Lane 9

Longtime readers will recall that I was outraged by walkers stealing Lane 9 when last we were on the track. So it’s funny that people were sitting in 8 and 9 today, and I was more than happy to steer around them.

I read a story yesterday in the NYT about Seasonal Affective Disorder, the fallout from a long, bleak winter. I’m almost certain that’s why I have been down lately. It’s been consistently around 60 or a little below for the last week, and a couple of days were partly cloudy. That’s not horrible for a day or two, but when you put together a solid week of it, one starts to go a bit wonky. I remember once on Northern Exposure, Walt had a visor with lights on it and it seemed to help. But I had none, so I tried the next best thing, running on the track on a sunny, 75 degree day.

The gazelles from a week ago were back. They were running 100 repeats and then went for a long run on the dirt road before coming back and homesteading on 8 and 9. It was fun to catch snippets as we went by each lap. “more 1500s.” “it’s all about quality of life. “two days of treadmill ahead.” I’m still guessing they’re on holiday from the frozen tundra of the Northeast. They looked so happy just sitting in the sun. I could’ve stepped on the guy’s hand as I came by in Lane 7, but that’s likely bad running karma. Four runners, two coaches (one with a British accent.) What’s their story? We’ll never know. They seem to be really fast, but I’m the guy who sat on the bench next to the gold medal decathlete for a year without figuring out who he was.

Today felt crappy for no reason. I am beginning to suspect that running on sidewalk might not be the best thing for old knees. Why has no one ever reported this? But we meandered and got in the daily 5K. On the last mile, a 100 meter guy took over Lane 9, which has become insanely popular ever since I claimed it as my personal domain.

He had an elaborate shoe-marking system going, so you know he’s good.

We sat down on the bench after finishing our run. It’s only a lane away from the sprinter. It’s odd to sit so close to someone going so fast. A blur. Sprinters aren’t like real people. They’re little machines, all pistons and quads and regimented breathing.

Same with the gazelles. We had watched the two guys running 100s for a few minutes before we started. Mo calls them “floaters,” runners who glide so effortlessly around the track. You don’t see it on TV; it’s only real when they’re a couple of lanes away.

And there, hanging on the fence of the front stretch, was a black cap. I ran past it four times before I finally stopped to look. If it was the French beret, I was going to be totally weirded out by the whole Lane 9 thing. But it wasn’t. Just a beanie left over from those miserable days of 58 degrees brrrrrrr.

Lane 9. It’s all about perspective. Is it for the slowest runner, or the fastest? Maybe both. Seasonal Affective Disorder? Lane 9 is waiting for you. If you don’t mind a little swerving …

About gary

no sock monkeys were harmed in the making of this blog.
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