I had a long stretch on my run on Saturday in which I had to summon The Velvet Underground to my aid lest I trip a fellow runner. I could hear him coming up behind me and expected him to pass me pretty quickly, but he didn’t. He stuck right by me for half a mile or so before he spoke a word. I was listening to music at the time, but when it became clear that we’d be running together for a while, I took out my earbuds and listened to him. I think the point where I became intrigued was when he said that he came to New York from Trinidad to run in some games. I didn’t hear which games because my music was on, but I was immediately fascinated, as you can imagine. And then I ran four miles with Gert Jordan, a fireman from Trinidad.
We chatted a bit about New York, about the games, his events (which are, if I remember correctly, the 800, 400, and 4×400 relay, in the Masters division — ages 40-50), training, etc. When we got to the hill, I asked him if he liked hills. He said no. I said, “Then let’s take it fast and get it over with.” He said, “After you.” So I took it (too) fast, then went back down and ran up the last half with him. It was okay because during the last 100 yards of or so of his run, he showed me that he really was a sprinter and I ate his dust. Then we parted ways and I assumed I would never see him again, although I think it would be fun to cheer him on at his games, which are on Randall’s Island later this summer.
I told Micah the story when I met him at Ultimate Frisbee after I ran another lap around the park. And then, when Ultimate was finished and we were going to the train to catch a ride home, we ran into Gert. He was standing just outside the train station. I had the distinct displeasure of listening to him talk to my husband about me almost as if I wasn’t there. (Does this happen to other people? I feel like I get more than my share.)
To hear Gert tell it, you’d think I was a little crazy, what with charging up the hill and chatting blithely through 4 miles of what ended up being a 10 mile run. Still, he does tell a good story. He said he saw me running and said to himself, “I’m going to catch her.” So he sped up. And then he said again, “I’m going to catch her.” And he sped up again. And then he said, “I’m going to catch her!” And sped up some more. And then he caught me. And, apparently, he spent all 4 miles just trying to hold on, not able to gather enough breath to talk with me much. He totally had me fooled. But he’s not a distance runner, and 6 miles is a long run for him.
I hope to see him running around the park again. His games — the World Police and Fire Games — don’t start until August 26, so there’s plenty of time. But even if I don’t get the chance to run with him again, I’ll still be wishing him well in his races. I’m sticking with you, Gert.