Sunday, July 09, 2006

I've met my match…and it's not pretty.

I'm a "Phoebe-runner." Ask anyone who has ever gone to Redbud Park with me. (Did you ever see that episode of Friends where Rachel is embarrassed to jog in the park with Phoebe because she runs with the complete and utter abandon of a five year-old?) Well, instead of being a blur of knees and blonde hair and elbows when I jog (like Phoebe), I'm a comical mix of size-10 feet and cellulite and sweat!

Most of the time at the park, I walk, but there are a few certain stretches I call "the traditions," and I *must* run them. No matter how hot, no matter how sweaty, no matter if I have a side stitch or a rock in my shoe...they MUST be run. And not with sweet, graceful Chariots of Fire strides, either, but with my "I-had-asthma-as-a-child-and-really-never-learned-to-jog-so-this-full-blown-maniacal-form-of-self-propulsion-will-have-to-do" style. (Misha never seems to mind that her mistress looks like an idiot, so it's always been okay.)

Today, however, I met my style match! We've seen him running in the park before, but always when we were in the car, sitting on the prairie dog fence, or on a different path. Today, we got the full visual effect coming at us--right toward us, directly on our path--not once, but TWICE. (Misha and I did three miles this morning, which is twice around the outer track.)

He's young and handsome, kind of short, with a very well-defined body (he "jogs" sans shirt). The reason I say "jogs" in quotation marks is because they haven't invented a word to describe his modus operandi. (His locomotion operandus? Whatever.)

How to describe it? Hmm. It's like he's leaping over twenty-inch hurdles that are invisible to everyone else in the park. Each leg comes up, and then rotates out to clear the unseen barrier (like a pitcher's arm, nearly at a 90-degree angle from his hips), the sneaker slapping down with the furious intensity needed to spring back up to repeat the procedure again. And again and again…with each leg, with every step!

These are not graceful, Bolshoi-ballet style leaps, I might add. There simply are not words for the leg-rotating, foot-pounding, and arm-churning hops he does with each and every footfall of his morning exercise. It is exhausting just to watch him come at you.

And I love it. Here's hoping he's there again next week…

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