Typically when I am out on my long trail runs I come across several different types of wildlife, if you are a hunter, you would be jealous! It is not at all uncommon for me to find a deer grazing in a meadow, or even a turkey which I will end up chasing down a trail for over a mile while yelling at the poor frightened animal, “I will not eat you, I am a vegetarian!” Today was different; there was not a deer or turkey to be seen. I did however come across the animal I fear most, the Running Man.
All of us have had an encounter with the Running Man at some point in our lives, in fact maybe some of you reading this are a member of the “Running Man” species. Here is how to identify a Running Man, he stands 6 feet or higher, with long, muscular legs (usually shaved), a determined look on his face and an incredible pace. I, the Northern European running women stand no chance against my foe; at a measly 5’4” tall, my legs are at least one foot shorter than his and my pace, well… much, much, slower. The only thing we have in common is the fact that we both used a Bic on our legs that morning!
The Running Man seems to prance through the woods like a deer and all the while I imagine that he is probably snickering about my ridiculously slow speed. I am incredibly jealous of the Running Man. When he crosses my path I pick up my pace and silently think that someday I will be able to keep up with him. I find myself starting to daydream that I and the other Running Men, are prancing down the beach barefoot in out matching white t-shirts like in the movie Chariots of Fire. Then suddenly, I look ahead and the Running Man is gone, I am kicked out of my daydream and back into reality.
There is one thing about the Running Man that I forgot to mention, although we started our runs at the same time, the Running Man finished his much earlier than mine. As I was heading down the trail to start my second loop, I saw him pull away in his car… his run was done, mine was just beginning. I know that I can never be the Running Man; I will never have his grace or Kenyan like speed, but maybe… I can just run farther than him? I hope that as the Running Man was pouring himself a cup of coffee after his workout today he thought back to the girl on the trail, he might ask, “I wonder if she is still running?”…