“Dudley Do-right” was at the gym again today.

With his dark buzz-cut, five o’clock shadow, chiseled jawline and matching physique, this version of “Dudley” looks ├╝berfit. I see this guy there all the time. I should find out his real name but Dudley suits him. He looks like a guy you’d find at Camp Pendleton shouting at new recruits.

It turns out I was right, sort of, minus the shouting part. He’s some variety of personal trainer and seems mild-mannered. He was leading a class and encouraging them as they ran circles on the indoor track.

I saw it all while I ran on the treadmill. I wasn’t trying to be noisy, just curious and people-watching like the songs from Jack Johnson in  “Curious George.”

Some times I find it more interesting to observe what’s going on around me, rather than tuning out when I must run indoors.

At races, crowd support certainly helps and so do some of the distractions. They also build memories.

My favorite poster at the California International Marathon, for example, was one that read: “Stop toenail abuse.”

Today I got a kick out of watching Dudley’s “recruits” — especially a young mom carrying a baby, forward-facing, in a Baby Bjorn. A modern madonna and child, the two of them were beautiful with matching porcelain skin and blue eyes. It was hard not to enjoy looking at them.

The baby was just old enough to be past the Bobblehead stage of infancy but still young enough to enjoy Sherpa service via mom.

Dudley high-fived people as they finished up, including the madonna and child. The baby smiled a big, happy toothless grin and its little feet kicked away when Dudley smiled back.

Next, the group took to running up and down stairs and they finished by jumping on the top step each time. The mom and baby skipped the running and jumping part, and walked up and down.

It was entertaining and it beat what was on TV — CNN reporting on a death penalty case in Connecticut. 

Dudley, leader of the (six-)pack, and this crew, helped me pass the miles, whether they realized it or not.

I’ve heard it said before that the mark of a good life is living an ordinary one but in an extraordinary way. 

Watching them turned an ordinary run into an great one. I got to witness their joy. Everyone was sweating and working hard but with smiles on their faces.

What more can you ask for?


Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!

MIleage today: 5; Denver to Boston miles logged: 1398; MIles left to go: 372.

One thought on “People-watching

  1. I so enjoy your use of language and the chance to view life through the unique perspective of your mind. Lines like “enjoy Sherpa service via mom” make your writing sparkle. In real life, you may be a runner, but on the page, you’re a gymnast.

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