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Speeding machismo, blooming Laburnums



'Please run at your own pace.  I will try and keep pace with you.'  I say to a runner I am meeting my first time.

We head off. 

But we are running too fast, much faster than what I am used to. 

Is this his usual pace?! I wonder. I don't ask. 

I am struggling to keep up with him. 

I am out of breath.

Nearly three-quarters into the round, I say to him, 'you keep going, I'll slow down.'

'We started too fast.  But that's ok.  When guys run together their first time, they try to outdo each other.  It's normal', he says.

I admire his honesty.  I would not have admitted this even in the privacy of my thoughts.  It is comforting to hear it said loud.  It puts me to ease.

Finishing our first round I say to him - haltingly and with a smile, 'now that we have sized each other sufficiently, I would like to run this round my own pace.  Feel free to keep to yours, please don't slow down for me.'

'That's ok.  I'll run with you.  I run on my own every day.'  He replies - with a faint smile.

All this time, we haven't looked at each other much.  We've been running shoulder to shoulder, mostly looking ahead. 

But I am now trailing behind. 

I look at him and I notice for the first time how shapely and muscular his legs are. 

Should I tell him?


I don't. 

He is ahead of me, but he keeps glancing back, as if checking if I am there.  I find that polite and considerate.  Not in the least bit competitive.  Not any more.

We finish our second round. 

'Do you want to do a third?' I ask him. 

He shakes his head. 

'OK, I think I will do another one, slow and easy.' I whiz past.

I am running on my own now.  I notice - for the first time - Laburnum trees in bloom.  This is such a sight!  I have been running in this park for years now.  I know it pretty well, I think.  Yet it never fails to surprise me every now and then.  I look around and I see more and more Laburnum trees - yellow - in full bloom. 

How could I have missed them the first two rounds?  I ask myself. 

Because the first round you were speeding machismo, and the second was drawn to a pair of legs.  I tell myself and I smile.



The women had a very poor showing today, with not ONE joining the group. This lead the men to have long discussions regarding where women go to meet each other... But the men who came hailed from places as far away as New York and we had participants who are currently residing in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Rajasthan! In all there were 7, for 4 it was their first time. Two of us ran, 5 walked. As the path curved into the Northeast corner of the park, ironically, it was my straight friend who said, "This looks like it might be the cruising area." He was right. But he had already heard me tell about my previous experience wandering the part alone. [See earlier blog post, cruising queeriosity]


- Sun 9 May 2010

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