athletes you have to admire. And, on some mornings, the eye candy that totally keeps you motivated.
The 12-year-old. This poor guy will be carded until he’s 72. He’s cute and tiny and built like an Altarboy centerfold. I’m pretty sure he’s gay (and well into his 20s), but he’s always too focused on his runs (his training runs—not the other kind of runs) to look up and smile.
Matthole. I used to think this guy was pretty smokin’ when we went to the same gym five years ago. All his sycophants friends clearly thought the same thing. And, apparently, so did he. I made numerous friendly overtures to him, but he never showed much interest. Then one day I found myself on the bus with one available seat: right next to him! I sat down and tried to chat him up, and—panic-stricken—he pulled a magazine out of his bag and turned his back on me without even a pretend “excuse me.” Then he decided that wasn’t rude enough so he gathered his things, abruptly got up and finished his ride standing in the back of the bus. I soon left that gym, but I still see him around town—and on the running trail every weekend. Lucky me. He’s obviously been running a lot over the years. So much, in fact, that now he looks like the lost Olsen triplet. And since he’s not so smokin’ any more, he’s suddenly trying to make friendly hellos with me when we pass each other on the trail. But I’m usually too busy reading my magazine to notice.

Um … so as I re-read this list, I see that the only people I don’t already know who can break through my three-hour running zone seem to be men.

Do you think I might be gay?

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