It was the first really warm day of spring.  You know the kind of day when it jumps 20 degrees upward.  The air was beyond warm, it was balmy, hot even.  It drove the masses outside after a rough winter. We joined those masses, from what we have come to know as the 4th fattest city in the U.S., Rockford, IL (look it up!), out on the river walk

The first hot day in spring brings out a whole new wardrobe for the exercise enthusiast or wanna-be.  I saw everything from knee length out of style blue jeans shorts coupled with gray calf high socks to spandex color coordinated outfits to jeans with spike heels and anything and everything in between.  I actually saw a woman wearing a trash bag to hasten weight loss through sweating, though only a temporary help.

I also saw every body type one could think existed in the universe, heavy on the 4th fattest city dynamic if you will though.  We are all unique creatures designed by God and then altered by genetics, environment and choices.  Some were out to stroll, others to get the wiggles out after being driven in for months on end.  Clearly some were novices, first timers determined to lose weight, get in shape.  While a small contingency were seasoned in regular, disciplined exercising. 

We ran into our neighbors, stopped to chat a few minutes and then hit the path again to do 5-6 miles.  It was so crowded bikers were in danger of crashing into walkers and runners or the other way around.  We easily passed many because I can walk a mile as fast as a few I know can run them.  On a good day my walk per mile time is about 12 minutes and my run per mile time is around 8 minutes.  There is no doubt that Doug would probably like to stroll at times but I just don't stroll well.  I'm much like a Labrador retriever anxiously pulling its owner.

They were approximately our age, 50 give or take a year or two in either direction.  I noticed her beautiful shapely Hispanic skin toned legs and her bright orange criss cross tank top as we came up behind them in the passing lane.  She had the gear; the shoes, the outfit, the water belt and a bit of an apple figure.  She though didn't have speed.

Not long after we passed them, they must have started slow jogging and then passed us where they stopped just ahead to stretch their legs.  As we passed them yet again, Doug commented that we were going to join them in running had they not stopped.  They laughed. We kept on.

Probably a mile down the path, in the midst of droves of people, I felt someone coming up on my right off the path in the grass.  It was her - the orange tank top sexy legged lady jogging just past my current walk speed.  I decided to join her.  I patted her on the back and said, "I'm running with you!" and I took off with her leaving Doug to walk. 

As we jogged, ever so slowly, I made a comment and then asked her a question; 1) you are a beautiful woman, followed by, 2) how old are you?  Her heavy Hispanic accent and poor English made the combination of movement and language somewhat difficult.  She laughed at my beautiful woman comment, but thanked me for saying it.  Then she asked me, "How old do you think I am?"  

I was in a conundrum indeed - [If I say how old I think she really is and I'm over her real age, that's hurtful and offensive. If I shoot too low with the age she'll know I'm doing the age game!].  She looked close to my age of 47, but I responded with, "You're 38?"  Laughter spilled out of her and she told me she loved me!  [BTW, we are still running our slow ass speed].  She was 49.  I gave her a win.  She though was a beautiful 49 indeed.

We kept up our consistent speed of probably a 12-13 minute run mile [I was having to bridle myself!]. She started talking and I listened.  She told me that she had gone to church that morning (Easter) with her boyfriend of two months.  She told me she had lost some weight but that it had started to creep back on.  And, that sitting in church she decided today was the day she would try to run.  I was glad I had started to run with her not knowing it was her first day out.  Maybe I had needed to slow down in life and she needed to speed up.  Maybe we were good for each other at that moment.

Sometimes I understood what she was saying, and other times, because of her poor English, I struggled to catch the full meaning.  Somewhere in her life monologue she looked at me and said, "I would like to see your body!"  Whether you are struggling with the English language or not, it is a bizarre thing to say to a total stranger.  I laughed at her probable mix of up language, maybe a bit from some uncomfortableness, and that I simply didn't feel that way about my own body!

In those seconds before I responded I thought.... [woman are so much luckier than men in some regard - we get to know another woman freely in approximately 3 minutes tops - there is an estrogenish camaraderie of sorts]....

I told her she would be highly disappointed in what she saw!  I also told her that none of us ever feel as beautiful as someone else thinks we are, and to keep running even after today was over.

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