Friday, June 18, 2004
Now that the good weather has come, along with the marathon, the Bonne Bell, the track season, and the onslaught of mosquitoes, I notice more and more people running up and down my street. I realize that, in Carlisle, some people equate running with fleeing from the mosquitoes in your underwear, but some people actually enjoy it.
Have you ever noticed the different ways that people run? First, of course, is the serious runner; sleek, smooth-flowing stride, big stick in hand, and seen all over town in the same 25 minutes. These people know what they are doing and are a pleasure to watch.
On the other hand, when I look out my window, my view of runners is quite different. They come in all sizes, shapes, ages, and genders. Nothing unusual about that, but what about the way they run?
Some go by, all bent over as though their heads were a battering ram. Others run straight up and lift their legs high in the air as though they were climbing stairs or riding a bicycle. Many of the older, heavier ones barely lift their feet from the ground, work very hard and take tiny steps. Reminds me of the hare and the tortoise, although I wouldn't bet money on these tortoises. Many of these people must have been told by their doctors to exercise or die. I say "bravo" to them. Others have the strangest lope. They bounce up and down like a beach ball. I'm sure they go further vertically than horizontally. I won't even go into other sorts of bouncing; personally I try not to notice. Some pound their feet into the pavement so hard that their arches are approaching their ankles. Others barely touch the ground at all. There are those who run with arms straight down, while the next one has arms that are flailing all over the place.
Then there is the ex-athlete, big hairy legs, size 14 sneaker, nose hair, a determined "once-was" Mister Wonderful, all covered with sweat and mosquitoes, trying to regain his youthful long-lost Adonis appearance. At least he is out there trying. I know that a pound a year doesn't amount to much for the first 30 or 40 years, but then you're in trouble.
Have you ever looked at the faces of these runners? A few have no expression at all, while many look as if they are in great pain and not enjoying this running business at all. Then there is the attire of the runners. Beautiful sweat suits, yet to see the first drop of sweat or road dust. There are strange varieties of hats and sweat bands both of heads and wrists. Proper running shoes and really foul-smelling sneakers. And knee braces! Almost as many as one sees on the tennis court.
All in all, my hat is off to the runners, even though I am amused at some of them. I must confess that I am not a runner and never have been. I'm sure you have already guessed that. I admit that I could benefit from more discipline in the exercise department, but I think I will do it on the tennis court.
© 2004 The Carlisle Mosquito