Signs of an aging runner…
Doris drove the oversized van — a rehabbed ambulance — into the lot designated for runners taking four parking spaces while Lois tended to other matters. Outside, runners no older than 40 congregated, wearing singlets and shorts in 45-degree weather, not growing goosebumps, waiting for the half marathon to start. Inside the van, the temperature a balmy 78.
Sporting an age category far right of the runners bell curve, Lois and Doris broke a sweat with two layers of pants and a full contingent of long sleeve shirts, Goretex vest, and a winter jacket. Behind the driver’s seat a long hallway – presumed once used for stretchers – flanked a private bathroom, a closet with two fold out chairs, a coffee station and a large sofa covered with knee braces, ankle supports, bandages and four pairs of running shoes.
“How is it on your side,” Doris asked.
“Good over here,” Lois said, not looking up, filing her red painted nails.
“You think it’s OK to park so close to the starting line?”
“Close? We’re a quarter mile away. If someone hadn’t overslept, we could have gotten the front row…” Lois flipped her passenger sun visor down, exposing the mirror and the light. She puckered, polished her lips.
“When did you start dollin’ up to go for a run?”
Lois sent Doris a stink-eye and snaked a grin before firing back. “Did you take a shower this morning?” Here comes the inquisition.
“I did, thank you. You?”
“Brush your teeth?” Lois asked.
“Yes, I remembered. You really gonna run with that broken arm?”
“Why wouldn’t I?”
“What’d the doctor say?”
Lois shot out another eyeball. “They all say the same thing. Not to exercise. What kind of advice is that from a doctor? Remember the time you ran with a busted foot?”
Doris nestled deep into the drivers seat, enjoying the replay. “Had my toes curled the whole time. Road never touched the ball of my foot for 13 miles. Finished just before the paramedics arrived. Did you take your Geritol?”
“I brought extra for you.”
Lois scrunched her face into a fat stubborn knot.
Doris tapped her fingers on the bottle. “You won’t get past mile 3 if you don’t take one.”
She dangled the Geritol at Lois, who snatched it from her hand, dropped it between her legs and opened up a tube of Forever 21 lotion. She slathered the youth cream around her neck.
“It’s got sunscreen,” Lois said, not taking her eyes off the mirror.
“Did I say anything?”
Lois continued to shine up, while Doris realized she was sitting on her sunglasses, triggering a random thought.
“Why isn’t there a FloMax for women. We could run for hours…”
Lois cracked a grin at the idea, and Doris suggested again she take her Geritol. Lois opted to hand Doris her chap stick without saying a word and Doris wondered if she would be so generous with her Forever 21 cream.
Four ladies, in their thirties, each in perky ponytails and short shorts with sculpted legs, especially the calves, stretched in front of the van, touching their toes, bending in half.
“Look at them, Lois. Do you think we should be doing that?”
Lois looked up. “Looks painful.”
“Can you touch your toes? You know, without bending your knees?”
Lois and Doris stared out the windshield. More runners converged. Ten minutes until the race started. A young man, head shaved, in his twenties, arrived on the scene scampering in front of the van practicing butt kicks, wearing Ralph Lauren sunglasses, navy blue tiny shorts and a skin hugging shirt with that V-cut reserved for the genetically gifted.
“Look at the legs on that one,” Lois said, collapsing the sun visor, her nose pressed into the windshield.
He bent at the waist, placed his palms on the ground for a long slow stretch, shifting his weight left to right, with his taut fit backside prancing in full view.
“Sweet Jesus,” Doris said. Her mouth shaped into a donut as she leaned into the steering wheel, careful not to honk the horn.
“Now, that’s what I call a warmup.” Lois dropped her tube of Forever 21, pumping her seat all the way forward. The Geritol bottle careened to the floor and rolled to the back of the van, stopped by the knee brace.
“I’m having a flash.”
The 20-something bent lower. Doris and Lois moved closer and the windshield steamed up.
“Do we still need to run this thing?”